Yesterday evening Carbine released the first wave of results for Arena rankings. Funnily enough, I know most of the European players and often spend time playing alongside them. What I find so laughable about the list is that although several on the players on the list, certainly from the EU side of the pond, are deserving of their ratings. Thirborn, Dandolme, Sunalol and Drilz to name but a few. Interestingly about the list, a key piece of information is missing: team composition.
As an individual who reached 2100 Rating I know from looking at the list that there’s certain class specialisations frighteningly absent from that list. Sure the list demonstrates a good spread of classes: Warrior, Medic, Stalker and Spellslinger being the most prominent, but there are absolutely zero Healing Spellslingers or DPS Medic’s amongst this list. The primary reason being, as you might expect, is that they’re hopelessly designed for an Arena scenario.
What I find so laughable about this list however is the fact that it heaps praise on players that A) Win traded (CuteKoreanGirl for North America or the 5v5 teams) B) Used their gear advantage to crush lower geared teams for months on end C) Completely ignores compositions that are downright broken.
If we take Warrior and Medic’s an example, it was near impossible to kill at launch and even today after the changes to PvP Healing and Damage, it’s once against indestructible. It’s physically impossible to kill a Warrior and Medic combo if the Medic has any ounce of skill. With a Warriors damage combined with 100% Shield Mitigation, that can be permanently reapplied (coupled with amazing healing) it’s downright broken. Unsurprisingly, most of the players you will see on the highest ranked lists are using the composition. Next in line are Stalkers (who are capable of pairing with almost anything) that in an Arena setting are outrageously strong. Near permanent stealth, the ability to two-shot opposing players and even if they do get low health, they’ll use Preparation to heal while their partner keeps the opposing busy.
All of this is fixable but Carbine haven’t even addressed any of it. I get the impression that they don’t play their own game in Arena’s outside the confines of an office environment because if they did, they’d see that Warrior and Medic combo’s are singlehandedly ruining Arena. What needs to happen (and I say this as a Medic) is Shield Surge needs to cost more Focus, it needs to have a smaller telegraph, it needs to deal zero damage (it hits for enormous amounts) and it needs diminishing returns so that it cannot be repeatedly spammed. There’s no window of opportunity to remove an opposing Warriors Shield and then burst them down because they’ll simply duke the fight and have their shield reapplied. It needs to change sooner rather than later because as it stands, Arena is a ghost town.
On the subject of PvP, it’s also interesting to see what a difference a single change can make to a set of skills. As I’ve just mentioned, DPS Medic’s are a disaster outside of anything other than Battlegrounds and even then they’re pretty poor. But I’m pleased to say Carbine have made some excellent quality of life changes that Medic’s have been seeking for a long time. Magnetic Lockdown now removes an Interrupt Armor and is instant cast which by itself isn’t a huge deal but when combined with the Field changes: wow.
Fields were previously useless because their effects didn’t persist after an enemy or a player left the area. As a result they were hopeless in PvE and PvP after the initial burst because fights in WildStar require so much movement. The change on the Public Test Realm is pretty special and is twofold:
- When a target (hostile or ally) is struck by a Field (whether they walk into it or it hits them directly from being cast) they will be afflicted by the DOT or HOT for the full duration of the skill.
- If the hostile or ally exits the field the DOT or HOT will still persist.
- If the hostile or ally re-enters the same field the DOT or HOT will reapply itself on the individual for the full duration.
It’s not hard to see the potential in this because Fields were originally designed as area denial skills. As a result of the changes, they’re now filling that role. The size of Fields determines that opposing players now have to think about avoiding them, rather than laughing at the split second damage they’d previously received. It means that Medic’s now have a snare (that lasts) as well as multiple Damage Over Time skills. From a PvP perspective it has catapulted my class from being unable to beat most classes 1 on 1 (our damage was previously too low and our survivability and utility absolutely garbage) to stomping all that I come across.
You might think, then, from that last sentence that Fields are surely overpowered, but that really isn’t the case. What they are is a set of skills that finally offer the Medic the opportunity to compete against every other class. Just like every other class that’s at the top of the Arena rankings list, we now have utility, survivability and damage. In the right hands though (I’d consider myself an above average player) it is devastating.
With that in mind and confident on the Field changes, I challenged Dandolme to some duels. He’s a DPS Esper, a lovely guy and one of the best in the game. He’s rated over 2600 in Arena which means he’s worked bloody hard to get there (you get 2 rating per win at that level). Pre-Field changes I could never beat him, but afterwards it’s a whole different story. While the patch for these changes is some way away, I’ve included the videos below for you to take a look at. Here’s hoping that because of the Field fix we’ll begin to see more variety in the Arena rankings, though if Carbine don’t fix the Warrior and Medic composition there’ll be no one left to fight against.