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Focused Feedback: Ninja Revamp


The Curator
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So I just did some testing with a Ninjas/Nature build that I designed specifically for beta. It's quite good. It was trashing the +4/x4 DA dailies that I had been using as a baseline for comparison, so I took it to Cimerora and ran the first mission of ITF at +4/x4. It was a little rocky at first - I'm not a pro at either Ninjas or Nature, but I figured it out and had pretty smooth and consistent progress until the nictus ambushes. I just smashed my three big clickies, which together give resist, regen, heal over time, absorb, damage, and tohit. They're all on about a 1m10s recharge, which is roughly as long as it took me to work through each spawn. Sometimes a Genin would die, but once I figured my business out that became rare unless I pulled an additional spawn or I was in one of those weird spots where there are multiple spawns and a couple of captive sybils. In those places I wound up using barrier to cover for the ~10 second downtime in my Nature buffs.

 

Then when I got to the nictus ambushes, I died four times. I took the naive path up the hill, up the stairs, and to the minotaur, so I was getting sandwiched between Cimerorans and Nictus, and the Nictus really loved targeting me. If I focused the pets on one nova, the rest of the novas would kill me pretty easily without bodyguard, so it took me a while to puzzle my stuff out.

 

I think Nature is a very strong set generally and I picked it here because I think it's great for Ninjas, who have high defense but are brittle on their own - getting resists, heals over time, and absorb is a very strong supplement to high defense. It felt absolutely great to be doing this kind of damage with a mastermind. I love having the ability in Smoke Bomb to focus the ninjas to take down hard targets with crits - it was great for dealing with Cimeroran bosses, dwarf nictus, and the minotaur. I should mention also that I forgot about nature's mushroom toggle until I saw the minotaur, so I definitely wasn't playing optimally.

 

I think it's impressive that a defense set can stand up in an environment with so many defense debuffs like this, but that probably says more about nature than about ninjas.

 

I think I'm going to make +4/x4 ITF my new benchmark. There's too much going on in the Dark Astoria missions with villain groups I don't understand well for it to be a consistent environment. ITF is nice and predictable.

 

I would like to try to retool my ninjas/storm from scratch to see how it performs, but I owe bots and mercs a visit, and I also want to try a few different necro combos to see if I can make them work as well as I see ninjas and mercs working.

 

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14 hours ago, Scrapulous said:

Then when I got to the nictus ambushes, I died four times. I took the naive path up the hill, up the stairs, and to the minotaur, so I was getting sandwiched between Cimerorans and Nictus, and the Nictus really loved targeting me. If I focused the pets on one nova, the rest of the novas would kill me pretty easily without bodyguard, so it took me a while to puzzle my stuff out.

One downside of the new smoke bomb I have found in testing. Smoke bomb will cause all the pets to placate, which means a lot pet aggro suddenly shifts to a new target... you. Keep that in mind when firing smoke bomb and make sure to have enough personal defense.

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On 10/8/2022 at 8:23 AM, Dispari said:


Let's try actually!

I'll take my ninjas into a custom AE "oops all monkeys" map and command them to "goto" and "stay" to see which one works.

Telling pets to "goto" a location and then some patches spawn, they flee.
Telling pets to "stay" at a location and then some patches spawn, they DO stay where they are, so you're right!

So you do have to really be on the ball and make your pets move around and THEN command them to stay. So red light green light, but it does work. Ninjas recently got some extra ranged attacks so it's not AS terrible to have them standing there not using their melee powers, but it's better than the alternative.

Though... I noticed that when you set them back to follow they have a panic attack and bolt as if they were in a patch (even long after the patches are gone).

 

Yep, almost think henchmen are bugged when it comes to monkey gas specifically.  They are the ones I most hate to fight on my MM's.  You can put them to stay and the gas damage cloud can be gone for quite a while, change them to follow and your pets STILL run away.  And they will bolt super far.   You have to wait a very long time after the cloud goes away before they won't do this.  Meant to time exactly how long at some point, but haven't gotten around to it.

 

Caltrops aren't nearly as bad as they tend to just run to the edges of the patch, not across half the entire map.  Don't think I was having as bad an issue with fire patches either compared to that stupid rikti monkey gas.

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I have a number of Ninja MM's and I have, up until now, seen them as primarily a weaker set given their lack of defense (i.e. paper dragons) and it can be tough to make them fun to play.  One way you can is to heavily invest in a defensive secondary such as /time, /cold, /force field, etc..  I personally have /trick arrow and /cold on the production servers and I have a lot of fun with them, even more so after the QoL change to make summon rechanges so low that I can freely lose a Genin and just quickly re-summon them.  They're still paper dragons but on the prod servers you can at least make them sturdy against +0 or +1.

 

On Brainstorm, with the new changes and adding some really good defense to them across the board has really opened up the build options for a casual player like me.  My current builds (trick arrow and cold) are still strong (stronger really) which is a nice change, BUT now we can seriously look at other secondary pairings.  Today I took a drive on the wild side and tested Ninja\Thermal MM on brainstorm (lvl 30 only with basic IO's and some of the key pet IO's).  I ran it at 0x2 and 0x3 and it was pretty darn sturdy and I could see pushing it a bit further.  I'm actually considering building a Ninja/Poison MM.  These are things I previously wouldn't do because of the frail nature of the Ninja's.  I know it's been talked about before with Ninja\Electric having potential...now with these changes I could see that being a really fun combo.

 

One thing I would add with the changes to some of the MM primary attacks.  I've done some testing with a number of the sets and instinctually I want to slot up the attacks to use them, but I think that's a trap (especially given the higher endurance cost).  Really you're after the effects (+crit, +spectral, -regen) and all you really need to do is hit.  That often means these powers can actually be one-slot wonders (maybe 2).  A single ACC should do (or maybe acc\end) since most of us run tactics already.  Specifically with Ninja, the +crit lasts for 30 seconds for each stack on all pets.  So you really only need to use the attacks once every 30 seconds which means, under normal circumstances you'll want to avoid spamming them (which is not natural...you want to keep plinking away at the baddies).

 

So far I'm loving these changes and they are making these sets a LOT of fun to play and really open up some build options that would be nutty to do on the production servers (especially where ninjas are concerned).  The +def and heals are a massive QoL change.  Of course this doesn't address some of the more common complains (level shift) which is still and issue, but this definitely helps.

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On 10/6/2022 at 2:50 PM, Dispari said:

(Crane Kick still does KB if you were wondering)

Came here to ask this, thanks.  I always theorized Genin would benefit the most from Soulbound: Chance for buildup but they always needed KB2KD because of the high chance for KB and the frequency of it

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1 minute ago, kelika2 said:

Came here to ask this, thanks.  I always theorized Genin would benefit the most from Soulbound: Chance for buildup but they always needed KB2KD because of the high chance for KB and the frequency of it


Pets benefit uniquely from certain procs, OF:KB->KD being one of them. When slotted in a pet, procs will go off on EVERY power they use that qualifies. For instance, mercs have -DEF in most of their powers so if you slot a -DEF proc, it will go off in all those powers. Dark Servant is a good candidate for the -ToHit damage proc, because all but one of their powers do -ToHit.

OF is a universal damage proc, so it will apply to every power that does damage. It ALSO doesn't just do KB->KD, it also adds a KD proc to the power it's in. Which means it will make every single Genin attack have a KD proc in it. Across three pets. Not many better places for it, frankly.

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2 hours ago, Rand0lk said:

Tested longer this time, with a maxed out Nin/Dark build. All good and juicy, but...the Oni goes immediately out of end, with a 58% end red.

 

I guess it's time to port my Ninja/EA over to test.  Start spamming that juicy END boost.

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50 minutes ago, Tacheyon said:

 

I guess it's time to port my Ninja/EA over to test.  Start spamming that juicy END boost.

I ran some ninja/thermal tests and it went surprisingly well.  I am pretty sure ninja/ea will perform even better.  It might even be a hair less busy like EA normally is since they actually have some defense now so you don't need to heal nearly as much.

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On 10/9/2022 at 3:58 PM, KaizenSoze said:

One downside of the new smoke bomb I have found in testing. Smoke bomb will cause all the pets to placate, which means a lot pet aggro suddenly shifts to a new target... you. Keep that in mind when firing smoke bomb and make sure to have enough personal defense.

What happens with bodyguard damage when you Smoke Bomb?  Does it still get moved to the pets?  'cause if so, it's probably manageable.  However, BG damage probably shouldn't break their ability to land a crit if they haven't attacked already.  If it does, that probably needs some adjustment.

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2 minutes ago, Lazarillo said:

What happens with bodyguard damage when you Smoke Bomb?  Does it still get moved to the pets?  'cause if so, it's probably manageable.  However, BG damage probably shouldn't break their ability to land a crit if they haven't attacked already.  If it does, that probably needs some adjustment.

I have to admit I almost never run in bodyguard mode. The ninjas are too squishy.

 

That is a really good point about testing if BG damage messes up smoke bomb's placate.

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So I transferred over my Ninja/Kin MM.  She is only has basic IO's slotted and not even Alpha unlocked.  When leveling her it was ok, but the survivability was low due to a lack of buffs and only a simple heal.  The only way to keep them all alive was to defeat everything first.  In groups it was tough.

 

Now, without even doing anything or slotting anything extra the changes have made her and her team a lot more deadly.  Time to Defeat is a down a lot and even with a big group (didn't try Malta, crazy not stupid) I didn't have to spam the heal all the time.  These changes are making want to run to Live and start to re-build her (maybe add TP and Fold Space), and this was my weakest Ninja paring.  I can see my Ninja/Storm being even more powerful.

 

Now a silly question.  Slotting a Recharge enhancement doesn't effect the Ninja's self heal timer, does it?

 

Also side Note - Have you had a chance to fix EA's T9 power to work on pets yet?  Because all my EA MM's would really like to know 😉

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AFAIK recharge does not work on any henchmen powers.

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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Played with the changes. Only took snap shot and smoke bomb of the "usually skipped" because I figured endurance would be an issue with the heavier attacks.

 

The ninjas felt like they did a much better job and felt more survivable even when outside of my buff radius.

 

Snap shot, mathematically, granting 3% more crits with 6 pets spamming attacks felt "just right" as far as being a worthwhile power pickup. With the t1 in secondary being a choice now, it's much easier power pick-wise to select one of those early single target attacks. Between this and smoke flash, ninjas were flipping out and killing people which felt great.

 

Nice changes.

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Quick play with them, only set to +2/8 with no build changes from live. Seems awesome at least til the mobs set to  53's and there were 2-3 of them close by. At that point i lost pets regularly as i'd expect to. Any knockback is pretty much instant death for the pets which the ranged ones dont have to put up with in the same way, just get back up and pew pew, ninjas have to leggit back at the mobs and usually get a face full of whatever the enemies throwing and faceplant before they get back into melee. The changes are fantastic- to all the mm pets getting upgraded, way more survivable and i can see them actually feeling useful on teams, even the fast moving ones. Haven't tested vs 54's. Not sure i will. The tier 1 pets were struggling vs +5's as it was.

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4 hours ago, Meknomancer said:

Quick play with them, only set to +2/8 with no build changes from live. Seems awesome at least til the mobs set to  53's and there were 2-3 of them close by. At that point i lost pets regularly as i'd expect to. Any knockback is pretty much instant death for the pets which the ranged ones dont have to put up with in the same way, just get back up and pew pew, ninjas have to leggit back at the mobs and usually get a face full of whatever the enemies throwing and faceplant before they get back into melee. The changes are fantastic- to all the mm pets getting upgraded, way more survivable and i can see them actually feeling useful on teams, even the fast moving ones. Haven't tested vs 54's. Not sure i will. The tier 1 pets were struggling vs +5's as it was.

What secondary are you using? I can handle 54s with Trick Arrow. It's work, but it's doable.

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I was running nin/dark/mace. As i said just a quick play with them on what i thought would be an easy +2 council radio. Mobs set to 53. Boss in mob 1 used missile/grenade launcher which kb'd the pets. 2 splat  landed within aggro range of 2 other mobs in the room so i was getting hit by 3 mobs at the same time. Both of those died instantly and the rest of the fight was just a constant summon fest. I usually play aggressively and try to aggro the room anyway i just prefer to do it in my own time and not thanks to enemy knockbacks. There are a lot of combos that can handle +4 on live that will have an easier time of it if the changes go through. I run a bots/trick arrow that can and i expect that to be even better. Tier 1 pets struggle vs +5's as is. On a +4 rep they are facing +6's and the damage output is just a constant stream of 1 tic which takes forever to down a mob.

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37 minutes ago, Cidri said:

No defence at all until upgrade sounds really nasty!

Not...Really? First Upgrade is level 6. You are squishier in the early levels, and at a glance it likely makes resummoning mid-fight more risky, but it's not likely to be too nasty, but I haven't tested myself to know for sure.

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