The Specimen.8973 Posted September 26, 2021 Share Posted September 26, 2021 Overall I love the concept of this spec, the idea of being a cloneless mesmer has been really intriguing and this eSpec has so much potential, it just needs some more impact and identity to really feel unique and not just a meh core mesmer shatter spec that doesn't always match up to the core shatter builds we have as of present day. So here are my suggestions for improvement, I'm a mesmer main that plays power builds so I want this spec to really succeed in an area that I've wanted to be focused on in a mesmer eSpec for a long time.Bladesongs (Shatters):For the bladesongs as shown in first beta, here are my thoughts and suggestions for improvement:• All Bladesongs: - Need the cast times lowered to ¼ or at the most ½ second- The bladesongs need to be quicker once fired and maybe have some better missile-lock I guess, cos they can be easy for enemy players to dodge or just strafe walk to avoid being hit by them. When shattering is so integral to the specs identity, they need to feel more rewarding, at least more rewarding than core mesmer shatter builds, which currently they do not.- Need some sort of unblockable or need to no longer be classed as projectiles to help reduce the absolute ease of counter play against virtuoso (as us mesmer mains are already losing a lot with this specs ie. non-instantaeous shatters and no non-illusion shattering for f3 and f4 anymore)- Bladesongs need to be able to be activated without a target.• Bladesong Harmony: - Needs more damage to feel more impactful, especially since the shatters have cast times now.• Bladesong Sorrow:- Honestly I think this Bladesong needs to be reworked to feel different especially since this is clearly a power heavy spec, so confusion doesn't exactly feel natural to this spec, I'd rather this not even be condi but maybe more damage scaled by how many boons a target has or at the very least go from confusion to bleeding damage, to try and synergise with what the condi trait line is trying to do.• Bladesong Dissonance: - This really could use being turned into a ½ sec stun per blade rather than a daze, which I feel is warranted when the bladesongs have cast times as well as needing time to actually travel and hit the target. Again, the player needs to feel rewarded for stocking blades and expending them with these channeled shatters, and when this spec lacks movement and really values targets being locked down for most of the current utilities, a stun f3 would synergise far more with the utilities this way.• Bladesong Requiem:- I don't love it nor do I hate it. The damage is a bit measly but that shouldn't be the focus anyway. The desire for f4 is a good defence shatter, and losing distortion hurts. But I do like how the Aegis is to synergise with the block traits so I'm a bit confused on how to feel about it. Honestly I love other people's suggestion to make blade renewal the f4 ability because its a distortion AND the blade stocking is integral to the spec, I feel like most people will almost feel forced to put blade renewal on their utilities bar because its so desirable however we also want to utilise our utils for condition cleanse/movement/stun breaks that we lack from this spec.Drastic Suggestions for Bladesongs:So here I want to include suggestions to give the virtuoso more of an identity that's a bit more game-changing for mesmer I guess, but maybe aren't feasible.• All Bladesongs:- Honestly the points from above still apply here.- So I saw a suggestion on the forum which was making the bladesongs ground targets (this is a more drastic suggestion so maybe take it with a pinch of salt; but, it would create an even more definitive class identity for sure). Initially, I was like noooo, then after thinking about it I thought that it could actually bring a really unique playstyle to mesmer. The bladesongs would now shoot the stocked blades at a ground targeted location and burst in an explosion of AoE damage, which in turn could make them no longer count as piercing projectiles and more of an AoE explosion. Also, something like this would justify the current cast times and quite slow travel speed of the blades, while also feeling rewarding as long as you ground target correctly. It would obviously detract from the possible duelist role that anet were going for with virt but it would definitely be unique. Now each bladesong would then need the explosions to produce different effects whether that's cc or something a bit more creative for each. However, I have also tried to convert this into a possible grandmaster replacement for bloodsong, so you'll hear about that when I speak on the traits.• Bladesong Harmony:- Maybe rather than pure damage, give it an interesting mechanic that I've heard talked about where damage scales not only for how many blades are stocked up, but also by the amount of boons on the target, or just give them a bit of boon rip maybe. The bladesongs need something more because we no longer have illusions to distract enemies, no insta shatters, and others as previously mentioned, so there needs to be extra compensation for said losses to feel worth it.• Bladesong Sorrow:- Honestly, I would love to see this be turned into Bladesong Jeté or something like that. Jeté would become a 400-600 range ballet leap in a direction you choose (using a ground target similar to the one currently used with Thousand Cuts). As you move, the blades would be fired at your target or multiple targets (less damage than Harmony obviously). This would give us a bit of movement for gap closes, and if bladesongs become able to be used without a target (which they should) you can use it as movement to escape a lil bit. Just a bit of something that's more distinguishable for the Virt, rather than the usual confusion shatter. However, I've converted this suggestion into a possible utility replacement, which I feel would work far better than an f2 replacement.- Or turn Sorrow into the boon scaled damage shatter/boon rip shatter, rather than the confusion. Condi shouldn't really be a thing in this spec, considering the general power feel everything else gives in this eSpec.• Bladesong Dissonance:- Honestly I really like the idea of stun on this, some harder cc would feel better for virt, seeing that it lacks the movement, it would need to be able to lock enemies down as much as possible to keep consistent damage. The spec is clearly a very selfish spec, quite similar to bladesworn, but bladesworn actually gives substantial reward so the selfishness is warranted, the virt needs to feel the same, otherwise bladesworn is just gonna do the selfish dps role better than virt and therefore leave virt to be abandoned as people would prefer a bladesworn dps.• Bladesworn Requiem:- Preferably, this could just be turned into Blade Renewal and I think everyone would love it so much more. Blades are so important to the specs identity so making the util that creates blades while also being a great defence skill, would be perfect for the f4 profession mechanic. It genuinely feels like it should be integrated into the class' primary mechanics.- Or seeing that it's been reduced from the amazing distortion to now just an Aegis block, maybe make it so you and a number of allies within 300/600 range equal to the amount of stocked blades used, gain bladesong requiem's effects too. Just to maybe reduce the complete selfishness of the class a little bit, this would feel like a nice trade off for the loss of distortion.Dagger:Apart from already being annoyed cos the dual daggers opportunity has been missed (yet another eSpec where mesmer doesn't get a 5-skill weapon - should've gone with ranged spear used as a javelin, that would've provided such amazing class identity and remained thematic to the Virtuoso's concept), I am underwhelmed by dagger as a whole. Its a 1200 range power weapon that's trying to compete with 1200 range greatsword, when really it probs should've just been 600/900 range with a damage increase. But here's my thoughts:• Flying Cutter:- Excluding all the bugs like not working on downed people etc, this skill needs a damage boost, and the flurry mechanic needs to be consistent. Personally, I really liked another player's suggestion for the flurry to stock a blade. This is the virt's preferred weapon, then surely it should be the most adept at stocking blades. Again, I've tried to convert this extra feature into a trait, detailed upon in the traits section.• Bladecall:- It's a bit hard to hit from range cos of the projectiles' small size and the gap that forms between the daggers as they spread, so maybe tightening the spread would be good or increasing hitboxes of each dagger, but also needs a speed increase on the projectiles as right now they don't feel 'thrown' but just 'released', a dagger throw needs to feel impactful. Also, I feel like the returning blades should not get stuck before they return, but just quickly bounce back, as well as produce an additional effect like cripple/weakness/stock an additional blade on a hit as they return. • Bladestorm:- I do believe that Bladestorm needs to not count as a projectile and just a moving AoE, as well as being able to bounce off walls like Bladecall. As a whole I do like it though, maybe if the storm caused some cripple or weakness to enemies it would feel much better, especially to help reduce the punishment of a lack of movement in this spec when chasing or being chased.As a whole the dagger just needs more buffs and a lower range to about 600/900, I especially would like the suggestions of more blade generation (but can be integrated by way of a trait as detailed further down). As I've said, the Virtuoso's preferred and exclusive weapon should feel more integral to the specs theme and playstyle, which very much focuses on these psionic blades. More blade generation and more damage would make the dagger feel more viable of a choice when competing against m-h sword and greatsword for power builds.Psionics:Okay so I understand the concept of psionics as the virt using psionic blades, however these psionics could've felt so much more telekinetic/psychokinetic than what they currently are. My suggestions are as follows:• Twin Blade Restoration:- This should be able to be used without a target, used to hit target behind you, and needs more condition cleanse otherwise it's useless. This could be the condition cleanse skill virt needs, it just needs the buffs. However if the whole throwing dagger damage aspect is not really needed, then I would honestly make it just stock 2 more blades, nice and simple but useful. The psionics don't all have to do damage, psychokinesis is so much more than damage, so utilise it. Make this heal more, condition cleanse more and stock blades/actually able to target and hit foes.• Blade Renewal:- Like I've mentioned, this is awesome, but feels like it could be a profession mechanic. This as the f4 would wow us mesmers, it's distortion and a generator of the spec's priority resource. It's a much better fit for the defensive f4 shatter. - Or maybe make it the elite like what has been suggested as the utilities could be much better utilised for stun break, movement, condition cleanse etc. that this spec doesn't currently have. But ultimately its a very good utility, so it might be fine where it is.• Psychic Force:- I like this as a stun break it feels very psionic with the knock back and the spinning blades is a pretty and quick animation (good for less visual noise), so as a util I do like it. It needs a lower cooldown though. 45 secs for a stun break on this spec feels unusable so maybe 30/35 secs would be better and more viable.• Rain of Swords:- Visually it's very pretty but a lot of noise that can be taxing on fps for most people so I don't know if something can be done about this maybe. I prefer this as an AoE damage than Thousand Cuts 100%, but it needs one of these three things: either a damage increase, a radius increase, or a movement debuff like cripple. This would make it truly succeed in what the util is trying to accomplish which is pure AoE damage.• Sword of Decimation:- If this was to stay, I'd honestly wish for the animation to be just a single giant psionic blade to fall from the glyph rather than the several medium blades as its too similar to Rain of Swords to be distinguishable. To be blunt, I would rather this be gone so Rain of Swords can remain as the falling sword skill, but I still would like a hard cc skill like what this is trying to be. So my suggestion is to name this Telekinetic Grip or something similar and make this an AoE float debuff skill. This would really lean into that psionic/telekinetic theme. You would create the same glyph from Sword of Decimation on the ground or still in the air but instead of dropping a blade, it would cause up to 3 or 5 enemies to float telekinetically in the air for like 3 seconds. This is one of my favourite ideas I've come up with to really hone in on the psionic identity of the spec.• Thousand Cuts:- I really don't like it. It's so situational that it barely ever feels effective and viable. It's a worse version of Rain of Swords. The projectiles are blockable, the AoE isn't wide enough, and it's just so easy to get out of and avoid completely. This elite doesn't feel elite, the damage is too small for how situational and avoidable it is, but even with buffs I just know it's not what the elite should've been. Let Rain of Swords be the AoE damage utility and make this elite something unique. Like I've mentioned, this could be entirely replaced with Blade Renewal and it would feel so much more elite than Thousand Cuts could ever be.Couple of suggestions for replacement utilities:• Telekinetic Grip (Utility to replace Sword of Decimation):As talked about in my thoughts on Sword of Decimation.• Cutting Jeté / Jeté Encore (Utility to replace Blade Renewal if it became the F4 or Elite skill):- Similar to my idea for Bladesong Jeté, where on Cutting Jeté's activation its a ballet jeté dash skill in a direction you choose via ground target, which dashes you around 400 range in that direction. Enemies you dash through are cut with some floating psionic blades for a bit of damage or some cripple/weakness/vuln. The skill flips on first activation to Jeté Encore for maybe 3 seconds which allows you to activate the skill again to move another 400 range in a new direction you ground target but maybe without the extra damage/debuffs. This would provide some much needed movement rather than another damage focused utility while also pulling in that idea of a bladedancer that the virtuoso's bladesongs would evoke.• Bladedance (Elite to replace Thousand Cuts):- Firstly, Bladedance immediately sounds like an elite that fits the Virtuoso's bladesong motif. Bladedance would essentially be a 10 second transformation elite similar to ele's Tornado elite where your weapon skills and maybe even utilities are disabled, but you enter a dance routine where you have increased movement speed or possibly some sort of evasion/defence buff (not the important part so these buffs could be ignored entirely), and you're left with your F1-4 with each having 1 ammunition only but when you activate each of them you expend max blades at the target (getting max blades back immediately after using each bladesong) and can only use that particular bladesong once, when you have used all the bladesongs or if you choose to exit your bladedance form you return to all your usual abilities (your usual bladesongs wouldn't have their cooldowns impacted by the bladesongs you used in Bladedance). This would obviously have a cooldown similar to tornado (so pretty long - 110 seconds) but that feels like a true elite skill that ties in the whole concept of the virtuoso and would be really rewarding. Obviously some balancing will need to be done as you would have 4 max blade shatters from 1 elite skill that you can fire in succession of each other, but honestly that could replace Thousand Cuts right now, and feel more rewarding and wouldn't be broken because bladesongs are quite easy to dodge as of the first rendition, but a form where you can fire multiple each after another would guarantee at least a few successful shatters. This is a suggestion, but just to show how these skills could've been so much more unique and creative to really lock into the image and identity of a psionically powerful mesmer than some of what we've been given as of the first beta, not an elite that is barely usable and not rewarding in most scenarios for instance. Also, Bladedance would be a bit more of a straight forward elite to create as you're essentially just giving your bladesongs free max-blade uses, most of the technicality revolves around disabling everything except the bladesongs and making them usable only once in succession of one another before leaving the form. Traits:• Psychic Blades:All good obviously, but bladesongs probs need buffs and more variation like I have suggested: unblockable/no longer projectiles, quicker cast time, quicker travel time etc.• Bladeturn Refrain:I really like and with the lack of defence and mobility, this trait feels most appealing to just provide some defence and I do like the synergy with the rest of the top line traits.• Mental Focus:It's okay but confusing as the ideal range for the spec is almost questioned with this Adept. Is virt more long range focused with 1200 range dagger and bladesongs or is this a close to mid range spec that wants to be in the front lines. Bit confusing, so maybe a range threshold like what I've heard has been suggested could work better - eg. within 600 range gain 10% strike damage, but within 600-1200 range gain 5% strike damage. This would feel more natural and not punishing when wanting to be pure damage and long range.• Jagged Mind (now: "Bountiful Blade"):Condi line gotta go. This is clearly power focused, the dagger is a power weapon, the psionics are power skills, everything screams power so why force a condi line when we have the beast of condi damage that is mirage already? This bottom line needs to be more about utility for sure and even focus on buffing the kit that comes with virtuoso ie. the dagger and psionics. I hate how these sort of traits that buff weapons and skills are starting to be neglected, when they have so much potential. Honestly, make this Adept a dagger trait where you stock a blade when you complete a flurry with flying cutter and reduced skill cooldowns for skill 2 and 3 by about 15-20%. There you have a simple but huge trait that makes dagger a far more appealing weapon than it currently is.• Deadly Blades:I like it, but whether it steps on the toes of the vuln stacking premise of Domination is something I'm still trying to answer. It either feels repetitive when considering Domination or it feels like it synergises pretty well with Dom, I'm just not sure. But all in all, it's a good minor trait.• Duelist's Reversal:Again, I love the synergy with the other top line traits. The self-quickness is very nice seeing how we have cast times on most of the eSpec's skills but could it be buffed a bit? Maybe? Because when a lot of time is spent channelling bladesongs and utilities, dodging is put on the back-burner a bit. I like it though, but maybe the boons need a little longer on duration or maybe just add vigor/might generation to make dodging a bit more worth while over channeling another bladesong.• Phantasmal Blades:Initially I liked a lot, but the more I've pondered on it and how it plays, I feel like it's a bit underwhelming and extremely passive. So my suggestion for this is basically the same as Kroof's which is maybe make the fired blade aspect of this trait and also Psychic Riposte become a small version of the Thousand Cuts glyph and shoot a couple more of these psychic blades over maybe 2/3 seconds (1 blade per second) and make them lock on to their target, this would make the underwhelming damage feel a bit more impactful and also just provide more class identity. Seeing these small, blade-shooting glyphs apparate after phantasms end and/or after successful dodges/blocks is very visually distinctive. As well as feeling a bit more active and intentional, instead of the slightly boring and passive take on these two specific traits as of right now.• Sharpening Sorrow (now: "Mind Palace"):Again, condi doesn't belong here. Instead make this the psionics buff trait. Here psionics would get a recharge reduction of like 15-20% and then using psionic skills grant Stability and Fury to lean into that stillness of mind to focus your psionic power. Also, gives us a bit more survivability too, which Virt lacks.• Quiet Intensity:I do like this trait empowered Fury and increased ferocity enhances that power, big crit focus of the Virtuoso, so I have no issues here honestly.• Psychic Riposte:Once again, I like the synergy of top traits. The blade generation is great and for the blade shot at foes refer back to my suggestion with Phantasmal Blades. With the Phantasmal Blades suggestion, this becomes an impactful and synergistic grandmaster.• Infinite Forge:I love it as blade generation is key. However, with this being so passive for a grandmaster maybe it does need that extra something to make it truly feel like a grandmaster. Therefore, like Kroof and many others, I suggest either increasing blade stock maximum from 5 to 6 blades, or allowing this trait to generate up to max blades instead of 3, as a limited blade generation up to 3 blades doesn't feel very "infinite", and with the interval of 3 seconds, I don't believe this would be broken at all, if anything it would feel intended and make more sense in correlation with the traits name.• Bloodsong:This is more complicated. So here is two suggestions:- I could just say replace it because condi doesn't need to be here. But like I've heard suggested, this could work if you combined Jagged Mind with this. Blade attacks inflict bleeding with increased damage on crit hits, and stock a blade each time you inflict 5 stacks of bleeding. Now that would work greatly as a grandmaster if you really wanted some sort of condi trait. That's my only viable option for a condi trait that could work well and feel rewarding and deserving to be on Virtuoso.- However, I'd much prefer the following for the sake of uniqueness and varied playstyle. The new name would be Bladesong Crescendo. Essentially, your maximum blade count would be reduced to 3, however Bladesongs would now be ground target AoE shatters working like my more drastic suggestions for reworking Bladesongs to be more unique, however this trait would probably work far better. Now, with this trait chosen, when you activate your bladesongs you choose a location within the 1200 range and fire your stocked blades at that ground targeted location and burst at the center point. The AoE radius would be somewhere between 100-200, whatever feels balanced. Numbers would be balanced accordingly to not feel under or over powered obviously, but it would add a very new playstyle for the virtuoso, where stocking many blades isn't as important and more so how you tactically use the 3 blades you can stock to provide AoE pressure. Also, Bladesong Requiem would become AoE ground targetable too, where you would target a location and up to 3 allies (1 could be yourself) within the radius gains Requiem's effects (Aegis and spinning blades). Obviously this one's a lot more drastic than the changes to bloodsong, but I think it would be a pretty awesome grandmaster. I'd say it's a bit inspired by what you guys have done with bottom grandmaster on Bladesworn with reducing max charges but allow for a different playstyle as a result.Conclusion:With changes like I've suggested and many suggestions that others have put forward, the Virtuoso has the potential to be something truly creative, unique and simply rewarding to play. I love the premise and concept so much and I just want the Virtuoso to have that boost in capabilities and class identity that it deserves. I hope someone on the team reads this and takes inspiration, because ultimately we players just really want to love everything you guys produce for us, so please listen to us when we give honest and constructive feedback. We want this expansion to be just as awesome as you guys want it to be. Thanks for reading! Take care and stay safe! 2 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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