Forked Lightning Build - 1.0.4 Updated

Wizard
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1.0.4 UPDATE:

Greetings fellow FL wizards! 1.0.4 brought us huge buffs to both our FL damage and our versatility. In terms of damage, our base Electrocute damage was increased from 80% to 90% WD (a 12.5% increase), and our charged bolts proc damage was increased from 46% to 55% WD (a 19.5% increase)!

This means that even without tweaking our 1.0.3 build, we would be more effective than before, against both single targets and elite packs. However, the hydra improvements (arcane/lightning/frost) and massive meteor buffs (base increased to 260% initial damage; molten impact increased to 390% WD, WTF!@%?) demand our attention!

Here are a few alternative routes using the newly buffed skills. Please share in the comments below how they work for you, or let us know about other build changes you've tried out successfully.

Option 1: Replace Venom Hydra with Arcane Hydra. A simple change that will boost your damage TONS when you're kiting or killing mobile enemies. The damage dropoff on single target is only 15-20%, and that's on a stationary target. If a boss moves out of your stacked venom pool, that 15-20% gain (using venom hydra) is lost. Tip: Cast your arcane hydra where the mobs are running to; because the hydra's projectiles are slow, they will miss if the arcane hydra is attacking from the side as your targets approach you.

(My gameplay video of arcane hydra variant, solo clearing keep depths and killing Ghom: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrQGd6B3SNg)

Option 2: Replace Venom Hydra with Lightning Hydra. Also a simple change, this one gives you outstanding performance against one or a few targets that move fast. In practice, I'd like this hydra to attack a lot faster than it does, but it is nice to have a hydra that is pretty much guaranteed to hit fast targets. This hydra is exceptional at high gear levels, when you no longer need a hydra that can assist with AOE duties.

Option 3: Replace hydra with Meteor (molten impact or star pact) as your heavy hitter. Next, replace Blizzard with Frost Hydra as your effective AOE snare (I've tried it; it's quite good. IMPORTANT: If you go this route, I would strongly suggest getting a big two-hander with high base crit, high int and a socket (hint: SKORN). Next, replace either cold blooded or glass cannon with astral presence, giving you +20 max AP and +2 arcane power regen per second. This will allow you to spam cast 3 meteors at a time for 780% total initial damage!

Gameplay video showing meteor + frost hydra: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pSfNkZ5l6Q

Note: For now, I am NOT going to combo Blizzard and Meteor, because I feel Frost Hydra is the more efficient AOE snare (costs just 15 AP and lasts 15 seconds). If you have outstanding AP management, by all means feel free to use blizzard + meteor).

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VIDEOS

(9/6/2012) - 1.0.4 Inferno Act 3, 181k dps using lightning hydra + teleport-wormhole:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCCXme8NO6s

(8/28/2012) - 1.0.4 Inferno Act 3 MF run with Arcane Hydra FL build using SKORN (2 hander): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ijx8hO9TCMY

I take out 17 of 17 elite packs, 3 treasure goblins, Cydaea and Azmodan, dying once to an elite pack. The entire run takes 28 minutes. I explain some of my thoughts on gearing with a 2-hander at the end of the run.

(8/23/2012) - 1.0.4 Clearing Keep Depths + Ghom with Arcane Hydra variant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrQGd6B3SNg

(8/23/2012) - 1.0.4 Gameplay video showing Meteor + Frost hydra variant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pSfNkZ5l6Q

(8/16/2012) - Video explaining the skill/passive choices, playstyle and stats/gear you'll want to shoot for in Act 3 Inferno, patch 1.0.3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3vmdSLe0fE

Act 3 Gameplay video (8/5/2012): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnh67HAUzUo
I use this FL build in Act 3 to solo kill 21 elites, 1 goblin & 2 bosses in 33 minutes with 2 deaths (243% base MF)

Original video explaining "why forked lightning?": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCDx_anf6EY

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INTRODUCTION
As a seasoned ranged wiz who's had pretty good success with a glass cannon, kiting build (using venom hydra, piercing orb and blizzard), I've geared up significantly over the last 2 months. I've added significant crit stats and am now sitting at 37% crit chance with 213% crit damage bonus. My dps is a healthy 81k with glass cannon (no other buffs).

I've been trying a bunch of different glass cannon builds to see if any were more fun or more effective than my piercing orb/hydra/blizz one. I tried disintegrate (fun but not that powerful, even with 80K dps), ray of frost (powerful but very limited) and various others.

I then figured I'd try Forked Lightning (electrocute signature spell with forked lightning rune). Each crit with forked lightning releases 4 charged bolts that each do 55% weapon damage. Forked lightning strikes twice per attack cycle and jumps to up to 2 additional targets per strike, so that's a lot of chances to crit when fighting tightly clustered elites. And, it synergizes well with our high crit chance %, right?

The result? Well, have a look at some of my videos (links are above) or give it a try yourself! Make sure to check out the section on gearing for this build below.

This is a ranged/kiting build for solo wizards.

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The build: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#UliXOQ!WYd!ZYbacY

arcane/venom/lightning hydra - you'll need this spell to help out against bosses, invulnerable packs and dangerous packs you want to stay far away from (vortex+frozen,vortex/teleport + firechains, elite phase beasts, etc). Single target dps will be lacking with this build if you don't use hydra to assist. Use arcane for all-purpose play, venom for boss runs or cooperative games where you have a tank, or lightning hydra if your AOE is already OP to the point of ridiculousness.

diamond skin with crystal rune - because you will often be standing still to spam cast forked lightning, this spell is as important for maximizing your dps as it is for surviving in Inferno. DS is on a 15 second CD, so use this spell liberally to avoid taking damage and prolong your onslaught. Crystal rune enables you to absorb 2-4 hits from most Act 3 mobs, assuming around 5000 armor and 500 resist all.

prismatic armor (or force armor) - because you are not building your resists through the sky, you'll likely want one of these two energy armor spells to survive in Act 2 and beyond. Keep in mind that if your resists/defense/hp are too high, you won't be able to rely on your illusionist passive, which could do you in against more difficult elite packs.

teleport with fracture - combined with the illusionist passive, this spell allows you to create distance whenever elites or mobs get near you. Once you get a feel for your survivability against different types of enemies, you'll learn to purposely get hit to trigger illusionist and get away from sticky situations. The illusions give you a meat shield to spam your spells behind and make it possible for you to squeeze out more damage as you kite.

primary: electrocute with forked lightning rune - this is the beneficiary of your high crit rate. With 33+% crit, you'll be unleashing rings of charged bolts at a rate of around 2 procs per standard attack cycle, or around 3 procs per second. As this is a signature spell, it will not cost you any arcane power to spam.

secondary: blizzard with stark rune - with any good kiting build, you need an effective snare. With wide radius blizzards (you don't need the AP reducing rune because your other damage spells are not AP-intensive), you get both a -60% movement speed wide radius snare AND a trigger for your 20% damage buff from cold blooded. The damage is moderate and is useful for killing large packs of weaker trash mobs (such as stygian crawlers or quillbeasts).

Alternative Build:
Replace hydra with Meteor (molten impact or star pact) as your heavy hitter. Next, replace Blizzard with Frost Hydra as your effective AOE snare (I've tried it; it's quite good. IMPORTANT: If you go this route, I would strongly suggest getting a big two-hander with high base crit, high int and a socket (hint: SKORN). Next, replace either cold blooded or glass cannon with astral presence, giving you +20 max AP and +2 arcane power regen per second. This will allow you to spam cast 3 meteors at a time for 780% total initial damage!

Gameplay video showing meteor + frost hydra: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pSfNkZ5l6Q

passives:

cold blooded - a 20% damage bonus to all chilled/frozen targets from ALL DAMAGE SOURCES? yes, please.

glass cannon - 15% damage buff for a 10% reduction to armor/resists as a ranged wizard? No brainer. Keep in mind the 10% reduction to armor/resists applies to your pre-buffed stats (before prismatic armor), so you really don't lose that much defense for passive damage buff.

illusionist - As mentioned above, illusionist + teleport/fracture is what makes this build viable anywhere in this game. Get jailed in a fat desecrate with your teleport on cooldown, no problem, just hit teleport as soon as you get hit by any monster attack. You'll even be able to take down elite phase beasts with relative ease, thanks to this passive.

Alternative Passives: If your dps is already satisfactory or if Illusionist doesn't proc reliably due to your high defensive stats, you may also consider either Galvanizing Ward or Evocation as viable replacements.

WARNING: I highly advise against using Paralysis or Critical Mass with this build, as Electrocute's 16.7% coefficient means you won't be seeing very many stuns or CM procs (tested 8/4/2012 with 37% crit chance)

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Forked Lightning Build - Pros & Cons:

Pros:
-Excellent against most elite packs and big groups of trash mobs
-Glass cannon build doesn't require heavy investment into defensive stats. Allows room for MF gearing
-Doesn't require any AP regen or APOC (arcane power on crit)
-Doesn't require any LoH (life on hit) or lifesteal, though lifesteal is definitely nice to have
-Makes good use of the high crit chance % we're all gearing toward
-Once you target one monster in a group, the lightning jumps to two nearby monsters - no need to line up shots like you do with piercing orb. FL is a targeted spell, not a skill shot.
-Great for killing treasure goblins, since you just need to keep your mouse cursor on the goblin to connect with your forked lightning
-No reliance on Critical Mass (passive) mechanics that are widely viewed as OP/broken at the moment
-Hella FUN because you're shooting lightning from your fingers like a Sith Lord.

Cons:
-You'll still have to kite since you're choosing DPS over tankiness
-Weaker single target damage requires use of hydra to assist against bosses and solo champions
-Requires you to actually click a monster to hit it (unlike piercing orb, which you can just fire in the general direction)
-bit of RNG required, as you won't do good damage unless you're critting - high crit rate will stabilize this

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Recommended playstyle:

Against trash, drop a fat blizzard (radius rune) and just nuke with forked lightning. If there are 3 or more mobs, they'll splat almost instantly if your crit is high enough. Casting hydra is optional depending on your character's DPS.

Against Elites, drop a hydra behind you (where you will kite to), drop a blizzard and nuke with forked lightning. When the elites/minions get near, pop diamond skin. When you get hit once, teleport away. Reposition a few steps behind your fracture images. Recast blizzard and continue nuking. Rinse and repeat. Elites also melt due to the multiple bounces of forked lightning, with each critical hit causing sparks to fly. Remember to keep blizzard up as you rely on blizzard not only to snare your targets but also to proc cold blooded (giving you a 20% damage buff from all sources!)

Against anti-wizard things like mortars, fire chains + vortex, or teleporting skull cleavers, just keep them at max distance, using blizzard and hydra as per traditional kiting strategy.

Against bosses and single champions, put out your hydra, cast blizzard to proc cold blooded and snare, and spam forked lightning. Keeping blizzard up achieves two important things: 1) you'll snare your targets, allowing maximum dps uptime, and 2) you'll keep a 20% damage buff up - very important for long boss fights.

Important Tip
In general, FL is at its best against tightly clustered targets. Try to funnel elite packs to narrow hallways or park them in doorways. These narrow spaces will serve as a kill zone, where you can melt the elites with concentrated lightning. In cooperative play, other players using skills such as cyclone strike (monk skill that is basically a mini vortex against enemy monsters) will greatly augment your FL's effectiveness.

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"How should I gear for this build?":

-Get crit chance % on your helm (3-6%), gloves (7-10%), bracers (4-6%) offhand (7-8.5% on rares, up to 9-10% on legendaries) & amulet (6-8.5%). These 5 item slots are considered crucial for achieving high DPS, so prioritize DPS stats on them over stats such as vitality, resists and armor. Those are secondary stats ON THESE 5 ITEM SLOTS (yet important on other armor slots), but you should definitely look for them if you can afford to. You may also consider getting crit chance % on your rings, though you may prefer to go with IAS rings or CHD rings until you can afford nice crit rings. I would consider 30% the bare minimum crit chance % to enjoy this build. Any lower, and your fights will involve a lot of RNG and you will experience "dry spells" during which you don't get any crits and you can't really dent an elite pack. You should aim to get 40%+ crit chance % to stabilize your FL damage.

-Get crit hit damage (or critical damage bonus) on your gloves and your weapon (via socket, at least). If you can, get crit hit damage on your rings and amulet. The FL build assumes a high crit chance %, and you'll benefit greatly if you build your crit hit damage alongside your crit chance %. I would say that at a minimum, you should get 70% from your weapon and another 30% from a ring, gloves OR amulet, giving you 150% crit damage bonus (50% base).

-As a ranged, kiting wizard, it's nice to have a little IAS. Get around 15-20% total from your rings/amulet/gloves if you can. This is enough to make your stutter-stepping work well without slowing you down as you kite. However, if you are on a budget, don't worry if you don't have any bonus IAS at all.

-Resists & armor are nice, but don't overdo it. This build and most kiting builds rely on teleport/illusionist to create space and get out of CC situations, and if you build too much defense, you won't be able to rely on illusionist to proc. If you build too much resists/armor, you also won't be able to achieve enough damage for this build to be any fun! Aim for 500 resist all (with some bonus to physical and fire) and 5000-6000 armor WITH PRISMATIC ARMOR. I would say that 30K hp is more than enough with the above defensive stats. You will be able to get this amount of resists from 2-3 pieces of gear with 50-70 all resist, in addition to the resists you get from stacking intelligence. Remember that 2000 intelligence translates into 200 resist all or 280 resist all with prismatic armor. The pieces of gear that you should look at for all-resist are belt, pants, chest, shoulder, as these are the slots that don't have more valuable DPS stats (such as crit %, crit hit damage, or attack speed).

-Try to get one or two armor pieces with 8+% life bonus if you can. Assuming you have a few hundred vitality on other pieces of armor, this life bonus % will go a long way and make it easy for you to reach 30-35K hp without breaking the bank. Look for life % bonus on your belt, shoulders, helm or offhand.

-Lifesteal is a wonderful stat for wizards and is best found on weapons (so you don't have to use the magic weapon rune). Because you do massive AOE damage as a wizard, your life gained from 2.5-3% lifesteal can be as much as 2-5k per half-second tick. Yes, those are numbers in INFERNO difficulty. Whereas LoH has very low coefficients for FL (16.7%) and other AOE spells (2% for Blizzard), you will find much more bang for your buck using lifesteal. This stat will make "reflects damage" elites much easier. You may also replace lifesteal with life regen; I would advise you to get at least 1000 life regen/second (including templar passive) if you want to rely on life regen alone to allow you to take on "reflects damage" elites and to top off as you are kiting.

-You do not need any APOC (arcane power on crit) for this particular build. Your only major AP-consuming spell is Blizzard, and you only need to cast this every 8-10 seconds. APOC will not really help you in this build, unless you manage to miscast your blizzard a lot.

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About Electrocute's fast casting animation:
While electrocute's casting animation seems way faster than other primaries, its speed is a little deceptive.

When you're spamming Electrocute, the animation appears to be twice as fast as other spells. This is because your character attacks twice in one "cast". (By the way, it appears that each "attack" does 90%/2, or 45% weapon damage). The implication of this is that when you are stutter-stepping, you can't just hit for a single super fast cast. Your wizard will go through the 2-hit animation at the very least. So there's no real kiting benefit to the fast-looking animation.

This suggests that there would still be a benefit gained from adding on 15-20% IAS to get the 2-hit animation fast enough to be useful in tight kiting situations.

However, the double-attack aspect of this skill is still highly beneficial for proccing the charged bolts. Against 3 targets (e.g. an elite pack), with 33.3% crit chance and 1.5 attack speed, you will average 3 procs per second, or 12 charged bolts per second, with each bolt doing 55% weapon damage.

Please feel free to add comments, suggestions, questions or other feedback below. Thanks for reading!

Glad to hear the build is working great and is FUN for a lot of you. :)
just did another run, splatted a ton of elites and got a perfect star ruby design from azmodan. working like a charm... will post more videos soon :)
Using this build I am finally able to run around in act 3 and kill elites.

49k DPS
43% Crit Chance
320% Crit Damage
800 Res All
5400 Armor
23k HP

Picked up a helm for 250k to augment Electrocute and even though I enjoy my Disintigrate build more, this build is so much more effective. I had been playing around with Elecrocute but hadn't found a way to make it viable in Act 3. Will keep testing but it looks like this is going to become my go to build. Thanks for posting.
Using this build I am finally able to run around in act 3 and kill elites.

49k DPS
43% Crit Chance
320% Crit Damage
800 Res All
5400 Armor
23k HP

Picked up a helm for 250k to augment Electrocute and even though I enjoy my Disintigrate build more, this build is so much more effective. I had been playing around with Elecrocute but hadn't found a way to make it viable in Act 3. Will keep testing but it looks like this is going to become my go to build. Thanks for posting.


glad to hear it's working for you... with 43% crit and the electrocute helm, i'm not surprised to hear it's going well.
yeah I have been using this a lot, LoH is pretty decent when you fill the room with bolts, but I have been using blood magic because I am using a cheaper higher damage wand now. I have swapped cold blooded for paralysis a few times, but it just never procs. I also have taken to using the lightning hydra, for some reason it feels cooler, and really nothing ticks my poison hydra anymore anyway.

I am glass with a whole bunch of life recovery and it works well.
yeah I have been using this a lot, LoH is pretty decent when you fill the room with bolts, but I have been using blood magic because I am using a cheaper higher damage wand now. I have swapped cold blooded for paralysis a few times, but it just never procs. I also have taken to using the lightning hydra, for some reason it feels cooler, and really nothing ticks my poison hydra anymore anyway.

I am glass with a whole bunch of life recovery and it works well.


yep, the spell coefficient for electrocute is too low to be at all reliable with paralysis. With the spell coefficient at .167 and paralysis' proc rate at .08, you have an effective proc rate of .013, or just 1.3% of forked lightning hits (will stun).

Personally, I just swapped to a 970 DPS wand with 2.8% lifesteal and a socket for my 100% crit gem. With that amount of lifesteal, I'm leeching about 2000 per half-second tick IN INFERNO (80% nerf to lifesteal and all) when I'm fighting an elite/champ pack. Not to shabby, and it basically negates the "reflect damage" affix.
posted a pic of my gear and added some suggestions on how to gear up for this build. see original post
Cool, I might try a variation of this tonight:
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#UkRXOQ!eVg!ZccacY

I just like meteors... lol

I have a Storm Crow helm that gives me extra AP on crit and +3% lightning damage which should help.
I just got into Inferno and I'm dying against elite/hampion packs easily. I'm never gonna get gear like this when I can't even survive act I . I didn't see your gloves in the gear pic.

Check out my video .. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFdJtj6M-DI
Hey bro add me, I also have 80k dps and 50k dps tank. We should run sometime!

Hit me up weezyeffbaby#1307
I just got into Inferno and I'm dying against elite/hampion packs easily. I'm never gonna get gear like this when I can't even survive act I . I didn't see your gloves in the gear pic.

Check out my video .. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFdJtj6M-DI


Just keep at it. Inferno is hard. Just when you get the hang of Act I you'll try Act II and get smacked in the face again. That's what happened to me about 1 week ago. I'm rocking Act II now since I increased my life regen, bumped my health up by 10k, and got some movement speed boots.

If you die a lot but have the DPS to take out the elites enrage, then normally the problem is defense.
Really cool video, i'm gonna try using forked lightning in my archon build.

I was running the standard frost nova/WW/Archon but I think Diamond skin/RoF is much stronger..this looks like it's potentially even better than RoF

Edit: Wow, just check out your gear - looks like someone is well prepared for the MF patch heh. Really nice set for those stats.
Thanks for the tips..I'm thinking switching my skills..I definitely need to use diamond skin now and maybe add teleport. Need to go all defensive and remove force weapon. And maybe use evocation to lower cooldowns since I'm gonna use cooldown spells. I dunno have to play around. If I can only get a chest armor. I was searching on auction house and I can barely afford the one I want at 1.8M but I need to try to sell more mediocre items. Not many people are gonna buy lower lvl 60 or any item around 50-60; there's really no point at that stage. Most people are gonna wait until 60. I think the highest item lvl i get was 61 but that was in hell act iv.
I just got into Inferno and I'm dying against elite/hampion packs easily. I'm never gonna get gear like this when I can't even survive act I . I didn't see your gloves in the gear pic.

Check out my video .. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFdJtj6M-DI


sorry, my gear pic was missing my gloves.

Updated: http://i.imgur.com/R7gd4.jpg

Just keep at it... when i farmed up i didn't have the luxury of farming act 1 for gear.. you can now do that and you will eventually find valuable items to sell on the AH to fund your upgrades.

08/02/2012 09:26 AMPosted by AiBo
Thanks for the tips..I'm thinking switching my skills..I definitely need to use diamond skin now and maybe add teleport. Need to go all defensive and remove force weapon. And maybe use evocation to lower cooldowns since I'm gonna use cooldown spells. I dunno have to play around. If I can only get a chest armor. I was searching on auction house and I can barely afford the one I want at 1.8M but I need to try to sell more mediocre items. Not many people are gonna buy lower lvl 60 or any item around 50-60; there's really no point at that stage. Most people are gonna wait until 60. I think the highest item lvl i get was 61 but that was in hell act iv.


Defensive build is definitely the way to go for solo play. good luck!
Really cool video, i'm gonna try using forked lightning in my archon build.

I was running the standard frost nova/WW/Archon but I think Diamond skin/RoF is much stronger..this looks like it's potentially even better than RoF

Edit: Wow, just check out your gear - looks like someone is well prepared for the MF patch heh. Really nice set for those stats.


Hah, yeah I was already trying to get MF on my main gear well before Blizzard announced they wanted to change MF swapping... just never have been a fan of swapping gear on for a last hit.

Yep I also tried RoF, which was really fun in Cooperative play and on bosses, but my AOE damage against elites and big swarms of trash mobs was really weak.
Really cool video, i'm gonna try using forked lightning in my archon build.

I was running the standard frost nova/WW/Archon but I think Diamond skin/RoF is much stronger..this looks like it's potentially even better than RoF

Edit: Wow, just check out your gear - looks like someone is well prepared for the MF patch heh. Really nice set for those stats.


Hah, yeah I was already trying to get MF on my main gear well before Blizzard announced they wanted to change MF swapping... just never have been a fan of swapping gear on for a last hit.

Yep I also tried RoF, which was really fun in Cooperative play and on bosses, but my AOE damage against elites and big swarms of trash mobs was really weak.


Yeah, MF swapping is a terrible game mechanic :(.

RoF is really really weak AoE - if I don't have archon up for 10+ mobs i'm in trouble.
This is an off-topic question. I just made my first Wizard last night and she is lvl 20 now. One of the runes that caught my eyes is Forked Lightning and I am glad that this rune seems like it's quite viable when built for it. It may not be the best build but it can be fun! I've been playing this game since June and it seems like 9/10 Wizards are Blizzard/Venom and Disintegrate build.

The off topic questions I have:

1. I am not sure if my eyes are deceiving me but I think Electrocutes animation time is much faster than MM and Shock Pulse? Electrocute comes out twice as fast. I am using 2H 0.9 speed sword now and Electrocute still comes out pretty fast. Why is Electrocute so fast?

2. Been thinking about a Paralysis build but I find it odd that none of the "arcane spender" skills do Lightning damage? The only ones I can find are two from Primary and Storm shield and Lightning Hydra? Am I missing something else?
At what crit % do you think this would be effective?As little as 30?
very cool.
To James or anyone that's running with this setup.

I have rings that give CC/CD, but should I swap out for IAS/CD instead?

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