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drithius

I can see why there aren't that many new builds posted...

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Posted (edited)

 

Inb4 'single player game;' some of us like to do multiple playthroughs and a degree of equity between builds helps sustain variety.

 

The game has tons of possible combinations of classes, if you deem something broken, you can safely avoid it and use any of the other 50 possibilities.

 

Not surprising that there aren't many new builds posted, imagine you discover some fun combination of classes or item synergy, share it, and two patches later it gets nerfed because someone cried that it touches him in the wrong place. Would you share a build under these circumstances? I wouldn't.

This again. Given how niche the audience for this game is, there are actually a *lot* of builds out there. Have you checked YouTube? There's at least one for virtually every combination, several of which were added post 4.0.

 

As for balance (which you will hereafter refer to as "balunz" in a tired attempt to mock the concept), I can't see anyone seriously preferring 1.0 to 4.0 outside of the click-to-win crowd, and there's already story mode for that. What is the appeal of playing a class that can't be killed or that can effortlessly kill everything? Who, outside of a child, would want that?

 

If I were to draw a Venn diagram of players who complete multiple playthroughs and players who enjoy optimizing their builds as much as possible, you would likely have a high degree of overlap. And people in that overlap are not going to play a Jester in a game that offers multiple Kensai/Mages, etc. So what those of us who remain are generally looking for is a roster where as many classes as possible can be played - with the right arrangement of stats and gear - in a way that can be just as satisfying from an optimization standpoint as (most) any other class.

 

It's not fun playing a melee assassin right now knowing what a melee streetfighter can do. And that's not because streetfighter is "broken," it's because assassin needs to be improved. You talk about balance like it's just a series of overwrought nerfs from a fun-hating Obsidian, but post 1.0 trickster, cipher, and ranger players would likely disagree with you.

Edited by Purudaya
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Posted (edited)

 

Everything else you seem to be describing "this subclass is not a niche I like or fully get" which I mean is fine, but is different from "poor choice." For example, I don't know how sharpshooter constitutes an almost "strict downgrade" on vanilla ranger.

 

Strictly speaking every subclass in the game has both unique benefits and downsides, so with sufficient system mastery you can build a character around those differences and make something that isn't strictly worse than the vanilla class.  I think that is an impossible standard for what makes something a trap.

 

"Strict" (strict downgrade, strictly worse, etc.) has a specific meaning everywhere I see it used in math or games chat - where everything about something is at least equal to or worse than than something else. So for example I honestly have no idea how one could claim that the sharpshooter is "strictly worse" than a vanilla ranger. It is a pair of upsides (bonus PEN or bonus hit to crit) traded off with a downside (+10% recovery time and a barely-relevant deflection penalty). That's basically how all subclasses work, as you say, and both the upsides can be easily taken advantage of in exchange for the +10% recovery time.  A strictly worse ranger would be a vanilla ranger except with +10% recovery time, that's it no bonuses. If something is strictly worse than something else, there's literally no way to make it better than the vanilla.

 

What constitutes a trap is the ease of building some nonviable or extremely suboptimal. I mean I'm not talking about equipping a wand on a shattered pillar, but requiring an extreme amount of metagame knowledge just to not suck. Most of these are rare because by and large I think the deadfire design crew did a good job so that random Joe Player can roll a corpse eater or black jacket and do OK, and which is why my short list only listed mage slayer and streetfighter as trap classes... and i didn't even say they were bad, just extremely easy to make a bad character. I should also add Forbidden Fist to that, but Forbidden Fist is probably narrow enough that it just straight-up sucks or is fundamentally broken (on my other short list with Stormspeaker, Wild Mind, and Pallegina's paladin subclass).

Edited by thelee

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Posted (edited)

"Strict" (strict downgrade, strictly worse, etc.) has a specific meaning everywhere I see it used in math or games chat - where everything about something is at least equal to or worse than than something else.

 

You're right, that was a mistake.  It's not a strict downgrade.

 

 

So for example I honestly have no idea how one could claim that the sharpshooter is "strictly worse" than a vanilla ranger. It is a pair of upsides (bonus PEN or bonus hit to crit) traded off with a downside (+10% recovery time and a barely-relevant deflection penalty). That's basically how all subclasses work, as you say, and both the upsides can be easily taken advantage of in exchange for the +10% recovery time.

 

 

The former upside can be taken advantage of in exchange for the 10% recovery time.  I'd be very curious to know how you'd take advantage of the latter.

 

 

 

What constitutes a trap is the ease of building some nonviable or extremely suboptimal. I mean I'm not talking about equipping a wand on a shattered pillar, but requiring an extreme amount of metagame knowledge just to not suck.

 
Under this definition I agree with you entirely.  It is very hard to make choices that leave a character totally non-viable.  That reflects the strength of the design of the game and is a big part of why I think it's worth playing past story mode.
Edited by Ensign

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Posted (edited)
The former upside can be taken advantage of in exchange for the 10% recovery time.  I'd be very curious to know how you'd take advantage of the latter.

 

I'm more curious to know why you think the 15% hit to crit can't be used as a worthwhile trade-off to the 10% recovery time penalty? (the two upsides can also be used in tandem with the same weapon depending on the situation)

Edited by thelee

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Posted (edited)

 

The former upside can be taken advantage of in exchange for the 10% recovery time. I'd be very curious to know how you'd take advantage of the latter.

I'm more curious to know why you think the 15% hit to crit can't be used as a worthwhile trade-off to the 10% recovery time penalty? (the two upsides can also be used in tandem with the same weapon depending on the situation)

It's a question of what the use case for it needs to be. To minimize the drawback of the speed penalty you need a *lot* of speed modifiers; the hit to crit conversion is most valuable with low accuracy. So ideally you'd want to use it with a hunting bow or single/dual pistols with the modal on - but not pistols because blunted criticals nullifies the advantage of the hit to crit; with the modal off it's pretty hefty damage loss. So call it a hunting bow Specialization.

 

Under ideal conditions (hard to hit target) you can squeeze about 1%, 1.5% more damage out of a sharpshooter. But you can get a bigger damage boost by turning the modal off and taking the free accuracy. With the modal off...base ranger does appreciably more damage. So a good start but not enough on its own.

 

The other part is if you have a low hit rate and consistently under-penetrate. -1 pen doesn't cut it, but at -2 it is interesting. If your crit rate is low enough sharpshooter starts to look good. Until you're down to -4 underpen stepping into close range is preferable, but that isn't always possible. You're also better off swapping to a war bow for the better penetration, but there base ranger will again out-damage a sharpshooter.

 

So on paper the best use case is a sharpshooter / devoted with a hunting bow; I think in that case you can probably squeeze 2, maybe 3% more damage out of it than a base ranger.

 

 

An easier way to think about it is that 15% hit to crit is generally about as good as 2.5 accuracy. You can twiddle with the other components that make recovery and accuracy more or less valuable, but that is generally not a very exciting trade.

Edited by Ensign

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The former upside can be taken advantage of in exchange for the 10% recovery time. I'd be very curious to know how you'd take advantage of the latter.

I'm more curious to know why you think the 15% hit to crit can't be used as a worthwhile trade-off to the 10% recovery time penalty? (the two upsides can also be used in tandem with the same weapon depending on the situation)

It's a question of what the use case for it needs to be. To minimize the drawback of the speed penalty you need a *lot* of speed modifiers; the hit to crit conversion is most valuable with low accuracy. So ideally you'd want to use it with a hunting bow or single/dual pistols with the modal on - but not pistols because blunted criticals nullifies the advantage of the hit to crit; with the modal off it's pretty hefty damage loss. So call it a hunting bow Specialization.

 

Under ideal conditions (hard to hit target) you can squeeze about 1%, 1.5% more damage out of a sharpshooter. But you can get a bigger damage boost by turning the modal off and taking the free accuracy. With the modal off...base ranger does appreciably more damage. So a good start but not enough on its own.

 

The other part is if you have a low hit rate and consistently under-penetrate. -1 pen doesn't cut it, but at -2 it is interesting. If your crit rate is low enough sharpshooter starts to look good. Until you're down to -4 underpen stepping into close range is preferable, but that isn't always possible. You're also better off swapping to a war bow for the better penetration, but there base ranger will again out-damage a sharpshooter.

 

So on paper the best use case is a sharpshooter / devoted with a hunting bow; I think in that case you can probably squeeze 2, maybe 3% more damage out of it than a base ranger.

 

 

An easier way to think about it is that 15% hit to crit is generally about as good as 2.5 accuracy. You can twiddle with the other components that make recovery and accuracy more or less valuable, but that is generally not a very exciting trade.

 

 

Interesting, I don't actually disagree on some of the numbers and use cases, but I come to different conclusions.

 

When I run a bunch of simulations, 15% hit to crit is ~8% net damage increase on average, which is about as good as +4 accuracy. I'd be curious to know how you derive +2.5 accuracy. (I wish I could give you some formula for mine, I literally throw a bunch of stats into hundreds of simulated attacks against various AR and do A-B comparisons.) Anyway the important thing is that when I do my runs on average 15% hit to crit about cancels out +10% recovery time for a faster ranged weapon (no modal) like the hunting bow. It's better for a war bow or rod (which have slower attacks so recovery makes up a smaller percentage of the total action). (Note: let's use the right terminology, it's not a speed penalty, it's a recovery time penalty.)

 

So the 15% hit to crit on non-blunted critical weapons is a "safe" counter to the +10% recovery time, and acts as a bigger PEN boost in cases of severe underpen where the +1 at close range can't claw you up a category (as you say). My thinking is that because it's a "safe" counter to the +10% recovery time penalty in most cases, it's all upside if you can find metagaming opportunities that rely on crits. E.G. Energized inspiration somehow, Stunning Shots, weapon procs.

 

Yeah, it's not like a big transformative subclass like e.g. the trickster or blood mage, it's more like the stalker or unbroken where you get some pretty boring bonuses, but I think it's fine to have subclasses that are more subtly different. Especially in this specific subclass case, if the hit-to-crit component was "bigger" you could end up with a situation where the sharpshooter would be virtually always better than a vanilla ranger for ranged attacking purposes (note: BG2/EE had the archer which meant that if you wanted to do ranged there was literally no gaming reason to not pick the archer over the vanilla ranger). Instead, it's "different", has situational close-range metagaming advantages, and situational long-range metagaming advantages.

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Posted (edited)

When I run a bunch of simulations, 15% hit to crit is ~8% net damage increase on average, which is about as good as +4 accuracy. I'd be curious to know how you derive +2.5 accuracy. (I wish I could give you some formula for mine, I literally throw a bunch of stats into hundreds of simulated attacks against various AR and do A-B comparisons.)

 

A similar process, but I suspect your model involves a lot more cases of severe under-penetration.  In a vacuum, hand waiving, the 15% hit to crit is worth ~2 accuracy at full pen, closer to 3 at -1 pen, 4+ at -2 pen and 6+ at -3 pen, assuming crits get full damage.  So if you have a lot of serious under-penetration in your model the hit to crit looks a lot better.

 

But in practice I spend very little time swinging into -2 pen unless it's garbage time mop up.  At -1 pen you just shrug and bear it, but at -2 pen you are inevitably better off swapping to a higher pen weapon; and if you still are underpenetrating you turn on the +pen modal, or you debuff armor or something.  I used to model it pretty heavily, but I was basically modeling 'playing like crap' and what's the point?

 

So I swap in the -3 base damage for underpen situations now, which prices penetration more reasonably (about what you pay for a high pen weapon in game) but de-values precision and hit to crit since they aren't dominating due to all your damage coming from crits.

 

 

 

As for the relative merits of the extra crits vs faster recovery - it can go either way and it's pretty marginal.  If that was all there is to it I'd think it's a spectacularly boring subclass and ripe for a redesign, but...eh, not everything is a radical game changer.  Except that isn't all there is to it - you're paying a -10 deflection penalty for the privilege of jiggering your damage from marginally faster hits to marginally bigger hits.  While I know there is a sizable contingent of 'backline defense doesn't matter at all, Guilty Conscience and a bathtowel #yolo' around here...that penalty is not nothing.  It's not a huge penalty, and it's certainly something you can play around and mitigate with proper party positioning and engagement blah blah blah...but you are taking that penalty for the privilege of fiddling around with 2% DPS differences and damage compositions.

 

Subclasses like Arcane Archer and Assassin at least get some oomph for their defensive penalties - I'd argue that Sharpshooter's penalty is bigger than either of those, and for what?  I love the strength of Barring Death's Door on an ultra squishy murder machine going ham in a towel, or the really spectacular numbers from the cannon hidden in the back...but the opportunity cost is needing to have someone there to put the BDD up, needing to defend the cannon against divers / shades / archers that get a little frisky / AoE in cramped dungeons / etc.  You need the payload.  Where's the payload?

Edited by Ensign
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Sorry I guess.  Haven't played them since launch, but it was for the accuracy, crit and penetration bonuses from stealth, which others have mentioned.  I never particularly thought it was a great combination for the first ten or so levels though due to your limits with entering stealth.  Unless it's been changed since then too, it only works with spells that are single bursts of damage, or at least it only works with the first hit of multi-hitting spells, and then they hit normally (in this case, weaker than a single class Wizard).  I think Ass/Evoker is OK if you're a) Empowering (I never do) and b) only care about alpha strikes, and using non channeling and non multi-hitting spells.  I think a straight up Evoker is a lot more powerful over the course of a fight and requires a lot less micro if you're focusing on spells.  The Ass/Evoker seems to play better as an actual hybrid style, and not just a nuker.

 

 

Having played both substantially I'd say that Evoker just isn't worth it.  Sure it's cute when the double fireball lands but it's just a bonus.  I value the flexibility a lot more as I've found the +2 PL on evocation spells doesn't significantly change the math on fights.  Yes it will do more damage, but not enough to change the fact that you're likely going to have to cast twice anyways to blow out the target.

 

As far as the viability of Assassin/Wizard, the class is plenty strong and frankly can clear most of the game+DLC solo potd upscaled if it really wanted to.  You'd be surprised what little micro is required when every mass cc lands and you can just AoE to your heart's content and then backstab to clear stragglers.

 

Assassin doesn't need scaling damage on backstabs as much as they need a way to regen Guile points.  I think damage scaling on backstabs would be trickier to balance as on the lower settings the character could effectively trivialize content without too much effort (not sure how the scaling goes on normal).  

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I agree, the game needs a patch 4.5 balance check... too many sub-classes are rubbish.  Then again, a few mods address some of these shortcomings.

 

Personally, I think that one of the problems with subclasses in PoE2, in general, is in the way that they're (mostly) designed.  They mostly all have benefits and negatives.  What I think would have been better is if they'd only given them benefits, and no downsides, or limited downsides that weren't too punitive.    And then, instead of having a "no subclass" generic version of the class, they should have created a subclass that sort of represented the generic class, but with its own bonuses (so that it wasn't weaker than the actual subclasses).

 

Take the wizard class for example.  I'd like to have seen them scrap the school system and done something like the following.

 

The generalist "subclass" would be the Mage.  The Mage would have been the stereotypical learned wizard.  His "specialty" would be his great knowledge in the generic spells, represented by +1 or +2 PLs, and perhaps even an additional bonus point in the Arcana skill.

 

The 3 subclasses that come to mind for me are:  

 

1. The Elementalist:  This subclass specializes in elemental spells, i.e. fire, ice/cold, electricity, acid, etc.  

 

2. The Spellblade:  This subclass specializes in magics that allow him to act like a warrior.  Protective spells, spells that conjure a weapon, spells that enhance his physical abilities, etc.

 

3. The Necromancer:  This subclass specializes in death magics.

 

All three of these subclasses should get a bonus spell at each spell level, similar to how priests get a bonus spell that is related to their deity.  These wizard subclasses would get bonus spells that related to their subclass.  Also, they would get +1 or +2 PL in the spells that strongly relate to their subclass, and -1 PL in all other spells.  Further note that the generalist subclass, Mage, does NOT get any bonus spells.  They are, after all, generalists.  (Alternative, if it seems necessary for them to have these bonus spells, for some reason, give them some very generalist spells.)

 

 

Anyways, that's just my take on this.

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Posted (edited)

Assassin doesn't need scaling damage on backstabs as much as they need a way to regen Guile points. I think damage scaling on backstabs would be trickier to balance as on the lower settings the character could effectively trivialize content without too much effort (not sure how the scaling goes on normal).

 

I mean, sneak attacks already scale and don't trivialize fights at lower levels, but I agree that resource gain (say, for kills made from stealth) would be a good alternative and would go a long way toward making smoke veil/shadowing beyond easier to build around. I'd still advocate for a different, non-percentage based damage implementation for backstab, though; at present I'd wager a dual-wielding no-subclass rogue gets more DPS from autoattacking than an assassin gets from repeatedly trying to set up backstabs.

 

Percentage based damage bonuses work fine as passives for auto/low resource attacks because base damage is usually countered by recovery time. But it falls apart for rare use/one shot abilities like backstab, power strike, etc because base damage becomes much more important than speed and that balance is lost.

 

They should either make some weapons "unfit" for backstabbing the way the infinity games did or find some other way of applying the bonus. A one handed dagger-wielding assassin should not be the worst way to play the subclass.

Edited by Purudaya

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Posted (edited)

Best class is Tactician/Streetfighter.

 

Change my mind.

Maintaining two afflictions is annoying.

 

Trickster with Cipher better :)

Edited by Verde

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Best class is Tactician/Streetfighter.

 

Change my mind.

Yup, multiclassing streetfigher who gets a bonus when flanked with tactician who gets a malus when flanked seems nice.

 

Ok with Modwyr and Fearless, the penalty could be offset, so...

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Best class is Tactician/Streetfighter.

 

Change my mind.

 

while we're being silly, there's a certain je ne sais quoi about a debonaire/corpse-eater: charming people into attacking their buddies and then when they're done, killing them and eating their flesh.

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Best class is Tactician/Streetfighter.

 

Change my mind.

Obsidian will gladly do that with nerfs. Just wait (:


Vancian =/= per rest.

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Ability changes were mostly fine, with a few over-nerfs, but item changes still have me kinda tilted, like Sungrazer. Was that really necessary?

 

It's also just natural for a game at the end of its life cycle to have much, much less new content like builds.

 

Obsidian were really good at nerfing key items in popular and powerful builds that popped up at the forums though.

 

That's true. A significant number of items was overnerfed into uselessness IMO.

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I think people are not giving Beguiler enough credit. It shifts a part of your focus generation from attacks to Deception spells. Being able to Mental Binding > Secret Horrors > Eyestrike before having to attack with your weapon a single time is very strong. Even an Ascendant using the Red Hand (front loaded dmg + not having to wait for recovery before casting your first spell) needs a second to complete those actions, during which the enemies can bumrush your party. Not to mention the awkward moments when you want to Mental Binding a priority target later in a fight and discover you have no focus because the ascension state just ended. 

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Ability changes were mostly fine, with a few over-nerfs, but item changes still have me kinda tilted, like Sungrazer. Was that really necessary?

 

It's also just natural for a game at the end of its life cycle to have much, much less new content like builds.

 

Obsidian were really good at nerfing key items in popular and powerful builds that popped up at the forums though.

That's true. A significant number of items was overnerfed into uselessness IMO.

For example?

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I think people are not giving Beguiler enough credit. It shifts a part of your focus generation from attacks to Deception spells. Being able to Mental Binding > Secret Horrors > Eyestrike before having to attack with your weapon a single time is very strong. Even an Ascendant using the Red Hand (front loaded dmg + not having to wait for recovery before casting your first spell) needs a second to complete those actions, during which the enemies can bumrush your party. Not to mention the awkward moments when you want to Mental Binding a priority target later in a fight and discover you have no focus because the ascension state just ended.

 

I agree

Edited by Boeroer
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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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Ability changes were mostly fine, with a few over-nerfs, but item changes still have me kinda tilted, like Sungrazer. Was that really necessary?

 

It's also just natural for a game at the end of its life cycle to have much, much less new content like builds.

 

Obsidian were really good at nerfing key items in popular and powerful builds that popped up at the forums though.

That's true. A significant number of items was overnerfed into uselessness IMO.

For example?

 

 

Some examples:

 

Baubles of the Fin

Keybreaker Scepter

Gatecrashers

Ngati's Girdle

Boltcatchers

Aegor's Swift Touch

Okura's Kettle

Copperhead's Helm

Boots of Stability

Rotward Amulet

 

Sungrazer also became very unimpressive and rather niche.

Protective Eothasian Charm was also overnerfed IMO

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I think people are not giving Beguiler enough credit. It shifts a part of your focus generation from attacks to Deception spells. Being able to Mental Binding > Secret Horrors > Eyestrike before having to attack with your weapon a single time is very strong.

I would emphasize that a Mental Binding opening to mess up enemy engagement into Secret Horrors is very strong, especially early in the game.

 

The main issues with Beguiler are more meta than mechanics.

 

It is great with AoE deceptions that refund or even generate focus later in the game. In practice that means Secret Horrors and Mind Plague; Honorable mention to Ringleader, though I have been less impressed with the skill now that charm breaks easily.

 

Outside of those it falls off pretty fast. Mental Binding is a great opener in a lot of fights to mess up enemy formation and engagement, but it loses value past the initial seconds of the fight and drops in priority as you get access to more impactful powers. Eyestrike is fantastic on paper but is badly outperformed by Chill Fog in most groups; Phantom Foes rarely seems worthwhile now that all perception afflictions flank.

 

The other major problem it runs into is boss fights. While the aforementioned tricks are great early game, most bosses are STR/DEX/RES resistant INT immune, which is a fancy way of saying 'Immune to Beguilers'. Here your lower base focus generation and lower damage (which also lowers focus generation) makes you notably weaker than a core Cipher.

 

I would argue the biggest benefit of the subclass is how nice it makes Mind Plague, as with the bounces it will consistently return a big chunk of its cast cost, making it a powerful spamable debuff.

 

It's definitely a reasonable subclass design and does some things really well. I just find it narrow, and the 'much weaker in the hardest fights in the game' is a big enough drawback that I can't ever recommend the subclass to a new player.

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