Monday, June 1, 2009

Change is coming

Not only is the 1.3 patch bringing us the Land of the Dead, it is also bringing many changes to class balance. Many have been requested by the community while others have not. These changes are currently on the Public Test Server, so if you're curious you can log in and form your own opinions. The Engineer class has been hit pretty hard with the 1.3 changes.

AoE. Area of Effect abilities are often the target of class balance complaints, for good reason. Prior to 1.3, AoE was dominate on the battlefield. This has been taken care of with the new patch. Nearly everything related to AoE has been reduced. This includes damage, radius and healing.

The Grenadier mastery tree of the Engineer is based on AoE. As you can expect, this will hit many Engineers with a nerf. I believe most of the AoE damage complaints were actually the result of Rain of Fire and Pit of Shades. The exact complaint is that it is more efficient/damaging just to use AoE than single target spells. The Engineer (all trees) is primarily AoE based, so we don't have much of a choice. Besides, our AoE is very weak in comparison to that of a BW or Sorc as we don't have to deal with Backlash.

Throwing Arm. One of the favorite Engineer tactics was Throwing Arm. This increased the range of our grenade abilities to 98 feet (from 64 feet). In 1.3, this tactic was nerfed and it will only increase our range to 78 feet. This one actually hurts because most of us are used to the longer range and it will take time to adjust. It also cuts down our survivability.

Engineers are a light armor class (but can get really high armor). Sadly this armor does not help against magic, so forcing us closer will put us at more risk. As we saw above, there is now less reward too.

One of the primary purposes of the Engineer class is to be defensive. The change to Throwing Arm will hurt that role, especially defending keeps. We will not be able to hit enemy casters with grenades or napalm now.

Unshakable Focus. This is likely the culprit to most Engineer damage complaints. As it works now, it is a Rank 2 morale that increases our damage 100% (crit included) for 7 seconds. This was extremely potent when we have a lot of our DoT's on targets. I fully expected this to be reduced in damage.

In 1.3, this morale will just force all attacks to be critical. This is a large damage nerf to the morale and to Engineers in general. An Engineer DoT critting is nothing to get excited about. It will still have some use, but will be easily healed through.

Single Target Buffed? One positive that was supposed to have come out of this was that single target damage was increased. In the case of the Engineer it doesn't seemed to have helped much. Snipe, our 3 second cast nuke, still seems pretty weak. On PTS I was hitting (non crit) Dok"s for 600 damage and Choppa's for 400. This is not much different than live. Meanwhile, Word of Pain, a delayed Instant Cast, crits me for 2.6k.

Most of this post sounds negative, but it isn't that bad. I am not quitting the game in a fit of nerd rage. I will continue to play and Engineer as I have since Day 1. Tirew (my Engineer) will just require a bit of reinventing.

I do think that if Mythic did these changes in stages (on live) that they would find not all are necessary. For example, without Unshakable Focus, many Engineer damage complaints will go away.


I play a magus as my one and only rank 40 char. Been playing him since preview week. Gotta say.... welcome to my world. Weaker dots, less range. If you want to feel what it's like to play a magus, get rid of throwing arm and never pop unshakeable focus. Oh, also jump up and down to get people's attention so they cna target you more easily. That's about as close as you can aget to floating high on a disk. ;)

All kidding aside, you gotta admit unshakeable focus is pretty overpowered as-is. Combine that with throwing arm, extra powder, and the signal flare tactic increasing dmg by 15%, and those are pretty powerful synergies. Those far outclass any magus tactics and synergies.

I would rather they reduce our aoe and single target damage while giving us lots of defensive utility to finally let us fulfill our role as a defensive ranged class.

Oh and it seems like my snipe (bolt of change) hits for 1600 before resists, or about 700 on most players. Maybe the engineer spell hasn't been fully adjusted yet. Still, 3 seconds to cast with a 10 second cooldown just to do 700 damage it pretty poor. I'd rather use Indigo Fire of Change with our new TA tactic to reach 120 ft. at 450 damage per tick. That beats snipe/bolt after the 2nd tick, or just 2 seconds. Less time...more damage... seems odd. Snipe/bolt should hit harder.


I do agree about Unshakable Focus, however I was thinking it might be reduced to 50% damage rather than 100%.

It seemed that the general view of the Engineer class was that it was pretty well balanced, except for Unshakable Focus. Magus have been getting the short end of the stick and should have been brought upward toward to the Engineer.

Instead, Mythic used the Sledgehammer of Balance rather than the scalpel.

I think at least in case of Magus v Engineer, they used a smaller hammer.

These two class has always been in a strange place. They don't have the burst like BW/Sorc, and they can't really fight well in close range like SW/SH can. Both don't have that many CC - BW and Sorcs get as many as they do. They give less to their teammates. Their pet is even less useful than White lions. Of course, in one of the patches they got pretty good Dots, but the fundamental problem - what they can do that other RDPS can't - still hasn't been given a good answer by Mythic.

I do hope at least now that the biggest complain from Magus is "fixed" in 1.3 we can finally get to unite and find a niche for both classes.

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