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109 members have voted

  1. 1.

    • No, they are still overpowered.
      24
    • No, they are more or less balanced now.
      49
    • They're a below average class now, but not exactly garbage.
      15
    • Yep, they're garbage.
      4
    • Don't know / don't care
      17


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The 1.05 patch nerfs Ciphers in at least two ways:

  • "Ciphers now start with 1/4 max Focus instead of 1/2"
  • "Draining Whip is now working as intended"

If I understand correctly, the second line means that you'll no longer be able to regenerate focus quickly with a Blunderbuss.
So not only will your Cipher enter each battle with insufficient focus to cast a level-appropriate power, but it'll also take them quite a while to generate that focus.

 

Will this mean that they now suffer from the same problem as Chanters (not being able to use invocations because most battles are over before they unlock) - except without benefiting from passive chants like Chanters do? In other words, do Ciphers simply suck after installing this patch?

 

Now I realize that it has become sort of a meme on this forum (and elsewhere) to call the pre-1.05 Ciphers "overpowered" or even "the most powerful class", which was probably what motivated Obsidian to nerf them. But as I've explained before, this meme probably arose from people confusing "most powerful" with "easiest to play".

 

IMO the power spectrum of caster classes in the game version 1.04 went like this (from most to least powerful):

  1. well-played Druid
  2. well-played Wizard
  3. ---significant gap---
  4. Cipher (play style doesn't make much difference, since their combat resources are so care-free)
  5. naively or impatiently played Druid/Wizard

According to this theory of mine, the comparison between (4) and (5) is what led people to call ciphers "overpowered", and nerfing Ciphers now makes them fall even further below (1) and (2)... :(

 

Do note that in addition to nerfing ciphers, the 1.05 patch also buffed Wizards somewhat, and didn't change much at all about Druids (the most powerful caster class, and the one that would have deserved nerfing the most IMO).

 

Am I alone in seeing things this way?

Edited by Ineth

"Some ideas are so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them." -- attributed to George Orwell

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I never needed/used Blunderbuss-cheese in 1.04. A hard hitting ranged wapon (Arbalest/Arquebus) has always genrated more than enough focus for my needs.

Draining whip is now a +30% focus generation. So if you have high DPS, you'll still get focus reasonably quick. And it has nice synnergy with biting whip, since more damage means more focus. In fact, I never took it before because I prefer aforementioned slow and hard hitting weapons. I'll pick it up now

Also note that Greater Focus now actually increases your starting focus by 10.

 

Overall, Cipher is weaker now. But it's still a powerfull class and FAR from useless.

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I still think a well played cipher with antipathetic beam provides equal footing to any of the alpha strikes the other 2 casters can give out.  This requires more of a tank/fleet foot focus but melts everything.

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Meh...after the nerfs my Cipher has become a drugger, because obviously there are drugs that still grant the effect like old "Draining whip"(and even better), he drugs before every important battle and he is still using a blunderbuss.

 

Edited by Emeus

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Meh...after the nerfs my Cipher has become a drugger, because obviously there are drugs that still grant the effect like old "Draining whip"(and even better), he drugs before every important battle and he is still using a blunderbuss.

 

 

Which isn't much use. A simple pistol does the job nicely. Hell, even one of the better bows provides enough focus to keep going.

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I haven't really tested this out post-1.05, but prior to it I'd get ~30-40 focus per blunderbuss shot. Exchanging -12 for +30% isn't going to be a huge difference for the blunderbuss, while for every other weapon in the game it's a buff. It's probably nice since now a casting cipher has more weapon versatility than switching blunderbusses

 

Starting focus nerf is also needed. With 1/2 max a cipher could decide the outcome of most fights before needing to use their weapon.

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Meh...after the nerfs my Cipher has become a drugger, because obviously there are drugs that still grant the effect like old "Draining whip"(and even better), he drugs before every important battle and he is still using a blunderbuss.

 

 

Which isn't much use. A simple pistol does the job nicely. Hell, even one of the better bows provides enough focus to keep going.

 

Yes, for "keep going", in the other hand the blunderbuss + drugs combo still provides tons of focus, which can be used for rounds, if you are lucky enough.

Edited by Emeus

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Honestly the starting focus nerf didn't really affect them that badly. If anything though, it made their flaws more apparent, since Ciphers are just awful at major fights compared to the other casters. While they need to build focus in order to use and maintain their most powerful attacks, Wizards and Druids can use theirs right from the start, and more frequently even. Comparing them to the martial classes on the other hand, they're still pretty high up there.

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I think they're fine after the nerf.

 

Spell spamming casters, of course, remain the strongest thing in the game - assuming we're talking a full party with something tanking for them and all that. But that's a separate problem. Casters just gradually get more and more diverse abilities and more of them, so at higher levels they just start getting overpowered. They need a mechanic other than just spells/rest that they can potentially use all in one fight.

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Still OP. Though at this point that has less to do with Ciphers and more to do with the ability of casters to blanket the battlefield with overpowered CC and overpowered Afflictions. Blind is gobsmackingly powerful, for example, and it's an entry-level debuff.

 

Once the two items mentioned above are addressed Ciphers along with other casters will be closer to being admitted into the promised land of balance. Interestingly, Cipher will likely remain more balanced than Vancian casters in the long run, because I doubt Rest spam will ever really be dealt with, instead the devs made a decision to paper over the issue with the Camping Supplies system, and call it a day.

  • Like 1

Exoduss, on 14 Apr 2015 - 11:11 AM, said: 

 

also secret about hardmode with 6 man party is :  its a faceroll most of the fights you will Auto Attack mobs while lighting your spliff

 

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Promised land of balance with a note. There are probably thousands of people playing this game not ever coming here nor striving to reach the promised land. The vocal minority of players who post here, their ideas about balance .. yes lol, are not representative of majority of players. And if they are it would need some evidence to confirm. tbh I am not sure why devs listen to vocal minority here. Sure, they have nothing else to go by, but it does not guarantee it will make the game any "better".

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Still OP. Though at this point that has less to do with Ciphers and more to do with the ability of casters to blanket the battlefield with overpowered CC and overpowered Afflictions.

 

I think I should have phrased the poll option "still overpowered compared to other caster classes".

 

Comparing casters with non-caster classes is much less meaningful, since they perform fundamentally different roles.

 

If a tank and a ranged caster work together to obliterate enemies quickly without getting much damage themselves, why should the caster be counted as the "more powerful" one, just 'cause he's the one dealing the damage? After all, the tactic only works with both characters together.

 

So IMO it's better to focus on power comparison between the three offensive caster classes (Druid, Wizard, Cipher), and to a lesser extent with the two support caster classes (Chanter, Priest).

Edited by Ineth
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"Some ideas are so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them." -- attributed to George Orwell

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I don't think casters and non casters perform different roles. The only role the majority of casters do not perform very well is tanking (wiz tanks admirably on demand though). They still can be built for it but they won't be optimal. I'd rate cipher below wiz or priest as of 1.05, then again I would probably rate wiz/priest higher because of their performance in tough/boss battles anyway. Cipher is still pretty strong though, definitely not garbage.

Edited by MadDemiurg

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Still above the curve a bit. The changes make them make sense, imo. Yes, well-used wizards/druids are great but unlike the Cipher they have a finite limit to resources. The good Cipher spells are incredible (Mental Binding, Ectopsychic Echo, Amplifying Wave, Mind Shield)  and they have a reasonable amount of variety.

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Comparing casters with non-caster classes is much less meaningful, since they perform fundamentally different roles.

Cipher is a lot more comparable to martial classes than you think.

 

Ciphers smack things with their weapon to build focus and use powers to complement their ability to smack things with their weapon.

Rogues smack things with their weapon using specific positions and debilitating affects to complement their ability to smack things with their weapon.

Rangers smack things with their weapon and coordinate with their pet to complement their ability to smack things with their weapon.

Monks smack things with their weapon and build wounds to use abilities to complement their ability to smack things with their weapon.

Barbarians smack things with their weapon and uhhh... smack things with their weapon.

 

The big thing that really sets them apart is the fact their selection of powers is as diverse as a caster. They're kinda the middle of the road type class in a sense.

Edited by Wolken3156

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Still above the curve a bit. The changes make them make sense, imo. Yes, well-used wizards/druids are great but unlike the Cipher they have a finite limit to resources.

 

The Druid's and Wizard's spells-per-day limit does not really reduce their "powerfulness" much in practice, especially considering that they also get at least one per-encounter ability at level 1, and a whole bunch of per-encounter spells at level 9 (several of them better than the corresponding Cipher powers).

 

I don't think I ever rested due to empty spell slots after chapter 2; but rather due to fatigue or to regain special per-day abilities (not spells).

 

 

 

Comparing casters with non-caster classes is much less meaningful, since they perform fundamentally different roles.

Cipher is a lot more comparable to martial classes than you think.

 

Ciphers smack things with their weapon to build focus and use powers to complement their ability to smack things with their weapon.

Rogues smack things with their weapon using specific positions and debilitating affects to complement their ability to smack things with their weapon.

Rangers smack things with their weapon and coordinate with their pet to complement their ability to smack things with their weapon.

Monks smack things with their weapon and build wounds to use abilities to complement their ability to smack things with their weapon.

Barbarians smack things with their weapon and uhhh... smack things with their weapon.

 

The big thing that really sets them apart is the fact their selection of powers is as diverse as a caster. They're kinda the middle of the road type class in a sense.

 

 

Casting 'powers' is the main activity of a Cipher; attacking with weapons is a secondary thing for them, unlike the other classes you listed.

Edited by Ineth

"Some ideas are so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them." -- attributed to George Orwell

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As ciphers are meant to be single target DPS casters and Druids and Wizards crowd control casters, the question is do ciphers have ability to do more damage against single target than wizards and druids and if they do, do they do that higher damage in such marginal that they are optimal choice over those two in that role. Another question is that do wizards and druid bare better against group of enemies than ciphers and do they bare so much better that one would chose them over ciphers in that role.

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As ciphers are meant to be single target DPS casters and Druids and Wizards crowd control casters

 

Are they? They have quite a bunch of AOEs that are arguably more powerful than some in the wizards arsenal. And don't forget mindblades, dead cheap, since it's a second level spell, but quite deadly to vessels and kith.

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@Elerond

 

I hesitate to characterize Ciphers as single target DPS casters, as some of their most damaging powers, e.g. Antipathetic Field, Ectopsychic Echo, Mind Lance, etc., are AoE, just more limited AoE than what Druids and Wizards tend to use. The question is less "Can Ciphers be as good at crowd control as Druids or Wizards?" than "Does the Cipher's flexibility bring something to the party that another caster would not?"

 

@Ineth

 

I think the developers are aiming to have the Cipher in a position where it is not a "caster who occasionally fires a gun" as it was before, and not a "single target DPS who occasionally uses powers" as Wolken3156 characterizes it, but a hybrid who splits their time evenly between the two activities. That's a difficult target to hit, and while I think this patch brought them closer, I'm not convinced they're quite there yet.

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As ciphers are meant to be single target DPS casters and Druids and Wizards crowd control casters

 

Are they? They have quite a bunch of AOEs that are arguably more powerful than some in the wizards arsenal. And don't forget mindblades, dead cheap, since it's a second level spell, but quite deadly to vessels and kith.

 

 

@Elerond

 

I hesitate to characterize Ciphers as single target DPS casters, as some of their most damaging powers, e.g. Antipathetic Field, Ectopsychic Echo, Mind Lance, etc., are AoE, just more limited AoE than what Druids and Wizards tend to use. The question is less "Can Ciphers be as good at crowd control as Druids or Wizards?" than "Does the Cipher's flexibility bring something to the party that another caster would not?"

 

 

 

It is how Josh Sawyer the lead designer of PoE described his intents for the classes. But as it also become intend to make classes so that they can perform other roles that they are designed for, they also gave them abilities/talents/spells that let them do that. 

 

But it is stated that intended roles for classes are following

 

Single target DPS: Cipher, Rogue, Ranger

Fronline: Fighter, Monk, Barbarian

Crowd Control: Wizard, Druid

Leaders of party/support: Priest, Chanter, Paladin

 

You can check this from Updates about classes in Announcements and News section.

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Their aoe spells often do more damage than the single target ones, but this is the result of poor spell balancing. They also have more aoe than single target attacks, by power count. I would actually buff some of their single target spells like soul ignition. They were originally positioned as "strikers" along rangers and rogues. Ciphers use weapons a fair bit tbh, and are quite competent at it. Also, whats the difference between dealing damage with weapons and powers really? As long as you can do x damage it does not matter.

Edited by MadDemiurg

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It is how Josh Sawyer the lead designer of PoE described his intents for the classes. But as it also become intend to make classes so that they can perform other roles that they are designed for, they also gave them abilities/talents/spells that let them do that.

 

 

All well and good, but reality makes a stronger argument than theory in this case. It's what people make of these characters that matters, not the creator's intent.

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It is how Josh Sawyer the lead designer of PoE described his intents for the classes. But as it also become intend to make classes so that they can perform other roles that they are designed for, they also gave them abilities/talents/spells that let them do that.

 

 

All well and good, but reality makes a stronger argument than theory in this case. It's what people make of these characters that matters, not the creator's intent.

 

 

But if we argue that they don't work as designed then we need to look what they were designed for. If they work fine in role where they were designed for but not in the roles where people use them, then there is no problem in them, it is just people playing game in non-optimal way and there isn't necessary any reason to make changes in class because of that fact, meaning that people are free to play as they want but the game don't necessary need to make that play style as good as other play styles. But if class don't work fine even in role where it is designed for, then there is problem and it could also be argued that if class don't work fine in its intended role, but it works fine in some other role then there is also problem in its design, but not necessary as big.

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Well, then they should have been designed differently, without AOE abilities. And it stands to reason that people indeed use them in an optimal way, since using their AOE abilities is more beneficial to the party than restricting themselves to the single target faculties.

 

Don't get me wrong, the Cypher is still a kickass character. I've got the stats to prove it in my current game. Highest overall damage output of the group and responsible for one third of all killed opponents. So I really don't get why some people complain about the nerf, since the only thing that changed is that you have to land one or two conventional hits on the first level before you can cast a spell. After that, your focus is still more than sufficient for most encouters.

Edited by abaris

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it could also be argued that if class don't work fine in its intended role, but it works fine in some other role then there is also problem in its design, but not necessary as big.

 

A problem in the developers' execution of their ideas, perhaps, but not necessarily a problem for the player. I think by happy accident the Cipher has fallen into a role where it alternates between single target DPS and area DPS that requires precise positioning in a way that makes them interesting to play. They're like the one class that's well served by staying mobile on the battlefield right now, which is an interesting change of pace from the usual static nature of combat positioning. The developers could try to bring them back in line with their original intention by curtailing the Cipher's area effects, but they might be better served by refining the Cipher for the role it's fallen into.

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