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Guidlines for Fixing this Class


-Yui-

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Introduction

 

I originally wasn't going to submit this to the forums, and had mostly written this to vent my frustrating at playing what was once one of my favorite classes. Given, in my opinion, the disappointing (lack) of changes in 3.1.1, I'm putting this up so the Devs have some idea on where to go from here.

 

Let me preface this essay of sorts that this isn’t meant to be a long string of requests. Matters concerning the weakness of the advanced class and demands for change and the like can be readily seen in the multiple forums, on the Star Wars subreddit, and on virtually any other active TOR related resource. Rather, let this be a guideline for the options that could be approached in 3.1.1 and beyond.

 

The reason why I’m writing this is not for myself but for my love for both the game and the class. Many players have asked me, “What’s wrong with the class?” After thinking about this for quite a while, this is the result.

 

I’ll try to be as exhaustive in providing the guidelines for the changes; I will provide the problems I have observed in 3.0 and the solutions for each. I will also list the changes in the context of being applicable to Solo Ranked or Team Ranked, as this delicate balance is up to the developers to decide.

 

Overarching Issues

 

Survivability

 

Once the epitome of survivability, they are now undoubtedly among the squishier due to survivability buffs to other classes. This, however, is much in the realm of regular warzones and Solo Ranked rather than Team Ranked. Although Saber Ward has since become an ability not fitting its long cooldown, Force Camouflage on 45 seconds is still the most useful escape in the game, and of course, who can forget Undying Rage.

 

It is not my opinion that Marauder cooldowns be extremely buffed, as there is little issue for survivability in a Team Ranked situation. There is an issue, however, in the other forms of PvP. This next section is to placate the Solo Ranked and Warzone crowd while providing a clear distinction between Marauders and other classes. Heal to full, ala Juggernauts, is an oft suggested method of fixing the class, but is one I feel will further blur the line differentiating the two advanced classes. Instead I will focus on the essential abilities of the advanced class.

 

Cloak of Pain: All damaged reduced by 25%, up from 20%

Reasoning: Changing this would appease the vast majority of Sentinels/Marauders while making the advanced class a less viable target to tunnel than before – as is often the case now.

 

Force Camouflage: Additionally purges all effects.

Reasoning: Provides a higher skill ceiling to the class while also providing some extra survivability. To cleanse root or not to cleanse root? To cleanse DoTs? Use as an escape? These decisions add to the already steep skill curve of the class while giving all players a form of added (albeit slight) protection.

 

Predation: Increases all defenses by 10%, changed from just melee/ranged defense. Duration remains the same.

Reasoning: Minor buff, but makes it more usable than the current effects. Will not affect overall gameplay, but will allow Marauders some added if small form of defense against the current Sorc/Assassin/PT triumvirate.

 

Undying Rage: 50% of health is lost upon use, instead of after the duration ends. Cooldown reduced to 1.5 minutes, down from 2 minutes.

Reasoning: The current implementation of Undying Rage runs counter to the entire idea of self-healing in the Watchman Discipline, and essentially becomes a survive by four more seconds button. This isn’t quite what the class needs right now. Reverting to the old Undying Rage, possibly as a Utility, has the benefit of slightly higher survivability, especially in situations with a healer. Also would be a charming change for the most Marauders who remember the old Undying.

 

Force Absorb (new ability): Absorbs the damage taken over the next three seconds and turns it into healing.

Reasoning: Necessitates greater micromanagement and awareness for the more veteran players, while providing a form of self-heals completely different from any currently in the game. In other words, maintains the differentiation between Marauders and Juggernauts and any other self-healing class while giving Marauders some method of health recovery. The juxtaposition between this ability and the Juggernaut’s more offensive Saber Reflect is also a nice touch.

Efficacy

 

This section will be brief as I believe the essentials of playing a Marauder is managing to deal with stuns and crowd control effects in order to increase up-time and consequently increase effectiveness. Too many classes have anti-CC/root effects, and adding one to Marauders seems to me as simply band-aiding the situation (although one should be given to the Carnage discipline, as will be explained later). Nevertheless, here are a few solutions to the complaints involving Marauders and stuns.

 

Utility: Saber Ward grants immunity to all CC-effects for the duration of the ability.

Reasoning: A parallel skill to that available for Shadows.

 

Utility: Force Predation grants immunity to all CC-effects for the Marauder for the duration of the ability

Reasoning: Transforms one of the most iconic Sentinel/Maraduer abilities into something actually usable in PvP. Additionally with the above changes, should make deciding between Berserk and Predation something to actually think about, rather than just using Berserk 99% of the time.

 

Disciplines

 

The developers have done an excellent job in re-creating Annihilation while maintaining the spirit of the original. Fury and Carnage – not so much. Both Fury and Carnage now play similarly – with Massacre being replaced by Slash as the focus spender, and the burst itself almost parallel in terms of both damage and cycle, with Carnage perhaps having a more concise window due to Gore. Both specs have lost a little bit of their original style, and this next section will discuss changes for each of the specs in order to attempt to not only buff each specification as needed but to also return each discipline to one most Marauders will be comfortable with.

 

Carnage

 

Carnage will be the longest section as it is also the most troubled. There are three main problems with Carnage. First, is the mediocre burst, especially in comparison to other “burst” specs, the vulnerability to CC and the limited uptime on other players. Once the go-to spec for Marauders in Team Ranked, Carnage’s burst and damage output can be easily doubled by many other classes. All issues can be solved easily a few simple changes.

Changes to Fix Burst

 

The core of the Carnage in each and every patch was simple: Gore into Ravage into Force scream. In 3.0 it is still possible during Berserk but often times doesn’t seem worth it. Burst wise, in PvP, a Marauder is better off using a critical Execute into Force Scream, or even a Massacre into Force Scream. Using Ravage (an ability that does less damage than Force Storm) often seems like a waste of an ability – an idea hard to stomach for most Carnage Marauders considering Ravage was their hardest hitter since patch 1.0. The burst likewise fell dramatically, leading to Carnage often feeling like a pressure class with above average burst, a weird role for what was one of the premier burst specs in Ranked. Here are some easy fixes for 3.1.1 that should solve this problem:

 

Ravage passive: Increase Ravage damage by 30%.

Reasoning: Slightly stronger than the Rampage passive given to Juggernauts. In this case, would return Carnage burst relevancy – vital for a class that is used in Team Ranked only and categorically for its burst.

 

Gore: Gore now lasts 4.5 seconds, up from 3.0 seconds.

Reasoning: One of the more bizarre changes in 3.0 gets reverted. Yes, the overall mantra for 3.0 was to reduce or maintain damage numbers from pre-3.0, but somehow this left Marauders way behind relative to other classes. This change would allow Carnage Marauders a wider burst window than the current three seconds, allowing Marauders more options during Gore (including the old Massacre times three into Scream that was one of the more iconic parts of the rotation all the way back pre-2.0).

 

Changes to Fix Stun Susceptibility

 

Carnage Marauders remain the only class within the game to have the large portion of an entire rotation’s damage wasted due to a single stun or soft-stun. Steps have to be taken to mitigate this fact, especially on a rotational basis. Here are a few fixes:

 

Gore: Activation of Gore now grants three stacks, each stack consumed upon each Devastating Blast, Execute, Twin Saber Throw or Massacre.

Reasoning: Fixes the issue, although destroys the essence of Carnage Marauders. I do not recommend this fix.

 

Gore: Gore grants immunity to CC for the duration of the ability.

Reasoning: Likewise, fixes the issue, although depending on the balancing decisions for Carnage in 3.1.1 may be overpowered. If buffs to Carnage damage are made, especially in regards to the burst potential in the Gore phase, consider changing it to immunity to knock-back and movement impairing effects.

 

Limited uptime

 

Another issue with Carnage is the severe lack of uptime relative not only to the other two Marauder specs but other classes in general. The only gap closer is Leap, but once Leap is used, there is no secondary way to get to the target. This issue is easily rectified: bring back Crippling Throw for Carnage, or possibly, for all other Disciplines.

 

Crippling Throw: Delivers a crippling attack with the main-hand lightsaber, dealing damage, inflicting trauma for 15 seconds and rooting the target for 3 seconds.

 

Annihilation

 

Once the go-to spec for Marauders, it ceased to play a major factor in any level of PvP by patch 1.3 with Gore off the global for Carnage, and with 1.4 and the buff to Rage. Inexplicably, in 1.5, the healing was nerfed by half, a change presumably for PvP that has stayed to this day – despite even Lethality snipers having more healing prowess than Annihilation. The problems facing Annihilation are not as serious as Carnage, especially due to its relegation to a more PvE focused specification for about two years now. Yet, the developers seem to have always wanted to make Annihilation somewhat viable in PvP, with quality of life changes up to and including patch 3.0. Despite these changes, problems for Annihilation still exist, especially in regards to heals, DoT duration and use of Smash to spread dots.

 

Self-Heals

 

Hungering Passive: Critical hits with bleed effects heal for 2% of maximum health, up from 1%.

Reasoning: The reason Annihilation was run over Rage and Carnage was entirely due to this talent. It gave Marauders some form of healing that might have been deemed too much at one point in the cycle of the game, but by now seems mediocre. The pressure damage of Annihilation along with the healing might bring back Annihilation to relevancy. In fact, with these changes Annihilation might become the go-to spec once again, at least for Warzones and Solo Ranked where survivability is key.

 

DoT Duration

 

The burst for Annihilation was never particularly outstanding, but in its current state is almost pitiful. Berserk (on a roughly 20 second rotation) with all available DoTs running gets the target down to perhaps 60-70% health. The main issue with this is the weakness of the new Annihilation DoT, which inexplicably hits less than a Crushing Darkness.

 

Force Gash: Force Gash damage is now increased by 25%.

Berserk: Additionally increases critical damage DoT effects by 30%.

Reasoning for both: Gives Annihilation some form of added burst potential and transforms the discipline into a much more powerful pressure class.

 

Use of Smash in Annihilation

 

While the return (somewhat) of Dotsmash is an interesting touch, as of now, the range of Smash combined with the ineffectiveness of the DoTs that are spread make Annihilation quite literally a much weaker version of Hatred Assassins. In a Team Ranked game, it is not uncommon to see Hatred Assassins doubling the damage of Marauders running in any Discipline; this makes Annihilation the orphaned child in PvP, as its role almost perfectly coincides with that of Hatred Assassins. As of now, Marauders have little to no AOE capability (I apologize, but Sweeping Slash costs one focus too much and still hits like a wet noodle). A simple change to Marauder AOE is as follows:

 

Smash: Smash additionally spreads the effects of Overload Saber to nearby enemies.

Reasoning: Marauders get some form of effective area of effect damage.

 

Fury

 

This discipline is one of the finer tuned ones, and so I’ll refrain from overall changes. The discipline in many ways is a slightly improved version of Carnage – burst is unpreventable, better sustained damage abilities and the potential for as much if not more burst than Carnage. Yet, Fury is also a weaker version of a Juggernaut’s Vengeance or even their own Rage discipline. Where I’d like to see changes going forward is perhaps a move to return Fury back to the original Smash spec. Marauders are one of the few classes in the game in need of actual area of effect damage. In an era of insane AOE potential, Marauders are pigeon-holed into single target burst specs; an area of expertise that Marauders are currently not even good at relative to other classes. Having more roles to play with is always more fun and with the return of Smash to hitting all targets equally as hard, would return Marauders back into the highest tier of AOE classes. Fanciful thinking, you may say, but Smash in today's game balance would not have been as overpowered as it was when it was originally changed.

 

Conclusion

 

I have hopefully kept each potential change and the logic behind each change clear. In short, these Marauder changes should finally make the class up to date at a point in The Old Republic’s development where other classes and specifications have been continually revised and updated. The forgotten class and its relative stagnation should have been fixed patches ago. Hopefully the next patch will be a step in the right direction.

Edited by -Yui-
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These are many of the same changes that I have been asking for for a while, and others that I have said need to happen since all the 3.0 changes.

 

3 second Gore window makes no sense. I'm sorry, it needs to be 4.5 for us to even begin to be competitive as a burst class. Taking away the damage on Gore as well as retaliation also hurt our burst badly.

 

We need cc / root / snare immunity. No other class is punished as hard as when we are forced to waste a Gore window due to some random stun. Predation giving at least snare / knockback / root immunity would be wonderful, and it makes us make a choice - berserk for potential better dps, or predation for better chance of time on target and group buffing.

 

I noticed that your proposed changes to Gore (either giving it charges, which I agree, destroys the essence of the class, or making the marauder completely immune to CC for the duration, which would probably be slightly overpowered) both fall kind of flat for the reasons that you stated. Something cool that Wildstar did was give players and mobs "interrupt armor". Basically, Interrupt Armor was a way to mitigate a potential cast interrupt or stun / cc abilities. What if Gore gave us 1 or 2 "interrupt armor", which would absorb the first 1-2 knockbacks, stuns, or mez type abilities that hit us. After that, we would be vulnerable to them as normal. This doesn't give us complete immunity, but it does give us some protection. It meets the problem halfway.

 

I 100% agree about Undying Rage. It was not overpowered to begin with, and with all the buffs to survivability that other classes have received, a "damage taken up front" 1 min 30 second cooldown UR would be welcome. Removing the health loss component simply removes the skill level needed to use a very cool ability. There is something incredibly fun about the "risk" of waiting until the very last second to use Undying Rage - trying to wait until you are below 25% hp or so to ensure that it's use is as efficient as possible. Knowing how long you can wait based upon how much damage you are taking, other cooldowns up, and what abilities others are using around you is a true testament to the players skill, and I don't want that to be trivialized. And... there's just something incredibly ****** about being pushed to the very edge of your health bar, being beaten down, and then hitting that ability and proceeding to beat the crap out of someone and using a medpack and/or receiving heals. I would even love to see a damage buff on Undying Rage, or at least a Utility for it. Say 25% more damage for the duration of UR? That would really fit into the "lore" of the ability. You pull upon the dark side of the force and channel your hatred to become all but invulnerable to damage for 4 seconds, while increasing all damage done for the duration of the ability by 25%. That just sounds awesome, and it's very unique. I don't know, maybe it's overkill, maybe everyone else will hate it. I think it's cool.

 

Reverting Fury to the pre- nerf smash would be totally fine. The aoe and dot potential for other classes is crazy. I think pre nerf smash would fit right in with those specs. It's a point blank aoe, and it's always been a "high risk / high reward" spec.

 

Annihilation and dot spreading - I agree. Smash radius is just too damn small, and lining up your short duration dots with enough players being around to warrant hitting smash, and not getting cced to death in the process is a ridiculous ordeal. And when we pull it off? We're rewarded with mediocre damage dots that fall of extremely quickly. Force Storm, a ranged, much larger aoe, instant cast + channel with no setup time, does far more damage than all of our dots combined. It probably does more damage than all of our dots PLUS deadly saber. It just doesn't make sense. Give us an aoe at least as large, if not larger than deathfield, since we don't have the luxury of getting an aiming reticle that can be placed from 30 yards way if we desired. Also, Deathfield can crit for 7k+. Just something to think about...

 

I also agree that the heal nerf to Annihilation was unwarranted. I don't recall anyone ever saying that Annihilation heals were overpowered. Frankly, everyone I knew was shocked when that nerf came through. We assumed it must have been nerfed because the heals were too good for PvE content.

 

Nerfing us the way that we were nerfed on top of buffing every other spec in the game to do substantially more damage, have better mobility, better escape abilities, etc, has made this the weakest class to play in pvp. Current PvE content HEAVILY favors ranged. I mean you do realize that you made a mechanic on Underlurker that SPECIFICALLY PENALIZES MELEE FOR NO REAL REASON!?!? You get that right? That root mechanic on hardmode Underlurker is basically saying "oh uh, sorry melee, you can't dps for this phase of the fight". Yes I realize we can use predation, leap etc, but it's just a slap in the face. It's kicking a class when it's already down. Yes, there are workarounds, but who would bring Marauders to the raid when Lightning sorcs post numbers as high or higher on single target, and blow them away for aoe? Marauders, once a prized part of any raid, are now unwanted.

 

Season 2 for Diablo 3 starts in a week or so. I'm going to go play Season 2 of D3, and I'm going to most likely unsub while I'm doing that. BioWare, if you want my sub back, fix my damn class. I've been a Marauder since BETA of this game, and I've played it through thick and thin. This has always been my class. I love this class. I love this game. I don't mean to sound like I'm "holding my sub hostage" or anything. I know that you could really care less if you lose one more $15 a month subscriber, but the reality is, if things don't improve drastically, I won't be coming back.

 

Please listen to the OP here and FIX OUR CLASS.

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