My new CiV balance mod is up on the mod hub. Search for orangecape and you will find it easily. I have discovered that the best way to get myself to dream up all kinds of great new changes is to publish something; despite the fact that it makes a lot more sense to come up with great stuff *before* publishing that doesn't seem to be the way things work in my head.
I have been trying out lots of builds for the Witch Doctor on the D3 character builder and I like this one the best. It has a ton of pets, the extremely overpowered Soul Harvest and what seems to be the best spammable attack spell, Zombie Charger (Undeath Rune). The thing about this build is that it leverages what is likely to be a really overpowered passive ability: Vision Quest (VQ). VQ increases your mana regeneration by 300% while at least four abilities are on cooldown. It is a fairly sizable constraint to get 4 abilities that have cooldowns, though obviously not *that* hard, and it is a significant disadvantage to need to keep them on cooldown all the time. I might want to save my 2 minute cooldown for something hard, for example, rather than just casting it as soon as it comes up. Increasing mana regen by 300% is so enormous a benefit though that I can't help but think that using this ability will be mandatory at endgame.
The WD has some abilities that cost virtually no mana but which are weaker and some that are very expensive but stronger. This allows the WD to pick some of each and be able to regenerate mana while casting weak spells and blow mana as needed. VQ increasing mana regen by 300% means that you probably won't need any cheap spells and can spend all of your time casting powerful spells instead. The powerful spells look to be twice as good at least as the cheap ones so having VQ active is an enormous increase to overall damage potential. My build leverages VQ pretty heavily, even including Pierce the Veil, a passive ability that gives 20% more damage at a cost of spending 30% more mana.
It is difficult to say exactly what mana will look like at high levels without having seen the gear and mana pool formulas but if mana cost is meant to be a significant factor in spell selection (which it certainly seems to be) then I can't see how increasing mana regen by 300% won't be the best build. This is particularly true when you can then ditch all of your cheap spells to make room for 4 spells with cooldowns. If I had to really warp my build to squeeze in VQ then it might be a bigger question but I am definitely going to be playing with 3 cooldown abilities anyhow so fitting in the fourth hardly seems like a stretch.
This feels like a very strange sort of situation because I don't see comparable situations with other classes. There are certainly passive abilities that are better than others but I certainly don't see classes other than the WD broken down into two distinct groups: VQ builds and non VQ builds. Also in the case of other classes you could remove a particular passive effect and the build would still be playable but in the case of VQ the build is utterly dependent on it; you will run out of mana and be fairly useless if VQ is removed. It is possible that other sources of mana regen will make it such that VQ is merely a noticeable boost to mana instead of a total game changer; in which case it is possible that it will be a good design. Right now though it looks like you play an entirely different and much more powerful game when you have VQ and people without it will be drastically worse off.
Maybe I shouldn't be pointing out broken stuff about the class I intend to play prior to launch? Blizzard might be listening after all and I could well get myself nerfed to the ground baby! ;)
I remember back when Wrath launched for WOW and ret paladins got a really savage and necessary nerf; Hobo messaged me to ask if my class was bad now. Well, I replied, I am pretty sure I am still the best dps class but now the margin is about 15% instead of 40%.