There has a been a great deal of discussion of items, skill builds, etc in the HC forums but the vast majority of them assume solo play.
Now that the enemy damage penalty has been removed (although we still lose the follower benefits), I'd like to use this thread to brainstorm on effective hardcore parties that can survive - and even thrive - in inferno.
There are many facets to discuss including
- What heroes work best together?
- What skills really shine in a group and which normally useful skills become less so?
- How should DPS and survivability be distributed throughout the group?
- How does magic find work in a group?
To start things off, a couple friends and I are aiming for a party of 3.
We are thinking barb, monk, wizard. This has a few advantages:
1) Two tanks to rotate
2) Warcry + Impunity and a Mantra synergize well with a team
3) Wizard can deal heavy AOE with a semi-glass cannon build, while retaining enough survivability to handle vortex/teleporting champs.
Perhaps the monk does 15% dmg, barb does 25% and wizard does 60% (and defensive tanking in the opposite order)?
In order to tank better and keep the wizard alive in sketchy situations, would it be worth using the following?
- Serenity w/ Tranquility (to break ice/slow for allies)
- Ignore Pain w/ Mob Rule (for 5 sec near invulnerability)
- Slow Time w/ Time Warp or Stretch Time (for better tanking and team dps, much like a warcry)
I mostly (98% of the time) play softcore but I'll offer what I've gleaned from my experience there:
All characters in a party should hopefully be able to tank white mobs if nothing more; if a dps character cannot, he will inevitably have to kite one mob while all the others focus on the tanks, causing the dps char's actual applied dps to plummet to something worse than the tanks'.
The best party tank I've seen and/or played, by far, is ironically a critical mass wizard; frozen enemies don't put out damage and they stay grouped up fairly nicely, waiting for you to kick their teeth in. They don't use special abilities, they don't activate shielding. CM tanks run into problems with fleeing, widely split-up, shielding, teleporting, and crowd controlling enemies. In solo play these can often not be so bad, but in parties with poor communication you can end up with groups like those too split up to keep them continually frozen. Maybe a group that knows how to work together could handle that kind of thing better. I use Slow Time with Time Warp in big groups, but I consider it to be a very offensively oriented and fairly dangerous skill. For example, all of those projectiles that have been slowed by 90% can stack up dangerously; if Slow Time ends before you want or if too much is going on, you can wind up as an example of why Missile Dampening doesn't really help mobs. Teleport, on the other hand, allows the CM wizard to position more carefully to maintain better lockdown and apply damage and get out of nasty situations like being frozen, jailed, etc.
I think you're on the right track with the other party members. A monk with Serenity (Tranquility) to be used like you said, a Mantra of choice, and Cyclone Strike (Implosion) is fantastic in parties. Cyclone Strike is one of the best crowd control skills in the game, especially combined with the CM wizard or AoE damage skills; it both interrupts the mob's action (I use it on A1 berserkers all the time) and drags them to where you want them so they can be frozen, stunned, killed, etc. If you have a dps char it is also very useful to help keep monsters from peeling off a group to chase the dpser.
As for the barb, Impunity is of course awesome. I haven't been in a group with a barb using Mob Rule but I'm sure it would be fantastic. WotB (Insanity) + Earthquake + mobs pulled into a tight group and kept there by the monk's Cyclone Strike and the wizard's frost nova can do horrifying things to them.
The last character could be anything, but a second monk would have as much party synergy as the first. Arguments can be made for other classes, too, of course; the 4th char can fill in for whatever else you think you're missing.
I wish I could offer a more hardcore-oriented perspective, and I'm sure that making a CM wizard to act as mt would be a bit expensive in HC, but that's all I've got; I hope it is helpful.
Very helpful - thanks! The one part I'm not convinced about is the 4th hero as a monk. Since mantras don't stack, I'd be inclined to think another barb or dps with grasp would be better. I guess we only have 3 for now anyway, so that won't be an issue just yet.
Does anyone know if Cyclone Strike (Implosion) still works on goblins in inferno? I found it to be amazing, as you said, for crowd control. War stomp with a similar rune is a nice way to do the same thing from a barb perspective, but not spammable...