Diablo® III

Plague Bats: Thoughts and Techniques

If you use or have tried Plague Bats (PB) you begin to notice that they do not have a great ability to deal with large or fast moving mobs.
While Bears and CoB excel in this situation, PB suffers from its inability to hit over a large area and to attack in more than one direction.

If you have used PB for any length of time, the AI always seems to attack in the same way e.g. the main attack comes from the front and then the monsters circle you to hit you from the sides and back. Much like the AI used by fire-chained elites.

My old approach for dealing with this was to hold down the PB button and move the mouse left or right to spin my character, which results in more of a pin wheel application of PB. While the pin wheel attack would get the job done, it doesn't feel very efficient and if fact it makes me long to put bears back on the skill bar.

After playing in a dungeon it finally hit me on how to best use PB. To fight monster groups, always put your back to a wall. The best situation is a wall that obstructs the monsters and makes them come at you from one direction.
However, any wall will do, as you have now confined the monsters to 180 degrees of attack instead of 360. So instead of a pin wheel approach, you now can hose the monsters from side to side and don't have to deal with monsters coming behind you. It may sound like a simple idea, but I find PB is much more effective with a confined area of attack.

Another technique I find helpful is using Horrify/Frightening Aspect (plus armor) with PB. After the monsters interrupt your PB casting, when they are beating too hard on you, you are low on mana, they surround you, or they have just thrown too much hoo-doo down where you are standing -- these are the situations when I use Horrify.

The fear from Horrify clears the monsters away from you, it doubles your armor, and puts you back in control of the situation (so you can move to another wall and get ready for them when they come back). Also, many of the monsters will die from the PB DoT as they run away, so it is a win-win to use Horrify with PB. Horrify will also break fire-chained elites apart, and works on all elites no matter their size.

That's all I have for now. Feel free to share what you do.
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You got it, much more onus to position decently with the start up cost than the old version. Funneled monsters are our best case scenario, but not always possible with a dynamic battlefield.

A lot of monsters definitely like to circle you, (I'm used to this from spending so long using pile on so the play style isn't too dissimilar). Crowd control and interference can still apply to the goal of keeping monsters in one direction so your straight line attack has a smaller arc to cover: dogs; garg; gotd; woz; horrify; hex; mc.

Popping aoe like vengeful spirit, locusts, etc. while repositioning is great for the quick lifesteal to give you a little more time to find somewhere to hold your ground.

And of course the obligatory oorah for pb/bears. Covers pretty much every monster nuance you'll come up against and both like high mobility and pack a punch. :)
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I've found Bad Medicine to be very effective when using PB. It allows me to channel longer before I have to reposition. I can get in a corner and start hosing the mobs down and use Horrify:FA to keep them off of me.
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Have to get that back up against a wall. Like you were saying it is much easier to keep all the enemies dotted with PB if your only focused on 180 degrees not 360. If you are mana positive while channeling bats I think WoZ is a great compliment to PB.

Depending on placement, if you get the Wall of Zombies, with the Unrelenting Grip rune, against another wall they have to waste time running around the wall while slowed to get to you. I use Soul Harvest-Languish so that helps to keep them slowed and against the Zombie Wall as long as possible. It's only another 2-3 seconds away from you, but I believe that is enough time to reach maximum PB stack. (couldn't find the post with Nubtro's tests.)

I would like to add, with the wall being up 5 seconds that is a 15 second down time. Which is plenty of time to channel, wait to re-position, drop the wall and start channeling again.(all of my other skills can be used while channeling) When I tried this with GotD- Death is Life I ran into mana issues trying to keep the circle on the ground all the time.

-Edited to try and make it a little easier to understand.
Edited by KonaRVP#1274 on 7/6/2013 10:00 AM PDT
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07/06/2013 06:18 AMPosted by Surijak
And of course the obligatory oorah for pb/bears. Covers pretty much every monster nuance you'll come up against and both like high mobility and pack a punch. :)


I pretty set on using spirit barrage/WoS with PB. Just seems to fill in better with PB. Has good range, goes through walls, takes down anything that flies or runs. Plus you can spam it and run.

But if I had 2 more slots I would definitely put Locusts and Bears back on my skill bar.

07/06/2013 06:36 AMPosted by Axiom
I've found Bad Medicine to be very effective when using PB.


It's a good combination. I've always liked BM.
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Depending on placement, if you get the Wall of Zombies against another wall with Unrelenting Grip they have to waste time running around the wall while slowed to get to you, and I use Soul Harvest-Languish so that helps to keep them slowed and against the wall as long as possible.


That's certainly a well thought out approach. Not sure how often you can set it up though. An idea in the right direction without a doubt.
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07/06/2013 07:16 AMPosted by KonaRVP
I think WoZ is a great compliment to PB.


that's a nice thought! creating a wall or using slow to reduce the monsters especially in open areas where you may not find a corner to back into.

Personally I've had very limited experience with PB mainly because as mentioned in the posts above, the monsters swarm you and I find the LS returns from PB slower and lower than CoB which generally means I am unable to tank as well. Probably also because my damage is low and without CoB's massive damage boost, PB doesn't work as well for me. Just a guess.

But then again I barely gave PB a chance - I died a couple of times where I normally wouldn't with CoB and just gave up.

I also never really put in much thought on the tactics and strategies to use to maximize the efficiency of PB. But I think it would be good to know and try out in game. Definitely looking forward to more tips and pointers in this thread!
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I have a fundamental question, since PB is a DoT, is it true that just touching the enemies once with PB for a split second is the same as keeping PB on them for several seconds?
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07/06/2013 11:38 AMPosted by cornelius
I have a fundamental question, since PB is a DoT, is it true that just touching the enemies once with PB for a split second is the same as keeping PB on them for several seconds?


No, it's a DoT that stacks so there is no need to stop channeling. It will tick twice your aps so if you hvae an aps of 1 attack per second it will apply the DoT twice per second. Anyways, it's a channel attack, you are suppose to channel it :)
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Two things I can add:

1) If you are worried about ramping up life leech, consider a higher attack speed, the length of the DoT is shorten with higher attack speed (Nubtro confirmed this, but it is also easy to tell) so you'll ramp to max damage quicker. There is of course mana management to consider.

2) Big Stinker is a great aggro tool, if I am fighting knockback or fear i'll hide behind the garg so I can channel for a longer time.
Edited by Wachati#1647 on 7/6/2013 1:33 PM PDT
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So could you say the same thing for Locust Swarm? The more times you infect someone with the swarm does it do twice the DoT?
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Nope, Locust Swarm does not stack.
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07/06/2013 11:38 AMPosted by cornelius
I have a fundamental question, since PB is a DoT, is it true that just touching the enemies once with PB for a split second is the same as keeping PB on them for several seconds?


Don't think of PB as a DoT. It plays like a poison channeling spell.

The only time you will notice the DoT is when you start knocking a monster's life down, when you hit about 1/3 life left they are pretty much toast if they are whites (the DoT will kill them if you stop channeling). Elites have much higher hit points so you do not notice it as much.
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07/06/2013 03:05 PMPosted by skywalkerfx
I have a fundamental question, since PB is a DoT, is it true that just touching the enemies once with PB for a split second is the same as keeping PB on them for several seconds?


Don't think of PB as a DoT. It plays like a poison channeling spell.

The only time you will notice the DoT is when you start knocking a monster's life down, when you hit about 1/3 life left they are pretty much toast if they are whites (the DoT will kill them if you stop channeling). Elites have much higher hit points so you do not notice it as much.


ok thx for the clarification
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to play PB is to learn to aim your stream. i should let my neighbour play my WD so he will be better at aiming his stream and avoid messing our toilet.

the best way for me is to position yourself in a choke and fire it like a hellbat from SC2. this is where pets come into play in my build
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07/06/2013 11:40 PMPosted by theStrobist
the best way for me is to position yourself in a choke and fire it like a hellbat from SC2. this is where pets come into play in my build


You should try trading out your Garg for Hex/Jinx. It's a great skill for rendering one or two elites harmless and they take 20% more damage. The Garg may be able to tank an elite but he usually can't kill one on his own.
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thanks, i tried getting rid of the pets before but my play style revolves heavily on positioning so the decision was to let the pets stay. with my modest stats i can solo act 1 comfortably on MP9, sometimes without even dying even once. PB gave me back my will to play this game again after not touching this thing for months.

I do want to change vision quest for something else in mana management, since vision quest forces me to use a pyrogeist to activate my mana regen which i could have easily put horrify or even jinx into it instead of pyrogeist.
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to play PB is to learn to aim your stream. i should let my neighbour play my WD so he will be better at aiming his stream and avoid messing our toilet.

the best way for me is to position yourself in a choke and fire it like a hellbat from SC2. this is where pets come into play in my build


This is pretty much it right here. Cloud of Bats - at its core - is arguably one of the easiest builds in the game to play, while Plague isn't easy at all. Especially at high MP. You have to aim.
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@The Strobist
Swap out vision quest for blood ritual.
You have more than enough mana regen.

Try:
Hex
Mass Confusion Paranoia (for elites)

Also try grave injustice, but you'll need one piece of gear with +5~7 yards of pickup radius.
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thanks guys.

i tried blood ritual but i am not getting the same mileage for my mana. i am sure that if i got a cheap Visage with just 6 mana it would help a bit. when i was playing COB, i had VQ and spiritual atunement(?) on and i got almost unending mana regeneration!

if i free'd up one more slot, i will probably try hex and see what happens. currently, i am only having trouble with the savage beasts on act 1 on MP9 since they are so unpredictable, otherwise it is smooth sailing. once i have hex, i will try MP10. there was a huge spike in difficulty with PB from MP7 to MP8 though.

the WD is by far the best character in D3 because instead of whining, WD players find ways to play an otherwise weak character. creativity and a little bit of skill will go a long long way. enabling you to play MP levels that are way higher than what you should be playing in.
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