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EoD Elite Spec Second Impressions and Feedback


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(I know this post is coming a bit late, but I’ve been swamped with finals and family stuff over Christmas and New Year’s)

 

With the final beta over, and many of the issues present in the first 3 either gone or worked on, it’s time to address the issues that still remain, or that weren’t improved upon enough, as well as let Anet know what we think they’re doing right, so that they won’t undo those changes, and will continue to move in the right direction, in areas where they’re doing well. If you’re reading this and you agree with my thoughts/feedback, please leave a like and/or comment to help it get more attention, and hopefully get Anet to notice. If you disagree with any of my thoughts/suggestions, please comment and share what you disagree with (in a constructive way though, don't just try and insult me, cuz that's a waste of everyone's time). Also, if you have your own ideas or feedback that you want to post or want Anet to see, I encourage you to post them in here too. I’m really curious to hear other peoples’ opinions on these specs, and I want to try and get as much feedback and impressions in one place as we can, in the hopes that if Anet does take notice of this thread, they might listen to some of our feedback.

 

In this post I’ll actually be starting with the specs that were most improved upon and/or are in the best spots, because it’ll be a lot easier to convince the devs not to undo good changes they’ve already made than it will be to convince them that they need to make changes to things that aren’t good.

 

So in order of best/most improved to worst/most needing improvement, here’s my feedback on the 9 Elite Specialisations of EoD:

 

Untamed:

I was incredibly impressed and surprised with how much the devs improved this spec. It went from being a steaming pile of hot garbage to one of the best or at least better specs in the beta. They fixed almost all of the issues it had and made it actually feel pretty decent to play. The biggest issue was of course how weak the pets felt, especially their Unleashed state. This was advertised as a pet-focused spec, after all, so it was incredibly disappointing that it felt like it was actually nerfing your pets. In the final beta though, they not only significantly improved the abysmal traits for the Unleashed skills but also fixed the issue of our pets not being able to use their regular skills while Unleashed, by making Unleash just a 1 second cool-down that could be toggled back and forth between at any time, making it so much easier and more convenient to just toggle in to use the Unleashed skills and then toggle back so the pet could use its regular skills. It made Unleashing your pet no longer feel like a massive nerf and gave you the best of both worlds. 

 

The other good change they made was adding the Unleashed Ambush skills, not only giving some benefits for Unleashing yourself on weapons other than hammer, but also creating some really good value for bouncing the Unleashed mechanic back and forth between you and your pet, which was something the trailer seemed to suggest would be a core part of Untamed. 

 

The only major thing I can think of that could still be improved is adding some synergies with the rest of the class, as well as perhaps a little more focus on delivering the “super pet” fantasy that the trailer promised. If Unleashed skills counted as Beast skills, this would fulfil both of those functions by giving them much more traitability and synergy with the rest of Ranger, while also giving you some unique and varied ways to give your pets more power. That said, I’m actually not even sure if a change like that is needed. Untamed already felt pretty decent in the last beta, so it’s hard to say if it even needs more power. I also wouldn’t want it to be too strong on release and then end up getting nerfed into the ground because of it. 

 

Also last but not least, I’m glad they didn’t ruin the Bunny Thumper build. I had fun with it in the first beta, and as far as I can tell, it seems pretty decent as is, and doesn’t seem to need any major changes.

 

 

Bladesworn:

This spec isn’t second on the list because it’s necessarily in a really good spot gameplay-wise, but rather because the changes Anet made to it are taking it in a really good direction, and are a marked improvement over its previous iteration. The changes to Dragonscale Defence were EXACTLY the direction Bladesworn needed to go in, to make Dragon Trigger more useable, and making Daring Dragon reset Dragonscale Defence’s cool-down when you re-enter Dragon Trigger was the perfect way to ensure it would be a viable and useable grandmaster. I also personally liked the faster charge times for Dragon Slashes much better, even if it meant sacrificing a bit of damage. It reduces the time that you stay vulnerable and immobile, and increases your chances of successfully getting off your Dragon Slashes, and it also just flows a lot better in combat. Overall, I really feel like these changes are moving the spec in the right direction. That said, it still needs a fair bit of work. 

 

I was quite disappointed that they still kept pistol as a melee weapon. It’s a pistol for crying out loud, it should have range, especially since Warrior doesn’t even have any ranged offhand weapons at the moment, so it would be really nice to have pistol fill that role, and would also make it a more versatile weapon, while also preventing it from having to compete with offhand axe. I think 900 range would be best, so that it matches with other pistols as well as axe 3, since it pairs well with mainhand axe anyways, but if the devs feel like that’s too much range, 600 could probably work as well. 

 

Last but not least, I think the most important issue that Bladesworn is still facing is fragility. Even with the improvements, Dragon Trigger still doesn’t feel quite reliable enough or safe enough. You’re still incredibly vulnerable while sitting still like that, unable to dodge, and it’s also still not as easy as most of us would like to reliably get off a Dragon Slash. The stability from Dragonscale Defence definitely helps, but unless you’re only fighting one enemy at a time, there’s a decent chance that more than one of your enemies will have a disable, or may have a skill that disables multiple times, so you’ll still struggle to actually use your Dragon Slashes some of the time. Giving Dragonscale Defence a second stack of stability, but reducing the stability duration to 2.5 seconds might be a good way to deal with this issue (probably should only be done for PvE though), and would still give Bladesworns just long enough to charge up and Slash before it runs out. Now that Dragon Slash damage is lower across the board, I think it’s also time to give Bladesworns some more durability while in Dragon Trigger, to make up for the fact that they have to essentially break combat and just stand there to use it, unable to dodge or even use defensive or healing skills. This is also why I prefer the Dragon Slashes to be faster but less powerful, because it leaves more power budget for some much needed survivability. I’m not sure what form that survivability should take, damage reduction or sustain, but Bladesworns need some help surviving the pummelling they take while charging up their Slashes.

 

 

Harbinger:

I really loved the change they made to elixirs of allowing them to be thrown after being consumed. It brought them much more in line with Engi elixirs, which was the benchmark for elixirs, making them much more fun and interactive to use. I also really loved the fact that both elixirs and Shroud skills were given interactions with Blight, making the Blight itself a much more interactive part of Harbinger, like I’d advocated for in my first feedback post, after the original 3 betas. It gave it a more “Corruptions-like” feel and play style, which is absolutely the right direction to go with it, in my opinion. That said, they still need to do more work on it, going more in depth with the Blight interactions to make them unique to each of the elixirs, rather than just having them all increase the damage and condition duration. It feels very bland and boring, and doesn’t incentivise you to prioritise “spending” your Blight on one elixir over another, depending on your situation, which should be how it works. Same goes for the Shroud skills. They just apply extra torment, rather than being empowered in unique ways that would encourage you to prioritise using your Blight for one over the other, to suit your needs. It’s definitely a step in the right direction, and I applaud and encourage it, but they need to go further to make it a truly good spec.

 

I do really really love what the elixir changes have done for boon Harbinger though, and I can’t wait to play it when EoD comes out. It feels like the most complete and well put together trait line in the spec, and Anet have now solved the problem of Blight not benefiting the boon/elixir play style at all, which is part of the brilliance of the direction they’ve gone in with the Blight interactions with elixirs, and once it’s had some more work done on it, I think it’ll really shine. One thing I’d really love to see is Blight affecting some of the durations of the boons the elixirs give, either as a baseline effect or (and this would probably be the better option) through one of the middle line traits.

 

One change that they made in the last beta that I think was for the worse, however, was the removal of consuming life force for healing. Even with Blight being removable now, Harbinger is still quite squishy compared to other Necro specs. Without their shroud being able to absorb damage for them, Harbingers have very few survivability tools, and the life force converting into healing helped mitigate that. I think that without some degree of extra survivability to make up for the lack of a damage absorbing style of shroud, Harbingers will struggle to compete with the other Necro elites or even core Necro. If the issue was that it was too much of a drain on life force, then they could add a bit more life force gain into the class to compensate. We already have Corrupted Talent (gain life force when entering shroud) to help with that a bit, and they could also add some life force generation to the pistol autos perhaps. It would give Harbinger a bit of a more unique feel as a spec that wants to collect and spend life force rapidly, and would also give us more of a reason to take pistol over sceptre beyond just the stun. In all of my time playing Harbinger, I never really used the pistol much beyond my initial testing to see what it was like, and I have a feeling I’m not the only one.

 

The last thing that still needs to be worked on in Harbinger is the trait lines, especially the power line. What are you trying to do with it, Anet? What do you want it to accomplish? These are the questions the devs need to think about, if they’re going to turn it into something useful and worthwhile. Right now it’s just a worse version of Reaper, and making it stronger so that it can be a better version of Reaper is a terrible idea, because then Reaper would become obsolete. If they’re going to keep it as a power focused line (which I don’t actually think they should necessarily restrict themselves to), then it needs to “do” power in a different way from Reaper. It could have more evasion, more cc, more healing, maybe boon ripping or corruption, etc. Whatever the devs choose though, it needs to have a clear focus/play style that sets it apart from Reaper as a power spec/line, so that it won’t always be trying to compete with it. If you want raw power damage, you take Reaper, if you want… whatever they decide to make top line Harbinger focus on, then you’d take top line Harbinger.

 

 

Virtuoso:

I already quite enjoyed most of the top trait line for Virtuoso when I played its first iteration, and now I think they’ve more or less perfected it and made all 3 top traits fit incredibly well together. The change to Psychic Riposte was the perfect change to make it the best grandmaster to partner with the other top line traits, instead of Infinite Forge, which is what I had been using in the first beta, and the added regen on Duelist’s Reversal gave it that little bit of extra sustain that it needed.

 

The other 2 lines, however, still need a decent amount of work. They’re both still trying to compete with Chrono and Mirage for power and condi damage, and that’s not going to be healthy for the game no matter how those lines are balanced. They’re either going to be too weak to be worth using, when you could just go power Chrono or condi Mirage, or they’ll be buffed until they overshadow power Chrono and condi Mirage, and render those builds obsolete. Either way it’s gonna suck. What they really need to do, much like with the power line of Harbinger, is to figure out exactly what they want to do with these two lines. What do they want them to accomplish? Personally I think they should continue and expand upon the duelist theme that they perfected with the top line, albeit in different ways for each other line. I don’t have too many detailed thoughts on how they might go about doing that though, only that each one should be distinctly different from the others, so that they each feel unique to play. Also Phantasmal Blades definitely needs to be replaced with something actually useful. 

 

One idea I had for the power line is that it could perhaps be focused on lifesteal/healing from your damage. It would be a different style of duelling than blocking through Bladesong timing, but it could still be fun and could also be tied into Virtuoso directly by having it be your Blade skills specifically that heal you. I also like the idea of keeping the range threshold from Mental Focus, except changing it to healing instead of damage. You could heal for 10% of your Blade skill damage on foes within the range threshold. It would give power Virtuoso more of a melee/close range focus, which would differentiate it from the top line, which I often played as a more long to mid ranged build. The middle trait that would replace Phantasmal Blades could focus on your Psionic skills (since there isn’t a trait for them yet), making them heal you for 20% of their damage on foes within the range threshold, in addition to reducing their recharged by 20%. As for Infinite Forge, I think the general idea isn’t too bad, but it needs a little something extra to make it actually feel like a grandmaster. Maybe you heal each time it triggers? And maybe striking foes within the range threshold with Blade skills would cause you to stock 2 Blades next interval instead of 1, which would also increase the healing? I dunno, I’m just spitballing here, but I think something like that could work for the power line. Oh, and last but not least, in order to open up more buildcraft for Virtuoso in general, as well as make a melee duelist playstyle easier for Virtuoso to fulfill, maybe they could make Sword skills count as Blade skills as well? That way you could use dagger and something else as your ranged weapon set, and then swords as your melee?

 

As for the condi line, I really have no idea. Its main problem is that it relies on Blade skills, which are all power skills. Having a power build focus on Blade skills is fine, because they already deal power damage, but for a condi build, it doesn’t make sense. None of the Blade skills inflict any damaging condis on their own, and all Jagged Mind does is just bring them up to the baseline level of existing Mesmer condi weapons. It’s kind of a “non-trait”, if you will. And worst of all, even with a lot of precision and perma-fury, it’s still hard to reach 100% crit chance or close enough, so you won’t even be triggering that bleeding with every hit. The extra bleeding damage you get from taking Bloodsong kind of makes up for that, but not really, and because Mesmer can only really apply bleeding reliably through Blade skill crits, the trait is keeping you reliant on using a bunch of power skills for your condi damage, as well as for your Blade stocking. Also Sharpening Sorrow is nearly useless. The expertise from fury is kinda nice, but you’ll rarely be able to benefit from it unless you take Dueling, which is ok for condi, but not the greatest. Yet… 

 

As I’ve been writing this though, it occurred to me that there’s actually a way to make Dueling synergise really well with condi while also creating a solid duelist type playstyle for condi Virtuoso: Blinds. By making Bladesongs apply blind, we could take advantage of Ineptitude (blinds apply confusion) from Dueling to create a great duelist playstyle similar to Virtuoso’s top line, but still unique in its own way, that would deal good and reliable condi damage. The focus on the bottom line could then be shifted away from bleeding and into something that Mesmer’s condi weapons already apply easily: confusion. The first trait could cause Bladesongs to apply blind, similar to how the top line’s first trait makes them give aegis. The second bottom trait could be left as is, since the expertise from fury will be quite useful when combined with the perma-fury from Dueling, and the grandmaster could be changed from stocking Blades from applying bleeding to stocking them from applying confusion. The increased bleeding damage could then be changed to a 33% chance to apply confusion on all crits (not just Blade crits), to keep crit and fury relevant to the build and to provide a consistent way to work on stocking up your Blades, even if you’re not on a weapon that can frequently apply confusion. The reason why it should be a 33% chance on crit instead of 100% is because it can apply on all crits, including weapons and skills that already apply their own condis, so 100% would be too much.

 

 

Mechanist:

To start with, it evidently needs to be highlighted that the Jade Buster Cannon (elite signet active) STILL isn’t working. I don’t know how or why Anet missed this, but it didn’t feel like it had been touched at all, in the last beta. In Mechanist’s first iteration, the elite would almost always miss unless the mech and its target were both on the flattest of flat ground, with absolutely no difference in elevation. Outside of those rare perfect circumstances, the Jade Buster Cannon would miss pretty much every time. It was basically unusable.

 

Now, on to the actual impressions/feedback part. I think Anet did a pretty good job trimming down on some of the excessive baseline strength of the mech, and tying it to specific trait and skill choices instead, to add some much needed trade-offs for those who wanted a super powerful mech. Tying Rocket Punch to mace 3 was a great way to not only add some weapon synergies, but it also gave us as the Mechanist control over when to use a valuable disruption/interrupt skill, which was fantastic. I was also really impressed with all the trait changes: cutting out precision as a baseline inherited stat, and tying it entirely to a trait instead, meaning you had to chose to give your mech your precision, sacrificing other trait options in order to do so; removing an extra offensive skill that the mech really didn’t need, and replacing it with a defensive one instead; and some general nerfs to overly strong traits in general, which they then compensated us for by allowing signet passives to benefit the mech, just like a Ranger with their pet, like I always said it should have been like. All in all, they did a great job of toning the mech down while still preserving its ability to be strong when the proper trait and skill choices and sacrifices are made. I especially liked the added passive on Shift Signet of allowing your mech to gain copies of your boons.

 

 

Spectre:

The reason Spectre is so far down on this list is not because I think it’s in a bad spot or anything, but rather the opposite. It’s because it hasn’t really been improved upon at all, since it doesn’t really need to be. It was already fantastic in the first beta, and now it’s gotten some well-needed nerfs to trim the excess “fat”, so to speak, but it’s otherwise in a great spot and probably ready for release as is. The devs made some great choices cutting down on its aoe healing without really hitting the thing that gives it its identity and value among the other support specs: its powerful single target healing. I don’t think it needs any more nerfs, but if the devs do decide to nerf it further, for whatever reason, they should continue to avoid hurting its single target healing. My recommendation (again, not that I think it’s needed), would be to target its survivability a bit, if they feel they absolutely have to nerf it, by hitting its shroud. If they go after the single target healing, they risk making it too weak to be worth picking when all the other healing specs in the game do so much more aoe healing.

 

 

Catalyst:

The only reason Catalyst isn’t at the bottom of this list is because it’s not based on what state each spec is in, but rather on how much it’s improved, and Catalyst… was technically improved… a bit. The Jade Sphere has become a decent bit less frustrating to use, although it still remains rather inaccessible, given how hard it is to build up energy for it. It feels like it’s something you should be using frequently as a normal part of your combat, but it takes so long to build up the energy for it that you rarely get to actually use it. The new way it works now is pretty decent, but they really need to make energy generation for it easier, so it can actually be accessible and a valuable part of your kit. The changes to the Augments are also a step in the right direction, shifting the “Sphere matching” benefits away from empowering the skill effects, to just affecting the recharge or duration. It allowed them to give the Augments their full power no matter what Sphere they were used in, which is progress, but they’re still very bland skills that aren’t all that useful or special, and have no meaningful synergies with anything else in the spec. The entire spec as a whole just feels like a very haphazard mess, hastily thrown together at the last minute, to be honest.

 

So let’s talk about what wasn’t fixed and still needs some serious work. The traits were barely touched at all, and they’re the biggest problem with the spec. I mean there’s an entire trait line that relies on you playing with an aura build Tempest for it to be even remotely useful. Not just playing with another player, but one who is specifically playing Elementalist, specifically running Tempest on that Elementalist, and even more specifically running an aura build in Tempest, on Elementalist, playing with you, all so that you’ll be able to get some meaningful value out of those aura traits. It’s ridiculous! It really feels like Anet had no idea what they wanted to do with the spec, which is really sad because there’s such an obvious answer that would be really fun and unique. 

 

I said it in my first feedback post and I’ll say it again: Catalyst should be a combo-focused spec. It would fit so perfectly with the name of “Catalyst”, and we already even used to have combo focused traits in the game. Warrior used to have a trait called Powerful Synergy which would double the effects of their combo finishers. That would be a fantastic trait for Catalyst. Engi also has a trait called Soothing Detonation, which used to heal nearby allies when you used a blast finisher. Catalyst itself even already has a trait that gives you an aura when you combo. Stuff like this is exactly what would make Catalyst interesting and unique, and give it its own identity in the game that would make it stand out not only from the existing Ele specs, but from every other class and spec currently in the game. We don’t really have any classes or specs that truly focus on combos yet, and it would be really fun and interesting to have one. It would also fit really perfectly with the new class mechanic of the Jade Sphere, since that’s literally an on-demand, customisable combo field. Catalyst could have one trait line focused on empowering its own combos, one trait line that focused on empowering allies’ combos, and the third one could stay as the all stats line, since Anet seems to like that concept, and I actually had some fun with it during the betas myself. If they wanted to be fancy, they could even have the traits give different benefits based on what type of field the combos were used in, and/or what type of finisher was used. Honestly though, anything would do. Just something combo focused to actually bring Catalyst together as a spec, and stop it from having to compete with Tempest and Weaver by trying to do the exact same things but worse. There are plenty of ways they could do it too. They could use my first suggestion of having one line affect your own combos, one line affect your allies’, and one line be all stats. Or maybe they could have one line affect blast finishers, one line affect leap finishers, and one line affect projectile and whirl finishers. There are plenty of possibilities, and anything will do, really. 

 

To that end, if a combo-focused spec is going to be a real possibility, they need to do some work on the hammer and Augment skills. I said it last time too, hammer needs more combo finishers. In order for it to actually work well with Catalyst and its Jade Sphere, especially if Anet actually does try to make it into a combo spec, each hammer attunement is going to need to have between 2-3 combo finishers, maybe with one or two attunements even having 4. Currently all the attunements only have one combo finisher except for water, which has 2. That’s just not enough to work with, for a combo-focused playstyle. I also think that all or most of the Augments should be changed to be combo finisher skills of some kind as well, with maybe one of them being a field instead. It would be a unique way to give them some more power, which they still need even after the changes in the last beta, and it’ll be exactly what they need if Anet does see sense and decide to go for a combo focus with Catalyst. Many of them would need some changes or tweaks to turn them into finishers, but I’m sure Anet can come up with something if they try.

 

 

Willbender:

Now we come to the specs that either barely improved overall, or actually got worse, starting with Willbender. I will say that they did make some good changes/improvements to some of the traits. I especially liked the changes to the adept major traits, which allowed for much more personalised customisation of the Willbender Flames. Same goes for the master major traits, other than the bottom one. Those changes gave us some nicely personalised customisation of the extra benefits we would get from triggering our virtues. The addition of a condition damage increase on Lethal Tempo, along with the new Searing Pact trait, were also great changes that made Willbender viable with condi as well, instead of just power.

 

That said, that’s about the extent of the positives of Willbender. For a spec that’s so heavily focused on its virtues, it had a ton of bugs and issues with virtue-related traits not working properly, which was quite disappointing. Power of the Virtuous doesn’t reduce the charge time of Flowing Resolve, no doubt an oversight when they turned it into an ammo skill. Normally I’d just assume it would be obvious to Anet, and that they’d notice and fix it without having to be told, but given how long Mechanist’s Jade Buster Cannon has been non-functional, I figured it was worth drawing attention to. Indomitable Courage also doesn’t affect the rate at which you get aegis from Crashing Courage. I’m not sure if this is a bug or just a design oversight, but it seems pretty obvious to me that it should reduce the number of attacks to trigger the aegis from 5 to 4, since there’s no longer a time interval for it to reduce. Last but not least, Absolute Resolve doesn’t increase any of the effects of triggering Resolve when you have Phoenix Protocol. Sure it doesn’t provide a flat heal anymore, but it still gives regen, and you should still be able to get some benefit for the passive from Absolute Resolve, otherwise Anet will be creating anti-synergies, just like with how Indomitable Courage has no benefit to the aegis generation of Crashing Courage. For a spec that focuses so heavily on its virtues, I think these kinds of anti-synergies are a serious problem. We already have Dwayna runes and Elder’s Respite, it seems pretty logical to just give Absolute Resolve an effect like that, for the regen from Phoenix Protocol. Either that or they could have it increase the duration of the regen and alacrity. That could be pretty interesting too.

 

I also noticed they actually created a targeted nerf for Shattered Aegis, when it’s used on Willbender. My wacky little Shattered Aegis build was the only real fun I had on Willbender, and it was really disappointing to see it get nerfed so substantially, when it wasn’t even that strong to begin with, especially since the Courage effect only lasts for 6 seconds, and on top of that, Mystic Rebukes can’t even crit. It just felt sad and unnecessary, and it’s just another example of an anti-synergy with traits, only this time it was inflicted on purpose, further limiting a spec that’s already not particularly interesting, diverse, or powerful.

 

The last thing to talk about with Willbender is the direction/theme of the spec. The devs initially didn’t seem to know whether they wanted it to be an assassin or a bruiser, and it’s unclear whether they’ve decided or are still trying to figure it out. Given how the changes to traits in the last beta put a more clear focus on trying to use and trigger virtues and their effects as much as possible, and getting lots of benefits and rewards from doing so, it seems like the devs are going for a playstyle that favours more drawn out fights, where you can continuously use your virtues and Willbender Flames, and the various effects and benefits they provide. In other words a bruiser playstyle, especially since 2 of the 3 virtues (or 3 of the 4, if you’re counting both charges of Resolve) are more defensive/sustain oriented. To be honest, I’m actually hoping this is their goal with Willbender, since this type of bruiser playstyle fits much better with their Physical skills, and it’s also a new and unique way of playing Guardian that doesn’t overlap or compete with the existing specs. With a few more adjustments to the virtues-related traits in the core specs, to make them work properly with Willbender, as well as a bit more work on Willbender itself, I think it could end up being a really fun and interesting brawler type spec.

 

 

Vindicator:

Vindicator is the only spec of the 9 that actually felt like it just got worse in the second iteration. Changing the dodges so that they all cost 100 endurance may have made Forerunner of Death (the damage focused dodge) more accessible, but it also took away our ability to have a dodge that still had a normal endurance cost. Now they all take a long time to recharge, and it feels really hard to evade enemy attacks adequately. It was already punishing enough to take away our second dodge, but having such high endurance costs on top of that is too much. I said it in my last feedback post, and I still feel the same way now, I think the best way to handle it is to nerf all the dodges a little and just have them all cost 50 endurance instead. I would much rather have a weaker dodge that I can use more often than a stronger one that I never have available often enough, and I think many other players probably feel the same way. That’s why I almost exclusively used Saint of zu Heltzer (the healing dodge) during the first beta, even though I was testing damage builds, because its normal 50 endurance cost made it the most accessible and made it possible for me to actually comfortably fight without always getting pounded while waiting for a long dodge cool-down. I’d honestly rather go back to the endurance costs of Vindicator’s first iteration than stick with what we got in the second iteration, because at least that gives us a dodge that’s as accessible as we’re so used to, even if it doesn’t deal damage. Alternatively, if they don’t wanna revert the dodge changes, but also won’t budge on making the more offensive dodges equally accessible, they could always change the costs to 50, 75, and 100, instead. That would be a good way to allow us to have some more accessible dodge options, while still keeping the offensive ones more “expensive”.

 

The other thing I didn’t like about the second iteration of Vindicator (although this is purely a matter of personal taste) was the Legendary Alliance skills no longer flipping back and forth. The interplay between the 2 legends of the Legendary Alliance Stance was the only thing that made those 2 legends unique, and that gave the Stance a distinct value when chosen over other Stances. We already have perfectly good damage stances and healing/support stances, both from core Rev and from its existing elite specs, and Archemorus and Saint Viktor don’t really offer anything new or unique… by themselves. It was the ability to use them together, as a “hybrid legend” or “dual legend” that gave them a unique place among the other legends. Now Anet has taken them from being a “dual legend” to just 2 separate legends that have nothing to do with each other, and will likely never be used together in the same build.

 

We’ve never had a hybrid legend or spec before that could do both damage and healing at the same time, and it would be really cool and interesting to see Vindicator deliver on that. It seemed to be what the devs were initially going for, despite not successfully achieving it in either beta. I’m assuming the reason they separated Archemorus and Saint Viktor was because people found it frustrating to have the skills flip back and forth, when they always wanted to ignore one or the other, but from what I experienced and heard from other people, that was only because the opposite Alliance member’s skills always felt useless to a build focused on the other one, since there was very little done to make the “hybrid/dual legend” idea work very well in the first place. 

 

If the skills were simply given more power by default (and balanced accordingly), so that they would still feel impactful no matter which legend you were more focused on, then players wouldn’t feel so much like it was mandatory to ignore one or the other. One change that would significantly help with that, as well as be a good foundation for making the hybrid (middle) trait line serve its purpose more effectively, would be to change Empire Divided to a conversion trait instead. If it converted power into healing power, and healing power into power and precision, then it would ensure that no matter what your build was, you’d still be able to have some scaling with both legends’ skills, and get some value out of using both of them together, instead of always feeling like you had to ignore one or the other. Another trait change that would help improve the hybrid line would be to improve or double down on the theme of Amnesty of Shing Jea. It’s a good idea, that helps emphasise the focus of each legend, but it’s not enough to actually make a hybrid playstyle viable. Splitting your build’s focus between damage and healing will naturally lead to lower outputs of both, and while a hybrid playstyle should never be able to quite measure up to the output of a build with a single focus, in any one area, it needs to be able to output enough overall to be worth using, otherwise there’s not much of a point to the middle line and the playstyle it’s trying to realise. To that end, I think adding a small aoe damage effect to Luxon (Archemorus) skills and a small aoe heal to Kurzick (Viktor) skills would go a long way in giving them a bit of extra output to help both sides feel meaningful in a hybrid build. This could either be added on to the functionality of Amnesty of Shing Jea or, if that would make the trait too powerful, it could instead replace Angsiyan’s Trust, since that trait isn’t too strong or useful for a hybrid playstyle to begin with.

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