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I didn’t think either really needed buffs. Illusion, along with enchanting, are the best magic schools in my opinion. Instead they should make all the wizard subclasses actually worth taking instead of no subclass always being the best option. Not sure how trickster made it to the top of the list when there are so many subclasses that are clearly worse off.

 

For example... why would a transmuter ever want to turn into an orge who is slow as hell, can’t cast spells, and is bad at fighting? What kind of subclass power is that?

 

Conjurer’s power is almost as bad: summoning a useless, pathetically weak tiny creature. Somehow, the random flee-laiden stray cats and dogs that you find drinking out of various backwater cesspools provides far better buffs than your own familiars. To add further insult, it uses up your spell casts and arcane power source and takes forever to cast and must be recast every encounter.

 

Tricksters on the other hand get a very useful spell, mirror images, which synergizes well with the rogue passive counter-attack ability.

Edited by Braven
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Illusion suffers from Cipher-itis, a collection of low power effects and short durations on long cast times - but there are a few hilariously broken spells in there too.  Wizard's Double, Mirrored Image, and Llengrath's Displaced image are all stupid good defensive skills, while Ryngrim's Repulsive Visage and Ryngrim's Enervating Terror are wildly overpowered CC effects.

But it's hard to build any specialist wizard when a supermajority the spells in the game are trash tier; generalists can at least grab all the good (and busted) ones, but the specialists are stuck picking through garbage at a lot of spell levels.

 

Anyway quick and dirty starting point:

 

Arkemyr's Dazzling Lights: 9s -> 15s

Bewlidering Spectacle: 15s Confused -> 15s Dazed, Confused

Ryngrim's Repulsive Visage: 15s -> 9s

Confusion: 30s Confused -> 20s Dazed, Confused

Ryngrim's Enervating Terror: 20s -> 10s, 20m -> 10m

Gaze of the Adragon: 6s -> 8s

Arkemyr's Capricious Hex: 10s Daze / 12s Sickened / 6s Paralyzed -> 15s Daze / 18s Sickened / 8s Paralyzed

Temporal Cocoon: 3s/4s c/r -> .5s/4.5s c/r

Kalakoth's Freezing Rake: 8s Hobble/Weaken -> 12s Hobble/Weaken

Concelhaut's Corrosive Skin: Weakened -> Enfeebled

Petrification: 12s -> 15s

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Tricksters on the other hand get a very useful spell, mirror images, which synergizes well with the rogue passive counter-attack ability.

But that’s really the only thing trickster brings to the table, and it doesn’t come until power level 3. Before then they trade 25% damage for arkemyr’s dazzling lights, which might be decent, but takes a long time to cast and recover from for a short duration effect that also consumes your class resource. Every cast of that is one less use of escape or crippling blow. Arkemyr’s dazzling lights looks good, but between the sneak attack penalty and the time and resources spent casting it, you’ve sacrificed the bulk of your character’s damage output for one defensive power that’s decent at best. This is a theme for trickster.

 

Let’s look at confusion, gaze of the adragan and wall of many colors. Confusion is very situational, has a very long cast time and takes up even more resources. Gaze of the adragan and especially wall of many colors might be legimitately really good, but to use them twice you have to blow all of your class resources, leaving you with just a weaker rogue. Why not take literally any other class and combine it with wizard? You’ll still be able to cast those two spells twice per encounter, but you’ll get a hell of a lot more other spells as well, better defenses and you won’t eat the big damage penalty from trickster.

 

That leaves us with mirrored image, which is legimitately good. In fact, it’s better than it looks on the surface, because compared to wizards, who can cast it at most twice per encounter, you can keep it running almost indefinitely, even if you’re taking some hits. But is mirrored image, alone and by itself, worth taking trickster? The synergy with riposte is there, but riposte itself is very weak, triggering on only 30 % of misses. Sure, mirrored image can help you get deflection high enough that enemies frequently miss, but if you want to reliably riposte, you have to cut very deep into your offense, and trickster is hampering that even more. At very high levels, when you have death blows and sneak attack scaling makes the 25% penalty seem less painful, trickster might be better than vanilla rogue, but if you’re going to have a tanky rogue, is mirrored image in exchange for the sneak attack penalty better than street fighter? Or spellblade with any other rogue subclass? I doubt it. Tricksters’ utility spells are strictly not worth the tradeoff, and the defensive spell is good, but you’re giving up a lot of offense for some defense when other classes or class combos can just have both.

 

I really want to like trickster and I’ve tried it with a couple of characters, but I just find it really bad. On paper it looks decent, but in practice, when considering the resource cost of their skills and strictly comparing the numbers to what other builds can do, it falls far short.

 

Elsewhere I proposed having tricksters use their defense as their offense. They could get a chance to gain guile when an enemy targets deflection and misses, matched by the drawback that all their non-trickster powers cost more. Paired with moving mirrored image to level 1 and some rebalancing to illusion spells in general, this would give the class a solid niche as deflection tanks with a lot of versatility. A valid concern about that is it would make them a sort of “win harder” class where you’re useless if the enemy ignores you or doesn’t have much trouble hitting you, but extremely strong if you were going to win the fight anyway. But I think this isn’t too terribly different from how a lot of tanks play: if the enemy ignores a tank in favor of squishy characters or can easily take the tank down, the tank is mostly useless.

Edited by grasida
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Gaze of the Adragon: 6s -> 8s

It really should be a universal rule that CC and debuff abilities last at least as long as they take to cast.

 

There's a symmetry there I appreciate, but I don't think it's true as a universal rule.  It also doesn't hold here, because even though Gaze of the Adragon says it's a 6 second paralyze, it's realistically a 9 second paralyze (adding in some power levels and intelligence) and the cast time should be well under 6 seconds with dexterity and rapid casting.  It's also a pretty big AoE.  In a vacuum I have no problem at all with it as a starting point.  Plenty of games where I would be thrilled to make that trade.

But in practice you're comparing it to dropping a Freezing Pillar on those targets, which is just a whole lot better.  With the way this game actually works, CC needs to be pretty powerful to compete with big nukes or physical damage dealers, especially with the resistance and inspiration systems that hard counter a lot of these spells.

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I don't understand why players complaining trickster is weak. Wall of Many Colors is one of the best CC spell in the game. And you can cast it like a wizard, weak? hell no.

 

Illusionist is weak because all wizard subclasses(except evoker) is weaker than non-subclass wizard, but it's not the only issue of illusionist.

Edited by dunehunter
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Yeah, a level 20 trickster can cast wall of many colors twice per fight, then is just a weaker rogue with no resources for the rest of the fight. A wizard can do so much earlier, then still has all of the rest of their ample powers and suffers no penalty for the privilege of using this one spell. Not to mention, trickster gets wall of many colors at power level 9! By that point, most classes have extremely powerful abilities that they also get without any penalty.

 

That’s the problem with trickster. Using your trickster abilities eats into everything else you can do, in terms of resources, time and sneak attack damage. A trickster casting illusion spells is doing very little damage as a rogue and is worse at casting spells than a wizard. The class should be able to do a little of both, but because of resource costs, the steep damage penalty and casting times, it can’t do either very well. Strictly by the numbers, rogue or wizard in any other combination would do better.

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The problem with Illusionist specialists (moreso than other specialists) isn't that the spells are weak-- it's that many of them benefit very little from being cast at a higher Power Level.  (I.e., the primary benefit of specializing.) 

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How bad is Trickster penalty? Isnt it -10% sneak attack at start.

There is a situacion that you can play Rogue/Wizard and still lose 10% of SA, but gain 21 spells illusion or not. How to beat that.

Buff ideas:

Better Rogue tier 8th 9th. Like passive bonus to sneak attack or Guile on Kill passive.

More Ilussion, Trickster, Trap abillities. Not only from Wizard. Like convert Eyestrike, or Ranger Trap, Whispears of Threason.

More starting Guile. So you can spam abillities more.

 

Wizard Subclasses

This one is hard, and cant be done easy way. It requires more spells of no Evocation, which takes forever.

Change Subclass Penalty: -1PL to other schools, +20% recovery to other schools.

Gradually buff Other perks. Like Make Brutte suck less. It is possible. Just move it to Spiritshape level in POE1.

More spells on no Evocation. Transmutation is almost good (but not at top tiers).

Edited by evilcat
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Yeah, a level 20 trickster can cast wall of many colors twice per fight, then is just a weaker rogue with no resources for the rest of the fight. A wizard can do so much earlier, then still has all of the rest of their ample powers and suffers no penalty for the privilege of using this one spell. Not to mention, trickster gets wall of many colors at power level 9! By that point, most classes have extremely powerful abilities that they also get without any penalty.

 

That’s the problem with trickster. Using your trickster abilities eats into everything else you can do, in terms of resources, time and sneak attack damage. A trickster casting illusion spells is doing very little damage as a rogue and is worse at casting spells than a wizard. The class should be able to do a little of both, but because of resource costs, the steep damage penalty and casting times, it can’t do either very well. Strictly by the numbers, rogue or wizard in any other combination would do better.

 

Comparing the pure rogue you get two cast of Wall of Many Colors, lost -20% damage bonus, that's an additive bonus. Don't think it's a big deal and u get extra utility. If there's a rogue class that need uptune, it's not trickster but pure rogue.

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There's a symmetry there I appreciate, but I don't think it's true as a universal rule.  It also doesn't hold here, because even though Gaze of the Adragon says it's a 6 second paralyze, it's realistically a 9 second paralyze (adding in some power levels and intelligence) and the cast time should be well under 6 seconds with dexterity and rapid casting.  It's also a pretty big AoE.  In a vacuum I have no problem at all with it as a starting point.  Plenty of games where I would be thrilled to make that trade.

 

 

But in practice you're comparing it to dropping a Freezing Pillar on those targets, which is just a whole lot better.  With the way this game actually works, CC needs to be pretty powerful to compete with big nukes or physical damage dealers, especially with the resistance and inspiration systems that hard counter a lot of these spells.

 

 

 

This kind of math doesn't really hold because there are a lot of additional things that can effect the duration of a spell effect beyond Int. For example, almost all effects have a miss and graze rate which together are going to reduce the expected duration of the effect by about a third, and then past that, high-resolve enemies will also reduce the duration of your hostile casts. Once you start adding in dex and int bonuses you need to also adjust for all the other things that could effect durations and cast times and at that point you aren't using a rule of thumb any more. 

 

I think the rule of thumb should be that non-damage spells should have a minimum base duration equal to double their base cast+recovery time. Yes, even AoE's (in most fights, and especially most fights on PotD, the party is initially outnumbered, so stunning three enemies for six seconds while also immobilizing yourself for six seconds and burning a spell cast without doing damage is not, usually, all that good a trade. 

 

 

Illusion suffers from Cipher-itis, a collection of low power effects and short durations on long cast times 

 

 

Yeah this is fair. They seem to have decided at some point in early development that status debuffs and CC were "too strong" in Pillars I, so they systematically nerfed all of them in like three or four different ways -- partly by moving to the afflictions/inspiration system (a good change overall), but also by reducing the impact of most debuffs (compare PoE 1 paralyze with current paralyze), dramatically shortening all their durations, etc. All those changes together ended up being dramatic overkill with the result that most of the effects they focused on are now worthless trap options.

 

Then other changes they made, like lengthening cast times across the board, indirectly nerfed CC and debuffs (because CC is trading your time for the enemy's time, and if you have to trade more of your time, it's a worse trade), etc. 

 

And then finally all three (illusionists, tricksters, and ciphers) suffer from the lack of a general positive balancing pass to make sure that every ability in the game is actually functional and useful -- Sawyer stated recently that this most recent 1.1 patch was "the first" generalized balance pass the game had gotten, and it was wholly negative.  This isn't as big an issue for classes that have a wider selection of abilities to pick from -- a generalist wizard can just pick the spells that work -- but classes with more limited ability rosters, like ciphers and illusionists, end up having to pick between crappy powers and suffer as a result.

 

Part of the solution is a generalized positive balance pass to make sure all abilities are useful (and as part of that the durations on a lot of hard CC powers and spells need to be dramatically lengthened, or their cast times dramatically reduced, or both). 

 

I'd also suggest just letting subclassed wizards cast any spell from any school so long as they're using a grimoire. Limit the restriction to what they can pick on level-up, not to what they can cast. Reasoning is the same reason they removed the subclass restrictions for priest spells in the beta.

Edited by Dr. Hieronymous Alloy
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"Then other changes they made, like lengthening cast times across the board, indirectly nerfed CC and debuffs (because CC is trading your time for the enemy's time, and if you have to trade more of your time, it's a worse trade), etc. "

 

If this were a solo game, that comment might actually be relevant.  With 5 members, even occupying 10 seconds of one characters time to negate 5 seconds of an enemies, is still an advantage.  Even using fairly silly numbers like that, it would mean 2 of your characters could lock down an enemy leaving you 3 other characters to act freely.

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"Then other changes they made, like lengthening cast times across the board, indirectly nerfed CC and debuffs (because CC is trading your time for the enemy's time, and if you have to trade more of your time, it's a worse trade), etc. "

 

If this were a solo game, that comment might actually be relevant.  With 5 members, even occupying 10 seconds of one characters time to negate 5 seconds of an enemies, is still an advantage.  Even using fairly silly numbers like that, it would mean 2 of your characters could lock down an enemy leaving you 3 other characters to act freely.

 

 

Sure it's a party game but on new PotD you're generally outnumbered 2-1 or even 3-1. 5 vs 10 becoming 4 vs 9 is a bad trade for the party.  3 v 8 is even worse. Especially when you could swap in for a damage dealer (say, an Evoker) and just *delete* that enemy in a similar timeframe. Net result, a lot of abilities become only worthwhile on boss fights, which are like 5% of the total game.

 

Functionally speaking the game doesn't really have paralyze effects of any significant duration -- they're all limited to six seconds max, which is basically one average action cycle. They aren't hard CC, they're just interrupts. The only real *hard* CC remaining in the game are Cipher charms (where the math is different because you get a damage dealing ally for the duration, but which also mostly have 20+ second durations, actually a little too long). 

Edited by Dr. Hieronymous Alloy
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Comparing the pure rogue you get two cast of Wall of Many Colors, lost -20% damage bonus, that's an additive bonus. Don't think it's a big deal and u get extra utility. If there's a rogue class that need uptune, it's not trickster but pure rogue.

At level 19. By which point your build decisions have already largely become irrelevant. And at the cost of their other abilities as well as the damage penalty. And I’ve already brought up why the added utility doesn’t make the class worth picking before very high levels. If you want utility and defense with rogue skills, you’d be better served in almost every case by some other build than trickster.

 

Street fighter is probably too strong, and outshines all the other rogue subclasses. And it could be vanilla rogue is too weak compared to other classes (though I’m a little skeptical on that). But having played several tricksters through the early game, they feel really bad compared to most of the other stuff I’ve played. You should try one and see how it goes from level 1-18 before you get wall of many colors.

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This kind of math doesn't really hold because there are a lot of additional things that can effect the duration of a spell effect beyond Int...I think the rule of thumb should be that non-damage spells should have a minimum base duration equal to double their base cast+recovery time.

 

As for the first bit, you can of course keep tossing more and more factors into the mix - lots of things that you can do to buff duration, and lots of things that could inhibit duration.  Point being that the base duration in the skill description on level up isn't terribly indicative of how long CC from that skill will actually last.  The opacity of the descriptions is not helpful here.

 

I clearly feel that hard CC is much more powerful than you do, and that a 1.5x base duration:cast time single target hard CC is a perfectly good spell in this system (or will be once the busted stuff is pulled out) - but even that is a much higher power level than the spells that currently exist, with a few exceptions.

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This kind of math doesn't really hold because there are a lot of additional things that can effect the duration of a spell effect beyond Int...I think the rule of thumb should be that non-damage spells should have a minimum base duration equal to double their base cast+recovery time.

 

As for the first bit, you can of course keep tossing more and more factors into the mix - lots of things that you can do to buff duration, and lots of things that could inhibit duration.  Point being that the base duration in the skill description on level up isn't terribly indicative of how long CC from that skill will actually last.  The opacity of the descriptions is not helpful here.

 

I clearly feel that hard CC is much more powerful than you do, and that a 1.5x base duration:cast time single target hard CC is a perfectly good spell in this system (or will be once the busted stuff is pulled out) - but even that is a much higher power level than the spells that currently exist, with a few exceptions.

 

 

 

Well, I have my reasons. I think people's instincts on hard CC balance are still calibrated mostly around the first game, where it was a *lot* more effective, and often for reasons that were not intuitively obvious. For example, paralyze noticeably froze you for a fairly long while (relative to cast speeds and action times), which was obvious, but then also debuffed your dex down to zero and penalized Deflection and Reflex by -40, all of which wasn't as directly visible unless you were looking for them. Net result, first game, you'd get paralyzed THEN you'd get beaten to a pulp, and it felt like getting rocked by a combo move. This game, though, in Deadfire, most of those secondary, less-direct side effects have been taken out. The debuff effects of paralyze are much ,much less potent (-5 dex and 50% incoming hit to crit conversion).

 

More importantly even than those changes, though, everyone's action cycle takes a lot longer, so while eight seconds (base duration for mental binding in the first game) of paralyze might mean, functionally, about two combat rounds (see https://pillarsofeternity.gamepedia.com/Attack_Speed; an average attack took about 4 seconds total base )  the current six second base duration of Mental Binding in Deadfire will usually only be enough time for about one action cycle / combat round.

 

Net result, if we think in terms of (admittedly approximate) combat rounds or action cycles, rather than in seconds,  the new six-second duration is, functionally, not three-quarters of what it was in the prior game, but rather about half - you're missing one "combat round" or action cycles when paralyzed, instead of two. And during that round, while you're still debuffed ,it's not *anywhere* near as badly.

 

But folks still have the learned reflex of the first game, where eight seconds of paralyze was an eternity and a lethal eternity to boot. It's just not as bad as that.  Double the duration of mental binding in Deadfire -- two twelve seconds -- and you're functionally still just freezing someone for approximately two action cycles, roughly as effective as MB was in the first game in terms of CC (but still much less effective as a debuff). 

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Trickster : Master of illusion.

 

7 7 7. For 15 seconds, you have your full sneak attack (like other rogues in fact), +7 in all defenses and +20 % hit to graze. After that the illusion disappear AND the bad luck start : you received the actual malus : 10 % of sneak attack.

 

There a coward (hit me) and a discreet (hit and run).

 

A more (temporarly) defensive rogue is not bad...

Edited by theBalthazar
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Wizard Subclasses

This one is hard, and cant be done easy way. It requires more spells of no Evocation, which takes forever.

Change Subclass Penalty: -1PL to other schools, +20% recovery to other schools.

Gradually buff Other perks. Like Make Brutte suck less. It is possible. Just move it to Spiritshape level in POE1.

More spells on no Evocation. Transmutation is almost good (but not at top tiers).

The problem with +20% recovery time as a penalty for the wizard subclasses is that many illusion and (I think pretty much every single) enchantment school spell has zero recovery. Zero +20% is still zero. That is part of the reason why the evoker subclass is sometimes picked. It is the only subclass that doesn’t bar access to either of those schools. Since those two have virtually all the self-buff spells, you are all set. Buff your defenses and attributes up and then start nuking.

 

The PL penatly also does not apply evenly. For enchantment and illusion spells it only would reduce duration by 5%. A 50 second buff is now 47.5.... that is not going to make any difference. It is the same as having a single point less in intelligence. However, for a evocation or conjuration spell, it might nerf accuracy, damage, number of missles, number of jumps, and also duration, depending on all the things the spell does, resulting in a much greater relative impact.

 

This is how I would fix the wizard subclasses:

 

+1 power level in specialist school

Loss access to a single school

Start with a unique grimoire with spells only of your chosen school which contain one unique spell at level 1 like the “polymorph into ogre” or “summon a familiar” thematic spells.

 

Here are my new unique spell ideas to compliment the existing “fun” ones that transmuter and conjurer already have.

 

Enchanter: “Detect Magic” - Enchant your weapon to glow when near traps or hidden items, providing a +5 bonus in detecting them. Because that actually seems potentially useful, we will add the “combat only” tag on it so you can’t activate it outside of combat and it automatically expires after encounter ends. In combat, it serves as an arcane lightning rod causing 25% of all spells cast or traveling within a 5m radius of you to target you instead of the original target (this includes your own spell casts). It has a 60 second duration, 0.4 second cast and no recovery time. Don’t worry, I will find a way to make it OP somehow.

 

Illussionist: “Imaginary Friend”. Summons a ghostly friend that you can talk to during combat. Each action you spend chatting with it increases or reduces an attribute by 1 depending on which dialogue options you pick during the conversation and can help establish your personality dispositions. Since it is an “active ability”, the bonus will be suppressed by other active buffs you might have and can suppress itself if you get the same attribute twice. The friend cannot attack or use actions and is invisible and untargetable by both enemies and allies. The imaginary friend has 1 HP. If it dies (example: from an AOE damage spell), you suffer bonded grief penalties (like ranger).

 

Evoker: “wild magic”. Each spell cast has a 20% chance to turn into a different spell of the same level with a random new target, friend or foe and plus or minus 5 power levels. Buffs can buff your enemies and attack spells harm yourself or allies. This is a “buff” that lasts 60 seconds.

Edited by Braven
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