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Suggestion: Change to Absorb Pain


Palador

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It's a common view (I think?) that the Empathy power set is sub-par compared to other buff sets, especially at higher levels. I've seen some suggestions to help bring it up to speed, but they mostly just leave it doing what other sets are already doing. I'd like to see it do something unique, thus my suggestion.

 

Currently, Absorb Pain is a targeted click to heal, that does damage to the user and prevents them from healing for a while in exchange for a large and fast heal. It can be good, but it's perhaps one of the more questionable powers, and entirely reactive.

 

My suggestion is to make it a more proactive power. Make it a toggle with very low End cost, or maybe no End cost at all. You target a teammate and turn it on. As long as it's on, you take part of the damage for them just like a Mastermind pet in Bodyguard mode. You have to decide in advance who you're going to protect, if anyone. And if there's multiple Empathy users doing this on one person, it works the same as a MM having multiple pets.

 

This is something no other set does, but it's something that's already in the game for something else and with luck can be ported over. And I'm sure players could get some use out of it, without it being too overpowering compared to other sets. 

 

Thoughts?

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Ehhh. I'm on the fence with it.

 

On the one hand, it's a *big* heal, single target, and you "taking" the pain and not being able to heal fits thematically. (Plus, honestly, I rather like powers "with a cost." As long as the payoff is worth it.)

 

On the other hand, I rarely take it - but that's part of the issue with "heals" (and why I cringe when someone advertises as a "healer" or worse, "dedicated healer.") They're just not as needed from mid-game onward. I'd half-argue even the RAs don't do much late game if you're on an IO'd team, even without incarnates coming into the picture.

 

The gripping hand, it would be interesting, but I think the splitting between multiple players might be a bear to code. It would still fit the name, granted. It's something I'd probably try on test (give me several MSRs, let me see how it does in Hami, etc.) but .. yeah, not sold on it, not *not* sold on it.

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10 hours ago, Glacier Peak said:

I don't share your opinion on the set, so I don't support this suggestion. Empathy is in a great place, same with Pain Domination. 

 

The OP's suggestion may not be the right one, I am more or less neutral on the idea - i dont feel that it would really change much of anything for the set. However to say empathy is in a great place right now is a touch off reality. Until undefined hard mode settings or empathy gains a rework that allows it to interact on any offensive scale the set will continue to struggle in relevancy.

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29 minutes ago, DreadShinobi said:

The OP's suggestion may not be the right one, I am more or less neutral on the idea - i dont feel that it would really change much of anything for the set. However to say empathy is in a great place right now is a touch off reality. Until undefined hard mode settings or empathy gains a rework that allows it to interact on any offensive scale the set will continue to struggle in relevancy.

Yeah, no. That is completely inaccurate and I stand by my opinion. 

 

Edit: I will go a step further! It doesn't matter how much buffed resistance, defense, damage, to-hit, recharge, or accuracy buff sets can provide - eventually there is a ceiling on their impact. Team with multiple buff sets, even at lower levels, there will be likely be diminishing returns on their impact.

 

With a set like Empathy, one player can help their team hit those previously mentioned caps, while also providing uncapped healing. There is literally nothing in the game that can stop a player (outside of special end game content) from receiving healing. Meanwhile, debuffs exist that can reduce all of those previously mentioned buffs. Nothing is reducing my healing on my teammates (outside of special end game content).

 

Using the 1% of the game example of 'hard mode' to justify a change across the other 99% where the set is amazing is just nonsense to me.

Edited by Glacier Peak
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18 hours ago, Palador said:

It's a common view (I think?) that the Empathy power set is sub-par compared to other buff sets, especially at higher levels. I've seen some suggestions to help bring it up to speed, but they mostly just leave it doing what other sets are already doing. I'd like to see it do something unique, thus my suggestion.

 

Currently, Absorb Pain is a targeted click to heal, that does damage to the user and prevents them from healing for a while in exchange for a large and fast heal. It can be good, but it's perhaps one of the more questionable powers, and entirely reactive.

 

My suggestion is to make it a more proactive power. Make it a toggle with very low End cost, or maybe no End cost at all. You target a teammate and turn it on. As long as it's on, you take part of the damage for them just like a Mastermind pet in Bodyguard mode. You have to decide in advance who you're going to protect, if anyone. And if there's multiple Empathy users doing this on one person, it works the same as a MM having multiple pets.

 

This is something no other set does, but it's something that's already in the game for something else and with luck can be ported over. And I'm sure players could get some use out of it, without it being too overpowering compared to other sets. 

 

Thoughts?

Empathy, and its counterpart Pain Domination are not simply buffing sets -they are both healing and buffing sets. Great Empathy players will understand the side effects of Absorb Pain and know how to counter it. Perhaps as newer players learn and understand the powers in the set, they will be better at minimizing the risks.

 

My Level 50 Empathy/Water Defender can provide as much healing as most Archetypes have CAPPED health, WITHOUT Power Boost:

1.thumb.jpg.c251937fd3a829363df064c36674e559.jpg

And can increase that even more with Power Boost:

2.jpg.b93db76412b6a6ba062a2ed78e0ea459.jpg

 

So, no Empathy is not in a bad place, Absorb Pain works amazingly, in fact I would say it is a touch over powered and could use additional damage to the user to bring the risk versus reward in line. And look at it with Power Boost! The damage to the user doesn't even scale with the increase healing provided. I mean, I just healed that Vanguard HVAS for 2290 HP, and it only took 108 damage from me. That's a 21:1 ratio of healing compared to damage against the user.

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I honestly don't think Absorb Pain needs the penalty. I leveled up a Nature Affinity controller, and Wild Bastion in that set fills a very similar role to Absorb Pain; a massive boost of healing you can use reactively to a teammate taking a big hit of damage. Obviously there's several differences in the powers, but in practice I used them for the same purpose. The reason I bring this up is that Wild Bastion takes 4 minutes to recharge, while Absorb Pain only recharges in 15 seconds. Absorb Pain has the penalty on the caster for being able to put out such a massive chunk of healing so frequently, but while leveling my NA character I rarely, if ever, found Wild Bastion to be on cooldown when I needed it. I don't think it would make the power too strong to get rid of the penalty and bump the recharge to 30 or even 60 seconds, nor do I think that it would keep Absorb Pain from being available when it was needed.

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@Glacier Peak The number looks very large and pretty. The number of times you are going to get use out of the massive heal is going to be very niche. I've never once played my stormie with o2 boost, my poison with alkaloid, or my thermal with cauterize and thought to myself "damn my ally just died cause I didn't have absorb pain sadface" Not a single time. Ever.

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9 hours ago, DreadShinobi said:

@Glacier Peak The number looks very large and pretty. The number of times you are going to get use out of the massive heal is going to be very niche. I've never once played my stormie with o2 boost, my poison with alkaloid, or my thermal with cauterize and thought to myself "damn my ally just died cause I didn't have absorb pain sadface" Not a single time. Ever.

Number of times I get to use it is niche? Okay you're seriously trolling. Everyone gets damaged, everyone needs healing.

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6 minutes ago, SeraphimKensai said:

Having mained an Empathy defender from i1-i16, especially in PvP, I'd be extremely hesitant to make any changes to Empathy's powers without significant input from the current PvP community as Empathy is arguably the most important powerset on a 5 or 8 person PvP Team.

Exactly! Spike damage chews through everything when there is diminishing returns in play. Empathy and Pain Domination give teams one of, if not the only response to spikes of damage that can easily reach 2,000 or more on a player in less than a second. 

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A lot of people make the false assumption that heals are obsolete in this game because of the fact that power creep has left characters with so much passive mitigation that heals don’t see a lot of use in facerolly content.

 

The problem is, that assumption is based on a narrow look at the game.

 

Example: one night I joined an 801 AE group with a /Time Controller. There was another Time user on the team as well. Now, basic experience in the game doing typical TF’s will tell you Time is a top tier performer because Defense is king of mitigation. But this isn’t just some ITF or Apex/Tin - this is a genuine challenge. And we actually got crushed. Now fast forward. Both Time users swapped out for Electrical Affinity. And THEN the team really started to make progress thanks to all the Heals/Absorbs. I am quite positive that Time is regarded as a more powerful set than Electrical Affinity in average settings because average players absolutely worship +Def, +Rech, and -Res. And yet, once the content became hard enough, suddenly Defense was no longer king.


I bet once Hard Mode comes out, Empathy will look a smidge better to the experienced player. It’s not a bad set, it just leans too heavily into a supporting role to shine in easy game modes where support isn’t needed.

 

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3 hours ago, Glacier Peak said:

Exactly! Spike damage chews through everything when there is diminishing returns in play. Empathy and Pain Domination give teams one of, if not the only response to spikes of damage that can easily reach 2,000 or more on a player in less than a second. 

I'm a PvPer too but I also understand that PvP is the only use case where Absorb Pain sees any significant amount of use (to the point where its -heal penalty and duration were reduced in PvP only). Share Pain at least has the nice bonus of giving the caster a damage buff but even with that I don't see it used often. Many PvE Empathy builds will skip AP entirely because it's complete overkill most of the time.

 

EDIT: More on topic... I think Thunderspy overhauled AP to work like the OP describes and it's pretty cool. That being said the set needs more help than just changes to AP.

 

Edited by macskull
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33 minutes ago, macskull said:

I'm a PvPer too but I also understand that PvP is the only use case where Absorb Pain sees any significant amount of use (to the point where its -heal penalty and duration were reduced in PvP only). Share Pain at least has the nice bonus of giving the caster a damage buff but even with that I don't see it used often. Many PvE Empathy builds will skip AP entirely because it's complete overkill most of the time.

 

EDIT: More on topic... I think Thunderspy overhauled AP to work like the OP describes and it's pretty cool. That being said the set needs more help than just changes to AP.

I agree that Absorb Pain is overkill in 99% of use cases (outside of PvP and endgame content). It doesn't need buffed, if anything the damage to the caster should scale to the amount healed. The rest of the set works amazing in 99% of the content as well. 

Edited by Glacier Peak
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54 minutes ago, Glacier Peak said:

I agree that Absorb Pain is overkill in 99% of use cases (outside of PvP and endgame content). It doesn't need buffed, if anything the damage to the caster should scale to the amount healed. The rest of the set works amazing in 99% of the content as well. 

The issues with Empathy are twofold:

  1. Empathy tends to attract players with the "healer" mindset because of its power names and descriptions despite healing being the weakest form of mitigation once you get past the lower levels where players lack key powers and don't have enough slots to go around. If I had a billion inf for every time I'd been on a team with an Empathy player who did things like follow the tank around with Healing Aura on auto I'd have enough inf to fund character builds for the next decade. I have been on teams with Empathy players who played the set well but those are far rarer.
  2. Empathy is a victim of "Issue 0 syndrome:" it's been largely unchanged since the beginning resulting in it being outclassed in almost every respect by newer sets. It isn't a bad set on its own merits but most other support sets offer a similar toolkit and more. Fortitude is probably the best power in the set because you can actually keep it on multiple teammates but other than that Adrenalin Boost and the RA's are on a stupid long timer, the rez has no additional effects unlike other sets, and three of the remaining four powers are heals and nothing else. Even Clear Mind is a vanilla mez protection power which lacks the added bonuses other support sets get (slow resistance for Thermal, toxic/cold/slow resist for Poison, KB protection for Kinetics, +rech/+spd for Pain, etc.).

If you're on a team where another player has defense buffs (Cold, Time, VEATs, Dark Affinity) you're not getting much mileage out of Fortitude and you lack any of the debuffs those players bring to the table. There is no other support set that completely lacks enemy debuffs (you could argue FF but even that has a bit of soft crowd control). While I won't turn away an Empathy character simply because they're Empathy, all other things being equal if I have a choice between an Emp and anything else I'll pick the latter.

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14 hours ago, Glacier Peak said:

Number of times I get to use it is niche? Okay you're seriously trolling. Everyone gets damaged, everyone needs healing.

 

9 hours ago, Glacier Peak said:

I agree that Absorb Pain is overkill in 99% of use cases 

 

Hilariously contrary.

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13 hours ago, arcane said:

A lot of people make the false assumption that heals are obsolete in this game because of the fact that power creep has left characters with so much passive mitigation that heals don’t see a lot of use in facerolly content.

 

The problem is, that assumption is based on a narrow look at the game.

I also think there's a certain amount of go-it-alone macho posturing involved.  😉

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@Glacier Peak One thing to note on your screenshots - all healing is a percentage of max HP.  That beefy HP pool thus swells your numbers.

 

More broadly on the topic, I would be curious to know if you skip any Empathy powers.  My take on Empathy is that most powers are great by themselves... It's the amount of power function duplication overkill that is fundamentally the issue.  If we were to improve the set, we would have to change the primary use case of someone's preferred health bar reverser.

 

One thing I do want to mention in Empathy's favor: it is incredibly strong in small groups like mine, where the extremely strong ST buffs shine. Highly recommended. 

 

Hard mode and healing: while I'm excited for the idea of increased usefulness of party roles, especially Support and Control, I would hope none of us wish for "hard mode" to require healing specifically. We've long worn our diverse support and recovery definitions as a badge of pride in our game. It would be miserable to see that end, even if just for new Incarnate difficulty content. 

 

... But does anyone else feel like Resurrect could be an auto-rez aura toggle and still wouldn't be OP compared to Howling Twilight?

Edited by Replacement
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2 minutes ago, Replacement said:

@Glacier Peak One thing to note on your screenshots - all healing is a percentage of max HP.  That beefy HP pool thus swells your numbers.

 

More broadly on the topic, I would be curious to know if you skip any Empathy powers.  My take on Empathy is that most powers are great by themselves... It's the amount of power function duplication overkill that is fundamentally the issue.  If we were to improve the set, we would have to change the primary use case of someone's preferred health bar reverser.

 

One thing I do want to mention in Empathy's favor: it is incredibly strong in small groups like mine, where the extremely strong ST buffs shine. Highly recommended. 

 

Hard mode and healing: while I'm excited for the idea of increased usefulness of party roles, especially Support and Control, I would hope none of us wish for "hard mode" to require healing specifically. We've long worn our diverse support and recovery definitions as a badge of pride in our game. It would be miserable to see that end, even if just for new Incarnate difficulty content. 

 

... But does anyone else feel like Resurrect could be an auto-rez aura toggle and still wouldn't be OP compared to Howling Twilight?

Interesting! The only Empathy power I didn't take was Resurrection. 

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I did like absorb pain for its stated purpose. It's nice to be able to click a hero and instantly put them back at full health.

 

On the other hand, such situations have been very rare in my experience so far. There's saving people from Antimatter's disintegration on a badge run, I guess. It was great on that Posi 1 I did last week where none of the characters had any defenses whatsoever, and I was the only thing keeping the team functioning. The rest of the time, even if someone does die, it's only a speedbump at worst. Hence I don't think this suggestion fixes the issue, because if there aren't more opportunities to heal, then better, different or unique healing tools aren't going to make any difference in the end.

 

Powers that solely benefit others and are useful in only a tiny fraction of the content are always going to be a hard sell. The malus on absorb pain that prevents me from healing myself seems unecessary, too. If anything, it should give me a damage buff because I'm now madder. Personally, what I would prefer to get is more content where healing and especially long-range targeted healing is valuable. NPC's that you have to keep alive under constant heavy damage, enemies that focus fire on teammates, irresistible and autohit damage, etc. Or, make the healing powers dual-purpose - make absorb pain deal damage in an aoe around the target equal to 50% of the HP healed, for example. That would add an interesting minigame of trying to time your heals and judging the target's position to deal good damage.

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1 hour ago, Replacement said:

 

Hard mode and healing: while I'm excited for the idea of increased usefulness of party roles, especially Support and Control, I would hope none of us wish for "hard mode" to require healing specifically. We've long worn our diverse support and recovery definitions as a badge of pride in our game. It would be miserable to see that end, even if just for new Incarnate difficulty content. 

I wouldn’t want it to require specific sets for success.


But I also wouldn’t want it to be doable by any group of 8 people, often with brains, defensive pool toggles, and LotG’s - but those are optional for success. That’s where the rest of the game is now. 

Let’s all agree on something in the middle 🙂

 

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