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lobster

Mastermind Epic Pool overhaul suggestions

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Posted (edited)

See my guide to MM epics here for background info and my thoughts on the current state of things: 

 

 

The recent dominator and snipe changes on the beta have given me hope for interesting balance changes going forward.  I'm not sure how sweeping they'll be, but who knows!  So I thought it was worth putting out my thoughts on these pools, after having spent ….way too many hours on too many masterminds on live and now.

 

In my previous post I laid out what I thought each set should bring, so here are my proposed reworks.   Keep in mind that these suggestions are intended to take the minimum amount of work to implement.  So no new powers beyond what can be made by swapping damage types and effects on existing powers.

 

Also note that I've always found it frustrating that masterminds - THE pet class - didn't get at least one pet option in the epic pools.  Yes, yes I know they can "already do that" but I dunno, I appeal to the "rule of cool" (often invoked in D&D) - it would be FUN.  People play masterminds (usually) because they love pets, why not give them another?  Plus, with the patron pets as they are now, they are super hard to perma anyway (which is a subject for another thread…).   Not mention that controllers, dominators & SoA get more pets.  Point being here is that just swapping in a pet for one of the less interesting powers in the patron pools would be great BUT I provide a non-pet option for the patrol pools below in case that's a bridge too far.   The one place where I'm really breaking with original design #s (although, I would argue, not with the design intent) is changing the damage formula (increasing it) on mm epics - I think that change should be part of the epic itself, since MMs can't normally deal good damage, providing that is sort of in line with the epic philosophy of giving ATs access to something new.

 

[Also, honestly I'm tired of trying to talk myself out of mace mastery on most of my mms 😉 ].

 

So, here are my proposed changes to the mastermind epic pools to make each one unique, desirable, and worth taking as well as making power choices tougher and more meaningful.  One major thing I want to address is that only 2 of the 8 sets have a defense based shield (compared to 4 resist sets).
 

 

Edited by lobster
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Posted (edited)
  • Charge Mastery - shifting it over to a more defensive set.
    • Static Discharge -> Power Sink : elec based epics almost always have this, and it's a super useful utility power, offensively and defensively.  Adjust numbers to be weak enough for an epic pool, etc.
    • Surge of Power -> Charged Armor : stock resist armor.
    • Thunder  Strike -> Voltaic Sentinel : exactly the kind of epic power MMs should get - MORE PETS 😉.
  • Chill Mastery - this is one of the better sets already, only the attack doesn't really fit (I'm restructuring some of the sets to be more attack oriented, so players that want that can find it).
    • Ice Blast -> Shiver : a nice soft control option.  Plus, "Chill" Mastery should be able to CHILL things.  Renaming it "chilling blast" and adding a small knockback too it would be nice as well, but might overlap too much with Gale.  A fun alternate might be a pbaoe knockback+slow using the same animation as Atom Smasher or Hand Clap.  Basically a "get off of me and come back to me slowly" power.
  • Field Mastery - this set really wanted to be the offensive set for Blasterminds, let's make it that.
    • Power Blast -> Double the damage - makes it roughly equal to a defender T2.
    • Temp Invulnerability -> Kinetic Shield (S/L/E DEFENSE) : We need more defense armor options, and being able to softcap s/l pairs very well with an offensive mastermind playstyle (I'm here for you petless blasterminds! 😉 ).
    • Energy Torrent ->  Bump it up to 45-50 damage : it should be AT LEAST as good as the cone in the primary.
    • Explosive Blast -> Energy Cloak (stealth + minor defense) : We just gave them 2 very good attacks, a third might be overkill, so let's go with utility and more defense.
    • Force of Nature-> Entropic Aura : status protection, but half the mag strength and double the end cost of the brute version.  /Son, /FF & /Traps already have status protection, it wouldn't be the end of the world if others had access to it.  An additional or alternate option, would be a self damage buff of some sort, to help offset the MM damage penalty, something like Envenomed Blades in the Martial Assault set - use the build up animation and add say 40% (scale off base, not total) energy damage to each attack (but NOT to pet attacks). 
  • Heat Mastery - This set is solid.  It's a hybrid utility/combat set currently, and fire is typically associated with "damage", so we'll leave it be.  Just bump the damage numbers up to defender level or higher.  Heat, Field, Leviathan and Soul will be the sets you take if you want damage or a mix of damage/utility.  Giving these pools a focus lets us free up other pools for me utility.  I don't see a reason for putting an attack in every set other than that's how someone wanted it to be for ease of work and design. 
  • Leviathan Mastery - redside equivalent to Field mastery, it wants to be a damage set, let's do that!
    • School of Sharks - cut the immob duration in half, shorten + widen the cone.
    • Bile Spray -> Arctic Breath (basically just add -def & -res), cut the recharge 20-30% : adds utility if you don't want to play up the damage aspect.  Also cut the range and widen the cone so it feels better in melee since you'll also be using  …
    • KO Blow -> MOAR DAMAGE : no it doesn't have to hit like a scrapper, but it should hit for more than a wet noodle, especially on a 40s recharge.
    • Shark Skin : is fine as is, but adding KB protection, or a minor defense component (3-5% def all) to it would be a nice bonus since we'll be in melee, and potentially allow additional IO slotting options.
    • Spirit Shark Jaws -> PET.   Leave as is, or convert into a medium range, heavy damage blast.  Shark bites should hurt!
  • Mace Mastery - This set is amazing already.  The only change I'd make is to add more utility to Mace Beam Volley and remove the damage aspect, since we've handled those elsewhere.
    • Mace Beam Volley -> PET or convert into a control power : remove the damage, add a stun component, boost the recharge.
  • Mu Mastery - I like the idea of making it into a ranged counterpart to Charge Mastery - so charge has the stronger melee power sink and Mu gets a ranged version.  We also need another DEFENSE armor option, ideally on villain side.  It would fit in any of them, but Field Mastery would now provide a melee option, so I'd place it in Mu over Leviathan or Soul, both of which would be more melee focused.
    • Static Discharge -> Static Transfer : Keep the animation and convert into a 30% strength Power Sink, boost recharge to compensate & balance. 
    • Charged Armor -> Static Shield :  Either solid RANGE def and minor AOE def, or solid E/N def and minor S/L, plus moderate energy resist and endurance drain resist.
    • Thunder Strike -> PET  or weak version of Static Field (80s recharge, 2s sleep duration?).
  • Soul Mastery - since this set wants you to be in melee so bad, why all the ranged cones?  No thank you!
    • Night Fall -> Midnight Grasp (at a decent damage level) : would play the Soul Storm hold animation.  Probably just use the same numbers from the boosted KO blow.
    • Dark Embrace : is fine
    • Soul Tentacles -> Doom Stomp (or Soul Stomp) : Pbaoe high damage + immob+ -tohit.  Use the foot stomp animation but it makes the tendrils instead of knock up/down.  Slot it for damage, debuff or immob.
    • Soul Storm -> PET or Soul Transfer -> As much as I love this power and animation, it exists for other ATS, and I feel the set would be better served by another melee/utility power - and I added Midnight Grasp to basically take its place already.
Edited by lobster
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The mastermind epic power pools are really unimpressive. Very few masterminds take a damaging attack because they deal so little damage and the few that do take the attack only take it because they get bored with whatever else they're doing and simply want another button to push. Many of the other abilities Offer things that are Almost completely useless. All of the patron power pools are practically the exact same thing with different elements. There are minor differences but It feels like a complete waste to be offered a selection of things and then have nearly all of them be just the same thing.

 

You're proposed changes sound pretty good.  I would be very happy with all of them. You're charge mastery and mu  Mastery being  A ranged counterpart to that is actually very good Take on to similar power sets unlike the similarity between all the patron pools right now. 

 

 

 

Whatever the case when I look at pretty much any other class they have a lot of good things in at least several different epic choices. The mastermind pools are lucky if they find something useful in the same cool as a damage Or resist shield

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Honestly I just want Masterminds to have more CC in their APP/PPPs. And possibly give them the Controller/Dominator Psionic Mastery pool.

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Personally I think MMs have farily decent PPPs and APPs. About the only thing I could think of wanting from APPs is Power mastery A La Defenders.

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1 hour ago, William Valence said:

Personally I think MMs have farily decent PPPs and APPs. About the only thing I could think of wanting from APPs is Power mastery A La Defenders.

Psionic Mastery from the Controller/Dominator APP/PPP set has the one thing every MM would give their left eye for: Indomitable Will, aka immunity to all mez.

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My other suggestion would be to add a team buff knockback protection toggle or click in an APP/PPP somewhere for Masterminds. Just... Not in Mace, because that's already probably too good. If you added Psionic Mastery as a Mastermind APP, and then stuck a "Keep my pets from taking knockback left and right" power into an APP/PPP other than Mace or Psionic, it would suddenly make choosing an APP/PPP for Masterminds difficult.

 

As it stands now, the choice of APP/PPP for your MM is an automatic default to Mace, with Heat and Soul being possible choices for certain builds. Everything else is just objectively inferior.

 

Mace gives Power Boost and Scorpion Shield, and still has an AoE immob, which is a near-mandatory tool for most MMs. So it's just overwhelmingly better than most pools. Soul has Tentacles and Soul Drain, so it has your immob (A better one than Mace), and Soul Drain is obviously just awesome... But this is only really valuable if you have damaging powers you intend to bring to bear. So it tends to be good for say, /Storm MMs. Heat would lose by default due to lack of an AoE immob, except that with the new KB->KD converters, Bonfire can fill that role to an extent. And it gives you Fireball, so it's an option for an MM who's trying to maximize damage.

 

Basically every other pool is inferior.

 

If you brought over Psionic Mastery, it would be a tempting option because of Indomitable Will, and Mind Over Body is actually a fairly decent Res shield, even if Psi resist is largely useless. It also has Psionic Tornado which is quite decent for damage, and World of Confusion which is expensive, but decent CC.

 

I'd probably recommend swapping out one of Mu Mastery's powers for the theoretical "give my pets knockback protection" power, as Mu has a very decent AoE immob, and would then become an attractive option. Alternatively it could be placed in one of the APPs (Other than Heat Mastery), if you also put an AoE immob of some sort in there. Because no MM is going to take a set without some kind of AoE immob or equivalent power.

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34 minutes ago, kelly Rocket said:

My other suggestion would be to add a team buff knockback protection toggle or click in an APP/PPP somewhere for Masterminds

Oh Sweet Jesus YES!!!  The time of ragdolling MM henchmen needs to end.

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im all for adding a pet. not swapping out a power, but adding one more power option to all the sets. but that's a ton of work, and a lot to make it balanced. you cant remove or swap out a power, because youd never get enough people to agree on which power. xD so adding one new power to all sets is the way to go! and also... add more sets xD lol

my main suggestion for MM's is alternate character models [obviously visuals only] for sets [as done with the dark servant, and within reason using existing in game npc models, like tsoo for ninjas or banished pantheon for zombies, or CoT demons for demons.] But i dont know how difficult that would be [hopefully not as difficult as i think lol].

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6 hours ago, kelly Rocket said:

Psionic Mastery from the Controller/Dominator APP/PPP set has the one thing every MM would give their left eye for: Indomitable Will, aka immunity to all mez.

That is what Clarion is for. Sure, it is at lvl 50, but the a patron power version would be at level 44ish anyway. Not too mention full mez prot for ALL your pets, especially kb immunity, is just awesome.

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Clarion is in the second to last incarnate slot... Once you get that last incarnate slot you've "beaten the game" and may as well roll a new character, so I don't consider it a viable solution when you have to practically have the game beaten already to get it.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/23/2019 at 1:54 PM, kelly Rocket said:

As it stands now, the choice of APP/PPP for your MM is an automatic default to Mace, with Heat and Soul being possible choices for certain builds. Everything else is just objectively inferior.

 

 

This is the crux of my argument  I would  add that you could take Chill as well if you wanted defense but just refuse to take Mace for the 20th time (I have done this), and taking Mu on a bots/ was a solid choice before the introduction of the KB->KB proc and IS still an OK choice there if you don't want to waste slots on that IO.  Charge, Field and Leviathan are hot garbage.

I think the layout I suggested makes each pool compelling in its own way as well as provides a solid theme for each.

Something like team KB protection or status protection would potentially just replace /mace as "the best" in many cases...I dunno, I'm torn.  I'd have to see how it was implemented and how all the sets feel.  What I don't want is one or two power tweaks, I want a complete re-balance and overhaul of all the pools.  The devs really half-assed these for some reason (in my opinion).

 

Quote

im all for adding a pet. not swapping out a power, but adding one more power option to all the sets. but that's a ton of work, and a lot to make it balanced. you cant remove or swap out a power, because youd never get enough people to agree on which power. xD so adding one new power to all sets is the way to go! and also... add more sets xD lol


Adding a 6th power to the pools would likely be a ton of work, and that's something I don't want. I don't want the new devs to put off something like this forever because of the workload, so I tried to suggest what I think (but could be wrong, I haven't looked at the code!) are relatively easy to implement changes.

 

 

Re : adding some kind of psionic Epic

I like this, as it's thematically missing.  The controller version is pretty close to usable, I would just replace the attacks with say, a single target sleep or hold in slot 1, and maybe something fun like Telekinesis or Drain Psyche (both nerfed of course - maybe drain ONLY does regen or recovery, not both) in slot 5.

Edited by lobster

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I Like Mu Mastery exactly as is but I'm not opposed to letting users have alternative choices for its power hell I'd like it so that players can choose a resistance shield for Soul mastery instead of a defense one if it suits them.

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I really like your idea to make some of the APP to be a melee focused pool with a couple different melee attacks and shields so that if someone wants to do that it’s supported even if it’s not a good idea, powerful, or optimal. 

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I like the melee oriented  idea.  I have a time MM that uses the fighting pool attacks along side his thugs.   Melee option attacks for MM seem pretty limited.      

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