Thursday, September 12, 2013

DPS Lackluster; Fix Suggestions

A Tragedy about an Operative and his Vibroknife

If you want top DPS output, an Operative is not the first class to go to. But, I’m cool with that. What I’m NOT cool with is the fact that we can’t be top DPS even if we tried. Top of the line gear with flawless skills, you’ll still be falling behind a Sniper. And by a large margin as well.

I could just say that we need to be buffed, but that won’t really fix the problem. A straight damage buff, if anything, would make us OP (Overpowered). Well, in PVP at least. And therein lays the problem. Whether we like it or not, PVP affects PVE, significantly.

And if we get a straight damage buff, then may the force be with whoever we target first in a Warzone because with our burst opening damage being buffed, we would be turning the mightiest of Warriors into pools of blood within 30 seconds.

So, what we really need is a retuning of abilities. We have too many abilities that are either A) too expensive to ever bother on using, like Overload Shot, or almost completely useless in a PVE setting, like Hidden Strike; which is extremely unfortunate because Hidden Strike should be our bread and butter. Especially as a Concealment Operative!

First, we need to look at what our main issue is. The answer is DPS sustainability in a prolonged fight. But why is that an issue? It’s because our two “hardest” hitting (and most expensive) abilities are on CDs that are either too long (Hidden Strike) or are really situational (Orbital Strike).

Hidden Strike

Let’s talk about the former, and possibly the most troublesome to balance. Hidden Strike is great in PVP; especially when you talent into Jarring Strike where it knocks the target flat on its face for 1.5 secs. In PVE, not so much. HS is your opener and soon after a full rotation, you pop Cloaking Screen and use HS once again. But then, it cannot be used for another 2 minutes!
Plus it hits about as hard as this rubber knife

The average boss fight seems to be around 6-8 minutes long. So, that means you get use HS 4-5 times in an entire fight. That’s just sad. It’s even sadder when it doesn’t crit. There is nothing more unsatisfying than seeing a crit-less HS. You had to wait 2 whole minutes, wasted a Cloaking Screen, and all for a hit similar to that of a free Backstab. God forbid you time your Cloaking Screen wrong, AoE damage will take you right out, wasting your chance of a HS and forcing you to wait yet another 2 minutes.

So, what can we do about this? There have been a lot of suggestions regarding HS and how to make it more viable in a rotation, like making it auto crit or being able to use it out of stealth. Personally, I think these are great ideas; to an extent, of course. It’s called Hidden Strike. Key Word: Hidden. First, let’s make it auto crit. The ability is too sparsely used not to guarantee a crit. Plus, it makes sense. You’re in stealth. You’re surprising an enemy, hence catching them flatfooted. That’s right I went there. This is an MMORPG after all.

Next, let’s make it usable when you activate Sneak! This makes Sneak a useful ability when out of stealth. Sure, it’ll boost your run speed a tad when visible, but that’s not enough. Especially, since it’s nowhere near as good as the Inquisitor’s version. This allows your usual opening rotation to have its regular 2 nonconsecutive HSs with HS now being usable every time Sneak is up, which is about once per minute. HS is now viable in PVE.

Orbital Strike

How about Orbital Strike? Yeah, it’s truly a phenomenal ability. If, you know, you’re fighting a building. In PVP, it’s cool. It’s a nice way to either clear out an area or stall a cap for a few secs. As for PVE, as previously mentioned, it’s very situational; which would be perfectly fine if it wasn’t part of our rotation. The ability works beautifully for trash mobs and stationary bosses, like Thrasher, but come one, that’s one boss from an entire raid. Now, I’m not saying that’s the only boss you can effectively use OS on, but good luck getting all your ticks in on TFB Kephess! Overall, OS is not a bad ability. Not at all. I just think we should have an alternative for when the situation does not allow OS to be beneficial for you.
Orbital Strike and this Steamroller have a lot in common

Orbital Strike has a few problems that be easily solved, in my opinion. It has a 2.5-3 sec cast time, which is fine. The issue is that after the cast, there is also about a 3 second delay before it begins striking. It has 3 strikes (4 w/ PVP bonus set), each with about a 3 second delay in between. So, in total, OS is taking about 12-15 seconds from start to finish! There is usually way too much movement going on in a fight to guarantee a full OS hit.

One solution is to making OS and AoE DoT. It follows the target wherever it goes and it does AoE damage within a certain area. This way, it can take its sweet time to play through its graphics and still actually hit where it’s intended to hit. In PVP, this might be too OP though. So, nerf it a bit. Make it 2 strikes instead of 3. Or, reduce the total damage.
If having a homing OS is too much to handle, then the other solution would be to speed up the DoT. Instead of it taking 12-15 seconds to fully take effect, reduce it by 4-6 seconds. In PVP, the target still has 3 seconds to move from it, due to the cast time staying the same, but now, if they stay and take all the hits, they’ll suffer the true power of an Orbital Strike. PVP Ops might see this as a nerf because now that’s several seconds of interruption time lost. But, the drastic sudden damage will compensate for that.

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