During the course of my time in WildStar’s Beta I played both a Medic and Spellslinger equally. As much as I love healing with both classes, I focused on DPS primarily to make life easy in a PvE environment while also helping my friends in Player versus Player. Though both classes have gone through several iterations during development, with numbers being tweaked and mechanics changed (certainly in regards to the Spellslinger’s Spell Surge) it’s notable just how much of a change the DPS Medic has gone through.
From a PvE perspective the functionality of a DPS Medic is fine. Actuators as a mechanic are a little clumsy at times and our DPS is far below where it should be. What frustrates me however is that the DPS Medic during the early part of this year was in a good place. While they were incredibly popular, certainly in PvP battlegrounds, they actually dealt damage and were feared because of it. During that time large swathes of the playerbase complained heavily about the Medic’s damage potential (primarily Quantum Cascade) and the fact it was hard to avoid (near impossible actually) while also hitting like a truck.
While many Medic players anticipated some adjustment to Quantum Cascade and its telegraph width, the patch on April 08th was a demolition of the class. Empowering Probes were halved in their damage boosting, Fissure and Nullifier no longer triggered Daze or on hit procs while Quantum Cascade had its radius reduced by 75%. Worst of all, all the AMPs that allowed the Medic to achieve some semblance of damage output were annihilated.
What the DPS Medic has been left with is a class that not only deals terrible damage in comparison to the likes of the Warrior, Engineer, Stalker and Spellslinger but a class that lacks the basic tools melee classes require to function properly. The Medic as a medium armor wearing melee brawler fights at 15-20 meters and yet lacks all the tools necessary in order to keep players near you and has terrible damage in the process.
Unlike a Warrior or Stalker which have snares, stun, roots, tethers, grapples, knockbacks and charges, the only thing available to a Medic is a stun and shield removal. The rest of the variants on the crowd control skills are Restrictor (snare), Magnetic Lockdown (stun), both of which are pretty terrible. The former leaps the Medic backwards and only snares those caught inside the small field. If you want the snare to persist after players leave it, you’ll need to take it to Tier 8. Worse, that snare only then lasts for 2.5 seconds.
Where Magnetic Lockdown is concerned, it’s able to snare 5 foes for 3 seconds and yet it takes almost 2 seconds to cast. Officially the tool-tip states 1.25 seconds but in game, it’s much longer. How then is a DPS Medic supposed to ensure players don’t flee from them and how are they able to control an encounter relying on a defensive snare (that also doesn’t break CC), a single stun and a root that is pretty poor in comparison to Flash Freeze? As for shield removal (Meltdown and Tier 8 Dematerialize), both are still terrible compared to an Engineer variant. If you pursue Meltdown it's a worse skill than Detonate (significantly in terms of damage) and if you choose to take Dematerialize your damage plummets because you have to take it to Tier 8 and sacrifice much needed ability points that should be spent in Quantum Cascade/Gamma Rays. Lastly, the Engineer alongside their shield removal also limits healing: no-contest.
In direct comparison the Warrior is capable of equipping only two offensive skills (that deal enormous damage) with the rest crowd control (Bum Rush, Tether Bolt, Kick, Grapple) and all the while keeping you permanently snared from the Festering Blade AMP.
How is a DPS Medic ever going to compete against that if we are not only dealing poor damage, with next to no burst and no reliable way of keeping opposing players near us? Even something as simple as a the class not having a grapple proves a nightmare against competent ranged players (Engineer/Spellslinger) because you’re forced to run away or utilise Urgency to get near them. The inevitably is that once you’ve used one of your few CC breaks (if you take it to Tier 4) and are then entirely vulnerable from further snares, roots and knockdowns.
Once near your opponent you’d expect the trade off might be high burst damage but instead and even with a collection of gear pushing my Attack Power over 2600 I still hit like a wet noodle. Part of the problem is the fact that every damage skill for the Medic is so slow. For a class originally designed with burst in mind, it’s distinctly lacking in it. Besides the rotation of Fissure > Quantum Cascade > Energize > Devastator Probes > Fissure the burst is still poor. In a PvE environment it’s absolutely fine but the slow tick of Probes and the sluggishness of Quantum Cascade leave your damage far too spaced out, even with Atomize (which is terrible).
In direct comparison, my 1800 Spellslinger (who was a dream to Arena with) is capable of hitting opponents for over 2,000 using Quick Draw, 20,000 for Charged Shot and 10,000 per Assassinate. Where then does the Medic fit in against numbers such as that? Even a Warrior with Breaching Strikes, Rampage, Detonate and Overdrive is capable of matching a Spellslinger for burst while keeping you near them. For us to even come close to achieving any semblance of DPS we have to take the kitchen sink and tier up all our damage skills leaving us vulnerable to the point where double CC will guarantee our death.
What the Medic needs is a flat increase in damage to all their skills and significant revisions to a variety of skills that are just awful:
- Restrictor should be a leap that snares your opponent when you arrive at their target location, lasting for 5 seconds and breaking interrupt armor.
- Magnetic Lockdown should be brought in line with the Spellslingers Flash Freeze and be made instantaneous, with an adjusted cooldown.
- The “tick” time on Quantum Cascade should be speeded up so it isn’t as long winded.
- Atomize should have its damage increased and its armor penetration increased to 50% at Tier 4.
- Nullifier should be replaced in its current form and instead be a point-blank area of effect skill from the Medic. When activated anyone near the them will be knocked down for several seconds.
- Surgical AMP should be adjusted so that it lacerates an opponent, causing them to be snared by 8% for 5 seconds, stacking 3 times.
None of this would be overpowered and it would be in line with the likes of the Spellslinger and Warrior, while giving the Medic a fighting chance. Combined with a damage increase across our skills we might return back to where we were before Carbine neutered us. As it currently stands, I'd recommend you avoid the Medic like the plague unless you want to heal and even then you'll be a poor partner compared to an Esper who has everything you don't (disarm, knockdown, knockback, root and plenty of Interrupt Armor).