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An idea for a possible Sentinel revamp

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This might be terrible or it might not but it's been floating around my head demanding to be posted for a week so here we are.


First off, a quick history lesson for those of you who didn't play on live. Back in Issue 15, Dominators got a massive revamp. Before that, their inherent power of Domination used to additionally give a damage buff. Their base damage was much lower than it is today, to account for that buff. In Issue 15 this was changed so Domination gives only the control buff it currently does, and the base damage of the whole archetype was increased by the same 80% the Domination buff used to apply.


What's any of that got to do with Sentinels? Well, part of the stated reasoning at the time for the changes to Domination was that the damage buff created a very 'Jeckyll and Hyde' feel for the AT as a whole. When Domination was active you felt powerful and awesome, but when it wasn't you felt weak and underpowered, because the AT was balanced around the power it had with the buff active. Which brings us back to Sentinels. Currently as it stands, the Sentinel AT has much the same on or off feeling. To a lesser degree than Dominators used to, plus without the additional factor of IOs severely affecting the AT's balance since Opportunity has a fixed uptime that can't really be improved. But they do.


With Offensive Opportunity active, their damage feels as powerful as an AT with slightly worse than scrapper defenses should. With Defensive Opportunity active they're much harder to kill, plus have a smaller damage increase from the debuff both opportunities place. But without, they're ultimately a scrapper with no criticals, less damage and worse defenses. The range advantage, while always given such a valued place in balancing ATs, doesn't really make up the difference.


So, here's my idea. Remove the triggered Opportunities outright. Instead, give the sentinel AT two inherent toggle powers, labelled Offensive Focus and Defensive Focus.

  • With neither toggle active, you're considered to be in a support focus. All offensive powers will place a small non-stacking resistance debuff on the enemy as they currently do, plus trigger a heal similar to the current Defensive Opportunity. But rather than just healing yourself, single target powers instead heal the lowest health nearby ally, using the same smart heal logic the recently added Electric Affinity set uses. AoE powers heal in a PBAoE, for lower numbers but hitting everyone nearby. So as you're blasting fools you're also healing and debuffing, perhaps living up to the AT's name a little more than either Opportunity does currently.
  • With Offensive Focus active, you lose the debuff and the heal on every attack and instead gain bonus damage, the same as the current Offensive Opportunity though possibly less of a bonus to remain balanced since this you can have active all the time if you so wish instead of being limited duration. However you wouldn't get the resistance debuffs the current Opportunity has, so it may balance out even if the bonus damage is left the same.
  • With Defensive Focus active, you lose the debuff and heals, instead gaining increased effects from your secondary powers - numbers becoming somewhere between scrappers and tanks. Plus, you gain an inherent taunt on all your attacks with the same mechanics as Brute punchvoke - anything that takes accuracy will taunt.


You'll note I haven't specified numbers on any of that. All of those would of course be subject to balancing by the devs making the changes, though I would argue that the current Sentinel should really only be used as a baseline if considering the numbers it puts out with Opportunity active.


Thus, you have an AT with three distinct modes - kind of like how Kheldians do, but without the specific aesthetic alongside it. You have the option, retaining the idea of the choice that the current Opportunity uses, of being either damage with team support, damage with more damage or damage with aggro. You won't be as effective as a dedicated AT at any of those roles, but you'd have the option to provide more support or tanking if the team needs it or just keep blasting. And you wouldn't have the 10-15 seconds of being so much weaker between Opportunities.

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The devil is in the details, so I'd really want to see how the numbers pan out. 

But one side benefit to this approach that I do like on the face of it, is I would no longer feel like I absolutely HAVE TO take both my T1 blast and my T2 blast. 

If I can choose which toggle is active at any given moment, I have more control on power selection.

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One thing I have yet to see is the numbers on the current opportunity buffs. Its a cool idea to give them universal stances (Dp/Bio with @General Idiot's proposition would be wild lol), but I have felt for a while that it could be simpler to just combine both modes into one with all the buffs and let either T1 or T2 trigger it upon activation (not upon hit!) of the power.

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Numbers would have to be high for this not to be a nerf for my Sentinels. Right now you can have both your cake (+dam) and eat it too (-res). -res is good for more than just you, it helps your team and your pets. So you can't just end up at the same point through +dam if you take away -res.


Something like the Tanker buffs (higher base damage) makes more sense, although it is still not the same. Some people were disappointed Tankers lost their significant -res debuff. Rightfully so IMHO, and I say that as someone who loves the Tanker buffs, was hardly playing Tankers before and now have two dozens in my roster. Is it fair I get to have fun with Tankers, while some genuine Tanker lovers lost what they liked about their toons?

Likewise, you can't rationalise (i.e.) cutting the strength of something in half by changing it from 50% uptime to perma. In practical gameplay, burst damage matters. I don't mind Opportunity being off for the 3-4 seconds I CJ from one spawn to another. I don't care if Opportunity is off while I'm clearing straggler minions/lieutenants who die in one or two hits anyway.


I strongly feel any Sentinel buff needs to be an improvement over their current state, and not remove functionality.


@Galaxy Brain's suggestion is good. Takes away nothing, makes things easier to use for everyone, doesn't alienate people who currently enjoy their Sentinels and might get other people to enjoy Sentinels.

I'd go one step further and let any ST blast activate Opportunity whenever full, *and* switch the reticle to whoever you hit last while Opportunity is active.


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