This week, we're going to look at some of the changes to Bow skills that we've been working on. We're going to look at a major rework to Rain of Arrows and its Vaal version, as well as what we're doing to close the gap between Barrage and Blast Rain.

Rain of Arrows

We want this skill to be more powerful at higher levels. Its area of effect performed well at lower levels, but once players had access to piercing and additional projectiles, other bow skills could cover a much larger area. We couldn't just increase its size, as it would have to be absolutely massive to compete with projectile skills.

Our reworked version rains down arrows that each deal area damage where they land, and they land over a much larger area than the original Rain of Arrows.

We've tried a number of ways to distribute the arrows. Eventually we came to our current version. Half of the arrows will drop randomly, while the other half will drop on targets over the area. It picks targets in a series of rings spreading out from the targeted location, making the target spread very even. Take a look at this screenshot for an example of this:



"Additional Arrows" add more arrows spread out over additional outer rings, increasing the total spread of damage without impacting damage to individual targets.

This is how it drops arrows when there are targets in its area:



The skill will also receive some additional effects to demonstrate the damage of the arrows.



Vaal Rain of Arrows

Vaal Rain of Arrows will receive the same changes as Rain of Arrows above, with some special additions.

The skill will fire more arrows, meaning it will drop arrows over a larger area. The skill will also repeat its rain multiple times, providing powerful ongoing damage, controlling its area for an extended period.

Rather than pinning enemies in place, the skill will now perform a powerful Maim, slowing enemy movement by 75%. Having a slow effect rather than preventing movement makes monsters more likely to keep trying to run at you, rather than just stopping and using any ranged attacks immediately. This makes the skill much more practical as crowd control.

Barrage

This skill is currently a cornerstone of the most powerful Bow builds, granting unparalleled single target damage once players have found ways to give the skill additional projectiles.

Additional projectiles provide too great a damage increase (as the skill gains 25% more damage for each extra projectile). We don't want to simply reduce the damage of the skill, as this makes the skill much less useful before players have access to additional projectiles.

We're currently trying out a version of the skill that has a base of 5 projectiles per barrage, rather than 4, and reducing the damage to compensate. This will mean that a player will gain 20% more damage for each additional projectile.

Long term, we want to provide alternatives to Barrage that can compete with it, but its ability to scale with additional projectiles is so extreme that we have to reduce its damage per additional projectile to give other skills a chance. This will give us the opportunity to provide more general power for bow skills.

Blast Rain

Blast Rain was previously one of the more popular abilities for high single-target damage, and we want it to recover some of that strength.

The skill will now convert 100% of Physical Damage to Fire. Ranger characters don't have easy access to giving a skill full conversion to fire, so we've built this into the skill to let you take full advantage of Elemental interactions.

The skill will now penetrate 25% Fire Resistance by gem level 20. We wanted to boost the damage by about 25%, so we've done so in a way that will make it much more effective against resistant targets.

We're looking at more extreme mechanical changes to Blast Rain and other single-target bow skills, as well as considering Blast Rain's interactions with additional arrows. We'll keep iterating on these skills leading up to 3.3.0 and beyond.

We'll provide more information as we keep iterating on these changes in the weeks to come, as well as talking about some of the other skill changes we'll be making. Nothing is set in stone, so thoughts and feedback are welcome!
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Grinding Gear Games

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