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Catalyst: Nice Concept but Needs MANY Fixes and Reworks [Long Suggestions from WvW/PvP context]


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To start off, I love the concept of a heavy melee weapon elementalist but so far catalyst isn't matching that concept. It's slow which is expected but its fragile with no sustain or mobility, and most importantly, where are the hard PBAOE CCs that we imagine hammer should have? You don't need all of this but you need some of it. My issues with Catalyst are mostly from the context of WvW/PvP where I have thousands of hours as ele, but most of this should be applicable to PvE as well.


Jade Orb Problem

Functionally the Jade Orb is clunky with very little use in most situations. Additionally, the adrenaline style charge system means it’s hard to get charged, particularly for a melee ele and some fights will not even see it used. All that for a skill that is stuck on one location and has barely any effect. At best the quickness is nice for some PvE settings but the skill is completely inadequate for PvP contexts. Certainly not a defining mechanic that it seems like it should be. It’s just an annoying minor skill to throw around, or forget. Even more annoying since other utilities need it to fully function (pretend those utilities are worth using in the first place). How might we fix this?


Orb Mechanics Changes

  1. Jade orb needs a follow/attach mode. It can have a large-radius ground targeted mode like now (F5) and then a tiny radius follow mode (F6) like a personal combo field. This shouldn’t need to be explained. Melee needs to move around a lot. Even ranged does. The orb needs to follow or it is useless in most situations like the way it works now.
  2. The orb should stay on the element that it was cast. For instance if it is cast on fire, it needs to stay on fire even when the player switches attunements. This is essential to how elementalists combo between different attunements and it’s how the other weapon sets have been designed (Catalysts are not only going to use hammer). Without this you are losing inter-attunement combos and will result in a lot of arbitrary combos that the player doesn’t necessarily need or want at the time.
  3. Following from #2, optionally add an extra function (F7) that manually switches the orb to your current attunement. The main issue is that it should not automatically switch. If the player can’t control what field they can combo in, it’s an annoyance not a combo field.
  4. Orb energy system should work more like revenant, not warrior (constant recharge rate, drops to half charge out of combat). Cooldown after deactivation should also be low. The adrenaline on-hit system is fundamentally not good for PvP because vs some classes it will have no problem charging while vs others it will be much harder to charge. 1v1 will also work much different from larger scales where you can constantly hit things. That’s not good balance.


Hammer Problems

Is this really a hammer? Where are the melee-range hard CCs?! How on EARTH could almost every other weapon set knockdown or even have 2-3 knockdowns but NOT hammer??

The mid-range fire/air concept is cool and those skillsets point to a more DPS oriented setup. So why would you want to risk melee with this hammer? Particularly in a WvW/PvP context. If this is a hammer, the slow melee Earth/Water skills need hard AoE CCs. They are slow and they are melee so why else would you use them? Here’s some suggestions:


Fire 5: The current skill doesn't fit. Change functionality and make it a leap attack like Warrior’s Earthshaker (but no stun). Conceptually, this would be the final skill you use in fire before switching attunements and the 600 range leap brings you into melee range as you switch to water/earth. It doesn't matter what else it does. 


Earth 2: If this clunky skill isn’t reworked completely, give it a overhead knockdown at the end of the spin. At least give it a whirl finisher… Or maybe 3 second resistance/stability/protection boon and slow. A skill this clunky should either be a tank skill or a hard cc skill in addition to just damage. Otherwise its use will be extremely limited and self-punishing.


Earth 5: This should be the big AoE a knockdown. Dagger knockdown is 240 radius with 3/4 second cast so hammer should be 300 radius with damage continuing in a larger radius like 360 (same size as dagger 5). If you have slow and telegraphed melee-range hammer skills, there’s no excuse not to give them hard AoE CCs!


Water 4: Do NOT put the only water healing skill on the only mobility/leap skill. This is such a bad design because it’s the opposite of how players will use it. If it only heals on engage, this is the exact time you DON’T need to heal. Maybe switch the heal to water 2 and make it heal per hit (not par target struck). For PvP balance purposes, no skill ever should be based on per-target hit.


Water 5: Water could use some pull skills too. Water 5 could suck nearby enemy players towards you (think like a whirlpool) and then hit them with chill, while also removing some conditions like it currently does (but not per target hit). 


Last, on the hammer 3 orbiting projectile skills. These are a mess. Visually they are a mess and conceptually they are even more of a mess. The duration is too low for how slow hammer is. More generally these skills are conceptually flawed. Experienced elementalist players are methodical about attunement use and do not want to blow all attunement cooldowns for no reason. Forcing ele players to cycle all the attunements for a skill to work is very poor design. If PvE players aren't using water and earth as much as developers want, its because they designed either the skills badly or the pve content badly. Skills like this (and Weave Self) just destroy that flow of how ele players are using their skills in favor of rapidly cycling through all the attunements for no reason and putting all the attunements on cooldown. PvP players understand you don't usually want to randomly cycle water attunement if you don't need heals or condi cleanse. Don't force us to with a stupid skill. Either limit the sequence to just two attunements (not 4) or better yet, replace these skills entirely. And make the visual effects smaller because this skill looks like a lightshow. 


Utilities/Heal Skill

Utilities are uninspired and redundant to existing utilities. How about scrap these completely and do better? Additionally, the sphere-specific bonus effect for utilities is annoying from a gameplay perspective unless it works like glyphs and adds a different effect for each sphere. Either don’t do any bonus or have a different bonus effect for each sphere. This is not that good a dynamic anyway. Maybe it would be more interesting if the bonus happens when the sphere is deactivated. Or just put some combo finishers on the new utilities to help on sets that are lacking these (including hammer). 


More generally channeled block skills isn’t the right way for Catalyst to be tanky. It needs to be passively tanky in order to survive using its extremely slow melee skills. Stacking even more bloated activation times as channeled blocks is the opposite of what's needed, which leads to the final point:


Skill Activation Times and Cast Time Economy

In general there are too many slow skills and too few fast skills on the hammer set which means not only will it be boring to play but many skills will almost never be used because there simply won't be time. Slow high-powered but telegraphed hammer skills with long cooldowns are one thing but the entire set being slow and clunky is just bad design and not fun, besides being easy to play against. Just like any other set, there should be both fast and slow skills and potentially instant cast skills too. Elementalists use magic, not just their physical weapons. I don't care if its a hammer or not, the class needs to work in PvP too and that means everything can't be super slow. 

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Your forgot the traits and how you need 4 traits just to get that middle grandmaster!


Also it'd be easier if after casting jade orb, your f5 just became a toggle switch to lock/unlock the jade orb to your attunement. 


Many of us like the idea of hammer 3, but hate that it isn't merged with the jade orb mechanic (or its own prof mechanic) and needs double the length of time before they expire. You are right we need to switch attunement based on the fight and not to appease getting new orbs or auras.

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As a main Weaver since PoF release, and after playing a few hours on Catalyst, my main issues were alot like the ones described here


As a catalyst, a melee oriented spec, we lack:

Gap closer, we have 1 (in 20 skills)

Desingage, we have 1 (in 20 skills)

Heal on weapon, we have 1 (in 20 skills)


Combo fields and combo finishers (can't remember number, but small)

The skill 3 is nice and all, but the duration is either bad, or instead of refreshing it every time you switch attune and press 3, it would increase that duration. But still requires 1 or 2 seconds more on base.

Skill 3 Grand Finale is lackluster, not that big damage even in 4 attunement strike. Should be moderate damage, and bonus damage/effect on attunement use. You use Skill 3 on fire, and then grand finale still on fire whitout attune swap, it should add extra burn, same on water for chill, air for vulnerability and earth for earth, so you don't really "need" nor want to rotate all elements.

Also, grand finale in this way would have separated cooldowns


As for traits, a bit together with the weapon and utility, this is a class that has at least 4 traits, SPECIFIC to work with AURAS.

Unless you're playing fire spec, you won't create any aura on hammer. Might be wrong, haven't tested ALL but even if you can, is 1, maybe 2, on what? 2 mins cooldown? Not worth it.

I would rather play offhand focus or dagger for the "free" extra aura that i can trigger when needed.


As mentioned before, most skills are very slow, you get 2, maybe 3 hits before actually doing a strike. Might sound good of paper with the nice damage number, but you can't deal damage when dead.


As for Jade Orb, in my opinion, the ELITE should have the orb permanently. Period. The F5 would be like "overdrive" it. depending on the attunement the overdrive would give the actual bonus with actual decent damage, but on permanent side, would give some minor boons like herald has.

Press F5 to overdrive, press F5 again to stop.


Jade orb should be orbiting (visually) around you, and never actually static. Imagine herald using any utility boons and being stuck on the ground. See how efficient it would be.



This is enough of my rant. I wanted a bow, but i actually enjoyed playing with hammer, but it needs serious tweaks. According to youtube, it can have really nice damage number and stuff, but is lackluster and needs too much "babysitting" to actually work.

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Mostly agree.  The only thing is hammer 3 would be perfectly fine if the duration was doubled or even tripled so we can go through our rotations in each element without losing the circling elements.


Ideally, I want to spend 5-10 seconds in each atunement, use all of the attacks, then move on to the next atunement, and 30-40 seconds into a fight when you have all 4 circling elements active, you use the hammer 3 again to blast a target for big damage, it should be impactful and act as a finishing move for elite/boss enemies that you've been wearing down that whole time.

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