What Skills are Hot (or Not) in 1.0.4?

The data shows what skills are winners and which are being dumped, in the new patch.

Patch 1.0.4 Build Changes
A review of the builds and skills that level 60 characters are using right now, compared to during patch 1.0.3, shows some big winners and sure losers. Some newly popular skills and runes are expected, while others might surprise you.

The 1.0.4 patch for Diablo III brought a lot of changes to the classes, with many buffs and a few nerfs to class skills. We track the most popular builds and skills of level 60 characters, for all the classes. The data is flowing in daily from hundreds of thousands of characters, including many level 60 characters who are gaining Paragon Levels.

Read on to see the big changes for each of the classes!

Barbarian Skill Popularity Changes in 1.0.4
  • The standard Whirlwind builds have grown in popularity for softcore Barbarians. Over 16% of them are now using some variant of the primary build! Many more are using a larger variation on the theme.
  • Rend received a major damage buff in the patch, and it was noticed. It went from being a skill that nobody used, to a viable option. While less than 3% of either the hardcore or softcore builds in patch 1.0.3 used it, it is now utilized by 16% of softcore and 21% of hardcore Barbarians.
  • One of the developer goals for Barbarians in 1.0.4 was to provide other Fury Generator options beyond Frenzy. Those other skills have grabbed the interest of Barbarian players, while Frenzy usage has dropped. It plummeted on the softcore side from 66% to 48%, while the hardcore characters using it slipped from 88% to 74%.
  • Bash is one of the buffed Fury Generators gaining in popularity, at the expense of Frenzy. Bash usage went from 23% to 38% for softcore Barbarians. It still isn't very popular on the hardcore side, with only of 13% hardcore Barbarians putting it to use, although that did increase from the paltry 4% who had it in 1.0.3.
  • Curious about more builds and skills? Check out the most popular Barbarian builds and skills for yourself. You can compare them to the popular 1.0.3 builds and skills to see the differences.
Demon Hunter Skill Popularity Changes in 1.0.4
  • Rain of Vengeance is supposed to be an iconic Demon Hunter ability, and it's damage was buffed in 1.0.4 to provide an extra punch. Some Demon Hunters decided that was enough to make it useful, and it increased in a moderate number of builds; it moved up from 13% to 22% in softcore, and from 9% to 16% in hardcore.
  • One might say that the Vault skill went vaulting up in popularity. With the dramatically buffed Trail of Cinders rune becoming very popular, the skill rose from softcore usage of 38% to over 56%, and climbing. Vault has always been popular in hardcore builds, but it climbed even further, going from 78% to 84% and with the rune switched to Trail of Cinders from the old standard of Tumble.
  • Since the Caltrops rune Jagged Spikes can no longer trigger procs, it wasn't surprising to see the skill drop in popularity; it is no longer useful in that way for a Demon Hunter tank build. The skill slipped from 58% to 41% usage on the softcore side, and is down from 50% to 40% in hardcore builds.
  • For the hardy hardcore Demon Hunters, the Brooding passive skill became worth a look by players wanting more health regen all the time; it climbed from 2% to over 11% usage. That's good enough to bump it up into tying for the 5th most used passive skill on the hardcore list.
  • Want to see more? Check out all the most popular Demon Hunter builds and skills for yourself. You can compare them to the popular 1.0.3 builds and skills to see the differences.
Monk Skill Popularity Changes in 1.0.4
  • Monks have some of the most static builds, and the main builds are still overwhelmingly popular so far in patch 1.0.4. There have been some changes with certain skills getting another look, though.
  • The biggest winner has been Seven-Sided Strike. It is being used much more, after a massive damage buff in the patch. On the softcore side it went from 12% to 29% usage; hardcore players are also utilizing it more, with an increase from 11% to 25%.
  • Changes like that always come at the expense of other skills. Blinding Flash is still a very popular Monk skill, but it has slipped in overall usage. Softcore Monks have it in their builds 58% of the time, down from 65%; on the hardcore side it dropped from 45% to 35%.
  • Interested in more data? See the the most popular Monk builds and skills for yourself. You can compare them to the popular 1.0.3 builds and skills to see the differences.
Witch Doctor Skill Popularity Changes in 1.0.4
  • Witch Doctors had the most changes in patch 1.0.4, to deal with the previous weaknesses and problems in the class. There are a lot of new skill and build choices here, but it mainly boils down to a simple idea: Drop the Darts, Bring the Pets!
  • The mighty Gargantuan is incredibly popular, and is now the second most popular active skill for both hardcore and softcore Witch Doctors. It went from being used by 30% of softcore characters in 1.0.3 to now being summoned by 75%; the hardcore Witch Doctors similarly love the beefy zombie, where it climbed from 49% to 81% usage.
  • The Witch Doctors also like to Summon Zombie Dogs! That has now jumped up to being the third most popular active skill. Softcore Witch Doctors were only using it 15% of the time back in 1.0.3, but now pick it for 65% of their builds. Hardcore players equally enjoy having these cadaverous canines around, with the dogs going from 20% to 64% usage.
  • Since a character can only have 6 skills at once, if some skills are vastly more popular, that means that other skills are falling in popularity. The biggest loser is the Poison Dart, as Witch Doctors gladly put down the darts. It fell from 60% usage down to 35% in softcore, and from 70% to 40% in hardcore.
  • With the Vision Quest passive skill redesigned, there aren't builds using long cooldown skills just to try to reach 4 active skills on cooldown at once, like there were in 1.0.3. Both Big Bad Voodoo and Fetish Army plummeted in popularity as other skills were chosen that are useful more of the time, instead of just for 20 out of every 120 seconds.
  • There aren't any specific highly popular builds for the Witch Doctor so far in 1.0.4. Instead we see a lot of experimentation going on with builds, mixing up many different skills. At this time, the build list doesn't have any builds (including build variants) that are popular for more than 2% of the entire group, for either softcore or hardcore; that may change as specific builds grow in popularity.
  • Want to dig in to more changes? See the currently most popular Witch Doctor builds and skills for yourself. You can compare them to the popular 1.0.3 builds and skills to see the differences.
Wizard Skill Popularity Changes in 1.0.4
  • A major focus for the Wizard class design in 1.0.4 was to give more rune options for the popular Hydra skill. The early data shows some success in that regard, with Arcane Hydra utilized in many builds, instead of the standard Venom Hydra. The popularity of the newly buffed runes helped propel Hydra into more usage than before. It inched up to be the 4th most common active skill on the softcore side, matching the rank found on the hardcore side.
  • A Wizard skill losing in popularity is Magic Weapon. It went from 53% to 43% for softcore characters, and dropped from 29% to 17% on the hardcore side.
  • Cold Blooded has seen a nice bump in popularity in this patch. It went from 21% to 29% on the softcore side, and from 14% to 23% for hardcore Wizards. That was enough to push it into the top 5 most popular passive skills list on the hardcore side.
  • Interested in more changes? Check out the most popular Wizard builds and skills for yourself. You can compare them to the popular 1.0.3 builds and skills to see the differences.

All of the statistics on the Popular Builds and Skills reports are updated daily. Check back regularly to see the new builds and skills that become popular, as players get further into patch 1.0.4!
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