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Galaxy Brain

Cross-Post: Galaxy Brain's Sentinel ideas

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Hello everyone, I had posted this in the suggestions forum, but I figure it'd be a good idea to post directly to the Sentinel Forum as well!

 


 

 

 2021 is upon us and it is a time of great change and new beginnings! So, let's take this opportunity dig up something we have been talking about for a while now 😉

 

 

Goal:

The Sentinel AT has a great foundation all things considered, but a clunky inherent ends up leaving many players feel underwhelmed with them and often going to other more specialized roles or playstyles. They are a hybrid class that specializes in mid range engagement, but are not particularly high damage, not particularly tanky, nor do they have particularly stellar support. The inherent tries to rectify this by allowing you to provide support utility while also letting you choose between more offense or defense in theory, but there are a list of issues to address with how it works:

 

  • Opportunity is only active some of the time, and while its active it's not incredibly better than without to make up for how somewhat lackluster Sentinels feel when not in a mode, yet still creates sort of a feast/famine dynamic as you need to build up the meter over time before the payoff.
  • This is exasperated by the need to hit either your T1 or your T2 attack for one of 2 Opportunities. Often, a missed opportunity can feel wasted and frustrating with having to wait for your power to recharge or settle for the opportunity you did not want to use after needing to build it up. Let alone having the dynamic of selecting a target that  is "worth" marking, I can't tell you how often there may be like a minion left in a spawn and I have opportunity ready and I have the choice to mark that minion and waste the mark, but get the buff for the next spawn or to just defeat that minion and try and hurry to the next spawn while I still have opportunity to mark a "worthy" target.
  • I feel that this leads to more frustration than fun if you care to pay attention to which mode you want and who you want to target given that you need to build meter, need to then successfully land a hit with one of 2 different powers, and then a large portion of the effect can only be done once at activation which leads you to want to be very selective about who gets it. 

 

When everything works though, I feel that it is actually very fun! When you do get a mark on that boss and the right mode at the right moment it feels great! Its just getting to that moment feels much more difficult than it should be when you compare them to other AT's or even other powersets. A Corruptor with a ST Res debuff and decent survival through buffs/debuffs can pretty much do what a Sentinel does currently without needing to build up and take a shot. A more egregious example is comparing them to a Blaster with a lot of defensive investment in IO's, or even just a Scrapper or Stalker.

 

In short, Sentinels have a sort of identity problem when you start comparing them to other AT's that is enhanced by the effort/payoff ratio of their inherent. They are super fun when you do line everything up, and their twists on existing Blast / Armor sets that are unique to them are fun to explore but it often feels like there is something missing. To remedy this, changes should:

 

  1. Enforce a stronger identity for Sentinels to where you cannot easily get the "Sentinel experience" on other ATs or builds.
  2. Make their playstyle easier to grasp and have a much smoother gameplay loop

 

My suggestions below aim to hit those two goals and keep the spirit of Sentinels intact while making them just smoother overall.

 

 

1) Base Stats:

The base stats for Sents I feel is actually in a decent spot overall for what they do, and changes to the inherent should be where the focus lies. The base -5% Res/-2.5% def per attack is actually solid given it's unresistable, but along those same lines I think a boost to the secondary effects of all their attacks could do wonders!

 

Sentinels are sort of like the "cavalry" who come in and give back-up to the team with their versatility, allowing them to further "mark" targets with their effects would suit this very well. Currently, Sentinels have roughly the same (debuff) stats as Blasters, with Umbral Torrent for example dealing -5.25% ToHit on both. Boosting this by 1.25x for Sentinels will be a slight but meaningful change that would put them above other damage classes, but below the more "Support" oriented ones (5.25 on Blaster, 6.56 on Sent, 10.71 on Corr). We could potentially even go higher to match Corruptor values as Sentinels do not have Buff/Debuff sets to leverage them in the same ways!

 

Many champion an increase to base damage, but I think there are more unique ways to go about that and having the "support" stats fits more with the often under-looked part of their inherent where simply attacking debuffs enemies. 

 

 

2) Opportunity - Vulnerability Mark:

Currently, Sentinels have to get max Meter and hit a target successfully with either their T1 or T2 attack in order to apply a Mark. This is far too particular given what the mark actually does, heck we even have Trick Arrow able to more or less replicate this exact effect every 3 seconds! This should be decoupled from "Opportunity" and instead just be something the Sentinel can do whenever. Specifically, the T1 and T2 blast, as well as the lvl 6 T3 ST blast will now be able to freely apply the Vulnerability Mark when they hit an enemy.

 

(List of lvl 6 T3 blasts)

Spoiler

(Stunning Shot / Slug / Disintegrate / Abyssal Gaze / Suppressive Fire / Zapping Bolt / Power Burst / Blaze / Chilling Ray / Will Domination / Cosmic Burst / Shout / Dehydrate)

 

Sentinels can only mark 1 Target at a time, and the mark cannot stack from multiple Sentinels. These marks last 10 seconds but disappear if another Mark is created (you cannot mark 2 different targets at once by yourself), and new marks replace old ones on the same target. While marked, Vulnerable Enemies face a harsh, unresistable 15% debuff to: Damage Resistance, Mez Resistance, and (Special/Debuff) Resistances, as well as a 7.5% Defense Debuff. This myriad of weaknesses allows any player to benefit in their own unique ways towards a target highlighted by a Sentinel where not only do they take more damage, but longer mezzes and harsher debuffs. Sentinels would enjoy this themselves solo too with each set having a strong Mez attack and increases to their base secondary effect mods!

 

With this in place, the "passive" Vulnerability on-hit of 5% -Res and 2.5% -Def would be removed, and replaced by the second change to their inherent.

 

 

3) Opportunity - Overwatch:

Sentinels will now produce a 60' Radius Aura (Identical range to Mastermind Supremacy) that grants themselves and allies +Perception, as well as +Perception and ToHit resistances (something minor, but flavorful). Allies in Overwatch range will have some interactions that we will touch on in just a moment.

 

With every hit Sentinels dish out, they will gain meter towards Opportunity. Hits on Vulnerable Targets will give Bonus Meter, on top of this Allies within Overwatch Range will supply the Sentinel with Bonus Meter (TBD, could be if they are simply in range the Sentinel gets a boost per hit to make it easy). In order to solve some of the Feast/Famine dynamic, I figure giving the Sentinels more ways to stay in "Feast" may just be the most straightforward solution!

 

Once at (near full, 80~90%) Meter, the Sentinel will trigger Opportunity automatically! Once active, both effects of Offensive and Defensive that we know now will be active for the Sentinel where they are able to proc damage on foes they strike as well as heal HP and Endurance just the same. On top of this, Overwatch will now grant everyone in range a 10% Damage Buff, 5% ToHit Buff, 30% Regen buff, and 15% Recovery buff for as long as Opportunity is active.

 

Better still, allies within Overwatch will be able to use the effects of Offensive/Defensive opportunity (may as well just call it Opportunity) when they strike Marked Targets!

 

 

4) Putting it together:

Overall the goals of the changes are to streamline Sentinel's Opportunity to be much easier to trigger and be more impactful to themselves and allies than it is now. The ability to mark targets at all times with an unresistable debuff will be stellar and help the Sentinel out greatly in between boosts, and the combination of boosts when you get going will allow them to rise to the occasion each fight especially when they focus fire in a team. Allies benefiting in multiple ways wouldn't hurt either 😉

 

Keeping the current opportunity bar and procs doesn't mess with too much IMO and keeps their spirit alive, though I am still a little hesitant on whether the T3 blast should also mark, but it seems like a fair compromise between those who do not like the base abilities and those who want every attack to be able to mark.

These changes aim to make Sentinels more like actual "scouts" with their playstyle, generally debilitating foes through offense and being able to select foes individually to take down for added effect. I've tried to keep the spirit of them as they exist now intact with Opportunity still being a window, but making the journey to that spot a little less painful. Both Solo and in a Team the changes offer unique spins revolving around their ability to Mark Targets to take down for various rewards, and hopefully create a fun and unique supportive style through offense rather than raw support powers.

 

 

-Galaxy Brain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Old OP below)

Spoiler

 

Opportunity:

The major changes will all revolve around the inherent, which is broken down into a few parts.

 

1) Vulnerability Mark:

One of the literal highlights of a Sentinel is the ability to mark a target with a big, glowy reticle that indicates that they have a harsh, unresistable Resistance Debuff on them! However, this mark is only available if you have a full Opportunity Meter and due to the timer on that, you often "waste" it as mentioned above.

 

Instead, given the precedence with Bruising before it, as well as numerous ATs with access to near spammable -Res abilities, lets just allow the T1/2 attack to mark targets freely. The value is lowered to 15% unresistable instead of 20% resistable. This does not stack from multiple Sentinels, but multiple sentinels can now easily spread marks. This is a direct increase to single target damage overall as you can consistently keep 1 enemy marked while in combat and the versatility it gives in a team scenario would be just awesome as you and other Sentinels can more freely set up enemies to take the hurt. 

 

  • Edit: Either the T1 or T2 can cause this mark freely, but they share the same mark. 

 

2) Opportunity Modes:

With the T1 and T2 now freely giving Vulnerability, a big part of "Opportunity" is no longer present with the modes. Instead, I'd like to tie these directly into the Vulnerability mark to still have that element of choice, but with much more leniency.

 

Offensive - When at (max) meter, Marked Targets take additional damage procs from your attacks. This is somewhat of a nerf due to AoEs not having small procs from the Sentinel, but is made up for by the ability to freely do this from target to target.

 

Defensive - When at (max) meter, defeating Marked Targets triggers a heal to Health and Endurance that scales based on enemy rank. This would be much bigger than the healing from current Defensive mode, but less frequent due to it not being per hit. Luckily defeating a marked target should be easy, especially a minion, with the combined offensive mode + stacked -Res debuffs.

 

  • Edit: Both effects happen once you hit max meter, they are not "separate"

 

Combining these modes when at max meter and trying them to the marked  target I feel would cement the Sentinel's playstyle to someone who calls the shots and points out the targets and strategies for the group. Now, currently meter drops to 0 after some time after triggering Opportunity. This could be kept as when you hit max meter, you get the same effect and go into "Opportunity Mode" for ~20s like now before it resets, or the meter could simply drain much quicker. Either way I think it'd be nice if attacking or defeating Marked targets gave bonus meter to allow you to get to this mode much more regularly.

 

A big downer for me was the build up to opportunity, and then often that would also be delayed by a miss, selecting a target, or juggling when to activate. Changing this to where you always get to mark a single foe to boost you in between Opportunities on top of making windows of opportunity more common would be a huge boon.

 

3) Overwatch:

A new ability, Sentinels now emit a wide area Aura that provides +Perception and +Perception resist to themselves and all friendlies in range (thinking like 60ft). This would be super flavorful for the AT's Scout/Cavalry role, but the aura also serves a potent secondary function.

 

The Sentinel and all friendlies in Overwatch Range benefit from the Sentinel's opportunity meter. As it builds, all entities in range will receive bonuses as you point out vulnerabilities in your foes, and ultimately get to join in when you trigger an Opportunity! The Sentinel and all Allies in range will receive up to the following at Maximum Meter:

 

  • +15% Damage
  • +7.5% ToHit
  • +50% Regen
  • +25% Recovery

 

The latter boosts to sustain even out the loss of the Defensive Mode per-hit bonus, while the 15% boost helps with AoE's losing the normal proc and helps bolster the hurt on Marked targets even more. These numbers can be fudged around, but I think those values are solid as the meter will eventually drop either naturally or after a set time when Opportunity wears off as above.

 

When you do have Opportunity active, it should be mentioned that Marked Targets take proc damage from Any Damage Source. This means allies, pets, or even other enemies that damage the marked target will be able to contribute to Offensive Opportunity! Multiple Sentinels with the mark and opportunity active cannot stack, but you can spread targets through a group still. As for the Defensive Opportunity, it should be noted that the Sentinel does not have to be the one to defeat the foe. Any defeat of a marked target will trigger the heal for everyone in Overwatch range. This means a Sentinel can mark a target for a Brute to smash, and by doing so the whole team benefits!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hmm, interesting. I want to like sentinels, but struggle to do so. I was not aware of the passive; does it scale? Or do fast cast + fast recharge powers allow you to stack it quickly?

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53 minutes ago, Hew said:

Hmm, interesting. I want to like sentinels, but struggle to do so. I was not aware of the passive; does it scale? Or do fast cast + fast recharge powers allow you to stack it quickly?

It does not stack unfortunately, it just applies when you hit. Currently, multiple Sentinels can stack the "Basic" -5% Res/-2.5% Def on enemies they hit, but a single Sentinel cannot stack themselves.

 

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9 hours ago, Hew said:

Hmm, interesting. I want to like sentinels, but struggle to do so. I was not aware of the passive; does it scale? Or do fast cast + fast recharge powers allow you to stack it quickly?

It's based off of the cast time of your abilities, taking roughly 15 seconds to build up the meter to >90. In theory it is up half the time, down half the time. In practice you're saving the debuff for a tough target, or activating it accidentally on a nearly dead target. This, of course, only applies to the debuff, the Opportunity effect is applied to you and lasts for 15 seconds. Losing the debuff hurts still.

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