While before playing the beta I already thought there is basically little reason to use bash or frenzy, now I really don't see it...
Even unruned, cleave deals 120% weapon damage. You need to cleave 4 times per hammer of the ancients use (neglecting small amounts of fury gained from cooldown-generators and damage taken) or 6 times per seismic slam. In practice, the result is that most of the damage you are dealing (again, based on beta experience plus some common sense) actually comes from your fury generator. With cleave generating not much less fury than bash/frenzy, I really don't see how losing the massive amounts of AOE damage it deals is worth having just a bit more fury for the spenders.
Without AOE, there's really no way for bash/frenzy to compete with cleave on straight out damage, and with so much of your damage coming from cleave, you really won't be considering a bit more fury for a lot less damage from your fury generator.
Sure, there are boss fights and the occasional single mob, but we all know those are the exceptions, not the norm, and Blizzard is not expecting us to have 2 fury generators anyway. I mean, the whole design of the game seems to be based around everything being AOE (which makes sense in some ways, but then why have such useless non-AOE abilities).
I know this comes off a bit critical, and we don't know everything yet and such, but still - The single target skills just seem way too weak to be considered.
Additionally the runes favor in the same way. Rupture (85% AOE wpn-dmg on kill) is extremely powerful and easily out shines other runes. (nerf incoming?) In a situation where you have at least two mobs, you hit both with 120%, one dies and the second (or third, forth...) suffers 225%. Also this mechanic includes chain reactions which can be observed in several skeleton events in the beta.
Actually i cannot imagine a level or difficulty where i want to switch from cleave to bash/frenzy.
And possibly Flavour. Frenzy with Sidearm and Bash with whatever that narrow line shockwave rune both sound like a lot of fun. I do agree that Cleave, with Rapture in particular, sounds like the go-to pve skill though. I would have prefered if spenders werethe main AoE nukes.
bash with the first rune is very handy to stunlock monster... try it with the skeleton king. Frenzy is pretty good too with the high attack speed. Did you give them a fair go? Though I agree that in beta monster dies too easily anyway that you don't feel the lower damage cleave provides. It's possible on tougher monster you'll prefer higher single target damage and some CC in the form of stun.
Early on Cleave is definitely outshining Bash in sheer performance thanks to the aoe component. Plus if you look at Reaping Swilng, Cleave exceeds the fury gain of Bash with instigation rune with 3+ foes hit. Should be quite an aoe fury engine - cleave/reaping swing, whirwind/wind shear, leap/call of arreat together with the weapon master passive and using mighty weapons.
It all depends on the particular build you'll use. I'm a big Cleave fan with a two handed weapon. But recently I used Frenzy with a twohanded and result was really good. I would porbably go for a single target generator and aoe spenders so I would prevent overkill.
With the right build Frenzy is just a way to get a lot of fury fast.. Even in D2, when the regeneration rates of monsters become higher, it can be more sensible to kill one at a time. The stronger you are compared to the mobs, the more important AOE becomes for speed.
Personally i'm a fan of frenzy right now. Frenzy builds up stacks much faster than i though and after you got 5 stack frenzy rolling there is no stopping you. Even without rune effects it is closer to 200% per cycle when you get the stacks up.
I'm talking about relative damage. Frenzy ofc doesn't do 200% per cycle but in comparison it does when you apply the AS buff.
It would seem logical that cleave at some point would be balanced so that it was more efficient than bash, when there are 3/4 mobs, and bash would be more efficient with less. Assuming skill-changes cancels out nephalem buff, and 90% of the time being spent with a lot of mobs around, I don't see bash as a viable alternative at least not at the moment.
I'm guessing that very few boss fights will be tank and spank, so cleave might even be viable for bosses - I guess there's no telling until we know more. We might end up selecting skills based on the boss we plan to run, but for levelling, my bet is on cleave.