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Desert Empowerment Target Overlapping Issues, Adversely Lower Target Cap in Squads/Subsquads


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I haven't seen anything in forums yet about this directly, so I'll try to describe what goes on best I can. This is just my PvE testing of the trait: I don't think its possible to have issues with it in PvP (given max of 5 allies and whatnot), and WvW has its own post about it and its unique target caps.

The issue in PvE relates directly to target caps of shades changing on July 7th alongside Desert Empowerment's target cap remaining unchanged. Desert Empowerment, previous to the change to shades that returned the point blank effects around the caster at the expense of reducing each shade's target cap, would affect 5 allies with a classic shade and 10 allies with a sand savant shade, granting them barrier. With the change, the number of targets affected by the trait in the tooltip did not change, and the smart move I liked from the dev team was to move some of the affected allies target cap to the personal manifest shade effects around the caster, but it seemed to have adverse effects. I noticed my sand shade manifest wasn't granting full ten man squad barrier in strikes when stacked: only my subsquad of five allies (or the closest allies from the next subsquad if my own subsquad was not near me) would get the barrier from it, despite having traited sand savant with the tooltip stating 10 target cap for allies to gain barrier. However, when I tested it outside of a squad, I was met with different results: I could barrier 10 allies at a time, but only with the right conditions met: akin to the old unintended effects of shades being able to affect the same target multiple times, the desert empowerment effects can target the same ally more than once as if it were going to give them double effects, but will still grant any double-affected ally the effects of a single trigger. This becomes an issue with subsquads, stacked/coordinated fights, and similar situations with clusters of allies stacked near you. When you place a shade near yourself to barrier ten tightly stacked allies, you will only affect either your subsquad of five allies (if they are inside both your personal radius and your shade's radius) or the allies standing between your shade and you in a non-subsquaded fight (where a target inside both radii of your personal trigger and shade trigger can count as a target for both but only receive the single benefits). This issue reduces the number of targets affected for every ally prioritized by both effects: despite being already covered with either one or the other, they get counted as targets for both the personal area trigger and the manifested trigger, and although they only receive the benefit once, they consume the twice the target cap, resulting in a huge drawback to desert empowerment in group content in terms of supporting crowds. If the squad is spread out into two groups of five, the desert empowerment with sand savant can affect them all, but any stacking causes double counting of players in the same subsquad, or if you place the shade directly on top of yourself, it will double count every single affected ally your personal effects affect. This seems to be an overlapping target prioritization issue met with the old restraints on double-effects from a single shade trigger (of which the former creates the issue and the latter is in place and should remain so for good reason), and the solution (while probably having some scary coding behind it) is to find a way to ensure both desert empowerment triggers do not overlap targets.

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I am not sure I understood everything you described but I think sth similar happens with this trait in wvw and the 2+2 target cap. If you place a shade on you, you only give barrier to you and 2 others but if you place it elsewhere you give barrier to you +1 near you and 2 on the shade. So sth is fishy with it...

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