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Focused Feedback: Sentinel Archetype Revamp


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So before I commented on this AT and the changes (not just the inherent), I did a lot of preliminary testing on live vs beta for the performance differences for Sentinels.

 

My thoughts are:

 

1. The scalar (1.1) actually makes a huge difference as to their solo capability and it does dramatically impact their utility as a whole. Before, when I played my Fire/Bio sentinel I couldn't really "oneshot" with inferno most mobs except low level minions. With the changes, you can "oneshot" any minions in a group with your T9 reliably. You do about half of Lieutenant's health on higher difficulties, and oneshot or get them to about 80% on lower difficulties. They also have about half the cooldown on their nukes. This improvement in damage for the T9 and the "fireball" TAoE of blast sets does indeed bump them up drastically when completing missions. 

 

2. The inherent is still a bit underwhelming but better than it was before. The time it takes to solo a higher level AV or even a regular AV has gone down substantially following these changes. Pylon tests do not reflect this due to how impactful the true -15% debuff is at all levels. Better attack chains also open up for not having to use the T1/T2 to proc your inherent, the natural inherent is much better. 

 

Overall, these changes are badly needed for Sentinels and bring them into being a worthy character choice even if they're not strict specialists. Before they completely lacked identity and specialization. Now they didn't necessarily gain those things, but they are now worthy of the "jack of all trades" designation, rather than just being entirely out-classed in every regard, especially in comparison to things like Tankers/Blasters/Scrappers. 

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New thoughts: 
 

Initial testing was tinkering around with a Pylon and so the damage difference isn't that noticeable. Also, there was a learning curve on the Vulnerability button use since Offensive Opportunity is just built into my attack chain on live where I don't think about it. On Beta, I have to retrain some gameplay in order to watch for the circle and use the button. That's mildly annoying, but seeing as how Opportunity was really only ever impactful against specific targets on current Live anyway, this is very minor to me. 

Toyed a bit in a S/L AE mission to pew pew against minions and LTs at +4/x8. This is an import of my Dual Pistols/Super Reflexes character with all the bells and whistles. 

Minion mowing speed is noticeable. One shotting LTs is a possibility, but bearing in mind my build is highly dependent on procs for additional damage. Still, solo against the larger packs of mobs that I could engage with off live is less of a slog due to the noticeable difference in damage on the AOE. That said, the inherent does have some issues in performance, and the ATOs could use some reviews. 

Inherent: 
(Just Brainstorming) As noted, the use case of Vulnerability is very limited and can lend itself to being forgotten. However, removing it entirely may be a poor decision given feedback in this beta thus far is an incredibly low number of players vs the rest of the community. While the joke of "there are 10s of us" may have some truth, completely removing the mechanic may be worse than the alternative unless that comes with some significantly beneficial change. I could see that change being problematic in both balance and implementation. Anyway, the button click, for me, is a minor inconvenience for otherwise general improvements which have some benefit. I'll take what I can get. 

ATOs: 
Both procs need a revamp. That may not be possible in this Issue, but I think they do need some work. 

1) Opportunity Strikes - Given the limited use of the button Vulnerability an additional 10% meter gain isn't substantial enough to really warrant a power slot besides the fact the overall set bonuses can be desirable. 

 

Possible Solution A: Include a damage proc similar to Corruptors, Blasters, etc. 
Possible Solution B: Expanding functionality of Vulnerability. I.e., Restore some of the lost -Res that existed in legacy Opportunity. Perhaps even using this as a method to restore a -5% defense and Resistance that used to exist in the basic attacks by default. This could be resisted as it was before if the additional damage increase is considered too much. 

2) Sentinel's Ward - I need to test some results on this a bit more as it seems as if the absorb was higher than I am used to in observation. That said, this is still pretty low for the kinds of content we have. Like the Opportunity proc, this effect isn't strong enough to really warrant using it beyond the value of the set bonuses. 

Possible Solution A: Perhaps reclaim some semblance of "Defensive Opportunity" via mimicry of the various support AT procs which grant group endurance ala Corruptor's PBAoE +End in the Scourging Blast set or Defender's Bastion PBAoE Minor Heal. 
Possible Solution B: Expanding functionality of Vulnerability. I.e., granting the Sentinel a mimic version of old Defensive Opportunity while Vulnerability is active. 

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On 10/4/2022 at 9:10 PM, Silverado said:

 

Perhaps TOO nice I would say. Leaving it at 1.0 or even 1.05 would be still nice without overshooting the buff

 

I respectfully disagree; I feel it's correct for an AT with Blast Primary / Resist&Defense Secondary.

 

That said, Blasters could also use a small bump of some kind, just to keep that King-of-the-Hill burst/alpha-strike damage edge over it's competition (Sentinels & Corruptors).  Remember that Corruptors have support sets, meaning they can actually do more through buffs and debuffs.

 

As for this proposed change the vulnerability debuff is very nice and the base damage bump is welcome.

 

My only suggestion for this feedback thread is that there needs to be a way to turn off that visual effect. 

 

Try it on a huge floating/hovering enemy you'll see what I mean about it being an eyesore, especially in a bright color.  Honestly, I don't like flashy persistent auras, indicator icons, and bubbles in general.  Explosions and a flash of light, yes that's good, but not a fan the persistent effects and more than I'm a fan of cell shading.  Also it does reduce frames a bit, little by little for each overlapping effect.  Sometimes effects even overwrite one another and you get a nasty flickering effect from your GPU render being confused which is on top (like when you have to surfaces at exactly the same planar face position, in base building) when you pivot your camera viewing angle.  I want to see the character(s), not a ball of flickering overlapping auras and sprites and BAMF FREEEM YEET!  Persistent aura effects are not Pokemon, it's kind of hideous looking to catch them all.

 

So basically, a visual thing and the rest honestly seems ok (at least at first).  We gotta test it more to know for sure

 

 😆

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54 minutes ago, oldskool said:

Minion mowing speed is noticeable. One shotting LTs is a possibility, but bearing in mind my build is highly dependent on procs for additional damage. Still, solo against the larger packs of mobs that I could engage with off live is less of a slog due to the noticeable difference in damage on the AOE. That said, the inherent does have some issues in performance, and the ATOs could use some reviews.

Sounds like you understand this but, if you're procing heavily then you might not be getting full advantage of the damage modifier raise.

 

The open question is that is still better to proc or not proc with the changes. Dual pistol of course is very proc friendly.

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1 hour ago, Caulderone said:

Any chance of the Nuke's 10'/20' AoE split, the only Nuke with this split that I'm aware off, being revisited?

 

Target limit is already lower, so this just feels like a double penalty.

 

Honestly I dislike target limits on AoEs, period.  This is not 2004, the network can take it (and if you want proof, check Ionic Core Final Judgement as an example).  If it has to have caps as a safety net, then those caps should be raised, for everyone (including enemies, but they usually have higher max target caps than players because the devs love villains... Maybe... 😜

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I would love to see one or the other of the ATO procs replaced with a damage proc that does a small radius (6', maybe?) blast around the target damaging say up to 3 total targets with the proc damage.  Just something that helps spread around a liiiiiiitle more AoE damage, while also being a normal damage proc.  Feels like that would help on some weak areas of Sents while not being overpowered at all.

 

I agree with @oldskool that having Sentinel's ward replaced with a proc that gave health/endurance would be a nice way to honor old Defensive Opportunity and fill its gap, providing a little more utility than the current small absorb shield does.

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2 minutes ago, KaizenSoze said:

Sounds like you understand this but, if you're procing heavily then you might not be getting full advantage of the damage modifier raise.

 

The open question is that is still better to proc or not proc with the changes. Dual pistol of course is very proc friendly.

 

I analyzed Blaster performance with procs, and the scalars are close enough to identical now.  Procs consistently provide more damage enhancement than a normal damage enhancement does, even at Blaster/Scrapper/(beta Sentinel) scalars, if you have no local recharge, with very rare exceptions for a tiny minority of powers.  Here's the sheet (ignore the Sentinel row on that sheet, it's Live Sentinels, not beta Sentinels.  Just look at the Blaster rows, they'll be only like 1% different from Sents).

 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1exC_bOWKCrjQ4eCjN12Cs5ETFPOpJCaBjmBnUIyMXHU/edit?usp=sharing

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26 minutes ago, KaizenSoze said:

Sounds like you understand this but, if you're procing heavily then you might not be getting full advantage of the damage modifier raise.

 

The open question is that is still better to proc or not proc with the changes. Dual pistol of course is very proc friendly.

 

Its a fair point, and I do have damage enhancement in the proc carrying powers. The procs just add more damage on top of what I already have. 😉 

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Popped on the test server this morning to run my Fire/Bio sentinel a bit.

 

The damage increase is noticeable and is probably sufficient in and of itself for me to bring my Sentinel off the sidelines. 

 

The inherent is more useful for being reliable while not (at least from the solo perspective) game breaking. I do wish the healing option were there, like say Sentinels got two powers--vulnerability and healing--and had to choose which to use their Opportunity activation on. But I am not greedy.

Pity me. My graphics card died and I am getting by on a Radeon 5450. It is amazing how a 12-year-old graphics card struggles with an 18-year-old game.

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Logged on to test with my Water/WP, will try out the Electric/Bio later, I like the damage boost, my thought is this is the only useful upgrade to the Sentinels, ran around hunting Cyclops and Minotaur, do not like having to click the new opportunity button.  After using a couple of time in quick succession, it needs better notification that it has a usable charge level.  It shows when it has a full charge, I saw nothing else.

 

I know I'm not that smart, so I would like the devs to tell me how to keep my sentinels at range.  I'll do an MSR, in no time at all, will have the Rikti packed 3 or more deep around my sent.  Not bad considering they have not taunt.  As mentioned earlier by Keen, the chance of any changes to the Sentinel primaries secondaries is effectively zero.  They need that more than changes to the inherent. 

 

 

 

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So some commentary:

 

Sentinels, on both live and beta, are feast-and-famine people -- they (can) spend about 50% of the time under Opportunity/Vulnerability, the other 50% out of it.

 

Let's talk about a power that does 100 damage at 1.0 scale.

 

Live Sentinels

Famine:  95 damage (due to scalar) * 1.95 (enhancement slotting) * 1.05 (inherent resistance debuff) = 194.5 damage

Feast:   (95 damage (due to scalar) * 1.95 (enhancement slotting) + 10 damage (Offensive opportunity proc)) * 1.25 (inherent resistance debuff + Opportunity resistance debuff) = 244.1 damage

Average damage (assuming 50/50 Famine/Feast):  219.3 damage

 

Beta Sentinels

Famine:  110 damage (due to scalar) * 1.95 (enhancement slotting) = 214.5 damage

Feast: 110 damage (due to scalar) * 1.95 (enhancement slotting) * 1.15 (Vulnerability resistance debuff) = 246.7 damaage

Average damage (assuming 50/50 Famine/Feast):  230.6 damage

 

So this is why, on Pylon tests, you see basically the same results -- Beta has only a 5.1% damage buff over live, almost entirely ignoreable.

 

But the secret of course is that the 50% feast/50% famine thing was never true -- both Opportunity and Vulnerability are only useful (in terms of their damage buffs) against single hard targets, which is a small minority of CoH gameplay.  When you were facing ordinary spawns, you don't really get any damage buff out of Vulnerability, and only the small proc out of Opportunity.  Essentially, you're permanently in Famine mode.

 

Beta has a clear slightly-greater-than 10% damage buff in Famine mode.  Maybe even a little better than that when you're talking about trying to alpha out groups ASAP, since your first strike doesn't get the effect of the resistance debuff, and it's a big chunk of how you deal with minions.  By shifting its Famine up and Feast down, Beta makes the overall reality of "permanent Famine" notably better.

 

I'll also say that for low-end targets of vulnerability (ordinary Bosses when you're low enough level that Bosses are challenging, or Elite Bosses which drastically outnumber AVs/GMs in high level play), the fact that you're likely to start the fight with them with 30 seconds of Vulnerability on demand probably makes for a better chance to get your rare Feast mode to actually pay off for Beta.  It's against AVs/GMs/Pylons, where the fight goes on for >1 minute, where it doesn't really matter if you take your Feast mode right at the start or the middle -- it all averages out.  So that's another point for Beta.

 

---

 

Stylized damage of Scrapper (assuming same 100 damage power if scalar = 1)

112.5 damage (due to scalar) * 1.95 (enhancement slotting) * 1.22 (crit rate, assuming 10% base rate + 6% for ATO1 + another 6% for ATO2) = 267.5 damage

 

Stylized damage of Brute (assuming same 100 damage power if scalar = 1)

75 damage (due to scalar) * 3.55 (slotting for 95% damage + 80 Fury = 160% damage bonus) = 266.25 damage

 

Both Scrappers and Brutes get damage that's significantly better than Feast damage for Sentinels, all the time (without a ton of ATO2 PPM abuse in the case of Scrappers).  So do Blasters and Stalkers, but they're more complicated to show with math, because their damage is built into weird contingent stuff around Build Up and what actual powers they get.  And yes, Sentinels are ranged and that is an advantage, but note that melee damage powers are generally better than blast damage powers, so Sents pay for this in two different ways: the basic power and then their considerably lower damage (and also worse defensive values).

 

With this being the case, I think we could do one of either further increasing Famine mode damage, or else making Feast mode more useful when dealing with ordinary spawns, and we wouldn't need to worry about stepping on the toes of other DPS classes.

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Played a seismic/stone sentinel up to level 6. Hardcore scientific analysis: it felt really good and I had fun. I'm starting to warm up to the Vulnerability click thing, although after I got Rock Shards I found myself wishing Vulnerability was a cone or aoe or something a little more crowd-oriented to complement it (and Sands of Mu). Anyway, I ran this sentinel through my standard new blueside character 'Outbreak Test': load up with p2w enhancements, powers, etc., set team size to 6 for the Flower Knight mission, and then dumpster dive/corner pull mass quantities of Contaminated until I get Isolator. The Flower Knight mission was going great until the server went down just as the ambush guys, ah, ambushed us. When I got back on and started the mission over, Flower Knight wound up getting clobbered, which technically = fail. Went ahead and finished off the rest of the contaminated guys with no further troubles. Just for the thrill of it I tried the first Prince Kiros mission still at team size 6, which resulted in a quick and hilarious defeat. Of my sentinel, that is. Set team size to 2 for everything after that -- smooth sailing. So... cool! Here's hoping the endurance issues/can't hit a damn thing thing doesn't kick in too hard in the teens.

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Taking my DP/Energy Sent out for a short spin on a radio mission... I don't hate the click. It's actually nice to know exactly what I'm tossing that Vulnerability effect on. Also "moar damage" may sound like a really boring way to change things for our Sents compared to other suggestions that have been made, but on Aken it was both noticeable and welcomed.  

 

I'll have more time to tinker and poke at things in detail this weekend with my other Sentinels. but as a quick-and-casual first impression? I like this. It seems like a solid improvement. 

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I haven't tried this yet, but it sounds good to me, EXCEPT that it sounds like multiple Sentinels in a group can't contribute as much, compared to Defenders/Corrupters..... Vulnerability from DIFFERENT Sentinels does NOT stack, correct?  Maybe let it do so, but with extremely diminishing returns? 

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2 hours ago, Menelruin said:

I haven't tried this yet, but it sounds good to me, EXCEPT that it sounds like multiple Sentinels in a group can't contribute as much, compared to Defenders/Corrupters..... Vulnerability from DIFFERENT Sentinels does NOT stack, correct?  Maybe let it do so, but with extremely diminishing returns? 

 

Not only does it not stack but my own experience is that a single person is enough to keep it up 24/7 on a single target.

 

Tbh not sure -why- it cannot stack from different characters. Not like Sonic Assault from different characters don't stack, or Rad, or Kins, or stuns/holds, or...

 

 

It could have a diminishing returns flag to it. Like full effect from the first Sentinel, then half from a different Sentinel, etc.

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2 minutes ago, Sovera said:

 

Not only does it not stack but my own experience is that a single person is enough to keep it up 24/7 on a single target.

 

Tbh not sure -why- it cannot stack from different characters. Not like Sonic Assault from different characters don't stack, or Rad, or Kins, or stuns/holds, or...

 

 

It could have a diminishing returns flag to it. Like full effect from the first Sentinel, then half from a different Sentinel, etc.

 

You can "burst" it up for 45 seconds often. Maybe if you get really lucky with ATO procs you could get a full minute. But in a long fight it will be up 15 down 15, before the ATO.

Two Sentinels can keep it perma on one target.

More Sentinels can keep it up on more targets.

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Just now, Wavicle said:

 

You can "burst" it up for 45 seconds often. Maybe if you get really lucky with ATO procs you could get a full minute. But in a long fight it will be up 15 down 15, before the ATO.

Two Sentinels can keep it perma on one target.

More Sentinels can keep it up on more targets.

But then there's no point to an 18-person group having more than 2 sentinels against an AV, if there are other options like Defenders or Blasters available, is there? =(

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Just now, Menelruin said:

But then there's no point to an 18-person group having more than 2 sentinels against an AV, if there are other options like Defenders or Blasters available, is there? =(

 

There are 15 ATs. I'll even be super generous and refer to ALL the Arachnos and Kheldians as 1 AT. So there are "12" ATs. So on an 18 person team there isn't room for 2 of every AT to begin with. And Sentinels now do quite good damage, better than more than half of the other ATs, so I wouldn't worry too much about it.

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2 hours ago, Wavicle said:

 

You can "burst" it up for 45 seconds often. Maybe if you get really lucky with ATO procs you could get a full minute. But in a long fight it will be up 15 down 15, before the ATO.

Two Sentinels can keep it perma on one target.

More Sentinels can keep it up on more targets.

 

I may be mistaken then. I remember testing on a pylon, 3 minute fight, and always having it up. Let me check again so I'm not spreading misinformation.

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2 hours ago, Wavicle said:

 

You can "burst" it up for 45 seconds often. Maybe if you get really lucky with ATO procs you could get a full minute. But in a long fight it will be up 15 down 15, before the ATO.

Two Sentinels can keep it perma on one target.

More Sentinels can keep it up on more targets.

 

No, re-tested. By the time Vulnerability ends and lights up the bar has refilled. I can provide a video if my word is not enough.

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24 minutes ago, Menelruin said:

I haven't tried this yet, but it sounds good to me, EXCEPT that it sounds like multiple Sentinels in a group can't contribute as much, compared to Defenders/Corrupters..... Vulnerability from DIFFERENT Sentinels does NOT stack, correct?  Maybe let it do so, but with extremely diminishing returns? 


I believe the current version works this way. Every sentinel can drop a -5% but there's one -20% that can be active at any given time. Allowing this new version to stack, even in a limited capacity, would make sense

Also this isn't really related to anything, but the old version allowed you to change the color of the reticle based on the power customization on the power you were using. Now that it's its own power, would it be reasonable to allow power customization on it so you can color it to your liking?

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