This is a repost of the feedback topic wiped with the test patch section because it’s still relevant
Nightblade is the only mastery with dedicated melee DW skills, so you’d expect it to be on top of DW category. You could say as much in .9.1 version but in test patch everything suddenly changed.
Traditionally best dmg types for DW were pierce and cold.
Ok, there were a lot of pierce nerfs across the board, and custom pierce Cadence was hit basically on each front. Still, it performs ok, nothing worth complaining (and important to note that it’s a soldier skill that does dmg, WPS play very small role here). But what happened to Belgo that was hit the least? All of a sudden the best pierce DW build is a… Goredrinker Tactician hybrid. Tell that to someone from .9.1
The biggest surprise is cold. Basically every build i had or played turned into a pumpkin. I’m not kidding, nothing works: none of Deathmarked, none of custom dual Chillstrife, and this pure melee Reaper, my percious, is also a brick. I added 5% phys res to it, some HP and constant 25% DR, and it still dies. Even this cold BM is the worst DW Cadence i tried, it was really hard for me to process how is it worse than acid and aether variants. At least it can survive.
Other cold DW melee i tested and they worked:
EoR Paladin - all around decent. Similar Dervish (with 26/16 fully converted BS to boot) can’t survive
RF Morgo Oppressor - relatively slow but passed survivability checks
RF Dervsih - kinda works, only just, requires very careful piloting and can’t be recommended
Morgo Ill Omen Hybrid - melee serves as secondary dmg for single target, was nerfed but still works even in realistic variant
N&O Saboteur which is also a hybrid where survivability is carried by the set procs
Acid builds are relatively ok. Acid was always carried by procs and Keeper’s Ascension+cdr (you could tell because the strongest acid DW before this patch was always Venomblade which is an ABB build with lesser impact from AA).
In fact, acid got itself, i dare say, a new leader, Dunefiend SS+EoR: decent survivability, fluid gameplay, good single target from SS and AoE from EoR. Funny how basically the best DW NB build has no WPS in it? Oh, and in case you were wondering Venomblade (@Dmt 's varranted spec) is much worse now. It’s not competitive speed-wise anymore and gained survivability issues. At least it’s not as bad as cold.
There is no plot against DW. There are strong DW builds, and some even appeared in test patch. But let’s check out the selection of best (to my knowledge) DW builds in terms of combination of offence and defence:
- phys Cadence Death Knight
- chaos Cadence Witchblade
- aether Spellbinder
- fire RF Sentinel (or Paladin but proc side is very heavy)
- phys Oppressor
- ele Cadence Tactician
- phys EoR Oppressor/Warlord
- acid EoR Dervish
- pierce Cadence Blademaster
- pierce Cadence Tactician Goredrinker (WoP and procs are doing more job than Cadence though)
- chaos Rahzin Witchblade
- probably Druid PS since we count non-AA builds too
(most of them are in archives, if interested i can provide the links and the videos are on my channel)
Cue Travolta meme: where is Nightblade? It participates in two builds with little or no WPS impact. I might’ve forgotten some builds but you get the sentiment.
Dunno the whole picture of this problem but one thing i was able to pinpoint when rewatching videos in slow motion. 3 out of 4 Nightblade’s WPS have slow animations which leads to constant misses and interruptions in a crowded environment with sporadic movement.
These are all DW WPS (with few irrelevant exceptions) tested with 191% attack speed. I watched 60 fps recordings on 0.125 speed to measure the delay between the start of the animation and the hit.
Here are the results (in seconds):
- Reaping Strike - 0.07
- Necrotic Edge - 0.21
- Smite - 0.18
- Mutilate - 0.06-0.23 (last hit)
- Burning Void - 0.085
- Korvaak’s Brand - 0.18
- Markovian’s Advantage - 0.085
- Zolhan’s Technique - 0.14
- Amarasta’s Quick Cut - 0.06-0.23
- Whirling Death - 0.175
- Execution - 0.085
- Belgothian Shears - 0.16
- Direwolf Claw - 0.16
This translates into the feeling of gameplay, all sub 0.1 delay WPS feel superior even though they aren’t always the strongest.
0.2 sec might seem as nothing on paper. But in the game where a boss can come in close range from the off screen in less than a second (like Reaper or Kuba) every millisecond counts. The difference between 0.085 (Execution) and 0.21 (Necrotic Edge) is often enough to miss a boss who is having a seizure infront of you or for one of the heroes to interrupt you with CC.
For example, my forementioned cold Reaper with 30% chance to proc NE (0.21 delay) and 25% chance to proc WD (0.175 delay) died several times due to being unable to hit Moosi because of chain-cc from his chards. With overcapped freeze res and AS, of course.
Nightblade’s WPS are not the only ones that suffer from hit delay. But other masteries (Necro, Keeper) with such problems aren’t DW dedicated, they both have strong defences: MoT + high DR and Ascension + Resilience respectively.
Nightblade has nothing on that. It’s a pure attacking mastery with DW focus and “blade” in its name. While the strongest current Nightblade builds are pierce and cold Infiltrator casters with a gun and a crossbow. Something to think about, no?
- Speed up all the lagging melee animations, at a cost of dmg if needed. Shift the connection with the enemy closer to the start of the animation. Animation speed is a big problem for consistency of not only melee builds.
- For unique builds like Belgo and Deathmarked and build-anabling mods for off-beat specs like lightning Cadence, aether Savagery/PS, cold RF and such it’d be fantastic to have some burst support to focus the hardest enemies down. The best thing that comes to mind is 25-33 flat rr added to the main skill/WPS (like on ele Scion for 2H Cadence). It won’t bloat clearing speed because flat rr is easy to get and it only applies once, but it’ll help with burst and leech against resistant enemies).
- Look into enemy pathing/targeting, if there is a chance to do smth with chaotic enemy movement near the character when the selected by AI path is blocked by other enemies or obstacles. Maybe it’s possible to slow them down but keep the aggro range? Would bring down clear speeds as well.
A little on a tangent while at it. Somehow it feels like the aggro range in the game depends on the enemy speed. Swift mutator in Crucible makes enemies less prone to be stuck at the spawn while the Unstoppable does the opposite. Aggro fix for Crucible was nice but in general it just feels like all enemies became faster, and something in their AI can’t handle it.
The Crucible fights often turn into a weird mess which looks less and less like a gameplay. Grava can suddenly retreat and surpise you with a disrupt charge: unavoidable death in unlucky situations. Zantarin can suddenly trigger his oneshotting shotgun at close range which he never did before. Don’t have enough SR data, does anything similar started happening there? I’ll probably make a separate post about it.