I was reading a thread on WHA about BW/Sorceror mechanic and I just had to post some waffle about it. Why, you ask? Because in my opinion, BWs/Sorcerors are one of the main culprits for WAR’s imbalance. If you aren’t aware of the fact that these two careers overshadow, in both damage and utility, any other ranged dps career (not even going to consider MDPS careers), then you either aren’t playing this game, or are one of those people who enjoy playing FOTM classes.
DISCLAIMER: I will be using Slayer/Choppa rage mechanic as a comparison, not only because it’s similar (only these 4 careers use a mechanic that directly affects your health pool modifications – explained below) but also because it is in my opinion a unique mechanic that truly works. I am not making any statements about the state of Slayer/Choppa career, but I do believe that their mechanic, at least, is completely balanced. By comparing these two mechanics I will hopefully be able to better illustrate why I believe Combustion/Dark Magic one is imbalanced.
Bright Wizard/Sorceror mechanic has the same basis as Choppa/Slayer one. It increases your damage depending on how long and in what way have you been fighting and there are drawbacks if you want to keep that damage increase. Of course, there are small differences in the way of building it, the speed at which you acquire enhanced damage and the damage itself. But there are also major disparities that the developer is apparently fine with and make me wonder, what are the guys at Mythic smoking? Because it seems to me, that they got them on backwards.
1.) Slayer/Choppa is a melee dps career and this mechanic works for them because it contains a risk factor. They are at the front lines constantly and if they want to keep their high damage they have to risk receiving increased damage as well. BW/Sorc on the other hand is a ranged dps career. They hang back and nuke from behind (usually, let’s not get into bombing). Not to mention the fact that they have a plethora of CC abilities and kiting builds. Naturally, this mechanic is going to be much less risky for them. They don’t have to worry as much about getting nuked and they aren’t always the easiest target to catch. With this first comparison, I am assuming that the drawbacks of the mechanic are the same. But the actual differences between the two lead me to my second point.
2.) Drawbacks aren’t even nearly comparable. You have a melee dps career that has to drop 50% of their armor and resistances (effectively receiving 50% more damage from all sources) to be able to increase their damage by 50%. On the other hand, you have a ranged dps career that has to risk getting a flat amount of damage (35% chance, the amount is dependant on their level) to be able to increase their crit chance by 35% and crit damage by 100%. It doesn’t take a genius to notice something fishy about these mechanics.
In a solo enviroment, you might claim that they are perfectly balanced. Arguably so. But as soon as you add a tank and a healer to the party, things go wonky.
I’m going to try to illustrate this disparity and imbalance by comparing how drawbacks from both mechanics affect your health.
Your health pool gets modified through two proxies or sources. First one is damage received in term of hit point decrease and second is healing received in term of hit point increase. Rage mechanic modifies one of those sources, it increases damage received. Because it’s a percentaged increase it scales with the damage and number of your attackers.
Now, Combustion/Dark Magic mechanic modifies the damage received as well. The problem is, that this is a flat increase which only partially scales with the characters maximum hit points. It does not scale with the amount of damage received from other sources. In a nutshell, it is not risky enough. This is what is called the “risk factor can be nullified by one HoT” argument that has been put forward many times.
Any sane person will agree that the drawback from a mechanic on a melee career needs to AT LEAST be the same (or appropriately similar) on a ranged career, even if you don’t share my opinion that WAR is bias towards ranged careers.
But there’s another issue, that I wasn’t even aware of until I read this post. It never occurred to me (I’m not that math savvy) why crit gear is so cherished in the BW/Sorc community. I knew that crit is more valuable the more bonus crit damage one has, but never connected this scaling with their mechanic. They get a 100% increased crit bonus which then scales exponentially with crit chance. The proposal in this thread is to separate the crit bonus on normal crits and Combustion/Dark Magic crit bonus on the crits that are granted by the mechanic. As I understand it, this would mean that external crit chance would not scale with their mechanic. This would mainly impact the higher renown rank players as they usually have access to the best crit gear, while leaving the damage of lower and mid renown rank players mainly unaffected.
There is a possibly I misunderstood the concept, but as it is, I would agree with this change. With one exception.
The proposal would leave the drawback of the mechanic mainly untouched, which I believe doesn’t really fix the risk vs. reward balance at all. I propose (this is not my idea, it has been put forward many times) that we look to the rage mechanic and make Combustion/Dark Magic affect one of the sources of hitpoint fluctuation. Because we already have a hitpoint increase modifier, a hitpoint decrease modifier looks unique and sufficiently risky. In other words, Combustion/Dark Magic should place a healing debuff on the player, affecting all healing done on him by a percentaged amount. This would scale with the variables on the healing side. The stacking of the debuff would be multiplicative to follow the recent change to heal debuff stacking (incoming – outgoing). I’m not going to suggest any values for this debuff, because it has to be tested and theorised over TTK numbers and damage parses which only the devs have access to. (If pressed though, I’d say a 30% heal debuff seems suitable.)
I believe that both of these changes would positively impact the gameplay from a Bright Wizard/Sorceror perspective. It would make game play more strategic and less “1-button-spammy” or just following predefined rotations. It would also go a long way towards making other careers on par with them and positively impact the game balance.
This would mean collateral nerfs to other specialisations of these two classes. Especially the bombing aspect of the game. This would be a welcome change in my eyes, but it’s obvious that all variables need to taken into consideration before making any changes. I am merely trying to illustrate my opinion on what is wrong and ideas on how to fix it.