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  1. #1
    IncGamers Member z00t's Avatar
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    Let's theorycraft Spirit Barrage

    This skill must be useful because it's been in its current state for some time now in development.

    However, on paper, its applications don't seem that great.

    For the sake of debate, let's talk about Spirit Barrage when runed to still be a single-target spell.

    It's fairly expensive and hits only a single target if we're talking about the rune effects which retain its 'primary' form - 'The Spirit is Willing', 'Phlebotomize', and 'Well of Souls' (this one hits more than one target, but its relatively minor damage - a situationally useful addition but not something you can rely on as a primary form of AoE damage).

    Regardless of which of those three rune choices you pick, you're still going to be using Spirit Barrage primarily to quickly kill high-priority single targets.


    Here, however, is my concern with Spirit Barrage. While there will often be high-priority targets that you'll want to eliminate and who may be too far away to kill with something like Firebats, would Haunt runed with Resentful Spirit be better in most situations?

    Haunt with the Resentful Spirit rune deals 288% Weapon damage over 2 seconds.

    So let's say you have three Tomb Guardians that need killing asap. Wouldn't it be more efficient (both in terms of time and mana) to cycle Resentful Spirit between the three of them, rather than cast Spirit Barrage repeatedly until all three die?

    Spirit Barrage requires you to be motionless in order to deal sustained damage with it. This can be a liability in many situations. Mobility is key when playing a relatively squishy class like the Witch Doctor, and every second that you spend stopping to cast spells has to be calculated against the risk of getting rushed down by certain monsters.

    It seems to me that the only times when Spirit Barrage will be better than Resentful Spirit is when:
    -You're fighting a tough, single monster like a Boss.
    -You need a specific monster dead RIGHT NOW (a few Spirit Barrages will kill a SINGLE target faster than Resentful Spirit).

    These are situations which will DEFINITELY come up, but my concern is that Resentful Spirit is more useful in more situations. And in the situations described above, even though Spirit Barrage is better than Resentful Spirit, I feel as though Resentful Spirit is good enough that it's still highly attractive.

    Even when you take into account the rune effects, like 'The Spirit is Willing', for example, the mana you save still doesn't seem to outweigh the advantages which Resentful Spirit offers.

    Overall, it just seems to me that Resentful Spirit is better in more situations than Spirit Barrage, and for the situations in which Spirit Barrage is better, it's not better by too much.

    Spirit Barrage is a skill I really want to like. It's always interested me, even if it didn't sound very exciting, I thought there was something I was missing. But once Blizzard put up the skill video showcasing it, I was just like: "eh?"

    What do you guys think?


    Last edited by z00t; 17-04-2012 at 11:52.

  2. #2
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    Re: Let's theorycraft Spirit Barrage

    U think for manitou we will have to be really close to the enemies?
    Would be great if it damaged enemies that are far away as well :(



  3. #3
    IncGamers Member z00t's Avatar
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    Re: Let's theorycraft Spirit Barrage

    Yes, I think they'd have to be fairly close, but Manitou changes Spirit Barrage very drastically. At that point, you can't compare it with Resentful Spirit at all :P.

    I'd like to talk about Spirit Barrage with rune effects where it retains its 'primary' form (so everything except Manitou and Phantasm :P).



  4. #4
    IncGamers Member pcguy's Avatar
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    Re: Let's theorycraft Spirit Barrage

    Well of Souls can do more damage more quickly to more targets than Resentful Spirit can. If Resentful Spirit was stackable, it would be more in line with what Spirit Barrage can do.

    Well of Souls is actually doing 280% instant damage per cast to four enemies for only 10 additional mana: 190% to the main target + 30% to an additional target + 30% to an additional target + 30% to an additional target.

    We do not yet know if the additional Spirit Bolts will be wasted if there are less than 4 enemies present, or if the additional bolt will fly out and hit whatever enemies are left on the screen.

    If the additional bolts can all hit the same target, then we are looking at 280% weapon damage with a single cast - a number not wholly unbelievable, considering spells such as Zombie Bears can do 708% area damage for 32 additional mana.

    Resentful Spirit can do a little more than half the damage Well of Souls can, usually only to a single target. Half damage. Half. Damage.

    That instant damage can mean the difference between enemies swarming you and attacking you versus enemies dropping dead before they reach you.

    Meanwhile, however, each of those Spirit Barrage casts is costing 10 more mana than Resentful Spirit would. Resentful Spirit easily outshines Spirit Barrage when it comes to efficiency.

    Spirit Barrage is way better than Resentful Spirit in terms of raw damage output, but if your gear doesn't allow you to spam Spirit Barrage, Resentful Spirit is a really great way to do tons of sustained damage to multiple high priority targets.


    Last edited by pcguy; 17-04-2012 at 17:42.

  5. #5
    IncGamers Member z00t's Avatar
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    Re: Let's theorycraft Spirit Barrage

    The thing about Well of Souls is that I'm picturing its use in a vs Tomb Guardians sort of scenario, and your extra bolts just ineffectually hitting random skeletons instead of damaging what needs damaging.

    I suppose if there are only something like 4 super-tough baddies on the screen, Well of Souls would be better than Resentful Spirit. But if there is only a single enemy, then I don't think the additional bolts will seek it, since the tooltip specifically states 'other' targets. So basically, it'd just be like using an unruned version of the skill.

    Also, even though Well of Souls does significant TOTAL damage, that bonus damage is just diluted among up to three other targets, making it less useful unless you really spam it. And again, the nature of Spirit Barrage requires you to stand still to get sustained damage out of it, which I find a little worrying.

    I just have a hard time finding a place for it in a build. If I want AoE damage, I'll take a dedicated AoE skill and then Resentful Spirit seems like the best way to round out my offensive options, giving me a way to pick off single high-priority targets (multiple ones at a time), but still stay mobile.

    This is why I bring up the comparison between Spirit Barrage and Resentful Spirit - I'm not talking about which one is better if you could only use one of these skills as your entire build, but rather, which skill would I use to plug the gap of 'single target DPS'. For such a role, the extra targets hit by Well of Souls is irrelevant unless you're up against the situation described above where you only have a handful of enemies onscreen (in which case Well of Souls would be really good).



  6. #6
    IncGamers Member pcguy's Avatar
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    Re: Let's theorycraft Spirit Barrage

    Quote Originally Posted by z00t View Post
    The thing about Well of Souls is that I'm picturing its use in a vs Tomb Guardians sort of scenario, and your extra bolts just ineffectually hitting random skeletons instead of damaging what needs damaging.

    I suppose if there are only something like 4 super-tough baddies on the screen, Well of Souls would be better than Resentful Spirit. But if there is only a single enemy, then I don't think the additional bolts will seek it, since the tooltip specifically states 'other' targets. So basically, it'd just be like using an unruned version of the skill.

    Also, even though Well of Souls does significant TOTAL damage, that bonus damage is just diluted among up to three other targets, making it less useful unless you really spam it. And again, the nature of Spirit Barrage requires you to stand still to get sustained damage out of it, which I find a little worrying.

    I just have a hard time finding a place for it in a build. If I want AoE damage, I'll take a dedicated AoE skill and then Resentful Spirit seems like the best way to round out my offensive options, giving me a way to pick off single high-priority targets (multiple ones at a time), but still stay mobile.

    This is why I bring up the comparison between Spirit Barrage and Resentful Spirit - I'm not talking about which one is better if you could only use one of these skills as your entire build, but rather, which skill would I use to plug the gap of 'single target DPS'. For such a role, the extra targets hit by Well of Souls is irrelevant unless you're up against the situation described above where you only have a handful of enemies onscreen (in which case Well of Souls would be really good).
    You keep bringing up mobility. Resentful Spirit only lasts for two seconds. It doesn't seem offer up too much in the way of mobility. Running around and taking pot-shots with Resentful Spirit is a more more defensive tactic than standing around and grinding out sustained damage with Spirit Barrage.

    Each spell has it's own strengths and weaknesses. I gave some good reasons to use Well of Souls and you found some instances where it would not be as effective. This is the choice you are getting. Resentful Spirit certainly is not more versatile than Well of Souls.

    A build which chooses Resentful Spirit is probably going to need more offensive skills and equipment, whereas a build which chooses Well of Souls is going to need more defensive skills and equipment. This is balance.

    --

    Let's now take a look at The Spirit is Willing:

    This spell costs 109 mana, but you make 44 back when it hits a target. You are effectively only spending 65 mana per cast. You can cast The Spirit is Willing 1.5 more times than you would be able to cast Resentful Spirit. You use less mana to do more damage more quickly.



  7. #7
    IncGamers Member z00t's Avatar
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    Re: Let's theorycraft Spirit Barrage

    True, I value mobility a lot - I didn't want to overload my initial wall of text, which was already looked a little daunting, but I'm thinking specifically of a petless WD. Sometimes my posts are a little skewed towards that mindset.

    I can see Spirit Barrage working better when playing with pets, but I figured that mobility would be important regardless, so I chose to omit that. I should have mentioned that Spirit Barrage IS much better when you're playing with pets.

    As for Resentful Spirit being less versatile than Well of Souls, I still disagree - I feel that Well of Souls is more wasted on a single target than Resentful Spirit is when trying to deal with multiple enemies simply because you're still getting a lot of bang for your buck applying Resentful Spirit on 4 separate targets, whereas the value you get when using Well of Souls on a lone enemy isn't as great. Note that I'm comparing these two skills based on what each of them does BEST, as opposed to a situation where you wouldn't use either of them (like against a swarm of enemies where you need a proper AoE spell).

    The Spirit is Willing IS a very good rune for single-target damage. If needing to kite is a non-factor, it's definitely better than Resentful Spirit. Actually, now that I think about it, The Spirit is Willing might even be better in a 1v1 kiting situation because DoTs aren't affected by weapon speed, so you could still potentially cast The Spirit is Willing rapidly while kiting, depending on how quick the cast animation is (compare the responsiveness of casting Plague of Toads with Corpse Spiders). Of course, the problem then is that The Spirit is Willing isnt as good as Resentful Spirit for dealing with 4 super-tough badguys. And Well of Souls isn't as mana-efficient when kiting a single enemy as Resentful Spirit (although Well of Souls would win out if you need a specific target dead RIGHT NOW at the cost of mana..but like I said, that's a tradeoff I feel still makes Resentful Spirit more appealing).


    Last edited by z00t; 18-04-2012 at 07:44.

  8. #8
    IncGamers Member z00t's Avatar
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    Re: Let's theorycraft Spirit Barrage

    EDIT: Whoops apparently I double-posted.


    Last edited by z00t; 18-04-2012 at 07:38.

  9. #9
    IncGamers Member Jaago's Avatar
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    Re: Let's theorycraft Spirit Barrage

    I find the base-form Spirit Barrage very weak. Compared to a single-target primary attack, such as Flaming Dart, SB offers less than a fifth in increased damage, at ten times the mana cost. A combination of single-target primary attack and Resentful Spirit is almost always better in terms of pure damage than a combination of single-target primary and Spirit Barrage, as well as more efficient in mana consumption. I'm basing this on calculating 1 RS + 3 FD against 4 SB (Spirit is Willing) on a single target with 2 APS, and 4 RS versus 4 Well of Souls against 4 separate targets. SB does gain some advantage at higher attack speeds, but it becomes a lot costlier to use as well.

    With Firebomb (Ghost Bomb) as primary, SB deals more damage against single targets than RS + Firebomb, but already loses in damage against two targets. 1 RS + 3 Ghost Bomb is slightly better than 2 Spirit is Willing + 2 Ghost Bomb in both damage and mana efficiency when comparing more sustainable attack patterns against single targets.

    Most AoE attacks wipe both Spirit Barrage and Resentful Spirit from the table as long as they can hit at least 2 monsters.

    Attacks that are similar to Spirit Barrage on other classes deal significantly more damage than Spirit Barrage does, such as Impale on DH dealing 250% weapon damage at base level.

    While many of these are rather anecdotal facts, I personally find them sufficient to say that the base damage of Spirit Barrage needs a considerable buff, to about 230% or 240% weapon damage, to be considered a strong attack.




  10. #10
    IncGamers Member z00t's Avatar
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    Re: Let's theorycraft Spirit Barrage

    That's a good point you raise that I totally forgot about - the use of Spirit Barrage when you've already got a single-target primary attack.

    Poison Dart (especially with Splinters) is a very good skill, and I find myself taking it with many builds. But if take it, I can't use Spirit Barrage at the same time, whereas I can use Poison Dart in tandem with Resentful Spirit.

    Actually, you can't use Spirit Barrage AND any of the primary attacks at the same time...unless they're a very specifically-runed one, like Rain of Toads, or Pyrogeist. I suppose you could use Spirit Barrage in conjunction with Corpse Spiders, but there's a long setup time at the start when you're spamming spiders before using Spirit Barrage (and Corpse Spiders is just so meh at the moment :().

    That said, I do still see Spirit Barrage having its uses - the ability to kill targets blocked by other monsters is very valuable. This is the reason why I take Resentful Spirit in my builds instead of relying solely on Poison Dart to snipe faraway and protected targets.

    Of late, I've been wanting to find a petless build where I'd want to take Spirit Barrage over Resentful Spirit for the role of 'single-target sniper', but am having a hard time fitting it in.


    Last edited by z00t; 18-04-2012 at 22:14.

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