Just looking through the class patch notes and it looks like the game's difficulty is going to be nerfed quite a bit. Check out the Barbarian change to rend:
Rend was (pre 1.0.4) a pretty much useless barb skill because it didn't last very long and didn't do much damage (200% over 3 seconds, thats 66% weapon damage per second), it really needed the buff.....I won't say the difficulty of the game is being nerfed, but rather, the viable skill varieties in inferno is being buffed.
Though the difficulty is being nerfed overall, elites will have less health and do less damage in inferno than before:
- Act I
- Elite monster health reduced by 11%
- Act II
- Normal monster health increased by 4%
- Elite monster health reduced by 8%
- Overall damage done by all monsters reduced by 8%
- Act III and Act IV
- Normal monster health increased by 10%
- Elite monster health reduced by 2.5%
- Overall damage done by all monsters reduced by 15%
Which I think is perfectly valid....my monk has 600 all resist, 6k armor, 30k DPS and I can't handle A3 inferno at all (1200 LoH to boot).....too many small monsters whittle me down before I can kill them but elites just roll me. A2 I can do but I have to be super careful on some elite packs and generally more careful than normal on the average elite pack.
Not to mention fire chains damage is being reduced by 20%, while arcane enchanted is being reduced by 30%.
Can't wait to try out WD after the updates though, I really liked the way WDs play, but they felt too weak with slow animation times, useless pets and having to kite like other ranged classes. Now their main skills are getting damage boosts and animation speed buffs while their pets are also getting stronger.
For example, as Witch Doctor 1.0.3 mana regen = 20 per second, Rain of Toads (plague of toads + rain of toads rune) = 34 mana per cast (guessing it doesn't scale with level?), net loss of 14 mana per second (assuming you cast 1 per second).
1.0.4 mana regen = 45 per second, Rain of Toads = 12 mana per cast, net gain of 32 mana per second assuming 1 cast per second.
Basically, if you want to not lose mana from rain of toads in 1.0.3 you need to cast 1 every 1.7 seconds, in 1.0.4 you can cast 1 every 0.27 seconds and still gain 0.56 additional mana per second....in 1.0.4 you can cast 6 times faster than you could in 1.0.3 to not use mana (that is, you can stack more attack speed and still not lose mana in 1.0.4 compared to having to watch how much you are spamming it as in 1.0.3)
Not to mention, if you use Vision Quest in 1.0.4, you will gain mana back at 58.5 per second, versus the 60 per second you got in 1.0.3.....but you had to waste 4 skill slots and 1 passive slot to get that mana regen in 1.0.3, in 1.0.4 you get it for 5 seconds any time you do damage with one of your primary abilities.
I really like that direction because it lets WD play a bit more like Wizard, where they have abilities that don't really touch their resource. Plus rain of toads has the highest coefficient (or the most efficient use of its coefficient) of any WD skill. It procs effects for 50% of their value per tick per enemy. If you have 500 LoH, rain of toads will heal you for 250 life every time it ticks (which is confirmed to be every 0.5s), so a single enemy will give you 100% of your LoH per second for 2 seconds. Each cast gives you 4 procs of 50% LoH, so 200% LoH over 2 seconds. If you cast it more than once, it WILL overlap with the other rain of toads and heal you that much more. Say you can cast 1 per second (1.0 attack speed), if you spam rain of toads you will get 8 ticks over 2 seconds, or, 200% LoH every second. 500 LoH now becomes 1k life per second PER ENEMY. 2 enemies, that's 2k Life per Second.
I could easily keep 3 Rain of Toads overlapping in 1.0.3 but ran out of mana too fast, which increases the value above by 50%, or 1.5k Life per second per enemy, and that's with only 500 LoH.....double the LoH (very common to have 1k LoH) and that's 3k life per second per enemy.
Spider Queen is also getting a nice buff.....currently does 16% WD (weapon damage) every second for 15 seconds....or 240% WD over 15 seconds.....it will now do 630% WD over 15 seconds (or, 42% WD every second for 15 seconds).....so a 262.5% damage increase. And it now procs LoH (never did before). I can see that being a very good compliment to one of the other damage skills (like Rain of Toads).....summon one of those every 15 seconds for damage and LoH, then spam Rain of Toads.