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Pistol - How to Drastically Improve It as Easily as Possible


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Let's be real, it's highly unlikely the pistol will be completely redesigned. I think that Anet will choose to make the changes to pistol that have the most benefit for the least amount of effort.

HERE IS THE SIMPLEST IMPROVEMENT TO PISTOL: Make all pistol auto attacks fire three times faster, but do a third of their effects.

Anet sped up the auto attack of engineer rifle, and it feels SOOO much better to use. 

The pistol auto attacks aren't projectile finishers, thus speeding up the attack rate but lowering damage/effects won't change DPS.

Having a pistol which shoots rapidly is so much cooler. It feels more powerful, and it makes the skills far less clunky to use. 

Engineer rifle feels so much better to use simply by speeding up it's auto attack.

TL;DR: Skip to "Reducing projectile effects" below if you don't want to read all the issues. I think "Reducing projectile effects" are some of my best suggestions.

Further issues with pistol:

  • The "bullet" theme is lame. Elementalists should be shooting lightning bolts, fireballs, ice shards, and large rocks.
  • The visuals make the gun feel like a pea shooter. I want to shoot awesome elemental effects, not pathetic little projectiles.
  • Audio: Please no gunshot noises! The gunshot noise is so mundane and repetitive. Instead, just use elemental noises; fire, water, ice, lightning, wind, earth. Gw2 has numerous sound effects for these elemental effects. Take an existing sound effect and just modify it so that it sounds unique and weighty. People do that with music samples all the time.
  • Too many projectiles! Elementalists can't weapon swap. Being stuck using a projectile only weapon in PvP and WvW suuucks. In PvE, single target projectiles are boring.
  • It's too hard to tell when a bullet is stocked.
  • Elemental explosion is not worth the cost of 4 bullets.
  • Pistol is not a hybrid weapon, it does barely any power damage. Elementalist is a hybrid class. All elementalist weapons are hybrid weapons: They can do power damage, condi damage, or a mixture of both.

How to fix these issues:

  • Stocking up "bullets" is lame. Instead rename "bullet" to something more elemental. Maybe something like "elemental essence", which keeps the alliteration theme. Hence you stock up "elemental essence" rather than "bullets". By moving away from "bullets" it opens up design and thematic options, rather than every skill needing to shoot a bullet. This also has the potential benefit of reducing the number of projectile skills that pistol uses.
  • The Skills 2 and 3 need to be highlighted or have their icons changed when a bullet is stocked.
  • Audio: Please no gunshot noises! Earth 3, earth/fire dual attack, and earth/air dual attack all sound great because they have no gunshot noise. Please do that for all pistol skills.
  • Elemental explosion either needs to be more powerful (in order to justify the cost of 4 bullets), or needs to be easier to achieve (i.e. not cost 4 bullets, or make bullets easier to gain).
  • Make more skills piercing, aoe or unblockable by default. (Because single target projectiles are boring in PvE and they suck in PvP and WvW.)
  • The pistol can become a better hybrid weapon by improving the damage of pistol air auto attack. Why pistol air auto attack? Pistol air skills currently do pathetic damage in all game modes. Pistol air auto attack is NOT used in the DPS rotation of condi pistol PvE builds. By buffing pistol air auto attack, it buffs the DPS of power builds, however it doesn't buff the DPS of condi builds. (i.e. you can easily buff power builds, while not overpowering condi builds).
  • Reducing projectile effects: 
    • Make pistol air 1 shoot out instantaneous, ranged lighting bolts (not a projectile). This attack would be similar to scepter air 1, however scepter channels a constant horizontal beam of lightning. Pistol air 1 should shoot out a single burst lightning strike. The skill would function like necromancer axe auto attack (instantaneous, ranged), however visually, the pistol would shoot out instantaneous lightning bolts that travel horizontally like scepter air 1.
    • Make pistol fire 1 like a real-life flamethrower (not a projectile). Real-life flamethrowers shoot long, narrow jets of fire. Make it a channelled skill like scepter air auto attack. Except instead of shooting lightning, it shoots flames. By making it functionally similar to scepter air auto attack, you have the benefit of it not being a projectile, HOWEVER it isn't able to attack through terrain like engineer flamethrower. (A long ranged flamethrower that could attack through terrain would be problematic in PvP/WvW.)
    • Pistol air 3 should only require two activations rather than three activations. The first activation should do the dash effect plus an AOE attack (like dagger air 2; not a projectile). If the attack hits, then the ele can dash again (without the attack on the 2nd dash).
    • By converting these skills into instantaneous ranged attacks, it reduces projectile effects, and helps with attacking moving targets.
    • By converting pistol air and fire auto attacks into instantaneous ranged, it makes pistol on-par with scepter. (Scepter also has two instantaneous ranged auto attacks; air and fire.) 
    • Air and fire are the "offensive" attunements (compared to earth and water). It makes sense that air and fire should have better auto attacks (instantaneous ranged), because they are the "offensive" attunements.

A bonus issue:

The fire bullet bonus for Molten Meteor (Fire/Earth dual attack) is badly designed. It consumes a fire bullet in order to make the skill AOE. If you're fighting a single target, this skill consumes a bullet for no benefit. Using this skill against a single target makes you weaker if it consumes your fire bullet. (You're weaker, because you've just lost your fire bullet.) This skill is a meteor. It should already be AOE. Consuming a bullet should always do something beneficial. Molten meteor should be AOE by default, and the fire bullet bonus should do something useful, like additional burning.

Edited by Barnesy.5839
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  • Barnesy.5839 changed the title to Pistol - How to Drastically Improve It as Easily as Possible

I personally have no issue with pistol as a dedicated condition weapon rather than hybrid - the problem is that they then left air without conditions, making 2/3 ranged weapons for ele where air is a limp noodle. There's precedent (mostly in engineer) for electricity to inflict confusion. Just have pistol air do that.

Graphically, a recolour of Spatial Surge or Confusing Images would probably work well for a non-projectile air auto.

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1 hour ago, draxynnic.3719 said:

I personally have no issue with pistol as a dedicated condition weapon rather than hybrid

honestly weapons being hybrids is the issue with MOST ele weapons. because of our attunement mechanic we're stuck forever in this weird "jack of all trades, master of none" zone. this is probably my biggest positive for the pistol, being one of the few weapons to somewhat try to stick to a specific role across all attunements; granted it's still jank, like with what you said about air (confusion condi sounds great for it), as well as the "defensive side"

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1 hour ago, crosknight.3041 said:

honestly weapons being hybrids is the issue with MOST ele weapons. because of our attunement mechanic we're stuck forever in this weird "jack of all trades, master of none" zone. this is probably my biggest positive for the pistol, being one of the few weapons to somewhat try to stick to a specific role across all attunements; granted it's still jank, like with what you said about air (confusion condi sounds great for it), as well as the "defensive side"

Yeah, pretty much - making elementalist weapons less hybrid would probably be beneficial in the long term, since it'd feel less like you're wasting a quarter to half of your weapon skills (maybe even more if you're a heal ele) because they don't fit your stats and role. Pistol is jank enough that I wouldn't exactly consider making pistol the dedicated ranged condi weapon and scepter power to be a win, but if they COULD make pistol actually good, switching scepter to power would probably be a good outcome. 

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Yeah most of the weapons being hybrid along attunement lines means that most pve build really only care about 2 attunements. (ie: condi uses earth and fire, only dipping in to air because thats where our CC lives.) I'd be all for the older weapons being refocused in a purpose so that builds have a reason to use their other attunements.

Having said that, ele weapons being hybrid is possibly good in pvp modes. (I don't play pvp/wvw enough to really speak on them,  but pvp in general I believe is more favorable to jack of all trade builds.)

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I don't see how speeding up the auto attack helps at all when the issues are all about the bullet  generation and consuming/"firing" and the  auto attack ability isn't part of that.

I would say the easiest mechanism would be that generating a bullet clears the CD on both ability 2 and 3 allowing it to be immediately spent without having to swap attunement to get a 2/3 ability not currently on CD.

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When I first read the description of Elemental Explosion, I thought it was saying you would just shoot whatever bullets the stored up and only those effects would activate (fire bullet would burn, etc.).

But what really excited me is it looked like I could be constantly pumping out auras... Bullet, Aura, Bullet, Aura. Probably too powerful, but sounded really fun.

What makes sense to me is to make it a profession mechanic button with whatever cooldown makes sense that shoots out whatever bullets you have stored up and gives you the aura of your attunement.

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22 hours ago, Tinker.6924 said:

I don't see how speeding up the auto attack helps at all when the issues are all about the bullet  generation and consuming/"firing" and the  auto attack ability isn't part of that.

Did you ever play engineer rifle before it's auto attack was sped up? Speeding up the auto attack made the weapon far more enjoyable and it hugely reduced clunkiness.

Did you ever play guardian hammer when it's auto attack was super slow? Speeding up the auto attack made the weapon far more enjoyable and it hugely reduced clunkiness.

PvE Pistol Condi builds already do very high DPS. PvE condi damage builds do not need buffing. What you're suggesting would require significant reworks to the weapon. Simply buffing bullet generation (for example, "auto attacks generate bullets") would make the weapon overpowered. If you buff bullet generation/consumption without rebalancing the weapon, you will make the weapon far too powerful. It would require a lot of work from the devs to properly rework the bullet mechanic.

My suggestion is easy to implement and doesn't effect balanceYou simply divide all auto attack cast times and effects by 3.

Pistol feels clunky and boring to use. My suggestion improves both of these things with minimal effort. Shooting lots of bullets is way cooler than shooting just a few. And, just like with engineer rifle and guardian hammer, speeding up auto attacks makes a HUGE difference in reducing chunkiness.

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I'm not sure engineer rifle and guardian hammer are good comparisons, because they were always weapons where in at least some circumstances you might want to spend a lot of time autoattacking. Elementalist, by contrast, relies on rotating through cooldown skills. Speeding the autoattack up might mean autos get squeezed between other skills more easily, but it's a far cry from guardian hammer where 'the autoattack chain is so slow you can't hit anything with it' was the main criticism. (Apart from people who wanted hammer to basically be a greatsword reskin.)

In this case, I'm inclined to think that if they fixed other issues relating to pistol people probably won't care much about the autoattack rate, and if they don't, changing the autoattack won't help.

I do acknowledge that this isn't the limit of your suggestions, but I suspect a proper fix will need a bit more. Including a clear indicator of whether a skill will be buffed by a bullet or not. Put a particle effect over the skill icon or something.

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5 hours ago, draxynnic.3719 said:

I'm not sure engineer rifle and guardian hammer are good comparisons, because they were always weapons where in at least some circumstances you might want to spend a lot of time autoattacking. Elementalist, by contrast, relies on rotating through cooldown skills. Speeding the autoattack up might mean autos get squeezed between other skills more easily

Watch some of the recent ele pistol DPS benchmarks that have been released. Auto attacks are used quite a bit. For example, 5 or 6 auto attacks are used in fire attunement before switching (a similar number of auto attacks are used in earth attunement too).  These benchmarks show that there is ample time for the pistol ele to auto attack, because all the other skills and attunements are on cooldown.

Quote

I'm inclined to think that if they fixed other issues relating to pistol...

The problem is that "fixing other issues relating to pistol" requires a lot of extra work. Condi Pistol is already doing a lot of DPS in PvE. If the devs rework certain aspects of pistol, they will  also need to rebalance the rest of the weapon to compensate. I don't know if the devs are going to invest that much time into reworking and rebalancing a single weapon for one class.

The issues with pistol aren't just mechanical/gameplay issues. Pistol is also kinda boring.

Tripling auto attack speed, while doing a third of the effects, is an extremely simple change. It doesn't effect the pistol's DPS, but it makes the weapon way cooler. It turns the weapon from a boring pea shooter into a rapid fire hail of bullets.

I agree that increasing auto attack speed won't fix all of pistol's problems. However, it will significantly change the feel of the weapon for such little effort (just divide the attack time and effects by 3). It's such an easy change to make, and it doesn't even effect the weapon's DPS. I think it's a no-brainer: It's a decent improvement to pistol for almost zero effort.

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pistol kind of just lacks impact

it can do big dps on hp sponges, but the majority of the game revolves more around trash mobs and bosses that like to phase. using pistol here feels like tickling the enemy to death

autos are basically tickle skills. you shoot the enemy with a single #2 or #3 skill (and maybe some autos), but the enemy hardly looks like its dying faster. consuming bullets feels like nothing has happened

the burning on fire skills (#2 and initial hit on #3) can probably be folded in pve. setting an enemy on fire for 15s is wacky, but it feels like slow cooking them when you really want to kill them. this might allow pistol to stack condis a little faster

raging ricochets bonus is basically useless until you stack enough condis and even annoyingly relies on condi output outside of the weapon to be fully effective. shattering stones bonus requires tickling the enemy 3 additional times. something uninspiring such as creating a flame burst would make the consumed bullet feel like it actually did something while also helping pistol with its ramping issues

i dont think changing autos to burst fire changes much when they do so little in the first place. piercing pebble might as well have the ele get on the ground and throw dirt like ranger downstate

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I don't know; AA is useless as kitten, the "4 bullets" special skill on #1 is absolutly not worth it, no real condition burst ...
And, overall, the different effects of bullet depending on the skill you use ( + more effect with weaver ... ) + the fact it pushes you into a rotation even if you don't need skills on purpose ... come on ... Why this level of complexity for low rising DPS ?

While you can just spam 1 with thief's axe, and boom #3 whenever you want ...  56k DPS or 42 after next nerf, it'll still be more appealing than pistol on elementalist.
It would be me, it would just be a total rework. Something like thief's axe actually.

Edited by Zhaid Zhem.6508
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/3/2024 at 2:44 PM, draxynnic.3719 said:

Yeah, pretty much - making elementalist weapons less hybrid would probably be beneficial in the long term, since it'd feel less like you're wasting a quarter to half of your weapon skills

I think that's the wrong direction to go with ele weapons. Having a weapon that can be built for power, condi, or hybrid promotes build variety. Build variety is a good thing.

This is especially important since ele has the fewest number of main hand weapons (tied with engineer). Ele only has 6 main hand weapons.

Imagine if ele's 6 main hand weapons were separated into condi weapons and power weapons: Three weapons would be condi weapons, and the other three would be power weapons. 

"What's that? You want to play a condi build? Well you're only able to choose from three weapons, because the other three are power only."

When making a condi build (or a power build), you'd be restricted to choosing from just three main hand weapons. That's bad game design.

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On 3/4/2024 at 4:13 PM, Barnesy.5839 said:

Did you ever play engineer rifle before it's auto attack was sped up? Speeding up the auto attack made the weapon far more enjoyable and it hugely reduced clunkiness.

Did you ever play guardian hammer when it's auto attack was super slow? Speeding up the auto attack made the weapon far more enjoyable and it hugely reduced clunkiness.

PvE Pistol Condi builds already do very high DPS. PvE condi damage builds do not need buffing. What you're suggesting would require significant reworks to the weapon. Simply buffing bullet generation (for example, "auto attacks generate bullets") would make the weapon overpowered. If you buff bullet generation/consumption without rebalancing the weapon, you will make the weapon far too powerful. It would require a lot of work from the devs to properly rework the bullet mechanic.

My suggestion is easy to implement and doesn't effect balanceYou simply divide all auto attack cast times and effects by 3.

Pistol feels clunky and boring to use. My suggestion improves both of these things with minimal effort. Shooting lots of bullets is way cooler than shooting just a few. And, just like with engineer rifle and guardian hammer, speeding up auto attacks makes a HUGE difference in reducing chunkiness.

You are correct in saying that speeding up the AA makes it more fun. Harbinger shroud AA feels so good thanks to this

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It's funny how a lot of us are coming to the same core ideas. Don't agree about the sounds though, I like the gun sounds. I think they did good balancing the gun SFX with the elemental theme. They could always revisit it, make it even more elemental sounding. I think some elements could do with the gun powder spray that a lot of classes that use pistol have that ele doesn't. Air can have sparks. Fire embers. Water droplets. Earth could be the standard powder spray.

Auto generating bullets and a strong rate of fire buff would go a long way towards making pistol the definitive condi weapon. Scepter does a lot of what pistol does and you can't reflect most of it's attacks. You can reflect every single pistol attack. Making its rate of fire fast and strong would be a blessing and a curse in a lot of scenarios, so it's not like doing that would make it particularly OP anywhere. Stronger in PvE and super effective against stationary golems I suppose.

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2 hours ago, Ripper.8231 said:

I think that's the wrong direction to go with ele weapons. Having a weapon that can be built for power, condi, or hybrid promotes build variety. Build variety is a good thing.

This is especially important since ele has the fewest number of main hand weapons (tied with engineer). Ele only has 6 main hand weapons.

Imagine if ele's 6 main hand weapons were separated into condi weapons and power weapons: Three weapons would be condi weapons, and the other three would be power weapons. 

"What's that? You want to play a condi build? Well you're only able to choose from three weapons, because the other three are power only."

When making a condi build (or a power build), you'd be restricted to choosing from just three main hand weapons. That's bad game design.

Better that than half of your attunements being all but worthless because they don't fit with your build, basically destroying the attunement mechanic since you have the same number of weapon skills as a conventional weaponswap profession while still having all the downsides of not having weaponswap.

Your argument made sense on release when elementalist only had three primary weapons. Six, though, isn't so few. Most professions launched with four, engineer had two, and they were still able to have some weapons that are clearly power-oriented and some that were condi-oriented. Elementalist absolutely has enough weapons now that it can and should have some that specialise - but they need to commit rather than doing things like having a designated condition weapon where one attunement has no damaging conditions.

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Right now we have :

Staff : Power/support

Hammer : Power (there is also a bit of condi but it isn't good)

Dagger mainhand : Condi/Support/Power

Scpeter : Power/Condi

Pistol : Condi (there is also a bit of power but it isn't good)

Sword : Power/Condi

Dagger offhand : Power (there is also a bit of condi but it isn't good)

Focus : Defense (that's just the shield of the elementalist)

Warhorn : Support/Power/Condi That's just the most efficient elementalist weapon in every gamemode except PvP/Roaming

I could see scepter becoming the power weapon and pistol becoming the condi weapon. It would avoid the dead attunement (like air on pistol, it even fail to be a full condi weapon). However, people how played scepter condi may be disapointed (especially if they don't like the pistol).

For the other weapon it is more complicated. We may argue that sword and dagger are both mainhand melee weapon and that one of them should be a condi and the other a melee weapon, but they are both great in both condi and power (dagger is also used in support but mostly because there isn't any true mainhand support weapon)

The more i look at it, the more I think any weapon rework will need a lot of work of anet (And if they think their pistol was the best weapon possible for the elem, I'm not sure that I want them to touch to the other weapon.

 

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