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Two possible changes for Stalker...


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1 hour ago, siolfir said:

This was done deliberately to prevent people from just spamming the recharges-faster-than-it-animates powers to guarantee three stacks, and the high critical chance per stack was to compensate for it being less reliable if that's what you chose to do: as mentioned, 2 stacks is still a better chance to critical than not (66%), so you just relied on RNG to balance it out. Extending the duration of the stacks to fall off less often probably wouldn't hurt anything, but them being unreliable was a conscious design decision that if you find annoying... well, join the club. But know that it was done that way on purpose and so changing it should ideally indicate that it's a clear detriment rather than "hey, I don't like <thing>."

Amazing analysis and post all around that sums up the issues with these proposals, but I have to quibble about this point above.  To a lesser extent than what you noted for buffing slow AS to match the DPA of fast AS, the whole "stacks not dropping" proposal wouldn't be a "probably won't hurt anything" situation, it would actually be a pretty decent buff to single target DPS. 

 

Lets say you're cycling fast AS at a good clip, but mixing in patron snipes and BU, which don't generate stacks, so you're hitting at 3 stacks 50% of the time and 2 stacks the other 50% due to dropoffs.  If the change makes it so you go from 50/50 to 100% of the time at 3 stacks, thats a ~0.46 scale DPA buff to fast AS.  That's another ~600 damage per minute to an average attack chain.  

 

It's not a ton, but it's something and it's just further buffing the single target damage of one of the highest single target damaging ATs in the game.  Do Stalkers really need that? 

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3 hours ago, siolfir said:

Honestly, even Sentinels could be fine with minor tweaks - although people would still complain about their inherent, which bad as it is, is leaps and bounds ahead of the Widow/Soldier (lack of) inherent*. Put the blast sets back to their normal range, and fix the target caps. Some sets would still need balance passes against others, but that's true for every AT.

 

As for the topic of this thread... meh. Personally I feel that Stalkers are the most balanced melee AT (which isn't saying much) and even more balanced for content than Blasters currently are, and don't need any buffs. Which is pretty unusual if you know my posting history on the old forums.

 

I was one of the people pushing for Stalker buffs before, which led to PM discussions with Synapse on the old forums. Assassin's Focus doesn't trigger as often on some sets because it's based around the base recharge of the power with a 10 second base recharge being a guaranteed stack (it's a precursor to the PPM mechanics that procs turned into!) - which is why you'll see it's more reliable on Energy Melee (5, 6, 8, 10, and 20 second recharges) compared to Kinetic Melee (3, 5, 7, 8 and 20 second recharges). This was done deliberately to prevent people from just spamming the recharges-faster-than-it-animates powers to guarantee three stacks, and the high critical chance per stack was to compensate for it being less reliable if that's what you chose to do: as mentioned, 2 stacks is still a better chance to critical than not (66%), so you just relied on RNG to balance it out. Extending the duration of the stacks to fall off less often probably wouldn't hurt anything, but them being unreliable was a conscious design decision that if you find annoying... well, join the club. But know that it was done that way on purpose and so changing it should ideally indicate that it's a clear detriment rather than "hey, I don't like <thing>."

 

As for boosting AS from Hide - it already has a great mitigation component with the Demoralize effect already. Boosting the damage to make the DPA the same between a fast critical (scale 5.52 in 1.188 sec) and from hide critical would involve boosting the base damage of AS from 389.2752 (scale 7.0 in 3.168 sec) to 818.5824 (scale 14.72); the "slow" base attack without a critical is scale 2.50 so that would be going from a 2.8x (not 3x) critical to a 5.888x critical. So your numbers are close, but the old slow AS did scale 7 damage (scale 1 base, +6 on the critical), it was providing a cap for melee damage for a long time (the only melee power that hits harder is Crushing Uppercut at combo 3 with a critical), and it was pretty clear that there wasn't any intent to raise the damage on it. So while you're welcome to ask the devs for this, it will likely come at the cost of something for the name of balance - which is where the objections are coming in - and reasons for it beyond "I would like this thing for an AT I'm not enjoying, so please change it for me" have not been provided (hint: there's some math in this paragraph you could try to use, but you'd still have to justify why desiring people to use slow AS is something that justifies the large increase in burst damage that they haven't wanted to move on in 16 years).

 

* - yes, I know, it's increased recovery. And yet they still run out all the time and have to build for endurance just like every other AT, so it may as well not exist

Sentinels should not have their range extended that doesn't fix them at all.  If the range was extended then Sentinels deserve to do even less damage than they already do.  Personally I would totally be good with setting their base range at 40' for all powers if it meant that Sentinels got a dmg bump, fixed inherent, etc.

 

But I totally agree with this, "Extending the duration of the stacks to fall off less often probably wouldn't hurt anything"

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4 hours ago, Omega-202 said:

Lets say you're cycling fast AS at a good clip, but mixing in patron snipes and BU, which don't generate stacks, so you're hitting at 3 stacks 50% of the time and 2 stacks the other 50% due to dropoffs.  If the change makes it so you go from 50/50 to 100% of the time at 3 stacks, thats a ~0.46 scale DPA buff to fast AS.  That's another ~600 damage per minute to an average attack chain.  

Eh, I think it's already over 50% of the time already (which would make it less of a buff than you're stating here) but even using your numbers, in the scale of 350-400 DPS* the extra 10 (which 600 damage per minute would be) is what I would consider small change. It's not a make-or-break number to me. Edit to add: and as I said before, it being less reliable was a conscious choice, which you are somewhat echoing the reasoning for in your reply - but I'm ambivalent about it either way, since as I said I tend to find that it's usually 3 and sometimes 2 stacks rather than being a half-and-half split.

 

* - chosen for good, but somewhat modest numbers for an IO Stalker build, not because I think it's top-end performance for the AT - it's even less significant the more you push the build

 

3 hours ago, FUBARczar said:

Sentinels should not have their range extended that doesn't fix them at all.  If the range was extended then Sentinels deserve to do even less damage than they already do.

The bigger part of it was just fixing the damned target caps - which would help them far more than just bumping their damage modifier would IMO - and while it's not a "fix" there is nothing at all served for having a shorter range on the single target blasts for Sentinels than for every other AT that gets the blast sets. It's not a balance consideration once you get beyond the point of mobs getting to melee within your blast animation time, and they have armor sets to not care about that anyway. But that's really a discussion for another thread, and it wouldn't address everyone's hatred of the inherent. The point was, I feel that those small tweaks would pull them close enough that the ease of use on the low end would make up for the lower performance ceiling.

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32 minutes ago, siolfir said:

Eh, I think it's already over 50% of the time already (which would make it less of a buff than you're stating here) but even using your numbers, in the scale of 350-400 DPS* the extra 10 (which 600 damage per minute would be) is what I would consider small change. It's not a make-or-break number to me. Edit to add: and as I said before, it being less reliable was a conscious choice, which you are somewhat echoing the reasoning for in your reply - but I'm ambivalent about it either way, since as I said I tend to find that it's usually 3 and sometimes 2 stacks rather than being a half-and-half split.

Is it a massive improvement?  No.  But its about what you'd get from slotting an extra free damage proc.  How can you justify Stalkers deserving the equivalent of a free damage proc slot when they're currently performing very solidly?  I just can't see how you can justify power creep like that when they're already easily in the top half of the ATs.  

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1 minute ago, Omega-202 said:

Is it a massive improvement?  No.  But its about what you'd get from slotting an extra free damage proc.  How can you justify Stalkers deserving the equivalent of a free damage proc slot when they're currently performing very solidly?  I just can't see how you can justify power creep like that when they're already easily in the top half of the ATs.  

Is it needed? No. Will it break some magical precarious balance between the least-broken melee AT and the other, more broken ones? No. Do I think the devs will go for it? No. Did I say that the stacks should never fall off? No - it was actually supposed to be a reduced version of the OP's suggestion of refreshing all stacks on each hit by having them still trail off, but more slowly.

 

As for "justifying Stalkers getting a free damage proc slot," well, I don't have to justify it, but hey, Blazing Aura on a Scrapper is 13.76 damage per tick (every 2 seconds) so needs roughly +45% damage to equal the 10 dps you're talking about, hits more than one target, and Stalkers don't get damage auras. And even thenas I've said, I'm not really pushing for it because I think that Stalkers are fine how they are now.

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Curious if anyone knows this. Looking at the Focus stacks, they read as +33% chance to crit per stack, which sounds additive to me ("Each stack of this buff boosts Assassin's Strike's chance to critically (hit while the user is not hidden) by 33.3%."). I assume that is on top of normal crit chance, so solo, 10% base, 1 stack = 43%, 2 stacks = 76%, 3 stacks = 100%. In a team, that's 31% base, 1 stack = 64%, 2 stacks = 97%, 3 stacks = 100%. 

Is it really additive or just overriding to static 33/66/100? Because if additive, on a team, the difference between 2 stacks and 3 stacks is almost nothing. And even solo its minor. 

The Alphabet Bunnies
50s | Tanker: Rad/Ice, Fire/MA, Inv/WM, Bio/Savage, SR/KM, Shield/DM | Stalker: SM/Ice, Ice/Bio, DB/NRG | Scrapper: Kat/NRG, Claws/Nin | CrabSpider
| Farmer: Spine/Fire | Controller: Ill/Rad
Currently Building: Spine/Inv Scrapper

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4 minutes ago, Oysterhead said:

Curious if anyone knows this. Looking at the Focus stacks, they read as +33% chance to crit per stack, which sounds additive to me ("Each stack of this buff boosts Assassin's Strike's chance to critically (hit while the user is not hidden) by 33.3%."). I assume that is on top of normal crit chance, so solo, 10% base, 1 stack = 43%, 2 stacks = 76%, 3 stacks = 100%. In a team, that's 31% base, 1 stack = 64%, 2 stacks = 97%, 3 stacks = 100%. 

Is it really additive or just overriding to static 33/66/100? Because if additive, on a team, the difference between 2 stacks and 3 stacks is almost nothing. And even solo its minor. 

Fast Assassin's Strike powers don't have the standard crit built in to them.  They only crit based on stacks of Focus.  

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12 minutes ago, Oysterhead said:

Curious if anyone knows this. Looking at the Focus stacks, they read as +33% chance to crit per stack, which sounds additive to me ("Each stack of this buff boosts Assassin's Strike's chance to critically (hit while the user is not hidden) by 33.3%."). I assume that is on top of normal crit chance, so solo, 10% base, 1 stack = 43%, 2 stacks = 76%, 3 stacks = 100%. In a team, that's 31% base, 1 stack = 64%, 2 stacks = 97%, 3 stacks = 100%. 

Is it really additive or just overriding to static 33/66/100? Because if additive, on a team, the difference between 2 stacks and 3 stacks is almost nothing. And even solo its minor. 

As @Omega-202 said it only triggers off of Focus. You can see this in City of Data here:

 

image.png.58d8e7977f0f34f7abc0d3d70ecf3bee.png

 

The ASCrit tag takes you to this page, which shows that the only power affecting the tag is Assassin's Focus, and it has a 0% chance to fire without it.

 

Compare this to something like Bone Smasher, which has tags for StealthCrit (if you're hidden or not) and ASTeamCrit (the scaling out-of-hide chance) for critical damage.

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15 hours ago, arcane said:

I’m getting around to it now. Originally it was just that melee interested me less than ranged, but >15 defenders, 10 blasters, 10 controllers, etc later and that is starting to rapidly change. And then I got addicted to Tankers because they’re so easy to build (much like Blasters). 
 

If I had to agree with an AT still needing some more attention, it’d probably be for Sentinels, Masterminds, and Dominators. Though I’d only think they need minor tweaks (except Sentinels, which may need a larger revamp IMO).

Kheldians!! (And Sents).

 

I'd agree that Domis and MMs are almost there. In fact MMs are fab solo and/or up to maybe the 40s, then the Purple Patch and new enemy groups with lots of AOE show up and suddenly your Tier Ones are being AOE one-shotted by +6 (to them) Nemesis. I'm awful at Domis, the build pressure for perma-dom forces compromises which I find hard to deal with (hard to get defenses up too and maybe squeeze procs in). Monitoring Dom is a bit painful too. 

 

Stalkers are in a good place IMO. I never / rarely open with AS, almost always BU > Ball Lightning > Savage Leap on my Sav/Shield and usually Sky Splitter on my Staff/Inv (or the disco AoE) on the nastiest thing in the spawn. 

 

I'm actually in the "Why would I make a Scrapper when I could make a Stalker" camp. I like my Ice/Ice scrapper but I'm always thinking "I wish I'd made you a Stalker instead". 

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1 hour ago, arcane said:

Pfft Kheldians are great tho. 
 

Yeah I don’t think I used the slow version of AS once last night.

Kheldians should be called Held-agains haha.  Not to mention how many bad PB players with their wanton KB slowing down teams, limiting a lot of their teammates' buffs and debuffs, limiting AoE potential, etc. 

 

Kheldians in all their forms are a shadow of everything they aspire to be, a Tank/Brute, a Scrapper/Stalker, and a Blaster.  But we digress...

 

Buff Stalkers lower performing sets is the number one thing that Stalkers need, it the truest sense of the word. 

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6 hours ago, arcane said:

Yeah I don’t think I used the slow version of AS once last night.

 

I was playing a new stalker last night (DM/SD) mainly solo and was starting with AS from Hide on every new spawn.  Probably just a phase, but that is likely where the disparity of opinions come from in this thread.  Some like to just scrap it out and aren't worried about AS from Hide and some like the AS from Hide play style. 

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1 hour ago, Lockpick said:

I was playing a new stalker last night (DM/SD) mainly solo and was starting with AS from Hide on every new spawn.  Probably just a phase, but that is likely where the disparity of opinions come from in this thread.

 

Partly a phase and partly not.  Early on, you don't have all your high DPA attacks and especially not your biggest non-AS hitter (usually).  You're unlikely to outdamage Hidden AS because while it's only as good as Quick AS when Quick AS doesn't crit, it's still better than any other attack you have at that point.

 

But even at 50, I still use it if I solo.  There, I don't care much about waiting a few seconds at the start of a fight.  I'm not racing any team members to attack my target.  And the animation time of Hidden AS is "free" in the sense that it occurs before the fight starts when you're soloing.  Plus if it misses, it doesn't break Hide.   It's a very safe way to jump out to an early lead in any fight.  Then it goes on cooldown while you get a 90% chance of a Hide crit on your next attack, thanks to the ATO, and proceed to build AF for the next time AS is ready to fire, this time as the Quick AS version.

 

It's not just style.  It's probably the better choice in most cases when solo.  Even if you're playing on higher xTeam settings and prefer to AoE groups, it still makes sense to AS first a boss or LT (or other troublesome target), gain the benefit of the -tohit and chance to terrorize debuffs, get the 90% Hide chance from the ATO, and then fire the AoE than to do it the other way around.  If you have a tele-nuke like Lightning Rod or Shield Charge (or both) , use them last.  They don't break Hide but they don't benefit from it either, so use the stuff that DOES benefit from Hide first.  

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  • 1 month later

I'm not a stalker pro by any stretch. I only have just gotten my first level 50 stalker after mostly being on brutes. But it seems that there are kind of two play styles depending on solo or team. Imo that's fineb even theme-wise. When you're a pro assassin solo or duoing, you can be careful and methodical. But now imagine you are a sneaky assassin who is running with an army that is just going guns blazing and missiles firing at another army that is also going guns blazing. Would you then try to sneak around and be methodical in an active battlefield that is currently exploding everywhere? It doesn't make thematic sense. 

 

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1 hour ago, A Cat said:

Would you then try to sneak around and be methodical in an active battlefield that is currently exploding everywhere? It doesn't make thematic sense.

 

It's never NOT thematic for an assassin to stab someone in the back.  It might make even MORE sense when that someone is being distracted by one of your teammates.

 

In a practical sense, Hidden AS is still a great opener.  The whole reason Hide comes with such a large suppressible AoE defense bonus is precisely to help you land a Hidden AS while stuff is exploding around you.  Hidden AS has other benefits such as the tohit debuff and chance to terrorize, both of which can help you land the strike after AS, which thanks to the ATO has a good chance of being another crit.

 

People who are only comparing DPA between quick and hidden AS are missing that most of Hidden AS's animation time can be done before the fight starts.  It even gives you a do-over if you miss, leaving you hidden and still able to do a normal Hide crit with your next best attack.  On a team, it's still a good idea to try to reach the spawn a couple seconds early to get set up and started on that AS though.  AoE defense, no matter how good, is no guarantee you won't be hit by splash and interrupted.

 

I do this on teams all the time and most of the time I have chewed through a boss in just a few hits and have moved on to something else before the rest of the team has managed to defeat the rest of the spawn.  If I hadn't, everyone would have to focus on the boss last.  That's the thing I keep reminding people on: AoE steamrollers kill minions first, LTs second, and bosses last.   A good team has a balance of people doing AoE and people doing ST on the harder targets.  They meet in the middle and the spawn is down faster because of it.

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My limited two cents.

 

Stalkers on launch were hot garbage. Some Jack Emmert tier garbage. They excelled in pvp which is still hot garbage to this day.

 

I like stalkers now. Sadly its Energy melee and Energy Aura or almost nothing although the Electric/shield is starting to grow on me. Ice and fire melee were subpar. Resist sets are meh since after you assasin critical youre in a hide state and want to avoid an attack or two so you can crit again. 

 

Enemies run away in groups. Its so bad i can usually turn off my defense toggles (not mez) just to save some end. Seems the only thing with a lower threat is a controllers aoe immobilize. Solo seems fine and actually get to fight things unless my AS scares them off which thems the breaks.  If i didnt have stalker IO's it would be painful. Should one AT be tied to ato's? Veats have garbage ato's but are generally so good it doesnt matter. 

I do like deleting problem lts and minions solo. Dont have to worry in groups because aoe is king. 

 

What does it mean? To me it seems theyre better now in ways that are AT specific and lost alot which is team specific.

 

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  • 2 weeks later
On 8/16/2021 at 10:36 AM, ZemX said:

It's never NOT thematic for an assassin to stab someone in the back.  It might make even MORE sense when that someone is being distracted by one of your teammates.

Late to the party on this (have been off the forums for a few weeks distracted with other stuff) but the "stab someone while they're distracted by teammates" part is thematically why Stalkers get a scaling critical bonus on teams.

 

And yes, high single target damage on Bosses/EBs is still very useful on teams that have a lot of AoE but that doesn't (always) justify leaving the previous fight to set up a couple of seconds early for the next one and is frequently ruined by the Brute or Tanker doing the same thing to gather mobs together. But all of that is part of adapting to the team dynamics rather than having a hard-and-fast "this is the only [best] way to play" mentality.

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