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Specs and their abilities


tacito

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I recently started thinking about how Madness currently probably has the lowest ability count of all specs. I mean, let's look at our three specs, and see which offensive abilities are vital/unnecessary.

 

Darkness:

  • I guess you don't have to spec into the Maul proc, though the option is there
  • Crushing Darkness is pretty much on the 'never use' list
  • Shock is essential
  • Force Lightning is essential
  • Thrash is essential

 

Deception:

  • Force Lightning has no synergy with anything, though it's situationally useful in combination with Recklessness and the bigger range
  • Crushing Darkness also only has situational uses, if any
  • Maul is essential
  • Shock is essential
  • Thrash is replaced by Voltaic Slash, but also essential

 

Madness:

  • Force Lightning? Nah
  • Maul: Nope, that went out the window
  • Shock: Yeah... no
  • Thrash is important, because it's the only alternative to Saber Strike... until you're out of force
  • Crushing Darkness is essential

 

So by specing into Madness, we're actually losing abilities. Yes, there's Death Field and Creeping Terror, but it's not like the other specs aren't getting new toys. So while other specs can basically unbind Crushing Darkness, as Madness assassin you wouldn't even notice if your keys for Maul, Shock and Force Lightning broke. Because you're never touching them.

 

I find the case of Force Lightning especially disturbing. A move that deals damage over time, so it's of course tied into the tree dedicated to damage over time effects via... nothing. Absolutely nothing. At all.

 

Doesn't stop with that, of course. Recklessness as Madness? Well, uh... I guess it's nice somehow? For, erm... a Death Field crit? And it'll probably be only one Death Field crit, because the initial Crushing Darkness hit will eat the other charge. Exciting cooldown, no doubt.

 

Overcharge saber? *cough* I'm always waiting for opportunities to unleash the power this cooldown bestows a Madness assassin. Really. No bigger joy. Just kidding. In fact, if a bug caused this ability to do nothing besides displaying a buff icon, I probably wouldn't notice. The increased proc chance does increase our damage via Lightning Burns, but as a cooldown for Madness it's about as exciting as watching paint dry.

 

Now how could we change that? There is, of course, the easy solution: Bring back Maul and Shock in the way they were. This doesn't exactly fix all of the afore mentioned points, but it was a play style many people enjoyed.

 

Other ideas: Integrate the whole damage over time idea better into the spec. Right now we have abilities that positively influence DoT moves, but not the other way around. Suggenstions that came to my mind (perhaps not ALL to be implemented, just ideas):

 


  •  
  • Damage and/or force regen by Lightning Burns could scale with the number of DoTs on the target it's procced on
  • Damage dealt by Force Lightning could trigger an additional tick from each DoT on the target. This would provide us with a means for burst damage, though a talent doing this would probably also have to increase Force Lightnings cooldown
  • Thrash's cost could be decreased with each hit on a target with a number of DoTs present, to increase sustained damage and alleviate the need for Saber Strikes
  • Lambaste could be changed, so that using Death Field on a target afflicted with DoTs spreads those DoTs to all targets affected by Death Field (perhaps only effective on non-player targets, or Void Star might as well be called 'Madness Assassins killing everything: The Game'). This would increase the damage potential in multi-target fights, of course I'm not sure how many of those there are in current or future content
  • Using Shock on a target could apply a debuff which is triggered after dealing X damage via DoT abilities, increasing subsequent Shock damage on that target by some amount, stacking a few times

 

This is just off the top of my head, of course, and there are certainly many problems associated with those ideas. But the current state of madness is not only quite bad, it's also the opposite of what it started out as - Madness now uses arguably the least amount of abilities, whereas before 2.0 it benefitted from a lot more abilities. Any other, better suggestions for Madness? I just want a neat DoT tree with a bit of management required, not one that's outperformed by a 4 button spec (check the Blood of the Sith build - great job thinking it up, but yeah, not exactly exciting).

 

I really hope there are improvements on their way to the PTS, or at least in the pipeline. What are your thoughts on the topic?

Edited by tacito
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I find the case of Force Lightning especially disturbing. A move that deals damage over time, so it's of course tied into the tree dedicated to damage over time effects via... nothing. Absolutely nothing. At all.

 

Force Lightning doesn't count as a DOT, it's just a channeled instant damage attack.

 

I think the problem with madness is that it's a shared tree, and there are no two advanced classes more divergent than the assassin and the sorcerer. Every other class has similar resources for both of its ACs, but not the inquisitor. It's difficult to make the mechanics for both ACs similiar imo, since they act so differently. All assassins spam short/melee range attacks, and if they run low on force, spam autoattack. All sorcerors spam ranged attacks, and throw in a consumption as necessary to ensure that they remain a functional mana battery.

 

The basis for Madness sorc is spamming force lightning when death field is on CD and all DOTs are applied. This force lightning has a proc for crushing darkness AND lightning strike. Since assassins can't spam force lightning, we spam thrash/autoattack when death field is down and all DOTs are applied.

 

The difference here is, the Assassin's "Raze" proc finishes the cooldown on crushing darkness and makes it instant cast for free. The Sorcerer's "Wrath" proc simply buffs the next crushing darkness OR lightning strike, and I think that is the distinction.

 

If raze activates with perfect efficiency (once every 7.5 seconds), the cooldown of crushing darkness is effectively halved (duration is 6 seconds, so no worries of overlapping). With the sorcerer's wrath, crushing darkness just lasts 8 seconds, and any wrath procs earned during the cooldown can be used on lightning strike.

 

I think raze needs to be replaced with wrath; make the proc buff crushing darkness, give us the 2 second crushing darkness duration buff in our tree that sorcerers get, and give us something to use our wrath procs on when crushing darkness is on cooldown. I think it could work if wrath made assassinate free and usable on a target of any health level (like the juggernaut's destroyer). Of course wrath would still be procced off of lightning charge discharges, so no worries of OP hybrid classes.

 

Alternatively, I would like it if we just got a talent that did something like make maul have a secondary effect like cull while in lightning charge; do extra internal damage for every DOT on the target.

 

As for fixing madness sorcerer (because they are getting destroyed by lightning), I think they just need a slight damage boost. The mobility and simplicity of madness compared to lightning is ridiculous, and I don't think they should be completely even given how much lightning has to pay attention to.

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Oh, I'm completely aware that Force Lightning isn't a DoT per mechanic. Yet it still deals damage over time, as opposed to, say, Shock, so it WOULD fit into the theme of the tree nicely.
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I think the issue with the spec is that it is a melee class with two ranged abilities and it is haphazardly trying to be a ranged class. I think we have enough DOTs in discharge, creeping terror, and crushing darkness, I just think we need a real deadly burst ability. It could be that maul/assassinate does 25% more crit damage for each DOT on a target, and consumption of a deathmark has x% chance to make maul/assassinate autocrit (on a low percentage proc rate or a fairly long cooldown, for balancing purposes). That would give madnessin a single target burst similar to rage smash, in addition to the burst of death field and the sustained DOTs.
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I still think madness is our most fun spec to play, it has an absurdly stupid number of ways to kite people with phase walk being added. It is a shame the spec has so many force problems, but I've noticed lacerate now effectively costs 10 less force (30, same as death field) if you take lambaste and lightning burns and always hit 5 targets. With that and the extra damage plus overcharge saber doubling the charge damage it almost functions as a real aoe...almost.

In any case, this is the only spec where I specifically have to put saber strike back on my bar because I will always run out of force at some point.

 

Also in regards to darkness, the tree now has so many things proccing all the time you actually have to prioritize which procced ability will make better use of your time, which I find quite awesome. At some point I actually have to decide whether I'm going to use that maul proc, shock for another HD stack, or thrash to get an energize before I shock. I suppose at some point I'll have to figure out which is the most effective rotations for the new darkness and then all my fun will go away :p

 

In regards to deception, idk if any of you have seen this but your CHARGE can actually deal in excess of 2500 damage with overcharge and a crit. That is NASTY damage for a stance hit, which can activate 3 times in 2 globals with the auto-charge double shock. 7500 damage from my stance over 2 globals? Hasn't happened yet due to odds, but definitely possible and man that would be sick.

I noticed this when I was doing pve and saw something like "defeated xxxxx with Surging Charge (2635)"

Edited by JP_Legatus
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