Overall I'm positive about it. The reduced casting time is honestly the biggest thing for me, I really cannot wait for that. As a hardcore only player I was already using firebomb and rain of toads so the damage buff and base mana regen are gravy. They didn't mention any proc rates getting reduced so there will definitely be some powerful pet builds popping up. I am almost assuredly going to be using either the garg or the dogs on my doctor after the patch and I may switch to my Freeze chance belt even though it has lower resists and stats than my current belt.
But seriously, of all the classes and all the builds they look at VQ bears/bats and decide that it is the one that gets the death sentence? VQ is worthless now, why would you take such a small increase to mana regen when you can get nearly the same thing out of Spiritual Attunement (check below for how miniscule the bonus mana regen from VQ is) to go along with increase max mana. I haven't even mentioned that Attunement is always on whereas VQ only works for 5 seconds after dealing damage with a primary skill.
With base mana regen (45), VQ will give you 18.5 more mana per second. That would probably get rounded to 19.
With 70 mana regen, which requires you use 2 pieces of mana regen equipment, you get 21 more mana per second.
At base max mana (740), SA will give you 9 more mana per second and 148 more max mana.
So, functionally, what is the difference? An extra cast of Zombie Bears every 11 seconds. However, thats only if you damage an enemy with a primary spell every 5 seconds, so you may well be casting more Bears with SA due to not needing to cast a primary attack. And you get 1 less cast in the intial burst due to lower max mana. And you won't get increase regen while running between elite packs. And you get 1 less skill on your skill bar due to needing a primary attack along with the spell you truly want to be casting. I really can't see choosing VQ in any situation outside of a boss fight.
This is pretty disconcerting for me because I just went from using two distinct builds - VQ bears for farming, LOH tank w/ fire pit and rain of toads for progressing - to just one at the moment. They would really need to up the damage on other skills through the roof to compete with what VQ bears/bats was doing, and that should have been the baseline for other doctor builds rather than the one to get torn down. It's not like that build was taking the game by storm.
Yeah I am not really sure what they were thinking with VQ. It feels waaay to similar to spiritual attunement now.
I personally would have gone for something along the lines of gives 20% (could be anything depending on balance) mana regen for each skill on cooldown. @ 20% this would mean that with 4 skills on cooldown you have 80% extra regen or so.
Atleast that would be interesting and you could either build around it or use it with your pet cooldowns to let you cast highdamage skills every so often. I just feel it is a missed opportunity and feels pretty meh.
I'm hardcore, never really cared for bears or used them much, VQ bears is just way too dangerous unless you out-gear the content. If the build ends up requiring both vq and blood ritual then the third has to be spirit vessel, which means no jungle fortitude - making it even less attractive for hardcore. Not that I mind, I find bears stupid.
If I can get enough mana to spam acid rain I'll be happy. If not, maybe I'll do rain of toads + acid rain combo.
Yeah I never liked bears either, even in softcore. It requires u to use a slow 2hander, and I hate being stuck in attack animation no matter how much dmg I'm doing. The only times I used bears was to kill inferno butcher (long long time ago). I just couldn't handle the style of play for it... I like to click and move around a lot... probably got used to it from playing D2 so much, esp with teleport.
I'm happy about the firebomb change. I liked it a lot for a non-mana intensive aoe, but found the attack animation a bit durdly. Might give it another go at some point.
I like the base mana regen buff tho, now if you get some mana regen tools, you should be able to play effectively without passives used for mana regen. Bears/Bats/Acid Rain will be hard to spam now tho. :<
I never really cottoned on to VQ. Not crazy about bears either. Explosive Beast is the only ZC variant that really fits my playstyle, and its bang/buck ratio ain't too great.
But, it looks like pets got a serious shot of steroids. That makes me happy. Firing artillery from behind a wall 'o meat might not be very courageous, but I was having tons of fun doing it while Dogs were still viable back in NM. That's what I'll go back to, most likely. (Dogs, not NM.) Acid Cloud getting a boost is gravy to me, as is the improvement to Firebomb cast animation.
Looking forward to the patch. WDs have so much destructive potential, but the implementation has been messed up so far.
Lots of interesting stuff in there. Force armor for pets, that applied before mitigation - in other words, really really good.
From what I understand, mitigation is counted for the force armor effect, but the additional life above the base life value (10k at level 60) is not. This isn't as good as max damaged checked before mitigation (I would say this would be overpowered and lead to easily immortal dogs), but it is still very good for ZD survivability.
VQ is now another boring, non-game-changing passive. I dearly wish they'd done something different; I dislike the way Blizzard pushes most builds towards the rather boring generator+spender stereotype instead of, eventually, with good enough gear, allowing more variety in the way builds work.