OK, so I was a big fan of the cleave increase to Volley Bow, moreso than the ammo increase (though that was certainly nice), because pre beta, frankly, firing or alt firing the volley bow into a horde felt like it had very little impact, mostly due to the low cleave.
I appreciate it may have been a bit overtuned pre patch 4, so I thought I’d give the changes a go, and do some creature spawner testing (set to Legend) to see how it does now.
I don’t remember exact numbers for pre patch 4 beta volley bow, other than it cleaving through a marauder (stopping on the second) with no investment, and I think it also hit up to 3 fanatics in a row as well. Testing the new Volley Bow in keep with various talent combination yielded… slightly confusing results.
Firstly, it can no longer cleave a marauder by default, even with a crit shot, which is a little perplexing as I had thought crit increased cleave, and in fact in all of my testing crit at no point increased cleave. It also seems to only cleave through 1 fanatic by default (hitting up to 2 in a row).
However, Weapon Swap Buff allows it to cleave through a marauder (crit & non crit). Strangely, Weight of Fire did not, despite listing the same numerical increase, and neither did Last Shot Power. Furthermore, Weapon Swap Buff also allow its shots to cleave through 2 (hitting 3) fanatics, instead of only cleaving through 1. Last Shot power also does this, but weirdly the shot that procs last shot power seems to inherit the buff’s damage increase (judging by dummies), but not the buff’s cleave increase, as subsequent shots once the buff was procced did cleave through 2 fanatics. Weight of Fire, again, does nothing here
There’s also some definite buggy behaviour with Weapon Swap Buff. Mainly, if you build up 6 stacks through melee atacks, the first shot fired from your ranged weapon (well the volley bow, at least, didn’t test others) does not gain the power boost, despite using up a stack if it hits something. Easily tested with Creature Spawner in the keep: get 6 stacks shoot a marauder, crit or no it won’t cleave him, shoot again now you’re at 5 stacks and it will cleave. Dummies also show that the first shot isn’t getting the power boost. As a side note, sometimes the power boost would stick around after exahausting the stacks (observed by it still cleaving enemies as if it had the extra power), but I couldn’t reproduce this reliably, and seemed to happen only after going into my talent menu, so probably doesn’t happen in a level.
On the note of Weapon swap buff, it consumes a stack of the buff per enemy hit, not per shot that hits. This means shooting a single volley bow bolt with the stacks up, cleaving through 2 and hitting a 3rd fanatic, uses up 3 stacks of the buff immediately. To me this seems… not great.
I haven’t done testing beyond Marauders and Fanatics, but to me so far the nerfs seem OK. You can kinda get your cleave back by speccing for it, my only problem right now is that both means to do so are pretty unreliable, due to the issues mentioned above. Also maybe Weight of Fire should affect cleave so it’s somewhat competitive with Open Wounds for Volley Bow at least (theoretically its obvious best use case).
Sorry this is kind of disorganised, but hopefully the info is useful.