I am not in the beta so i don't really have a solid brain-to-mouse-click relationship with the game. I am running into a sorta soft science feeling when putting together builds on the calculators. You can sorta theorycraft out some ideas but I am curious if there are people out there building spreadsheets that we could make open source and cull the talents of the community. With a tool like that you would be able to accurately calculate high dps or high damage or combo damage spirit generating builds.
Obviously this is something blizzard has tried to limit - this being a non add-on game and the rune system has some odd 97 million different possible builds. All the info is out there on the skills and rune modifiers, someone just needs to put it in a database/spreadsheet and crunch numbers. Unfortunately i am no good at the nitty gritty of all that. don't know the math or logic or whatever.
So... with the diablo 3 rune system being a new approach to balance it would be interesting to find some smart builds made by running numbers...
I think you should not bother too much about using spreadsheets. Oviously it helps. But it's not as close to statistics as for example WoW gets. The complexity of what would be the perfect damage rotation or skillset will be impossible to calculate. There is no telling of how mobs, or you will respond and play like ingame.
Next to that there are various spells that behave differently to raw numbers. As an example would be fists of thunder versus deadly reach. As base they do around the same damage, where one has a faster attackrate obviously, deadly reach can actually do damage without you having to take any due to range adventages.
I dont think i will bother myself with actually doing any hard spreadsheet work as most calculations and testing can and will be done ingame trying out different sets of gear and playstyle. Skill selection will be mostly done on combatflow and performance, rather than the numbers rolling out from a silly program. But that is my opinion!
the spreadsheets always gave a theoretical dps for rotations and people were rarely en masse hitting those numbers. this game is much more situational. maybe I'm thinking of it in an outdated way. after playing all of the skills will stick out in their use but right now its hard to organize what skills are good at. basically because mob behavior and the amount of mobs is what is going to determine what works best. then bosses could be a whole different build and most likely will. i just want a way to organize the abilities into more visible groups and work from there.