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Thread: State of the Mage: A Treatise on Magery

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    Rift Disciple NÓridhrien's Avatar
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    Default State of the Mage: A Treatise on Magery

    I would like to preface my post here with the fact that I absolutely love the complexity with which Trion has implemented most of the mage souls. It is refreshing to actually have to deeply consider all of the various pieces of a class such as the mage in RIFT. As others have said before, Trion has done a magnificent job designing diverse and yet (mostly) balanced classes.

    I - Intro

    I see the mage class is a complex class, that can serve a diverse set of roles in any group or setting. As a mage myself, I have spent countless hours developing builds and testing various mechanics and always seeking to find the ultimate mage builds for specific purposes, and I have not been disappointed thus far with this archetype.

    I am primarily a pvp player and am frequently in the warfronts as well as in open world pvp acitivity. Thus the vast majority of my experience, thus far, is with pvp. My experience with the mage in pve resides primarily in serving as a dps or heal role for normal/expert dungeons.

    All of the following text will detail primarily my observations/opinions of the various mage souls as they stand now, and my personal opinions on where I would like to see Trion go with the mage class (and not go, in some instances).


    II - The Souls

    a - Pyromancer

    After reading the firestorm on the forums about pyros, I have a few comments to make. I am not a big fan of pyromancer's as a soul, but I use the soul nonetheless because the pure firepower is unsurpassed in any other mage soul, both in pvp and pve.

    I see most of the complaints on the forums about pyromancer's relating to either their dps or the Ground of Strength.

    I am very firmly in agreement with the people who feel that the pyromancer is overpowered because of their damage. I was playing a pyromancer before the most recent patch that buffed mages' damage in general, and I certainly foresaw this hullabaloo over the pyromancer coming.

    I would caution Trion in nerfing the pyromancer, as you have been less than subtle in nerfing classes in the past. Nerfs should never be done in grand sweeping moves, ideally. Incremental nerfing and live testing is a must, in my opinion. Changing the fundamental mechanics of skills is the last approach that should be taken, because it forces players to have to relearn new mechanics and it provides more than ample opportunity for the programmers and designers to make mistakes and bugs in the class.

    That said, I feel that an appropriate nerf for the pyromancer, would be to alter the "Burning Bright" skill in the Pyromancer tree. The current skill mechanics influence the overall damage of the pyromancer based on the number of skill points that are spent in the pyromancer tree. The current skill mechanics are listed below:

    Burning Bright:
    +0.2/0.4/0.6% fire damage per point spent in the Pyromancer tree
    Reduces the mage's maximum health by 3/6/9%

    Right now, people are complaining primarily about the pyromancer's in war fronts, which requires exclusively a pvp-oriented spec. This means that pyromancer's will be speccing 44 points into the pyromancer tree at an absolute minimum, and typically all 51 points. This makes "Burning Bright" the first thing that I would look at nerfing, in order to bring the pyromancer's damage back into line with the other mage souls.

    Lowering the damage on this skill will leave any soul combination that uses pyromancer as an off soul mostly untouched, while lowering the overall damage of the pvp-spec pyromancers. In the spirit of incremental nerfing, I would think that a good start to begin lowering pyromancer damage in war fronts would be to lower this skill's bonus damage from 0.6% to 0.5% per point spent. This would result in a 5.1% damage reduction for a 51-pt pyromancer. If this is insufficient (as it may likely be), then an additional 0.1% reduction may be necessary after testing it at 0.5%.

    Thus, in the foreseeable future, I could see the skill description reading something like this:

    Burning Bright:

    +0.1/0.3/0.5% fire damage per point spent in the pyromancer tree
    3/6/9% maximum health reduction

    or perhaps even:

    +0.1/0.2/0.4% fire damage per point spent in the pyromancer tree
    3/6/9% maximum health reduction

    Any more than this, would likely require changing other aspects of the pyro, though I suspect that this would be more than sufficient to bring the pyro back down to earth.



    b - Stormcaller

    The stormcaller was a soul that I fell in love with in beta. Prior to the movement of the Tempest skill out of reach of a Stormcaller primary soul, this soul was arguably one of the best dps classes in the game. The recent mage damage buff was absolutely necessary to restore some of the Stormcaller's utility in a group both for pve and pvp.

    My only major complaint with the Stormcaller now is the utter uselessness of the 51-pt skill "Eye of the Storm". I tested this skill out once, and to my extreme dismay, it is a very small radius area-of-effect AROUND the mage. This single mechanic alone makes the skill useless for a mage regardless of the damage or control effects. No Stormcaller is going to run into the middle of a mob of angry opponents just to cast this skill. It will not happen. Thus, as a result, there is no reason at all to go more than 31 points into the stormcaller tree (for the Lighting Storm in the tree).

    Normally, I don't recommend drastic changes to skill mechanics, but this is one of the rare occasions when I feel it is necessary. The mage archetype is not one that is meant to be up-close and personal with your opponents, and requiring a mage to do so is both pointless and futile.

    I thought about a skill that would be more appropriate for the 51-pt ability of the stormcaller. I have dubbed this skill "Chain Lightning" for the moment.

    Below is how I would envision the skill to function (with estimates for damage and mana cost and cooldown etc.):

    Chain Lightning
    350 mana
    2.0 second cast time
    30 second cooldown
    30 meter range

    Damages a single opponent for 70 to 90 Air damage. Then arcs to 2 nearby additional targets, dealing 1/2 of damage to each target, arcs to 4 additional targets dealing 1/4 damage to each target, jumps to 8 additional targets dealing 1/8 damage to each target. Each arc jump occurs every 1.5 seconds, and if the target dies after being struck the next arc from that target is prevented.


    This would be a much more useful and beneficial skill for stormcallers, and make the 51-pt stormcaller a viable soul build once again. It would also utilize existing mechanics ("Nature's Fury" in the Chlorolock tree) to take place.


    c - Archon

    The Archon is an often misunderstood and misused soul. The Archon soul, in my experience, was never meant to serve as a solo class, and only becomes very effective in groups of 10 or more. That said, the primary issue that I have with the Archon is having Bards overwrite my buffs. With one bard in the group, you cut the uselessness of the Archon by 1/4 by eliminating two buffs that do not stack. I think this lack of stacking really limits the usefulness of Archons both in pvp and pve.


    Aside from the stacking issue (and a few issues with specific skills), I absolutely love the Archon soul.



    d - Elementalist

    The elementalist was what drew me to the mage archetype before I even began playing the game. Sadly, this soul is exclusively limited to pve roles because the overall spell damage (with the exception of "Lightning Strike") is quite pitiful in comparison with other mage souls. Even with the pet damage added in, the Elementalist does not even remotely come close to matching a stormcaller or pyromancer or warlock/necro in pure damage output.

    The Tempest nerf, which I have heard was intended to create more primary soul elementalists, simply drove everyone away from the elementalist period.

    I am hoping that Trion looks at imrpoving the damage output of this most fascinating soul.



    e - Chloromancer

    I have grown fond of the Chloromancer of late, due to it's wonderful utility both in pvp and pve content. I don't see any changes needed to the Chloromancer, although I was sad to see "Soul Tether" reduced to a mindless in-combat rez. It was a wonderfully complicated and nuanced skill before requiring flawless timing to pull off successfully. Other than this, the chloro is an excellent mage soul.



    f - Warlock

    Not much to say here, this class used to be underwhelming due to the inferior DoT damage, but recent changes increased the utility of this class ten thousand-fold. In fact, some people are annoyed that this is often considered a 'required' off-soul for any pure dps spec.



    g - Necromancer

    Not much to say here either. Well-balanced class on the whole.




    h - Dominator

    This class is the one that I have the least experience with, and yet I observe the astounding utility of a well-played Dominator in pvp. No complaints or praise, perhaps aside from it's limited use in most pve roles.


    III - Conclusion

    I suppose I will conclude with a brief review of what I hope Trion will implement in the future. First: INCREMENTAL NERFS! I cannot overemphasize how important non-mechanics incremental nerfs are. I was very saddened to see the Saboteur class turn from an overplayed and vaguely overpowered class to a largely useless and likely soon to be un-played class. Incremental nerfs!

    Other than the opinions and observations above, I congratulate Trion on a diverse and mostly balanced class system. Very fine work!
    ~Mjollnir - Dwarf Mage
    ~ NÓridhrien - High Elf Ranger (in your warfronts, hiding from warriors)

    Knowledge and sorrow oft walk hand-in-hand.

  2. #2
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    Pyros dont do very good sustainable dps at all from what i can tell, so they probably dont need a nerf to their sustainable dps. Pyro's are "op" because they have cc immunity in pvp and burst damage, Heat wave resets CD's on stuff it probably shouldnt and theyre still nearly useless in pve. I suspect that after they fix the staff+mh+oh bug the damage will be a lot more realistic and there wont be nearly as much crying.

    SC 51 point talent would be interesting i guess, in terms of whats wrong with SC its mainly 2 things:
    1.Cloudburst isn't worth casting over Lightning field unless youre like 45+points in.
    2.Lightning field is your best single target damage spell as an instant cast aoe.

    Chloros probably still need another nerf somewhere or at least an addition to the rotation to make healing a bit more difficult.

    Archons are fine

    Locks need a bit better scaling with dots imo.

    Necro pets+plague bolt is/was bugged but after/if that gets fixed they'll be fine.

  3. #3
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    I agree with a lot, and would also like to add some counterpoints.

    Chloromancer. Not fine. Changes are needed to the top end root skills and perhaps some of the tree itself. Much like your issue with 51 Stormcaller, going deep into Chloromancer is pointless and detrimental.

    I'd suggest a mechanic that improves damage based on the more points that are spent in the soul for a start.

    Pyromancer; I think you're way off track with your proposed Burning Bright tweak. There is no quick one talent fix for Pyro. Worst thing about your change is it pours more cold water on the Pyro soul for PvE content purposes. In additon, the -9% health is horrible for PvP and PvE - the skill could be buffed if anything.

    The first thing they need to do with Pyro is re-examine the powerups. Codex as a Pyro is ridiculously easy right now.

    The second thing they could do is rework Fulminate. 100 Charge is not exactly difficult to get at this point with 10 points into Warlock. Cinderburst is half your charge bar filled, Opportunity can proc it, and Pyromancer's armour can proc it. The trend is a couple of spells, Instant Cinder one way or the other, and you're now sitting at 100 charge ready to rock. Then you Heatwave to reset Fulminate, and in about 5 seconds if that you have another Fulminate ready to go.

    Given I can go a week without actually casting a full 4.8 to 6 second Cinderburst in PvE or PvP there is no reason it needs to give as much charge as it does. Reduce to +9 or +10 on par with other instants.

    The third and last thing that could be done is remove the stun component completely from GoS. It actually is fairly meh at the moment dishing out stun immunity from random meh stuns to an enemy team on the whole for so little return. Also, the stun/interrupt component among what's been covered above is what lets Pyros 100-0 healers so easily by themselves at the moment.

    Ultimately Pyros by design are given an abundance of tools to deal with melee, but lack the CC to deal with healers and to a lesser extent ranged in their tree, (Healing done% reduction, silence, interrupts), and as such the Pyro has to work with other classes to be successful PvP Pyro.

    If those three changes were implemented, Pyros couldn't wipe entire teams at codex flag before the spawn powerup wears off, and the PvE side of it isn't put out nearly as much if at all (less charge excepted)

    and so ends the Pyro derail..

  4. #4
    Prophet of Telara Flaviusx's Avatar
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    Pyro is underpowered in pve and probably will remain so as long as so much of its damage potential is tied up in static ground effects. This flatly does not work in experts or raids. Too much movement.

    Its pve problems are totally overshadowed by the hysteria over it in pvp, alas.

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    How to fix Pyros for PvE is the real tricky question. I'd suggest perhaps reworking Improved Ground of Power so that the extra damage penalty isn't removed by talenting, and damage is boosted further to an additonal 10% fully talented or even 15%, to whereever it needs to be so that Pyro can compete on the meters, and requires a bit of sidestepping ground juggling with the new Burning shield skill to avoid being one-shot by boss mechanics. (remember the pyro is already sitting at an endurance penalty.)

    That change wouldn't affect PvP as a Pyro standing in Ground of power for the bonus is immobile, CC able, and takes extra damage, thus having a huge target painted on them.

    If Trion wants to make Pyros legit in boss fights, they need to buff their capabilities on burn phases through the roof, as they take a massive DPS hit when they need to stay mobile.

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    Prophet of Telara
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    For SC, my main concerns are the lack of useful water spells, and abilities above 32 points.
    Last edited by Qaedyan; 04-04-2011 at 02:19 PM.

  7. #7
    Rift Disciple NÓridhrien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flaviusx View Post
    Pyro is underpowered in pve and probably will remain so as long as so much of its damage potential is tied up in static ground effects. This flatly does not work in experts or raids. Too much movement.

    Its pve problems are totally overshadowed by the hysteria over it in pvp, alas.
    I would disagree. A 36/25/5 or 31/30/5 Pyro/Warlock/Ele is a very powerful PvE soul build, especially in AoE.

    Changing Burning Bright will not change this build significantly, only 3.6% less damage.
    Last edited by NÓridhrien; 04-04-2011 at 02:56 PM.
    ~Mjollnir - Dwarf Mage
    ~ NÓridhrien - High Elf Ranger (in your warfronts, hiding from warriors)

    Knowledge and sorrow oft walk hand-in-hand.

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    Prophet of Telara Flaviusx's Avatar
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    You can get equal or better aoe elsewhere.

    The main problem is ground of power. It looks good on dummies. In experts and raids it fails hard. You move too much, and have to waste time getting back on it, or on gcd to recast it.

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    Rift Disciple NÓridhrien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flaviusx View Post
    You can get equal or better aoe elsewhere.

    The main problem is ground of power. It looks good on dummies. In experts and raids it fails hard. You move too much, and have to waste time getting back on it, or on gcd to recast it.
    There are only a few bosses for which I am required to move around a lot, and I can count them on one hand. :P Granted I have not run all of the instances, but of the bosses in Expt IT/LH/RotF/CC/RD/AP I have only found like 5.
    ~Mjollnir - Dwarf Mage
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  10. #10
    Prophet of Telara Flaviusx's Avatar
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    There are far more than 5 bosses in experts where movement is an issue. The first and last bosses of AP. Scarn. Plutonus, depending on RNG placement of walls. 2nd to last boss of IT with that NPC who gives you the shield. Caelia. Also the 2nd boss in CC. Just about every boss in RD. 2nd boss in DSM, especially when he splits in two. Etc. etc.

    I'm boggled you think there are only 5 fights in expert where movement isn't happening, and quite significantly.

  11. #11
    Prophet of Telara Flaviusx's Avatar
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    Oops. I mean the 3rd boss in DSM, the earth dude.

  12. #12
    Prophet of Telara Corian's Avatar
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    please don't make thread titles that your post content can't live up to.

    you say "State of the Mage: A Treatise on Magery", i see "pyros do too much dmg and i dont like the 51pt stormcaller skill"
    This is why we can't have nice things.

  13. #13
    Rift Disciple NÓridhrien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flaviusx View Post
    There are far more than 5 bosses in experts where movement is an issue. The first and last bosses of AP. Scarn. Plutonus, depending on RNG placement of walls. 2nd to last boss of IT with that NPC who gives you the shield. Caelia. Also the 2nd boss in CC. Just about every boss in RD. 2nd boss in DSM, especially when he splits in two. Etc. etc.

    I'm boggled you think there are only 5 fights in expert where movement isn't happening, and quite significantly.
    For the 2nd of last boss of IT, I move but my ground of power stays put. I just hop in and out of it.

    The 2nd boss of CC, I move if I get unlucky, but that is typically only once or twice during the fight, which I don't consider to have a significant impact on overall dps. For the others that you mentioned, I usually am in Chloro spec.
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    Sword of Telara Ramea's Avatar
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    Tell me about pyros in pve please.

    I only ever play pyro occasionally in pvp and never in pve because test dummy parses, also after 1.1, made me think that pyro is still no good pve group / raid choice and I parsed higher with other builds.

    Is it just me, did i not find the perfect rotation yet or am I right?

    And if I am right, isn't nerfing the fire damage of pyros a really bad idea? And if they do need nerfs, shouldn't it be done differently?
    Also, do pyros really need a nerf or is it just perception because there are many pyros around (it's exciting to have an off GCD spell like warriors, its our only soul hat has an off GCD direct damage spell)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramea View Post
    Tell me about pyros in pve please.

    I only ever play pyro occasionally in pvp and never in pve because test dummy parses, also after 1.1, made me think that pyro is still no good pve group / raid choice and I parsed higher with other builds.

    Is it just me, did i not find the perfect rotation yet or am I right?

    And if I am right, isn't nerfing the fire damage of pyros a really bad idea? And if they do need nerfs, shouldn't it be done differently?
    Also, do pyros really need a nerf or is it just perception because there are many pyros around (it's exciting to have an off GCD spell like warriors, its our only soul hat has an off GCD direct damage spell)?
    Its a strange phenomenon, all the people who post about issues with 'X class' usually are the people who DO NOT understand the class, or the game. While people who obviously somewhat suck at this game are posting their 'QQs' on the forums, the good players are enjoying themselves playing RIFT because they've made the class work for them.

    Could we please put a hold on these posts with people making false/biased statements? If you look at the warrior forums as opposed to the mage forums, you see how warriors are actually theorycrafting and posting build ideas. I see very little of this on the mage forums, all QQ since the get go. If you are sad because you died, then go roll a class with some armor and see how that works. If you want a class that doesn't require thought and allows you to mash buttons and win, you have chosen the wrong archtype entirely. I've been succeeding since I hit 50 and was able to build a real spec. Too many lowbies are posting their QQs and not even stating that they haven't hit 50 yet, or fresh 50s are going into BGs, getting wasted, and complaining about the pyromancer who just one shot them! (which of course is most likely exaggerated in the first place)


    ugh i got too off topic, but this is silly. I agree with the comment someone said you should have just called this 'pyros are op and i dont like the 51 stormcaller skill'.

    Please put thought and effort into these posts. Trion does read them you know.

    EDIT: I quoted you because you're right, pyro isn't top damage at all. Its burst, it looks clearly designed for burst pvp. Warlock/necro dots probably outdps a pyro singletarget. (havent tested)
    Last edited by Kapope; 04-04-2011 at 07:28 PM.

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