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Arctic Breath

Like most people in this thread: Cold-focused DoT Occultist.

I think the real issue with this skill is it doesn't actually scale with multiple projectiles. Because the on-hit damage and impact AoE was reduced so much, it feels really clunky compared to Vortex or Cold Snap to play.

I feel it should be balanced around the Cold DoT areas on the ground dealing *stacking* damage. e.g. GMP is a damage multiplier against single targets because the Cold DoTs overlap.

Alternatively, increase the on-hit impact AoE so the impact damage can shotgun, allowing for a combination of single target and trash clearing.
Cold based Occultist DoT here, LOVE the new skill reworks.

AB is kinda weird, I think it tried to fill the space for pack clearing that Cold Snap does but CS just does it so much better.

Here are my comparisons:

* Cold Snap targets ANYWHERE on the screen, instantly, and is self sufficient. AB takes travel time.
* The lower damage AB has doesn't really help, especially with the mechanics of Cold Snap
* For some reason it just feels wonky and you don't really notice the moving chilled ground. Especially when you're already a screen or so away from it's point of impact.
Played a cold dot CI occultist to 87, put the character on hold for now because of the Mastermind fight being horrendous for Wicked Ward users, as well as a shavs drop so I'll be switching to LL. I use all three cold dot skills and Arctic Breath is by far the worst of the three. The build, like all cold dot builds, is 100% carried by Vortex, which is very, very, VERY good. Here's how AB could be improved imo:

First of all, base projectile speed is atrocious, and getting any proj speed feels very wasteful. It would need to be at least 50% faster if not more to compete with good skills (not broken ones like arc, just good ones). Moreover, the projectile part of the skill often feels like it's not even there in terms of damage, because it is ground targeted and has no explosion. This means that if you don't target behind mobs you don't hit them at all, which feels REALLY bad because you need those hits to proc Elemental Overload. However, even aiming behind mobs feels terrible, because of the way the skill interacts with Pierce/Chain/Fork - that is, it behaves like Fireball and not Caustic Arrow, which means you either only hit the front mobs and hope the slow moving small aoe will clear the rest of the pack, or, if you have Pierce/Chain/Fork, you don't get an AoE. This feels really bad on Arctic Breath because it makes aiming it super awkward, your damage is in the DoT and not the hit unlike Fireball so you can't use stuff like Pierce, and to get good coverage as well as hits for EleOverload you have to aim the skill at weird angles and it just sucks to be completely honest. It needs to work like other ground targeted aoe projectile skills (basically like CA), not like Fireball or Split Arrow. This brings me to my next point regarding the DoT AoEs and how they scale.

Mechanically, I really dislike the fact that the dot area is limited and doesn't stack. You need to use multiple projectiles to get any sort of good aoe coverage, but with GMP, you're at your max number of AoEs after two casts. I'd rather get lower damage and stacking areas (with a much higher limit than 10, or even no limit) than the current version - so basically, a form of pseudo-shotgunning but with a ground dot, kinda like Toxic Rain. This would also make a lot more sense with it being the only cold dot skill that has no CD, as you would be able to invest in cast speed (or just trigger it I guess) to get more stacks, making it play significantly different to the other two and increasing build variety. As it is, it simply does worse than Cold Snap, and every single cold dot Occultist basically skips cast speed completely because Vortex is instant and it is your best skill. Again, look at Toxic Rain and Caustic Arrow, the two play and scale in very different ways, and IMO that is the way to go with this one as well.

I'll keep using Arctic Breath on that character for as long as I can afford to give it gem sockets. But it is very, very underwhelming and needs to be buffed significantly. The fact that I can use Winter Orb instead and it will clear faster, despite me focusing on scaling Cold DOT MULTIPLIER and not generic cold spell damage, is very telling of how bad the rework is. As it is, it's very nearly worthless to Cold DoT builds, as it has the worst single target capabilites out of the three skills, and the worst AoE clear, and is the slowest of the three to boot. In fact, I have a Frostbolt-Faster Casting setup with the Frostbolt jewels in my build, and doing Frostbolt - Instant cast Vortex is better than Arctic Breath in every way - better AoE, better clear speed, and better damage. The mechanics need changing for sure.
Still waiting for GGG to admit that they made mistakes and actually work on fixing them.

You'll find me when pigs start flying.
Last edited by PrimordialDarkness on Dec 13, 2018, 9:47:01 PM
I played Arctic breath on my first character, gave up around level 48. I love the skill thematically, but considering lmp/gmp are almost mandatory sockets for coverage, the skill ended up feeling underwhelming. On my cold dot based character, freezing pulse ended up doing better, more consistent damage. The kicker that made me ultimately drop the character was the fact that the ground degens did not stack. this made bosses and syndicate encounters exceedingly painful.

I personally would recommend a either a ~5% damage increase at all gem levels and increasing the speed of the projectile to make it more competitive as a damage skill vs. other cold dots, or increasing the radius, adding extra projectiles as the gem levels, and giving it increased chill effect to make it a more consistent utility skill.

Character: Terrornoid, Cold DoT Occultist (Malediction and otw to Frigid Wake), Health Based, Tri-Curse (Quad soon?) /w Temporal Chains, Enfeeble, Elemental Weakness, EB, EE, EleOver, Dread Banner for Evasion and Arcane Surge proc through EB

Cold Snap 6L
Storm Banner for Elemental Equilibrium proc and CoH
Frost Bomb used mostly on bosses/uniques

Started with Arctic Breath and ultimately had to switch to Cold Snap. The skill felt clunky and slow. Graphically, the skill is neat and the concept of a creeping cold was thematically exciting; the only change I would make here is that the cold area edge is CLEARLY a hard circle, which felt a little un-lifelike. I seemed to get the skill at an appropriate time level-wise, maybe a tad on the later side.

Problems I found with AB:
- No mob penetration; I couldn't get the AoE where I needed it and...
- The AoE moved way too slow and/or was too small to counter above problem
- Sire of Shards, the thing I would want to use with the build (and advertised in the preview) provides no damage increase and is mediocre stat-wise even if it did (was going to use CwC with Frost Orb but Sire interacts HORRIBLY with that skill)
- Sources of additional projectiles that don't tank your damage through opportunity cost are almost non-existent (Dying Sun... and that's it?); yea, GMP doesn't reduce your damage which is good, but what you could put in there is so much stronger
- It scaled slower than Cold Snap and Vortex
- Non-instant damage/slow/freeze

Problems with Cold DoT:
- Little Unique support with cold DoT multiplier being new
- A lot of the Uniques that could've worked had damage with "hits" (obv doesn't work) and/or "ailments", which the cold dot does not seem to be; I strictly recall Singularity being a huge bummer in that department
- Can't tell if "Cold Damage over Time Multiplier" is additive with other increased damage or multiplicative
- Most of my damage comes from deleting resists, once EE is changed these cold DoT builds are going to be in trouble since curses barely effect bosses

Cool stuff:
- Being able to determine where the AB projectile exploded helped sometimes (but usually meant missing out on direct damage)
- Visually not flashy and screen-filling, which is great

- Penetrate to explosion?
- It used to drop cold floor; this could be neat to generate a line of cold death you kite the enemies into (this might be one of the few opportunities having an even number of projectiles doesn't feel weird)
- Homing effect could be more effective here, esp. combined with the above suggestion

Some thoughts on a drastic rework:
3) Arctic Breath homes on badguys and drops cold floor as it travels. The further you click from your character, the more "forwards force" the projectile has, meaning it takes longer to negate it and turn. This means best usage is you fire around melee mobs with enough forward force to turn it in time for the ranged mobs behind them; too close hits melee and too far goes behind ranged. You then move towards the direction you fired to kite the melee mobs into the cold ground. This skill could still explode on impact.

Otherwise, this skill is overshadowed by Cold Snap, not because CS is too strong, but because AB is mechanically inferior. They fill much of the same functionality but CS just does it better; while the moving AoE is cool, it's just not enough.

Edit: Forgot to mention:
Storm Brand + CoH + Ele Weakness + Increased Crits (E Overload) out scaled my cold DoT damage so hard that I stopped using cold skills around 30 and didn't really start using them again until 60's (I kept trying but using the Brand was faster).
Last edited by Terrornoid on Dec 13, 2018, 11:06:29 PM
I've leveled to 85 with the Skill almost exclusively, played with cold snap/vaal and vortex, and i must admit the only things i feel AB lacks are the following.

The Projectile is entirely too slow, i need to around 50% more projectile speed at least i feel, the cast speed could also be with increasing slightly awsell.

The area component is a good idea but again, parts of it are too slow and too small, i have used it mostly with LMP over GMP for the smaller damage loss for the hit. but i do feel if the Skill had more AOE per level or more aggressive creep towards mobs it would feel better, so that even if its cast under a pack the edges soon move to engulf the entire pack and start to surge towards a pack behind/close to it.

Now giving the skill a vaal version is something we all want as vaal skils are a very nice and interesting mechanic, i am willing to wait on getting one for this skill to make sure its a fitting one for it, but even a basic version like Vaal fireball would be a marked improvement for use as a Main skill.

The projectile is ugly, the area looks great and fitting thematically but i would love some MTX for the skill that both changed the projectile and/or the ground AOE.
Cold DoT occultist here, currently almost level 88.

I just wanted to pretty much echo what everyone else has already said. Arctic Breath just doesn't do anything that Vortex and Cold Snap already do and better to justify using it over those two skills. I've considered putting a 2-link AB setup somewhere to apply Bonechill and free up a link in Vortex for more damage, but between a 5L Vortex in Rime Gaze, a 5-6L Vaal Cold Snap in my chest, and all the supports/triggers you have to run, I just don't have the sockets for it.
Lvl 90 Occultist as of moment. I tested AB for a bit.
Compared to Cold Snap, it is severely lacking as a direct competitor.

-Projectiles' speed too slow.
-Projectiles' CAN BE BLOCKED before it can reach it's intended destination.
-Lower damage compared to Cold Snap.
-No utilities.
-Small AoE.
-Enemy follow speed too low.

Cold Snap is instant, can't be body-blocked by monsters and terrains, grants Frenzy Charges AND has a vaal skill built in. No contest here, AB only exist to stack more cold DoTs with CS and Vortex, even then the socket economy is limited.

I'll leave it to you guys to take a look at it again.
It is to similiar to other frost skills and does not do anything that Vortex and Cold Snap can do, it is just worse than those two... very slow, not enough damage, not exciting to use - and honestly I was dissapointed as I imagined it actually to be like INCINERATE - a channeled ice "breath" that really lets you spray frost in a cone in front of you - like Superman using his super breath ;)
I leveled with AB almost exclusively until around 60 and am now using it in combination with Cold Snap/Vortex for a Cold DoT Trickster. The cold DoT scaling has increased its viability but it still isn't really a primary clear skill because of a couple reasons.

1. It doesn't benefit from pierce or chain for the DoT portion so you waste half of the ground effect on empty space in front of a pack. Or miss part of the pack to get it in the center.

2. The projectile is slow, like really slow. Same with the creeping frost portion although that could be overlooked if some of the other changes below were made.

As of right now there isn't really a reason to play it as primary clear over cold snap since Cold Snap instantly gets where you need it to, you can place it in the middle of packs, and the AoE seems to be bigger.

I would suggest the following to remedy it.

1. Make it drop the ground effect on pierce (like Caustic Arrow) and then drop another where the skill is ground targeted. This would solve the penetration problem in packs and would give players options on GMP vs Pierce or both while sacrificing 2x dmg links.

2. Let the DoT scale with proj damage. This is mostly a QoL improvement and would allow players who want to sacrifice a "real" dmg link like Ele Focus or Controlled Destruction for a Faster Proj without hurting the damage of the skill and leaving what feels like a wasted support in just to make sure your AB projectiles are not outpaced by a player with a MS Quicksilver. Additionally, the speed of the moving ground DoT could also scale with Projectile Speed. Not strictly necessary, but would be a cool interaction.

3. If you don't want to scale with Proj Dmg do option 1 and just increase the speed of the projectile either as base speed or with gem level.

I enjoy the idea of the skill overall, it just feels inferior to Cold Snap in most ways, except for the lack of cooldown. However, getting consistent frenzy charge gen is a way easier alternative to giving up multiple damage links and still having a skill that feels slower anyway.
Last edited by Silky322 on Dec 14, 2018, 12:51:01 AM

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