HotA build has lately become more interesting, as of latest patch serious exp bonus is rewarded for playing at higher MP (every level 30-40%, more then ruby gem in helm for example ; ) so playing higher MP has became increasingly popular, when before even 300K dps toons have played MP1. HotA is also perhaps our most powerful build, peaking unparalleled damage to any other skill combination. Compared to popular ww build it's more difficult to gear, more demanding to play, it's not that foolproof or safe and it takes some time and skill to learn to play properly. Overall it's comparably fast (lower MP build variants use sprint/marathon rune), it kills large mob packs faster and safer and it brings down elites much faster.
HotA gearing demands are relatively high EHP and good cc, since you won't use warcry-impunity. You need to be able to stand your ground and take some beating. I would advise 40-50K of health, 550+ of AR, 5%+ of life steal, 5K+ of armor. IAS gear is not required but if you using 2H weapon setup it could be welcome as it will make things go smoother. Unbuffed (with passives) cc should be around 50%
WEAPONS, to skorn or not to skorn?_____________
HotA can be done with 2H weapon /ie.. skorn, with DW(2 weapons) and with sword and board. 2H weapons are most efficient furry users and they probably do highest damage output but some people dislike slow attack speed so they use 2 weapon setup. High IAS can be addictive, in zerk state you swing that hammers like machine guns. Hitting often can have it's advantages, furry generation, less of excessive damage overloads (skorn critt on half dead white mob) etc. I've tried both setups, they both work fine, I advise you to try for yourself and see what you like most.
Recently I've tested skorn and DW at MP10. Skorn indeed conserves furry (more dps per furry unit) but it's slower in generating it (obviously), I believe dmg output is somewhat larger, more sturdy critts, bigger base rend damage/healing calculation etc - it has it's advantages.
On the other hand, DW has more evenly placed damage/healing spikes. It seems like machine gun you can control while skorn feels more like shotgun :) Most of my HotA high level friends use dw and I know why (beside longer zerking I mean), but it's not easy to explain. Game feels more smooth and safe, still, I wouldn't give definite advantage to any setup, both have pros and cons, but after skorn, returning to DW feels like step forward to me. Take a note that if you want to achieve permazerk setup DW is the way to go as well. Maybe I'm biased I'll admit, and it also depends on many other parameters and stats of your toon, skills etc.Also to mention that my DW setup was priced 50M and skorn was only 10 (and had more paper dps btw.) So my initial recommendation stays, don't think, try both setups (with some cheap weapons) and then decide what suits you most.
For Skorn is simple, good STR skorn, LS if you can afford it. It's not mandatory but it would relieve your passive slot and your belt for other choices (witching...) so you can be more adaptable to various situations. For example animosity generates more fury, which is more HotA = more dps. Or unforgiving so you can sprint constantly on lower MPs. Or superstition for ubers... It's nice to be able to have a choice. Again, it's not mandatory especial if funds are in question - LS skorn is quite pricey.
With DW this is the usual path I take: Mainhand: 150+STR/socket Echoing Furry (arrange by DPS top, in given price range, pick one with 0.23+ APS and as less fear as possible, 12-13% or less) and some STR/CHD/LS/socket weapon, again arrange by dps in given price range and check best gain by linking them in game via chat. Play with search parameters, more str, no str, lower CHD, higher CHD. LS above 2.5 is preferable but search for DPS first. Weapon speed is not that important.
Ofc you are free to experiment with other types of weapons (like str/chd/socket EF) but these usually net best results. If low on funds, socketless EF with STR/CHD can be a good alternative.
Some ppl play without LS in offhand, you need LS belt and DPS above 200K. Still I feel safer with LS offhand and you usually won't lose more then 10K of DPS in that DPS range. For me defense comes first, especially if you're new to this, but it's possible to play with one LS source (with some experience and DPS later) except on ubers ofc ;) bring two sources of LS there /passive counts too.
Classic core HotA consists of: LMB attack like Bash, HotA, Rend, Overpower, Battle rage and Beserker. There are several variations and build crossbreeds, some will be mentioned but we'll keep on typical build here.
On LMB you have few choices, Bash-Punish is very popular because it's fury generator and very decent buff in same pack (8% per strike, up to 24%, it lasts 4-5 sec, you can refresh it with single hit on occasion) but some people prefer frenzy or even cleave with 2H weapon. LMB skill is least important, pick whichever you like, experiment, but remember that more furry you can generate more often you can HotA smash so make it support skill of HotA. Because of that - I recommend bash-punish.
HotA is generally used with smash or thunderstrike rune. Smash has highest damage, it's often used for ubers or very high MP while TS for somewhat lower MP and for farming. I prefer TS not only because is stuns everyone around, but also because area of hit is bigger and you can hit more enemies =generate more furry =HotA smash more =more dps.
Rend is your important healing /small AoE damage skill, you use it with blood lust. Overpower is great little almost spammable buff/AoE damage skill. You can use it either with killing spree (offensive, more cc, more furry, more HotA, more dps) or with crushing advance (defensive, damage reduction and reflect damage) variant. Furthermore, you have Battle rage /into the fray which should be always on and you'll feel when you forget it : ) That's why you need high cc, you will generate furry (and buff damage too) with this skill as more the more you critt. It's essential part of build, same as with ww. Finally we have Zerk/thrive on chaos, classic, use it when in trouble (at elites mostly) and it will stand as long as you have things to hit.
Several things you need to be aware of:
cc chance of HotA increases more furry you have stocked. Each 5 furry give you 1 point of cc. In practice I recommend always to keep an eye of your furry globe. Nearly full - hold that RMB (smash HotA), below 50%, use your LMB attack (bash-punish). Combine RMB/LMB attacks. Use that rule always, it takes some time to adapt but after some time you'll do it automatically. In practice this means (using larger AoE thunderstrike rune) when you see small group of mobs - just hold RMB on them. When you see single mob (or elite) combine RMB/LMB attacks on it.
You don't need to click. In groups just hold your HotA button (RMB). When using overpower (key 1) and rend (key 2) use them beside HotA smashes - do not release RMB button. It not necessary and it's faster this way. When you see group of enemies, run in middle of them, rend them and smash one side of group, while other side slowly dies and keeps you alive. Remember, if mobs are dead you cannot suck life out of them with rend.
Remember, rend lasts 5 seconds and it's not stackable. Refresh it every 5 seconds or when new mobs arrive around you.
Since "picture says more then thousands of words" here is nice video of how things are done. This guy is skilled HotA user, it's obvious at glance. Watch and learn ; )
OK, here is the few builds I use, each for different occasion.
HotA Farming build
Low(er) MP HotA farmer, I use it up to MP5. Sprint and unforgiving combo give you great farming speed.
HotA High MP farmer
This is recommended in higher MP's, I use it over MP5 but it depends on your EHP/DPS
HotA uber build
For ubers. Some guys prefer smash, I remain with TS rune, I just like it.
That's all folks. If I've left out anything, please ask. If you want more help add me ingame and I'll help as best as I can. I'll add more material /updates later if necessary .
GL and HF.