EDIT: So they had the time to move my thread from Game Discussion to here but not the decency to recognise anything ANYONE is saying. Should that be interpreted as this being the official box things are put in when you want them to go away and not engage with your community? It's highly fortunate I wrote the text beneath before something like this happened. I'm leaving the main body unedited, but yeah, outstanding.
I want to preface this by saying I'm aware this belongs more appropriately in the subforum for Necromancer - which already has plenty of threads dedicated similarly - but my reasoning for not doing so is as follows: There is such a pittance of interaction between the community and staff on the forums these days that it consistently feels like as a player we're left out in the cold without a means to influence anything about a game a lot of us have invested thousands upon thousands of hours into. I'm starting to doubt anyone at ANet reads class subforums. Maybe they check this once in a blue moon. From my perspective it appears you announced a change ahead of its implementation, which as a concept I can only commend and asked for quite a long time ago, and then utterly disregarded all of the feedback you received. By majority it was negative. What was the point of telling us if you weren't ever going to take what we thought into consideration? ANet historically has made a lot of decisions that aggravated a lot of people, by and large the expectation is to just quit or weather it. This time I can't simply ignore it as that former option grows increasingly tempting. I want, if at all possible, some kind of dialogue with an official representative of ANet to explain this in a way that allows me to experience something other than abject anger. That done, I'll outline the catalyst for all of this.
My issue pertains to the update Necromancer received, specifically Scourge. It's only been a couple of days since the last patch and I'm already at wits end, and going by the forum reception for both the advance patch notes and the post-patch reaction it's hard to find a single person who wanted this. Most everyone vocal is firmly against the change - the few who aren't are at best neutral or demonstrate little understanding of the issue. Across all my Necromancers I have nearly two thousand hours poured into a single class and Scourge is far and away my favourite, as a specialisation and Necromancer a class versus all others. The new Shade mechanic is horrific. It is, in a single patch without exaggeration, the most damaging thing I've ever seen inflicted on a profession in this game. It disagrees fundamentally with everything Scourge was designed to do, from its lore flavour to even the intrinsic traits embedded within it.
The synergy of Sand Sage and Sadistic Searing naturally encourages you to maintain as many Shades as possible, ordinarily this is two at best and then one depending on the duration of an encounter as a result of cooldowns, with stacking Shades for the additional Sadistic Searing proc obviously beneficial. All of that is now gone. This change forces you to conserve Shades wherever possible and thus be an active detriment to yourself and your allies, irregardless of whether your angle is pushing raw damage or supporting teammates. Instead of the flexibility counting as an additional shade yourself granted you, with the ability to chase down an extra enemy while your Shades continue doing their job or getting that last second support to an ally, your only variety is mired in a single decision: Do you help yourself and harm your allies by wasting a Shade at your feet? Or do you expose yourself to an amount of danger Scourge now severely struggles to deal with for the benefit of other people? The latter also comes with no guarantee of your choice mattering in the least either. Next to nothing in this game is static. An inevitable quarter of a minute cooldown for Shades means for a quarter of a minute you have an infuriating chance to be dead weight because a mob or player stepped a millimetre outside your Shade, or just as likely someone knocked them out of it. Even worse, your team now has to effectively play around your Shades if they want any benefit from them at all and you cannot influence making that easier for them in any way. It locks everyone into a situation where reactive movement - invaluable almost always - can only be a punishment in degrees.
Scourge on launch had the charm of controlling a wide swath of an encounter or a smaller area much more intensely. That's been walked back ever since but the core of it was still there, if something evaded your Shades you could follow after it yourself, manipulate its positioning with your fear or keep some of the pressure on. Now, frequently by necessity, your F2, F3 and F4 are going to provide you no value unless you cower inside your Shades. Again, I can't stress enough, this crippling reliance is brutally unfair. It is tantamount to foolishness to suggest that's a viable scenario on average, mobility is a principle trait of almost everything in GW2 and you can't compensate by just throwing more Shades at it or you'll run out immediately and waste Sadistic Searing. The alternative is, of course, to just stop using Shades. Is that really an alternative to be considered? Is that reasonable? To take away everything that made Scourge unique? I don't think so. I think that's far, far too punishing for anything Necromancer deserves. In what world is 75% of our specialisation being rendered useless in a sizeable chunk of scenarios decent or healthy? Every time I'm hamstrung by the change I'm left knowing a week ago it didn't exist and I'd still be able to contribute as opposed to standing around waiting for cooldowns. Scourge is going to be trapped in that shadow forever if it stays the way it is now.
On a more personal note I can't help but feel like this is a culmination of the disdain and sheer neglect ANet has expressed for Necromancers over the years. Inevitably, everything Necromancer excels at is undermined in one patch or another eventually and the most tragic part of it is from a high-end PvE perspective Necromancer hasn't excelled at anything for a significant stretch of time in its history. I can't say much on PvP, but public reaction seems to be it was gutted there too. At core, people had issues with the vanilla specialisations. In HoT, Reaper was great for a month before being brought down by nerfs. It still hasn't and never will recover. Scourge fared the same as Reaper for approximately a week until Necromancer again slipped down from dominating anything. I'm not asking for Scourge or Necromancer as a whole to be outstanding or devastating in any scenario. I just want one of the few areas of the game I can unreservedly say I adore be bearable, or optimistically competitive. This change is a knife in the gut and suggesting that it opens up new opportunities for buffs is only twisting it in the guise of an attempt at blunting outcry, which means you knew this wasn't something we wanted. What should be taken from that off-handed dismissal, if not disregard, of an entire section of your playerbase? It doesn't matter how much you buff uselessness, this fundamentally breaks what made Scourge valuable and for myself worthwhile in any capacity. It feels like you're trying to tell us playing Scourge as anything other than a passive hanger-on taking up the slot of its betters is wrong. The cynic and paranoid in me wonders if you're not aiming to deliberately wreck Necromancer so none of us want to play it anymore and you won't have to worry about dealing with us. I took a break from the game when Scourge's F2 was nerfed because it frustrated me so much and came in the wake of too many nerfs. If I knew then what you'd do now I'm not sure I would have come back. That then pales in comparison to how vehemently I consider this a mistake and misstep of such large proportion it disinclines me from bothering to stick it out any longer. I don't want to hate this game, I don't want to hold its developers in genuine contempt, especially not after all this time; I just want the option of playing a specialisation I enjoy without feeling guilty of being a waste to any party I'm in knowing in the back of my mind I could be playing absolutely anything else and it would be more useful.
Ultimately, after this, I don't care what you think you have to do to Necromancer. Slash our damage by 20%+ across the board, remove our ability to cleanse conditions or corrupt boons. I don't care anymore, as long as it isn't this. I have no problem with alterations made to Death Magic. I don't want changes to Scourge's traits, I don't want nerfs to our skills, but I could accept them if the trade-off was reverting this awful change. Above all, I want someone to ANet to at least acknowledge that they've heard how universally disliked this change to Scourge is and consider, with everything else taken away from Necromancer over the years, that something just once can be switched back to help it. Please give us the courtesy of discussing it at a minimum. If not, I don't know. This one might be too much for me and I'll have to seriously consider again seeing myself out. I've tried to remain as civil as I can in this post, but it's quickly becoming extraordinarily difficult. Smile and nod is the frequent modus operandi for ANet's bulk updates. I can't do that this time.