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  Click here to go to the first Rift Team post in this thread.   Thread: Mage Update: 3.2

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    Default Mage Update: 3.2

    Hi all,

    Now that we’ve finished 3.2, I have a minute to come and talk to you about the state of Mage. There are three main issues that are recurring discussions on the forums that I want to address: 1.) What souls are in line to receive changes, 2.) What those changes will be, and 3.) Where you want to see improvements to Mage Souls.

    1

    First, let’s talk about Soul rework prioritization. In general, we don’t like to post about hypothetical changes – when we start talking about something too early it leads to creating expectations on exactly what we are going to do that may or may not be true. Right now, we have no definite timeline for more Soul reworks – so all of this could still change before you see it come to fruition. You’ve seen a couple changes to Harbinger, but we have many more intended changes in the pipeline. After Harbinger, Warlock is my next priority. But for now, let’s talk a bit about what those changes to Harbinger might look like.

    2
    • Conditioned Response
      • This ability will sport a substantially increased heal value. This ability is valued more for its Charge production than for its heal at the moment. Given melee’s propensity to take more damage than ranged souls, Conditioned Response can help alleviate some of that extra damage.
    • Healing Reflex
      • This talent will be changed to something completely different, which facilitates damage dealing. The current top contender is a talent increasing the spellpower scaling of your Air and Life spells, pending playtesting.
    • Insult to Injury
      • In order to make this talent feel more offensive, when the granted shield disperses, it will deal PBAoE damage.
    • Planar Shield
      • Activating Planar Shield before using Phase Step will trigger a different version of Phase Step. That version will be single-target and will blink in front of the target rather than behind it. Along with this, Planar Shield’s charge cost will be greatly reduced, though it might need to gain a short cooldown to prevent it from being omnipresent in PvP.
    • Reaper’s Blade
      • This spell will gain an effect that increases the damage of all Slashing attacks against targets under 35% health. The amount of damage increase will be dependent on playtesting, but expect it to be significant (in the 10 to 20% range).
      • Reaper’s Blade’s baseline Death damage will be increased to be equal to the damage from Lightning Blade. As a 41-point talent which is designed as a long-duration buff, it feels underwhelming to only be optimal to use for ~5 seconds at a time right before targets are about to die.
    • Empyrean Ascension
      • Single-target attacks granted by this ability will also proc Rending Slash’s debuff on their targets. This will prevent you from needing to worry about refreshing Rending Slash during Empyrean Ascension’s duration.

    Other changes are also possible, but this is our current plan. After adding these mechanics, the damage of each spell may have to be adjusted to balance the spec as a whole –our goal is to have Harbinger slightly ahead of Pyromancer given 100% uptime. But in order to finish Harbinger, we also need to talk about “Stormbinger”.

    Right now, in PvE, Storm Locus is so potent that it is optimal for many souls to spend 40 points in Stormcaller and use Storm Locus instead of any tools that may be in their own kit. Part of this can be addressed by making deep investment in other souls more appealing, but Storm Locus is the perfect storm of mechanics that make it game-changing-ly effective. Any time a single ability becomes that compelling we probably need to take a look at it.

    For reference, Storm Locus’s primary intended function was to allow Stormcaller to do semi-decent single-target damage instead of horrible single-target damage. My current plan is to change Storm Locus so that it only affects Air and Water abilities, thus completely preserving its original intent and still maintaining some support for Stormbinger for those who currently make the most of it. At the same time this would make deep hybridization into an AoE Soul no longer the optimal path for most Single-target damage builds. When I make this change, I will ensure that Harbinger single-target DPS comes up to the level at which Stormbinger DPS currently resides relative to other specs – and deep Harbinger should be less difficult to play well than Stormbinger currently is.

    3

    Speaking of difficulty, let’s talk a bit about the identity of the Mage calling as a whole. Mage has inherent complexity introduced into every spec by virtue of the Charge mechanic, which requires high attention to detail to get the best use out of. Charge on its own increases the gap between the skill floor and skill ceiling for every soul – so Mage souls tend to be designed around rewarding players who more skilled at using charge. The sole major exception to this rule is the pet souls, where the player’s use of charge is only pertinent to some of their damage-dealing rather than all of it.

    In reading feedback on various souls, I’ve seen many players concerned about the performance hit they feel when their Mage suffers a setback during a fight, whether it’s movement due to mechanics or the difficulty of executing class mechanics and positioning simultaneously. In general, I will try to bring up the skill floor of Mage without bringing down the skill ceiling. I want to continue to reward players who have invested their time and effort in learning how to play the class to its maximum effectiveness, but I also want to encourage more casual players to learn and enjoy the proc and resource management that many Mage specs offer as gameplay.

    On the topic of response speed and frequency to player concerns, I am committed to communicating here on the forums more frequently and more effectively. I read every PM and read most threads in gameplay-related sections of the forums, please understand though that sometimes I will be too busy to reply for a few days or a week. If you create your post in a way that allows me to respond to it, it will make it easier for us to have an ongoing conversation. If you have a question you want answered, or you have feedback you want seriously considered, I encourage you to present them here in a serious and straightforward way.

    Ok, that wraps up today’s intensely long Mage update. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to reading your questions and feedback below!
    Last edited by Red Hawk; 04-20-2015 at 10:11 AM.

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    Glad to see that Stormbinger is getting the axe, and looking forward to warlock changes.
    Last edited by Ludroth; 04-20-2015 at 10:27 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ludroth View Post
    Any word on further pyromancer or warlock changes?

    Particularly warlock. I really enjoy the warlock playstyle and would like to be able to return to using that instead of pyro as a ranged option. The skill:reward ratio on that spec right now is basically fine, I'd say it just needs a damage tweak.
    Pyromancer performs very well in both PvE and in PvP according to current data. I have no plans to change anything more with Pyromancer at this point, though I will continue to monitor performance data and will fix any issues that arise there.

    Warlock needs a couple targeted boosts to bring it up to snuff, but that won't be on the schedule for a long time. As a Systems Designer, while I'm the forum representative for Clerics and Mages, the Systems team also work on items, NPCs, features, and many other of the little behind-the-scenes pieces of the game that make it go. So, I'll get to Warlock eventually - but I hope that helps you see why that "eventually" is an indefinite timeframe.
    Last edited by Red Hawk; 04-20-2015 at 10:41 AM.

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    The planar shield one seems rather annoying. You attached it to a CD buff so if I need the defense and Planar Shield breaks before I phase step, I'm screwed. Doubly so since it counts each DoT as a separate attack, so against DoTs it disappears in a second.
    Meciel - Mage - Defer Death - Greybriar
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    Here's just my 10 cents on something I found quite interesting:

    "our goal is to have Harbinger slightly ahead of Pyromancer given 100% uptime."

    Currently, Pyromancer is the lowest of the ST DPS specs, so this statement makes no sense. I'm not sure whether you or trion are aware of it, however Mage has sort of worked like this for a while:

    STORMbinger>SoulSTORM>STORMalist>STORMlock>Pyroman cer. I mean hell even STORMdom is probably higher DPS then Pyromancer.

    So, your intentions are to make 61 Harbinger slightly ahead of the lowest competitive single target DPS spec? I'm sorry man but all this storm stuff has to get addressed. Making Storm Locus only affect air and water abilities wont do much to be honest, I mean, Stormbinger is basically all Air and Water, then about 80% of all the other storm hybrid's DPS actually comes from the Stormcaller's single target abilities, which are then enhanced by the sub-souls, be it damage or spell power.

    I think you need to do something about Pyromancer before using it as an example for DPS as it is currently the lowest. Be it adding a DoT, increase in damage or something.

    Hope you don't take this offensively, I only wanted to make you aware of how things are at the moment as majority of the developer comments i've seen revolve around comparing mage changes along the lines of Pyromancer DPS.
    Last edited by Gilgad; 04-20-2015 at 10:52 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evantide View Post
    The planar shield one seems rather annoying. You attached it to a CD buff so if I need the defense and Planar Shield breaks before I phase step, I'm screwed. Doubly so since it counts each DoT as a separate attack, so against DoTs it disappears in a second.
    It's true that attaching the functionality to Planar Shield will require you to coordinate two abilities together with differing primary functions. My thinking is that the upside of doing so (not introducing yet another button on the already complicated Harb ability bar) outweighs the downside of doing so (tying two mechanically disparate abilities together for one function) - but I could be convinced to either tie it to something else or to add another ability whose sole purpose is to choose in front or behind for Phase Step.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Hawk View Post
    but I could be convinced to either tie it to something else or to add another ability whose sole purpose is to choose in front or behind for Phase Step.
    Phantom Blades? The Cooldowns are both 30seconds.
    *bit silly to have a tp tied with a range increase yeah but just an odd idea.
    Last edited by Phs; 04-20-2015 at 10:51 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Hawk View Post
    It's true that attaching the functionality to Planar Shield will require you to coordinate two abilities together with differing primary functions. My thinking is that the upside of doing so (not introducing yet another button on the already complicated Harb ability bar) outweighs the downside of doing so (tying two mechanically disparate abilities together for one function) - but I could be convinced to either tie it to something else or to add another ability whose sole purpose is to choose in front or behind for Phase Step.
    You could just make it so that phase step teleports you to the enemy, not in front or behind, but just closest to it. I mean does it really need to be either in front or behind?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phs View Post
    Phantom Blades? The Cooldowns are both 30seconds.
    *bit silly to have a tp tied with a range increase yeah but just an odd idea.
    That'd kill off Harb's disconnect capabilities though.



    The issue I'm seeing is that Harb's charge generation and starvation is already RNG based. By adding another mandatory charge consumer into its usage cycle, you're forcing Harbs to have a much greater likelihood of starving and further penalizing their damage.

    With a lot of really good management, it can be worked around, but that's going into SC/Harb's charge management levels.

    On top of that, because Planar Shield breaks after 5 damage ticks (including DoTs), even if the Harb times it perfectly it has the chance of still completely failing to apply its boost to phase step.

    A work around might be splitting the changed Planar Shield into two separate buffs. One for the shield itself and another 10s buff that turns Phase Step single target.

    Building on this, Phase Step always porting to front isn't a good thing bundled either.

    With porting to the back and T1's proliferation of "can't be behind or in X spot or else death" mechanics, Phase Step was pretty hard to utilize. However, those bosses also usually have frontal Cleaves. Like say Ungolok? Front and Back ports are both equal amounts of pain. Crucia, you can't teleport behind or in front cause frontal cleave and Starboard Lasers also seem to hit directly behind her.

    Maybe you could change it so that the Planar Shield buff just ports you to the target instead of set directly in front? That way the player has mostly perfect control of where they actually show up.

    Maybe consider adding an AE attack component to Phase step also? Say a 5m splash for half the damage that also procs weapon buffs so Lava Field isn't the primer ability for Luminous Weapon?
    Meciel - Mage - Defer Death - Greybriar
    12/12 T1, 14/15 T2, 1/9 T3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilgad View Post
    STORMbinger>SoulSTORM>STORMalist>STORMlock>Pyroman cer. I mean hell even STORMdom is probably higher DPS then Pyromancer.
    My data does not bear this out at all. Stormbinger is higher than Pyro, and perhaps "Soulstorm" is also higher vs. a dummy, but by and large progression guilds using Mages in PvE DPS roles are using them either as Pyromancer or as Stormbinger, depending on if the fight is melee friendly or not. In PvP, Pyro and Chloro are by far the most popular Mage souls.

    Hope you don't take this offensively, I only wanted to make you aware of how things are at the moment as majority of the developer comments i've seen revolve around comparing mage changes along the lines of Pyromancer DPS.
    No offense taken at all - if our data was wrong, I would want to know so that we could fix it and make better-informed decisions! However in this case I am very confident in the data I have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Hawk View Post
    My data does not bear this out at all. Stormbinger is higher than Pyro, and perhaps "Soulstorm" is also higher vs. a dummy, but by and large progression guilds using Mages in PvE DPS roles are using them either as Pyromancer or as Stormbinger, depending on if the fight is melee friendly or not. In PvP, Pyro and Chloro are by far the most popular Mage souls.
    I don't know about other guilds, but my guild's only using Pyro because of burst phases and heavy mobility issues. If fights didn't require ridiculous amounts of movement or hard burst, SC/Necro would beat Pyro pretty handily.

    Like Threngar? Pyro wins cause of timing bursts with 300% damage. Johan? Enrage burst phase means we're locked into Pyro. Same with PUMPKIN and Charles. We have to use Pyro because the other specs sucked due to fight mechanics, not because Pyro itself is inherently stronger. Heck, even on Jino and Yrlwalach. The need to be able to move instantly without killing your rotation means Storm specs basically die due to unwieldy cast times.

    BAsicalyl what i'm tring to say is this: Do Mages use Pyro because it is the best or because it is the only spec that will work?
    Last edited by evantide; 04-20-2015 at 11:15 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilgad View Post
    You could just make it so that phase step teleports you to the enemy, not in front or behind, but just closest to it. I mean does it really need to be either in front or behind?
    I agree with this completely. Just have it teleport to the enemy. Or you could have it teleport to the side that you're facing. This is difficult to explain but let's say you have your back to the enemy, and you use phase step, the direction you are facing stays the same, but you would teleport to the opposite side to then face the enemy, while maintaining the direction you were originally pointing. If that makes sense, it could make for some interesting mechanics. I sort of think that would be difficult to code though, not even sure.
    Nerfshot/Slowshot/Noobshot

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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Hawk View Post
    My data does not bear this out at all. Stormbinger is higher than Pyro, and perhaps "Soulstorm" is also higher vs. a dummy, but by and large progression guilds using Mages in PvE DPS roles are using them either as Pyromancer or as Stormbinger, depending on if the fight is melee friendly or not. In PvP, Pyro and Chloro are by far the most popular Mage souls.



    No offense taken at all - if our data was wrong, I would want to know so that we could fix it and make better-informed decisions! However in this case I am very confident in the data I have.
    Where do you get your data from? I haven't heard, seen, read or witnessed anybody claiming that Pyromancer DPS is better then any of the storm hybrids mate. I can show you right now if you'd like that Soulstorm beats it on a dummy, stormalist beats it on a dummy, Stormbinger beats it on a dummy and I'm not talking by a little bit, I mean a pretty big chunk. Now i'm talking about a dummy, but the storm hybrids absolutely TRUMPS it in raid. I'll give you an example, a few weeks ago pre-nerf, my buddy castan did 100k DPS on ungolok with Stormalist. I HIGHLY doubt pyromancer could do anything near that.

    I haven't seen a single post, parse or anything with anyone using pyromancer and claiming its just behind stormbinger and higher then the storm hybrids and i'm certain many many many of the Mages here can back me up on my comment. (Note: I'm not talking about fights where you save your CD's for burst phases because that makes sense [Like Johan])

    I do raid a lot - 3 characters a week, MS, RoF, TF and some HK with different people and I always check what people are playing. So if I am missing something about Pyromancer, please tell me (us).
    Last edited by Gilgad; 04-20-2015 at 11:22 AM.

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    Also another big thing, Mages really need a good NMR spec. Storm Armor knockback is death in NMRs and the other specs are meh for DPS check. Spec swapping also isn't viable cause our charge is drained and then we have to rebuild stacks.


    Consider upping Harb's Lucent Slash AE by rolling the DoT component into a 1s DoT instead. to facilitate this.

    Since currently, Mages really have nothing that's generally considered a not **** spec for NMRs outside of SC/Necro.
    Meciel - Mage - Defer Death - Greybriar
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    Quote Originally Posted by evantide View Post
    Also another big thing, Mages really need a good NMR spec. Storm Armor knockback is death in NMRs and the other specs are meh for DPS check. Spec swapping also isn't viable cause our charge is drained and then we have to rebuild stacks.


    Consider upping Harb's Lucent Slash AE by rolling the DoT component into a 1s DoT instead. to facilitate this.

    Since currently, Mages really have nothing that's generally considered a not **** spec for NMRs outside of SC/Necro.
    ^ This. Easy fix would be 100% charge upon swapping specs. I don't see the need to be charge starved when swapping specs, just makes pulling bosses longer.

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