Splinters versus Poison Dart:
Splinters is Poison damage. Flaming Dart is Fire Damage - it does a little less damage, but can vary the types of elemental damage types you do. As far as I know, that's it's main use.
The two skills also react differently to gear that gives increased chance to Critically Hit. I'm not sure if you'd rather want to try to get 3 critical hits with Splinters, or take less of a chance for a single, large critical hit with Flaming Dart. Splinters has the higher payoff - if all three darts critically hit - and more opportunity to hit critically, but I think two or three darts would have to hit critically in order to compare to a single critical hit from Flaming Dart. Flaming Dart gives you a single, large critical hit when it critically hits.
Splinters versus Spirit Barrage
Versus Spirit Barrage
You are comparing a rune skill to a base skill. There is little to defend here. The only advantage vanilla Spirit Barrage has over runed Poison Dart is that it does more damage and you can target an enemy in the back of a line. Witch Doctors using Poison Dart would be forced to either mow down all the enemies in the front of the line first, or spend some time maneuvering into position so that they have line of sight of their target. Spirit Barrage acts as artillery, while Poison Dart is more of a machine gun.
All versions of Spirit Barrage work with Rush of Essence, which returns 30% of the cost of the spell over 10 seconds.
30% of 108 mana is 32.4 mana over 10 seconds.
32.4 mana over 10 seconds is 3.24 mana per second for ten seconds.
The spell is now only costing you 75.6 mana per cast.
Versus The Spirit is Willing
Splinters costs 10 mana and does 180 damage if all three darts hit. Every 1 point of mana spent gives you 18 damage.
The Spirit is Willing costs 108 mana and does 190 damage when it hits. Every 1 point of mana spent gives you 1.76 damage.
The Spirit of Willing costs 108 mana, but you get 44 mana back. It is actually only costing you 66 mana. Factor in Rush of Essence and the skill is now only costing you 31.6 mana. Every 1 point of mana spent gives you 6 damage.
Splinters is clearly superior mana to damage ratio, so we have assume that:
A) We are taking The Spirit is Willing to fill a role Splinters cannot.
- Example 1: As an artillery type skill for sniping targets behind obstructions
- Example 2: As a way to quickly deal physical damage
- Example 3: As a way to deplete excessive mana
- Example 4: As a way to take advantage of the Rush of Essence passive skill
B) We have enough mana so that the increased cost doesn't matter.
- If you have a pool of x mana (740 base) and y mana regen (20 base) at the end of the game, will the 66 mana cost even be significant? How about with passives such as Rush of Essence, or Vision Quest, or Blood Ritual, or Gruesome Feast?
+This would enable The Spirit Is Willing to be a good choice as an alternative Primary Skill, or at least worthy of consideration as a spammable seconday skill.
Versus Well of Souls
Well of Souls does a lot more damage. 280 damage total (190 + 30 + 30 + 30). 2.6 damage per mana point spent.
Splinters does not normally regenerate health unless your equipment has leech.
-If you want to factor in Blood Ritual, you would be paying 16.2 life and 91.8 mana.
+You would have to do at least 540 damage with the skill to recover life lost due to Blood Ritual.
+You will probably be doing much more than 540 damage, and thus, regain a lot of life.
+You would only need 300 dps to deal 540 damage.
The WD in the video had 2,526.75 dps with sub-optimal equipment. His Phlebotomize would do 4,800 damage and recover 144 life. He has 461 vitality, so we know he has at least 4,610 life.