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Blackfeather

Make Ice Control Cooler: A Control Powerset Buff

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I’ve written up a proposal for improving Mind Control before, and this is done in the same vein, except with a cooler twist – there’s another Control Primary powerset out there that could do with some love (something that I’ve mentioned in my thread to allow Controllers to lock down AVs/GMs): Ice Control! As for why I decided to look at improvements to this powerset in particular, read on.

Ice Control: The Competition Heats Up

Unlike Mind Control, it’s a fairly standard Control set, with five of its powers following the regular pattern: one single target/AoE Hold and Immobilize, along with a pet power as its capstone. Additionally, its secondary effect can be quite potent. Its combined powers provide enough -Recharge/-Movement to slow most enemies to a crawl, and attack as much as four times slower.

Given that, it’s what Ice Control’s other four powers do cumulatively that make it hold up somewhat less well compared to the other Control primaries. Generally, most of them have an early way of locking down groups of enemies for a prolonged period of time, even before their AoE Hold comes into play:

Control Primary

Power Name

Effect

Level

Darkness

Heart of Darkness

PBAoE Stun

12

Earth

Stalagmites

AoE Stun

12

Electric

Static Field

Patch AoE Sleep

12

Fire

Flashfire

AoE Stun

12

Illusion

Phantom Army

Decoy Summon

18

Plant

Seeds of Confusion

Cone Confuse

8

The only exceptions to this are Mind and Gravity Control, which are both more damage focused than the other powersets – they get their other lockdown power at level 26 (Terrify and Wormhole respectively).

Ice Control: Slow on the Uptake

By level 12, most Control powersets have ways of immediately locking enemies down hard and for prolonged periods of times, preventing them from acting against players. In comparison, Ice Control at this level gets:

  • Arctic Air (6), a solid PBAoE Confuse toggle: useful, but slow acting, giving enemies time to retaliate

  • Shiver (8), a potent Recharge/Movement debuff: useful in prolonged fights, but does nothing against the initial wave of attacks

  • Ice Slick (12), a location based knockdown patch: great at keeping enemies on the floor, but doesn’t immediately stop them from attacking the user

The only power that bucks this trend is Flash Freeze, gained at level 18, which puts a group of enemies to sleep. Unfortunately, this does little in the way of locking down a group for a prolonged period of time, an issue it shares with other Sleep powers, given how the effect is broken via damage, or even being knocked down.

A pattern comes into play here. Ice Control excels in long, drawn out fights, due to being able to slow down the amount of damage that comes their way over time via its recharge and movement debuffs. However, it also lacks an immediate way of persistently locking down enemies, resulting in more damage taken from the unmitigated initial attacks.

This leads on to the meat of this proposal, mainly figuring out a way of locking down enemies at an early level while keeping Ice Control’s main strength of working well against prolonged fights. Every other aspect of this proposal is secondary to this.

Powerset Revamp: Ice Control

Ice Control has received a number of changes aimed at improving its ability to initially lock down the battlefield, something that almost all other Control powersets are capable of doing from a low level. In addition, there are now more avenues for it to deal damage, placing it more in line with other Control powersets.

Power Changes

  • IceFormation_Shiver.png.468db11f076574e4effb0b11c91a3736.png Shiver: Ranged (Cone), Foe -Recharge, -SPD, Foe Hold, Minor DMG(Cold)

    • 50% chance to Hold (Mag 2)

    • Deals minor Cold damage

    • Can now be slotted with Hold and Targeted AoE enhancements

  • IceFormation_IceSlick.png.856e0a4578d51405bbca7a9ddd91f412.png Ice Slick: Ranged (Targeted AoE), Foe Knockdown -SPD, -Jump

    • Can now be slotted with Slow enhancements

    • Can now be slotted with Knockback enhancements

  • IceFormation_FlashFreeze.png.70e45c9c9764b9b7f5daf8f0a1d0ae89.png Flash Freeze: Ranged (Targeted AoE), Minor DMG(Cold/Lethal), Foe Sleep, Summon Ice Formations

    • Each affected enemy now summons a fragile, short lived ice formation

      • Summoned icicles apply -Recharge and -Movement in a small area

      • Has a small aura of immobilisation and taunt that affects the targeted enemy

      • Deals minor Cold/Lethal damage to targeted enemy if prematurely destroyed

    • Can now be slotted with Taunt and Slow enhancements

  • IceFormation_Glacier.png.6955c1fb347cca7de6ff886e0f6d9900.png Glacier: PBAoE, Foe Hold, -Recharge, -SPD

    • Duration of -SPD debuff increased to 24 seconds

Alteration Justifications

The main change of note here is Shiver, which is meant to act as a go-to opener for Ice Control in most cases, allowing it to cut down the amount of actual attackers in play from the start. This change was heavily inspired by Poison’s Neurotoxic Breath power, which is similar in nature to Shiver, except with a small chance to Hold an enemy (25%, Mag 2).

More unreliable than other openers, it’s designed to keep Ice Control’s more gradual lockdown at the forefront while providing some further safety alone. Combined with the other Recharge/Movement debuffs that Ice Control is capable of, any attacks after the initial burst should be fairly infrequent, or give time for Arctic Air’s confuse to kick in.

Additionally, some minor damage to the power provides Controllers with a little more means of whittling down opponents somewhat faster, something of an issue for Control powersets in general, but especially the case for Ice.

In that vein, Flash Freeze also received similar changes – Sleeps tend to be more effective when combined with other more lasting effects (Electric Control’s Static Field is a nice example of this). By creating fragile summons that apply slow debuffs and taunt, even enemies who prematurely wake up from being put to sleep will still end up being occupied for a little longer, attacking the constructs that trapped them in the first place.

Other than that, the changes to Ice Slick are meant to provide Ice Control with more slotting options (Shiver and Flash Freeze included). Similarly, Glacier’s recharge/speed debuff duration is surprisingly low for its recharge and duration – only 10 seconds, which even Ice Control’s single target hold exceeds.

Ice Control: Now Even Cooler

And these are the changes that I’d make to Ice Control – modifications designed to fill in some gaps in its toolbox, as well as improve its existing abilities and strengths. In other words, it attempts to keep its previous feel while also improving its speed and effectiveness.

With this all written up, I turn to the forums: what do you think? Is this something that you’d like done to Ice Control? Does it bring it in line with the other Control powersets, is it too much, not enough? Would you do something else entirely? Looking forward to everybody’s responses!

Edited by Blackfeather
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Would definitely be interested in @oedipus_tex's thoughts on these proposed changes - I've seen you talk about this powerset a fair amount, so it's clear you've got a fair amount of experience with it. I think you've expressed a good deal of interest in this powerset in the past, in fact!

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Curious as to why you'd want to add KB enhancements to Ice Patch. (And I'm asking this as someone who uses KB.)

 

"More slotting options" is somewhat vague, and I don't think I've ever wanted ice patch to do KB - if anything, it'd work against much of the rest of the set, scattering enemies out of the way of arctic air or shiver, not to mention your AOE controls. Adding the option to slot slows makes sense (and fits in with the rest.) Even a chance for / slotting for stuns would (they fall down, hit their head, they're stunned 🙂  )  Do you have a specific "I wish I could slot this" KB set in mind? I'm assuming it'd be one that needed (and had) a KB-KD enhancement, which would simply bring it back into what it does now...

 

 


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7 hours ago, Blackfeather said:

Flash Freeze: Ranged (Targeted AoE), Minor DMG(Cold/Lethal), Foe Sleep, Summon Ice Formations

  • Each affected enemy now summons a fragile tauntable ice formation

  • Summoned icicles apply -Recharge and -Movement in a small area

  • Can now be slotted with Pet/Recharge and Slow enhancements

Enabling pet IOs in this power is gonna be pointless unless the pets themselves do damage, which you didn't say they would, just that they'd taunt. They should take Taunt enhancements and IOs, sure, but not pet IOs.

 

I do kinda like the idea, though.

Edited by Vanden
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4 hours ago, Greycat said:

Curious as to why you'd want to add KB enhancements to Ice Patch. (And I'm asking this as someone who uses KB.)

 

"More slotting options" is somewhat vague, and I don't think I've ever wanted ice patch to do KB - if anything, it'd work against much of the rest of the set, scattering enemies out of the way of arctic air or shiver, not to mention your AOE controls. Adding the option to slot slows makes sense (and fits in with the rest.) Even a chance for / slotting for stuns would (they fall down, hit their head, they're stunned 🙂  )  Do you have a specific "I wish I could slot this" KB set in mind? I'm assuming it'd be one that needed (and had) a KB-KD enhancement, which would simply bring it back into what it does now...

Two words: Force Feedback. Delicious, delicious +Recharge.

 

More slotting options = more Set IO opportunities in my mind. Earthquake, which is basically "Ice Patch but debuffs ToHit/Defence" has the ability to slot for Knockback and -ToHit. I'm just giving Ice Control the same parity as Earth.

Edited by Blackfeather

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1 minute ago, Razor Cure said:

Would that even work in Iceslick? Isn't it a pseudopet?

Absolutely! It just has a single chance for activation on use - but since it has a 30 second recharge on a 2 PPM proc, it basically maximises that chance. Try it out on Earthquake, you'll see it occurring more often than not.

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Honestly, I'd rather just remove the tiny damage from Flash Freeze, as that is the only difference between it and Mass Hypnosis I can think of that warrants FF having double the recharge time compared to MH.


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Some day, the prophecy will be fulfilled; Trick Arrows will be buffed and I will finally be allowed to die. https://twitter.com/trickshootah

 

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53 minutes ago, Trickshooter said:

Honestly, I'd rather just remove the tiny damage from Flash Freeze, as that is the only difference between it and Mass Hypnosis I can think of that warrants FF having double the recharge time compared to MH.

That's definitely one avenue to take! I figure that at level 18, it ought to be a little more versatile than a mass Sleep (though this is a thing I've talked about Sleeps in general). So I decided to fully lean in to the whole idea of "summoning ice to trap the enemy" - I was trying to simulate enemies attempting to break out of their confines, with being "woken up from Sleep" as "having freed themselves enough to try and chip out".

 

Also, I'm pretty sure there's some people out there who proc Flash Freeze out to the gills with Targeted AoE damage, didn't want to take that away from them.

Edited by Blackfeather
Wrong level, whoops.

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2 hours ago, Vanden said:

Enabling pet IOs in this power is gonna be pointless unless the pets themselves do damage, which you didn't say they would, just that they'd taunt. They should take Taunt enhancements and IOs, sure, but not pet IOs.

 

I do kinda like the idea, though.

Mmmm, that's a fair point - I envisioned the whole damage upfront as being the reason for why Pet IO slotting could be a thing, but I guess Flash Freeze already takes Targeted AoE damage IO slots, so I was probably being greedy there. I'll quickly revise that accordingly. Thanks for the heads up! And glad to hear you do like the concept behind it; I wanted to give a lingering effect to the Sleep, and I figured fragile targets that distract and slow the enemy for a little while made sense for it.

 

Still tossing around the idea of having an additional effect upon destruction, but I'm not sure what that might look like.

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3 hours ago, Trickshooter said:

Honestly, I'd rather just remove the tiny damage from Flash Freeze, as that is the only difference between it and Mass Hypnosis I can think of that warrants FF having double the recharge time compared to MH.

Any AoE sleep needs to be redone. Sleep in today's game is now almost useless unless it reapplies itself much like the Elec version of the AoE Sleep. Otherwise it is just downright useless. I like the OP's idea because it gives the sleep power more function than just the sleep and makes it worth picking up. As of right now I simply do not have the power and have no intentions of getting it.

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2 hours ago, Solarverse said:

Any AoE sleep needs to be redone. Sleep in today's game is now almost useless unless it reapplies itself much like the Elec version of the AoE Sleep. Otherwise it is just downright useless. I like the OP's idea because it gives the sleep power more function than just the sleep and makes it worth picking up. As of right now I simply do not have the power and have no intentions of getting it.

Initially, I wanted to have some kind of temporary health attached to Flash Freeze, so that small amounts of damage wouldn't cause it to break, but I went this route to try and make use of pre-existing mechanics - so it's kind of the inverse idea here: enemies "break out" of this freeze bit by bit (not sure how durable they ought to be at the moment).

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Would also be interested in @Coyote's thoughts on these changes - hey there! I've seen you around the forums talk about this powerset, and its current drawbacks compared to the other Control sets. This proposal's meant to rectify this somewhat: would love to hear your stance on them!

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1: As you say,, Ice Control excels in drawn-out fights. Conversely, it's extremely weak against the alpha strike, which is why I always advocate for taking it with a secondary with a -ToHit debuff to mitigate the alpha. Sucks to be an Ice Control Dominator, I guess... they're left out in the cold. Haha. But to get back to the point, we should ensure that we don't make Ice Control as good as an average Control set against the alpha... while also allowing it to be exceptional in longer fights. Or, this could be balanced by having it be a low- damage set (which it is now, so if we go this way, we need to make sure we don't open up too many options for additiona proc damage).

 

Now, to power changes specifically:
Shiver... I like the idea of having it break the Alpha strike. Due to its low recharge, the Hold component also needs to be low in duration. And I don't like the Mag 3 on it... I would prefer how I've seen other powers, with 50% chance for Mag 2, making it mostly an anti-Minion power, but an additional chance for a Mag 1... maybe another 50% chance. This gives it 50% chance against Minions, and 25% against LTs. Otherwise, the concept isn't bad. It could also be run as a Sleep effect, similar in concept to the target freezing in place like Flash Freeze. Either would work, I'd prefer the Hold so it's different from Flash Freeze. Be aware that allowing Hold would give it option for 3-4 damage procs. Maybe this isn't a bad thing, but be aware of it.

 

Ice Slick... agreed on both counts. It has a huge -Slow effect anyway, if it's a power that has a major debuff it usually makes sense to allow it to be enhanced. And while I don't see why Earthquake allows Knockback enhancing, if EQ can slot Knockback sets, it seems quite reasonable to allow Ice Slick to slot them also.

 

Flash Freeze... I'm always wary of adding more proc damage opportunities to powers. Not that I'm against it, I heavily proc out my Controllers... but I like to be careful about it. So, a few things:

First, do we want to give Flash Freeze the option for 2 more damage procs? I don't think it's too bad, but we need to consider it.

Second, what is this about the Taunt effect? I assume you mean taunting pets, not tauntable, but what's the point and concept? That mobs see these ice formations as especially dangerous and need to destroy them first? I don't buy it, the usual Taunting pets are highly dangerous or appear so (PA, Animate Stone, Gun Drone, the Crab "come close to me" hypnobomb). These don't feel to me like they should be so highly dangerous, mobs would be more likely to leave their area than attack them.

I think I would prefer to give these formations a 2x or higher, up to 5x,, Threat Level. Since they're debuffing, they'll pull some aggro, and since they have a high Threat Level, it will be reasonably strong and overcome some debuffs from actual characters... but not hold aggro against high damage, which seems more reasonable to me than a true Taunt. Also, it would remove the option for one of the damage procs, which I like... adding the option for one damage proc feels like enough, to me.

 

Glacier... maybe, for now. I mean, okay, if nothing is going to be revisited about Control Set AoE Holds, then it's a reasonable change. I don't see why not, but I'm not sure I like how the AoE Holds are balanced right now. There are too many times when I feel that they're some of the most skippable powers in a set.

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5 hours ago, Coyote said:

Second, what is this about the Taunt effect? I assume you mean taunting pets, not tauntable, but what's the point and concept? That mobs see these ice formations as especially dangerous and need to destroy them first? I don't buy it, the usual Taunting pets are highly dangerous or appear so (PA, Animate Stone, Gun Drone, the Crab "come close to me" hypnobomb).

I would picture something like this: Flash Freeze summons a pet under every target hit. The pets have an aura that immobilizes and taunts enemy targets, with a tiny radius and a target limit of 1, so each pet should only immobilize and taunt  the enemy mob it got summoned under. Basically, the enemies have to smash the ice that’s restraining them to move freely again, so it forces them to waste a power activation or two (after they’re free from the sleep); I imagine they’d have something like 1/10th the health of a normal pet.

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34 minutes ago, Vanden said:

I would picture something like this: Flash Freeze summons a pet under every target hit. The pets have an aura that immobilizes and taunts enemy targets, with a tiny radius and a target limit of 1, so each pet should only immobilize and taunt  the enemy mob it got summoned under. Basically, the enemies have to smash the ice that’s restraining them to move freely again, so it forces them to waste a power activation or two (after they’re free from the sleep); I imagine they’d have something like 1/10th the health of a normal pet.

Yup! Honestly, I wasn't quite sure how the proposed concept could be implemented in-game, hence it being a little vague - I really like the way you came up with it! Will adjust the original post accordingly to match.

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43 minutes ago, Vanden said:

I would picture something like this: Flash Freeze summons a pet under every target hit. The pets have an aura that immobilizes and taunts enemy targets, with a tiny radius and a target limit of 1, so each pet should only immobilize and taunt  the enemy mob it got summoned under. Basically, the enemies have to smash the ice that’s restraining them to move freely again, so it forces them to waste a power activation or two (after they’re free from the sleep); I imagine they’d have something like 1/10th the health of a normal pet.

 

That makes sense, I think.

So if I understand correctly, the power:

1: Sleeps and does damage in an AoE.

2: Also summons non-damaging pets under each target mob that was hit, and these pets have a small-radius Immobilize/Taunt effect, in effect holding the mobs in place and making them spend 1 attack freeing themselves from it.

 

That sounds pretty decent, though be aware that the footpads are likely to get AoE'd all at once and cleared. But that may not be unreasonable to allow... you could give them high AoE defense and poor other defense, but then you run the risk of a mob not being able to free itself if it attacks with an AoE power.

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1 minute ago, Coyote said:

That sounds pretty decent, though be aware that the footpads are likely to get AoE'd all at once and cleared. But that may not be unreasonable to allow... you could give them high AoE defense and poor other defense, but then you run the risk of a mob not being able to free itself if it attacks with an AoE power.

I imagine the pets would also not last very long even if an enemy doesn't kill them, probably despawning on their own before the max unenhanced duration of the sleep. It'd just be a fallback control for when the sleep gets broken early.

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1 minute ago, Vanden said:

I imagine the pets would also not last very long even if an enemy doesn't kill them, probably despawning on their own before the max unenhanced duration of the sleep. It'd just be a fallback control for when the sleep gets broken early.

Yup - it's a flash freeze, the ice is going to melt away pretty quickly. Also doubles as a way of controlling tougher enemies with higher protection levels, if only for a few seconds.

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6 hours ago, Coyote said:

Shiver... I like the idea of having it break the Alpha strike. Due to its low recharge, the Hold component also needs to be low in duration. And I don't like the Mag 3 on it... I would prefer how I've seen other powers, with 50% chance for Mag 2, making it mostly an anti-Minion power, but an additional chance for a Mag 1... maybe another 50% chance. This gives it 50% chance against Minions, and 25% against LTs. Otherwise, the concept isn't bad. It could also be run as a Sleep effect, similar in concept to the target freezing in place like Flash Freeze. Either would work, I'd prefer the Hold so it's different from Flash Freeze. Be aware that allowing Hold would give it option for 3-4 damage procs. Maybe this isn't a bad thing, but be aware of it.

Agreed on the duration - Neurotoxic Breath has a ~6 second Hold, so perhaps that could be the ballpark number for it? Another thing to keep in mind might be the Controller's Overpower inherent: 20% chance of a +1 to status effects.

 

So a 50% chance of a Mag 2 Hold might work out alright - I'm aiming for roughly half of any one enemy group to be temporarily locked down with this power, it sounds like that'd be within that range. Or even upping the chance of that Mag 2 Hold so that it's more likely to affect minions, but less so other things? Not sure on the whole math behind it all - and of course at level 18, Flash Freeze is always an option anyhow, I suppose.

 

Main aim for this is to give some time for Ice Control's other powers to kick in, with Shiver being an opening transition power of sorts - usually that'll be Arctic Air.

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As someone who has an Ice/Cold controller,  the biggest issue is damage - or lack thereof.   This is probably the least damaging of all my characters, including a defender....

a moderate increase in damage in a couple of powers would be nice.

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Monos King said:

@Blackfeather This seems cool. I'm curious though. Does adding damage to shiver interfere with use of Flash Freeze's sleep effect, or do you guys not use it in a way where that would matter?

Definitely a good question! Basically, I figure that Flash Freeze is interchangeable with Shiver as a potential opener - either can be used to start a fight on the right foot (i.e. reducing the amount of incoming attacks). After that, Arctic Air takes over by confusing the mob. Plus, if a character wants to use both powers at once, they can just lead with Shiver first, and then follow up with Flash Freeze.

 

And of course, there's always the "regular" way of using an AoE Sleep: temporarily taking enemies out of a fight when there are too many to handle, which means that other powers won't be used on them for some time.

 

Plus, as @krj12 mentioned, Ice Control's a fairly low damage set, so adding a minor source in Shiver was something that I thought could help out a little in that regard. Though I do wonder if that's potentially overdone with the amount of proc potential that Hold IOs have...

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10 minutes ago, Monos King said:

@Blackfeather This seems cool. I'm curious though. Does adding damage to shiver interfere with use of Flash Freeze's sleep effect, or do you guys not use it in a way where that would matter?

...also, whether or not that pun was intended, that was amazingly smooth. 🤣

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