Updated Thu, Apr 10, 2014 by Lewis B
I’ve complained about Medics for some time and as an individual who planned on playing one before everyone jumped on the bandwagon, they received a bit of a beating this patch (rightly deserved). Skills were nerfed and AMPs were nerfed even harder meaning this unstoppable machine with excellent damage, healing and mobility should be on a level playing field with the Esper and Spellslinger. Empowering Probes, the go-to skill for all Medics, has seen its power slashed in half (from 20% to a 10% damage increase) and Quantum Cascade (that’s the face-roll Area of Effect skill everyone uses!) has seen its telegraph reduced in size by a whopping 75%. Where the AMPs are concerned, all the big hitters that provided a significant damage increase for the class have seen their output reduced. As a couple of examples, take a look below:
- Recycler: Gamma Rays has a 30% chance to trigger this effect, down from 60%.
- Recycler: Quantum Cascade has a 25% chance to trigger this effect, down from 45%.
- Meltdown: Deals 104% Assault Power damage, down from 153.6%. Also fixed a bug where this could damage 40 enemies rather than the intended 5.
- Energy Pulse: Deals 54% Assault Power damage per tick, down from 72%.
I doubt many Medic players will be happy with any of these changes and make no mistake, they are significant. It's going to have a huge reprocussion on their damage output but the class was far too easy to be successful with and was capable of dealing too much damage, too quickly, to too many players. For the most part it's often hard to even miss with any of the Medics telegraphs so the Quantum Cascade changes are welcome.
The Spellslinger was in desperate need of some improvements, it lagged behind both the Esper and Medic in terms of healing and damage. I wrote up a rather large analysis of the problems facing the class (see here
) and it looks like, for the most part, Carbine have listened. The recharge rate of Spellsurge in combat has been increased to match that when out of combat and the majority of the Assault skills have seen their damage numbers increased. To offset the increased amount of times you’ll be able to use Spellsurge, some skills have had their Spellsurge power reduced (notably ignite) while some have changed very little if at all. Other skills have had their cooldowns increased as a result of the extra firepower but only slightly (Sustain for example now reaches Max Charge in 0.9 seconds, up from 0.6 seconds).
Something I’m incredibly grateful for is the fact that a Spellslingers “escape skills” have had their cooldowns slashed, making our survivability much better. My biggest frustration with the class was often the reliance on Gate and Void Slip as a minimum in order to survive and yet the cooldowns were so long that you were often left vulnerable for lengthy periods. As one example, Void Slip used to have a 60 second cooldown. Against a Warrior the skill was relatively useless because although you’d vanish for a few seconds (and heal if equipped) their use of Leap (15 second cooldown) and Grapple (20 seconds) completely removed any advantage Void Slip offered. You were effectively gaining nothing because in a heartbeat Warriors would be immediately back upon you. Although changing the cooldown to 45 seconds doesn’t sound a lot, when combined with AMP’s to reduce cooldowns it’ll make a huge change to our evasion and kiting.
When it comes to mobility changes, Healing Salve, Sustain and Trueshot can now be used on the run improving the Spellslingers healing mobility but also making Trueshot a worthwhile skill. In true balance fashion though, Carbine have increased the cooldown on Healing Torrent to 3 seconds. Some of the more vocal forum community are up in arms about this, but I personally dislike the skill. I dislike its necessity in its original form: it was too much of a requirement and had little tactical use for healing Spellslinger. By increasing its cooldown people will have to think about when they use it (only a little bit more) but because of the other numerical increases to other healing skills, there’s potentially now no need to take it.
The changes to the Stalker weren’t huge and primarily revolve around reducing their survivability through personal heals (see below). In many ways this was needed based on the sheer indestructibility of a well skilled and AMPed up Stalker - they literally can’t die.
- Nano Dart
- Health transferred has been reduced to 50% of the damage done down from 100%.
- Nano Field
- Nano Field no longer damages or Heals off of player pets.
- The overtime field only transfers 25% of health down from 75%.
- The 2nd press now transfers 50% Health down from 100%.
- Healing reduction reduced to 50% down from 60%.
- Damage increased to 34.75% Assault Power up from 29.4% Assault Power, Damage per level increased to 15.12 up from 12.8.
- Tier 4 Heal reduced to 28% Assault/Support Power down from 50% Assault/Support Power.
- Fixed a bug that was causing Tier 4 Preparation to always critically heal while in Lethal Stance.
Interestingly, Carbine have also had an impact on Collapse which is arguably the Stalkers signature move in Warplots and Battlegrounds for spikes. The fact you could pull in 5 players, before telegraph bombing, was incredibly effective but made the skill almost mandatory. With the Tier 4 causing the root to break on damage combined with only 3 targets being pulled, I think this is a good change and might make Stalkers think twice before automatically placing it on their bar.
As far as AMPs go, the theme of personal healing reduction has continued with Forbearance reduced to 51% Support Power, down from 125% and Stay Afloat seeing its internal cooldown doubled and its heal Support Power halved. Hopefully we should see less of the Terminator Stalkers that were cropping up and have them a little more reliant on healers to stay alive against outrageous odds.
My hands-on experience with Warriors is limited compared to many of the other classes but having fought against countless in PvP and a guild mate who is exceptional with the class (he literally melts faces) I’m all too aware of how good they are. Most of the Warriors damage potential is drawn from some rather fantastic AMPs and while they deal excellent damage by default when in the right stance, these AMPs did tip them over the edge (similar to Medic). Power Hitter for example provided Empower up to 5 stacks on Critical Hits, offering an 80% increase in damage to your Critical Hit severity. With a fully Empowered Warrior your health literally vanished in seconds if they were fortunate enough to land a crit or two on you. Unsurprisingly Carbine have adjusted this to only 7.5% per stack, totalling 22.5% when Empowered 3 times. Yes that’s a pretty huge reduction but a valid one. Other significant AMP changes include Kinetic Fury seeing its Empower numbers tweaked:
- Kinetic Fury: Above 500 Kinetic Energy increases damage dealt by 7.2%, down from 12%.
- Kinetic Fury: Above 750 Kinetic Energy increases damage dealt by 9%, down from 25%.
As you’ll notice, there’s a trend developing here and it primarily revolves around the fact Warrors ploughed points into the Assault AMP line (second Tier) and reaped the rewards far too easily for a heavy armor class. As for their skills, it’s primarily been an effort in fixing the Tier 8 elements. The best changes however have to be the fact Power Strike now has a new animation and visual and that Grapple now ignores Global Cooldown (as if that skill wasn't a pain in the ass in the first place), fortunately it now breaks on damage. Overall though, I think these changes are more than fair.
- Stormtalon's Lair and Ruins of Kel Voreth no longer require players to discover the entrances in order to queue for them.
The last thing I wanted to highlight was the above change. It might sound minor, no longer requiring players to travel to an entrance, but I actually dislike this change. I appreciate it’s an inconvenience to traverse the map but part of what I like the most about the existing system in WildStar is the fact you have to do that. It encourages movement over the map, works well for PvP rulesets and doesn’t trivialise the game world. Maybe we’ll hear about why this change was made in the coming days.
Those are my patch highlights (though there is so much more to discuss!) but considering most if not all of it needs hands on time, I could change my opinion in the next week or so. Still, stay tuned for a class Health Check once I’ve tested and be sure to let me know below what your favourite parts of the patch are!