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Thank You ANet - Hoping the rest comes soon.


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With the changes to SA announced - specifically Shadow Rejuvenation - the first step in actually fixing this class's play patterns and balance nightmare is largely addressed.  As much as I feel the need to chastise the timing as I've built a reputation on these boards for being a major critic of design decisions of the professions (especially when it comes to the subject of Shadow Arts, hearkening back to 2012), I'll give you this one:  It's better late than never, and SR will be in the best shape it's ever been.  Yes, I am eating crow as I've said in the past when I see changes like this occur.

That said, there's a lot of work to be done still.  SA being so prolific is the effect of too much hinging on SA's play pattern - the other core trait lines just aren't enough to keep thief afloat.

With these changes, the thief (in competitive) will be weaker than before.  DE will likely suffer most, and Daredevil will see hits to its D/P build in terms of performance due to lower initiative availability.  The play pattern changes are fantastic and a much-needed to make the profession more engaging to both play as and against.  But if thief was balanced numerically before based on these patterns, work needs to be done to offset what will invariably be a bit of a downtrend in performance in the competitive modes.

This isn't a list of what's needed in any particular order or completion, but the facets of the class that NEED to be changed and updated for the modern game, and have been super neglected for just too long.  It's a statement that what you've done here is an excellent start, but if the play rate and stats tumble, this needs to be the foundation of further changes, not something to revert backwards.  The rest of Core desperately needs work, especially if what upheld core thief is going to see a hit.

Still necessary steps to improve build diversity:

- Acrobatics Rework:  It's still loaded with 300s traits and can pretty much exclusively be played with Sword for the traits worth taking.  Give the thief its selfish evasive traitline across all weapon sets.  There's really not much else to say.  It's not breaking the game, but simply absent because it's broken in the way that doesn't really function.

- Crit Strikes damage boost:  Currently, CS is meant to be the crit and sustained DPS traitline, but gets outshone a bit too much in PvE (it's only marginally better than Trickery in Raids) and doesn't offer enough of anything to justify taking it in the PvP modes due to dependence on Trickery and an elite spec.  This line, for having absolutely zero utility, simply lacks major damage incentives.  The elite specs almost all provide more damage than this line, which really should be a cornerstone power damage/crit line across the builds.  This trait line should focus on big numbers and nothing but, as to keep its focus in scope for PvE as a cornerstone power line, but also incite enough extra raw damage to justify risking taking over a defensive trait line in the PvP modes as well.

- Death Blossom, D/D, and surrounding kit/trait identify:  D/D does not have an identity and suffers for it; its power build is nigh impossible to play in the competitive modes on its power option due to low damage and way too much vulnerability and poor mobility, whereas its condition build is either overpowered and easy or useless with little in-between.  Death Blossom needs real and better skill expression for its condition builds and significant mobility and/or simply more damage on its power builds.   This has to come with a rework to Death Blossom, and I think Cloak and Dagger can easily solve the damage problem by giving the skill an effect that increases the next attack's damage by a % modifier; this way, you don't have pre-rework Assassin's Signet D/P stealth thieves running around with huge damage and no way to tell when it's coming, P/D does not get an excess of vuln, and S/D can set itself up for neat combos with FS->Cnd->LS.  If CS is modeled to stack % modifiers, this also scales proportionately into how much someone invests into the assassin-style play.

- Trickery:  Trickery is required for all builds in competitive pretty much exclusively because of Preparedness.  Skills - like Infiltrator's Arrow - have been buffed and nerfed on the ASSUMPTION this traitline is taken.  Just make Preparedness baseline at this point.  There's so much extra good stuff in Trickery (i.e. Trickster, Kleptomanic, Sleight of Hand) that most builds already heavily-utilize that just normalizing initiative is a safe bet and opens some doors to more diversity if people really want to specialize.

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After reading the "leaks", I wouldn't expect anything more than whatever this patch is. Devs essentially admitted they know nothing are not familiar with the thief class and they can't make any real changes because of it, which actually explains a lot sadly.

Edited by Nomad.4301
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