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Focused Feedback: Necromancy Revamp


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Yes, the lack of lethal resistance in the necro pets is quite noticeable, even on my Necro/Sonic. I took her on a couple of radio missions last night, choosing Council ones thinking they'd be the easier test, and then watched them nearly get shredded (this was around level 28ish). They did okay if I stayed at +0/x1, but I bumped it up to x2 or x3 (I can't remember which), and that's when things started to get dicey. Definitely requires a bit more thought and resummoning and such than you would think.

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Global: @Valnara1; Formerly @TigerGoddess on Live

I primarily play on Everlasting, but you may occasionally find me on Indom. 🙂

Notable Characters: Apocolyptica - Demons/Storm MM; Lurking Monster - Human-Form WS; Environmentabot - Bots/Nature MM; Miss Fade - Ill/Traps Controller; Sister Apocalypse - Beast/Dark MM; Dr. Elaina Wrath - Plant/Rad Controller (Join the House of Wrath, and spread the word of science!); ACE 9000 - Fire/Rad Sentinel

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They PROBABLY should have lethal resistance anyway? Lethal as far as the game is concerned is cutting/slashing weapons and guns. Those things will kill zombies sure, but not as effectively as a non-zombie. Yes you can kill a zombie by cutting off its head but that also works on humans. If you cut a zombie's arm off it's not at risk of dying like a human is.

CoD says Banished, Vahzilok, and Halloween zombies have RES to lethal. Shouldn't the PC ones too? (EDIT: As per following conversation, this is inaccurate, though I still feel as though they SHOULD)

Edited by Dispari
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12 hours ago, Scrapulous said:

(...)

  1. I haven't tested at low levels, but it seems harsh that Necro (and to a lesser extent Mercs) relies heavily on recharge while other sets are just given their entire potential when they acquire their upgrades. Won't that create a situation where some sets are much better at lower levels while others just really want a pile of global recharge? I realize that's not exactly unique in this game, but is it something to build into new mechanics if it could be avoided

(...)

 

This! I'm very much a mid-game player, and I was commenting in the Mercenaries thread that I wasn't using Serum because due to the mix of long duration and super slow recharge that it almost always felt wasted or too precious to use. Necromancy has much less of that problem (a mere 300 seconds of recharge compared to Serum's 500) but not none. And some power sets are fine with that being a mechanic, maybe expert usage of that power is intended to be what separates the greats, but it's worth pointing out and discussing; I personally generally prefer having better general options and a mid-end panic button instead of a godly panic button.

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5 hours ago, Dispari said:

CoD says Banished, Vahzilok, and Halloween zombies have RES to lethal. Shouldn't the PC ones too?

Now, I'm not necessarily arguing for weaker zombies, but, um, check the values of those resistances.

Vahz, BP, and event zombies have negative resistance lethal.  As in, they're weak to it.

 

That said, enemy zombies are not, as was noted in this thread a little earlier, IIRC, wearing friggin' plate armor like the Grave Knights, at least, do.  So one would think that would at least do them some good.

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I wouldn't mind the toxic res swapped for lethal.  But then I tend to automatically think of toxic as like acid damage, which would work well on zombies, so that resistance also confused me.  But I guess toxic also includes poison, so guess it depends what kind of toxic.

 

Of course thematic appropriate has to somewhat give way to balance sometimes.  I'd still never argue to give them fire resistance as that is just too on the nose thematic.  Lethal though I don't see an issue with and I'd still like to see them get one way or another, even if it is in lessor amounts.  Most of the melee pets (demons, beasts, thug bruiser) have both s/l resist for a reason.

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44 minutes ago, Lazarillo said:

Now, I'm not necessarily arguing for weaker zombies, but, um, check the values of those resistances.

Vahz, BP, and event zombies have negative resistance lethal.  As in, they're weak to it.

 

That said, enemy zombies are not, as was noted in this thread a little earlier, IIRC, wearing friggin' plate armor like the Grave Knights, at least, do.  So one would think that would at least do them some good.


Oops, you're right actually. ...Which still makes no sense to me. Why would undead be weak to being stabbed and shot? They're less likely to be defeated by those than a normal person is. (Though I guess I could point out that Carnies are all weak to lethal)

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1 hour ago, Riverdusk said:

I'd still never argue to give them fire resistance as that is just too on the nose thematic.

 

I don't see the problem, honestly. Corpses are notoriously resistant to fire. Crematoria can get hot enough to melt steel; that's not because corpses are easy to burn.

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I'd especially love lethal resistance because I can't stand seeing all my awesome undead surrounded by hovering bright orange and purple shield symbols, so I don't equip the +res/+def enhancements. It's a crazy self-nerf, but I can't enjoy playing them with those horrid bright icons nonsensically hovering around them, obscuring their sweet, dark countenances. So my undead are extra squishy. 

 

(btw, please look at making those floating symbols from the +res/+def buffs optional vfx! Plzzz)

 

Edited by AxerJ
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On 10/9/2022 at 10:08 PM, agentx5 said:

Team PBAoE is the way to go, like how Speed Boost for Kinetics was changed.

That change made it aoe, but not pbaoe. The upgrades are already aoe, but they are TARGETTED aoe. So you can only cast the upgrades when you're targetting a pet, which is horridly annoying to do when you're waiting for them to get up. target them mid battle, wait for them to not be intangible for the buff to be cast etc. With it as a pbaoe buff where you don't have to target the pets, you could then cast the aoe upgrades without needing to target the pet which would make getting them up MUCH smoother. (since they're still kinda stupidly not just auto into the pets and not even need taken as a power...)

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[Possible Bug] - Soul Extraction did not work at all in Mender Ramiel's first mission.  Yeah, I know it's not a real mission as you have Limitless Radial Freeem and whatnot, but i still thought it odd that the power completely failed and might be a sign of a problem.

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I rolled up a Necro FF and Storm either way Necro is aggressive now, especially with storm. Yeah Necro KINDA gets it ass kicked by Counsil and Malta so a bit more Lethal res could be nice, they can hang fine with Carnies. It feels nice to play solo and I know in a group it'll be chaos.  

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9 hours ago, Bionic_Flea said:

[Possible Bug] - Soul Extraction did not work at all in Mender Ramiel's first mission.  Yeah, I know it's not a real mission as you have Limitless Radial Freeem and whatnot, but i still thought it odd that the power completely failed and might be a sign of a problem.

 

I believe this is because Soul Extraction creates the critter based on the class of enemy you have targeted, and the critters on that mission are all of a weird class that isn't taken into account. The power may need to have a "default" spawn given if the enemy matches none of the standard classes.

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24 minutes ago, Faultline said:

I believe this is because Soul Extraction creates the critter based on the class of enemy you have targeted, and the critters on that mission are all of a weird class that isn't taken into account. The power may need to have a "default" spawn given if the enemy matches none of the standard classes.

 

That's... now how soul extraction works anymore.

 

The likely cause is that your pets are getting some of the incarnate uberbuffs as well. IIRC one of them makes you completely unaffected by anything. If your pets get that as well, that seems like the likely reason Soul Extraction might fail on them, since it needs to put a buff on the target (your pets) to summon the spectres.

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11 hours ago, Bionic_Flea said:

[Possible Bug] - Soul Extraction did not work at all in Mender Ramiel's first mission.  Yeah, I know it's not a real mission as you have Limitless Radial Freeem and whatnot, but i still thought it odd that the power completely failed and might be a sign of a problem.

I'd recommend trying Hell on Earth in the same mission, it should have a similar behavior. @Faultline, it must be something on the Zombie pets themselves in that mission as Soul Extraction can only target them.

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I'm chuckling at the Mender Ramiel Flashforward mission. MC gets so powerful that her pets become immune to her own bullshit.

 

My testing of the latest patch:

 

Soul Extraction:

 

I just did the first room of the first ITF mission at +4/x4 to test the changes to Soul Extraction. I have to say, I was skeptical of this change - I figured that changing the values but keeping the proportions intact would leave me in roughly the same boat but with more work to do. In practice, I think it's a good change, at least for a roided out level 50.

 

The power context:

  • The ghosts are up for 30 seconds in v2.1 Soul Extraction. Power is 300s recharge at base. Correction: power is 150s recharge at base. Oct 12 Patch notes were not updated to the new values.
  • I have 94.6% recharge enhancement in Soul Extraction, and 151.25% global recharge with Hasten up (Hasten has about 13 seconds of downtime).
  • With that amount of global recharge, Soul Extraction takes 43 seconds to recharge, giving it 13 seconds of downtime.

 

It takes me about 40-50 seconds to chew through a +4/x4 spawn of Romans with this build. That's actually about perfect. This enables me to spawn the ghosts right at the beginning of a fight, and they and the zombs do a lot of the work, clearing out the minions and lieutenants. I kill the Surgeons with my own blasts, which is an excuse to summon Specters because hitting the Surgeons with 1, 2, and 3 kills them. By the time the ghosts are gone, it's usually down to a boss and maybe some other straggler, which the zombs can whittle down just fine on their own. By the time they're done with that, I'm readly to tackle a new spawn with a recharged Soul Extraction.

 

It's possible this is just a lucky accident of timing. I don't solo much in this game, so I don't have a sense for how common 40-50 seconds per spawn is. If that's a pretty usual amount of time for people to take when they're pushing challenging solo content, then I'd say this recharge/duration tuning is a good fit for endgame builds. If I'm particularly slow or if most people solo larger spawns that take longer or whatever, it may be that my feedback isn't representing them.

 

I also am still concerned about the leveling experience. It's easy for me to sit on top of a pile of recharge and declare the power perfect, but I can see how grinding through content at level 23, trying to make hay with a 30s duration / 300s recharge power might feel pretty lame. I usually don't have a lot of global recharge until I'm 50, so Soul Extraction would probably be a sometimes power rather than a staple for me at that level.

 

 

MaxHP buff:

 

This is very nice. Thanks for implementing this. It gave me a lot more buffer to work with on the pets. I still lost a couple of zombies, but things felt more comfortable. It's effectively resist to all and gives the pets room to get their self-heals off. They felt sturdier, although I did once lose a couple zombies to a single AoE from one of the meaty bosses. I guess that's still an MM's lot, to be worried about AoEs.

 

Interestingly, this buff didn't seem to increase their self-heal total. I had expected it to be a double-dip phenomenon, where the amount of the heal was increased by both the heal enhancements in Dark Empowerment and the maxhp buff, since the heal totals are based on maxhp. But this doesn't appear to be the case. The amount of the Knights' self heal is 154.21 with no enhancement, and it's 282.7 with two level 50 heal IOs - that's 84.2% higher, which suggests the maxhp increase isn't coming into play. I don't know if that's the engine doing its thing or a deliberate choice by the powers devs (or the game power reporting inaccurately, maybe?), but I'll admit to a frisson of disappointment 🙂

 

 

Grave Knights AoE heal:

This is an interesting change. It's arguably a buff to their self-heal (7ft radius, 5 targets max), but the recharge goes up to 30, which means they get it off about once per fight (given my 40-50 second clear time). I noticed this because a Grave Knight took a lot of damage and sat there for a long time, which prompted me to check the recharge on it. The issue I notice is that they will use it when they have full health, which means all the extra healing power of the aoe life drain is wasted and the extra recharge just becomes a drawback. I know pet AI is notoriously derpy, but can they be taught to reserve it for when it's needed? The ninjas at least seem to wait until they're hurt to use their self-heal, but of course theirs isn't also an attack. I'm not sure what the best approach is here - probably mechanically it would be to split this power into an attack and a heal, but I see how that weakens the thematic punch of a lifedrain attack for necromancy.

 

 

Overall, I think this is an improvement. Giving the player the ability to ask enemies, "But what about Ghosts?" more often is probably an improvement over the previous recharge values no matter where you sit on the leveling curve, but I especially like it for 50s. A lot happens in 30 seconds of a CoX fight, and getting to choose more precisely which 30 seconds are filled with ghosts is valuable. The survivability boost from the MaxHP is noticeable and appreciated, and I think it's fun and thematic for the zombies to be hard to kill, as somebody else noted upthread. The change is especially noticeable against lethal damage. Necro feels more like a peer to Ninjas now based on my testing, which is a good thing.

Edited by Scrapulous
I reported the base recharge of Soul Extraction incorrectly. It is now 150s, not 300s.
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12 hours ago, Scrapulous said:

The power context:

  • The ghosts are up for 30 seconds in v2.1 Soul Extraction. Power is 300s recharge at base.
  • I have 94.6% recharge enhancement in Soul Extraction, and 151.25% global recharge with Hasten up (Hasten has about 13 seconds of downtime).
  • With that amount of global recharge, Soul Extraction takes 43 seconds to recharge, giving it 13 seconds of downtime.

I would say this should easily have their base rech time lowered. While difficult, both gang war and hell on earth can be perma'd, there is no reason this power shouldn't have the same ability. I also feel even those powers don't do quite enough to not warrant a better base recharge for how squishy those pets are and how little damage they do. Id easily say to please fix all 3 to have lower base recharges/better perma-bility.

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2 minutes ago, WindDemon21 said:

I would say this should easily have their base rech time lowered. While difficult, both gang war and hell on earth can be perma'd, there is no reason this power shouldn't have the same ability. I also feel even those powers don't do quite enough to not warrant a better base recharge for how squishy those pets are and how little damage they do. Id easily say to please fix all 3 to have lower base recharges/better perma-bility.

 

It did have the base recharge lowered, from 300s to 150s. I quoted the patch notes for the base recharge but used in-game values for the duration - this was a mistake. Icefyer on the discord called my attention to the fact that the patch notes for Oct 12 weren't updated for the Soul Extraction changes. I have edited my post. Sorry about that!

 

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I'm not sure what to think of the lower duration/recharge on Soul Extraction.  The Necro/Pain I was using to test had things set well so Extraction and World of Pain came back up at the same time, and the wraiths got the benefits of it, therefore, too, which was nice, because they could get killed on their own, in addition to disappearing if the pet they're linked to goes down. From memory, they weren't too sturdy when I missed the windows.  I'll have to do some more testing and see if this ends up being as much of an indirect nerf as it looks like it might be.

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On 10/9/2022 at 5:09 PM, Bionic_Flea said:

Soul Extraction - 30 base endurance

Repulsion Bolt - 12.74 base endurance

Force Bomb - 21.19 base endurance

Gloom and Life Drain - 10.66 base endurance

Enchant and Dark Empowerment - 11.38 base endurance

 

Even with decent slotting at level 35, I have to monitor endurance very closely or find my toggles dropping.  I appreciate trying to make the MM personal attacks worth taking and I do really like the Specters, but taking them and only using them sparingly makes me think that I might still want to skip them and save the endurance.

After the 30s, endurance management got better, no doubt in part to the reduction in Soul Extraction's end cost, as well as having additional slots to work with plus the accolades.  I ran a few missions in the 40s and it seemed fine.  However, I still have to monitor endurance closely if I am actively using attacks and Soul Extraction. 

 

Then I cranked to to 50 and cheat-coded all the incarnate powers I wanted to T4.  But I only used the passive incarnates (alpha, Interface, and unclicked hybrid) was able to solo +4/x8 Nemesis, Rikti, and Arachnos without dying, although I did have to run away a couple of times to resummon my critters against Arachnos.  Dampening Bubble is very good against Arachnos to protect against debuffs, especially to defense and perception.

 

I also took down a pylon in about 3 minutes just based on a clock.  I forgot to start a stopwatch.  It didn't feel overwhelmingly fast, but I feel that it was not bad for Necro/FF.  While I have not tried, I'm not sure an Necro/FF could take down a pylon before these changes.  At least not anywhere close to 3 minutes.  Necro/FF is a very tanky MM.  Not as damaging as some other sets but good enough.

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I know that there are lots of other changes needed down the line for MMs, but on top of making the upgrades a pbaoe power instead of a targetted aoe, how hard would it be to bump all  pets in the game to your same level, cause that's always been one of the first steps to fixing MMs (and all pets like imps/gremlins too). I feel like regardless of individual MM set changes, this is the standard first step that should be easy to understand and implement (outside of coding, can't recall on that).

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3 hours ago, WindDemon21 said:

I know that there are lots of other changes needed down the line for MMs, but on top of making the upgrades a pbaoe power instead of a targetted aoe, how hard would it be to bump all  pets in the game to your same level, cause that's always been one of the first steps to fixing MMs (and all pets like imps/gremlins too). I feel like regardless of individual MM set changes, this is the standard first step that should be easy to understand and implement (outside of coding, can't recall on that).

 

Even Level pets are in the pipeline, but there is a lot of work associated with the change with how their stats, slotting, and other interactions come into play.

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19 minutes ago, Player-1 said:

 

Even Level pets are in the pipeline, but there is a lot of work associated with the change with how their stats, slotting, and other interactions come into play.

 

Good to know.  Watching the tier 1 pets effectively bounce off enemies at the difficulty settings most groups run at is demoralizing.

 

I don't envy you that to-do list, but on the bright side removing the level shifts will should make the math involved in future balance efforts a shade easier.

 

EDIT: Should, not will.  Standard Code Rant and all that.

Edited by Black Zot
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2 hours ago, Player-1 said:

 

Even Level pets are in the pipeline, but there is a lot of work associated with the change with how their stats, slotting, and other interactions come into play.

Ok huzzah! but sad it's not this one lol. I'd eye up again all pets in game should be your level as well. That purple patch is just too harsh end game.

 

And yeah, given curent issues anyway, I'd honestly not bat an eye at any pet that's lower than your level being OVERPOWERED when at your level, they simply won't suck AS MUCH lol. I can't imagine any pet being too strong just by the level bump (or even whole sets of them ie MM's. Like you could honestly roll it out to test, and see that nothing more needed nerfed as a result I could guarantee)

 

Edit: of course now the ever-present batltle, of wanting to play with the new goodies, but also wanting to wait till MMs are fixed in general lol.

Edited by WindDemon21
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