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Thoughts on the Blizzard spell?

Discussion in 'Wizard' started by Ice Mistress Freya, Sep 16, 2011. | Replies: 27 | Views: 3772

  1. Ice Mistress Freya

    Ice Mistress Freya IncGamers Member

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    Thoughts on the Blizzard spell?

    I suppose there is no way currently to know how the Blizzard spell operates, but it seems to me it is a huge deal.

    If it works as it did in D2 it will probably be the strongest spell in the game. That is, each ice shard does the listed damage once per second (amount of individual shards unknown - but likely very many).

    However, for some reason, I cannot shake the mortifying thought it may in fact just be a generic AOE spell that only hits once per second over its entire radius. This would make it only useful against large packs of weak mobs and utterly worthless against bosses. I think part of my fear is that Ray of Frost is so obviously designed to be a boss killer.

    The skill description leaves both interpretations open. Thoughts? How would YOU like it to work?
  2. Arcfires

    Arcfires IncGamers Member

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    Re: Thoughts on the Blizzard spell?

    I think that good, balanced game design suggests that an AOE spell like Blizzard should be useful in certain "groups of monsters" situations only. For single-target boss fights, it shouldn't be the skill of choice.

    Just as a rough balancing for what works well in other games, for the benefit of having the AOE damage, you need to pay 2-2.5 times the resource cost of a single target spell and you will do 50-75% of the damage as a single target spell per mob. This effectively means that your break-even point is around 3 mobs, with 4 or more being a good bet to use the AOE.

    Personally, I like it this way. Makes it so that your character is performing thoughtful actions instead of just spamming the damage button.
  3. Ice Mistress Freya

    Ice Mistress Freya IncGamers Member

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    Re: Thoughts on the Blizzard spell?

    But in that case, depending on how easy it is to swap runes in and out of a skill, Ray of Frost becomes the superior spell in all situations. ROF with either an Alabaster or Indigo rune is AOE that is just as strong or stronger than Indigo tuned Blizzard (the strongest Blizzard rune). It would still easily win vs. single targets as well.

    My hope is to use both but Blizzard seems quite weak if it is only generic AE. Both spells have unique applications based on how they are cast (instant ray and fire-and-forget), but ROF remains useful in any situation based on runes whereas a generic Blizzard becomes a very one dimensional skill (and lacks variety in function based on runes).

    I plan on playing a very ice-centric wizard and a generic Blizzard may leave only 1 viable damage spell. Of course the reverse is a unique Blizzard may overpower ROF in most situations but I feel it is pretty easy to argue that even if it is the "lesser" spell ROF has many practical applications and is still quite viable. I don't feel the same is true of Blizzard.
  4. Ice Mistress Freya

    Ice Mistress Freya IncGamers Member

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    Re: Thoughts on the Blizzard spell?

    It should also be pointed out that if Blizzard operates on a per shard basis... while the overall damage of the spell increases dramatically (against large foes that would be hit by many shards)... its function as an Area of Effect spell is actually diminished, or at least nowhere near the capacity of its ability to boss kill.

    When you are faced with hordes of enemies they are generally not large models and are fast moving. Simply put, most of the shards will miss and the mobs will run out of the area (at the very least they are unlikely to absorb multiple shards unless you've set them up with other spells such as Frost Nova or Time Warp - which are cooldown limited). ROF runed for AE is instant effect and completely unavoidable AE from across the screen (with Indigo). It may well be the AE spell of choice anyway.

    We have to start thinking about the implications of how spells actually do damage because they don't all operate the same way.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011
  5. Eteo

    Eteo IncGamers Member

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    Re: Thoughts on the Blizzard spell?

    I'm just basing this on WoW game design, but it seems that Blizzard does not want super powerful AoE skills to be used on bosses. They likely will not calculate the damage based on each shard hitting, but rather a radius around the casting point. The damage calculation will likely be on a tick or per second basis and generic to all mobs within that radius. If there is say a group of bosses that are fought and stick somewhat together, Blizz may be the goto spell. I think in the majority of boss situations, you will want a single target skill such as Ray of Frost.

    This insures that each damage spell has a role that the player must realize and adapt to based on the situation presented in game. There may be rune modifications that allow these roles to change slightly, but I think generically AOE will be for packs and nukes will be for bosses.
  6. Ice Mistress Freya

    Ice Mistress Freya IncGamers Member

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    Re: Thoughts on the Blizzard spell?

    Did you read my posts? If Blizzard just ticks 3x for the listed damage (+modifiers of course) it's not worth putting on the hotbar. ROF with Alabaster rune provides stationary AE damage that is much stronger than Blizzard. Indigo rune, if it works like I think, is almost as strong as glyphed Blizzard and hits instantly across the screen...

    Ditto for certain rune configurations of Disentegrate.

    It's just going to be a throwaway spell if it's generic AE.
  7. konfeta

    konfeta IncGamers Member

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    Re: Thoughts on the Blizzard spell?

    RoF with Alabaster has the following flaws:
    1. Location - you can only spawn the ice patch where you kill a monster. It's great when you funnel enemies... and that's about it.
    2. AoE - there is no way the ice patch is anywhere near the area of Blizzard.

    RoF with Indigo... Speaks for itself:
    http://www.g4tv.com/videos/53084/diablo-3-runestones-wizards-ray-of-frost-skill-video/

    Blizzard can, on the other hand, can do the following:
    1. Freeze enemies like crazy.
    2. CC deal continuous AoE damage for 10 easy seconds while you cast other stuff.
    3. Be beefed up as a room killing nuke of its own.
    4. Slow enemies like crazy.

    They are different spells with different applications. Ray of Frost is better suited for dealing with elite enemies. Blizzard can be specced to clean out trash or to provide mass CC. To be quite frank, RoF with Alabaster looks like it will only be useful to a dedicated kiting/CC build and will most likely be relegated to a fancy gimmick. It's a mass single target damage spell with a strong slow component, Alabaster diversifies it into AoE at expense of its actual strengths. It *will* be inferior to Blizzard in areas that Blizzard is designed to be strong in.

    Look, for example, at AP costs. You can fire Ray of Frost for 4-5 seconds before being completely dry. Blizzard is fire and forget.
  8. vileguy

    vileguy IncGamers Member

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    Re: Thoughts on the Blizzard spell?

    You can be certain that it will hit once per second over the entire area. This is not really any different though. Blizzard's damage was unpredictable. There's no difference in the damage between hitting the whole area and hitting it random, it's just a difference in consistency. Sometimes you can walk through D2 blizzard without being hit, othertimes is pummels you. There's no difference between 1 and many targets unless the 1 target were large enough to get hit in a larger area.


  9. panikmeister

    panikmeister IncGamers Member

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    Re: Thoughts on the Blizzard spell?

    Ray of Frost Alabaster is no AoE and Indigo has a pretty short radius.
    Also with Blizzard you can stay safe while you cast it and don't have to stand in a pack of mobs.
  10. Jedouard

    Jedouard IncGamers Member

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    Re: Thoughts on the Blizzard spell?

    Some points to think about:

    (1) RoF can be offset to cost almost nothing or less than nothing:

    RoF/golden rune brings casting cost down to 3AP/sec.
    Storm Armour/golden rune makes all spells cost 7 AP less.
    Astral Presence increases regen by 2AP/sec. (I am not sure if you continue to regen while doing channel-type spells, though.)

    (2) Blizzard does not freeze enemies. It hits them with cold damage. The last we heard - and this could have changed - only cold crits freeze enemies unless the spell specifies otherwise (for example Nova).

    In fact, we do not even know if cold damage chills (slows) enemies. It would be worth finding a beta melee player to equip a +cold damage item and hit an enemy to see if it chills them. I hope it does, but I am not sure.

    All that said, Blizzard/alabaster freezes 52% of enemies and increases its crit by 80%. If crits work like we were once told, then that means 92% of enemies would be frozen, but you could not get the 10 sec. bump from the crimson rune.

    (3) Meteor/obsidian will likely be more advantageous for a lot of builds. It transforms the meteor into cold damage doing 353 cold damage avg. plus 50 cold damage avg. once per second over three seconds, and during those three seconds slows enemies 60%.

    Against this, Blizz/crimson will offer the trade off of large AoE for less damage and Blizz/alabaster will offer the trade off of stronger cc for less damage. And both of these will be cheaper than Meteor. But that shouldn't be a big issue unless you are running a lot of expensive skills.


  11. Ice Mistress Freya

    Ice Mistress Freya IncGamers Member

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    Re: Thoughts on the Blizzard spell?

    I did not realize, but had considered, they would make the ROF Indigo point blank. It's ridiculously good otherwise. Skill description is vague and could use some clarification.

    For an ice-based caster that is a point in Blizzard's favor, but it doesn't help my sense the spell is still weak. I don't want to break theme and use Arcane Orb or something.

    I also noted that a per shard blizzard has a tendency to miss against small enemies so it wouldn't always be the ideal AE. Which seems to be an argument in its favor for a unique damage mechanic. However, with Indigo being point blank and gimped I suppose it is for the best that it doesn't.

    I'm also fairly certain based on Blizzard alabaster rune that cold crits do not freeze. Otherwise there is no point for them to specifically state a level 7 rune gives you a 52% chance to freeze non-crit when the function of that self-same rune virtually guarantees you will always crit. It's obviously out.

    Indigo strikes me as the only end-game competitive rune.... assuming AP regenration is fairly strong if geared well. It's a roughly 2.5x multiplied and (greatly?) increases the area of effect. It does the nearly the same damage in 3 seconds that the other glyph, crimson I think, does in 10. Much burstier. Much easier to get full damage. And it hits more enemies. Alabaster at best gives you 2x damage and maybe some freeze. Golden gives you 2-4 damage for +3 ap, but base crit levels are unlikely to be good enough to make double casting competitive endgame especially if AP regen is strong anyway.
  12. ADest

    ADest IncGamers Member

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    Re: Thoughts on the Blizzard spell?

    Cold spells are always supplemental... They slow enemies, or prevent them from moving so you can lower their damage on you, and land another, more damaging spell on them. Because of the nature of cold spells (slowing the enemy, or stopping them) it's probably going to be the damage type most resisted, and cold immunes will be aplenty in Hell/Inferno.

    RoF looks good on paper, but imagine trying to stand there spraying Normal mode Anadriel or Duriel especially with that thing, you'd be dead in 3 seconds. And Duriel would be immune to it altogether from Nightmare on. Unless you have other players to tank for you, RoF/Disintergrate are no boss killers. They eliminate the Wizards movement, and the Wizard can't be a stationary target in a boss fight. Anything you can use while moving, regardless of the dmg, is the best bet.
  13. cacophony

    cacophony IncGamers Member

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    Re: Thoughts on the Blizzard spell?

    Where are you getting this per-shard assumption? I don't think the game is actually counting the shards and where they hit, it's more like a poison cloud DoT.
  14. konfeta

    konfeta IncGamers Member

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    Re: Thoughts on the Blizzard spell?

    @Jedo
    Ray of Frost no longer benefits from being an AoE spell if use with Golden Rune, rendering the complaint moot.

    The chilling thing would indeed be nice to know.

    Comet is more expensive and is geared towards spiked damage. It does not infringe on many of Blizzard's properties.

    @Ice
    Your problem is that you are viewing Blizzard as a primary spam nuke. It is a supplemental damage over time spell. It looks, numberwise weaker, than other spells because it can be used in conjunction with those spells.

    The only rune with it that is suspect balance wise is Golden, if cold damage does not naturally slow. Every other rune has a natural application.

    Alabaster is hard CC and spike damage, which is conductive to elite/champion monster killing.

    Crimson is damage efficiency - cast it, keep enemies in the area, and enjoy stacked damage for 10 seconds.

    Obsidian is soft long duration CC (which makes me think Blizzard doesn't chill naturally, though), which is conductive to long term kiting in the area.

    Indigo is if you really want this to be your crowd killing nuke. Supercharge its basic purpose, if you will.

    Golden suffers from the idea that it is an efficiency rune on a damage spell. I can't think of a situation where you would want to cast a weaker, less expensive nuke instead of a moderately more expensive, more efficient, and faster killing (or longer lasting) nuke. This particular concept needs to be dramatically buffed so that tossing Blizzard becomes a non-decision or changed to something else.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2011
  15. cacophony

    cacophony IncGamers Member

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  16. Ice Mistress Freya

    Ice Mistress Freya IncGamers Member

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    Re: Thoughts on the Blizzard spell?

    My problem is I want a strictly thematic (Ice build). That means I need both of them to be strong. I also loved my Bliss Sorc in D2. I don't disagree that Blizzard's nature (fire and forget) has many uses (as I've previously notes).

    As for.where I get the whole 'per shard' thing... that is how the spell worked in D2 and it was an amazingly powerful boss killer. The description in 3 still says that 'shards' fall but it is quite vague otherwise.

    Indigo rune is more spike damage than Alabaster, even if every hit crits - which may or may not happen. Unless crits are more than 2x damage. Indigo rune boosts the base damage of the spell roughly ~2.5x times on average. Just going by listed damage values, the average Alabaster Blizzard hit will deal 135 damage before damage bonuses. Indigo will do 162 and hit more enemies (so in reality the proceeding numbers advantages for Indigo are vastly understated). That's 20% more damage on average (and a really good roll could be a much larger advantage). After the myriad of damage multipliers are taken into account... better to have them dead than frozen.

    Champions on harder difficulties will likely be mostly immune to things like freezes. If the freeze percentage was functionally higher than a coin toss, which it isn't at the moment even with a level 7 rune, you could argue comparable spike on the fact that a good number of the enemies would be trapped for the entire duration of the spell. Which may be the case. We'll just have to wait and see how hard it is to get 3 hits on a crowd.

    Though really, my resolve on a totally frost build is fading a bit anyway. I have serious concerns about the viability of Frost Nova as either a damage amplifier or crowd control ability if higher difficulties significantly reduce chill/freeze durations as in D2. Four seconds is already a small window of opportunity.

    I also think Ice Armor may in the end be completely overwhelmed by Energy Armor and either of its +40 AP or +180% resist runes. Will just have to see on end-game AP regen and how useful the snare is. I imagine the effect will look thematically appropriate at any rate. Ruminating on a Ray Wizard variant at the moment - they're very fun and flashy.
  17. Ice Mistress Freya

    Ice Mistress Freya IncGamers Member

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    Re: Thoughts on the Blizzard spell?

    I also am a bit worried about the relative strength of different level runes. For many abilities it honestly doesn't seem as if there will be a huge difference between a level 4 rune and a level 7, or enough to make the trouble worth it. For others, 7s will be required for viable use (especially skill cooldown reduction runes).

    I just hope that above all else the VISUAL difference between rune levels is very pronounced for all skills. It would also be nice if actual power amped up accordingly as well. Aside from obvious things like "higher rune levels produce more projectiles" do we even know if higher runes lead to more intense spell effects? It would be sad and a waste if this is not the case. It should be especially easy to do for Wizards though I suppose it must be admitted that this concept could be difficult to employ for some of the other classes.
  18. konfeta

    konfeta IncGamers Member

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    Re: Thoughts on the Blizzard spell?

    You can increase critical hit damage multiplier.

    And as for the Freeze effect... I am not seeing why Blizzard would make it worthless like that. This isn't Diablo 2, land of the immunities and arbitrary "**** you"'s. Widespread trivialization of CC effects would absolutely wreck the WD and Cold based Wizards.
  19. Ice Mistress Freya

    Ice Mistress Freya IncGamers Member

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    Re: Thoughts on the Blizzard spell?

    Because a Wizard with 5 second Frost Nova and the 20% cooldown reduction trait is now basically invincible? 4 second freeze on a 4 second cooldown. Dump a few Blizzards off while everything is frozen. WD cc effects are generally a good bit longer than 3/4 seconds so they'd still have a purpose. I just cannot imagine being able to perma-freeze inferno (rename this to abyss please already) champion packs. No way.

    That is interesting about critical hit.damage. I wasn't aware. Could end up being insane... and you can have 40% more Precision with Energy Armor (assuming Precision is part of it, though I get the impression it will be it's own stat on items?).

    What I do wonder about is the area of effect on Arcane Torrent. I'm guessing it's not that big because it would be rather insane with the debuff rune (120% more arcane damage).
  20. konfeta

    konfeta IncGamers Member

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    Re: Thoughts on the Blizzard spell?

    Permafreezing might not be possible, but there exists a balance between the two extremes.

    Precision just increases chance to critically hit AFAIK.

    Torrent, probably not too big. It always struck me as a precision bombing tool.

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