Witch Doctor and Barbarian Boosts on Patch 2.3 PTR

The next test build brings updates to Reflect Damages, and new items

Firebats in Patch 2.2.1 Diablo III
Season 4 is being tested on the Diablo III patch 2.3.0 PTR, while the developers ready the next build. That next PTR patch will bring big changes for Witch Doctors, including new Set bonuses and Legendary items, along with improvements to the Firebats skill. New Barbarian bracers will also be updated in the next patch, along with further refinement to the Reflects Damage monster ability.

Season 4 Active on PTR
The testing for Season 4 started up on the Public Test Realm, including new Season 4 items, as detailed in the patch notes. The brand new Season Journey feature is also active, to be tested. The developers are gathering feedback from all of that, before the next PTR patch arrives.
Posted by: JayDog

There have been no changes to the PTR build since July 7th... so there is nothing more for them to tell you until they release the next build.

This is correct. The base 2.3.0 PTR Patch included what was necessary to launch Season 4, so a patch wasn't necessary to begin the Season.

We'd like to see how the start of Season 4 plays out with current balance iterations, at least for a little bit, before introducing the first PTR patch (especially with the addition of Season 4's Legendaries). As noted, the July 7th patch was mostly aimed at resolving connection issues for Mac users and larger balance changes will be coming in the next PTR patch.

Community Buff on the PTR
The +2000% Legendary drop rate buff was disabled on the PTR, once Season 4 began. The buff may be added and removed further during the testing process, as needed. Nevalistis explained the usage of the buff on the PTR.
The Community Buff will be coming on and off throughout the course of PTR, depending on testing needs.

There will be times, like the start of a Season, where that kind of buff actually works counterintuitive to what we want to test (when we want to see more natural character progression and observe its pacing). After we can get a good bundle of data, we may re-enable it to encourage more focused testing on different areas, such as on sets, Seasonal items, or Kanai's Cube.

Posted by: Barkida

The real question is: Why does the buff exist anyway
With it:
- Unrealistic feel for drop rates and thus - no test feedback
- Greater % of players simply on to play - no useful feedback and more pressure on servers
With out it:
- More actual testers
- Gear could easily be provided for testing via either a special vendor - or alternatively add Blood Shards to an existing vendor to give us an unlimited supply - which would negate the only reason I can see for such a buff

We utilize the Legendary drop when we need players to test things that require a lot of Legendaries, like trying out new item powers or, in the case of this PTR, using Kanai's Cube.There is so much to experiment and play around with where the Cube is concerned, so naturally we wanted testers to have a slew of items for this purpose. When we need more a more natural drop rate experience (like we currently do), we disable it.

Having a ton of players on the PTR is actually pretty useful. While it may prevent some players from participating, what it facilitates is the ability for us to get a lot of data, observe player behavior, and track trends. Not all feedback comes in the form of a forum post, Reddit thread, or errant tweet, or is necessarily visible to the public eye. Sometimes we just need people playing. :)

The Legendary buff fulfills a lot of our testing needs by ramping up the rate of acquisition of items in the way you most naturally acquire them - by seeing them drop. If that ever stops being true, you can rest assured that we'll re-evaluate it.

New Barbarian Bracers
Among the many new items in patch 2.3 are two Barbarian bracers, which currently have these Legendary powers:
  • Bracers of the First Men - When Hammer of the Ancients hits an enemy, gain 75-100% increased attack speed for 3 seconds
  • Bracers of Destruction - Seismic Slam deals 300-400% increased damage to the first two enemies it hits
Currently on the PTR, Bracers of the First Men are also boosting the power of Whirlwind, which was not intended. That will be fixed in the next PTR patch, along with other item changes. Developer John Yang detailed the changes coming to the bracers, and the fact that the damage bonus on them is multiplicative.
Bracers of the First Men
Bracers of the First Men were intended to work with a Hammer of the Ancients-centric build. As most of you can guess, this bracer was not intended to be a buff to Whirlwind builds. With that said, this item has been redesigned to work exclusively with Hammer of the Ancients, and will provide a 150-200% damage bonus and a 50% attack speed bonus to Hammer of the Ancients in the next PTR patch. Additional tuning is always possible - those are the current numbers after internal testing.

Bracers of Destruction
We think the general design of this item is fine but the damage bonus needs to affect a few more enemies to be effective in more situations. In the next patch the damage bonus will apply to the first 5 enemies hit by Seismic Slam instead of the first 2.

Additionally, the bug where the Immortal King's 6pc bonus currently does not work on the PTR will be fixed with the next PTR patch.

As I've said before, we do want Hammer of the Ancients and Seismic Slam builds to be high-end builds and your continued testing, theorycrafting, and feedback is helping. Thanks all in this thread, other threads in this forum, and in class forums.

Witch Doctor Item and Skill Changes
The next PTR patch will also bring many updates for Witch Doctors. This includes tweaking the new Set bonuses for the Spirit of Arachyr and Helltooth Harness sets, new Legendary weapons. The Firebats skill is also being changed in the base skill, and a couple of the runes. Channeled skills like that have been problematic in the fast-paced action of Diablo III, and the developers are working to make them more useful.
Hi all,

I wanted to share updates on two of the sets that since 2.3 PTR launched have had significant changes - Helltooth and Spirit of Arachyr - with the goal re-aligning the discussions and theorycrafting to what the sets/playstyles might look like next PTR patch.

The initial starting cost of 150 Mana has been removed and the channel cost has been increased from 75 to 125 Mana. Summed up, this means when you channel Firebats for less than 3 attack cycles (roughly 2-3 seconds depending on attack speed) Firebats will cost less total Mana than previously. Additionally, the time needed to fully charge up Plague Bats and Cloud of Bats has been reduced by 40%.

These changes are intended to make a channeled skill like Firebats more friendly to use in fast-paced gameplay environments where movement is important. Some of the runes will still reinforce standing still to channel the skill but will do so by granting increased damage rather than consuming all of your Mana if you have to move due to danger or other reasons.

Spirit of Arachyr
6pc bonus
  • Creature skills now include Locust Swarm.
  • Damage bonus has been increased from 500% to 800%.

  • These adjustments along with the Firebats changes above should sum to meaningful improvements to the build.

    Helltooth Harness
    2pc bonus
  • Grasp of the Dead now also applies Necrosis.
  • Necrosis now increases damage taken from all sources by 15% but the damage over time has been reduced to 1000% per second. This shifts some of the damage off relying on Wall of Death hitting as well as provides some group benefit.
  • 6pc bonus
  • The damage bonus has been moved from requiring Necrosis on the enemy to be a self-buff on you. The bonus currently reads "After casting Wall of Death, you gain 300% increased damage to your primary skills, Acid Cloud, Firebats, Zombie Charger, Grasp of the Dead, Piranhas, and Wall of Death for 10 seconds. This effect stacks up to 3 times." Casting Wall of Death refreshes the duration of all existing stacks of this buff on you.

  • We want there to be some payoff for hitting with a challenging-to-use skill like Wall of Death but the difference between Necrosis being on the enemy or not was too large. Moving the 6pc bonus to a player buff also lets the set be more mobile.

    Additionally, we are adding two weapons that synergize with this set:
    1H Spear
    Reduces the Mana cost of Zombie Charger by 30-40%.
    Rolls with +25-30% Zombie Charger damage.

    2H Staff
    Acid Cloud gains the effect of the Lob Blob Bomb rune.
    Rolls with +30-40% Acid Cloud damage.

    These are not the only changes coming to sets but are what we wanted to share today. Thanks for all the focused feedback so far - keep it up.

    Grouping versus Solo Gameplay
    The balance between playing solo and grouping up in Diablo III has shifted over the life of the game; when the game was first released, there was a substantial penalty for playing in groups. Right now, grouping gives large bonuses compared to playing solo, for getting experience and other areas of the game like the Infernal Machine. There are changes coming in patch 2.3 to reduce some of the disparity in solo versus group play, but the developers want to be careful not to overshoot the mark.

    Reflects Damage Monster Skill
    There are many changes in patch 2.3 to monster skills and experience; see the monster feedback thread for a recap of those. The monster skill Reflects Damage is being changed to only be active on one monster in a group, at a time. It is being tweaked further in the next PTR patch, to have an internal cooldown, and to reflect the same damage type that is dealt to the monster.
    Loads of great feedback in here, I'm reading through all of it. Keep it up! :)

    On to topic of Reflects Damage, we've got some changes coming in the next PTR patch for it. We’re still finalizing the changes, but there are two you’ll want to watch for. First, we’ve changed the type of damage reflected to match the same type of damage dealt. This introduces a level of gearing strategy, especially for builds that utilize a single element. In addition, we’ve added an internal cooldown to the affix to prevent it from triggering multiple times from certain skills (like the Witch Doctor’s Poison Dart). This should severely reduce (if not remove entirely) that "instagib" effect from too many abilities going off at the same time, especially those that you can’t necessarily control.

    The intention behind the original change was to introduce a level of avoidance to the affix; with only one target having it up, you can pick and choose which targets to hit, similar to how Shielding currently works. The largest problem seems to be arising from DoTs or other ongoing area effects that render that intention moot. That’s what we’re working to address.

    Unenchanting Items
    One of the recipes in the new Kanai's Cube artisan Reforges a Legendary or Set item, which essentially rerolls it. That creates an entirely new version of the same item, which has the same 10% chance to be an Ancient edition. That also removes any enchants that the original item may have had.

    Level Requirement for Crafted Items
    Right now on the PTR, crafted items have no level requirement. That is a bug, that will be fixed either through a hotfix or in an upcoming PTR patch.
    Posted by: Junsa

    Would like to get a word on this because it seems counter-productive to realistic s4 testing if this is not working as intended.

    Crafted items should have a required character level. This is definitely a bug. We've already gotten this working properly on our internal build; unfortunately, the fix just barely missed this past Tuesday's patch.

    We're exploring some options to get this fix out as quickly as possible, but it may end up requiring a patch. We'll be sure to keep you all updated.

    Thanks for your reports and dedicated testing!
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