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Firebrand's quickness mantra has some issues that are about to be exacerbated


Ostro.7359

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Someone suggested I repost this to the forums. The original post is on Reddit.

In its current state,
mantra of potence is a sticky issue in buildcrafting community. Using all charges of potence generates a solid 42.4% quickness uptime with 0% boon duration, but with a massive caveat. It requires four separate presses, two 1 second cooldowns, and a >2 second channel to just begin the cooldown for one skill. I'm sure you've seen a lot of complaints around about how that feels to play, but there's another issue. Any delay in those four button presses is multiplied by four, cutting pretty deeply into its quickness uptime. If the long mantra channel gets interrupted for any reason, the problem is even worse.
 
This meant that builds we initially recommended on the Snowcrows site with recharging straight up caused an epidemic of low quickness uptime in group content. It wasn't uncommon to see new players bring builds that weren't capable of 100% quickness before, but now even average players bringing builds that theoretically did 110%+ quickness were having issues left and right.
 
The obvious solution to this was to just change the build recommendations to not recharge potence mantra and use weighty terms. It's a small dps loss and you need a little more boon duration to do it, but it was a fair tradeoff. Experienced firebrands can deal with the slog of recharging multiple mantras and beginners can stick with one charge of potence at a time. This seemed pretty healthy, just like CMC and Roy predicted in the mantra rework livestream.
 
Today, we got a bit of a monkey wrench. Weighty terms no longer reduces mantra cooldowns, simultaneously nerfing the liberator's vow + mantra of solace combo and individual potence charges. This means that we'll need to decide whether to change the Snowcrows QB build to take almost 80% boon duration to keep using one charge or to go back to recharging but with more overcap than before. Neither is appealing. The former is both a big dps loss and a crit rate loss, interfering with radiant fire, another source of complaints I won't get into. The latter is a playstyle that gets a lot of hate from the community and it's not clear how much extra boon duration will solve the dropped quickness problem when we're considering player error. It's a divisive topic; do we put up the optimal build and tell people to get good, or is "reasonable" uptime higher than usual when a build is causing problems?
 
I'm not going to pretend to know the best solution when there are a lot of moving parts in skill balancing. Even simply giving mantras their CDR back would just bring back a workaround. I'll just condense the problems into a tl;dr that the balance team can consider possible solutions to, if any.
  1. recharging mantra of potence requires too many button presses before one cooldown begins
  2. a lot of quickness is lost if those four presses aren't as fast as possible
  3. recharging mantras takes too long and leaves you vulnerable
  4. not recharging mantras was a reasonable alternative, but it took two hits in the livestream today
  5. opting for not recharging will require a lot more investment into boon duration, decreasing its appeal
  6. I didn't mention this before, but opting to not recharge mantras also leaves the possibility of accidentally using the last charge, causing some frustration.
 
 
Thanks!
Edited by Ostro.7359
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I play mantras both ways, blasting through some and tapping a single charge on recharge for others, and agree with everything in this post. Spamming charges just feels way too clunky having to press the same button multiples times in succession for the same effect. Holding the last charge plays better but feels wasteful, punishes mistakes more, and is harder to build. This feels anti-intuitive.

The core problem is that for some mantras, notably Potence and Flame, there is always going to be a numerically superior option. Doing it the other way is just going to be worse, with no benefit. Every time. They mentioned during the mantra revert that they wanted the choice to use the final charge to be a strategic decision. There is no strategic decision the way they are designed. Only an option that feels poor to play, and a worse option.

If Anet wants to address the problem at its core, they need to balance mantras around using a single charge as needed for the desired effect. Using the final charge has to provide something different or timely to be meaningful. More quickness that people already expect to be up 100% is not anything different or timely, or fun for that matter. More burning while chasing higher DPS is not anything different or strategic.

Solace, Lore, Truth, and Liberation are fine, conceptually, because their final charge effects are more situational, and thus useful in timely situations. I'd like to see Potence and Flame given this treatment. Flame's final charge could add blind and daze, but cause less damage. Potence could add extra might, fury, and vigor, but not as much quickness. Then you have strategic choices to burn the final charge or not.

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The future nerf of "Weighty Terms" is worrying me about the quickness uptime.

I guess HFB could adapt by taking "Stalwart Speed" trait instead of "Weighty Terms", and use some aegis build like mace-shield...

I cannot see any future for qFB, other than taking more boon duration concentration (more Ritualist ? more Diviner ? yikes)... which will reduce the DPS that had been nerfed already.

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Hrrmn. If this isn't just going to be a case of 'nobody's going to believe PvE firebrand is no longer OP until it goes the way of sPvP firebrand', a possible solution to the problem could be to increase some of the quickness durations. Increase the ICD of the quickness traits to match the mantra recharge again, but increase the base duration by half a second. And possibly increase the base duration of MoP too.

Mind you, I do like the proposal to have the final charge do something different instead of just being a more potent version of the other charges.

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