Updated Tue, Mar 25, 2014 by Lewis B
Like many players during the first pre-order Beta weekend I used the time to further explore classes I wasn’t immediately going to play at launch. From when I first began to play WildStar I have seen the popularity of the Medic soar and as an individual who sought the class out early on (primarily because it wasn’t particularly popular) I’m always keen to identify as to why one class is seemingly more popular than another. Opinions coming out of the Beta forums and from discussions with friends lead me to believe that in comparison to both the Medic and the Esper, the Spellslinger is struggling.
Having not played the Spellslinger for a while due to me focusing so heavily on the Medic, I sought about leveling one this weekend, exclusively in Battlegrounds, to try to pin down its current health. I must add that before the Medic was revealed the Spellslinger was my choice of class and I had already invested plenty of time in one before this weekend.
First and foremost the Spellslinger is a high risk, high reward class. It wears light armor, attacks from range and like the Medic or Esper is capable of healing. The key differences between the Medic, Esper and Spellslinger is armor (Medic wears medium), healing functionality, telegraph shapes, mobility and core mechanics. That might sound a lengthy list but the differences are subtle with much of the Spellslingers uniqueness hinging on its Spellsurge mechanic.
With Spellsurge receiving multiple iterations throughout closed Beta, to where we now find ourselves, it’s fair to say that, on appearance, Carbine aren’t entirely happy with it. The idea behind Spellsurge as I understand it, is to provide the Spellslinger with an immediate damage boost so that their time to kill is lowered. In and out of fights Spell Power does recharge but is notably slower to accrue when in combat. As far as the mechanic is concerned it’s relatively primitive with activation increasing the damage of your skills, lowering their cast time or both. If Spellsurge is available to you, you should always use it, though there is a current imbalance in which skills benefit the most. Ignite as one example receives a 300% boost to its damage output (3.41%+1.81 basic versus 13.48%+7.19 when surged) making it wasteful and inefficient to cast the skill at any other time than when you can surge it. This reliance on surge spiking is both a blessing and a curse for the class as rotations become set in stone early on due to the surge imbalances.
A typical rotation with full Spell Power would see a Spellslinger open with Charged Shot (its full cast time is reduced to 2.4 seconds when surged) followed by Ignite and Wild Barrage, with Flame Burst to finish (though this doesn’t benefit any any way from being surged). As far as damage spikes are concerned, this rotation hurts. It’s more than capable of lopping off a large chunk of any opponents health if you were to land all hits. As you might have guessed though and due to the slow accrual of Spellpower in combat, it often means that such a rotation, after the initial onslaught, isn’t repeatable and as a result you’re left with a fraction of Spell Power that you’ll only use on Ignite.
This “drop off” from the damage heights of Spellsurging to having no Spell Power, leaves the Spellslinger feeling incredibly weak: the crash after a euphoric high. Combined with the gulf in which you can repeat your original rotation due to slow Spell Power gain and there’s a significant void period in your damage output. In contrast the likes of the Esper and Medic suffer no such downtime with their “builders and like any other class, is quickly capable of pumping for high damage (Psi Points or Actuators) before dumping (Mind Burst or Quantum Cascade). This consistent approach to damage output, with no down time, is partially the reason why both the Esper and Medic are ahead of the Spellslinger in their overall damage output. There are however other factors affecting the efficiency and potency of the class.
Jump to page 2 below to read about Telegraphs and Healing!