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Revisit the Energy Melee nerfs

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This topic showed up recently in both the Tanker and Brute forums, and so it's opened up an old wound for me. I'd like to be clear, I'm not looking to dig my heels in on this. I'm willing to be convinced some kind of nerf might have been needed, but I'm skeptical that the one implemented was fair. That said, I'll do my best to plead my case.

 

The common argument I hear is that Energy Melee (EM) was overpowered. Specifically, with its two extreme damage single target attacks, Total Focus (TF) and Energy Transfer (ET).

 

My experience playing the set to 50 on a tank (I'm aware this is anecdotal) was that while killing bosses was much easier for the set, killing whole groups wasn't. This was before the introduction of IOs, and after ED. While EM was known for being a monster in single target damage, I don't remember it being all the rave that Fire/SS tankers were. It's only AoE attack was a weak one by comparison to other melee sets. This, coupled with its self-damage in ET were what brought balance to the set.

 

I want to be open minded, so I can be convinced that perhaps a change to the damage from these two powers needed adjusting. But the animation changes completely changed the whole feel of the set into something that seemed antithetical to its theme; being energetic.

 

Sadly, I don't have numbers for how the set used to be. Neither am I the best at number crunching. So any and all information that can be provided would be welcomed. I'm curious if there are some out there that think EM was treated unfairly, and what thoughts are out there for how it could be better managed. Enlighten me. Educate me. Please.

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I'm afriad I don't remember exactly, but I thought this was one of the many sets that took it on the chin because of PvP balance issues (where single target advantages reign supreme). One of the challenges with PvP on every MMO, is that you cannot have specialization and game balance. By definition making some powers different enough to be distinguished will always give folks a hook for abusing that unique feature to grief.

 

If I'm wrong and it wasn't a PvP issue, then of course, nevermind. But I seem to remember that happening with a number of other sets.

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IIRC, the attempts at pvp balancing seemed to just make things worse for pve. (I remember SR stalkers crying that focused accuracy made their defense useless, when stalkers [to me] always seemed to have the unfair advantage) 

If they couldve just tweaked powers PVP affects only that wouldve been nice, but it was also a much earlier time in MMO history

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Once, my fav brute was an em/da, that I basically did everything with, pve and zone pvp. He was such a blast to play! As others said, single target was awesome, aoe sucked. That is a pretty obvious trade off to me. Sure, TF hit like a truck, but was SO slow. And yes, ET hit like a bigger truck, and was fast, but it hurt you..and I don't think it felt out of place.

Then came the nerf, and after a week of trying to get used to it..I gave up. Having my two best attacks take over 2.5 seconds (a LONG time when stuff is hitting you), just utterly killed the fun for me. Aoe was left like crap, and the only other decent attack was Bone Smasher (pretty slow also).

Just before the Sunset, a Dev (I forget who..maybe Castle?) was in PD on Virt, adn we got talking. His main brute was an em/something and I basically got him to admit the \em nerf killed HIS fav toon also.

I do admit the old ET animation WAS way to fast, but making it as slow as it is current, was just stupid. Even give the set a new mechanic, ala Titan Weapons. Call it Energy Charge, with each ST attack give 1 stack, and the aoe 2. When you have 4, you can fire off a 'quick' ET with the old (maybe a bit slower) animation, or maybe 4 stacks increases the aoe damage, giving a choice.

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The change killed my main.  The only good selling point of Energy Melee was that it had great single target spike off of a fast-animating Energy Transfer.  Nothing else.  And that Energy Transfer could -kill you-, and certainly stung on any set without regen.

 

If its necessary to hang the long animation on it -for pvp-, we can do that.  But for PvE, lacking it, Energy Melee is an unplayed set and will remain so, and is an open wound for me going back to the early years of live.

 

Fix it and I can play my main again.  Nuff said.

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"Shouldnt we base comparisons on SOs?"

No, Being the best at solo i8 damage doesn't meaningfully inform anyone in an i25 world.

-Jack Nomind

 

I wouldn't say any Scrapper primaries are bad in general, however.  Then again, Scrappers don't have Energy Melee.

-Rumors

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You mean the "Look at my hands...LOOK AT THEM! This is going to hurt you more than it hurts me BAM" animation?  Yes please get rid of it and go back to the quick one.

Edited by HelenCarnate
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I'm afriad I don't remember exactly, but I thought this was one of the many sets that took it on the chin because of PvP balance issues (where single target advantages reign supreme). One of the challenges with PvP on every MMO, is that you cannot have specialization and game balance. By definition making some powers different enough to be distinguished will always give folks a hook for abusing that unique feature to grief.

 

I left the game around that time for this very reason.  Nerfs were flying fast and furious in the interests of PvP balance, which I cared nothing for, and they were ruining the PvE experience, which I loved.  Sets and incarnate powers have enabled some of my favorite builds to feel strong again, so I've returned, but yeah, those nerfs were terrible and the motivation for them a bad one.  What should have been done was a PvP-only nerf, but that apparently required too many resources for the CoH dev team to pull off.

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Part of me wants them to keep the energy transfer animation.. but make it hit even harder. >_>

 

It's such a cool animation, but I totally get the desire to have it swapped back. Especially since I believe it's possible to change numbers in PvE vs PvP now.

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You mean the "Look at my hands...LOOK AT THEM! This is going to hur you more than it hurts me BAM" animation?  Yes please get rid of it and go back to the quick one.

 

HA! I'm gonna have to make a bind where my character can say that when I activate Energy Transfer. And hey, people would have time to read all of that while it animated.  ಠ_ಠ

 

One of the more frustrating problems with doing this to ET, is that as powerful as the attack *could* be, on a large team it's practically useless. I've rerolled the Ice/EM tank I made years ago just to see if maybe my memory was skewed in favor of what I liked before the changes. Seriously, a boss with a good chunk of health can defeated by my team mates before I land the punch. Oh, but hey, at least I still get my damage penalty!

 

And what is ET meant to be, other than the attack you mainly use on big HP-packed foes?

 

There's been dev commentary on having Rage changes on the table. I'd really like to know if Energy Melee tweaks could have a place at the table too.

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Part of me wants them to keep the energy transfer animation.. but make it hit even harder. >_>

 

It's such a cool animation, but I totally get the desire to have it swapped back. Especially since I believe it's possible to change numbers in PvE vs PvP now.

 

God, I hear you. The new animation ruined the set, but at the same time it looks so nice. What could even be done about this? Perhaps if the animation was sped up... I think I would play EM again if it was in the ~2s range (rather than the close to full 3 seconds it currently is).

 

Really liking Razor's suggestion as well, what if each Energy Charge sped up ET's animation by 0.264s or what have you. Stack 6 of them, and you're back to old ET or close to it.

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Part of me wants them to keep the energy transfer animation.. but make it hit even harder. >_>

 

It's such a cool animation, but I totally get the desire to have it swapped back. Especially since I believe it's possible to change numbers in PvE vs PvP now.

I’m all for this.

 

I'd be open-minded to a change like this, but as long as you still lose health on a defeated enemy because your team killed them faster (because the animation time is so long, not because the foe was just that low on health), then you're still delivering a penalized whiff.


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I'm afriad I don't remember exactly, but I thought this was one of the many sets that took it on the chin because of PvP balance issues (where single target advantages reign supreme). One of the challenges with PvP on every MMO, is that you cannot have specialization and game balance. By definition making some powers different enough to be distinguished will always give folks a hook for abusing that unique feature to grief.

 

If I'm wrong and it wasn't a PvP issue, then of course, nevermind. But I seem to remember that happening with a number of other sets.

 

Before "it was because of PvP" gets too far again, let me try and clear some things up.

 

Since Issue 4, the devs had the ability to make any power that targets a foe function differently depending on if the target is a Critter or a Player. That's how we had things like unresistable Defender debuffs, and triple damage Controllers, and unresistable Scrapper crits, etc. If PvP was really where Energy Transfer did too much damage, it could have done less damage to players since the introduction of PvP to the game. Even later on when the tech was introduced for one power to be able to redirect to different powers, Energy Transfer could have been left a long animation power in PvP, and had it's shorter animation time returned back to PvE if that was the issue. Knowing that, it's probably fair to say that PvP was not the cause.

 

I'm not saying the animation changes to Energy Transfer were right. Far from it, actually. I like the look of Energy Melee, including the long ET animation, but the set no longer really excels at anything. Even as a concept pick for punch-y characters, Street Justice fits better. So I agree the set needs some work.

 

All I want is for the story to stop being that PvP was to blame, because it really wasn't.

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By matter of comparison:

Titan Weapons:  Follow Through:  90.88 DPA, 10s Recharge (Requires Momentum)  Second Attack - Rend Armor.  71.22 DPA (I believe OUTSIDE of Momentum Time.  For reals, yall)

 

Mace:  Clobber:  89.47 DPA.  14 Second Recharge.  Mag 3 Stun (No drawback)  Second Attack - Jawbreaker.  44 DPA, but recharges fast and knock UP

 

Energy Melee:  Energy Transfer:  69.86 DPA. 20 second recharge.  Mag 3 Stun (Self inflicted damage)  Second Attack - Total Focus, 46 DPA, same 20 second recharge.

 

Psionic Melee:  Greater Psi Blade:  69.77 DPA  15 Second Recharge Mag 3 Hold.  -9.6% Recharge Debuff to Target (No downside, damage higher if focused)

Second attack - TK BLow.. 9s Recharge, 57.69DPA, Knockup, and adds focus to make Psi Blade even more damaging.

 

Superstrength:  Knockout Blow:  66.66 DPA. 25 second recharge.  Mag 3 Hold (No drawback.  Set Bonus - Rage)  Fallback is Haymaker, 42DPA, fast recharge, and the set still has rage.

 

By comparison, then:

Titan Weapons has the highest DPA, on the shortest recharge.  It requires Momentum to use this attack, but by 50 with a plan, your in momentum almost all the time.  And it has attacks to follow it that are ALSO silly DPA.  Set also has great AOE.

 

Mace has a better attack than Energy Transfer - more DPA, shorter recharge, same mag CC, and it doesnt hurt you.  Jawbreaker isnt bad.  And set has some AOE to keep its single target company.

 

Psionic Melee has a basically identical attack to Energy Transfer - but its psychic damage, so you get to laugh at almost all mob resists.  And it debuffs.  And its damage goes significantly higher if you have stacks of focus (you have stacks of focus).  And the set has two AOEs to the one of Energy Melee.

 

Superstrength has KNockout Blow.  Basically the same DPA, longer recharge, but it lives in the same set as RAGE.  You know, Rage, its like buildup, if buildup was perma and stackable 2-3x.  And some other decent attacks.  And Rage.  And an infamous AOE.  And Rage.

 

In light of the above, the only thing that justifies the existence of energy melee is the value of being pillow-fisted with pink-pom-poms.  Its not middle of the road with pros and cons, its just actively, notably, bad.  Reverting Energy Transfer probably wouldnt actually even make the set competitive with the later produced 'good sets' - Probably need to revist the animation time on Total Focus, and maybe give a bit of love to Barrage (say to the same DPA as Energy Punch and Bone Smasher - if you want the set to have a reason to be other than to by its choice indicate that you are uniformed, nostalgia-driven, or an active masochist.

 

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"Shouldnt we base comparisons on SOs?"

No, Being the best at solo i8 damage doesn't meaningfully inform anyone in an i25 world.

-Jack Nomind

 

I wouldn't say any Scrapper primaries are bad in general, however.  Then again, Scrappers don't have Energy Melee.

-Rumors

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I'm afriad I don't remember exactly, but I thought this was one of the many sets that took it on the chin because of PvP balance issues (where single target advantages reign supreme). One of the challenges with PvP on every MMO, is that you cannot have specialization and game balance. By definition making some powers different enough to be distinguished will always give folks a hook for abusing that unique feature to grief.

 

If I'm wrong and it wasn't a PvP issue, then of course, nevermind. But I seem to remember that happening with a number of other sets.

 

Before "it was because of PvP" gets too far again, let me try and clear some things up.

 

Since Issue 4, the devs had the ability to make any power that targets a foe function differently depending on if the target is a Critter or a Player. That's how we had things like unresistable Defender debuffs, and triple damage Controllers, and unresistable Scrapper crits, etc. If PvP was really where Energy Transfer did too much damage, it could have done less damage to players since the introduction of PvP to the game. Even later on when the tech was introduced for one power to be able to redirect to different powers, Energy Transfer could have been left a long animation power in PvP, and had it's shorter animation time returned back to PvE if that was the issue. Knowing that, it's probably fair to say that PvP was not the cause.

 

I'm not saying the animation changes to Energy Transfer were right. Far from it, actually. I like the look of Energy Melee, including the long ET animation, but the set no longer really excels at anything. Even as a concept pick for punch-y characters, Street Justice fits better. So I agree the set needs some work.

 

All I want is for the story to stop being that PvP was to blame, because it really wasn't.

 

Well, Id rather, for myself, blame PvP than to assume that the developers of that time were your choice of either 1.) Actively Malignant, or 2.) Broadly Incompetent


"Shouldnt we base comparisons on SOs?"

No, Being the best at solo i8 damage doesn't meaningfully inform anyone in an i25 world.

-Jack Nomind

 

I wouldn't say any Scrapper primaries are bad in general, however.  Then again, Scrappers don't have Energy Melee.

-Rumors

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In light of the above, the only thing that justifies the existence of energy melee is the value of being pillow-fisted with pink-pom-poms.  Its not middle of the road with pros and cons, its just actively, notably, bad.  Reverting Energy Transfer probably wouldnt actually even make the set competitive with the later produced 'good sets' - Probably need to revist the animation time on Total Focus, and maybe give a bit of love to Barrage (say to the same DPA as Energy Punch and Bone Smasher - if you want the set to have a reason to be other than to by its choice indicate that you are uniformed, nostalgia-driven, or an active masochist.

 

For Total Focus, I would make it's Smashing portion an AoE and also give it an AoE KD (but not on your main target). Beyond that, I think Stun could probably use a Cobra Strike-esque makeoever (ie recharge reduced to 10s, damage scale set at 1.96, could maybe even be given the old ET animation, unless anyone really really loves the baseball windup). Or maybe a small -Resistance could be added to all the attacks; it's one of the few debuffs not in melee sets.

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Well, Id rather, for myself, blame PvP than to assume that the developers of that time were your choice of either 1.) Actively Malignant, or 2.) Broadly Incompetent

 

I hate to say "Blame Castle," because Castle was a nice guy who was very willing to work with players, but from what I remember the nerf to ET's animation was something he pushed for almost immediately after being hired because he felt it was too much of an outlier. I can only assume that was based on whatever previous game design experience he had.

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Some day, the prophecy will be fulfilled; Trick Arrows will be buffed and I will finally be allowed to die.

 

Why doesn't Power Boost work on Cold Shields!?

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By matter of comparison:

 

Extensive, well-presented list of comparison

 

Thanks for that. Very insightful. +1, really. But can you tell me, is that KO Blow with rage on, or off?

 

Oh, my sweet summer child.  It gets much, much worse...

 

Lets go at the far end.  3 Damage IOs in each -

Knockout Blow - 132.7 DPA

Energy Transfer - 139.1 DPA

 

As above, plus Rage (you can trip and fall on perma-rage)

Knockout Blow - 186 DPA

Energy Transfer - 139.1 DPA

 

As above, plus Double-Rage/Buildup/Build Momentum (Uptime on double-rage is higher than uptime on Build Momentum or Buildup - but penalties are piling up here - see 'Change Rage' thread, same forum)

Energy Transfer - 195 DPA

knockout Blow - 234 DPA

Follow-Through -226 DPA

 

 

Triple-Rage is possible, but I dont believe the uptime justifies the heavy crash.  Still, theoretical triple-rage DPA would be ~ 280.

 

Side note, based on above - Rage probably needs to retain some drawback, because its just silly good - though I wont argue with the people who say the DEF Crash is too much - Ive not played it.

 

Trickshooter - as for Castle, Id say that at the time the nerf happened, PVP WAS a consideration, Energy Damage was considered a 'bonus' that had to be balanced against, and the 'set point' for game balance was WAY THE FUCK LOWER than later on.  This is before they let Shield (much less Bio, or Titan, or Radiation Melee/Armor) into the wild, after all.

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

In conclusion:  Energy Melee is and has always been, apparently by design, the -worst- AOE Tanker Secondary, tied for that job with Dark Melee.

 

Dark Melee gets a self heal as part of its attack chain, a super-perma-buildup that requires only that you fight large numbers of foes (IE, it requires that you play the game at high level), and a useful debuff.  EM Gets not these things.

 

Every set, that is not one of those two, has superior AOE, or at least lots of other tricks,  and the only set that shares the bad AOE of Energy Melee gets many other benefits of value far exceeding 'might briefly stun something that couldnt hurt me anyway'

 

Therefore, it follows logically that (assuming all sets are meant to be of value, and that there are tradeoffs) that Energy Melee should exceed -every- other tank secondary in single target damage, including rage-stacked superstrength and momentum-managed Titan Weapons.  Until this is the case, Energy Melee is a bad set, because the developers feel that it should be.

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"Shouldnt we base comparisons on SOs?"

No, Being the best at solo i8 damage doesn't meaningfully inform anyone in an i25 world.

-Jack Nomind

 

I wouldn't say any Scrapper primaries are bad in general, however.  Then again, Scrappers don't have Energy Melee.

-Rumors

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Oh, my sweet summer child.  It gets much, much worse...

 

Oh, stop you... *blushes*

 

Yet more extensive, well-presented information.

 

While I try not to be "angry" over changes that I'm not excited for (this is still a game, after all), this kind of information makes it difficult to not feel a bit miffed for EM. It's lack of strong AoE and the built in balance for its DPS in the form of self damage makes the changes to it animation time seem unsupported. At least by comparative logic.

 

Until this is the case, Energy Melee is a bad set, because the developers feel that it should be.

 

Well slow down, there. I'll say this much. Out of the box, in the lower levels, it performs very well. For that reason, I don't think any of it's early powers need adjustment. But I've noticed as I've leveled up that it quickly loses that performance to other sets. TF and ET no longer stand out at all and I see other melee sets surpassing EM very quickly after the early 20s. That's a bad place to start stalling out. I'd be interested in seeing how the set would perform if the animations were changed back.


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Im also attaching a link to a google spreadsheet on DPS performance being built up by someone from the discord.

 

I do not agree with all of his assumptions, for the record (+500% Recharge is an outlier, and probably makes TW look slightly better than it would otherwise).  Also, assuming all AOEs are fully target saturated is a big swallow - and probably makes cones look better than they otherwise would (I tend to prefer PBAOE Radius, as its much easier to get max targets).  He also appears to ignore rage, much less rage stacks, and I'm not sure about uptime on other buffs.

 

HOWEVER - you have to select SOME basis to make your comparison, and its as good a one as any short of building IOed supercharacters on test and testing them ALL.  There's not enough hours in the day.

 

Ive pasted a link to that spreadsheet, in the 'Tank' section.  It classifies DPS by various sets, in terms of both single target and AOE.

 

I believe numbers present a stronger arguement than anything else can, and the numbers on Energy Melee speak for themselves.  It is exactly at the bottom on AOE, snuggling it on Single Target, and worse than Super strength would be if you took Rage entirely away from SS.  It would need an overall damage buff of ~68%~ in single target to match STONE MELEE (surprisingly the #2 damage set - but Stone has long been better than it was credited), and would need to nearly triple its AOE output to catch up with Battle Axe (also a better set than it usually gets credit for).  I ignore Titan Weapons here because I'm less confident in the calculation behind it, when you juggle through momentum time and non-momentum time, etc.

 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/19VuZ9zJ_8eKN11JytgaK9mt9Fy-8pjANopb-FGh68Uw/htmlview#

 

 

As far as dev criticism, thats aimed at the old, live dev team.  I dont have much gruff to yell at unpaid volunteers, and I'll tip my hat to them in passing.

 

But the people that were getting paid?  They either couldnt TELL that something was worthless (in which case they are incompetent), dont CARE that it was worthless (In which case they are malignant) or could see, and cared, but lacked the talent to fix it (In which case they should not be the developers).

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"Shouldnt we base comparisons on SOs?"

No, Being the best at solo i8 damage doesn't meaningfully inform anyone in an i25 world.

-Jack Nomind

 

I wouldn't say any Scrapper primaries are bad in general, however.  Then again, Scrappers don't have Energy Melee.

-Rumors

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But the people that were getting paid?  They either couldnt TELL that something was worthless (in which case they are incompetent), dont CARE that it was worthless (In which case they are malignant) or could see, and cared, but lacked the talent to fix it (In which case they should not be the developers).

 

Malignancy implies ill will. If they were apathetic towards EM woes, that's not ill will. It's just not caring. But who knows, maybe they're hands were tied on it.

 

In these situations, it's best to question judgement, not motive. Even better still, not to stew over past decisions. Especially when this current team has been pretty great about hearing the communities concerns. I think good, solid, number-based evidence for change is the best tool we have for seeing any changes to EM. I'm hoping a dev team member might drop in to comment on the chances for that happening, and if we can avoid letting this thread go the way of the Rage thread, we'll be doing a big favor for ourselves.

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Eh, they murdered my main, Im not feeling generous.  That said, their also not the ones making decisions, and I'm hopeful for better in the future.  Even if we dont get it, Im still very much enjoying my Titan Weapons/Bio Armor/Spines/Dark Armor Crew, as well as my Fire/Time/Dark Corruptor.

 

But I'll try to give numbers with less venom in the future. :)


"Shouldnt we base comparisons on SOs?"

No, Being the best at solo i8 damage doesn't meaningfully inform anyone in an i25 world.

-Jack Nomind

 

I wouldn't say any Scrapper primaries are bad in general, however.  Then again, Scrappers don't have Energy Melee.

-Rumors

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But the people that were getting paid?  They either couldnt TELL that something was worthless (in which case they are incompetent), dont CARE that it was worthless (In which case they are malignant) or could see, and cared, but lacked the talent to fix it (In which case they should not be the developers).

 

Malignancy implies ill will. If they were apathetic towards EM woes, that's not ill will. It's just not caring. But who knows, maybe they're hands were tied on it.

 

In these situations, it's best to question judgement, not motive. Even better still, not to stew over past decisions. Especially when this current team has been pretty great about hearing the communities concerns. I think good, solid, number-based evidence for change is the best tool we have for seeing any changes to EM. I'm hoping a dev team member might drop in to comment on the chances for that happening, and if we can avoid letting this thread go the way of the Rage thread, we'll be doing a big favor for ourselves.

 

Just wanted to throw +1 Inf to Rylas - I love the attitude of assuming best intent and moving forward not looking backwards


"The opposite of a fact is falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth." - Niels Bohr

 

Global Handle: @JusticeBeliever ... Home servers on Live: Guardian ... Playing on: Everlasting

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