[Guide] To VileCharge / Raekors

Barbarian
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    Guide for VileCharge v.0.12 - Turn the page!


2.1.2. topics in chapter 4!

/update1: Loss/Gain Ratios for phys AOE CDR estimations updated
/update2: Chapter 3 added
/update3: Calcs for Bloodshed updated
/update4: 2.1.2. section added (chapter 4)

I decided to not deliver “one finished product” but to rather have the guide be an interactive piece of work that gets updated and changed according to what the "pressing topics" are. Thus your feedback and questions will form the further makings of this guide. Accordingly, take a look at the table of contents, any part not yet written/published is open to be scrapped or new aspects to be added, depending on what you guys think and if I like you.

So tell me which topics are missing or should be prioritized.
Critique and questions to the existing parts are also welcome. If you find mistakes, let me know!

Important Links (for those who do not know, esp. important for spreadsheets: you can zoom in/out via CTRL and Mousewheel):

Link 1 Infospreadsheet for Damage and CDR Considerations:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1JSSnxw2LqdnUi8dvbAVzda7U3HJz-Hm3L0l9qHPZb2E/pubhtml

Link 2 Damage Calculator to see how stat changes affect VC AOE:
http://www.file-upload.net/download-9820916/aoe-dmg-calc-v1_1.xlsx.html

Link 3 Solo Fire "Heavy Hitter" Example Grift Level 40 w/o Pylon
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJ0a72umeJQ&list=PL_zvgx0W1ZFhWz65pGCcPkYASv60HGiOJ

Link 4 Solo Fire "High CDR" Example Grift Level 40 w/o Pylon
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDWdD17bwWU

Link 5 Nubtro's Spreadsheet for General Information, Must-Have for every Barb!
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Avxzyy5pHlsZdDZoVzNQeVl3XzA3bExpdk5yTVdaV1E&output=html

Link 6 Melee/Ranged Damage Reduction Table:
http://www.diablofans.com/forums/diablo-iii-general-forums/diablo-iii-general-discussion/91166-elite-affixes-types-and-damage-reduction-mechanics

Link 7 zdps Sader Build for Trials
http://www.diablofans.com/builds/4579-zdps-crusader-for-high-gr-48


    Table of Contents:

Finished/published parts:

0.9. Basement Ramblings

1. Damage Modifications
1.1. Regular Damage Multipliers
1.2. AOE Damage Multiplication --> Consequences for Charge Playstile
1.3. AOE Damage Optimization

2. CDR Considerations
2.1. CDR Breakpoints
2.2. CDR Opportunity Costs
2.3. CDR Relative Costs for Different Setups via Gear
2.4. Relative Costs for BPs from Low to High CDR

3. The Pylon Hunter - Phys solo AOE
3.1. Active Skills
3.1.1. Iron Hide or Ignorance
3.1.2. The CotA Issue
3.2. Passives
3.3. Gems
3.4. Amulets
3.5. Weapon
3.6. Pylon Hunting
3.6.1. Trials
3.6.2. Clearing the level

4. Updates with patch 2.1.2.
4.1. Builds 2.1.2.
4.1.1. Fire Frenzy
4.1.2. Phys Dot
4.2. Misc
4.2.1. Pylon Meta
4.2.2. Charge mechanics
4.2.3. Amulets

    0.9. Basement Ramblings

Originally, I started doing a „basic“ guide, but eventually decided to scrap that, since going through all the little and mostly well known things to even get a VileCharge Barb going, I felt I was wasting too much time to get to the juicy and interesting parts.
So this is a guide/discussion, where I expect you to already know the basics, like “what is Legacy of Raekor?”, “what is Vile Ward?”, “what does Unity do?” or “is Furnace good?” or “fire rune on fc is best because it does 1050%, right? (no ….)”, and go from there.

Furthermore, I scrapped a lot of text and info and rather decided to put it in spreadsheets, which at first sight can be quite an information overload, but should hopefully benefit you once you get through those. You certainly do not have to understand the sheets in one go to follow the guide.

There is a few variants of VC that I will refer to in the course of this guide. Those are:

1.Fire Solo for NON-PYLON /w Furnace, Mirinae, WotB:Insanity and CotA:TheCouncelRises.
-Variant 1 The Heavy Hitter: SOJ/Unity, PE/Miri/BotT, WC:Impunity/Chilanik’s Chain, Example:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJ0a72umeJQ&list=PL_zvgx0W1ZFhWz65pGCcPkYASv60HGiOJ

-Variant 2 HighCDR: RoRG/Unity/Leoric’s Crown, Gogok/Miri/BotT, IP:Ignorane is Bliss or Iron Hide with 6s Pride of Cassius. Example:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDWdD17bwWU


2.Phys Solo AOE (for Pylon Hunting) /w APDs, WotB:StridingGiant and CotA:TogetherasOne, no primary.
-Lots of little variations in weapon choice, gem choice, etc. Some still use the RoRG/Crown option, though I recommend to rather try and reach BPs with CDR on 2 Rings in this setup instead. I will go into more detail later.

3.Phys Multiplayer AOE /w APDs, RoRG/Crown, WotB:StridingGiant and CotA:TogetherasOne, no primary.
-Again lots of little variations, but overall, RoRG/Crown in Multiplayer is pretty much a given, since Unity cannot be used but SOJ be kept.

4.Phys Solo DOT for NON-PYLON /w APDs, Furnace, Pe/Toxin/BotT, WotB:Insanity and CotA:TheCouncelRises, no primary.
-Rare Variant /w full Ruby and offense setup, STD (Single Target Damage) for RG comes from WotB/CotA/PE/Toxin and the occasional charge. For the RG fight it is recommended to swap the Templar to Intimidate, to always have the benefit from BotT without having to be within 15 yards of the boss.

I will go into further detail for all of these specs later, but to discuss these in depth, we need to take a detour first. So some happy numbers crunching is in order!!!

    1. Damage Modifications

Load this little beauty:

Link 1:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1JSSnxw2LqdnUi8dvbAVzda7U3HJz-Hm3L0l9qHPZb2E/pubhtml

    1.1. Regular Damage Multipliers - Chart in the spreadsheet - Link 1

The first part, for most experienced Barb players, is relatively trivial. Learn which stats are multiplicative and which are additive.

Most important bonus to highlight in that list is the Vile Ward bonus, which is multiplicative to the rest. So %fc bonus on shoulders does its job together with VWs, but is still in the dibs (damage increased by skills) category. Which again is the second most important part to look at: dibs can be treacherous: even though if ingame it says 20% damage, it rarely is!

Thus, as an example: 15%fc on shoulders (dibs) effectively, if you are running for example Berserker Rage, Brawler and Battle Rage (25%+20%+10% dibs), is “only” 9,7% more dmg even though it reads 15% (and even less if you use HighCDR WotB:Insanity). BUT, since VW bonus is separate, at least those 9,7% are “true” 9,7% more dmg, and will not get further watered down (a misconception many still have, that VW bonus is inside dibs, which would render every dibs bonus instantly insignificant).

These certainly are not all aspects to discuss regarding the regular damage multipliers, but those others will get discussed in Gems/Passives later.

    1.2. AOE Damage Multiplication - Chart in the spreadsheet - Link 1

This chart is for factoring in the effect that the VW bonus in combination with BR:bloodshed and the +%area damage affix (AD) have on your total AOE damage output, considering your CHC, CHD, +%elemental damage, +%elite damage and +%AD.

Most important part here, is the basic multiplication of your damage by increasing the amount of targets that you group together when charging, in which case

a) All targets get hit by ever increasing amounts of bloodshed and area damage procs
b) VW’s ever increasing bonus activates for all targets simultaneously and gets spread via AD and bloodshed (if they are clumped up tightly enough).

This (in a typical fire solo setup, phys aoe setup has slightly higher ratios) translates into:

    -Going from 5 to 10 targets, you multiply your damage by 2.66

    -Going from 10 to 15 targets, you multiply your damage by 1.92 again

    -Going from 15 to 20 targets, you multiply your damage by 1.64 again


What this basically means: if you ever stop collecting mobs and just fight what you have in front of you, you lose most of your true damage potential as a VC Barb.

In higher 30s/lower 40s grifts, this translates into:

- It is ok to fight a blue pack at the exit of a level.
- It is usually not good though to fight a yellow pack at the end of a level, even if you can get a few white mobs in, though if CotA CD is available, you can consider it, but only if the mob type is a low HP type.
- You should generally consider it bad to fight less than 10 mobs, except if you can finish an almost dead elite/blue off.
- Thus, you should always try to drag mobs with you and only stay to fight if you cannot drag any more due to the map and have enough mobs to warrant a fight, but as soon as the target count drops you should consider moving on. Killing off a blue pack is ok, killing off a sinlge yellow pack, again, usually not so much.
- If you cannot drag yellow mobs, you can consider dragging blue packs and/or other yellows to them, or lure them to follow you. You CAN consider it. But should usually only rarely actually do it.

The higher you get though (45++), this translates into:

- Ignore anything at the exit of a map, unless there is huge density or the rest of the map had good density and there is nearby undiscovered areas, in which case you get the WP, come back and drag the pack with you. Otherwise, if there is density at the exit, whittle that down, but then move on, the time spent in killing even a blue pack at the exit without constant fueling from “new” trash or other elite packs is not worth it.
- Ignore anything that you cannot drag. If there is enough other mobs around, you can be a little bit slower in dragging those to give the elites a bit room to catch up while still collecting mobs, until you hit another 1-2 elite packs. If the stubborn pack has followed you, good, you can fight them now for a bit, until target numbers drop again. Repeat. If it does not follow you or you hit a non-density patch, ignore it. In most cases you should just ignore it.
- Ignore large mobs always, their size means the VW/bloodshed/AD synergy does not do their job properly. So basically you deal 1/6 of your “regular” dmg.
    1.3. AOE damage Optimization - Chart in the spreadsheet - Link 1

This chart is for you to see typical changes in affixes on gear and their outcome on your AOE dmg potential for 5, 10 and 15 targets in a typical Fire Solo Setup.

Additional 20%AD on gear is a competitive stat and worth a thought. If you can afford to lose 500 VIT on shoulders for example, it contents with %fc bonus after CDR for increasing your dmg on 10 targets by 11,07% (9,5% in a 40%phys setup) thus relieving the pressure from other dibs buffs in other places.

Noteworthy is the the swap from 40% fire to 40% phys with +16,6%dmg at 10 targets as well as the 40%phys to 60%phys one with +22,4%at 10 targets.

The reason for this, is that bloodshed is considered a physical skill, and as such profits both from physical and elite damage increase twice, once from the base critical hit that procs 20% as AOE, and then for those 20% again. %phys in this context is a more powerful stat than %elite actually, since it always double dips (white mob procs onto elites), while %elite only double dips from elite to elite proc and single dips from white to elite.

This actually means that using Heart Slaughter as a weapon instead of a Furnace, on average evens out in power: Heart Slaughter would be as powerful as a Furnace in a pure AOE setup if it wasn’t for the one extra primary affix. Which, given the availability of the weapon and the potential for a Furnace to roll really bad, is quite a good deal.

Another noteworthy detail: CHC/CHD are worth even more for AOE than they already are for Single Target Damage (STD) because of bloodshed. This also leads to a slight change in the “ideal” CHC/CHD balance. While generally high end optimization tries to get chc/chd to a 1/10 ratio to get the absolute mathematically best dmg output, having slightly more chc is favorable with bloodshed, though you should always keep in mind, that BR gives 3%CHC and WotB gives 10% CHC.

Careful!: those numbers in the charts are all ONLY about AOE damage! STD is a whole different story!

If you want to play around with your stats and see changes not listed in the chart, I have uploaded the spreadsheet for the calculations to:

Link 2:
http://www.file-upload.net/download-9804226/aoe-dmg-calc.xlsx.html

The red numbers in the spreadsheet are those where you enter your own numbers, or where you consider a change. The green numbers at the bottom are the results, like for example: 0,1035 --> +10,35% dmg.

    2. CDR Considerations

CDR is a tricky subject, since calculations in benefit vs. costs can be quite confusing and complicated. Many people run so called high CDR-specs, basically trying to get every little bit of CDR from gear that they can get. This is in many cases right, but in many cases also wrong. It all depends on the context.

One common misconception is that by getting more CDR, the loss of chc/chd or other damage modifiers completely balances itself out via better uptimes of WotB/CotA. Or even trumps the dmg loss, thus CDR = dmg.

This is wrong. WotB/CotA uptime will never make up for the loss in damage that you lose by swapping in CDR! This does not mean though that in many cases it is not worth it! Or that the uptime of WotB/CotA does not lessen the loss in dps.

    2.1. CDR Breakpoints - Chart in the spreadsheet - Link 1

There is a couple of breakpoints to consider when talking CDR, though the strict adherence to reaching breakpoint values has lessened since Ancient Parthan Defenders work for VC since 2.1.1., weakening the importance of reaching for example breakpoints for having permanent Ignore Pain (IP) with a 6s Pride of Cassius belt. Still, even with APD’s, breakpoints are important to consider.

The one absolute must-have breakpoint (BP) for all specs is the 3 mob charge. Even though mathematically, when hitting 3 mobs you are left with 4s of a 10s CD, thus you would need 40%CDR to permanently charge at least 3 mobs, it is actually somewhere around ~35%. The “discrepancy” in our favor is because fc is a CD-based skill but since 2.1 also an AS-based skill.

Part of the FC animation is still happening when the cooldown is already ticking down, thus resulting in consistently smooth 3 mob charges at ~37% CDR and a “usually” smooth one at ~35% (with good sync and latency!).

The other BP’s revolve around getting to a state where you have 7s or 5s IP (for healing via hitting BR as a spender to get the life per fury spent from Ignorance is Bliss) permanently up with 6s PoC, or reaching the point of being able to charge 2 mobs constantly for faster movement through the level.

Another BP for Multiplayer, in an AOE setup, is where you can cycle through Wotb:Striding Giant, 7s IP, CotA:Together as One, IP, repeat, to always have 50% mitigation already at 52,22%CDR, though this BP playstile quickly hits a wall when your Ancients simply die too fast in higher levels.

At the higher 40s, damage mitigation via CotA usually only gets reduced to a small 2-3s buff, though sometimes they do last a bit longer.

Thus, the main focus on BP considerations usually revolves around reaching 7s or 5s IP and the costs involved vs. the benefits.
For cost/benefit considerations, we first need an estimate for IP with 6sPoC vs. Wacrcy:Impunity with 40%movementspeed bonus from Chilanik’s.

WC:Impunity offers around 30% more toughness, IP offers 100% more toughness, thus changing to perma IP, the gain in toughness is 54% plus CC immunity vs. movementspeed through the rift, agility, and a rough ~12%dmg AOE increase from faster charging AND all the exchange costs on gear to get the CDR we need.

For this I have listed the different sources for CDR with their direct opportunity costs and on average results in toughness/dmg change in “2.2. CDR opportunity costs” - Link 1.

Most commonly, and most easily available, the slots from Diamond/Head, Shoulders, Gloves and Weapon are used to easily get above the 3 charge BP, even though it is not necessary for example, to use the 750VIT from the gloves to get there, so we can remember those 750VIT as extra costs for later.

Anyhow, I then calculated the “relative” costs from increasing CDR by taking into consideration the uptimes of WotB and CotA for each slot for different commonly used setups and situations (which means in AOE CotA dmg is ignored, and for high level AOE setups, WotB is Striding Giant instead of Insanity), thus getting STD and AOE values for fire and phys, which can be seen in “2.3. CDR Relative Costs for Different Setups via Gear” - Link 1.

    2.4. Relative Costs for BPs from Low to High CDR - Chart in the spreadsheet - Link 1

Interpretation of Results

Case a) Solo play Fire - Setup with Mirinae, WotB:Insanity and CotA:The Council Rises.

In solo play, Unity is an absolute mandatory item for higher Grifts, thus, if we want to use Leoric’s Crown to boost our CDR, we have to lose our SOJ for a RoRG. In many cases, people assume because they use The Furnace as a weapon, that the loss from a SOJ is not that bad, since Furnace already comes with quite a lot of %elite dmg. Though in principal right and with any other weapon, swapping RoRG for SOJ would be a lot worse, even with Furnace the price is very dear.
But, if the perfect gear is available, Crown is not the only option for the 7s IP.

So for example: without Crown, going from the base setup to reaching 7s IP, we pay a rough ~19,8% in STD (as in, we would get +19,8% dmg if we used offensive primaries instead of the CDR in those slots) and ~19,3%AOE and ~12%AOE from Chila, plus the aforementioned 750VIT, which translate into ~18% toughness if we already have the 1100 VIT from 2H weapon.

-->Fire solo /w STD: 7s IP costs no Crown: 30,5% toughness + CC Immunity vs. 19,8% STD and 33,6% AOE
-->Fire solo /w STD: 7s IP costs with Crown: 30,5% toughness + CC Immunity vs. 12,5%STD and 33,5%AOE (that is still with slight hiccups in between IPs, because the BP is barely not reached!)
-->Fire solo /w STD: 5s IP costs with Crown: 30,5%toughness + CC Immunity + Insane Healing vs. 23,9% STD and 54,5%AOE (again with slight hiccups, CDR is slightly below BP)

Case b) Phys Solo AOE - Setup with WotB:Striding Giant and CotA:Together as One

For a Phys AOE Pylon Hunter setup, there is no extra loss in fc dmg via Chila, since we need to use PoC anyway. This also means that we have to recalculate the total toughness gain from IP. Factoring in the 750VIT with 18%, in this setup the gain is (200-118)/118=69,5%.

-->7s IP cost no Crown: 69,5% toughness + CC Immunity vs. 23%AOE
-->7s IP cost with Crown: 69,5% toughness + CC Immunity vs. 31,2%AOE
-->5s IP cost with Crown: 69,5% toughness + CC Immunity + Insane Healing vs. 55,4%AOE

Case c) Phys Multiplayer AOE with Striding Giant and Together as One

For a multiplayer phys AOE setup, this again, is quite different, since we cannot use a Unity, so we swap in RoRG and keep the SOJ:

-->7s IP cost with Crown: 69,5% toughness + CC Immunity vs. 3,4%AOE
-->5s IP cost with Crown: 69,5% toughness + CC Immunity + Insane Healing vs. 23%AOE

So basically:
If you run a Fire Solo STD capable setup, getting to the 7s IP BP can be beneficial. The trade off in both cases, with or without Crown/RoRG is quite acceptable, though I would judge the RoRG/Crown setup superior.

Reaching the 5s BP though is very very expensive, and you should imho only consider it if you have some serious surviveability issues.

For Physical Solo Pylon Hunting imho, IF you can get your CDR via 2 Ring slots to get to the 7s BP, keep your fingers off RoRG/Crown! Unless you really want to reach the 5s BP, which comes at a steep price! Generally, I'd recommend trying to get to the 7s BP.

For Physical Multiplayer, the 7s IP BP is basically a must-have and the 5s IP BP is quite affordable.
    3. The Pylon Hunter – Phys solo AOE


    3.1. Active Skills:

WC:Impunity<>WotB:StridingGiant<>FuriousCharge:Stamina<>BR:Bloodshed<>CotA: TogetherasOne<>IP:IronHide or Ignorance is Bliss

    3.1.1. Iron Hide and Ignorance

Healing via BR spam via Ignorance is Bliss becomes mandatory IF you do not have enough Toughness or an Immunity Amulet. In general, a decent amount of Life on Kill, Templar Heals, Health Globes and your Potion should keep you well sustained with IronHide while using Ancient Parthan Defenders (APDs).

Most common problem you usually encounter, is when you hit packs that have some passive forms of dealing dmg, which means that while stunlocking them via FC to prevent them from using their active skills and receiving the benfit of APDs, they will damage you via their passives: electrified, molten, RD (though once RD gets switched off, it has to be activated again, so you can prevent that with stunlocking) and the all-favorite: fire chains. When your toughness level is still good for the grift level you are playing, 1 of the first three alone is no big deal (except electrified if you do not have at least an Eye of Etlich amulet) as long as you drag along enough mobs for good mitigation via APDs. Two of the first three together is another story.
Again, depending on what level you are playing on and what your toughness is, there comes a point where you cannot fight those any more without healing from Ignorance, and then there comes a point, where you cannot fight them even with Ignorance, but can heal quickly when running away at least. Chains generally in higher levels, can never be fought, except if you are directly beside a WP and have a ton of mobs to get your mitigation propelled into another sphere and IP and Giant are up at the same time.

Now, Switching to Ignorance does not mean you have to reach the BP of 63,33%CDR. In general, you certainly want as much CDR as possible, but as seen in 2.2 to 2.4, those costs can become very dear. Depending on what level you reach and depending what surviveability issues you face there, you might want to consider that though.

But, if you use Ignorance below the BP, it becomes a matter of being very much aware about when IP wears off, what your situation is, and how you can survive until IP is up again. Same goes for the Iron Hide 7s IP BP if you stay below: You need a lot of awareness for the situations you are in, coupled with utilizing APDs as best as you can.

Thus I would not recommend a general rule like “you have to reach this or that BP”, because it all depends on:

1) How well you can cope with lots of situations where IP drops and how well you can utilize APDs, or whether you need IronHide or even Ignorance up for 100% of the time.
2) The level of Grift you are playing at coupled with your toughness.

So basically, you have to “testfeel” your way through the levels, and judge by that. Dying is ok in higher grifts, pretty much a given that it happens (well in SC at least :p). The question is, how often does it happen and how much does it destroy your progress. Sometimes it can be beneficial to die a bit more often, but to still be able to dish out more dmg overall. Sometimes, though, you really need to work on your surviveability via gear and/or IP uptimes and/or switch from IronHide to Ignorance. If you swap to Ignorance, you should also consider swapping BerserkerRage to Brawler, since you are spending Fury again.

    3.1.2. The CotA Issue

The higher you get, the less use your Ancients have. If you really need them, they die in about 2-3s, otherwise they are basically a shield: they are up until you hit a serious situation, like an intial damage buffer. Which is how I recommend using them. Whenever you are not fighting in density, your mitigation via APDs is low. Use them then, they give you a window of not taking too much dmg when APDs are low. Otherwise, if you want to go crazy, you can even swap them out for Leap:Iron Impact. If used correctly, this is an extra 100-150% toughness for 3s, available every 5 to 6s. Sounds good, though the problem is, while jumping you are vulnerable and do not CC, so it needs a quite a bit of practice to know when you can actually use Leap without killing yourself automatically (aka actually benefiting from it) or losing too much damage either. Upside is that you can take shortcuts, skip chains easily and escape wallers. ProTip: jumping into a pack without pre CCing via fc is usually a death sentence.

    3.2. Passives

In order of importance imho:
Rampage>BBK>BerserkerRage>Ruthless or Brawler or Superstition

Thanks to the simulation that Baconinja made for me, I can say that Ruthless is about ~12% dmg in density situations (STD it is about 9% dmg (thx Zapro), while via bloodshed/AD in AOE situations it spreads some of the love to other mobs, thus increasing the benefit to ~12%), while Brawler’s 20%, because of being in the DIBS category, when using 30%fc bonus, 25%Bersi and 10%BR, is about ~12%dmg as well. As soon as you use less DIBS in other slots, it becomes more and as such becomes better than Ruthless.

If you have surviveability issues, you can swap out Ruthless/Brawler for Superstition. Most of your incoming dmg is from elemental dmg, so this is quite a nice toughness buff (20%red dmg = +25% toughness).

    3.3. Gems

1. BotT: since it is multiplicative, basically a given in any VC setup
2. Gogok: 15%ias helps slightly increasing the speed of fc, while the 15% CDR helps keeping up wotb/ip/cota. My personal second choice.
3. Moratorium: Hard to judge Gem. It is not a flat out 25% dmg reduction gem. Basically, if it wasn’t for the secondary, it would be nothing but a Gem that gives you time to react/heal, so you get less severe damage spikes. What makes it so difficult to judge, is that the Secondary for higher levels (which is the only case where you need it) has a pretty low proc rate. In practice, the Gem is definitely noticeable. It can be a decent choice as the third gem option IF you have that third socket. Keep in mind, that the third gem has to be inserted into an amulet slot, which, at least in the phys setup, you should only ever consider if you can get a socket for STR (%phys, %CHC, %CHD imho are way too important to lose in the phys setup, especially phys, see Link1: Spreadsheet Chart 1.3.!).
4. Painenhancer: Mostly influences your DPS via the %ias gain (rule of thumb: FC profits by about 50% by %ias). The DOT dmg in higher levels becomes almost irrelevant fighting mobs that have 10B+++ HP and we usually collect 15-20 mobs together, thus exponentially multiplying fc dmg into another sphere. It might still be a decent choice if you want to try and kill without a pylon one of the ad summoning RGs that start spawning after having lost a certain amount of HP, because otherwise you do not even have those 35m edps for STD. Note: PE gets procced by any kind of crit, which means, if your templar lands one, PE gets procced. If your Templar uses a proc weapon like TF and the weapon proc crits, PE gets procced.
5. Since it is all about increasing your fc damage and you do not really care if the buff drops at the RG, Bane of the Powerful becomes an attractive choice again as third gem, even though the 20%dmg is dibs again, and the 15% is not so much when using SOJ/Furnace, but becomes more attractive if you choose to use RoRG/Crown or Heartslaughter.

    3.4. Amulets:

1. Probably BIS is The Star of Azkaranth, the Fire immunity amulet, and to date the rarest item in the game. The reason is: molten as an affix becomes a nice healing source that is pretty steady and fire chains as the biggest dmg dealing affix, become a real nice addition for stacking mobs instead of an insta death or insta skip. Downside: Electrified, which is not a rare affix, can really mess you up.
2. Next in line is Xephirian, the Lightning immunity amulet. Electrified becomes a very nice healing source, same as Orbiter/Thunderstorm that you usally try to move out of. Lightning affixes spawn relatively often. Downside: fire chains are usually still auto death/skip, and molten becomes dangerous.
3. Eye of Etlich: the little brother. Comes with up to 37% reduced dmg from ranged attacks, which reduces damage from both fire chains and electrified. For references: Link 6: http://www.diablofans.com/forums/diablo-iii-general-forums/diablo-iii-general-discussion/91166-elite-affixes-types-and-damage-reduction-mechanics
4. Hellfire Amulet: well ya, what is there to say, one more passive, even though our passives are really not that good, is better than nothing.
5. Other Immunity Amulets. If they roll really well, they can be decent, but fire chains and electrified are really our main problem.

    3.5. Weapons/Gear

    3.5.1. Weapon

Well in most cases The Furnace is arguably BIS, especially since on elites the +%elite dmg double procs bloodshed, though, assuming we fight whites/elites in a 7/3 ratio +%phys damage in relation is a stronger affix since every bloodshed gets double dipped, not only the elite on elite procs. Thus, in said 7/3 ratio, a Heart Slaughter is as powerful as long as we have enough white mobs to fuel our damage. Downside is that it got 1 less primary affix, so the choice between 10%dmg, 10%CDR and 1100 VIT becomes a lot harder. I would usually recommend 10%CDR or 1100VIT. For Furnace, I would recommend both of these over 10% dmg as well: even if you do not need the toughness from 1100VIT. By choosing the VIT you can use Rubies in Chest and 15% fc in exchange, which is a lot more dmg than the 10% from the weapon. Still HS can be a real alternative, since in density rifts the amount of white mobs you can quickly dispose of with HS to get your progression going can be really nice.

Additionally, do not forget to look out for Life on Kill as Secondary. It is actually pretty important.

    3.5.2. Gear and Affixes


- Chest for example has multiple options:
a) For Primaries, Str is a given, others are more flexible, which are: VIT/%elitered/%fc. Since VIT is a 500 instead of a 750 slot it is less important than in other slots, so if you have enough VIT from other slots, you can for example go STR/%elitered/%fc. Me personally, I keep one chest ready for each of those combinations to finetune my offense/defence balance.
b) For Secondaries, Fire or Lightning Single Resist is imho most important followed by Life on Kill followed by Health Globe Bonus. Basically this means that I keep variants of a) with both Fire and Lightning in stash, so depending on my resists and the amulet, I can finetune again.

In general, any slot that usually does not go with AR, I keep one Fire and one Lightning SR version. I even choose a worse SOJ over a better one based on SR and ideally Life on Kill. I generally favor more lightning res over fire res, since it is more common, and I do not plan to fight chains but rather "only" survive the encounter, while I do want to be able to fight Electrified.
Other SRs are imho nice to have, but less important.

    3.6. Pylon Hunting

    3.6.1. Trials

First off, you need to be able to get a LOT of high level keys in trials (conduits are not exactly common). This is impossible as a VC Barb. You NEED to play another class for that, and do trials in a group setup.

Generally, you can get the high keys in a Setup of 2 different Supporters+2 lightning M6 DHs. The supporters are pretty much generic and easily geared up. Getting a lightning M6 DH that is capable of the high end dps needed is not so easy though, as such I recommend rolling a zdps Monk or a zdps Sader (Link 7: http://www.diablofans.com/builds/4579-zdps-crusader-for-high-gr-48), though if you have a support doc, that will do it as well. Then you got to find yourself some well geared DH friends. Unfortunately, having 2 DHs in your game, which need to have reached their highest APS BPs, the game starts lagging hard, so usually the game lags out at around a level 48 key. If you want higher keys, it is recommended to farm the trials at night time for less server load. Remember that it is possible to “recycle” keys, which means that if someone else opens a Trial, you can recycle your low level keys if your trial keys are on another char instead of in the stash or on the Trial char. So in a group of 4, you basically can have 4 trials per key, to get one higher level key.

Unfortunately you need to find 3 other players to get those keys with you. For this, on EU, there is a community called “High Level Trials”. The community is “invite only”, though members can invite. If you apply, you should at least have beaten 39+ on Solo or 43++ in group to be considered.
I do not know if a similar community exists on other Servers.

Optimal trial setup (50+) so far seems to be 1 Support Sader with Illusory Boots and 2 Lightning M6. Dhs are south, Sader at the lower right end of the spawn zone. Crus has to be careful with blinding unpullable mobs too early: blind from lower right end, walk in and pull, walk back, blind, repeat, until all mobs are at the lower right end of the spwan zone.

    3.6.2. Clearing the level

As mentioned in 1.2., you have to learn to stack your enemies. Many yellows very often refuse to be dragged though and need to be skipped and additionally certain mob types simply have really bad hitboxes (like a5 skellies and maidens for example). Here you need quite a decent amount of experience to learn to judge which monster types you can spend some time to gather up, when is density making it still worth it, and in which cases you should simply move on.

Additionally, depending on the level you are playing on and your gear and APDs utilization, you need to learn to spot those situations quickly where you will not have enough sustain to fight and move on as well, either skipping or detouring to collect more mobs for mitigation and dmg.

If you have learned to clear the level you are playing at decently well considering RNG hiccups, the general strategy then is: concentrate on filling the progress bar as quickly as possible until ~85%. You then start shifting the focus from filling the progress bar to more moving less killing. You sure take advantage of those juicy density spots, but the focus changes so that you skip a lot more. Until you reach ~98% where you stop killing and only explore in hope of finding a Conduit Pylon. You need to learn NOT to kill any more, even white trash, which means keeping the dragged stacks low and sometimes even right-click cancel your BR:Bloodshed.

While clearing, even when the focus is on killing, you should, if it doesn’t mean too much of a detour, always explore the map on your way so you do not miss a potential Conduit somewhere in the corner.

Ideally, you would find one in level 1 or somewhere in your clearing phase. In that case, you “park” a pack and some decent density around the Pylon and move on. If you want, you can already almost kill them, so you can be sure it won’t take much time when you come back.
If you have reached the 98% and got a pylon with a parked pack and have come back to it, in many cases, to be safe, you kill the pack yourself. If you take the conduit to kill the pack unfortunately it can happen that the RG gets summoned somewhere where you cannot get to in time. As of right now, the RG will always spawn in the vicinity, BUT the vicinity can be in a room where you have to walk around the whole map to get to it, even though the room is actually next door. If the map though makes such a scenario impossible, you can more safely take the Pylon to kill the pack. Or if you are reaching the end of the timer (Conduit is up for 15s, so if the timer reaches that, you should definitely take it and take your chances).

If the RG spawns somewhere away from where the Conduit is, but still on the same level, you will have to lure it to the conduit before you take it, naturally.
    4. Updates with patch 2.1.2.

While the changes to Raekors are huge in terms of gamestyle, in terms of the mathematics of the mechanics not too much has changed, as such the damage formula for Vilecharge is still the same: the more enemies you hit, the more damage you deal.

The biggest change in terms of how to adjust for Solo play, is the problem of Single Target Damage. In 2.1.1. our STdps was done by looking for a Conduit and basically skipping the Boss fights in Grifts. In 2.1.2. though, Conduit does not kill the RG any more, and even though the Raekor Set did get some adjustments to make STdps better, it is still our weak spot.

This has currently led to two basic builds, the Fire Frenzy and the Phys Dot build.

    4.1. Builds 2.1.2.

    4.1.1. Fire Frenzy

The Fire Frenzy build basically is the “old” Fire version of Raekor where you tried to kill RGs without a Conduit: Fire Frenzy to get the dibs buff and to proc Mirinae, Fire Ancients and WOTB to deal additional damage. But there are some adjustments and variations.
Adjustments are, that Grift damage scaling has been tuned down, so we get less incoming damage to deal with. While the loss of the pull is also a loss in toughness for Vilecharge via APDs, this still allows us to go all offensive with a rubies setup and makes the old Rorg/Crown Setup for getting to high CDR breakpoints for perma IP currently a non-issue for Solo play. It is all dps now: SOJ all the way. BUT, since STdps is such a problem, there is the option of using a Bul Kathos Ring instead of a SOJ, at least for the Fire Frenzy variant. This will net quite a loss in dps for the grift (like a lot!) but means quite a gain for STdps, since BK deals 2k% weapon damage per s in melee range.

Either of the Fire Frenzy variants is dependent on being in melee range for the whole of the RG fight for their true potential, which, even with lower incoming damage, becomes impossible once we reach higher grift levels (>~45). But if we sacrifice dps for toughness, we cannot finish the grift in time, as such, eventually the fire frenzy build has to use an immunity amulet and fish for an RG that uses only one elemental attack. Poison immunity is the choice here, since the amulet is not as rare as others and there is a few Bosses using Poison, even though eventually, you fish mostly for Ghom (since for example Blighter one-shots your CotA in his enrage phase). Additionally Bosses that spawn ads are decently killable, same with the all beloved Stonesinger. Those latter though cannot be fought in melee Range, but solely with FC and CotA. As such, the advantage of the Fire Frenzy proccing Miri via Frenzy no longer applies.

Fire Frenzy in both variants uses the gems BotT, Miriane and PE (instead of Gogok, CDR less need, but STdps more needed in 2.1.2. plus the ias gain in high density is so high, that it helps even fc). Usually it is played with PoC and IP, but as soon as the Barb starts fishing bosses, it is possible to forego PoC for a WH to further boost damage (since IP is no longer needed to melee an ALL-poison boss, unfortunately most poison bosses have some alternative attacks too).

    4.1.2. Phys Dot

This build foregoes Frenzy for the sake of using Ground Stomp. Together with the pull and the phys double dipping of BS, this build has huge AOE capabilities. Clear times until the RG are a lot faster because of this. Unfortunately, without Frenzy proccing Mirinae, our STdps is pretty lackluster too. But, the Phys Dot build does not even try to compete with the Fire Frenzy in STdps, but only plays into its own strength: it does not need to melee anything, as such defense is less important, and if a boss spawns ads, we deal more damage than Fire Frenzy anyway.

So, overall this means that we have better clear times but longer boss fights on average in comparison to Fire Frenzy, and at higher levels Fire Frenzy can not melee any more, but has to hope for a Poison boss, while Phys Dot can still kill EVERY Boss, just slower, but clear faster.

As soon as it becomes all about fishing for the right bosses, Fire Frenzy got more choice initially, since it can fight poison bosses and ad spawners (adequate until ~46), BUT, the kill time of Phys dot for ad spawners is lower. As such, if you are going for records, the Phys Dot has a higher potential (47++, all non-ancient values yet) with fewer bosses (Stonesinger and Saxtris).

Additionally, it is easier for a Phys Dot to sacrifice PoC since Phys Dot avoids more damage, IP uptime as such is not as needed as with Fire Frenzy, though eventually, the choice has to be made between WH (or Chilaniks) and Warcry or PoC and IP or maybe even Overpower:Killing Spree instead of IP with WH or Chila.

Phys DOT uses BotT (Templar needs Intimidate to make sure BotT is always active on RG!!!), PE (make sure Templar has all the CHC possible and either uses Odyn or TF to guarantee best possible PE proc upkeep) and either Mirinae or Toxin or no third gem. Even though without Frenzy Mirinae is pretty lackluster in a solo fight, it is still a damage proc, which, even if not much, is still better than nothing. Same goes for Toxin: the damage from the proc is rather lackluster, but it is some damage, but additionally, the 10% dibs is always welcome, especially since it is a debuff that as such double dips on Bloodshed, which means that on an average Phys DOT setup, those 10% dibs are ~12% more AOE damage and ~6% more STdps. Additionally, Toxin has another advantage: If you manage to pull half the map, the game will lag, but less so with Toxin than with Mirinae. Which is actually one of your goals, no matter if Frenzy or Phys, you only know that you are playing it right, if you manage to make the server lag because only then do you deal your true potential in damage (sorry Blizz, not my fault!!!).
Not using a third gem and getting another offensive affix on amulet is possible too, BUT it has to be “perfect” AND it is weaker in STdps, but stronger in AOE, which is good for Saxtris, decent for Stonesinger.

Direct Comparisons:
- 20% phys on amulet ~9,1% STdps ~23,2% AOE for 15 enemies hit
- 975 STR (Ancient Amu) ~10,8% STdps and AOE
- Toxin ~14,3% STdps ~12% AOE for 15 enemies hit
- No Frenzy Mirinae: ~16% Stdps on Solo Bosses, ~22%STdps on Stonesinger (due to perma charge * proc rate), no idea about AOE, but not too much because the proc pales in comparison to VW/AD/BS damage, but decent when packs are down to ~4-5.

Which leaves us with 2 highly optimized phys variants for the fishing game:

Variant a) BotT, PE, Miri, str/chc/chd amulet
Variant b) Toxin on a phys/chc/chd amulet

Imho, Miri deals more dmg on Stonesinger, but Toxin might prove still better since it offers better AOE via the double dipping of BS. Personally I prefer Toxin, but it is not really a clear cut choice tbh.

Both variants deal decently with any kind of multiplying or ad spawning boss, but eventually, at the very max, my guess is that only Stonesinger will be the one you want since Saxtris has one of the biggest HP pools in the game (its nados can be dealt with by wearing Arcane immunity amulet), but we will see how it plays out in the long run.

    4.2. Misc

    4.2.1. Pylon Meta

Yes yes, it is still Pylon Meta boyz. The boss fights are the bottleneck for the Raekor build. As such, as you have seen, ways to defeat the RG are very important. As such, even the “weaker” Conduits and the other Pylons still play a huge role when it comes to beating the highest levels.

Important Pylons: Channeling (perma Charge and 3 wotb/cota cycles), Power and Conduit.

aaand, yes Speed Pylon for Fire Frenzy (yes, the Speed Pylon actually deals decent damage, if you concentrate the whole duration on one target --> sit on the RG).

Ideally you want two combined, like power + conduit, power+channeling. Conduit and Channeling can be taken separately since they do not buff each other.

While without any other factors, Ruthless on Single Target is effectively 9,374% more damage, Ruthless boosts your total damage by 14,7% if a Pylon helps you to get the RG down by 33%, and 20,7% if you get it down by 50% via Pylons. As such, we Barbs profit double from Pylons. Mind though, that it does not matter at which moment you activate the Pylons aka: if you get down to ruthless faster or if you use ruthless "better" is mathematically equal.

    4.2.2. Charge mechanics

The 2-set bonus, as well as the VW bonus, do not count for the end-zone attack of fc (the “cone”), but only for the path. As such, it is important to not "cone charge" RGs, but to charge through them to get the benefit of the 2-set Bonus.

To utilize 5-set bonus on a single target continuously, you need ~46%CDR to have one fc every 3s. This is not feasible though and a CDR around 40% is good enough in terms of dps/CDR tradeoffs. For min/maxing you can even get lower if you can trade in cdr for dps if you specifically hunt for Saxtris/Stonesinger and can handle the lower CDR for the fc charges (with practice quite doable).

    4.2.3. Amulets

Most important aspect of an amulet now, is how much offensive power does it give me, depending on my setup (ele on fire over str, ele on phys over str with toxin, str on phys over ele with miri). Since those perfect rolls are pretty rare, most people do not have much choice there.

If the choice is available though, ofc for Fire Frenzy that is obv. Poison immunity. For Phys Dot though, there is some nice alternatives:

Vaxo: since most phys dot variants use Ground Stomp, those Summons come in handy especially with the RG. Their damage is decent but not game changing.
Ess of Johan: If you learn to sync with the ICD well, you can use it to replace Stomp with WC and PoC with WH. The pull from Johan is actually stronger than Stomp.
Etlich: Nice defense bonus.
HFA: get another passive that boosts your STdps!
Any immunity amulet with perfect stats, obv.
Flav of Time: some more CDR is always nice to have, it boosts your STdps.

    4.2.4. Single Resists

The SR topic was more important for 2.1.1., where you basically wanted fire or lightning immunity, and then at least +450 SR in the other element.

Now it is rather: if I have the option, which ones do I go with?
Answer: still a slight preference for fire/lightning mostly, but cold/poison/arcane are greatly appreciated as well, since we have less options now to push mobs out of ground effect covered areas and we have less options to permanently shut-stunlock several packs down without them casting those ground effects.
11/07/2014 10:31 AMPosted by page
11/07/2014 10:30 AMPosted by page
...


Ok now you can post ....
You are setting us up for some very high expectations with all these reservations!
part of the game! :D

/edit: need a smoke now :D
Second!

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I'd like a table for one.

One very sad and ronery barb.
11/07/2014 10:35 AMPosted by KevinTSmith
Second!

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Is that a !@#$% protruding from the snowman? You're a sick individual...

edit: I can't believe !@#$% is censored...
Took you weeks to write this?
He was busy playing with your simulator D:
Yay, even not playing Raekors I was looking forward to see this. Gotta try it
11/07/2014 10:28 AMPosted by page
Some still use the RoRG/Crown option, though I strongly advise against this in a phys AOE setup. I will go into more detail later.


This piqued my interest and it's something I've intuitively suspected for a while now. Care to give us a sneak peak at your rationale?

Edit - you answered my question in the next section.
+1000 sticky this thing already
I'm loving this guide so far. It's a real page turner.

To borrow a famous line from Seinfeld... "This is GOLD Jerry... GOLD!!!"

Agreed with Patty - now who's !@#$ needs to get sucked around here for a thread to get a sticky? (for the record I'm volunteering Kevin to do the sucking).
If you need clarifications for parts that are already published, tell me where the problem is. It is difficult for me to see which parts are self-evident and where I assume too much knowledge, typical nerdmania-gone-too-far occurence ^^

Furthermore: I would say the next chapter should be

3. Charging – The Love/Hate Relationship – Hitboxes, Charge Mechanics, Strategies, Stunlocks.

But if people feel other aspects need to be covered first we can talk about that ^^
Wow. Worth the wait.
Not a single thing about conduit hunting mentioned? :-p
Glory to the Master :D

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