Melee Sorc discussion

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Melee Sorc discussion

Post by archon256 on Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:07 am

Made this thread to continue the discussion started in another thread.

@aknazer wrote:
@archon256 wrote:
@aknazer wrote:
I know this was posted awhile ago, but any word on what the new melee skills might be?  Maybe a single-target skill that is better than Bladestorm for single targets, and/or a mobility skill?
Whatever it is, it'll be something that doesn't fit the theme of an elemental mage whatsoever, to go with Bladestorm and the melee uberskill, which blocks out all spells.  Razz

Well, maybe one is a passive that adds elemental damage based off of the trees that you pick.  I dunno how else one could really add in elemental abilities outside of passives in D2 and have them be meaningful given the restrictions on Baneblade, though all the trees already have a passive and a buff that work well with a melee build, so I'm not complaining about the trees not feeling like they don't add anything to a melee build.  Closest thing would be melee abilities that slightly change based off of which trees you put points into and/or classify Force Blast as a "debuff" so that it can be used with Baneblade.  You also have to ask yourself, what exactly is a Battlemage?  And to me at least, it is someone who is adept at melee and uses magic to enhance their combat skills, which is what the passives and buffs currently feel like even if more "could" be done to make it feel more elemental'y.

To me the best battlemage that I've seen in a game was WoW's Enhancement shaman.  Though given the restrictions of the D2 engine the melee sorceress is a good second.  DA:O's Arcane Warrior would be a solid third, but outside of those three I can't even think of other games that have really tried the concept.  So I'm glad to see that it isn't being removed.

These are the main problems I have with the melee sorc as she is currently:

  • The gameplay is very stale. You just hit Moonstrike occasionally and spam Blade Storm or Spiral Dance forever.
  • Baneblade blocks spells, so you lock out 90% of the sorc tree
  • There is nothing that fits the sorc theme about the melee sorc. Every other sorc is casting elemental or arcane spells, while the melee sorc spams a completely unrelated ability.


Since Marco is adding a melee tree, there's a good chance that the first point is no longer a problem. With more skills available there's hope for better gameplay.
However I think more drastic changes are needed to fully integrate the melee sorc into the sorc skill tree as a whole. The idea of a 'battlemage' is that of a hybrid spellcaster/warrior who uses magic in the middle of melee combat to augment her damage by buffing herself or debuffing the enemy. Baneblade blocking all spells and none of her regular spells being useful for a melee build removes a ton of potential synergies that could make for a ton of melee variants.

My suggestions:

  1. Remove the ranged ability lockout from Baneblade. Then nerf it so that it only has stats that melee builds would want, so that every caster doesn't take it (eg. Increased melee damage, small amounts of life on striking, crushing blow, etc.)
  2. Add utility buffs and debuffs to various other active sorc skills. The idea is that you want to alternate between melee and ranged abilities to maximize damage and survivability (eg. Miasma has a larger area, lower damage, longer duration and also reduces physical resistances of affected enemies. Flamestrike increases attack speed and gives life leech for a few seconds around the point where you cast it. The duration and range of Nova is greatly reduced but it also adds a lot of +lightning damage while active and reduces the lightning res of all targets hit, Frigid Sphere also does 1/4 weapon damage but locks out ranged skills for 3 seconds (lol) etc.).


If this sounds interesting, we can brainstorm more skill ideas.

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Re: Melee Sorc discussion

Post by aknazer on Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:41 am

While I agree that it can get a bit stale (though you forgot the Fire Dance and Sacrifices abilities that you occasionally use) and that you don't really have many tricks to deal with different situations I'm going to start this with the parts that I disagree with first.

1) Baneblade only locks you out of ~60% of the skills since all elemental trees are 3x active abilities (1-2 that you'll likely never use even as a caster) and 2x Passive/Buff skills. That's still a bunch of skills that are useless, but a bit different than 90%.

2) I also disagree that she doesn't fit with the sorc theme. While she isn't directly casting spells like a traditional sorceress/mage, she is still very much using her elements to improve her combat skills. Whether it is Warp Armor for increased armor/avoidance, Fire Dance for increased damage, or Hive for poisoning those around you, she is still using the elements; just in a more "inner" fashion (as in she has turned the elements towards improving herself instead of the traditional method of projecting them out as spells).

3) If anything, I would say that moonstrike is the least related of the skills (not that I think it should be removed or anything). Bladestorm could easily pass as an arcane manifestation of your weapon to attack others and thus fit in the current arcane tree.

But these things are either semantics or simply a difference in views. Moving on to my suggestions which focus on the melee tree only:

1) A movement/escape tool. The tricky part here is to not simply copy/pasta from other classes. So what would be interesting (not sure if possible) would be an ability that has like a 10sec timer but lets you move through enemies for 3-4 seconds, increases your DR/Avoidance by X amount (could be what changes between levels), and prevents you from attacking for the duration. This way you can't use it to get the DR/Avoidance buff and continue fighting, but it gives the class a unique way to escape or avoid things like Duncraig Barrels and other 1hko abilities.

2) Classify Force Blast as a "debuff" so that it can be cast while Baneblade is up. Maybe lower the mana cost and increase the duration a bit, but overall letting the melee sorc use this would give them a tool to help cope with massive swarms, high damage that can't easily/reasonably be avoided (looking at you Chimera), etc.

3) An attack that adds effects based on your elements. Cold could slow, Lightning stun, Fire knocks back, and poison causes them to flee.

4) A single-target ability that is more powerful against a single target than our AoE ability. Obviously it shouldn't be so strong that it can clear groups faster than AoE, but it bugs me that Bladestorm with a single point is faster at killing a boss than Moonstrike with 22pts in it. Would just need to figure out how to prevent the "Area Effect Damage" of Warp Blades from turning it into an AoE ability. Note that this could simply be a rework of Moonstrike and not an actual new ability.

5) ...I had something else, but it's late and I forgot so I'll move on and hope to remember tomorrow

As for your suggestions:

1) I don't think that Baneblade should be nerfed because then you would need to find somewhere else to move the survivability stuff to or else the build would take a rather large survivability hit. And the issue then is that there's nothing stopping a caster from picking up whatever talent it was moved to. Instead I would suggest a slight change that would lead into your second suggestion. I do think it would be interesting if we could use ranged WDM oskills with Baneblade though.
2) Have these things only happen when Baneblade is active. I don't know if it is even possible to have the spell effectively be a second completely different spell simply when under the effects of Baneblade, but if possible that would be the best way to do it. As you suggest, it would make those spells useful to a melee build, and at the same time would prevent casters from picking up Baneblade because using it would completely mess up their skills. This then makes it so that Baneblade wouldn't need to be nerfed if the "can't use ranged abilities" were removed, and that would likely open up the door for some interesting oskill builds.

Since I'm not a modder I have no clue if some of this would even be possible with the D2 engine, but if I were to give some suggestions those would be it.

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Re: Melee Sorc discussion

Post by RollsRoyce on Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:54 am

A change i would really welcome to the sorc is that for every passive you choose, you unlock an according melee skill ( a psn / a fire / an ice / a light / a magic - melee skill).
This way the melee skills would fit your actual setup

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Re: Melee Sorc discussion

Post by archon256 on Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:09 am

@aknazer wrote:
1)  Baneblade only locks you out of ~60% of the skills since all elemental trees are 3x active abilities (1-2 that you'll likely never use even as a caster) and 2x Passive/Buff skills.  That's still a bunch of skills that are useless, but a bit different than 90%.
You're right, I was exaggerating.

@aknazer wrote:
2)  I also disagree that she doesn't fit with the sorc theme.  While she isn't directly casting spells like a traditional sorceress/mage, she is still very much using her elements to improve her combat skills.  Whether it is Warp Armor for increased armor/avoidance, Fire Dance for increased damage, or Hive for poisoning those around you, she is still using the elements; just in a more "inner" fashion (as in she has turned the elements towards improving herself instead of the traditional method of projecting them out as spells).
You're right, the few non-melee skills she can use do fit the theme. But I'd like to see more, to spice up the gameplay and add some commonality to melee and caster sorcs, instead of them being almost completely separate builds that tend to use the same character model and passives.
Fire Dance fits perfectly for the type of skill I'd like to see more of, whereas Hive is too passive for my liking.

@aknazer wrote:
3)  If anything, I would say that moonstrike is the least related of the skills (not that I think it should be removed or anything).  Bladestorm could easily pass as an arcane manifestation of your weapon to attack others and thus fit in the current arcane tree.
Sure

@aknazer wrote:
1)  A movement/escape tool.  
Not sure how necessary this is, and it could end up being used by non-casters too. Actually I could see this skill coming with a ranged skill lockout of a few seconds. Also not sure if it can be coded (AFAIK only Whirlwind has this feature).

@aknazer wrote:
2)  Classify Force Blast as a "debuff" so that it can be cast while Baneblade is up.  
I still think Baneblade should allow everything, but more on that below.

@aknazer wrote:
3)  An attack that adds effects based on your elements.  Cold could slow, Lightning stun, Fire knocks back, and poison causes them to flee.
Sounds great. Incidentally something similar was planned to be the tier1 skill of the melee Sorc tree in Median: Mean Mode. I don't remember all the details, but I do recall that picking the poison tree would cause this skill to generate 4 Lorenados that rotated around your character in melee range. Very Happy

@aknazer wrote:
4)  A single-target ability that is more powerful against a single target than our AoE ability.  
I think this is an absolute must.

@aknazer wrote:
1)  I don't think that Baneblade should be nerfed because then you would need to find somewhere else to move the survivability stuff to or else the build would take a rather large survivability hit.  And the issue then is that there's nothing stopping a caster from picking up whatever talent it was moved to.  
There are defensive stats that are useless to casters, such as life leech, life on striking in melee, life on striking in general, slow target, etc. This in conjunction with the offensive non-caster-only buff to the regular skills like I suggested (such as Miasma reducing physical res, Flamestrike increasing attack speed, Frigid Sphere doing massive burst WDM to a single target on a timer etc.) should bridge the gap.
Plus I think if you leave a small amount of defense on Baneblade it'll still be worse than Chronofield and Witch Blood for casters.

@aknazer wrote:
2)  Have these things only happen when Baneblade is active.  
That might be possible, but it'll likely be a lot harder to implement.

@RollsRoyce wrote:A change i would really welcome to the sorc is that for every passive you choose, you unlock an according melee skill ( a psn / a fire / an ice / a light / a magic - melee skill).
This way the melee skills would fit your actual setup
The problem with that is you're wasting a lot of the tree, and in the end every melee Sorc will have only three skills. I think having a single primary skill (Moonstrike replacement?) whose effects change based on which tree you spec'd into is more than enough.

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Re: Melee Sorc discussion

Post by RollsRoyce on Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:37 pm

Im not sure right now if its actually possible to give a (melee) skill 5 diffrent effects based on the skill tree you picked. Ofc i would prefer that over my suggestion if this is actually possible.

I also wanted the familiar aura to grant a diffrent bonus based on the passive you picked ( just like "Cold could slow, Lightning stun, Fire knocks back, and poison causes them to flee.)"

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Re: Melee Sorc discussion

Post by aknazer on Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:20 pm

@RollsRoyce wrote:Im not sure right now if its actually possible to give a (melee) skill 5 diffrent effects based on the skill tree you picked. Ofc i would prefer that over my suggestion if this is actually possible.

I also wanted the familiar aura to grant a diffrent bonus based on the passive you picked ( just like "Cold could slow, Lightning stun, Fire knocks back, and poison causes them to flee.)"

Is there a limit to number of skills that can synergize with something? Because if not then you simply have it "synergize" with the points put into the tree. For the description you just list the tree, but under the hood it would probably be looking at each individual skill for hardpoints.

If above would work then it could also be used to give the Familiar Aura different bonuses based on your passives. That does bring up another question though, where will the familiar fall in the updated trees? Hopefully something like it is the lvl1 skill and from it the arcane tree branches into the melee and caster sides. Or if it goes to the caster side then maybe an arrow from the lvl1 melee over to the familiar so that we don't have to waste a point on a caster arcane ability in order to reach Familiars.

Gah now I can't stop thinking about all the different possibilities and I'm curious with what Marco decided to do!

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Re: Melee Sorc discussion

Post by archon256 on Mon Jun 23, 2014 12:03 am

@aknazer wrote:you simply have it "synergize" with the points put into the tree
That'd be one way to do it, but even that doesn't have to be that complicated. You could just have the skill have 4 different static synergies that are each activated if you have a non-zero number of points in the first skill of each of the elemental trees. For a really boring example, you could have the skill do slvl*(base points in dex)*fire/cold/lightning/poison damage depending on which tree you put any points into.

I was thinking of something more weird, like having the skill apply a small-AoE low-duration curse to enemies around you, with the curse being large-AoE if you pick fire (aurarangecalc column) and long duration if you pick cold (auralen column). The actual effect of the curse would be increased if you chose lightning  (aurastatcalc1 column). Then you could have the skill generate a Lorenado that travels in the direction of a random enemy and apply the curse if you have points in the poison tree (Hit Function 25/20 on a spawner missile that generates the Lorenado missile, calc1 scales the radius to search for targets = 0 if no points in poison, else 20).

Just a random example of things you could do, not meant to be the best choice.

Edit: edited in the bold part for clarity


Last edited by archon256 on Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:56 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Melee Sorc discussion

Post by aknazer on Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:50 am

Since I don't mod I didn't know what could be done that easily.

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Re: Melee Sorc discussion

Post by archon256 on Mon Jun 23, 2014 4:30 am

I figured, I'm just dropping hints for Marco. Who is curiously silent on the matter. Razz

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Re: Melee Sorc discussion

Post by stoya on Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:13 am

we brainstormed so long about melee sorc skill setups with rolls like 1 year ago Very Happy

i dont like the idea of enabling other spells while baneblade it active its really damn hard to balance.. i am pretty sure about it. so best idea is buffing baneblade with other different options and adding maybe 1 more different usefull skill in melee sorc tree..

i guess we came up with adding some sort of slow target ability to baneblade, rolls made some test if he could remember he can answer about it.

and you all miss 1 thing is sorc has terrible breakpoint amounts to play melee which i always hate about it.. i killed witch kabraxis and such hard ubers with melee sorc even laz, she is all ok but when it comes to controlling crowd she has hard times even range of blades and spiral dance doesnt feel comfortable.

balancing breakpoints of melee sorc could be huge boost ofc it should be well optimised and buffing baneblade? adding new cool skill ?

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