I'm playing a pretty much by-the-book blizzballer, I'm at level 75 as of now. I'm going through Act I in Hell diff right now, and while I am progressing reasonably fast, there are some problems I ran into. Here are the two recurring scenarios that are difficult for me:
Situation (1): I run into a larger than usual group of cold-immunes (corrupt rogue/rogue archers are among the worst). They start pounding on my merc, who has a survival time window of a about 3-4 seconds. If the mob wasn't CI, my blizz would wipe them out faster than they can kill my merc, but since they are CI, I have to use meteor. The DPS of my meteor is not the biggest problem (it's at lvl 24, plus 10ish synergy by fireball), but the *time before it first strikes* is problematic. By the time the first meteor hits the ground, my merc is almost halfway dead. If the group of CIs is only slightly larger, he's dead before his attacks + my initial meteors hits wipe out the group.
tl;dr #1: delay before meteor hits ground is too long, my merc barely survives until then when mobbed by CIs.
Situation (2): Same group of CIs as above, but now throw in a random unique with a nasty modifiers (like conviction aura, or extra fast). I already know my merc won't even stand a chance against them now (he'd be dead in less than a second), so I start tele-dancing to kill the mob myself. As before, if they weren't CI, I'd be successful at that, tele'ing excessively while casting blizz, and they would go down fast. But since they are CIs, I have to use meteor, and I simply can't bring any real damage to them with that spell. Since they're not held in a spot by my merc, they move fast, and they are nowhere *near* where I aimed the meteor at when it finally lands. And the damage they take from the flames on the ground isn't enough to kill them in a reasonable time.
tl;dr #2: I can't target meteor at fast-moving mobs of CIs if they aren't held in place by my merc. If the mob contains a nasty unique, my merc has almost zero survival against such a mob, so he can't tank them. Dilemma.
Here are some ideas for a solution I tried to come up with myself:
(a) My merc is a Normal diff Prayer Merc, with Insight/Tal Rasha Mask/Spirit Shroud. Obviously, the armor sucks, but I haven't found anything better for now. Also, the Insight is in a non-eth partizan, so a better weapon would help because more damage = more LL, but I'm not sure if that'd be enough to really make a change.
(b) Maybe I should use a different merc: I like the Prayer merc. He gets a total of about 50hp/2sec (prayer+meditation+life regen), which is not entirely useless (although I admit it doesn't keep him alive against the mobs described above). I tried using a HF merc instead, but I like tele'ing really a lot, so most of the time, the HF aura doesn't have time to connect with the enemies and is useless. Maybe a Defiance merc would work better, any comments on if that would make a difference?
(c) Use different fire spells: Fireball is too weak, at least compared to meteor -- but if I'm wrong about that, please let me know. Firewall has the same problem as meteor, in that I can't make it work against (semi)fast mobs.
(d) My final idea: like I said above, DPS is not the biggest problem so far, but time before first strike. So I though about respeccing, and replacing my fire spells with lightning ones. My line of reasoning: if I can get comparable damage numbers with a spell that just *hits* faster than meteor, I think my problem would be solved. Can any comment on the viability of a Cold/Lightning dual build? The idea is to continue using blizzard/glacial spike for the cold side, but replace meteor/FB by Chain Lightning/Lightning. I would lose the timered+non-timered spell idea of the original blizzballer build for the lightning side, but that would seem like a small price. Any ideas if that would work?