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Let's fix Lightning Orb


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With the upcoming expansion Secrets of the Obscure every class will be able to undergo Weapons Training to gain access to elite specialization weapons without having the spec equipped. This, as pointed out directly by anet in their marketing, is going to allow for a wide number of new build combos to enter the game. Now that we've gotten out of the beta we've seen that there will be several new interesting combos that will likely become the new meta. Some performed well enough that people are already predicting that they will be severely nerfed prior to the expansions release to avoid overpowered builds entering the game. For elementalist sword/warhorn is that combo, and I want to talk about solutions now that will help preserve it without adding to the games power creep.

So first lets talk about the combo and why its being assumed that it will be nerfed to the core of the earth. Simply put when combined with either the Weaver of Catalyst the numbers first being reported out of the beta were off the charts; Snow Crows discord had more than one tester report back bench's at 50k dps. For a game where the average dps is ~40k, the current highest is 43k, and the balance teams statements and actions show that's the upper range they want its clear that a 50k is not going to make it into the game long term. Some people will point to sword as part of the problem, but given that it is the weapon generating the current top benchmark anet is clearly ok with where it is at. It's only when combined with the powerful skills of warhorn, particularly Lightning Orb, that it becomes over powered.

So if that weapon is adding 10k dps to a class the obvious answer is lets nerf it. But in this case that is the wrong answer, because the problem isn't being framed right in the first place. That 50k bench that everyone is excited about IS ONLY ACHIEVABLE ON HUGE HITBOXES because of Lightning Orb. Lightning Orb is a unique skill that launches a projectile forward and rapidly hits targets when in range. This means it can hit anywhere from 1 to 42 times depending on the target, vastly changing the amount of damage it will inflict on a target. Huge hitboxes, which are rare in actual game scenarios, that will take all 42 hits will see bloated and unrealistic logs. Normal and small logs that were done during the beta on the other hand were clocking in at ~44k dps, a new high to be sure but not ground breaking compared to the current high of 43k.

I point all this out because Lightning Orb isn't going to work in its current form, but a basic numbers reduction will not resolve the issue. Any number they nerf Orb to that makes it acceptable for huge hitboxes will make it unplayable in any other scenario. This is unacceptable given that said scenarios make up the fast majority of content in the game. Instead Anet needs to look to redesigning the skill, something like capping the number of hits per target or making it function like Barrage. Warhorn is a fun weapon that could provide a lot a unique build options for elementalists in the future, and Lightning Orb is a key skill that makes it that way. It would be a shame to see the weapon get sent to the garbage because of a benchmark that is not even possible in most scenarios. 

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  • 1 month later...

Well RIP to this endeavor.

Lightning Orb: Reduced the number of projectiles fired per interval from 2 to 1. Increased power coefficient from 0.36 to 1.0. This skill now deals 10% less damage on each subsequent hit against the same target, down to a minimum power coefficient of 0.05.

I haven't played with it yet, or seen any concrete  numbers from SnowCrow types, so we'll have to see if this a nerf that brings LO in line with the meta or takes it into unusable territory.  

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On 8/23/2023 at 1:02 PM, crosknight.3041 said:

i absolutely HATE the "this skill now deals 10% less damage on each subsequent hit against the same target", it gutted meteor shower, now it's gutting lightning orb. there are so many other ways they could have changed lightning orb instead of giving it that death kiss

warhorn isnt gutted tho, its most likely still the best offhand weapon ele has, it just prevented ele from beeing overly dominant with almost 60dps. Weaver and cata are still at 44k or something and are the dop dmg builds if we ignore the outlier scourge (that will be brought back in line next month)

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After getting almost a week with the new version of Lightning Orb I have to say its fine. I admit the diminishing return effect is not my favorite thing to see in balancing, but the buff they gave to the initial strikes is more than enough to keep it competitive. Ultimately that is what I wanted in the first place, to have Lightning Orb have a place in the meta but not just be uber strong on large bosses. This change keeps it competitive in the meta, likely BiS for any boss that doesn't move too much for condi and power builds, and is roughly as effective on small bosses as it is on large ones. Overall I'm fine with where the skill has ended up. 

Edited by thetwothousand.5049
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On 8/25/2023 at 11:41 AM, Horus.9685 said:

warhorn isnt gutted tho, its most likely still the best offhand weapon ele has, it just prevented ele from beeing overly dominant with almost 60dps. Weaver and cata are still at 44k or something and are the dop dmg builds if we ignore the outlier scourge (that will be brought back in line next month)

So lets talk about the big problem here.

 

Hit boxes!

 

A normal enemy can be hit 14 times. The bigger the mob, the more hits, the maximum is 42 times.

This is especially strong for very large mobs, e.g. bosses. And there, yes, it is devastating and especially when having a hard-hitting-build such as weaver. So far, so understandable, but:

 

We got the same trouble with skills such as meteor shower, or, to be more precise, any skill which is being AoE-related and is based on hitting an actual enemy. For example something like the barrage skill isn't counting to that principle. It hits 12 times, has a maximum amount of targets, meaning 5.

The only problematic skills are those having exactly those points as related before. But instead of putting them all at the same level, for example giving hits per second instead of a total hit count or so, which is related to the hitbox and exactly the problem here, elementalist skills get gutted (and yes, I mean gutted) to the point of being useless for the builds they are intended to, while trying to keep the balance for other builds.

 

It isn't the first time that such discussions occured.

And always, Anet "fixes" skills while ignoring the underlying problem. And the problem here is exactly those AoE-related skills. Why not give lightning orb an AoE attack which does damage for every second or so instead of actual projectiles and stuff? Why make an easy matter overly complicated and now people have to do a phd in math to calculate a precise dps output of a simple skill in an mmorpg?

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1 hour ago, DaKillaOfHell.5907 said:

So lets talk about the big problem here.

 

Hit boxes!

 

A normal enemy can be hit 14 times. The bigger the mob, the more hits, the maximum is 42 times.

This is especially strong for very large mobs, e.g. bosses. And there, yes, it is devastating and especially when having a hard-hitting-build such as weaver. So far, so understandable, but:

 

We got the same trouble with skills such as meteor shower, or, to be more precise, any skill which is being AoE-related and is based on hitting an actual enemy. For example something like the barrage skill isn't counting to that principle. It hits 12 times, has a maximum amount of targets, meaning 5.

The only problematic skills are those having exactly those points as related before. But instead of putting them all at the same level, for example giving hits per second instead of a total hit count or so, which is related to the hitbox and exactly the problem here, elementalist skills get gutted (and yes, I mean gutted) to the point of being useless for the builds they are intended to, while trying to keep the balance for other builds.

 

It isn't the first time that such discussions occured.

And always, Anet "fixes" skills while ignoring the underlying problem. And the problem here is exactly those AoE-related skills. Why not give lightning orb an AoE attack which does damage for every second or so instead of actual projectiles and stuff? Why make an easy matter overly complicated and now people have to do a phd in math to calculate a precise dps output of a simple skill in an mmorpg?

But they didn't do that this time, which is why warhorn is still going to be a good pick, best pick a lot of the time. They more than tripled the initial damage of strikes but slowed the speed of hits and put a cap. So it's actually better now on smaller hitboxes where it used to be quite bad, and on large hitboxes that eat every hit its no longer an absurd DPS outlier like it was. Sitting at 42-44K for dps is great and that what warhorn puts you at.

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