After seeing sacrifice I knew i wanted to create a build based on the ability, but it is obvious that the're are inherent short comings with an ability that leaves you without your pets... So how do we make a build where we can make the best use of Sacrifice while not gimping our damage output while summon zombie dogs is on CD?
Summon Zombie Dogs-Leeching Beast
Sacrifice- Next of Kin
Circle of Life-Zombie Handler-Jungle Fortitude
The first issue we need to address is to be able to spawn zombie dogs without hard casting "Summon Zombie Dogs" one of the key skills for this is "Confusion" with the Devolution rune. This rune allows for a 50% chance to spawn a zombie dog upon death while enemy is confused, this is the highest % chance to spawn a zombie dog from any single skill. We compound this with Sacrifice runed with Next of Kin for an additional 35% chance and finished of with the circle of life passive for another 5%. This leads to a total 90% chance to spawn a zombie dog when confusion is active and sacrifice has been used and killed an enemy.
With that taken care of we want to keep our DPS consistent and for me consistent DPS means DOTs and for the WD that's poison dmg. Normally we would be tempted to use "Grasp of the Dead" to keep enemy's grouped and at bay while acting as a DOT. However Confusion is our CC ability so instead of adding another CC we look to Locust Swarm runed with Pestilence. Why not Haunt, its awsome and does more DOT dmg right?.. Um.. No.. locus swarm immediately moves to other enemies and with pestilence you will do 320% of weapon dmg over only 8 seconds to 3 enemies rather then 575% over 15 seconds to only 1. Per Second locust Swarm deals more dmg then Haunt and will do it in less time to more enemies. Lets do the math.
320% dmg over 8 sec to 3 enemies (320/8 = 40% wdps to 3 enemies)
575% dmg over 15 sec to 1 enemy (575/15 = 38.3% wdps to 1 enemy)
Now after Locust swarm we still want something to take the attention off our WD and that's a Big Stinky Gargantuan!!
Why Big stinky and not Humongoid for the cleave? For cleave to be effective enemies need to be in front of the Gargantuan and the cleave will take more then a second per attack, with big stinky runed our gargantuan will do 15% weapon dmg per second to all surrounding enemies, not just the ones in front. Remember DoTs are a warlocks... I mean WD best friend and a big hulking walking dot is even better.
In the end I believe you will be able to run pack to pack and use sacrifice in your rotation on a very consistent basis. This WD will always be damaging enemies either directly or indirectly making for a very consistent and high DPS curve.
I would greatly appreciate any and all input and constructive criticism from the community.
Best wishes and can't wait to be able to test when the game is finally released.
Your analysis of Haunt vs Locust Swarm is a bit unfair though, because there's nothing stopping you from casting Haunt onto 3 different targets, and it's even cheaper than using Locust Swarm vs 3 targets :P. When runed with Resentful Spirit, Haunt will even do a LOT more damage (287% weapon damage over 3 seconds with Resentful Spirit).
The only downside to Haunt in the above situation is the time it takes to cast Haunt on each target.
Locust Swarm is really good for LOTS of targets, like a horde of enemies. I agree that Locust Swarm is probably better for your build - all I'm saying is that the example you used to justify it may not have been the best :P.
Locust Swarm works really well in your build because you can hit many more targets with it than Haunt, and you're all about that big AoE damage from Sacrifice.
In case you weren't aware, the Boogie Man rune for Big Bad Voodoo also gives slain enemies in the area a 50% chance to spawn a Zombie Dog, but if you had to choose only one of either Big Bad Voodoo or Mass Confusion, Mass Confusion's definitely better I reckon, since you have no other CC :P.
I actually really WOULD like to see one more CC spell besides Mass Confusion, because sometimes raw damage isn't enough, and relying solely on Mass Confusion could be risky with its minute-long cooldown, unless you just take your time with each monster pack, which would be cool, too.
It's hard to see a skill slot which could be used to make room for another CC/escape spell, since you've done a good job making sure everything here really works toward your build. I'm tempted to say swapping out Gargantuan for Spirit Walk, just because even though you're blowing up your dogs a lot, if you play patiently (waiting for Mass Confusion to reset before each fight), I think you'll be able to maintain a fairly steady flow of dogs to tank for you, so maybe you don't need the Gargantuan as much as a true panic button.
I really like the idea behind your build as I'm a huge fan of Sacrifice as well. However, I would go about doing something like this in a different way. First of all let me say, that Summon Zombie Dogs, Sacrifice with Next of Kin, Grave injustice and either Circle of Life or Zombie Handler is absolutely needed for the core of a build like this.
Circle of Life is an obvious choice, although not necessarily a good one. My experience is that its chance to trigger is too small and ideally you'll have much better ways to summon dogs. It's probably better for builds, where you want to use the dogs as a passive defense, but you don't want to use their active skill. It could and probably should be switched to Zombie Handler.
Grave Injustice is amazing with skills that have a long cooldown, like Summon Zombie Dogs and Mass Confusion. It should be complemented by increased pickup radius on your gear.
Gruesome Feast should be a beast of a damage and resist boost in the endgame. Since you'll have a large pickup radius it should be easy to keep its stack high. It also helps your mana management.
Now, the active skills and why I chose them.
In my experience, Firebats is an amazing skill to clear crowds. It's easily my favorite offensive skill in the beta at the moment. It's short range will help you to stay in range of Circle of Life and Grave Injustice. The mana cost shouldn't be a problem with Gruesome Feast and/or with some mana boosting items. Rune choice is completely up to the player.
Grasp of the Dead provides another good CC ability beside Mass Confusion, one that should be almost spammable with Grave Injustice. It's rune effect was chosen to provide more fuel for Gruesome Feast.
Summon Zombie Dogs is a must of course. I switched its rune from Leeching Beast, because I don't think you can rely on your dogs leeching too much when you constantly blow them up. Final Gift provides another good source of Health Globes for Gruesome Feast and of course it helps with healing as well. Also, the cooldown of Zombie Dogs should be much reduced by Grave Injustice.
Sacrifice, Next of Kin. Mandatory for this build for obvious reasons.
Mass Confusion, Devotion. The best source of Zombie Dogs outside of the skill itself. Should be used when Zombie Dogs are on cooldown and all your dogs are dead. Again, Grave Injustice will really help with its long cooldown. If the extra CC isn't needed I would consider switching it to Big Bad Voodoo, Boogie Man.
Soul Harvest, another amazing damage boost. Rune can be chosen based on personal preference.
The was I see it, healing should be taken care of with all the extra Health Globes, Gruesome Feast provides mana management and for defense you have one spammable and one strong CC and all your dogs. With all the damage boosts Firebats should be more than enough to kill the stragglers left after the sacrifice of you dogs took place.
I was initially surprised to see a lack of primary attack, but with all those ways to get Health Globes and the Gruesome Feast passive, you might actually be able to get away without one :P.
It's not uncommon to see people use Grave Injustice in builds where it doesn't offer any real synergy, but it's put to very good use here.
With both Circle of Life and Grave Injustice, you even have unique item choices, since you'd have a little more incentive to itemise gold-pickup-radius items more than other builds.
Both your build and Fizzy's are very cool, but I don't think one is necessarily better than the other. Hardrock's build, I feel, has a much stronger theme and clarity of purpose, but Fizzy's build is 'safer' and more reliable. Hardrock's build makes Health Globe drops a fair bit more likely, but it's still not a guarantee and it'll feel horrible to get screwed just because you got unlucky in one fight :(.
I like the build Hardrock suggested and actually had thought of a very similar set up. However the spell that everyone's talking about is the one i am very apprehensive of... Soul Harvest... Yes in beta its a bomb and you can easily get 5 stacks on a whim, however i think this will all change in the higher difficulties where I'm positive that the last thing you would want to do is run into a pack of enemies to try and get 5 stacks of soul harvest when the pack you are trying to run into could potentially 2 shot you. I think the beta has given a false sense of security when looking to use Soul Harvest.
My other concern is that of grave injustice starting at 8yrds i feel even with extended pick up on items you are still looking at a very small ingame area. I also would want my items to have more preferable attributes on them rather then being forced to have extended pick up range on them.
Also the reason i am picking leeching beast rune for summon zombie dogs is because if i am reading the spells correctly the damage from sacrifice is done by the zombie dog and if the zombie dog is runed with leeching beast I am anticipating sacrifice comboing with the dogs by also giving you a very nice heal. Additionally I want my dogs to be more useful and have survive-ability when I do not want to blow them up.
I do like the build you suggested and will be testing anything and everything due launch
My other concern is that of grave injustice starting at 8yrds i feel even with extended pick up on items you are still looking at a very small ingame area.
According to the current list of datamined affixes, on endgame armors we can expect to see +7 yards per armor slot. That means that the absolute max you can get is +49 yards. That's about two thirds of the whole visible screen if you play in a resolution with a 16:9 aspect ratio.
Originally Posted by FizzyBubbly
Also the reason i am picking leeching beast rune for summon zombie dogs is because if i am reading the spells correctly the damage from sacrifice is done by the zombie dog and if the zombie dog is runed with leeching beast I am anticipating sacrifice comboing with the dogs by also giving you a very nice heal.
I don't mean to rain on anyone's parade, as I was also considering a sacrifice build myself. However, http://diablonut.incgamers.com/skill...ctor/sacrifice says that only summoned zombie dogs can be sacrificed. I assume these means sacrifice only applies to dogs that are hard cast with the spell. The official site does not say this, so it may only apply to the beta.
You can sacrifice dogs summoned by Circle of Life. I've tried this in the beta with patch 14. I'll try in the current patch tonight, just to be sure.
EDIT: Yep, Sacrifice works with Circle of Life.
Ya i went and checked as well, and Circle of life says that it has a 5% chance that a zombie dog will "emerge". I think the language of "only summoned zombie dogs can be sacrificed" may be in reference to a zombie dog enemy, if there are zombie dog enemies in the game then you wouldn't be able to sacrifice them to get an insta-kill. Just a thought. With it working with circle of life i can only assume at this point that it will work with the other dog spawning abilities.