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Focused Feedback: Pool Powerset Revamp: Sorcery


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My experience is different, I guess.  I never had Sorcery on any characters.  Spirit Ward and Enflame didn't seem to do much, I never saw the point to the bonus teleport while running a flight power, Arcane Bolt was just too slow and low damage to bother with, and I wasn't taking any two of those to get to Rune of Protection.  These changes will cause me to pick up Sorcery on some controllers and dominators at least, and maybe my fire/dark corruptor.

 

Now, I'm finding Spirit Ward useful on a dominator to use on the pet.  Won't prevent disaster, but they're no longer running around half-dead between fights. 

 

Enflame does enough damage (and now I can see it) that I can put it on a pet and it'll do *something*, or I can put it on an annoying stationary mob, and next time I look at it, it's dead.  Well, on +2 anyway.

 

I look at Rune as something that extends my tray of Break Frees, since now I only need them when Rune is down.

 

Arcane Bolt is better DPA than Impale on my plant/thorn dom, which is an attack I took and slotted but don't always use.  Now I tend to use Arcane Bolt when the arcane power thing happens.  Net dps plus, for ranged single-target anyway.  Being able to spam a keybind to turn Hover on and off to get the arcane power feels like an exploit, probably should be fixed, but I like the idea behind it.

 

Mystic Flight is maybe a little nicer to use, but I still almost never take Fly without also taking Hover, and then always fighting in Hover.  So the point to Mystic Flight still evades me, especially with the buffs to Teleport itself.

 

As a reference point, the character I tested most on is 50, IOed for defense but not perma-dom and without incarnates.

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An attempt to rebalance Sorcery has been made, worth a thank you to those involved in the effort.  From the way it sounded at first, this effort was not going to happen, so I appreciate the flexibility and extra work done.  I'll give the best thoughts I can spare:

 

Spirit Ward - Seems to fit a rare use case / playstyle and feels like a rather steep end cost.  I like the idea of providing something different, but think this is going to see very limited uptake and use, like before, but with a more interesting use case for small teams or special-flavor controller/MM builds.  A toggle buff to a selected target which *also* buffs the caster, if feasible, would be at least a step closer to what I'd like to see for a revamped spirit ward.  I think this would be even more interesting and more widely (5-10%) taken - and used, which is too often a hurdle for powers.  With much of RoP's proactive protection stripped away, and recharge slots released back to other uses, I was hoping a modest and balanced portion of that power could be reallocated to Spirit Ward.

 

Arcane Bolt - A fair decision to buff this without any downside attached, as the power was pretty weak.  I think I have one char that took this attack, and since I don't even remember which one, please rely on current users' feedback on whether the new numbers feel satisfying powerful.  A possible caution - while it's good to offer a ranged attack in the pool for thematic reasons, other than that it's not clear to me who benefits from building this in.  Controller maybe, but I would think a fast-recharging ST hold and/or immob may offer better damage and utility for common gameplay situations involving a single target.  A mastermind, maybe, but I wouldn't see the knockback as positive, due to potential undesired pet behavior and needing to prevent the bolt's KB in various situations, and I don't need more slots devoted to KB2KD IOs.  Maybe rare cases where a meleer doesn't like their epic attack choice for pulling / runner handling, and the free Blackwand clashes with character concept?  I could see a health drain effect or modest hold replacing the KB, as a way to broaden its appeal to more ATs.  Thus I am not personally inspired to use Arcane Bolt simply from the buffs, but that's ok, as long as a decent number of players are.

 

Mystic Flight / Translocation - End and cast time improvements were noticeable in magnitude, making this a good buff to a power that needed the help.

 

Enflame - Since I've never tried this one, I'll keep my commentary brief; if others now start seeing solid value in it without the use of procs, then I'm happy for them and may consider it in the future.  I wouldn't commit much of my time into taking this power unless confident that it was good without procs and thus future-proofed.

 

RoP - well, these changes accomplish *a* goal, but nothing interesting or unique.  Its current state could seem deserving of a name change, at least from the perspective of those who took the power on Live as more than an inspiration macro with a pretty icon.

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A fix to a fix to correct or justify the original 'fix'

 

While in favor of reducing the abuse of powers and avoiding power creep. These changes lend to three comments:

  • There are bold changes a foot. Design is often about knowing when to stop and realizing more often than not, less is more.
  • Designing powers by spreadsheet is a flawed premise. Sure the numbers are good as a guide but great design is not limited by them.
  • I am not in favor of adding combo mechanics where they previously didn't exist. The number of them that seem to be proliferating is alarming.
    • new pool power mechanics
    • pop up power trays
    • existing power sets getting mechanics added

 

These sorcery changes at the surface look interesting but really amount to a nerf at worst and a wash at best.

 

Enflame was fun if you had an immobilize, awful if you didn't. The toggle.. I guess we're just supposed to cast it on a taunting teammate or pet.

 

Are there other pool sets that have two .52/sec end cost toggle powers? I guess that is special.

 

RoP changes are yanking the band aid off a broken power. Yes, maybe the fix could have been simpler.

 

Edited by Troo
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6 hours ago, Mezmera said:

Love it or hate it proc's ARE on deck.  Which will really affect the health of the population pool we all will have to play with much more so than any Sorcery nerf.  


With SG mates that simply don’t possess the amount of time to play this game that I do, I spend quite a bit of time on in PUGs and let me go assure you that the majority of the playerbase (on Excelsior) does not conform to the “Proc everything to death” theory. The “health of the population pool” is far more casual than you think.😉

 


 

Sorry for the derail, so we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

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1 hour ago, Myrmidon said:


With SG mates that simply don’t possess the amount of time to play this game that I do, I spend quite a bit of time on in PUGs and let me go assure you that the majority of the playerbase (on Excelsior) does not conform to the “Proc everything to death” theory. The “health of the population pool” is far more casual than you think.😉

 


 

Sorry for the derail, so we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

 

My favorite characters to play are doms, I have little room to worry about chasing proc builds while building using full sets for things like defense, hp and recharge.  

 

Trust me I have no want to defend anyone using powers with 4-5 procs in it, I think there's too many damage procs to begin with anyways, but I also do see there should be a viability of being able to slot 2 damage procs into a long recharging aoe power.  The damage procs have already been painted into this corner and some builds make use of these quirks to great effect.  What these proc players do doesn't make my doms any less fun to play.

 

With that prefaced what this change to Sorcery has done has illustrated how where it required a scalpel to RoP and a unique buff to one of the t1 powers it turned into a hammer to the whole thing.  Now large scale that to procs and yeah lots less people playing even though I feel there's too many damage procs I can still see the health of the population we have to play with on Excelsior is at high risk if such a hammer is used in this manner with future changes.  

Edited by Mezmera
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Took the sorcery changes to the test server with a plant/storm/ice controller build. I figured these changes will probably make the most difference for controllers and MMs. Rarely do either have better attack choices, and they often have some extra power picks to spare. Besides which, both rely on their pets to a significant degree, which justifies picking up expensive toggles that can only be cast on another person. I built for s/l defence, some res on the side, and I had somewhere around 170% global recharge. I did not proc monkey more than just picking up the procs that were in sets I was already slotting anyway, except for carrion creepers, and carrion creepers doesn't count. I don't think it's an outstanding or even particularly unusual build by HC standards. 

Probably the first thing I noticed was how fast Mystic Flight is! I didn't slot for it specifically - I usually just drop a blessing of the zephyr into my travel powers and I didn't remember to put a flight IO in swift - so I'm used to going slow. It's zippy now! I'm a fan.

 

When I got into combat, I pretty quickly realised arcane bolt's proc for arcane power is actually a global proc. I'm not sure how I missed that in the patch notes. I think that's a great move, especially for controllers, where a lot of combat time is spent making sure everything is locked down! I suspect, however, that arcane power isn't supposed to proc off hasten, which I witnessed happening while I wrote this sentence. I'd also guess arcane power isn't supposed to proc the second I activate arcane bolt, turning the active arcane bolt immediately into an empowered one. The window of opportunity to get it off felt plenty long, which I enjoyed. I haven't encountered a situation where I haven't been able to get it off before arcane power wears off, including a time when I missed twice in a row. As an aside, I really like arcane bolt's animation. I've never taken it from sorcery before, but I plan on taking it on several controllers now.

 

My feelings are a little more mixed on enflame. Part of the problem has been that the Giant Fly Trap is a partially ranged pet, so he's often just sniping at enemies yards away from where the real fighting is. But that'll be a common problem on most controller sets, just thinking about it. (I'm more an MM player, and I've never understood the on record reasons why controllers don't get access to pet commands. But that's not what this thread is for.) Something I liked was that enflame is timed to fall off. The toggle is supposed to be thirsty - almost as thirsty as *hurricane*- so it falling off in midcombat, when my endurance has taken a dip, has been helpful. That's stormies for you. I suspect there'll be a subset of people who would rather it function like phase shift does, always being toggled, but suppressing both consumption and damage when on its downtime. Admittedly, having to continually target my pet and cast it is something of a hassle, and I ended up only using it at the very beginning of combat. Which was when my fly trap most certainly had not wandered into the fray. I ended up throwing it on a Carrion Creeper tentacle out of frustration, only for the tentacle to immediately die. C'est la vie. I didn't really think the damage, when I summoned the fly trap in the middle of combat, was worth writing home about, but I was comparing it to ice storm, which isn't entirely fair. Fortunately, the powerset combo wasn't lacking in aoe damage. If I played something that was lacking, I'd probably go back to force of will instead. 

 

If I had to make a suggestion, I'd say that enflame might benefit from applying something like a fiery embrace effect to the target it's cast on, so that there's a point to using it on people/pets that are hybrid or pure ranged. 

 

I skipped spirit ward on the basis that it's too thirsty to co-exist with enflame, but I will be making an MM build tomorrow to see if it'll sub in for a pet heal in an otherwise heal-lacking secondary. 

 

Rune of protection was fine. I never slotted it hard for recharge to begin with, so the 33% non-negotiable uptime will be a net bonus for me. I one slotted it with just a +5 boosted basic resist IO, and I felt like it was up when I needed it, as long as I wasn't playing like an idiot. It doesn't move this character up a weight class, but it does give me some breathing room when I make inadvisable positioning choices. The new recharge meshes very well with the resistance applying while mezzed, and made all the difference when in combat. Of course, storm is a pretty tanky secondary to begin with, so YMMV on something like poison. (Poison buffs when?)

Overall, I'm a fan of the new direction of sorcery! Looking forward to testing it again on an MM tomorrow.

 

edit: totally forgot to mention, I love the little symbol on the bottom of the icon for enflame that indicates it’s a different-person toggle! I hope to see it on Sonic Resonance’s Disruption Field too. 

Edited by Katharos
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26 minutes ago, Katharos said:
29 minutes ago, Captain Powerhouse said:
On 3/16/2021 at 4:10 PM, Katharos said:

why isn't sentinel bioarmour's athletic regulation getting a look?

Oversight, it will be addressed in the next build.

Oh no. Oh god. What have I done? 

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Hmmm. Bit of an overcomplex revamp. What ever happened to Keep It Simple, Stupid?

 

Nice on the Arcane Bolt changes. Like that. Although the animation change would have been enough. 

 

Not sure on the Spirit Ward, personally I liked it as-is because it swung me around towards the person I wanted to heal (Nature). Not sure it needed much of a change other than maybe some figure tweaks. 

 

Is Enflame now a timed toggle that makes the target drop flame patches? I don't understand the change (personally I'd have gone the K.I.S.S. route here too and just played with Recharge, Radius and Burn time while keeping damage as-is). 

 

RoP, still meh. Essentially it's now an uber break free. For people using it like that in fact it's probably a bit overpowered now (2 min recharge means it'll basically be there whenever needed on squishies, rare you'd be mezzed more often than that on a squishy unless you're being hyper-aggressive). 

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I think it’s a mistake to make RoP not be affected by recharge. 
 

It means the power acts differently to most other powers in the game, which is confusing.  I can only think of Vengeance that behaves this way but the nature of that power makes it understandable.
 

It stops players being able to make decisions on how to enhance it. 
 

It behaves differently to other team buffs like Fade, Farsight and Accelerate Metabolism.

 

Its a very rigid mechanism that isn’t in keeping with the rest of the game. Making things perma is part of what makes CoH fun.

 

The power is already restricted based on location?

 

In my mind non-rechargeable is a sledgehammer approach that should only be used n extremely special circumstances, like Vengeance and Incarnate powers. 
It shouldn’t be used for ‘ordinary’ powers that the devs want to restrict the playerbase on. This feels like a hamfisted attempt to lock the power down.

 

Also there has been no comment on the wider issue of squishy mezz protection. 

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3 minutes ago, Peacemoon said:

It means the power acts differently to most other powers in the game, which is confusing.  I can only think of Vengeance that behaves this way but the nature of that power makes it understandable.

 

Off the top of my head, Strength of Will and One With the Shield work the same way.

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4 hours ago, Troo said:

While in favor of reducing the abuse of powers and avoiding power creep. These changes lend to three comments:

  • There are bold changes a foot. Design is often about knowing when to stop and realizing more often than not, less is more.
  • Designing powers by spreadsheet is a flawed premise. Sure the numbers are good as a guide but great design is not limited by them.
  • I am not in favor of adding combo mechanics where they previously didn't exist. The number of them that seem to be proliferating is alarming.
    • new pool power mechanics
    • pop up power trays
    • existing power sets getting mechanics added

This should probably be a discussion for a separate 'HC design philosophy' thread. Personally I am encouraged that they are prepared to make bold changes, feel that underpinning everything with solid numbers is a good idea (original devs not balancing around activation time being a huge failing is this regard for example) and generally I like combo mechanics as they add interactive interest to the button pressing.

 

It also seems to me that we can infer from these changes that they are trying to improve baseline performance while limiting it (where they consider necessary) at the high end and again that seems a very sensible way to approach things.

 

As ever though it would be really interesting to get some commentary on the thought process behind changes such as these (alongside the bare patch notes) so we can look at the changes in the context of the design goals rather than trying to guess what they are. I don't imagine it would cut down on the back and forth and it certainly wouldn't stop the flow of 'I don't like it therefore you must change it' type feedback but it might help to inform the debate. Currently feedback that seems like it should be a more general 'I don't agree with the design goal' is often coming out as a specific 'I don't like this change' or 'This change isn't working'. If we had the goals stated up front to work from we might be able to separate those out a little. I could be wrong and it might just cause more arguments though!

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Upon further reflection of the changes, I'm not a fan of the adjustments to Arcane Bolt. Is it a buff? Yes, obviously. Do I want to play whack-a-mole when I play City of Heroes? No, I don't. More and more powers and powersets have started getting this "randomized/triggered" boost design and it's starting to become one of the things I hated about World of Warcraft's class redesigns. Hitting powers only when they light up (or suffer their ineffectual nature otherwise) doesn't make the game interesting and starts to make everything feel like it plays the same. Even worse, it feels like the game is telling me how to play it. It takes the agency away from the player by enforcing a "use state" that completely overshadows all other states of the power. This was my biggest problem with the Energy Melee revamp and we all know how that turned out (I guess my feedback there wasn't "compelling" enough to convince the Council of 13). And what's worse, this design enforces the perception that these attacks are "supposed to suck" and they're only allowed to be usable on a strict, randomized basis.

 

I'll reiterate that Enflame having the Terror effect completely ruins the power for anyone who doesn't have some kind of movement lockdown ability. At this point I've decided that's the point: make the power bad for everyone except people who can hold a spawn down. Damage powers that can't reliably damage anything and make enemies scatter to the four winds aren't worth picking up. It's great you fixed the bugs with this, but if I can only kill one enemy with this toggle (since he can't actually escape the damage despite running all over the place like a confused chicken), it's not worth anything.

 

Spirit Ward's changes are a sidegrade that happens to benefit the way I play but I can see people who picked it for how it functions currently would be upset with it. You've essentially traded one group of people's preferences for another group's and I'm not sure that's a great way to make changes. If the goal is to get more people to think these powers are worth it, is it really working when the people who took them are dropping them and offsetting any new adopters?

 

Rune's changes are just bizarre. You harp on about how it's overpowered, and yet, no one was taking it. It's been demonstrably shown that Rune has always been a weaker choice than stacking Defense, yet you want to nerf it anyway. The way you locked in a 33% uptime made the power busier, harder to "chain" with similar high-level powers, and essentially no more useful to a character build than two standard inspirations. There's no reason to nerf something that isn't meta unless future changes to the meta would have made this become meta, but at that point, why not just keep this power untouched until those future changes? It seems no amount of factual "it's weaker than the meta" declarations is going to dissuade The Council from deeming the power broken at this point.

 

Sometimes you guys hit it right, like with Titan Weapon. Other times, you miss the mark entirely like with Energy Melee or Rune of Protection. In all cases, though, feedback is either brushed aside by boiling it down to something you think is meaningless, or you warp the feedback to adjust the power/powerset in a manner that still falls under your initial change's design goal. Even if that's not happening, that's the perception based on what information we have available to work with. You can declare that perception wrong until you're blue in the face, but when you nerf a power that is, in practice, worse than the standard build and all feedback still leads to a nerf? Well, it's still getting nerfed, isn't it? Kinda makes the feedback feel pointless, wouldn't you agree?

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49 minutes ago, ForeverLaxx said:

Upon further reflection of the changes, I'm not a fan of the adjustments to Arcane Bolt. Is it a buff? Yes, obviously. Do I want to play whack-a-mole when I play City of Heroes? No, I don't. More and more powers and powersets have started getting this "randomized/triggered" boost design and it's starting to become one of the things I hated about World of Warcraft's class redesigns.

This is kind of going back to my Keep It Simple comment. 

 

What was the issue for Arcane Bolt? Answer The DPA is shite. The solution is just to lower the animation and maybe raise the damage (if warranted). Not sure why it spun off into "Let's turn it into a mini-Water Jet" at all. Seems like a solution not designed for the problem. Was anyone complaining that they wanted Arcane to pop back immediately sometimes? (and, unlike Water Jet in a completely random way). 

 

Enflame : Same thing. I don't think a rework was needed on it to this level. Just play with the Damage, Recharge and AOE on what you have. Old concept was fine, but the figures were shit. So just adjust the figures. 

 

Ditto with the other powers in the set. Ward for me was fine. If it needed anything then maybe an animation / recharge reduction or increase in the Absorb amount. Changing how it works completely seems an odd decision. If you're eager to make new powers / mechanics then make new pools with powers with new mechanics. 

Edited by Carnifax
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11 hours ago, siolfir said:

"But pool powers are supposed to be weaker," I'm told, but that's a garbage argument since pool powers are supposed to provide customization and options for your character.

It might very well be a garbage argument were it not for the indisputable fact that it’s a core design principle and has been from day one.

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Just noticed a pertinent effect of the planned >50% nerf to RoP duration.

 

As another poster pointed out, respecs don't encompass incarnates. And, one of the current niches for RoP is to serve as part of a rotation involving melee core hybrid and RoP to provide mez protection. For those players who have really loved playing such characters they could easily have high vet levels for them. Then they wouldn't necessarily find it easy or inexpensive to convert their incarnate choices to support a different build.

 

If such builds were obviously OP then players affected could reasonably be told "That's unfortunate for you, but you should have seen the nerf hammer would be on its way when you made that clearly OP build." Given that "melee core hybrid / RoP"  builds provide, at best, higher highs to offset the lower lows and the increased number of clicks associated with playing them, it's not as clear what message players should receive from the nerf to RoP duration. "You should have seen that coming" doesn't seem to fit. 

 

 

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38 minutes ago, arcane said:

It might very well be a garbage argument were it not for the indisputable fact that it’s a core design principle and has been from day one.

Being a core design principle does not make it a good principle. Fixing mistakes is why there are updates.

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Archetype Concept Compilation -- Powerset Concept Compilations: Assault Melee

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The Great Archetype Concept Battle: Final Round

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Archetype Proposal Amalgamation

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25 minutes ago, Cheli said:

Completely mystified how pages and threads of comments on ROP led the team to decide the solution was to make it worse than a high-tier breakfree. It seems sorta like spite honestly.

Your break frees double as high resistance buffs?

 

... Can I have some?

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27 minutes ago, Zepp said:

Being a core design principle does not make it a good principle. Fixing mistakes is why there are updates.

If you want to dismantle the game’s core design principles, other servers that have already done so are the way to go as opposed to trying to spoil one of the relatively conservative servers for players that enjoy its approach.

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4 minutes ago, arcane said:

If you want to dismantle the game’s core design principles, other servers that have already done so are the way to go as opposed to trying to spoil one of the relatively conservative servers for players that enjoy its approach.

I was just pointing out the appeal to authority fallacy you were basing your "argument" on.

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Archetype Concept Compilation -- Powerset Concept Compilations: Assault Melee

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The Great Archetype Concept Battle: Final Round

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Archetype Proposal Amalgamation

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12 minutes ago, arcane said:

If you want to dismantle the game’s core design principles, other servers that have already done so are the way to go as opposed to trying to spoil one of the relatively conservative servers for players that enjoy its approach.

 

Changing a power to the point that it breaks the builds of the vast majority of players who take the power (which is, according to stats, not that many), is not what I would call a conservative approach.

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Assuming the main balancing point for RoP is uptime and the dev intended value for that is 33% I would like to request:

 

Duration:  40s -> 60s

Recharge: 120s -> 180s

 

Reasoning:

The 33% uptime balance-point will be maintained.

The power wont need to be animated as frequently.

The increased flat up & downtime will synergize better with t9s.

The increased flat up & downtime will synergize better with melee hybrid.

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1 hour ago, arcane said:

Do you mean to imply that a couple dozen angry forum PvP’ers doesn’t constitute a perfect statistical sample? I’m shocked 😉

Most of the feedback in this thread is coming from an optimal standpoint, a "can I make use of this?" Angle. If the answer is no, trash. 

There are a lot of players who stay away from forums because they dislike this culture - and they're smart, capable human beings. For them, my goal is just to ensure these powers are good picks, and not traps.

 

Despite what many are writing, I strongly feel Arcane bolt, spirit ward, and usually RoP, will be better and more fun for them. I haven't had time to dig into Enflame.

 

21 minutes ago, Zepp said:

I was just pointing out the appeal to authority fallacy you were basing your "argument" on.

Not a fallacy; arcane appears to just be stating "well here's our current status quo." It needs overturned, but seeking a fight about it in a sorcery thread isn't the way to go on this.

 

Realize the scope of what you're asking, which is likely two dedicated Pages, and let it rest here.

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Right. I've gone and tested these on various chars. Seem like Change for Changes Sakes, and lots of new weird bugs with it (one very good reason to Keep it Simple).

 

Here's one combat on a Grav/Time with Sorcery respecced in vs a couple of Nerva ghosties. 

https://www.carnifax.org/rest/parser/get/2683fccf-3aa6-4cb8-8f86-4ae270886c9b/generate/combat_1617806397000_2021-04-07 14_39_57.0_Reverse the Polarity.txt/

  • Arcane Bolt : Animation is great. "Rando InstaRecharge" is weird but hey Double Damage sometimes. I assume you've considered the overall impact of this taking Containment into consideration? I'm getting better average damage than Lift. 
  • Spirit Ward : Not seeing why this changed at all. Now it's just a "Fire and forget" toggle rather than a "crap, I need to save someone" move. Also when you switch targets you get a weird sound loop. 
  • Enflame : Procs in here are wrong. They're not being associated with the Pseudopet as you'd expect based on procs in other damage. Instead they're based on when the toggle retriggers a new Fire Patch. Seems odd behaviour and inconsistant with other Patch powers. Other than that not a lot has changed here other than I can spam it way, way more. 
  • Rune of Protection : Again overengineered. Not allowing Recharge to be slotted into a power != Not allowing a power to be affected by recharge. My Fire/Nature has a recharge of 62 seconds \o/

 

  • Singy : Managed to knock *back* an enemy despite having a Sudden Impact in there. I'd imagine that'll piss people off. Still don't like the "pull" he does at all, disrupts my Grav/TA. So whatever stuff you did to change his Repelability seems to bork Sudden Impact occasionally (and SI is the well behaved kb2kd). 

 

 

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