Monday, 18 June 2012

The Diablo fight from a Wizard's perspective

I've been stuck on the "Kill Diablo" quest (Inferno) since Sunday and needless to say the fight is pretty damn unforgiving.
For those of you trekking through act 4, here's some of the BS you can expect:
  • Self-detonating fireballs. The single fireball that Diablo fires off and explodes into a massively near-instakill AOE terrain DOT. Typically they have to actually hit something before they detonate... apparently in this fight, they can explode wherever they please, like right next to you as you dodge out of the way, or right before they hit you as you're about to teleport, causing the AOE to kill you.
  • Teleporting fireball terrain AOE DOT field of doom. If you have crystal shell up and are at full health and hit a potion as the fireball hits you and manage to teleport away on impact, you MIGHT survive with barely any hp left. Then again, you might not: the AOE will spawn underneath you in your new location instead of where the fireball hit you.
  • Fireball multi-shot nova. That ring of multiple fireballs? Sometimes there are no gaps, it's simply a misleading nova, and no matter where you position yourself you will get hit.
  • Infinite-range melee attacks. God help you if you find yourself too close to Diablo with both diamond skin and teleport on cooldown and she decides she wants to string together 3+ melee charge attacks, because you will not escape them all. You could be half-way across the screen and if she decides it's about time you took some damage, you're going to take some damage.
She has other major threats, like the UberDOT melee attack that will kill you if you don't get to a health shrine in time (aka gl in phase 2 bro) but at least dying to her other threats make sense.

  • Getting hit by it with both healing wells down WILL kill you.
  • Getting hit by it during phase 2 WILL kill you.
  • Getting hit by it with teleport on cooldown while a fair distance away from the healing well WILL kill you.

So, what have I learned in 3 straight days of slamming myself into the impenetrable wall known as Inferno Diablo? That the fight is way different than it was in Hell.
Think of the map (phase 1 and 3) like a baseball diamond. You've got healing wells at 1st base and 3rd base, Diablo's "spawn" point on the pitcher's mound, a pretty area to kite around in the in-field, and a slightly smaller area in the out-field.
Most people would have you dance around 1st and 3rd base trying to play keep-away with Diablo, but the main difference in this fight is her UberDOT melee attack. You should be playing to avoid this at ALL costs;
Diablo's teleport -> melee attack lands far more frequently than her charge -> melee and all her melee attacks have a chance to inflict this DOT, even if you absorb the damage with diamond skin. For this reason, you don't ever want Diablo to teleport on you.
Luckily, you can make that happen. By keeping Diablo on your screen with a clear line-of-sight between the two of you, she will almost NEVER teleport (I've been doing this all night, she only ever used teleport once and followed it up with the bone prisons)
So if you've followed what I've been saying thus far, you should have already realized what I'm about to say: you want to kite circles around Diablo in the in-field, where there is always LoS.
You should be able to dodge all her regular attacks, and only take infrequent damage from her BS attacks (see above) which you should either shrug off with a potion or make a dash for the healing wells if it's critical damage.
Dealing Damage
The best way to deal damage is to lay hydra and just survive. Adding on ray of frost or magic missile may seem like a good idea at the time, until you realize when you stop moving to attack is when Diablo kills you, almost always.
So, dealing damage becomes all about survival.
  • Venom Hydra is the offensive skill of choice.
  • Teleport is mandatory, and Wormhole is the ideal candidate because you will need to escape from some hairy situations where 1 teleport just won't do. Fracture will kill you more often than you'd like to think: your images like to eat fireballs and the AOE likes to teleport under you.
  • Diamond skin with crystal shell. Mandatory.
  • Force armor, unless you've built yourself into a gdlk tank and get better results from Prismatic.
  • Slow Time with Perpetuity. This one is vital for avoiding fireballs in scary situations, and popping it in phase 2 pre-emptively before the clones spawn generally prevent any BS one-shotting they'll try to do.
  • This leaves you with 1 skill slot. I've been using magic missile /w seeker rune, but at this point I think I might be best off leaving it empty and putting the move command on left-click. There are so few real opportunities to safely stop and attack that you're best bet is to pretend Hydra is your only offense (because, it kinda is.)
Okay, that's enough for now, I'll add more if I can manage to progress further.