Run the Like Wind makes WW/double tornado barb a very strong build by combining multiple benefits into one neat little package: life regeneration, Fury gain, damage, in-combat mobility, and run speed. It's all there. Ask just about anyone (or take a look at the posts in these forums) and they'll tell you WW barbs are incredibly powerful, and it's also one of the first builds people point to when the word "nerf" is mentioned.
I think most players -- whether they'd admit it publicly or not -- probably agree that the tornadoes left by sprinting (a skill that provides utility, huge mobility, and proc effects including Life On Hit and Into The Fray) shouldn't be so powerful in comparison to other skills that have restrictions on them. Like Hammer of the Ancients, which requires you to stand still, swing, and who's sole purpose is to deal damage. We'd like to bring the skill more in-line with other build options, and we think that from a pure design standpoint the problem is tornadoes triggering procs, most specifically Life on Hit.
The survivability you get from WW with LoH is definitely an outlier compared to other available builds. This wasn't a huge issue previously, but once we introduced Monster Power it became clear that we needed to make some adjustments. Basically, when we were doing our initial testing for 1.0.5, anything that didn't kill WW barbs in the first second of combat failed to be any sort of real threat, and that applied even after scaling Monster Power up to its higher settings. The amount of damage enemies do at higher Monster Power levels is pretty insane, and while the WW barb was still doing fine, it felt punishingly unfair to every other class and barbarian build.
This introduced another problem: if a WW barb could heal from empty to full health in half a second, then for any monster to pose a threat it would need to take you from full to dead in less than half a second. We could certainly make damage more spikey, but most players don't enjoy being insta-gibbed, and we tend to agree that going from full health to DEAD without ever seeing your health hit those intermediate values can make combat feel a little shallow. Having times when you want to play more conservatively vs. more aggressively can add depth to combat and make it more interesting, so (in general) we try to avoid creating situations where spikey damage is the norm.
So, even though we really liked the build, in the end all the data was telling us that WW needed to be changed.
They like nerfing fun builds.
Just to give you some history, when we started to troubleshoot how we could better balance Run Like Wind, we didn't want to remove the ability for tornadoes to trigger procs completely. Rather than break the build, we wanted to find ways to reduce the sheer efficiency of it without removing the fundamental mechanics that make it work. We also discussed options outside of adjusting its proc coefficient, too:
- We looked at just nerfing Sprint's tornado damage, which would allow us to keep the core mechanics without the build being greatly more effective than every other build in the game, but the life regen still made the game too bursty at the higher Monster Power levels.
- We also looked at reducing the run speed. But, the running speed boost is baked into Sprint, so it felt wrong to consider changing that aspect of the skill. The fact you have in-combat mobility is a fundamental property of leaving tornadoes behind as you sprint, so if we removed that aspect it'd be the same as deleting the skill from the game, and we're not interested in doing that.
- The last alternative was Fury cost. You gain Fury with WW, but it comes from Battle Rage – Into the Fray. Into The Fray seems to interact just fine with other skills, which really underscores that the real issue is the tornadoes’ ability to proc effects.
After a lot of internal testing and heated debates, we ultimately decided to address the core of the issue and reduce Run Like Wind's proc coefficient, and we brought it down by a significant amount (from 0.2 to 0.08). We want to make sure whirlwinding is still viable, though, so to compensate, we also dropped down Whirlwind's Fury cost from 16 to 9. This should make it possible for players to still whirlwind continuously, but it lessens the need to have Sprint in order to use Whirlwind at all.
Of course, we're really looking forward to players jumping on the PTR, testing out the changes first-hand, and sharing their feedback. We're still working out a few kinks with the PTR client, but hopefully we can start getting that feedback pretty soon now.