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No skill left behind

Discussion in 'Single Player Forum' started by Swamigoon, Apr 15, 2019 at 3:07 AM.

  1. Swamigoon

    Swamigoon IncGamers Member

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    Browsing through the SPF's Pat/Mat/Guardian collections, I am impressed with the diversity of skill combinations that have been turned into successful single-player heroes. Effective build creativity, coupling interesting skills and synergies with intriguing items, are among the primary ingredients that gave this game exceptional replay value. In fact, in later patches, Blizzard actually increased our build options by providing new synergy bonuses for some skills, such as Sorceress' Blaze and Firewall, or Druids' Maul and Shockwave.

    But there are a few noticeable skills that perpetually get one point investments. I'd like to discuss the skills that get no respect. To my observation, these remain one-point wonders in just about each and every Pat/Mat/Guardian build that includes them. In hindsight, what could have made these skills more worthy of creative 20-point investments? (Maybe 1.15 or a future patch could breathe new life into these unrespected skills...)

    Here are five such skills, along with a few of my opinions:

    • Slow Missiles, from the Amazon's P&M skill tree. Has anyone built a single-player character with 20 hard points in this skill? I didn't find one. Is there another Amazon skill that you think could have received a sensible synergy bonus from Slow Missiles, thus providing incentive from higher investment?
    • Psychic Hammer, from the Assassin's Shadow Discipline skill tree. I actually had fun making a character with a 20 hard points in PH a while back, but never advanced her farther than Act 1, Hell difficulty. The only synergy this skill provides is the indirect synergy that Shadow Warrior and Shadow Master get from investments in all assassin skills. However, I have always thought that Blizzard should have provided direct damage synergy bonuses between Psychic Hammer and Mind Blast. What do you think?
    • Terror, from the Necromancer's Curse skill tree. I think I have noticed each and every other Necromancer skill get 20 hard points in one strange build or another, for more-or-less arguably valid reasons, except for this one.
    • Increased Stamina, from the Barbarian's Masteries skill tree. Can you think of another Barbarian skill that might have made sense to receive synergy bonuses for hard points invested in this skill?
    • Grim Ward, from the Barbarian's Warcries skill tree. I haven't really settled on any opinions about this one.

    Maybe you have noticed, or have opinions about, these or other panned skills?
     
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  2. logoutzero

    logoutzero IncGamers Member

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    "During the great battle of Squidskee, members of the Kegs Tribe bested the ever-pressing armies of blow-dart spewing Fetish demons by expending such a large amount of mental focus, they appeared to slow time around them enough to snatch flying darts out of the air, affix the dart to the tip of a fallen branch, nock, and return fire."

    Amazons focusing on this skill become missile firing machines. Increased investment in this skill provides characters with an additional form of defense, similar to the skills Dodge, Avoid, and Evade, along with increased offensive capabilities in the form of automatically returning missile fire, similar to a Sorceress using Chilling Armor.


    (blah blah skill level progression stuff)

    This skill receives Synergy bonus from:
    Lightning Bolt: +100% Lightning Damage added to Returned Missiles per level
    Magic Arrow:+100% Magic Damage added to Returned Missiles per level
    Fire Arrow:+100% Fire Damage added to Returned Missiles per level
    Cold Arrow:+100% Cold Damage added to Returned Missiles per level

    Something along those lines might be pretty neat. The skills that convert physical damage to elemental damage could synergize the Slow Missile return, I guess under the assumption that if an Amazon has magic enough to imbue her own projectiles with elemental magic, with enough time and focus, she could enhance the passing by missiles as she grabs them out of the air and launches a counter assault with them.

    A chance at a drop is really the only thing I could think of. Monsters so afraid, they drop whatever they are carrying and turn tail.
     
  3. Kartongen

    Kartongen IncGamers Member

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    Slow missles: Every point invested increases the percentage the missiles are slowed. At high levels (maybe 25-30+ softpoints), it simply stops missiles.
    An alternative suggestion would be a scaling radius, and maybe a synergy with inner sight (where 1 point gives X extra radius and one synergy point gives x/2 extra radius.

    Increased stamina: Each point invested increases the emphasis/power of the barbarians warcries. As in, with 0 or 1 point invested, the hork sound is very uninterested, as if his heart is not fully in it. At high levels, the barbarian cries as if he truly means it. Current warcries could be around 15 softpoints, to provide a point of calibration.
     
  4. TopHatCat64

    TopHatCat64 IncGamers Member

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    Interesting topic!

    Slow Missiles

    So lore-wise, the idea is that projectiles appear to be moving slower then normal because of how skilled the amazon is at recognizing what's being shot at her. As a defensive skill, I'd like to see additional points boost safety.
    • Increased damage reduction against missiles.
      You avoid most missiles, but the few missiles that do hit are shrugged off by twisting your body so that they hit only thickest parts of your armor
    • Increased run/walk speed.
      You gain more confidence in weaving your way through torrents of missile fire and move faster to engage your foes.
    • Decreased fire rate for ranged enemies (that have been SM'ed).
      After seeing the futility of their arrows/spells, enemies take longer to shoot, hoping for a perfect opportunity that will never come.
    -

    Psychic Hammer

    Good call on a mutual damage boost synergy with Mind Blast, I think that's definitely needed for such a weak spell. Mind Blast (as the higher level skill) should function as a main damage spell, while I think PH should work as the higher utility/lower damage of the two.
    • Increased AOE.
      Mindblast already has an AOE, but PH could have a much larger AOE when maxed.
      Your increased mastery of your mental energies lets you affect more and more foes.
    • Decreased run/walk and attack rate for PH'ed enemies.
      Their minds crushed by your psychic attack, your foes move and attack sluggishly.
    -

    Terror

    So the lore says that the curse causes monsters to hallucinate their greatest fear and then run away. Based on that description, I'd say additional points should increase the vulnerability of affected monsters.
    • Decreased defense and damage resistance for Terrified enemies
      Your foes are so hellbent on running away that they forgot to raise their shields or dodge your spells
    • Damage over time for Terrified enemies
      Your enemies run themselves ragged over dangerous terrain and bash against their comrades in a clumsy attempt to flee their fears.
    -

    Increased Stamina

    As we all know, stamina loses all meaning once you get past a certain amount of vitality. This skill could gain value if Blizz tweaked the stamina system by reducing the amount you get from vitality, but that would require tweaking other classes' skills to also boost stamina, because I don't think players could get use to not being able to run forever. In terms of lore, the skill description talks about how living in a harsh environment has boosted the condition and vigor of the barbarians and "at a moments notice can be ready for battle."
    • Increased hit recovery (that last quote from the Arreat Summit is interesting)
      Where softer city folk would react slowly to ambush, the well-conditioned barbarian reacts instantly to danger
    • Increased health (yes, I know, every barb already maxes BO, but who doesn't like more HP?)
      Blows that would break a lesser man's bones are simply shrugged off
    -

    Grim Ward

    I'd actually advocate for changing the mechanics of this skill entirely. Why would a barbarian, a fearless melee master, ever want monsters to run away from him? I'd either rework it to taunt monsters towards the Grim Ward (but without Taunt's damage reduction, so both skills have a tactical niche), or as a AOE debuff to nearby monsters.
    • Increased taunting radius
      An ever-larger totem of their former friend's bodies draws in an ever-larger crowd of enraged monsters
    • Decreased enemy attack attack rating while in Grim Ward's radius
      Blinded by rage, monsters flail wildly and inaccurately at you
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019 at 9:08 PM
  5. Fruit

    Fruit IncGamers Member

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    I think Slow Missiles would maybe get more hard points if it used a diminishing return formula for the -% speed in stead of it applying a static 33%, and also applied a (diminishing) damage debuff. Something that travels faster will hit harder, so it would make sense that slowing missiles down will make them deal less damage. As long as it was properly balanced, it doesn't have to end up being overpowered. Otherwise, maybe an AR debuff rather than a damage debuff. Regardless, I think it the velocity debuff should not be a static 33%. It would probably be better to give the skill a relatively short duration while boosting its effectiveness, to have a powerful skill that is not just a "cast once and benefit from the debuff forever". And then we might actually want to bother equipping some FCR.


    Psychic Hammer... myeah. :p Perhaps if it just had massive damage, or provided meaningful synergies, but that's too boring, and not the right way to get players to put points into skills. And with Mind Blast being available as a utility skill, I think PH should do something different than just knockback and damage. Perhaps it wouldn't fit this skill as it is, but a skill with an inherent chance of Crushing Blow would be interesting to see. Maybe it would even fit the "psychic" theme, by causing head trauma.


    I think Increased Stamina should just be removed (as in changed to do something completely different). You might as well change Increased Speed to also provide a bonus to stamina or/and stamina regeneration. But Increased Stamina as a standalone skill is just silly. I'd say unlink this skill from Increased Speed so that it no longer is a prequisite for Speed, and then completely change what it does. I don't think the way to "fix" useless skills like this is to simply have it provide a synergy bonus to other skills. Would a simple passive +1%DR per slvl be overpowered?


    Grim Ward I think should not be a scare-skill. Howl is available for applying Flee already, so I'd rather see Grim Ward either provide a debuff to enemies, a buff to allies, or both. I do like the idea of placing a totem, especially from a corpse, but with Howl available, why give him another skill that scares enemies? Perhaps have the totem slow enemies and give them an AR debuff or something?



    Edit: Now I've read the post of @TopHatCat64, his suggestions look great. :D
     
  6. ArtOfSenf

    ArtOfSenf IncGamers Member

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    With how topcat described the lore or Terror, it could be neat if it enhanced golem damage on affected enemies. As like golems are the embodied fear of said monsters.

    Would open up some golem-centered builds I guess?
     
  7. TopHatCat64

    TopHatCat64 IncGamers Member

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    Hah, it appears we're surfing the same brain wave on a lot of these skill suggestions!

    I definitely wish golems did more damage. I know we've had a couple Pats use Iron Golem to good effect, but I still feel like they need a boost. You can only have one golem, but many skeletons, so I think the golem could use some help in the stat department.

    I'm totally on board for anything that boosted their offense (without also boosting the skellies)

    As an aside, one thing that I liked about D3 was that they let legendary items break the rules for skills. Things like multiple gargantuans when you usually can only have one.
     
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  8. ArtOfSenf

    ArtOfSenf IncGamers Member

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    Oh yes. So many people are craving for a multi golem nec... Imagine a shrunk head with +1 golem spawn :)
     
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  9. maxicek

    maxicek Moderator Single Player

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    @TopHatCat64 You need to go back to 1.00 for a Blood Golem / IM / CE Necro.

    I have actually used Psychic Hammer to keep LI Lister in place for the Merc to kill when levelling Assassins. Works better than MB as the mana cost is negligible.
     
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  10. Swamigoon

    Swamigoon IncGamers Member

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    Very clever discussion contributions, thanks everyone! @logoutzero, I like the idea of the Amazon plucking slowed missiles out of the sky and deflecting them back at attackers. @TopHatCat64, thanks for drawing ideas from the existing lore and the skills' flavor texts.

    @Fruit, I am guilty as accused; I was thinking about "fixing" Increased Stamina by letting it synergize other skills. For example, Frenzy currently has three synergy skills: Double Swing (+8% damage), Taunt (+8% damage), and Berzerk (+1% magic damage). I was going to propose Increased Stamina also be a synergy skill: each point increases the Frenzy effect duration by half of a second. With a full 20 points invested inIncreased Stamina, the Frenzy speed boost would last sixteen seconds instead of just six seconds.
     
  11. ioupainmax

    ioupainmax IncGamers Site Pal

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    Interesting discussion! Whilst I'm all for revamping some skills to make them useful, when you look at certain builds, the fact is there just aren't enough skill points to go around. In the example above of Increased Stamina becoming a Frenzy synergy, there wouldn't be much point because after you max Frenzy, Double Swing, Taunt, Battle Orders, Weapon Mastery...there's nothing left and that's assuming you make it to 99!
     
  12. Jocular

    Jocular IncGamers Member

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    What if WW used up stamina?
     
  13. Fruit

    Fruit IncGamers Member

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    Or the recklessness of it gives WW a chance to hit yourself in the foot! Gotta hurt, a massive Hammer on your toes.


    But now that I think about it for real, Sacrifice is actually a fun idea/mechanic, self-damage on attack. Too bad the skill ultimately just isn't good enough to "main", except for fun/variation. It's also really interesting that using Revive as Paladin takes a bit of his life. But that's mostly just a redundant mechanic, other than it just being a fun fact. (Or does anyone actually use Revive as a Paladin?)

    I'm kinda surprised that the Necromancer doesn't have any life-costing (summon) skills, with a life-for-life thought behind it. Blood Golem was a fun idea, but besides the golem being pretty useless, I think they should not have removed the %damage that the owner takes when the BG is damaged. That "bond" mechanic was fun imo, and it would've been cool if they had fleshed out that idea and balanced it properly. Now everyone only really uses Clay Golem for the slow effect, or Iron Golem for an aura from a runeword. And Fire Golem.. just has nothing to offer.


    Unfortunately I couldn't get into Path of Exile, because they do have a lot of interesting skills/builds available (because of how you can combine gems and you have such an extensive passive skill tree). Admittedly I feel like it has gotten a little bit out of control, but I guess that's bound to happen if you keep adding content to a game. (More is not necessarily better!) But every time I see their patchlogs, I think they are doing great. They still seem to be trying to balance existing gems, passives, etc, while also adding new content that actually has something to offer that differs from existing content. But as time goes on, I do feel like the quality of newer content has been going down. I guess you'll just "run out" of good ideas at some point, especially if you want to add new content at such a high rate.

    I can't help but imagine how Diablo II would look today if it had continued to receive balance patches. The existing mods out there tend to be completely different games, and are just not interesting to me. I'd love to play "improved Diablo II", but as far as I've seen, that just doesn't exist.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019 at 1:18 PM
  14. Gripphon

    Gripphon IncGamers Member

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    I'd like to see some balance between skills and also some changes in area resistances. For example Frozen Orb is now rarely used and only for fun because Blizzard is just much stronger. Fire skills come down to spamming Fireball/Fissure ignoring everything else, WW is plain simply winner on barbarian for damage output, golems on necro has no real use unless player makes IG out of valuable item and so on.

    For area changes we need some balancing in fire resistance. Fire characters are severely handicapped because unbreakable fire immunes are everywhere while pure cold/lightning characters work quite fine. Also, stamina is most useless stat I've seen in whole gaming career, that should be either removed or be used to have some significance for something. Energy is also quite bad stat used only on either ES sorc or some singer barb who doesn't need safety for Pit running. Everything else comes down to full vitality or max block + vitality. Not to mention balance in weapons is terrible. Grief, Infinity, Reaper's, Insight, Enigma, Spirit are kings of the universe. Tyrael's is super rare, yet super dumb piece of armor too. Zod is super rare and also almost useless (Botd which is beaten by Grief or Insight in damage output lol).

    Skills and items can be used in many different ways, but my point is if player prefers to make most elite runner, then the choice is 90% clear most of the time, other 10% is decisions will he use more or less MF and such less relevant things.
     
  15. art_vandelay

    art_vandelay IncGamers Member

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    I'm suprised no one mentioned the Armageddon situation yet:
    • It's on an insane Cast Delay so forget about using it with any other fire skill.
    • It has 5 completely irrelevant skills leading up to it and needs 100 skill points to be fully synergyzed, so at least 105 points just to get everything related to this skill. That's not accounting for Oak and any Creepers as well as minions.
    • It is the only elemental skill that can be cast while in Wereform yet using it effectively would drain you of basically any skill points that you would want to use on other Wereform Skills.
    • It shares three synergies with Fireclaws yet somehow the two skills do not synergize each other, wth?!
    • It's a Fire skill, see the previous post.
    That skill would be so awesome if they removed the cast delay (nothing can be achieved by spamming it, it just resets the timer) and lowered the number of synergies needed. In fact Fire Claws and Armageddon should both have 3 Synergies, one of them being the other skill respectively.

    Also: remove Volcano :D

    On an unrelated note: How awesome would it be if you could mix and match Bow skills? Like strafe with exploding arrow or guided arrow with freezing arrow! :)
     
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  16. Swamigoon

    Swamigoon IncGamers Member

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    I had great fun with the pure fire druid I patted a while back. It was similar to Cyrax's ReignOfFire toon, except that I maxed Firestorm instead of Armageddon. I agree that the Armageddon skill could improve gameplay and challenge with some adjustment, but I think my favorite Armageddon improvement would be to make its falling bits leave a bigger flaming pyre, like the Amazon's Immolation Arrow skill now has.

    Mixing and matching bow skills would be awesome, yes. Or how about a ridiculous overpowered cross-class attack of multishot bone spirits that infect any surviving targets with rabies? :p
     
  17. TopHatCat64

    TopHatCat64 IncGamers Member

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    Other rpg's have dual-classing and I've always wished D2 had gone in this direction. I find oskills to be one of the most interesting parts of the game, and it's just a drop in the bucket in comparison to having a whole new class' skills.

    I know this will never happen now because of the balancing headache of figuring out all the new skill interaction (not to mention overhauling synergies), but if this was developed from the very beginning, that would added a huge amount of variance to builds.

    In my mind, there would have to be some limitations to dual classing to give the player some hard choices and a reason to start with one class over another. Things like:
    • You still only have the 98+12 skill points you have now to allocate, you're just spread thinner
    • You only have access to 2 of the new class' skill trees
    • You have to give up 1 or 2 of your native skill trees in exchange for 1 or 2 of the new class tree(s)
    Or hell, might as well go all the way and have tri-classing and let everyone mix and match any 3 skill trees together!
     
  18. DariusTriplet

    DariusTriplet IncGamers Member

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    I was just thinking, after finding Stormeye in Classic, about how useless Replenish Life is compared to life leech. Even a modest amount of leech will provide hundreds of life/second while attacking, whereas replenish provides feeble amounts of lifegain, even compared to potions. I don't really know how to fix this one, other than perhaps making replenish percentage-based, or even somehow exponential, so its payout increases if you go deeper on the stat.

    re: Stamina - it'd be interesting if Stamina was a cost built into weapon-based skills (i.e. Bash would use 2 Mana and 3 Stamina per attack). It'd be basically irrelevant, though, since melee characters tend to have sky-high Vitality regardless, so you'd need to reduce the stamina/point of Vitality, or make high-level skills use high amounts of Stamina. Alternatively, Stamina could be non-leechable, so you'd need lots of it to keep Whirling/Strafing/Zealing/what-have-you-ing.

    re: multiclassing - I really liked how Etrian Odyssey games manage multiclassing, where your second class only has access to a small part of the skill tree, and skill caps are much lower than a "full" class. So, for example, a Paladin that subclassed into a Barbarian may have access to up to slvl 5 weapon masteries, slvl 1 Berserk (and its prereqs), and no access to Leap/Leap Attack/Whirlwind/Battle Orders/Natural Resist. The result would be a Paladin that "felt" Barb-y, but couldn't really replicate a Barbarian's signature skills, and didn't have access to things like high-level Masteries.
     
  19. sir_cyclops

    sir_cyclops IncGamers Member

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    @DariusTriplet replenish life is invaluable during drawn out ranged pvp duels due to not potting. It’s almost broken. In level 30 and 18 low level duels, there was normally a cap on acceptable replenish life because the opponent could forever outlast you.
     
  20. logoutzero

    logoutzero IncGamers Member

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    re: multiclassing

    I know it's sort of out of the discussion of the OP, but -

    Final Fantasy XI:Online handled this well, I think. Character builds came down to a few choices:
    A) Race. Each race was a bit different than the others. Humans were middle-of-the-road on everything. Other classes were very physical and bulky, but slow and not as good at magic. Others were squishy, but very fast and magical.
    B) Main Job. There were a myriad of classes to play, each offering their own stat development and skill progression. A Tarutaru Warrior would have a different play style from a Galka Warrior, and they would both have different needs from equipment.
    C) Sub Job. Characters could take a second class, and get the stat and skill growth from the second class applied to the first at a rate of 1/2 the levels. So, a level 30 Warrior that subbed Ninja, would gain 15 levels worth of stats and skills from the Ninja class.

    There were some really neat combinations to play with, and naturally some worked better than others, creating a "meta" like just about any other game. Yet, if you wanted to play a physically brutal caster with next to no magical prowess all whilst casting Ninjutsu, you freaking could.
     

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