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Empathy: A New Vision for a Classic Powerset


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1 hour ago, America's Angel said:

Empathy players don't have trouble soloing at+0/1 when playing 1-50 on SOs.

The overwhelming majority of Empathy's powers cannot target self, so we have Healing Aura, Recovery Aura and Regeneration Aura. Apart from Recovery Aura, that's not a significant boost to soloing ability. The player is essentially playing only their secondary without having to worry about using blue insps for 90 out of every 500 seconds.

 

1 hour ago, America's Angel said:

Empathy players are hugely useful to teams at +0/8 when playing 1-50 on SOs.

Empathy has variable performance on teams, based on the level of the team between 1-50 on SOs. An Empathy Defender is especially useful at 20, but less so at 30, and even less so as we progress toward 50. We're looking at a several different performance benchmarks rather than a single rating of "hugely useful."

 

1 hour ago, America's Angel said:

If you believe empathy should be balanced around other metrics, you need to make a case for this. And you cannot do it in isolation for Empathy, you must apply this same metric to every other set in the game.

 

The crucial benchmark that I brought up in the first post is balance: analysis of the powerset in relative terms compared to other Defender sets in terms of numerical output, power uptime and synergy of powerset with playstyle. As we have already identified, Empathy has extreme recharge times, unique positional challenges related to primary role as designated reactive healer, a self-debuff in Absorb Pain, lower numbers and higher APM for similar effects. All powersets in all ATs are currently evaluated in relative terms. See Galaxy Brain's (and others') threads on DPS and solo simulations.

 

We contend that relative output is already used as a standard by the Dev team, as seen most recently in the nerf to Rune of Protection and Titan Weapons.

 

1 hour ago, America's Angel said:

Trying to balance the above would most likely result in a huge bunch of nerfs.

This line of argument is disingenuous. The purpose of this thread is to strengthen Empathy (and other sets), not to nerf other sets down to Empathy's level. 

 

1 hour ago, America's Angel said:

The solution is twofold.

  1. Create a new category of IO sets called Team Healing. Set every power that heals others to this category. Have this category able to slot both Team Healing IO sets and regular Healing IO sets.
  2. Create a bunch of badass new sets in the Team Healing category that will boost empathy in the endgame in such a way that "empathy players aren't useful at 50" becomes untrue.

That's the better approach, IMO. Because the main thing switching people off from Empathy is that team-mates don't really need healing in a world of IOs and Incarnates.

This is a cool solution, and should certainly be on the table. But as others (including myself) have stressed, a central feature of Empathy is its buff capability, and its buffs are not competitive with other powersets at any level, SO or IO, incarnate or exemplar. We should also make its healing sufficiently unique, balance CM and improve the Rez. Several level-agnostic ideas for that have been suggested so far in this thread.

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9 minutes ago, LeoTheCat said:

The overwhelming majority of Empathy's powers cannot target self, so we have Healing Aura, Recovery Aura and Regeneration Aura. Apart from Recovery Aura, that's not a significant boost to soloing ability. The player is essentially playing only their secondary without having to worry about using blue insps for 90 out of every 500 seconds.

 

Empathy has variable performance on teams, based on the level of the team between 1-50 on SOs. An Empathy Defender is especially useful at 20, but less so at 30, and even less so as we progress toward 50. We're looking at a several different performance benchmarks rather than a single rating of "hugely useful."

 

 

The crucial benchmark that I brought up in the first post is balance: analysis of the powerset in relative terms compared to other Defender sets in terms of numerical output, power uptime and synergy of powerset with playstyle. As we have already identified, Empathy has extreme recharge times, unique positional challenges related to primary role as designated reactive healer, a self-debuff in Absorb Pain, lower numbers and higher APM for similar effects. All powersets in all ATs are currently evaluated in relative terms. See Galaxy Brain's (and others') threads on DPS and solo simulations.

 

We contend that relative output is already used as a standard by the Dev team, as seen most recently in the nerf to Rune of Protection and Titan Weapons.

 

This line of argument is disingenuous. The purpose of this thread is to strengthen Empathy (and other sets), not to nerf other sets down to Empathy's level. 

 

This is a cool solution, and should certainly be on the table. But as others (including myself) have stressed, a central feature of Empathy is its buff capability, and its buffs are not competitive with other powersets at any level, SO or IO, incarnate or exemplar. We should also make its healing sufficiently unique, balance CM and improve the Rez. Several level-agnostic ideas for that have been suggested so far in this thread.

 

Non-Mind Controllers and Masterminds who use empathy in their secondary benefit from all of the team buffs when soloing. If Defenders/Corruptors with Empathy are significantly underperforming relative to other defender/corruptor sets when soloing at +0/1 on SOs then that's something that might need looking at. If this is the case, then allowing Defenders/Corruptors to self-buff with Clear Mind/Fortitude/etc when soloing might be something worth considering. (Possibly even on MMs/Controllers, too.)

 

In terms of the buff values, though, the reason empathy's buffs are worse relative to other buff sets is because it is the best healing set in the game. The recharge on the auras are a little excessive and could do with being reduced, and CM could probably be switched from mez resistance to mez protection, but I don't see much else to change beyond this.

 

43 minutes ago, LeoTheCat said:

This line of argument is disingenuous. The purpose of this thread is to strengthen Empathy (and other sets), not to nerf other sets down to Empathy's level. 

 

Just to touch on this one line in particular. The point of me listing all that stuff was to show how utterly unbalanced level 50 with IOs and Incarnates already is. And why we should try to ignore it when discussing game balance...unless we want all that stuff to end up on the chopping block, too.

 

Which is why I suggested the Team Healing IO sets as a way of boosting Empathy in the end game without affecting how the set is balanced in 1-50 on SOs.

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Maybe I'm in the minority here, but discussing empathy's ability to solo is kind of missing the point of the set. I get that that's a thing and survivability is important for support, but I wouldn't base decisions on a solo player. There are other ways to protect yourself, healing aura and RA are fine in that regard.

 

Now if improvements to powers are designed to diversify the play style, like letting an emp hang out in melee next to the tank, that's another story.

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The more I think about everything Empathy can do, the more I’m certain it only needs minor tweaks. Probably slight tweaks to Aura recharge, Clear Mind, and addition of a couple of debuff resistances. Nothing more extreme than that. 
 

EDIT:...
 

Another thought I had is: I was wondering what Empathy and Force Field had in common that put them first in line for buffs in so many players’ minds (IMO Force Field is first in line before Empathy). In the level 50 IO’s + Incarnates meta that is actually on players’ minds, the answer was that they have the lowest damage increasing potential of all support sets (-Res counting here too). And I deemed that important because, at those high levels, defenses are typically capped out much sooner than offenses. All this is to say, I suspect most of the griping about Empathy is about what it doesn’t do, overlooking what it does so well. Whether or not there is some small incremental change that can be made in this direction, I don’t know.

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57 minutes ago, arcane said:

The more I think about everything Empathy can do, the more I’m certain it only needs minor tweaks. Probably slight tweaks to Aura recharge, Clear Mind, and addition of a couple of debuff resistances. Nothing more extreme than that. 
 

EDIT:...
 

Another thought I had is: I was wondering what Empathy and Force Field had in common that put them first in line for buffs in so many players’ minds (IMO Force Field is first in line before Empathy). In the level 50 IO’s + Incarnates meta that is actually on players’ minds, the answer was that they have the lowest damage increasing potential of all support sets (-Res counting here too). And I deemed that important because, at those high levels, defenses are typically capped out much sooner than offenses. All this is to say, I suspect most of the griping about Empathy is about what it doesn’t do, overlooking what it does so well. Whether or not there is some small incremental change that can be made in this direction, I don’t know.

 

The weird thing about CoH is that the majority of people play 1-50 with SOs, the game is balanced around 1-50 with SOs...yet nearly all talk on the forums/discord/etc about whether a powerset is viable in PvE or not is based around IOs and Incarnates.

 

We saw this disconnect recently with the Rune of Protection change. Most of the pushback to it was from people who wanted to cycle it with Melee Hybrid with high global recharge IO builds. This had no impact on the dev team's perspective...because the game is not balanced with IOs or Incarnates in mind.

 

The only place where IOs/Incarnates should be looked at is in those fringe cases where some sets are rendered borderline obsolete due to them. (Keyword borderline). Currently that's the case with Empathy and Force Fields. So, the solution I feel is to come up with new categories (Team Healing, Team Defensive Buffs, etc) and put in new IO sets that will help those sets perform well at 50 with IOs.

 

One idea I had for Team Healing was along the lines of the Sudden Acceleration "KB>KD" IO. Except it could be "Healing>Absorb" or "Healing>Regen" or "Healing>+HP". (Possibly a unique IO, so you have to make a tactical decision about where to slot it.) In addition to this, you could also have the set bonuses provide insane global recharge.

 

Of course, I don't know how you would implement this without also buffing Pain, Thermal, Cold, the Medicine power pool, etc. But an idea worth exploring IMO.

Edited by America's Angel

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Just now, America's Angel said:

The weird thing about CoH is that the majority of people play 1-50 with SOs, the game is balanced around 1-50 with SOs...yet nearly all talk on the forums/discord/etc about whether a powerset is viable in PvE or not is based around IOs and Incarnates.

I don’t disagree. I don’t have the data either way. But I don’t play my characters before level 50+1, so I just have very little to contribute on that side of things.

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2 minutes ago, arcane said:

I don’t disagree. I don’t have the data either way. But I don’t play my characters before level 50+1, so I just have very little to contribute on that side of things.

 

Yeah same. I don't play a character until I've AFK farmed them up to the right vet level to slot them out with IOs and Incarnates. I skip the 1-50 stuff the same way most people skip the tutorial. This makes my POV hugely biased, so I try and always bear this in mind when discussing game balance.

 

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3 hours ago, America's Angel said:

 

Yeah same. I don't play a character until I've AFK farmed them up to the right vet level to slot them out with IOs and Incarnates. I skip the 1-50 stuff the same way most people skip the tutorial. This makes my POV hugely biased, so I try and always bear this in mind when discussing game balance.

 

This is kind of an issue with homecoming and the p2w stuff encouraging end-game play. Most of the sets aren't balanced around this but don't come up in debate like empathy, which is evidence enough for me that it needs revision.

 

In a healthy growing community there should be a constant stream of leveling characters. New players don't have the resources or experience to PL to 50 and do Incarnates.

 

4 hours ago, arcane said:

The more I think about everything Empathy can do, the more I’m certain it only needs minor tweaks. Probably slight tweaks to Aura recharge, Clear Mind, and addition of a couple of debuff resistances. Nothing more extreme than that. 
 

EDIT:...
 

Another thought I had is: I was wondering what Empathy and Force Field had in common that put them first in line for buffs in so many players’ minds (IMO Force Field is first in line before Empathy). In the level 50 IO’s + Incarnates meta that is actually on players’ minds, the answer was that they have the lowest damage increasing potential of all support sets (-Res counting here too). And I deemed that important because, at those high levels, defenses are typically capped out much sooner than offenses. All this is to say, I suspect most of the griping about Empathy is about what it doesn’t do, overlooking what it does so well. Whether or not there is some small incremental change that can be made in this direction, I don’t know.

I kind of disagree, I don't want to change empathy's theme, just give it a face-lift.

 

A lot of the functions of emp are redundant with each other, just bumping up recharge will make the set balance better in high level play, but doesn't really do anything to diversify playstyle.

 

Once you have both RAs, you are just going to fire them both off, and then wait until they recharge, so why have them be separate?

 

CM is easy to much of a hassle to manage. It has some value in early game that I don't want to understate, but it's pretty easy to drop later.

 

I think absorb pain is terrible and basically a free slot to pick something else.

 

Emp does have some really good things in it when you look at individual powers, but as a set it is very lackluster. It can do many things, but they don't really support each other.

 

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7 hours ago, America's Angel said:

The weird thing about CoH is that the majority of people play 1-50 with SOs, the game is balanced around 1-50 with SOs...yet nearly all talk on the forums/discord/etc about whether a powerset is viable in PvE or not is based around IOs and Incarnates.

 

 

I feel like the majority of the conversation is about whether powersets are useful in the context of the game. If we were to talk about sets purely on SOs, there are a lot more sets I'd haul in for changes, including some top performers, like Cold Domination.

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On 6/8/2021 at 6:41 PM, America's Angel said:

So the issue is IOs, not Empathy.

 

The solution is twofold.

  1. Create a new category of IO sets called Team Healing. Set every power that heals others to this category. Have this category able to slot both Team Healing IO sets and regular Healing IO sets.
  2. Create a bunch of badass new sets in the Team Healing category that will boost empathy in the endgame in such a way that "empathy players aren't useful at 50" becomes untrue.

 

I have to  disaggree with that assumption :

Several if not many powers can «heal other». So any boost by IOs in that kind of power that would help empathy would also buf all those, resulting  in keeping or even aggravating that feeling of an underperforming empathy

 

Cheers

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3 hours ago, MoonSheep said:

 

Is it?

 

image.png.23fd3036007e5f63fb003474cd23260b.png

The effect of this graph is precisely the opposite of what you seem to be suggesting. Based on your graph, improvements to Empathy would make at least 2817 players happier. Furthermore, imagine that improving Traps (79) and improving Empathy (2817) would require the same amount of time in order to increase each individual player's happiness by the same amount. This would mean that an hour spent improving Empathy is 27.68x as valuable as an hour spent improving Traps. 

 

We contend that it's actually easier to fix Empathy, because, unlike Traps, we have a set of proposed changes in one location (this thread).

 

As a possible caveat, the numbers from that graph are out of date, but the ratio probably hasn't changed by an order of magnitude.

 

On 6/8/2021 at 3:09 PM, America's Angel said:

Just to touch on this one line in particular. The point of me listing all that stuff was to show how utterly unbalanced level 50 with IOs and Incarnates already is. And why we should try to ignore it when discussing game balance...unless we want all that stuff to end up on the chopping block, too.

 

Last week, my wife took our Jeep to the mechanic to replace a burned out headlight. The mechanic said that he could fix it, but only under the condition that he was allowed to pull out a sledgehammer and smash up our windshield.

 

Just kidding. That didn't happen there and that wouldn't happen here. We've identified fixable problems with clear solutions. The dread economy of hypothetical zero-sum improvements is just another thought-terminating obstacle. I'm generally skeptical of any paradigm that asks us to think in terms of fear, or that we aren't allowed to think about something. You should be too.

 

On 6/8/2021 at 3:09 PM, America's Angel said:

In terms of the buff values, though, the reason empathy's buffs are worse relative to other buff sets is because it is the best healing set in the game.

Citation needed. Please demonstrate Empathy's numerical superiority over Pain.

 

https://cod.uberguy.net/html/powerset.html?pset=defender_buff.empathy&at=defender

https://cod.uberguy.net/html/powerset.html?pset=defender_buff.pain_domination&at=defender

 

On 6/8/2021 at 3:45 PM, kikyoku said:

Maybe I'm in the minority here, but discussing empathy's ability to solo is kind of missing the point of the set. I get that that's a thing and survivability is important for support, but I wouldn't base decisions on a solo player. There are other ways to protect yourself, healing aura and RA are fine in that regard.

Soloing is less important to me too. My comments re: soloing strength were directed at the standard that America's Angel set out. The best solo improvement would be to allow self-targeting and self-buffing, which, as I said in my first post, is part of a wider discussion (as it would need to be proliferated to other powersets).

 

5 hours ago, kazrack35 said:

Several if not many powers can «heal other». So any boost by IOs in that kind of power that would help empathy would also buf all those, resulting  in keeping or even aggravating that feeling of an underperforming empathy

Kazrack is right; although new IO's would always be cool, Empathy itself needs some specific love at the level of the powerset.

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23 minutes ago, LeoTheCat said:

The effect of this graph is precisely the opposite of what you seem to be suggesting. Based on your graph, improvements to Empathy would make at least 2817 players happier. Furthermore, imagine that improving Traps (79) and improving Empathy (2817) would require the same amount of time in order to increase each individual player's happiness by the same amount. This would mean that an hour spent improving Empathy is 27.68x as valuable as an hour spent improving Traps. 

That is one bizarre way to look at data... by this logic the most popular sets should always get buffs. Which is not very logical at all. Seriously, wtf.

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On 6/8/2021 at 11:42 AM, LeoTheCat said:

The set is not "fine." 

 

In the alternative, even if Empathy were to be perfectly acceptable up to level 49, your standard of "1-50" includes 50, where there is a significant amount of group content and the set fails to perform adequately.

 

The general sense is that Empathy struggles even with IOs; without them, Empathy's performance is unusually poor compared to other Defender primaries. As Arcane notes, Empathy's problems are magnified at 50+ with IOs and incarnates, but those problems still exist even at lower levels. To the extent that the play experience from approximately 30 forward, fully inclusive, is not covered by your balance heuristic, then that heuristic itself should be rejected. If we too narrowly define the problems and measurement standards, then it's impossible to analyze, improve and control for them. This is why I suggested a set of performance and playstyle standards in the original post. I understand if you think that performance in that context is a useful standard (which it is), but should we be limited to that standard alone? Should we otherwise reject evidence and experience from the community out of hand? 

 

Per my initial post, discussion of improvements to Empathy does not have a preclusive effect on improving other powersets. This is a good "bigger discussion" to have, and, from the looks of the Suggestions and Feedback forum, people are already enthusiastically engaging in it.

 

 

It is "fine" in the context of what "fine" actually means.  The problem is, what you define as "fine" has shifted because the set is not "best" at something when that is NOT the definition of "fine".

 

Now bookmark the other 3 paragraphs I quoted there for later in my post...

 

On 6/8/2021 at 12:06 PM, kikyoku said:

There seems to be a weird idea in the IO discussion regarding specced out blasters. If someone is running around at end game with soft cap defense from IO and incarnate powers, any support is going to be diminished.

 

What makes empathy stand out is that it focuses on restoring damage taken rather than preventing it. The reason this is underpowered at that level is because you can't normally heal above max hp, but you can always get higher defense and most aren't capped on resistance.

 

I think regen/max hp boosts/absorb are all criminally under utilized and represent an opportunity for empathy. Because of hard caps, you WILL get hit, and you WILL take damage. If you get them high enough, incarnate heals and regen will make up the difference, but if you can do that without external support then every support set is useless.

 

Bookmark most of this quote as well.

 

Another interesting point you make is about Absorb being criminally underutilized.  One issue with that is, Absorb is hardcapped at, I believe, the target's max HP to which then only absorb is going to have any kind of affect on them.  If you have capped or a prominent amount of absorb, why would you need heals or regen?  Same usually goes with capped def, why do you need -ToHit if the target is already at the ToHit floor?  Or why would you even need absorb if hits are so heavily resisted and rarely ever hit at all?  You don't make something more valuable by inflating numbers.

 

On 6/8/2021 at 1:49 PM, Eldyem said:

I disagree with this - it's incredibly common to have powerset combos, on SOs, that have individuals not dying. If no one is ever actually hitting zero then a healing set is redundant, full stop. And I'm saying this as someone who recently introduced several friends to the game and some of them didn't even update their SOs regularly. Players die from mistakes far more than content being too difficult, and honestly Empathy isn't even the best set for saving people from themselves. That's my issue with set.

 

This can not be stressed enough. Empathy, on SOs, is a massive underperformer outside of Hami raids. It's still an underperformer with IOs.

 

I think this is an incredibly unfair metric - an Arachnos Soldier with double leadership toggled and fully slotted, set to auto follow someone, is hugely useful to a team at +0/8 when playing 1-50 on SOs. It's also less useful than said Soldier actually fighting mobs. We want Empathy to be on a similar level as other powersets on SOs, and I don't think that's an unfair ask. It's bad that Emapthy's rez is worse than other sets rezzes, it's bad that Empathy's cooldowns are prohibitively long for powers people can accidentally juke if your timing is off, and it's bad that those powers have situations, on SOs, where they're factually just not changing any outcomes.

That last point is the worst thing a support set can be, and an issue also found in Force Fields (but worse with the right/wrong team); (potentially) irrelevant.

 

You're moreso making an argument to nerf Arachnos double leadership toggles or overperformers than you are for buffing Empathy.  But bookmark this quote along with all the others above for later.

 

On 6/8/2021 at 2:01 PM, LeoTheCat said:

The overwhelming majority of Empathy's powers cannot target self, so we have Healing Aura, Recovery Aura and Regeneration Aura. Apart from Recovery Aura, that's not a significant boost to soloing ability. The player is essentially playing only their secondary without having to worry about using blue insps for 90 out of every 500 seconds.

 

Empathy has variable performance on teams, based on the level of the team between 1-50 on SOs. An Empathy Defender is especially useful at 20, but less so at 30, and even less so as we progress toward 50. We're looking at a several different performance benchmarks rather than a single rating of "hugely useful."

 

 

The crucial benchmark that I brought up in the first post is balance: analysis of the powerset in relative terms compared to other Defender sets in terms of numerical output, power uptime and synergy of powerset with playstyle. As we have already identified, Empathy has extreme recharge times, unique positional challenges related to primary role as designated reactive healer, a self-debuff in Absorb Pain, lower numbers and higher APM for similar effects. All powersets in all ATs are currently evaluated in relative terms. See Galaxy Brain's (and others') threads on DPS and solo simulations.

 

We contend that relative output is already used as a standard by the Dev team, as seen most recently in the nerf to Rune of Protection and Titan Weapons.

 

This line of argument is disingenuous. The purpose of this thread is to strengthen Empathy (and other sets), not to nerf other sets down to Empathy's level. 

 

This is a cool solution, and should certainly be on the table. But as others (including myself) have stressed, a central feature of Empathy is its buff capability, and its buffs are not competitive with other powersets at any level, SO or IO, incarnate or exemplar. We should also make its healing sufficiently unique, balance CM and improve the Rez. Several level-agnostic ideas for that have been suggested so far in this thread.

 

And finally, along with this quote, bring all those bookmarked points back to this final point:

 

Nothing you guys are suggesting changes a damned thing.  It won't make Empathy better, or competitive with the overperformers or make them valuable or give them an easier time with their trouble spot (soloing).  And because of that, none of these suggestions are necessary and in fact, just clutter up the game with more pointless power creep that will ultimately push for more buffs to this and other sets in an ever perpetuating loop.

 

So no, your ideas aren't good, they're unnecessary and are extremely aimless in their execution.

 

Could I see Empathy getting some help?  Sure, in the solo department since only 3 of their powers are even usable solo and 2 of those are on long recharges.  Why not change Clear Mind to be targetable on the enemy as well and when used, lowers the target's resistance to mez and their protection to mez by 2pts and does not aggro so for soloing, you have a 1-shot (technically 2 shot since you're using Clear Mind first) method of dealing with trouble targets like bosses and on Controller, you've got an even easier time juggling bosses thanks to the -mez resistance.

 

But all this expanded durations, faster casting, absorb shield mess is just fluff that doesn't accomplish much of anything.

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1 hour ago, arcane said:

That is one bizarre way to look at data... by this logic the most popular sets should always get buffs. Which is not very logical at all. Seriously, wtf.

bruh

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedonic_regression

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sales_comparison_approach

 

Value is the quantified composite of the effect of individual attributes. Improving attributes = improving value. Evaluate for marginal utility and cost of improvements, and scale for population. Compare with alternatives. Here we are proposing to improve the attributes of the powerset, and the large population makes it more valuable.

 

Life-altering individual, market and geopolitical decisions are made on a daily basis using this form of analysis. This is how consumer price indexes are derived, the foundation for how the Fed sets monetary policy, and how trends emerge in improvements to consumer goods and assets, among many, many other things. It's actually more "bizarre" to just dismiss it, especially when it was intended primarily as a counterargument to the implication that, just because a larger number of Empathy players exist, therefore Empathy must be just fine. I think the clear challenges for the powerset are enough of a warrant for improvement; this analysis just makes it even more desirable. Think of it as an overheal :p

 

We actually don't have (or at least I don't have) the most valuable data here: hours played per powerset per level. This would be the true "market price" or "sale" for the powerset, as creating a character is free (except for the opportunity cost of time, which can be heavily mitigated by AFK farming), and there is an infinite supply (anyone can create as many Empathy defenders as they want). Another useful secondary proxy for this could be Veteran Levels. Do we have that data anywhere?

 

What can we say about Empathy and playtime? Is Empathy more likely to be AFK farmed than other sets? I don't know for sure.

On 6/9/2021 at 11:14 AM, arcane said:

I don’t disagree. I don’t have the data either way. But I don’t play my characters before level 50+1, so I just have very little to contribute on that side of things.

 

On 6/9/2021 at 11:24 AM, America's Angel said:

Yeah same. I don't play a character until I've AFK farmed them up to the right vet level to slot them out with IOs and Incarnates. I skip the 1-50 stuff the same way most people skip the tutorial. This makes my POV hugely biased, so I try and always bear this in mind when discussing game balance.

But I have my suspicions.

 

45 minutes ago, Naraka said:

Nothing you guys are suggesting changes a damned thing.  It won't make Empathy better, or competitive with the overperformers or make them valuable or give them an easier time with their trouble spot (soloing).  And because of that, none of these suggestions are necessary and in fact, just clutter up the game with more pointless power creep that will ultimately push for more buffs to this and other sets in an ever perpetuating loop.

 

So no, your ideas aren't good, they're unnecessary and are extremely aimless in their execution.

 

But all this expanded durations, faster casting, absorb shield mess is just fluff that doesn't accomplish much of anything.

I appreciate the general spiciness of this post.

 

The durations and target saturations of buff effects are at the heart of the matter (but not the whole solution). When those buffs are off, the Empath is performatively not there (except for their secondary blast set, or control or MM primary, all of which have nothing to do with Empathy itself). Current recharge of the RAs, as has already been stated, is 90 up / 500 down. SOs slash that roughly in half. Fortitude (with SOs) can be kept on four other players. For the other three players in a full party, the Empath is not there except in some tertiary sense (other players are killing faster because the Empath is helping them). Compare this with Time, Thermal, Cold, Pain, etc. with 100% uptime. Numerical improvements are specifically based on the numerical attributes of the other competing powersets.

 

The Absorb is specifically to manage players who run off on their own (i.e., how the game is actually played). The Line of Sight proposal and animation speed increases make it easier for Empaths to engage in direct healing at all stages of the game. I think that I also answered you re: soloing earlier when bringing up the ability for the Empath to self-buff.

 

This isn't intended to be power creep; it's intended to be power parity.

Edited by LeoTheCat
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17 minutes ago, LeoTheCat said:

bruh

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedonic_regression

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sales_comparison_approach

 

Value is the quantified composite of the effect of individual attributes. Improving attributes = improving value. Evaluate for marginal utility and cost of improvements, and scale for population. Compare with alternatives. Here we are proposing to improve the attributes of the powerset, and the large population makes it more valuable.

 

Life-altering individual, market and geopolitical decisions are made on a daily basis using this form of analysis. This is how consumer price indexes are derived, the foundation for how the Fed sets monetary policy, and how trends emerge in improvements to consumer goods and assets, among many, many other things. It's actually more "bizarre" to just dismiss it, especially when it was intended primarily as a counterargument to the implication that, just because a larger number of Empathy players exist, therefore Empathy must be just fine. I think the clear challenges for the powerset are enough of a warrant for improvement; this analysis just makes it even more desirable. Think of it as an overheal 😛

 

 

Apples and oranges aside, you’re implying this should be a positive feedback loop (powerset A is most popular -> powerset A gets most buffs), and it’s absurd to think game balance has ever worked that way. Balance is achieved by negative feedback loops (powerset is unpopular -> powerset gets help). I really think this is self-evident.

 

That being said, I think most of us can agree that popularity and efficacy are not necessarily all that well correlated, so popularity is just one variable.

Edited by arcane
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19 minutes ago, LeoTheCat said:

This isn't intended to be power creep; it's intended to be power parity.

You can’t claim that the most popular sets should receive the most attention and simultaneously claim to be seeking parity. The first claim would widen disparity.

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I agree with your sentiment here Leo. My issue with Fort/CM/AB is that only some players will benefit from them at a time. This is annoying in any support set, but empathy has three of them.

 

The absorb idea is good because it allows you to protect someone when not actively healing them, though fortitude more or less accomplishes the same goal.

 

Rather than bumping up the numbers in general, I think slowing down the effects is the better goal. Absorb Shields or repeating heals allow you to preempt damage instead of just reacting to it.

 

If your team is working perfectly, only 1-2 people should be taking damage, and during that time empathy is kind of just sitting around. But if you know your blaster is about to get slapped, or an ambush is coming and your tank needs help with the alpha, absorb gives you the ability to heal them before they get hit, which not only improves their chances of surviving on its own, but gives you and the rest of the team time to react before people start dying.

 

So replacing, say, absorb pain with something that grants a crispy single target absorb shield for an equivalent amount of hp doesn't actually change your potential healing output, but does help you keep things under control.

 

I also think the same thing about healing aura, splitting it into two heal bursts for the same total hp prevents heal overflow and gives you a healing presence between casts, which also reduces the need for recharge.

Edited by kikyoku
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1 hour ago, Naraka said:

 

Nothing you guys are suggesting changes a damned thing.  It won't make Empathy better, or competitive with the overperformers or make them valuable or give them an easier time with their trouble spot (soloing).  And because of that, none of these suggestions are necessary and in fact, just clutter up the game with more pointless power creep that will ultimately push for more buffs to this and other sets in an ever perpetuating loop.

 

So no, your ideas aren't good, they're unnecessary and are extremely aimless in their execution.

 

But all this expanded durations, faster casting, absorb shield mess is just fluff that doesn't accomplish much of anything.

As I mentioned earlier, the problem with Empathy relative to other sets is that it's designed around recovering when things start going BADLY.   If a team isn't having problems in the first place, then an Empathy defender doesn't have a ton (relative to other sets) they can bring to make the team even BETTER.  Hence the suggestions of modifying powers so they're useful even when people AREN'T hurting, letting it be a proactive instead of reactive set.

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4 minutes ago, Menelruin said:

As I mentioned earlier, the problem with Empathy relative to other sets is that it's designed around recovering when things start going BADLY.   If a team isn't having problems in the first place, then an Empathy defender doesn't have a ton (relative to other sets) they can bring to make the team even BETTER.  Hence the suggestions of modifying powers so they're useful even when people AREN'T hurting, letting it be a proactive instead of reactive set.

Empathy already is proactive.

 

Empathy is ALSO reactive.

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I think what those popularity graphs show is that the Priest/Cleric/healer archetype is a popular one in RPG gaming and a lot of people really enjoy that role. I don't think they're a reflection on the efficacy of Empathy as a set. I feel confident most Empath players would appreciate more scenarios where their playstyle was rewarded. I usually play Priests or Clerics in other MMOs so I can understand the appeal. I don't play that role in this game mainly because the gameplay encourages it less and the mechanics of Empathy don't achieve as much as other sets.

 

If folks were requesting that Empathy turn into a Titan Weapons or something totally off script I could understand the pushback. As-is the requests seem reasonable to me. Discussions about the efficacy of the "healer" class aren't even unique to City Of, those debates are constantly raging on other MMO boards as well, and various tweaks made.

 

Getting back to power suggestions, given the downsides of Absorb Pain, I'd be fine with this power being a 15ft radius AoE. That would make it a ranged version of Healing Aura instead of Heal Other. 15ft is neither small nor huge (fireball radius). I could also see a case for the power only applying 30% heal resistance, stackable. You'd only get locked out of healing yourself if you spammed it constantly.

Edited by oedipus_tex
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1 hour ago, LeoTheCat said:

It was intended primarily as a counterargument to the implication that, just because a larger number of Empathy players exist, therefore Empathy must be just fine. I think the clear challenges for the powerset are enough of a warrant for improvement; this analysis just makes it even more desirable. Think of it as an overheal :p

 

54 minutes ago, arcane said:

That being said, I think most of us can agree that popularity and efficacy are not necessarily all that well correlated, so popularity is just one variable.

 

50 minutes ago, arcane said:

You can’t claim that the most popular sets should receive the most attention and simultaneously claim to be seeking parity. The first claim would widen disparity.

Popularity was introduced as an argument for why changes shouldn't be made. I refuted the argument, then inverted it. You seem to agree with me that popularity is only one variable (therefore should not preclude changes to the powerset).  To be clear, I didn't consider popularity at all in my original post, but if the community wishes for it to be considered as a factor, then the popularity is clearly on the side of improving the powerset. 

 

3 minutes ago, oedipus_tex said:

I think what those popularity graphs show is that the Priest/Cleric/healer archetype is a popular one in RPG gaming and a lot of people really enjoy that role. I don't think they're a reflection on the efficacy of Empathy as a set.

Also, Tex nailed it.

 

In general, there are several lines of thinking in response to this thread that I simply don't understand, i.e.: 

  • Fear: "if we try to fix anything, everything else will have to be nerfed,"
  • Discourse Limitation: "we're not allowed to think about the endgame,"
  • Popularity Paradox: "people want to play something, therefore we are not allowed to fix it."

I had hoped that I had cleared these up in my very first set of posts. I am not encouraging nerfs and I am not discouraging improving other powersets. I am also not likewise not on board for any ludicrous comprehensive nerfpocalypse or exponential design singularity where there is only Empathy, forever :p

 

48 minutes ago, Naraka said:

Empathy already is proactive.

 

Empathy is ALSO reactive.

You're right Naraka, and I take your criticism seriously, because you are asking about the value proposition of the proposed changes. But what Menelruin is arguing is that the proactive element needs to be stronger and more useful. I agree with him.

 

58 minutes ago, kikyoku said:

I agree with your sentiment here Leo. My issue with Fort/CM/AB is that only some players will benefit from them at a time. This is annoying in any support set, but empathy has three of them.

 

The absorb idea is good because it allows you to protect someone when not actively healing them, though fortitude more or less accomplishes the same goal.

 

Rather than bumping up the numbers in general, I think slowing down the effects is the better goal. Absorb Shields or repeating heals allow you to preempt damage instead of just reacting to it.

 

If your team is working perfectly, only 1-2 people should be taking damage, and during that time empathy is kind of just sitting around. But if you know your blaster is about to get slapped, or an ambush is coming and your tank needs help with the alpha, absorb gives you the ability to heal them before they get hit, which not only improves their chances of surviving on its own, but gives you and the rest of the team time to react before people start dying.

 

So replacing, say, absorb pain with something that grants a crispy single target absorb shield for an equivalent amount of hp doesn't actually change your potential healing output, but does help you keep things under control.

 

I also think the same thing about healing aura, splitting it into two heal bursts for the same total hp prevents heal overflow and gives you a healing presence between casts, which also reduces the need for recharge.

Kikyoku's comments here address the same issue that Naraka raised: how to improve the quality of the proactive elements of the set.

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3 hours ago, Naraka said:

 

You're moreso making an argument to nerf Arachnos double leadership toggles or overperformers than you are for buffing Empathy.  But bookmark this quote along with all the others above for later.

 

Only if you come in with that as a preconceived notion. There's other characters who contribute, passively, as much as a soldier with double toggles, and even moreso with a move set to autofire. The point is to illustrate how low the bar to "contributing" really is when we're fitting that 8th person in.

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Leo - I understand your logic here, though changes are generally made to introduce balance to the game and promote underperforming or underpowered sets to increase the variety of ATs/powersets played

 

As empathy is by far the most played set, it’s unlikely to be a candidate for positive adjustment

 

Moreover, many people are simply bad at playing an empath. Speed run a tricky TF alongside a skilled PvP empath and you’ll have a great and rewarding time

Edited by MoonSheep
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