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Trailblazer Tempest open world/wvw hybrid player. I was immediately turned off by how clunky hammer felt even out of combat; I switched to dagger/focus for my run in a drm. I agree with all of the above that the spheres are useless. I tried casting that earth skill to gain barrier and it never worked because I either couldn't finish the cast, I was outside the well by the time it finished (trying to stay alive), or the sphere had run out of energy. Turn the F5 skill into channeling the spirit via always centering the field on the caster (encourages melee which you seem to want to do).

Aside from that, hammer skills need less casting time for hammer to not be DOA.

Edited by Orimidu.9604
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Wow, I'm wildly disappointed so far.    1. Combo field takes a long to charge up (there are inexplicably no traits that synergize with 'energy'). 2. If you're actually able to drop the

maybe its just me, but at first sight catalyst is the absolute worst espec I have tried so far, by several orders of magnitude.   I had zero trouble easily soloing hot champs and pof bountie

Hammer 3 with 5s duration is hard to maintain when majority of the skills have cast time that will immediately eat it up: Fire 2 4 5, Water 2 4, Air 2, Earth 2 5. You have to quickly and constantly swap attunements just to maintain all 4 orbs, you'll barely have time to use utilities. Then, using Grand Finale with all 4 orbs doesn't even do that much damage considering how hard it is to maintain.
 
My suggestion is to either:
1. Make the duration longer than 5s.
 
2. Or increase damage output of using Grand Finale.
 
Jade Sphere F5 is hardly rewarding to use. You build energy slowly, you use it on an enemy, move on to the next enemy, wait for the Jade Sphere to run out so you can reset it and use it again, then build up energy again. Or you can try to recall it to manually reset it, then start building up energy again.
 
My suggestion is to either:
1. Make it mobile, where instead of a ground skill, you cast it on yourself so it follows you.
 
2. Or when you recall it, you should regain the unused energy and cooldown will be reduced based on how much energy has been recovered.
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Some early audiovisual feedback - the sound effect on the hammer earth auto (Stonestrike) is quite loud, and it's also pretty visually repetitive with a ring of rocky spikes appearing about one.  This would be fine IMO if it weren't on the autoattack, but the sound and sight get repetitive quite quickly for me.

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My main criticisms are that:
One, it's another upclose spec, and that other weapons should be adjusted to feel viable with the Catalyst. Using a ranged weapon (such as scepter) feels almost a bit pointless, but I can work with it.

The Jade Sphere losing ALL of its charge when you deactivate it early, let alone when it doesn't last long at all on its own.

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My immediate impressions are as follows:

 

1. Energy takes too long to build up. There's very little payoff when you reach full energy. The sphere doesn't last very long, and it punishes you for trying to reposition it by draining all of that energy. It's too much effort for too little benefit. 

 

2. Trying to blast for auras requires you to swap attunemnts, but this also forces you to pulse a boon that you might not want, resulting in clunky gameplay. 

 

3. The 3 skill does not last long enough. Hammer has some very long cast times such as Air 2 and Earth 2. Very often while trying to cast these my 3 skill will time out. This needs to have its duration doubled. 

 

4. Hammer has no combo fields to speak of, forcing you to rely entirely on your Jade Sphere, but as previously mentioned, it takes far too long to charge, and when you finally get it, the pay-off is weak. If you're going to make us work, then the incentive had better be good, otherwise, why bother with this spec?

 

5. Damage in general is low. Landing the perfect fire 4 into full channel earth 2 with both orbs spinning does less damage than guardian sitting afk next to a target with zealot's fire. Once again, too much work for too little payoff. 

 

 

So far after having played the previous 3 elites as well as catalyst, I'm noticing a trend. You guys are focusing too much on giving these new specs weaknesses and trade-offs, but you forget that Trade-offs without payoff aren't trade-offs. They're downgrades. 

 

That's what catalyst is. A downgrade over weaver/tempest. Dissapointing too, I was excited for this one. 

 

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1. Low mobility with hammer.

2.  Given the attack speed of the hammer. Projectile from skill 1 is nearly useless, suggest a fan out/radius attack type instead.

3. As a mid battle skill that requires pre-charge instead of of an ambush skill like Gyro or Sand Shade.  Jade Sphere feels more of a risk move with 0.5s casting time that has a high risk of interruption.

4. 0.75s for Grand Final makes it one of the hardest attack to charge, yet easiest to interrupt.

5. Arcane Shield probably still make more use than Fortified Earth because it does not interrupt attacks with almost the same amount of blocks, and longer duration.

Edited by Vilin.8056
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The Jade Sphere is Energy management is definitely off. Takes a very long time till you can use it. I don't know why it degens but it stops at 10/30 energy out of combat.

I think the it would be better if it was like scrappers gyro and it follows you around summoning instead of placing it. It the only way to proper get the use out of the combo feels would be to follow you around but if you place it enemies and players just walk out, you get knocked out and as soon as you unsummon it goes on cooldown and you have no energy and you are back to core ele again basically. Also the utility skills feel week unless you are in the right element and in the jade sphere just feels very situational.

 

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Once you get used to the deeper mechanics of this elite spec it really isnt that slow and lumbering as it at first appears.

I think its important to focus the attention of the player more to the new class mechanic by moving the energy bar from over the little f5 skill to somewhere more apparent, maybe make it bigger/flashy-er, because of its integral part in the catalyst gameplay.

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legendary hammer The Juggernaut makes almost all abilities silver/mercury colored. Might be intentional but really makes it hard to know what hammer-3 projectiles are currently running since they all look identical. Other classes, having silver/mercury themed abilities is fine, but on catalyst it seems like a serious detriment.

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Feels terrible n helpless with F5 on cooldown, the clunk really shows.

Having to heavily rely on F5 and stay in to do any combos w/ Hammer.

Hammer 3's goes away too fast. 

Auto's are terrible, Fire/Lightning 600 range while Water/Earth 130 range. Makes it really inconsistent.

 

Needs alot of rework or itll be trashed away

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My impression for WvW:

  1. Jade Sphere are useless. No damage, the energy runs out too fast, and the boon gain is underwhelming.
  2. Aura gain is too low. You need to build up catalyst energy, which takes a while. Then you are suppose to use jade sphere and combo on it. However, Jade Sphere runs out too fast, the energy loss too fast, and you still have CD on elemental change that prevents a more fluid combo field usage.
  3. The utility skills are some of the worst ever. Duration too low, minimal effects. Block is not even a stunbreak, so it is useless in a zerg build. Heal is SUPER LOW. Most skills work better (but still useless) in your Jade Sphere, which again, takes too long to build up. Even worse, some skills only gain advantage on specific spheres, which makes the already bad effects even more useless. Skip on these.
  4. Trait: You have 3 ways to play it. Aura build, Stats stack build, or boonshare. Aura is useless, too little combo availble. Boonshare can be done with a rev MUCH better and easier. It also relies on an aoe, which makes it even more an inferior option. Finally, Stats stack - which is only achieveable when you keep dodging enemies aoes. Most likely the only option. However, I doubt Empowered Empowerment can be stacked for a long time, making it kinda useless.
  5. Damage is plain bad. And you are still not tanky enough for a melee combat. Combine bad damage, melee, and squishy ele and you gain another useless specialization.
  6. Healing is waaaay too low (repeat intended).

EDIT: Improvements that can be done:

  1.  Change the way jade sphere works. Make it an AOE that follows you just like tempest overload. Change the effects too: Give it 3 Tiers. Tier 1 for energy 0-10, Tier 2 for energy 10-20, and Tier 3 for energy 20-30. Tier 1 should give you a minimum duration of 4 seconds. Each tier increases the number of boon that you can gain (e.g. tier 1 just might, tier 2 might + fury, tier 3 might + fury + quickness).
  2. Increase the stats gain duration. 15s is too low when considering the way you gain them. It also needs a way to gain them on a more consistent basis.
  3. Give more access to combo usage. Or reduce attunement CD when on catalyst.
  4. Increase duration of utility skills except block to 8 s. Make it less reliant on a specific jade sphere, and let the second effect take place under any jade sphere. Give the block a stun break, and maybe make the super speed for invigorating air a group superspeed.
  5. Reduce the CD on Jade sphere. Calibrate it based on the changes that needs to be done.
  6. Give hammer some more ways for healing in water.
  7. Change the stats for ele in general to deal with the low survivability (increase it to mid, or even high tier health, since we are OFFICIALLY a melee class with our third melee specialization).
Edited by Kirnale.5914
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Making an auramancer out of this elite spec seems good on paper but only until you fully understand how the Sphere works. Oh sure, it's going to be great in groups and against world bosses regardless, but what about solo play? The way the Sphere works gimps it, IMO.

 

The Sphere is necessary for solo fields. Quite a few skills want the Catalyst stay close to their enemy, stay in melee, or even stand still to coax the enemy into not moving out of a channeled attack. For this to be reasonable, Catalyst has to have a lot of tankiness or sustain. I assumed this tankiness was going to be coming from the Auramancer traits and from the Sphere boons, but apparently for most of the battle when solo I have to make due with nothing? Why is there both an energy mechanic AND a cooldown, anyways? Why does that cooldown start only when the field goes away? And why are both of those aspects punished at full severity for dismissing the Sphere early because either combat is over or it needs to be moved? To me, this is as bad as the clunky and slow animations of the Willbender.

Unless there's some drastic changes to the up-time and quality of life of the Sphere, or you put some field skills on Hammer, I'm just going to continue using Weaver on my Elementalist. I would happily give up the constant Sphere boons if it meant the Sphere itself could be constant. When most of my gameplay is in the open world, I cannot rely on other players' fields.

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I played around for a while in open world, with celestial gear and both dagger/dagger and staff (I have no interest in being a mage with a giant hammer, sorry.) Here's my feedback so far:

 

It is very difficult to ever be at 10 stacks of Elemental Empowerment, making the grandmaster trait feel worthless.

 

The jade sphere field is very underwhelming. It's like a tempest overload but immobile and not as good.

 

The energy mechanic on the sphere doesn't really make any sense. We should not be able to recall the sphere and lose all energy. If you're going to let us recall it, refund some energy. Otherwise it's just a feelsbad when you spam the button and it goes away. Also the cooldown seems to be the limit rather than energy, so why not just have it be a cooldown? This feels like you're trying to make it a more interesting mechanic than it is, and you're making it un-fun to play with in the process.

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Would be nice if Hurricane of Pain (hammer air 2) could be cancelled without using the stow weapon key i.e. cancel it by using air 4

 

edit: my thoughts on catalyst

I barely use the spheres, don't really see much of a reason to when it's on a 20s cooldown. For similar reasons I don't bother with the heal skill or any of the utilities. I'd rather run water with ether renewal, mistform, lightning flash and earth shield, with fresh air. Feels more powerful than what Catalyst utilities have to offer.

Hammer feels really cool. I thought it was super immobile and clunky at first. After some duel practice with another ele I got the hang of it, once you can rotate well it feels better. Really liking the hammer. The actual catalyst aspect with the spheres, eh, it's ok, kinda neat, cool to pop an aura off the combo field every now and then but it's not really worth going for any of the sphere-specific bonuses regarding heal/utility when you can just run cantrips with water traitline and get better results. I don't think a core traitline should outperform espec utilities quite so much but hey it's a beta.

 

edit2: make Wind Storm (air 4) not auto-target ... if I'm facing backward, I want to go forward. if I'm facing forward, I want to go backward. Not in whatever willy-nilly direction my target happens to be on 😞

edit3: 

 

Edited by solemn.9670
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1. Jade sphere, i hoped they would be maintainable as long as you attacked enough to keep the energy up, but it seems you can't gain energy while the jade sphere is up which feels bad, as you build up energy for quite a long time to not really have much effects from it.

I think you should be able to gain energy while it is active to keep Jade sphere up permanently if you are skilled enough.

2. Hammer 3 ability is just bad, you can't really upkeep it and even if you try it you don't really have much more time then, use skill 3 use skill2 swap attunement -> use skill 2 use skill 3 -> swap attunement....
You don't even have time to think about combos or gaining auras as all your attention is on upkeeping skill 3.

This ability should have either a longer buff and possibly refresh in attunement swap so you are still rewarded for attunement swapping but not handicapped by it.

3. Augments, these skills seem ok, but based on cooldowns and time of the effects which is in most cases 5seconds, it feels bad that they are such a long cast, if you want to keep up your hammer 3 for instance you are likely to lose it if you want to use for instance relentless fire or shattering ice to boost your dps output of skill 2 air or water or earth.

I think these should be instant cast, with exception of the block to make them more rewarding to use at the right moments so they feel rewarding.

Edited by skoda.4619
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I think the 'Spectacular Sphere' trait should also be applied when you switch attunements, not only when you activate the Jade Sphere. Like if you activate your Jade Sphere while in Air Attunement, you get Quickness and Fury, then if you switch to Earth Attunement and your Jade Sphere is still on the field, you get Protection AND Resistance. Right now, you would only get Protection.

Also, it would be nice if the Sphere Specialist trait also increased the duration of the boons applied by Spectacular Sphere, so deploying the Jade Sphere could feel a little bit more rewarding because right now, there's little to no reason to choose those traits compared to the auras and elemental empowerment-focused ones.

And please, energy should be easier to get and keep. Perhaps we could still get energy with our attacks as long as we are inside the Jade Sphere area? Either that or just forget about energy and make the F5 work in a similar way to Tempest Overloads.

Finally, the utilities aren't that great. This is a combo and auras-based spec, right? Then make them give you an aura if you use them in the appropiate combo field (like frost aura in the water Kirin-one), or even better, turn them into combo fields so we can blast them with our hammer (how about some wells?). Or at least make it so if you use them in the appropiate combo field, you get some energy back...

Oh! And maybe consider changing some of the vigor uptime in water attunement and give us some regeneration. Right now, catalyst has 0 regeneration access in its signature weapon, utilities, traits and F5, in fact it doesn't even have access to whirl or projectile finishers to use on water fields to get regeneration, it's kinda weird considering that water attunement traits and weapon skills revolve around this boon. Sure, it does have regeneration on core traits and core weapons, but still, if we are meant to not be very mobile and stay inside our Jade Sphere AoE, vigor isn't that useful...

Edited by Josspai.4356
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In pvp jade sphere is almost unusable. It takes way too long to get energy, and you can rarely stay in the combo field you want since you have to change elements constantly to access other skills.

 

Hammer also has really bad damage, as in staff level of bad. Also it has next to no defensive skills and its slow so it doesnt really do anything well.

 

In open world pve catalyst has the same problem as every other ele spec. Its squishy and has mediocre solo damage with a difficult rotation.

Edited by Paradoxoglanis.1904
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So far the two most prominent characteristics of this E-Spec are amazing visually but horrid functionally.

Hammer 3 literally dies before you can even do anything with it so that's a single hammer skill that's absolutely useless from a practical standpoint. Why this isn't extended for longer so we could actually use it, or leave the wheel permanent until we actually use it is beyond me. You had a good thing goin on the concept but execution is actually terrible.

I don't even wanna talk about Jade Sphere... Again, good on concept, terrible execution. 

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even clunkier than weaver. The utilities are pretty much useless. F5 buildup takes ages, to vanish in a heartbeat. Also completely useless because it is stationary, while everything else (me, mobs, wvw opponents) are not. 

Hammer skills: range too low. Seriously, you really hurt weaver sword with the inane 130 range - and now we see it again on hammer. Really? REALLY?  Make all hammer skills 900 range at least, improve hammer 3, make F5 follow character AND last longer, rework utils - because so far they are very, very useless. Having to cast them in a very fast vanishing F5 to get anything useable out of them is really not working at all. Also - where are the leaps to make auras actually a thing? Either the tool tips are missing something or this class is completely unfinished.

At the end this feels like tempest 2.0. A good idea destroyed because halfway through you ran out of time, yanked sword and made it a melee class with melee range skills and no good melee weapon. 

At this point, this class needs some real overhaul. 

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