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First off, while it’s encouraging that you’re asking for our feedback at all, I’m reticent to give any after what has happened the last two times we gave you e-spec feedback. Feedback about Acrobatics

So. Was hyped for this specialization. Really. Big disappointment. I feel like all my utilities skills are wasted and useless. They do ~0 damages I tried engaging a karka in southsun with as entr

How VERY disappointing. All those feedbacks and basically nothing was addressed and changed. Why even start a feedback thread and pretend to read and consider any feedback, when they don't care a

19 minutes ago, Will.9785 said:

Good lord is switching targets constantly a pain in the kitten.  Who on earth thought this would be anything approaching fun?

I posted what I thought might be at least a visual aid. I can switch targets frequently in a smaller fight without a problem, even in action cam, but in crowds there has to be a way to instinctively curser select a target without missing that perfect curser rollover of who you want to target in a glaring zerg fight. 

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Do note, all my feedback is coming from an open world soloing perspective in this case. I haven’t been mid maxing on a golem, but I have tested its support capabilities also which I will go over to the best of my ability! I am going to go over each section of the spec individually then create a positives and a negatives list, of which will include my proposals/suggestions.

 

Overview

Specter is a very fun spec once you get used to how it operates. It is very aggressive and you must be on your toes, always micromanaging and going on the offense which I really like. Always hitting something to get off extra sustain, conditions and utility. I began my testing a little concerned because I was struggling to do damage and stay alive, my boon application was all over the place and I was just trying too many things at once and it was leading to the spec feeling troublesome overall. A couple days in, I began to click with the specialization. I am not a thief player, I’ve never touched the class honestly, not seriously anyway but this gave me reason to give it a go and I am glad! The shadow shroud mechanic is really nice, has an array of damage, utility and CC and the aggressive method of ally healing is great! Scepter skills feel good, some reservations that I need to address, along with some bits needing some alteration/tweaking but overall it is a really nice weapon! The ally target mechanic is interesting...it needs a bit of depth I think, or just some of its skills need tweaking, but more on that later! Their wells feel useful! I have had a strong recurring concern with the elite spec utilities not even being that useful but wells do add gameplay which is refreshing! Traits give you a lot of options and overall the spec feels one of the strongest out of the 9 in my opinion in regards to specialization design/concept.

 

Scepter  

I love this weapon so much! From the visuals and soundscaping, straight down to the damage and utility it provides. Smacking allies to give them barrier? Hell yes! You can buff a single person which is nice when you’re soloing something and someone flies in out of nowhere and if they’re dropping low you can just pull back and barrier spam then plus might (and quickness/regen with Endless Night). The auto attack has okay damage, it can feel a little clunky at times and can straight up interrupt my siphon which is problematic but it isn’t game breaking. Both dual attacks feel really strong. Measured Shot is a bit janky with the shadowstep on occasions but overall it’s solid! My reservation is for Shadow Sap to be improved a little by shifting damage maybe, but I’ll explain that later. The supportive elements of the auto attack and dual attacks are really good though. You can easily cap someone on barrier. I tried it with a friend and let them just stand in two flamethrower jets in the deldrimor ruins in Desert Highlands and he didn’t even take any HP damage, the barrier just constantly covered it so I can see this spec being a deadly threat in small scale WvW/PvP. Shadow Sap does have quite low values I can see; with my setup my Shadow Sap was giving a 671 barrier for 3 initiative cost whereas Twilight Combo was giving a 2.5k(?) barrier with healing on top of that for just 1 extra initiative cost. In a lot of cases, Shadow Sap just doesn’t feel good to use as the weakness offensively is wasted and 5 might on the ally cast is not enough to warrant the low barrier amount I feel.



 

Shadow shroud

I was very suspicious of this when I first went into it and thought “this does nothing?” but that was just initial doubt as now I am in and out of it loads for all it provides. Something to mention first is, tormenting runes doesn’t work with shroud torment application which just feels like a bug? Shroud isn’t a second health bar like Reaper Shroud so healing should still work I feel inside it, more on this later. Haunt Shot is what an auto should be, strong condi damage and the bit of might gen is always welcomed. Grasping Shadow is a really short cooldown, small aoe of condition damage (as well as it cleansing a condition which is neat!) and it can be cast then left to prime while you use Eternal Night so it pops as you’re finishing Eternal Night which is nice. You can dip in and 2 > 4 > 1 > 1 > 2 and then drop out again once initiative is full to get a dual attack rotation out, or you can sit in it longer and use Dawn’s Repose for barrier gen and a dash away (which can be a little janky, more later) and Mind Shock for stability and more hard CC which is always welcomed when soloing. Can I just say as well, I was almost in tears of joy with how you aggressively heal within the Shadow Shroud. Fighting enemies gives your tethered ally healing. I’ve waited a very long time for an healer that heals through doing damage and Specter is exactly that! A little like the harbinger’s shroud, it isn’t a second health pool which you need to get used to as it won’t be a saving grace unless you trait into that. Utilities not being usable is a bit ehhh too, but I’ll touch on that later. There is a nice ebb and flow with Shadow Shroud though; going in, dropping a few abilities for damage then making sure you come out to not waste initiative, once you get into the rhythm, it feels rewarding for sure.

 

Siphon

I thought it best to give this a short solo section; the new f1 works really well with the concept of the class and I like it’s dual function. You can giga buff your steal and cause this to do a lot of extra damage on enemies and the slow on it is huge. Ally targeting with it has the fundamental support there but it does feel a little like “why bother?” as you only need to use it once to set up your shroud tether and then just the barrier doesn’t do much. However, I am not certain what to suggest, so I will leave that thought open. It fits the purpose it needs and it works well with Specter being a mid range spec in the sense it activates and doesn’t shadowstep like steal.

 

Ally targeting

It is a thing in the game, but it has never really been explored and now Specter explores it in its fullest. A lot of it is getting used to it; we’ve never had this really be a big system in a spec so it’s something to adjust to. A lot of the ally targeting skills just have a lot of power behind them which is nice, sure a few are a bit janky but I am sure they can just be fixed. As mentioned, Measured Shot sometimes yeets you miles away, but what it does for the target is nice and hitting targets with the beam would be easier once the shadowstep issue is altered. It might need some priority fixes too as it literally will give anything in the beam the boons first so an ally being obstructed by two minions will not get the quickness/regen as the minions will get it. Scepter/dagger ally targeting skills feel smoother to me, mainly Twilight Combo as you can essentially cast it then be casting another skill while the missile is shooting which allows you to wrack up a few of them to pelt your ally with a big barrier. The blue highlighting on your selected ally in a squad and party UI is helpful as well! It lets me see at least who I have focused amongst the chaos of 10/5 people fighting a boss and mechanics activating, etc.

 

Utilities

Love them, loooveeeee them! They even have a trait to amplify them too! As I mentioned in my overview, a lot of the elite specs have had utilities that don’t have much integration with the actual spec and you can just go core utilities and forget them but wells are refreshing. Visually as well? Just yes AAAAHHH I love the wandering purple/blue souls you see on the base of the well, they just give me so many aesthetics and they’re a really nice touch. Each well, as far as I can see, has a different animation too as to how you shadowstep. Well of gloom you submerge into the earth, Well of Bounty I think is the one where you swirl your hands then blink, it just has a lot of flavour visually for me! Well of Sorrow is my favourite by far; a great burst of conditions and you tend to have all conditions present so extra torment is great, especially with rune of tormenting, turning offense into more healing. Well of Gloom is a nice healing skill and gives AoE potence when supporting as a Specter that is very single target focused. Well of Tears feels like a filler well; this spec is one I can’t see working with power so strike damage on this is wasted, it feels like just an extra well to proc the trait mentioned shortly. Well of Bounty was really infuriating to try and test, so much so, I was not able to. I wanted to see how good it was at giving 5 target quickness but I couldn’t select certain boons on the special forces area because of the bug that wipes self applied boons when you have console boons too (arena net this was really sloppy not gonna lie, how are we supposed to properly test a boon support if the console is bugging our boons?). It is a nice concept, but really it’s going to be very niche when this provides stability and aegis so they won’t see much use and it giving might when having every boon is strange as literally everyone can puke might in the current end game environment. I just see this well’s usage as another alacrity provider when traited. Well of Silence I didn’t use when solo as I didn’t need to really but it gives me pseudo Darkrazor’s Daring vibes and I like that. It applies a lot of strong soft CC and also pulsing daze which will make specter even more of a defiance bar breaker than core thief (and core thief has a lot with just basilisk venom alone). Shadowfall I also never used, but from what I can gather it is a really strong hard CC skill, great for like WvW bombing I would say. I do wonder its viability against basilisk venom in PvE but nevertheless, a strong elite skill! 

 

When traiting Traversing Darkness, with just 45% boon duration you can run three wells and keep up 100% alac if you keep an eye on your cooldowns properly. 55% allows for 6 and ½ second durations which lets you slowly wrack up more alacrity making it easier. Wells have a strong presence in specter and if you want to give a luxury boon they have importance which I like. Well of Bounty could be tweaked to make it more usable for its boon component, Well of Tears will probably only be used as a support well which defeats its offensive purpose by nature but if these wells did not change, I wouldn’t be mad so I won’t make any suggestions on them later on.

 

Traits

These are probably some of my favourites out of all nine of the elite specs for me. There is a clear path of really leaning on that single target support, an offensive condition damage dps line and then AoE potential through the bottom row which I really like. Before I saw the traits in the stream I did think “oh no this is just going to be like a 2v2 or WvW support because it has no AoE” but that has been debunked for me. One trait seems a little too good to be true, I won’t lie and I am expecting it to be adjusted. Consuming Shadows can cap barrier INSTANTLY on your sub group and it isn’t even gated by the fact shadow force builds up slowly as I always had a very strong stream of shadow force when I was testing this in the open world, duoing with a friend. Running 1/1/1 on condition solo worked beautifully and Strength of Shadows has a lot of defensive value too as you wrack up a lot of unique conditions on foes: torment, bleed, poison, slow, cripple to name a few. Shadestep also has potential for great interactions where you can cap your own barrier with siphoning an enemy and stealth attacking and then shadow stepping it to your allies for just crazy barrier up time. Traversing Darkness’ shadowstep healing has amazing interaction with Shadow Savior for big healing on your shadowsteps. Rot Wallow Venom is a really nice spec-specific buff as well and I cannot thank you enough for making it specter’s condi/expertise based as it means we can be this sort of aggressive dps healer support instead of a generic half-afk healer than presses 3 buttons and heals everyone to full (not literal, but you get the idea of how this plays different to something like a hfb). Traits as a collective give me a nice spread of everything I would want/need depending on how I want to play Specter.

 

Alacrity concerns

I will do this again in my Mechanist’s eventual feedback, but I have seen a lot of talk about this and wanted to add my input. Something worth knowing, I main alac mirage and alac renegade and if I can, I like to play them roles over against any other in fractals/raids. Wells will only give 5-man alacrity, whereas there is the foreboding issue that alacrigade and mirage give 10-man and it will beg the question for a lot of people of “why even bother with alac on a heal/support specter? Just go renegade.” Something needs to be done with these two mentioned roles; I feel buffing Specter and Mechanist to 10-man is just destructive and making more specs broken to accommodate two specs doesn’t sound right. Most boons are 5-man, so let's keep it that way. People will probably scream at this, but nerf Righteous Rebel to 5-man and make Chaos Vortex give 5-man alac (and 5-man might?) so that new specs have a space to breathe and be visible and that we have more options to fit that field too.

 

Support/healing

I did more testing with a friend today, and I will split this into two sections in a way. When I was duoing with him in the open world, we could face-tank so much damage and he didn’t even drop below 90% health due to all the barrier in most cases. I didn’t even have to go with defensive traits or gear, this was full celestials with tormenting runes. I could do really good damage and also give him a lot of healing with my general rotation of abilities which feels really good and I could kite around in higher pressure situations and pump auto attacks and Twilight Combos into him to just make any dangerous situation negatable. The healing from Twilight Combo and Shadow Shroud is very strong too even with a mainly damage focused setup which just feeds my fantasy further of an aggressive damage healer.

 

On the flip side, their group play I do have concerns about right now just with a few of the issues they have. Measured shot having odd shadowstep plus its target cap not having player priority makes the boons from Endless Night a little wasted. The 5-man alacrity I am okay with, given my previous header. With fixes on Measured shot and its priority adjusting, I am sure their support play would be a lot better but right now it seems to be a little rough and that your barrier/boons on Endless Night will just give it to anything that moves which isn’t great.

 

Positives

 

General

  • - I have to give kudos to the visual and soundscaping department for this spec. They make me feel so happy to play this spec and the visuals/sounds really link to that vibe of the Specter shifting through shadows and using them to destroy their opponent or buff their allies. The ally tether beam for me looks so beautiful too, I sometimes forget to fight as I'm just staring at it lmao.

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  • - A strong solo class, even with a few shroud healing issues. The sheer amount of strong soft CC you have lets you break defiance bars regularly for the 100% increased damage interval and it can cause some tougher mobs to just lose about 17/18% of their health in 3 seconds which is huge. For context I was able to solo with ease:

Verdant Brink: Frog trio hp, golem hp, vampire trio hp

Auric basin: Mushroom king hp, arrowhead hp, tengu group hp, vinetooth hp, chak lobber hp, tarnished sage hp, tarnished traitor event and balthazar champion event.

Bounties: Legendary Smoldge (although I want to try and test against other Legendaries too)

 

- A lot of solo potential does come down to user input but some specs just don’t allow for easy soloing at least but Specter does for sure!

  • Decent damage when solo too; I have a standard for solo builds where if I can hit 10k condi ticks then it’s strong and I saw on multiple occasions that I hit 10k torment ticks.

 

Sustain

  • - The barrier output is really good without even traiting into it and you can push it further with Shadestep. It has a lot of healing through tormenting runes (not a class mechanic I know but this spec works so well with it). This will only be better with my shroud suggestions/fixes.

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  • - Ally barrier and sustain is even better too, especially with the correct traits. Your shadow steps will be healing for a considerable amount and your on demand barrier is also really nice too.

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  • - I have to stress again, I LOVE the vibe of a combat healer; where I am literally healing through fighting in Shadow Shroud.

  • Once you get used to swapping between enemy and ally targeting, you will be able to master such a rewarding ebb and flow of swapping between ally to support them and then to enemy to do extra damage.

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  • - You have an on demand shadowstep that you’d use in an offensive rotation or to support allies and when traited through Specter/Shadow Arts this shadowstep will cause a lot of extra healing. 

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  • - I was able to keep me and a friend alive on ‘moderately threatening’ pulsing damage in the special forces area with full celestial and tormenting runes so there is a lot of potential in this spec for healing without needing to go full support stats, still allowing for this play style of an aggressive damage healer.

  • Shadestep giving revival potential is great too, especially as Siphon is on a lower cooldown when you target an ally.

 

Boons

  • - They can give 5-man alac, 100% easily with four wells or with three wells with 55% boon duration. As mentioned you can drop to 45% but then your wells equate to 20 seconds of alac and your wells are on 20 second cooldowns (16s with alac) so you have to be very observative to keep a track of your cooldowns to use them as soon as they come up again. I was testing this without quickness so it would be easier with that active.

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  • - I do believe they could give 5-man and maybe even more (I want to say 9-man if you position right) quickness/regen with Endless Night once the shadowstep and priority issue is sorted. You give 20s plus regen/quickness with about 45% boon duration so you could do this on three different allies in your sub and keep it up quite easily and even try to make use of Well of Bounty to get a pulse of quickness to make it easier on yourself.

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  • - Permanent vigor/swiftness and fury to your sub through Thrill of the Crime and Bountiful Theft. Their might generation is severely lacking to a sub group though. Shadow Sap gives solid single target might, but that is about it.

 

Damage

  • - I obviously haven’t dps tested it with the correct gear and all boons but I’ve heard like late 30k (38/39k) as a last line on condi benchmarks and as I mentioned it has strong damage when solo too and that is good enough for me.

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  • - Even a heal/support focused specter will have great damage, especially in sub group context due to AoE barrier so even more Rot Wallow venom application which will scale with the Specter’s condition damage/expertise.

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  • - When solo, you don’t even need to trait into anything defensive, not from my testing anyway so you can get full damage traits which makes it a very potent solo’er.


 

Negatives (suggestions)

Please don’t misinterpret these as me bashing the class, a lot of them are very minor tweaks, not massive aggressions with the spec 🙂

  • Quote

    - CRUCIAL - I was testing Specter in action cam as I want to explore action cam a little more and actually make use of it as I like how it operates but Specter is literally unplayable. Only 1 in 10 times does it register me having a target selected for the dual attack and I have a target right clicked with the crosshair locked on them but I just got the message of “you must have an enemy/ally targeted to use this skill”. It is literally going to make this spec not playable for people that want to play it that use action cam. Auto attacks and Shadow Sap work (sometimes) so this needs addressing 100%. A camera preference shouldn’t make a spec not function correctly.

     

  • - With it having good damage, I do feel it’s ramp up time is quite slow. From my solo testing at least, it can take a bit to get going unlike some condi specs that can still mow down mobs. Part of it might come down to the fact this spec plays with very little strike damage whereas some condition specs have decent base strike damage values on skills. Not really a “fix this” just thought I’d mention it for those considering Specter.

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  • - The auto attack chain can feel a little clunky and sometimes it doesn’t let me Siphon when I’m mid animation on an auto attack and I know most auto animations can be cancelled (obviously not the best to do so but they can be) so it’d be good if this was flushed out so it doesn’t feel as janky. Also I found myself hardly using the auto attack because I felt no reason to. Maybe slightly increase the damage numbers of the torment so it feels useful to auto attack a little more in between dual attack spam.

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  • - Shadow sap needs some better uses. The weakness on the offensive strike is not that useful; this spec has a cluster of torment so it wouldn’t be too far fetched to shift some torment damage off the dual attack and put it into Shadow Sap. Its ally targeting needs something more too. Literally just a base increase on the barrier would be good enough.

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  • - It might be because scepter has a three auto chain, but you do not see its stealth attack tooltip listed when you hover over the auto attack. Not really game breaking, but worth a mention.

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  • - Twilight Combo was giving me the swiftness despite it saying it gives swiftness and barrier on the ally targeting so that would suggest it should give the ally the swiftness and not me.

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  • - Measured shot, this is really odd sometimes. It appears to me at least that when I use this when standing on top of my ally it just shadowsteps me miles away from the ally which doesn’t make any sense. Also, as I’ve stated before, it has no priority so it will give anything in the beam’s path, the boons and barrier instead of ally priority. This needs to be fixed to make this viable for support/healing Specters.

    • A bit of an experimental suggestion, so it is safe to ignore this, make the boons pulse off your target, still three target cap but then it’ll be easier to give the boons to all three targets without positioning the beam.

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  • - I have been having an absurd amount of invalid path issues with siphon, scepter skills and wells too. Wells I get more so as sometimes ground targeting can be a little off but the siphon issues I don’t understand. I have sometimes been on a rock just underneath my friend and been able to auto him just fine, but not siphon him despite it not being a shadowstep to them anymore? I feel the game is registering siphon as a shadowstep still from its core counterpart steal when you target an ally not on the same level as you. It is the same with Shadow Sap and Twilight Combo/Endless Night sometimes, they are ranged abilities but have invalid path issues despite the auto attack working just fine from the same location. I don’t know if it is something that is really fixable but I wanted to mention it all the same.

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  • - Shroud-ehhhh, I love it (so god kitten much AAA) but it has a few issues.

- Firstly, rune of tormenting doesn’t work with torment applied while in shroud. As I mentioned beforehand, Shadow Shroud is like Harbinger’s Shroud in the sense that it doesn’t replace your health so I feel you should be able to heal off torment applied in Shadow Shroud. Also I feel like utilities should be usable inside Shadow Shroud. Again, it isn’t the same shroud as something like Reaper’s for example. You have no extra sustain in Shadow Shroud right now so being able to use utilities would be great! It isn’t too much of a stretch either, Holosmith has Photon Forge which is basically just there for extra damage and they can use utilities inside this form.

 

- A lot of the shroud abilities I feel are easily cancelled; this can be latency related a lot of the time but for some reason, I feel this more so with Shadow Shroud skills.

 

- Not so much of an issue anymore, but some might argue Dawn’s Repose has the same issue as Willbender virtues where you dash through your foe so the skill feels it could potentially not be used properly. I don’t find many issues with it though, but thought I’d mention it in case others might think of it that way.


 

Conclusion

To sum up, Specter is a specialization that is truly unique in what it provides. It is a fun way to support and bolster allies while also being a very big stretch away from a conventional thief which is a refreshing use of “breaking class systems” that Arenanet said they were doing with these specs. It has some flaws, but those flaws can be easily fixed and ironed out. At the core foundations of the spec, Specter feels very promising to me! (Again I will say this here as I found it out after initially writing this, that action cam issue with the spec NEEDS to be ironed out). 

 

Thank you for reading my feedback! 

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1 hour ago, Sorasnobody.9350 said:

Do note, all my feedback is coming from an open world soloing perspective in this case. I haven’t been mid maxing on a golem, but I have tested its support capabilities also which I will go over to the best of my ability! I am going to go over each section of the spec individually then create a positives and a negatives list, of which will include my proposals/suggestions.

 

Overview

Specter is a very fun spec once you get used to how it operates. It is very aggressive and you must be on your toes, always micromanaging and going on the offense which I really like. Always hitting something to get off extra sustain, conditions and utility. I began my testing a little concerned because I was struggling to do damage and stay alive, my boon application was all over the place and I was just trying too many things at once and it was leading to the spec feeling troublesome overall. A couple days in, I began to click with the specialization. I am not a thief player, I’ve never touched the class honestly, not seriously anyway but this gave me reason to give it a go and I am glad! The shadow shroud mechanic is really nice, has an array of damage, utility and CC and the aggressive method of ally healing is great! Scepter skills feel good, some reservations that I need to address, along with some bits needing some alteration/tweaking but overall it is a really nice weapon! The ally target mechanic is interesting...it needs a bit of depth I think, or just some of its skills need tweaking, but more on that later! Their wells feel useful! I have had a strong recurring concern with the elite spec utilities not even being that useful but wells do add gameplay which is refreshing! Traits give you a lot of options and overall the spec feels one of the strongest out of the 9 in my opinion in regards to specialization design/concept.

 

Scepter  

I love this weapon so much! From the visuals and soundscaping, straight down to the damage and utility it provides. Smacking allies to give them barrier? Hell yes! You can buff a single person which is nice when you’re soloing something and someone flies in out of nowhere and if they’re dropping low you can just pull back and barrier spam then plus might (and quickness/regen with Endless Night). The auto attack has okay damage, it can feel a little clunky at times and can straight up interrupt my siphon which is problematic but it isn’t game breaking. Both dual attacks feel really strong. Measured Shot is a bit janky with the shadowstep on occasions but overall it’s solid! My reservation is for Shadow Sap to be improved a little by shifting damage maybe, but I’ll explain that later. The supportive elements of the auto attack and dual attacks are really good though. You can easily cap someone on barrier. I tried it with a friend and let them just stand in two flamethrower jets in the deldrimor ruins in Desert Highlands and he didn’t even take any HP damage, the barrier just constantly covered it so I can see this spec being a deadly threat in small scale WvW/PvP. Shadow Sap does have quite low values I can see; with my setup my Shadow Sap was giving a 671 barrier for 3 initiative cost whereas Twilight Combo was giving a 2.5k(?) barrier with healing on top of that for just 1 extra initiative cost. In a lot of cases, Shadow Sap just doesn’t feel good to use as the weakness offensively is wasted and 5 might on the ally cast is not enough to warrant the low barrier amount I feel.



 

Shadow shroud

I was very suspicious of this when I first went into it and thought “this does nothing?” but that was just initial doubt as now I am in and out of it loads for all it provides. Something to mention first is, tormenting runes doesn’t work with shroud torment application which just feels like a bug? Shroud isn’t a second health bar like Reaper Shroud so healing should still work I feel inside it, more on this later. Haunt Shot is what an auto should be, strong condi damage and the bit of might gen is always welcomed. Grasping Shadow is a really short cooldown, small aoe of condition damage (as well as it cleansing a condition which is neat!) and it can be cast then left to prime while you use Eternal Night so it pops as you’re finishing Eternal Night which is nice. You can dip in and 2 > 4 > 1 > 1 > 2 and then drop out again once initiative is full to get a dual attack rotation out, or you can sit in it longer and use Dawn’s Repose for barrier gen and a dash away (which can be a little janky, more later) and Mind Shock for stability and more hard CC which is always welcomed when soloing. Can I just say as well, I was almost in tears of joy with how you aggressively heal within the Shadow Shroud. Fighting enemies gives your tethered ally healing. I’ve waited a very long time for an healer that heals through doing damage and Specter is exactly that! A little like the harbinger’s shroud, it isn’t a second health pool which you need to get used to as it won’t be a saving grace unless you trait into that. Utilities not being usable is a bit ehhh too, but I’ll touch on that later. There is a nice ebb and flow with Shadow Shroud though; going in, dropping a few abilities for damage then making sure you come out to not waste initiative, once you get into the rhythm, it feels rewarding for sure.

 

Siphon

I thought it best to give this a short solo section; the new f1 works really well with the concept of the class and I like it’s dual function. You can giga buff your steal and cause this to do a lot of extra damage on enemies and the slow on it is huge. Ally targeting with it has the fundamental support there but it does feel a little like “why bother?” as you only need to use it once to set up your shroud tether and then just the barrier doesn’t do much. However, I am not certain what to suggest, so I will leave that thought open. It fits the purpose it needs and it works well with Specter being a mid range spec in the sense it activates and doesn’t shadowstep like steal.

 

Ally targeting

It is a thing in the game, but it has never really been explored and now Specter explores it in its fullest. A lot of it is getting used to it; we’ve never had this really be a big system in a spec so it’s something to adjust to. A lot of the ally targeting skills just have a lot of power behind them which is nice, sure a few are a bit janky but I am sure they can just be fixed. As mentioned, Measured Shot sometimes yeets you miles away, but what it does for the target is nice and hitting targets with the beam would be easier once the shadowstep issue is altered. It might need some priority fixes too as it literally will give anything in the beam the boons first so an ally being obstructed by two minions will not get the quickness/regen as the minions will get it. Scepter/dagger ally targeting skills feel smoother to me, mainly Twilight Combo as you can essentially cast it then be casting another skill while the missile is shooting which allows you to wrack up a few of them to pelt your ally with a big barrier. The blue highlighting on your selected ally in a squad and party UI is helpful as well! It lets me see at least who I have focused amongst the chaos of 10/5 people fighting a boss and mechanics activating, etc.

 

Utilities

Love them, loooveeeee them! They even have a trait to amplify them too! As I mentioned in my overview, a lot of the elite specs have had utilities that don’t have much integration with the actual spec and you can just go core utilities and forget them but wells are refreshing. Visually as well? Just yes AAAAHHH I love the wandering purple/blue souls you see on the base of the well, they just give me so many aesthetics and they’re a really nice touch. Each well, as far as I can see, has a different animation too as to how you shadowstep. Well of gloom you submerge into the earth, Well of Bounty I think is the one where you swirl your hands then blink, it just has a lot of flavour visually for me! Well of Sorrow is my favourite by far; a great burst of conditions and you tend to have all conditions present so extra torment is great, especially with rune of tormenting, turning offense into more healing. Well of Gloom is a nice healing skill and gives AoE potence when supporting as a Specter that is very single target focused. Well of Tears feels like a filler well; this spec is one I can’t see working with power so strike damage on this is wasted, it feels like just an extra well to proc the trait mentioned shortly. Well of Bounty was really infuriating to try and test, so much so, I was not able to. I wanted to see how good it was at giving 5 target quickness but I couldn’t select certain boons on the special forces area because of the bug that wipes self applied boons when you have console boons too (arena net this was really sloppy not gonna lie, how are we supposed to properly test a boon support if the console is bugging our boons?). It is a nice concept, but really it’s going to be very niche when this provides stability and aegis so they won’t see much use and it giving might when having every boon is strange as literally everyone can puke might in the current end game environment. I just see this well’s usage as another alacrity provider when traited. Well of Silence I didn’t use when solo as I didn’t need to really but it gives me pseudo Darkrazor’s Daring vibes and I like that. It applies a lot of strong soft CC and also pulsing daze which will make specter even more of a defiance bar breaker than core thief (and core thief has a lot with just basilisk venom alone). Shadowfall I also never used, but from what I can gather it is a really strong hard CC skill, great for like WvW bombing I would say. I do wonder its viability against basilisk venom in PvE but nevertheless, a strong elite skill! 

 

When traiting Traversing Darkness, with just 45% boon duration you can run three wells and keep up 100% alac if you keep an eye on your cooldowns properly. 55% allows for 6 and ½ second durations which lets you slowly wrack up more alacrity making it easier. Wells have a strong presence in specter and if you want to give a luxury boon they have importance which I like. Well of Bounty could be tweaked to make it more usable for its boon component, Well of Tears will probably only be used as a support well which defeats its offensive purpose by nature but if these wells did not change, I wouldn’t be mad so I won’t make any suggestions on them later on.

 

Traits

These are probably some of my favourites out of all nine of the elite specs for me. There is a clear path of really leaning on that single target support, an offensive condition damage dps line and then AoE potential through the bottom row which I really like. Before I saw the traits in the stream I did think “oh no this is just going to be like a 2v2 or WvW support because it has no AoE” but that has been debunked for me. One trait seems a little too good to be true, I won’t lie and I am expecting it to be adjusted. Consuming Shadows can cap barrier INSTANTLY on your sub group and it isn’t even gated by the fact shadow force builds up slowly as I always had a very strong stream of shadow force when I was testing this in the open world, duoing with a friend. Running 1/1/1 on condition solo worked beautifully and Strength of Shadows has a lot of defensive value too as you wrack up a lot of unique conditions on foes: torment, bleed, poison, slow, cripple to name a few. Shadestep also has potential for great interactions where you can cap your own barrier with siphoning an enemy and stealth attacking and then shadow stepping it to your allies for just crazy barrier up time. Traversing Darkness’ shadowstep healing has amazing interaction with Shadow Savior for big healing on your shadowsteps. Rot Wallow Venom is a really nice spec-specific buff as well and I cannot thank you enough for making it specter’s condi/expertise based as it means we can be this sort of aggressive dps healer support instead of a generic half-afk healer than presses 3 buttons and heals everyone to full (not literal, but you get the idea of how this plays different to something like a hfb). Traits as a collective give me a nice spread of everything I would want/need depending on how I want to play Specter.

 

Alacrity concerns

I will do this again in my Mechanist’s eventual feedback, but I have seen a lot of talk about this and wanted to add my input. Something worth knowing, I main alac mirage and alac renegade and if I can, I like to play them roles over against any other in fractals/raids. Wells will only give 5-man alacrity, whereas there is the foreboding issue that alacrigade and mirage give 10-man and it will beg the question for a lot of people of “why even bother with alac on a heal/support specter? Just go renegade.” Something needs to be done with these two mentioned roles; I feel buffing Specter and Mechanist to 10-man is just destructive and making more specs broken to accommodate two specs doesn’t sound right. Most boons are 5-man, so let's keep it that way. People will probably scream at this, but nerf Righteous Rebel to 5-man and make Chaos Vortex give 5-man alac (and 5-man might?) so that new specs have a space to breathe and be visible and that we have more options to fit that field too.

 

Support/healing

I did more testing with a friend today, and I will split this into two sections in a way. When I was duoing with him in the open world, we could face-tank so much damage and he didn’t even drop below 90% health due to all the barrier in most cases. I didn’t even have to go with defensive traits or gear, this was full celestials with tormenting runes. I could do really good damage and also give him a lot of healing with my general rotation of abilities which feels really good and I could kite around in higher pressure situations and pump auto attacks and Twilight Combos into him to just make any dangerous situation negatable. The healing from Twilight Combo and Shadow Shroud is very strong too even with a mainly damage focused setup which just feeds my fantasy further of an aggressive damage healer.

 

On the flip side, their group play I do have concerns about right now just with a few of the issues they have. Measured shot having odd shadowstep plus its target cap not having player priority makes the boons from Endless Night a little wasted. The 5-man alacrity I am okay with, given my previous header. With fixes on Measured shot and its priority adjusting, I am sure their support play would be a lot better but right now it seems to be a little rough and that your barrier/boons on Endless Night will just give it to anything that moves which isn’t great.

 

Positives

 

General

  • - I have to give kudos to the visual and soundscaping department for this spec. They make me feel so happy to play this spec and the visuals/sounds really link to that vibe of the Specter shifting through shadows and using them to destroy their opponent or buff their allies. The ally tether beam for me looks so beautiful too, I sometimes forget to fight as I'm just staring at it lmao.

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  • - A strong solo class, even with a few shroud healing issues. The sheer amount of strong soft CC you have lets you break defiance bars regularly for the 100% increased damage interval and it can cause some tougher mobs to just lose about 17/18% of their health in 3 seconds which is huge. For context I was able to solo with ease:

Verdant Brink: Frog trio hp, golem hp, vampire trio hp

Auric basin: Mushroom king hp, arrowhead hp, tengu group hp, vinetooth hp, chak lobber hp, tarnished sage hp, tarnished traitor event and balthazar champion event.

Bounties: Legendary Smoldge (although I want to try and test against other Legendaries too)

 

- A lot of solo potential does come down to user input but some specs just don’t allow for easy soloing at least but Specter does for sure!

  • Decent damage when solo too; I have a standard for solo builds where if I can hit 10k condi ticks then it’s strong and I saw on multiple occasions that I hit 10k torment ticks.

 

Sustain

  • - The barrier output is really good without even traiting into it and you can push it further with Shadestep. It has a lot of healing through tormenting runes (not a class mechanic I know but this spec works so well with it). This will only be better with my shroud suggestions/fixes.

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  • - Ally barrier and sustain is even better too, especially with the correct traits. Your shadow steps will be healing for a considerable amount and your on demand barrier is also really nice too.

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  • - I have to stress again, I LOVE the vibe of a combat healer; where I am literally healing through fighting in Shadow Shroud.

  • Once you get used to swapping between enemy and ally targeting, you will be able to master such a rewarding ebb and flow of swapping between ally to support them and then to enemy to do extra damage.

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  • - You have an on demand shadowstep that you’d use in an offensive rotation or to support allies and when traited through Specter/Shadow Arts this shadowstep will cause a lot of extra healing. 

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  • - I was able to keep me and a friend alive on ‘moderately threatening’ pulsing damage in the special forces area with full celestial and tormenting runes so there is a lot of potential in this spec for healing without needing to go full support stats, still allowing for this play style of an aggressive damage healer.

  • Shadestep giving revival potential is great too, especially as Siphon is on a lower cooldown when you target an ally.

 

Boons

  • - They can give 5-man alac, 100% easily with four wells or with three wells with 55% boon duration. As mentioned you can drop to 45% but then your wells equate to 20 seconds of alac and your wells are on 20 second cooldowns (16s with alac) so you have to be very observative to keep a track of your cooldowns to use them as soon as they come up again. I was testing this without quickness so it would be easier with that active.

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  • - I do believe they could give 5-man and maybe even more (I want to say 9-man if you position right) quickness/regen with Endless Night once the shadowstep and priority issue is sorted. You give 20s plus regen/quickness with about 45% boon duration so you could do this on three different allies in your sub and keep it up quite easily and even try to make use of Well of Bounty to get a pulse of quickness to make it easier on yourself.

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  • - Permanent vigor/swiftness and fury to your sub through Thrill of the Crime and Bountiful Theft. Their might generation is severely lacking to a sub group though. Shadow Sap gives solid single target might, but that is about it.

 

Damage

  • - I obviously haven’t dps tested it with the correct gear and all boons but I’ve heard like late 30k (38/39k) as a last line on condi benchmarks and as I mentioned it has strong damage when solo too and that is good enough for me.

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  • - Even a heal/support focused specter will have great damage, especially in sub group context due to AoE barrier so even more Rot Wallow venom application which will scale with the Specter’s condition damage/expertise.

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  • - When solo, you don’t even need to trait into anything defensive, not from my testing anyway so you can get full damage traits which makes it a very potent solo’er.


 

Negatives (suggestions)

Please don’t misinterpret these as me bashing the class, a lot of them are very minor tweaks, not massive aggressions with the spec 🙂

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  • - With it having good damage, I do feel it’s ramp up time is quite slow. From my solo testing at least, it can take a bit to get going unlike some condi specs that can still mow down mobs. Part of it might come down to the fact this spec plays with very little strike damage whereas some condition specs have decent base strike damage values on skills. Not really a “fix this” just thought I’d mention it for those considering Specter.

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  • - The auto attack chain can feel a little clunky and sometimes it doesn’t let me Siphon when I’m mid animation on an auto attack and I know most auto animations can be cancelled (obviously not the best to do so but they can be) so it’d be good if this was flushed out so it doesn’t feel as janky. Also I found myself hardly using the auto attack because I felt no reason to. Maybe slightly increase the damage numbers of the torment so it feels useful to auto attack a little more in between dual attack spam.

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  • - Shadow sap needs some better uses. The weakness on the offensive strike is not that useful; this spec has a cluster of torment so it wouldn’t be too far fetched to shift some torment damage off the dual attack and put it into Shadow Sap. Its ally targeting needs something more too. Literally just a base increase on the barrier would be good enough.

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  • - It might be because scepter has a three auto chain, but you do not see its stealth attack tooltip listed when you hover over the auto attack. Not really game breaking, but worth a mention.

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  • - Twilight Combo was giving me the swiftness despite it saying it gives swiftness and barrier on the ally targeting so that would suggest it should give the ally the swiftness and not me.

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  • - Measured shot, this is really odd sometimes. It appears to me at least that when I use this when standing on top of my ally it just shadowsteps me miles away from the ally which doesn’t make any sense. Also, as I’ve stated before, it has no priority so it will give anything in the beam’s path, the boons and barrier instead of ally priority. This needs to be fixed to make this viable for support/healing Specters.

    • A bit of an experimental suggestion, so it is safe to ignore this, make the boons pulse off your target, still three target cap but then it’ll be easier to give the boons to all three targets without positioning the beam.

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  • - I have been having an absurd amount of invalid path issues with siphon, scepter skills and wells too. Wells I get more so as sometimes ground targeting can be a little off but the siphon issues I don’t understand. I have sometimes been on a rock just underneath my friend and been able to auto him just fine, but not siphon him despite it not being a shadowstep to them anymore? I feel the game is registering siphon as a shadowstep still from its core counterpart steal when you target an ally not on the same level as you. It is the same with Shadow Sap and Twilight Combo/Endless Night sometimes, they are ranged abilities but have invalid path issues despite the auto attack working just fine from the same location. I don’t know if it is something that is really fixable but I wanted to mention it all the same.

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  • - Shroud-ehhhh, I love it (so god kitten much AAA) but it has a few issues.

- Firstly, rune of tormenting doesn’t work with torment applied while in shroud. As I mentioned beforehand, Shadow Shroud is like Harbinger’s Shroud in the sense that it doesn’t replace your health so I feel you should be able to heal off torment applied in Shadow Shroud. Also I feel like utilities should be usable inside Shadow Shroud. Again, it isn’t the same shroud as something like Reaper’s for example. You have no extra sustain in Shadow Shroud right now so being able to use utilities would be great! It isn’t too much of a stretch either, Holosmith has Photon Forge which is basically just there for extra damage and they can use utilities inside this form.

 

- A lot of the shroud abilities I feel are easily cancelled; this can be latency related a lot of the time but for some reason, I feel this more so with Shadow Shroud skills.

 

- Not so much of an issue anymore, but some might argue Dawn’s Repose has the same issue as Willbender virtues where you dash through your foe so the skill feels it could potentially not be used properly. I don’t find many issues with it though, but thought I’d mention it in case others might think of it that way.


 

Conclusion

To sum up, Specter is a specialization that is truly unique in what it provides. It is a fun way to support and bolster allies while also being a very big stretch away from a conventional thief which is a refreshing use of “breaking class systems” that Arenanet said they were doing with these specs. It has some flaws, but those flaws can be easily fixed and ironed out. At the core foundations of the spec, Specter feels very promising to me! (Again I will say this here as I found it out after initially writing this, that action cam issue with the spec NEEDS to be ironed out). 

 

Thank you for reading my feedback! 

cant read your text, change to white color as default...looks like you made it all black.

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15 hours ago, Za Shaloc.3908 said:

Just have to follow up with another comment that the more I play this spec, the more I like it. There's a lot of little intricacies to it that are so enjoyable and it is nice having a spec with a lot of complexity behind it.

Yea, I found it to be the opposite Harbinger which looked really strong and fun initially, but after playing around and really putting it through the wringer for a couple of hours there is just not much there and more and more shortcomings come to light, as well as everything being passive and non interactive. 

 

Specter in turns feels fairly limited and clunky early on (and due to bugs atm), but once you figure out all the Trait and skill interactions you come to realise more and more how kind of broken this spec actually is in how much it can do and how well, and bugs aside, it becomes more and more fun.

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After playing more of Specter, there really needs to be bindings for party members, or a pop up and drag menu for the single target support.  Targeting with the mouse is just unrealistic in large scale chaotic content and feels bad even in small scale.  Mouse over macros and such can work theoretically with the party UI but I don't think the GW2 UI has that functionality.  Making it usable with Action Camera would also be a smart choice, as I know its been mentioned several times in the thread already, but a lot of people use Action Camera for enjoyment or due to physical issues and it is unfortunate that using it basically precludes us from playing the class.

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The new skills don't function well with action cam. Some just don't work and others don't track properly and easily miss their target. Which is a real shame. If this gets fixed I could see myself really enjoying it. Aside from that their skills feel a bit too slow for the snappy play style of the thief. So that could be adjusted. Most my issues are with FEEL and not with the skills or mechanics. It doesn't feel good to use at the moment since my preference is action cam.

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Unpopular opinion, I'm sure, but...  This was probably the single best opportunity to provide a focus as an elite weapon, and you blew it!  Would have added to the character without feeling like a mesmer copy, and would give you 5 new skills instead of the typical 2 for off-hand.  Probably the only elite spec where getting an off-hand wouldn't feel like lost potential.  Oh well, I don't expect many to agree with me, but that's my two cents.

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Super fun to play, but feels like a bit of a missed opportunity for other weapons to have ally-capabilities. It's so cool that the scepter has different abilities if they're targeting an ally, but it could also be great if other weapons such as pistols, daggers and swords could do things for allies as well. For example; hitting an ally with the skills applies some sort of boon or barrier, but only if they are attacking it. It makes it feel like the Scepter is completely mandatory for the build to work as intended.

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I really think the visual effect for Shadowfall need to be toned down. A few people in my discord group are getting motion sickness from the visual warping. We had similar issues one of Firebrand's abilities but it wasn't as much of an issue as these people rarely ran into the ability being used. I know this doesn't effect many people but it is quite extreme for some of those that it does.

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Here's Kitty's instanced PVE buildcrafter perspective:

For starters, condi build can be kinda nasty to play due to it's rotation keys (3 with scepter, 24 in shroud) but the damage is on par with other specs considering Spectre's lack of utility and super-aggressive playstyle it requires.

As support main, tether mechanic seems pretty useless due to being limited to just one ally. If it were "to allies around the tethered/targeted ally" (similar to how might from Deadeye's Fire for Effect trait works with marked enemy), it would be useful.

But then to main topic: thanks for finally giving us a heal build. In the past, Kitty's posted a few videos playing heal thief/heal deadeye and with Spectre's Traversing Dusk+Shadow Arts' Shadow Saviour traits Infiltrator's Strike (sword 2)+wells spam can do easily huge amounts of healing to work as competent healer while providing full alacrity for 5.

But. There's 3 issues about it.

1. It brings no defensive boons. Therefore classes that can provide them (esp. stab and aegis) stay as peoples' primary choice until healbrand is nerfed again. Healbrand's overshadowing all other heal specs with its ability to bypass 95% of nasty mechs/attacks.

2. It competes against alacrigade (and secondarily alacmirage) which provide 10-target alacrity and various super-useful utilities. That also makes it really difficult to make a squad (or to think of working comp even with Kitty's expertise in the topic) that would get any benefit from what spalactre has to offer as it'd require a quickness dps (chrono, scrapper, quickbrand, harbinger or catalyst) on heal spectre's sub AND either healer + chrono or similar sub as heal spectre's with a quickness+alac support combos. Now that we actually have bunch of options for both alacrity and quickness, it'd probably be a time to bring Renegade's and Mirage's alacrity back to 5-target when EoD arrives. Otherwise both spalactre and mechalanist won't be really be useful for 95%+ of people doing squad content. (Chrono's also living in same limbo atm) And it's not like alacrigade would suffer much as alacrigade still does better dps than other options due to sacrifices they require.

3. Lack of supportive boons and condiclenses for allies. You can provide Fury, Swiftness and Vigor through Trickery traits and alacrity through Traversing Dusk trait but remaining boons come through Well of Bounty. As such, Kitty has few suggestions to boon application order and durations.

1. Stability 2. Aegis 3. Regen 4. Protection (from 5s to 8s) 5. Resolution (from 4s to 6/8s) 6. Vigor 7. Swiftness 8. Quickness 9. Alacrity 10. Fury 11. Resistance 12. Might

If having stab and aegis that early sounds bad, gotta remember that if you want to provide aegis to begin with, it's against nasty hits and trying to time some random tick that mightn't happen to mech you know to come in 2 seconds sounds even worse. Also, Chronomancer already has freely targetable ranged Well of Precognition that provides Aegis 3 times, just for comparison.

But yeah. Fixing those 3 issues would make support Spectre (and Mechanist who also suffers from 2. as badly) useable in general squad compositions.

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After some more testing, especially of the healing specter, I have to admit that the spec is actually very well designed as a concept. Single target heal is definitely more healthy and interactive than the scourge/firebrand aoe spam. I think it will have its niche in the game.

 

One problem that does demand attention, in my opinion, is the general thief issue of having no CDs. This, in combination with the initiative system, usually renders spamming 1 ability more efficient than using all of your weapon abilities. Rifle Deadeye is suffering from the same problem, while the D/P Daredevil has more flexibility and a certain motivation to use all of his skills.

There are two possible solutions to this problem: 1. Add a CD, in the same way that Rev has a ressource and CD 

OR 2. Design the skills in a way that every ability is only situationally good and you have to use it with proper timing to get value. A good example is condi cleanse, which obviously only gives value, if your target is suffering from conditions. The current state of just providing barrier is bad, as it will always give value regardless of the situation.

 

The biggest offender is condi specter, as the "Deadly Ambition" Trait gives so much value on its own, you always want to use the #3 skill exclusively. This needs fixing or it will be extremely degenerate and stomp in lower Leagues of sPVP.

 

I would also like to add that I am not a big fan of having a shadow step on every single well. To balance this out, well CDs will have to be quite high. A 20 sec CD shadowstep is actually really powerful even without getting value out of the well and I noticed that several streamers used it just for the mobility.

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26 minutes ago, LucianDK.8615 said:

I am wondering if the Specter have much in dps potential

It does but only if everyone stacks up. If people scatter around (which they usually do in PuGs) or if you're by yourself then your damage potential drops significantly.

27 minutes ago, LucianDK.8615 said:

or will forever be relegated to healbotting?

The answer to that is yes because even if you want to go full DPS your best damage still comes from RV. To put things into perspective they could flat out double the amount of torment enemy targeting applies and ally targeting would still have better dps potential.

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5 minutes ago, Tails.9372 said:

It does but only if everyone stacks up. If people scatter around (which they usually do in PuGs) or if you're by yourself then your damage potential drops significantly.

The answer to that is yes because even if you want to go full DPS your best damage still comes from RV. To put things into perspective they could flat out double the amount of torment enemy targeting applies and ally targeting would still have better dps potential.

RV?

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