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Harbinger Thoughts about Blight, Health Regeneration, and Personal Defenses


FalsePromises.6398

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I get wordy sometimes, so if you hate reading, just read the bolded/underlined parts and you'll have a good grasp of my argument. You're welcome.

 

I want to preface my argument with a brief analysis of necromancer... From my experience in playing the class, necromancer has always been about overwhelming, unrelenting pressure and simultaneous damage absorption. They're front-heavy and can be painful to try to recover with unless you're specifically building for it, which is why shroud health replacement or barrier often comes alongside their strongest offenses, to cushion their aggression. What I've liked about necromancer is that this works, and it's never felt like a downside given how fast their life force fuel can be recovered. When I played harbinger, I lost all that concurrent defense with my offensive moves. I was even punished for using my offense. I understand there's a risk and reward, but there's not enough insurance on the risk part. Necromancer was always about risk to begin with, given having so little reactive defenses (outside of scourge, maybe, but that's debatable), but shaving off shroud health insurance unrepentantly sits wrong, and the health regeneration that siphons life force feels even more denaturing, because it promotes escapism and withdrawal when pressured instead of the usual brute magical force necromancer pushed harder before (and also clashes with the notion that harbinger wouldn't disrupt your shroud usage from incoming damage if you're eating its fuel whenever you're not at 100% health). I feel though that harbinger isn't innately weakened by its current state, it just needs some adjustment, which goes into my main proposition.

 

If the health regeneration out of shroud was done away with, and instead was replaced by gaining a nugget of barrier (maybe 250-500) every time the harbinger gains a stack of blight (per stack, no ICD, not impeded by being blight capped), it could very easily return this front-heavy and aggressive necromancer style in a whole new way. If barrier was granted for obtaining blight, it would not only serve as transmutation of some of the static defenses that were given up, but also put less unrepentant drawback on the boon style that focuses near completely on rapid blight gain for team benefit. Giving up max health for temporary barrier when you use your most powerful offenses and support options fits the risk and reward style much better in my opinion: once you cap blight, you will be consistently, statically shielded for being persistent in your actions, be they offensive or supportive (the reward), but if you were to draw back and play less aggressively, you'd have blight drawbacks FAR longer than you'd have that barrier (the risk), leaving you vulnerable when you withdraw as if you were truly addicted to being a menacingly powerful figure on the battlefieldIf that were to happen though, I'd definitely support putting blight application on some of the harbinger shroud skills too, or maybe removing the shroud's passive blight gain and completely tying its blight generation to harbinger shroud skills themselves instead, which may also serve to break the monotony of spamming 1 and 2 in shroud for blight upkeep in its minmax dps rotation. 

 

What do you all think of that? I feel like it would add more interesting aggression to the style and add possible counterplay through targeted disruption against harbingers after they start accumulating blight. Risk and reward, just in a more direct and thematic manner. 

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While I understand your concern, giving up health for Barrier is neither a trade off nor is it high risk, high reward. Unless the Barrier is significantly lower than the temporary health loss - which clearly isn't what your looking for because that wouldn't change anything - you will end up with the same amount of efficient health in the situations where it matters as if Blight wouldn't debuff your healthpool to begin with. There also is no real persistence in attacking considering Blight is stacked passively in Shroud or by drinking some Elixir. 

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The first few bold statements are kinda the point. Harbingers are supposed to feel different from the existing necromancer playstyle. You're supposed to kite with Harbingers to have enough space for the shroud regen ticks to do its thing. 

By design, ANet is going for a "go in, deal your burst, get out" playstyle for the Harbingers, and not the battle of attrition that core necros and reapers are known for. 

Sure, some of the mechanics needs some adjustment like needing more blight interactions, but the concept is there and is solid. Your suggestion of rewarding the harbinger for staying offensive and being punished for pulling back is the exact opposite of what ANet is going for. Tactical retreats for space, and then re-engaging can be a very fun playstyle if you give it a try.

Edited by mikdepadua.8376
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harbinger gets something that necromancer has been needing for a long time, quick and reliable mobility. the mobility skills in shroud are amazing. these alone make the harbinger feel like a class that can compete with other classes in pvp areas and i love it.

 

for open world it is still very front loaded and the risk is a direct impact on your health bar rather than loss of utility skills. that being said harbinger is still potent outside of shroud with the pistol having cc, combo tools and can be spec-ed either condi or power. then utility skills for more offense or defence can be slotted, and then shroud is just offensive with lots of burst potential. you can stay in for all the dps or pop in and out to keep your health.

 

if anything this spec feels more necromancery than scourge did. the only thing i didn't get is a minion spec, but i'm happy with harbinger.

 

as for barrier, there's nothing that synergises with barrier on harbinger and so while the heal taking away life force is annoying, getting a passive heal based on resource management that automatically works probably makes some other classes jealous that we dont need a trait or a utility skill to get a benefit. and life force is pretty easy to generate as a harbinger

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22 hours ago, FalsePromises.6398 said:

When I played harbinger, I lost all that concurrent defense with my offensive moves.

I think that's the best thing about this espec. It allows players to choose what way they lean (defensive or offensive) towards in real time without having to change builds. In otherwords, I think it's 'dynamic' range over the spectrum of offensive/defense is massive and can be throttled by the player based on Shroud timing. That's pretty exciting to me. 

 

I think the real jeopardy here is that there is a double requirement for balancing both the offensive and defensive side independently so that neither is favoured purely because of mechanics. That could actually be easier for Anet to do than the standard mashups of defensive and offensive skills. 

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On 8/24/2021 at 11:48 PM, Xaylin.1860 said:

Unless the Barrier is significantly lower than the temporary health loss - which clearly isn't what your looking for because that wouldn't change anything - you will end up with the same amount of efficient health in the situations where it matters as if Blight wouldn't debuff your healthpool to begin with.

 

If, say, you get 250-500 barrier per blight gained (when blight removes ~380 max health per stack on a base necro healthpool), you'd be getting a consistent 1.25k-2.5k barrier upkeep in shroud and get the same amount in a chunk per elixir. Barrier scales with your healthpool, so the most total health plus barrier you could have would be 75% your original healthpool, with a third of that value being constantly refreshing. Constant barrier reapplication in a passive, offensive manner (as opposed to scourge's reactively timed chunks, don't worry about being too similar) would make harbinger very interesting in my opinion, almost like scrapper except more mechanically sustained barrier instead of brute force oriented. The thing is, barrier is different from health: it lasts five seconds. You need to be constantly refreshing that barrier pool for it to act akin to health (as opposed to a short shield), and you'd do that through blight gain. THAT is where the persistence comes in: if you started pulling back, you'd REALLY start to feel that blight.

 

22 hours ago, mikdepadua.8376 said:

The first few bold statements are kinda the point. Harbingers are supposed to feel different from the existing necromancer playstyle. You're supposed to kite with Harbingers to have enough space for the shroud regen ticks to do its thing. 

 

I think first and foremost you can't really translate a necromancer (or any tanky class) into a glassy thing, at least not for open world, without giving it legitimate defensive utilities (not happening, thanks elixirs) or higher baseline burst/debilitation. Mobility alone might work in pvp because of how niche and counterable the offensive styles from other players can get (and how powerful mobility is in that mode), but in open world you're often dealing with actual offense that you can't just dodge or outrun or obstruct with convenient cover in every situation.

 

A real problem is that harbinger doesn't give enough burst/debilitation to justify its defense shaving, despite getting mobility. Hell, harbinger shroud has even LESS burst/debilitation than other shrouds have. Its offensive style seems to be completely static: you're still shroudcamping, leaning on autoattacks and casting one other skill off cooldown for optimal dps, except unlike other shrouds you have your defenses, debilitations, and a good chunk of situationally strong damage skills replaced by... rather weak damage mobility skills and a couple tiny radius aoe cc's (one being one of your mobility skills themselves). Beyond that, out of shroud is just filler skills generating shroud and maintaining blight, which I wouldn't mind, since the style is akin to reaper, IF they hadn't near completely done away with its offense-concurrent defenses and reliable control capabilities.

 

This is opposed to other glassy specs having mobility, sustained damage, AND burst. Look at berserker or soulbeast, elite specs which gave up their widely applicable class mechanics and/or base defenses in some fashion. They wound up with FAR more powerful bonuses than harbinger has (and for less cost), and their burst justifies their defensive drawbacks (should you be going glass), AND it's not at the cost of sustained damage either (soulbeast pet archetype stat bonuses are no joke, it's why they had to nerf em). Even if we just look at thief or ele, they have good amounts of CC, blinds, evades, weakens, etc. to substantiate themselves in open world. They still have burst and sustained damage too. They're not just spewing passive damage and crutching on mobility the entire time. 

 

I guess my point is: if your argument is to say that harbinger SHOULD be a radical change, I say it's not radical enough. It's just like reaper or scourge except less burst and no passive tankiness. With retrospect on the original post, I'm also saying if you're keeping it resembling a necromancer where it could be changed (still has static offense), give it back the things that matter to a necromancer in some fashion, AKA the passive defenses. 

 

17 hours ago, Lexan.5930 said:

if anything this spec feels more necromancery than scourge did. the only thing i didn't get is a minion spec, but i'm happy with harbinger.

 

No idea what on earth kind of necromancy you've been dabbling with to feel like harbinger feels more like necromancer than scourge... Anyway, no offense but thank the Lord above they didn't give us a minionmancer-sequel elite spec. They don't seem to wanna touch up the existing ones to begin with.

 

5 hours ago, Obtena.7952 said:

It allows players to choose what way they lean (defensive or offensive) towards in real time

 

I don't think there's any real "defensive" lean on harbinger, unless you mean slinging yourself to timbuktu and back with shroud while trying to regen, which ultimately eats your healthpool anyway... 

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4 hours ago, FalsePromises.6398 said:

I don't think there's any real "defensive" lean on harbinger, unless you mean slinging yourself to timbuktu and back with shroud while trying to regen, which ultimately eats your healthpool anyway... 

Did you play with Dark Disciple healing and vitality? Even full zerker, I was healing for 350 HP a second. I had it up to 1000 with Celestial and Vital Persistance. I would say that's a significant lean to defensive side, if you choose to do so. 

 

Even if you want to dismiss that DD healing, Just the nature of how Harbringer works still makes what I'm saying true because entering shroud means big offensive gains. The whole spec is designed to allow people to travel that spectrum of play. The bottomline for me: Harbringer not only gives access to a large range of the defensive/offensive spectrum, it allows choice to move on that spectrum in real time.

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7 hours ago, FalsePromises.6398 said:

 

If, say, you get 250-500 barrier per blight gained (when blight removes ~380 max health per stack on a base necro healthpool), you'd be getting a consistent 1.25k-2.5k barrier upkeep in shroud and get the same amount in a chunk per elixir. Barrier scales with your healthpool, so the most total health plus barrier you could have would be 75% your original healthpool, with a third of that value being constantly refreshing. Constant barrier reapplication in a passive, offensive manner (as opposed to scourge's reactively timed chunks, don't worry about being too similar) would make harbinger very interesting in my opinion, almost like scrapper except more mechanically sustained barrier instead of brute force oriented. The thing is, barrier is different from health: it lasts five seconds. You need to be constantly refreshing that barrier pool for it to act akin to health (as opposed to a short shield), and you'd do that through blight gain. THAT is where the persistence comes in: if you started pulling back, you'd REALLY start to feel that blight.

I'm genuinely confused. How is this aiding your proposal? You describe exactly what I said. There would be no noticable trade off for HS (phrased differently: no downside to Blight) if you gain comparable Barrier equivalent to the lost health. It doesn't matter Barrier is temporal when infight.

 

The only disadvantage you'd have would be against high burst builds that kill you in an instant because they'd damage right through your Barrier (which also is the case right now). However, in any longer lasting fights you'd be at an unnecessary advantage while maintaining max. Blight. And don't try to sell it as being rewarded for being persistent. Blight is pulsed passively in HS. You will also gain Barrier when retreating. Which is not the case for Scrapper. You won't feel the pain.

 

You're basically asking for the Blight damage buff without a draw back since your Barrier suggestion counteracts any negative effect in most relevant situations. You might as well just remove the health penalty at this point instead of introducing Barrier in such a way.

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12 hours ago, Obtena.7952 said:

Did you play with Dark Disciple healing and vitality? Even full zerker, I was healing for 350 HP a second. I had it up to 1000 with Celestial and Vital Persistance. I would say that's a significant lean to defensive side, if you choose to do so. 

 

Even if you want to dismiss that DD healing, Just the nature of how Harbringer works still makes what I'm saying true because entering shroud means big offensive gains. The whole spec is designed to allow people to travel that spectrum of play. The bottomline for me: Harbringer not only gives access to a large range of the defensive/offensive spectrum, it allows choice to move on that spectrum in real time.

 

First part, I'm cynical of taking up defensive stats to take up a "defensive" style, at least for condition damage specs. If I want more defenses on, say, my weaver, I can literally just run marauder and I get 19k health and barely notice my lower power in open world or wvw, which is actually somewhat compensated by higher precision. Harbinger is different though, as it focuses on condition damage and expertise for its heavily condition oriented kit and only benefitting from vitality to two-part scale up its base healthpool AND regeneration to prevent both of them from being hairy to rely on (since the regen scales based on LF consumed per tick, aka completely dependent on vitality and not healing power, healing power is almost completely a wasted stat for harbinger). Unfortunately there's no stat combinations that offer single stat non-committal defenses for condition damage setups without subtracting significant, noticeable damage.

 

Second part, harbinger shroud is only "big offensive gains" in a repetitive, non-dynamic manner. There's not really anything more to its offenses than 1 and 2 at point blank (as dps rotation videos or just looking at the other skills will show you). I mean really, 3 skill does 1 stack of torment while slinging you a little too far inside the enemy's hitbox. 4 skill is also weak damage-wise too, but I don't remember the exact numbers, just that it was simply bad outside of interrupt/mobility... I think when I was dps testing (with full bar of raid-benchmark-level boons/buffs) I saw it hit like 8k crits (which is low for a skill like that), but I can't remember if that was with viper or berserker stats (which shouldn't matter because power builds on harbinger kinda suck either way). Anyway, both of those skills are probably out-damaged by two viper autoattack casts. 5 skill seems to have promise, if only they'd put ANY conditions on that. They slapped poison on reaper's death spiral for some reason but can't put ANY conditions on harbinger shroud's 5? Not even some lingering debuffs? If harbinger shroud had a more complete set of offensive skills I'd be less convinced on buffing their concurrent defenses back up, but as it stands literally every other necro spec seems more reliable (and please don't say "just dont play it then", that's a copout, especially given I've made every other class/elite spec function satisfactorily somehow).

 

8 hours ago, Xaylin.1860 said:

I'm genuinely confused. How is this aiding your proposal? You describe exactly what I said. There would be no noticable trade off for HS (phrased differently: no downside to Blight) if you gain comparable Barrier equivalent to the lost health. It doesn't matter Barrier is temporal when infight.

 

The only disadvantage you'd have would be against high burst builds that kill you in an instant because they'd damage right through your Barrier (which also is the case right now). However, in any longer lasting fights you'd be at an unnecessary advantage while maintaining max. Blight. And don't try to sell it as being rewarded for being persistent. Blight is pulsed passively in HS. You will also gain Barrier when retreating. Which is not the case for Scrapper. You won't feel the pain.

 

You're basically asking for the Blight damage buff without a draw back since your Barrier suggestion counteracts any negative effect in most relevant situations. You might as well just remove the health penalty at this point instead of introducing Barrier in such a way.

 

I realize now my contextualizing point wasn't iterated in the response, but it was to another person in that same initial four-piece reply. The second part of that chunk explains what I mean, but I'll also try to explain it here.

 

Basically, the offensive style of necromancer wasn't transformed enough to justify radically reducing its defenses. As I said before in my initial post, necromancer was all about persistent damage and debilitation of enemies which was enabled by concurrent defenses to prevent them from being shot down while they're pushing. Harbinger's main focus on the offensive still seems to be persistent middling damage, as you'll note from its dps rotation being a lot of autoattacking in shroud with sprinkles of the 2 skill and using filler LF/blight generation skills out of shroud. That's basically reaper except condi-oriented... and less debilitation, less burst, no passive defense insurance in shroud. That said, harbinger doesn't really give necromancer a decent amount of cyclable, good punches* or good debilitation to justify changing its defensive style to that of classes/specs of similar caliber. *Don't say 6 torment bullets is a good punch, a good punch is like weaver's pyro vortex, mirage's imaginary axes/axes of symmetry with 3 clones, or a soulbeast's maul. Skills of that caliber shouldn't be off the table if necro's losing shroud health AND 50% of its max health.

 

I recall bringing up the examples of soulbeast and berserker: they give up strong defensive benefits (soulbeast consumes its trusty tank/distraction pet and loses pet swap, berserker loses easy and non-committal access to adrenal burst skills and base toughness) to gain not just passive damage increases (soulbeast stat boosts and berserker damage modifiers) but also potent burst abilities (soulbeast gets gnarly burst attacks, strong damage modifier windows, bonus boosts to their existing burst abilities, etc. and berserker gets upgraded, stronger adrenal skills in berserk as well as static buffs that upgrade their existing semi-bursty weapon skills). 

 

Because of the fact that harbinger does not radically change necromancer's offensive tactics to compensate for being defensively weaker (outside of maybe pvp where puny interrupts actually matter), I say it should have defenses altered to match its original style of necromancer, which harbinger's current damage style more resembles. If anet decides to give harbinger more burst and debilitation (prolly in place of the last 3 shroud skills which are rather subpar offensively and area-wise), I'll definitely change my stance on it. 

 

P.S. burst builds aren't too much of a problem on the usual necromancer builds if you dodge, hit them first, or just cc them. I used to be a duelist scourge (not a mender crutch tho, used carrion), dealt with em all the time. 

Edited by FalsePromises.6398
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1 hour ago, FalsePromises.6398 said:

 

First part, I'm cynical of taking up defensive stats to take up a "defensive" style, at least for condition damage specs. 

I am also ... which is why I'm so impressed by the possibilities to increase you defensive position by NOT changing from offensive stats. I mean, let's be reasonable, you're only going to be SO tanky if you don't choose defensive gear but having said that, for a offensive stat only build ... the sustain is unquestionably good AND you can throw the switch and go all out if the situation allows. 

Quote

 

Second part, harbinger shroud is only "big offensive gains" in a repetitive, non-dynamic manner. 

This I can partially agree with ... at the time of beta test, there was just too many similar and rather predictable offensive skills (Pistol 1 looks too much like Shroud 1, and same for Pistol 2 and Shroud 2). But even with the repetitive features, I don't agree it's not dynamic. It's probably the one of the most dynamic class designs for an offensive gain in the game, maybe in the same league as Reaper or Berserker. Plus, it's way easier to pull that lever when you want to on Harbringer than some of these other classes. Good players are going to keep their opponents guessing with this espec. 

Quote

Basically, the offensive style of necromancer wasn't transformed enough to justify radically reducing its defenses.

I think that's just a number balancing game ... for example, adjusting HP diminished by Blight stacks is one of a few ways to address that. I don't believe that's really an issue with the class design though. Really, I think the biggest complaint here is that we have a rather simple espec compared to what we are used to. It doesn't have lots of moving parts. There isn't lots of synergies with the traits. The attacks are plain and straight forward. 

Edited by Obtena.7952
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21 hours ago, Obtena.7952 said:

I mean, let's be reasonable, you're only going to be SO tanky if you don't choose defensive gear but having said that, for a offensive stat only build ... the sustain is unquestionably good AND you can throw the switch and go all out if the situation allows. 

I'm a little iffy on that... sustain is one thing, but there's just a general lack of defenses and quick recovery on harbinger that really concerns me, especially given how elite spec/class styles of similar caliber healthpool have been given those quite liberally. If the elixir heal became on-par with, say, mending or withdraw, I might be more accepting.

21 hours ago, Obtena.7952 said:

It's probably the one of the most dynamic class designs for an offensive gain in the game, maybe in the same league as Reaper or Berserker. 

I'd agree with this looking to be possibly as cool as reaper or berserker, but it has a lot of wasted potential and gaps that, if people keep squawking like broken records about how 45k dps, regen, and mobility justify everything (which they don’t imo, some of them aren't even necessary), it will never fill those shortcomings. I know I've said it many times over, but I'm still adamant that the 3-5 are very weak damage-wise, and if they were buffed to put up a really devastating and versatile offense, it'd be right up my alley. They just gotta slap more conditions/debilitations on all three of em and buff the radius of 5 by like 60-120 points, 240 radius is puny for a skill like that.

I personally love using reaper's 2, 3, and 5, despite them not being optimal damage, because they actually have a thematic function and impact beyond mobility or buffs or CC (ask me about my open world dread/fear of death permashroud reaper... or don't because it's self explanatory). I'd love for harbinger to stand side to side with reaper in terms of an aggressively debilitating offensive style, but it just lacks the offensive diversity, good aoe, rampage-enabling defenses, synergetic utility, reliable/long cc, and debilitation (at least outside of pvp), especially since elixirs don't really do much for you dps-wise outside of blight maintenance, and there was already a kinda sad lack of good condition damage utilities. That's why scourge is so versatile: they literally have a free slot where (against a single target) your third utility slot is so non-impactful that you could just about put whatever you want in it in their gotdang raid meta dps build.

If they just did away with elixirs and turned them into venoms, or hell, added venom effects to the elixirs that could then be traited to share, I'd swoon. I used to love p/p scrapper before , so I wouldn't mind a mega chaotic bursty pewpew if it had more substance. 

Please give me poison synergy so corrosive poison cloud and death nova bone minion bombers can be a thing. 

21 hours ago, Obtena.7952 said:

I think the biggest complaint here is that we have a rather simple espec compared to what we are used to. It doesn't have lots of moving parts. There isn't lots of synergies with the traits. The attacks are plain and straight forward. 

I definitely agree that it's super simple and doesn't synergize. I was looking at those damage modifiers, stat conversion traits, and wonky shroud skills and I was like "oh my god what are you doing"...

Anyway, just looking at it as it is now, I'd still just want... more... to be put on the 3-5 shroud skills. That's probably the first step towards rounding out harbinger as it currently is in my eyes. I don't really like it's current style of near completely leaning on maybe like 6-7 skills for damage despite having access to 23 that you rotate through in your 1-5 bar alone. Just watch the 45k benchmark video and you'll see... Shroud 1/2 for 75% of the time, outside of that it's pistol 2/3, scepter 2/3, blood is power. There's two elixirs thrown in for blight maintenance and dagger 4 used for one spare transfer. That's it. It's almost as easy as scourge, except at least scourge uses its entire 1-5 and shade skill bar for interesting effects. Hell, scourge has access to 10 attack skills and still uses more than harbinger having access to 23. 

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On 8/25/2021 at 4:42 AM, mikdepadua.8376 said:

The first few bold statements are kinda the point. Harbingers are supposed to feel different from the existing necromancer playstyle. You're supposed to kite with Harbingers to have enough space for the shroud regen ticks to do its thing. 

By design, ANet is going for a "go in, deal your burst, get out" playstyle for the Harbingers, and not the battle of attrition that core necros and reapers are known for. 

Sure, some of the mechanics needs some adjustment like needing more blight interactions, but the concept is there and is solid. Your suggestion of rewarding the harbinger for staying offensive and being punished for pulling back is the exact opposite of what ANet is going for. Tactical retreats for space, and then re-engaging can be a very fun playstyle if you give it a try.

 

 

How are you going to even kite as Harbinger? You have a single get out skill and a single target stun. That's it.

 

Have you even fought thieves, engineers, or warriors? They are rolling in dashes and stunbreaks.

 

And how would you even cope against ranged specs like ranger or deadeye?

 

The whole idea that you will kite while regen ticks from shroud is dead on arrival. Great that you'll heal for maybe 1k a tick after the thief has crit you for 8k while blighted down to 11-14k health.

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