Skill Changes in 1.0.8 PTR Patch

Buffs to Wizard, Witch Doctor, and Demon Hunter skills are coming in the next build

Witch Doctor Firebats
The next Diablo III patch 1.0.8 build is getting readied to go up on the Public Test Realm. Even though it isn't fully available, some of the files for it were put up, and provide an early glimpse at tweaks to skills in patch 1.0.8. Keep in mind that some of these skills are only partially changed so far, as noted in the developer posts below.
Check out the Patch 1.0.8 Guide for full details about the patch.
Demon Hunter
  • Rapid Fire - Cost: 20 Hatred initially, and an additional 10 6 Hatred while channeling / Rapidly fire for 276 438% weapon damage as Physical.
    • Rapid Fire - Bombardment - Rapidly fire grenades that explode for 345 414% weapon damage as Fire to all enemies within a 4 8 yard radius.
    • Rapid Fire - Fire Support - While channeling Rapid Fire, launch 2 homing rockets every second. Each rocket deals 35 145% weapon damage as Physical to nearby targets.
    • Rapid Fire - Withering Fire - Reduces the initial Hatred cost to 5 10, and ignites your arrows, causing them to deal Fire damage.
Witch Doctor
  • Firebats - Cost: 98 221 Mana initially, and an additional 66 Mana while channeling / Call forth a swarm of fiery bats to burn enemies in front of you for 180% weapon damage as Fire.
  • Disintegrate - Cost: 18 Arcane Power / Thrust a beam of pure energy forward, dealing 170 220% weapon damage as Arcane and disintegrating enemies it kills.
    • Disintegrate - Intensify - Damage increases slowly over time to inflict a maximum of 221 286% weapon damage as Arcane.
    • Disintegrate - Entropy - The beam fractures into a short-ranged cone that deals 196 253% weapon damage as Arcane.
  • Arcane Torrent - Cost: 16 Arcane Power / Hurl a barrage of arcane projectiles that deal 210 285% weapon damage as Arcane to all enemies near the impact location.
    • Arcane Torrent - Cascade - Enemies killed by Arcane Torrent have a 100% chance to fire a new missile at a nearby enemy dealing 210 285% weapon damage as Arcane.
    • Arcane Torrent - Arcane Mines - Instead of firing projectiles, lay Arcane mines that arm after 2 seconds. These mines explode when an enemy approaches, dealing 180 340% weapon damage as Arcane. Enemies caught in the explosion have their movement and attack speeds reduced by 30% for 3 seconds.

Comments from developer Wyatt Cheng explained some of the skill changes, and they were reposted in a blue post on the forums, along with some other blue comments. This shows the difficulty in making PTR patches; the snapshop for new PTR builds are often done when changes aren't fully completed, but if they waited until everything was "done", there wouldn't be as much time to test other features.
Hey all!

Just in case you're not an avid reader of /r/Diablo, I wanted to pass along some information that Wyatt shared regarding an upcoming change to Firebats. In the next PTR build, the initial Mana cost for Firebats will be increasing (to 220 at level 60), but the channeling cost will be reduced (to 66 at level 60).

We will also be increasing the damage Firebats does, but that change did not make the next PTR build. Wyatt explains more below:

Buffs are nice, but I wonder why they nerfed Witch Doctors' firebats.

Wyatt: The Firebats changes were halfway done when we snapshotted the PTR patch.

The mana cost change was one change. The other change is buffing the damage of Firebats. The mana change made this PTR patch, the damage change did not. Look for it in the next PTR patch after this one.

It's not exactly a nerf and it's intended to change the way the skill is used (long channeling as opposed to short bursts).

Wyatt: Pretty much this.

Bears is great for high damage in quick bursts when you can get close to your enemy and sustain the mana. Acid Cloud is great damage you can apply at specific locations, good for AOE, and also good if your playstyle can maximize the DOT component.

Firebats is not intended to step on either of those roles. Since it is a channeling skill, and some of the runes already play into standing still, we want to make Firebats a solid damage choice if you find you can stand in one spot for a few seconds. Will it be for everybody? No. Will it replace Bears and Acid Cloud? Hopefully not.

What we'd like to see is some new approaches that make use of Firebats' niche advantages. An easy example would be high MP group play. I can stand still thanks to my allies, and we want to do a lot of damage due to the high MP. In a situation like this there is room for Firebats to outperform Bears and Acid Cloud. Hopefully creative players will find even more builds and playstyles in which Firebats finds an enjoyable home.

Note that the reduction in the continual mana cost looks small on paper, but is very large in practice. This is because your "net cost" you pay per second is relative to your regeneration. So the reduction in continual cost means that most witch doctors can channel for significantly longer than before. Whereas before maybe you could channel Firebats for 3 seconds before you ran out of mana, now you can go for 6 seconds, 10 seconds, and for certain builds - indefinitely. So the goal of this change is to put a little more emphasis on where you position yourself to start casting, and letting you cast for longer periods once you've started. Is it any good for "run and gun" builds? No, but there are other skills for that. We're not trying to introduce more powerful choices for existing playstyles (ie. I play the same way as I did before but I spew bats instead of bears), instead, we're trying to introduce alternate mechanics to create alternate playstyles. It may not be for everybody, but it should be for somebody.

While not specific to the PTR or 1.0.8, Wyatt also went on to talk a bit more about crits and DoTs:

In a long term channel it might be considered a buff, right? I'm sure they will explain their rationale.

Wyatt: Spells such as Disintegrate, Ray of Frost, and Firebats DO crit. You don't get big yellow numbers, but they absolutely crit.

The reason is a technical one. Internally many of these powers are classified as "continuous damage over time" spells. The idea being that between really wanting a visceral sense of "applying" a DOT, some of our DOTs apply damage extremely frequently (I think it's 60 times a second under the hood, but don't quote me on that). The upside of this approach is that as you hold your mouse over the target, you get to really feel like you are melting your opponent.

The downside of this approach is that the floating damage numbers became impossible to read at 60 damage amounts per second. Not to mention it was a stream of extremely small numbers. When you first get Firebats you might be doing 11 damage with your Poison dart, and then you'd get a stream of floating 1s for Firebats when the damage was being applied in these very small increments 60 times a second. So to solve that issue we "batch up" all the damage your continuous DOT did over the last 0.25 seconds and present that to you as a floating damage number.

Under the hood, each individual tick can crit (with the ticks being done at this 60 times a second rate), but because the numbers are batched up, there's no clear definition of when to make the number "yellow". In a 0.25 second period you might get 2 crits, 8 crits, or 15 crits.

Here's the main thread link if you'd like to read the full conversation:
Posted by: SirCris

It's a PTR change guys, wait and test it out, then complain.

This is good advice. We will definitely be looking at feedback from players who've had the opportunity to test out the changes once they've been implemented on the PTR.
Posted by: Excalibur

Are these changes live in the PTR yet? I didn't notice any change for arcane torrent in the PTR when I logged in just now.

No not yet. :)

Posted by: MikeHoncho

You guys shouldn't bother putting this in PTR without the damage buff. It's a straight up nerf right now.

That's a bit of a technical issue. The short answer is we'd prefer not to wait. It's not ideal, but it would force us to delay the PTR build, which would reduce the amount of testing time other changes would have.

Identify All
Players have been giving feedback on the Identify All option added in patch 1.0.8, which may get tweaked further before release.
Just wanted to jump in and say "thanks!" for the ongoing discussion regarding Identify All. Hearing from multiple different perspectives and about multiple different experiences with the feature is great.

Keep it up! This is only the first week of the PTR, so right now we're spending a lot of time listening to what players have to say about the new content. We have additional PTR patches planned (no ETA, sorry guys!), so there definitely are opportunities for us to make adjustments based on your feedback.

Shields in Diablo III
Shields don't get much use in softcore mode these days, and a thread about how to make them more useful brought some intriguing blue comments.
Just wanted to jump in and say thanks for the discussion (and the compiled feedback in the OP). :)

The role of a shield is that, if you feel like you're taking too much damage, you can put it on and take noticeably less damage, and shields right now are fulfilling that role well. Also, while we know that shields aren't as sexy since we toned down the difficulty of the game, they do still provide a lot of value to Hardcore characters and are useful to players who prefer a more defensive play style. Even so, we're interested in ways to make defensive stats in general more appealing (and shields as a part of that), without returning to the early launch days when everybody was pigeonholed into highly defensive builds.

Along those lines, we're always looking for good critiques and suggestions for the game, and there's a lot of great feedback in here, so I'll be sure to pass this along!

Brawling Bug on PTR
Characters who go Brawling in the PVP area on the PTR, are taking more damage than normal. Wyatt Cheng noted that this a bug, that will be fixed before the patch is released.
Thanks for reporting this. This is not intended. We'll get this fixed before 1.0.8 releases.

In a thread about the new icons for multiplayer co-op mode, Lylirra comments that the current banner icon is placeholder art, and the real icons will be in the next PTR patch.

The next PTR build will bring a lot of interesting changes. We'll let you know all about them as they arrive!
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