After making a lot of caster builds, I’ve come to realize that skills without weapon damage scale much less effectively compared to skills with weapon damage because they have one less variable which a player can boost to improve damage. Take Fire Strike and Panetti’s as an example. Fire Strike’s damage is based on four different variables: Flat damage, weapon damage, attack speed, and skill level. Thus the player has four different avenues which can be taken to boost the damage of fire strike: Acquiring more %damage increases, acquiring more flat damage, acquiring more attack speed, or leveling up the skill through gear or skill points. By contrast, skills like Panetti’s have only 3 avenues which the player can use to boost damage: cast speed increases, %damage increases, or more skill points. Casters skills with a cooldown suffer a similar problem, except cast speed can be replaced with Cooldown reduction.
Because there is one less variable in the damage calculations there is effectively one less method with which the player can boost the damage of these skills. In order to compensate, it would be a good idea to greatly boost the scaling of these skills in their ultimate ranks, to boost their damage, or to make cast speed more readily available. Furthermore, casters need to manage one more resource when they attack (mana) than builds which simply autoattack. Since players will need to build around mana and mana regen, casting skills should be buffed since players will have to sacrifice either damage or survivability simply to have the mana sustain necessary to use offensive abilities.
In sum, casting skills need a buff because autoattacks and skills which have a significant weapondamage% will outscale most casting skills in ultimate difficulty.
Yes there are a couple skills and devotions that provide lifesteal without WD% but they’re the exception. His point is correct, not having WD % on a skill prevents lifesteal as it is generally used in the lingo. This is also something not very clearly stated by the game.
I completely agree with OP and have been saying this for months. Devs in the past have claimed that not having each skill with WD% provides diversity (I don’t buy this) and said they can balance skills around not having WD% but in my opinion that’s not really happening which is why caster skills are in such bad shape right now. I don’t agree with the diversity since not having WD% doesn’t meaningfully change the skill to provide said diversity it just makes it a pain to balance since scaling is so bad on them (as OP said) and +skills are more difficult to find than the scaling stats that WD% skills use.
For me its a bunch of balancing/scaling downsides and confusion for new players (why can’t I lifesteal with PRM when I have a shiny new ring with lifesteal on it? huh? Eel devotion’s resist debuff does nothing with AAR…wtf?) with no real benefits to the player.
I do think that skills can be balanced around not having weapon damage, but it might require some significant buffing. For example, when a skill rises above its max level, perhaps it could start adding a “total damage modified by x” multiplicative scaling component to make up for poor scaling. Imagine sky shard’s total damage being modified by 50% at ultimate max level and it seems quite a bit more appealing and can scale better into late game. It doesn’t solve the Lifesteal issue and I’m not quite sure how to approach that, but a total damage multiplicative modifier at the ultimate levels for caster skills is something I’ve thought about. Even SoC does quite poor damage at max ultimate level; its main use is its Lifesteal capabilities. My SoC pyromancer still does less than 10k dps with 22/12 sigil and 22/12 destruction with over 1k chaos and vit damage bonuses. In exchange for not being able to Lifesteal, caster skills could all have utility like bwc and they would be much more appealing
And that is exactly how it should be because Sigil is the only spell in this game that heals you besides Devouring Swarm. This is a mark of good design, namely the existence of a trade-off between some relevant dimensions of a character. In fact, from out of the 6 classes, occultist is the most ballanced one right now because you can construct powerful builds around all skill lines: summoning, DEE, Sigil, Bloody Pox. Even Doom Bolt has a function now given how Time Dilation works. The existence of build diversity is a sign that nothing is particularly underpowered, nor overpowered. The Shaman mastery is a close second, btw…
Pls compare this with the Demolitionist in which the Fire Strike line and BWC dominate the damage dimension, while Flashbang-Searing light is all the CC you need. This is a sign of bad design, because Grenado becomes redundant even with Time Dilation. Furtheremore, you have Stun Jacks…a skill that you really, really have to love in order to incorporate it into a functional build.
=> you can’t just put weapon damage components on all spells or skills that feel underpowered. You must put them on skills that create massively asymmetrical trade-offs OR skills that become redundant once the player gathers gear that makes +% x damage boost irrelevant. As such, a skill like AAR needs a Weapon Damage component (max 40% at 12/12 I would say), while a skill like Grenado needs functionality, a 30% energy cost reduction and/or flat damage increase at ultimate levels. Unfortunately, for TSS I have absolutely no idea, because that skill is a mix of CC and damage that is a “jack of all trades, master of none” + is incredibly hard to aim right when things get hectic.
The lack of %WD on skills definitely limits the late game scaling of casters, but I agree with Avatar here! Well…I don’t know that much about different abilities and which one needs what… But adding WD it all skills definitely seems an over simplification of a fix… %WD is a strong addition. Look at how useful the spear of the heavens proc become once it had WD…
Casters definitely do need much better late game scaling. Right now they are no where close to being as good as melee builds. They might excel a little more in early/mid game…but that is not the area most people care about…
Mechanically speaking, that increased damage your need to be on a per point basis instead of a “reach this level” basis… Maybe that is what you mean and you’re just giving a point or reference… Anyways, that increased damage would need to be significant to compensate for not putting all/most points into physique like many builds do now. I’m not sure HC players would like this idea very much…
Part of the % WD is its scaling effects on the flat damage and life steal. If not %WD, then another new stat would need to be created for balance purposes so those bonuses can be balanced on skills. Adding 100% to all would be highly unbalanced…
I appreciate your ideas and I am sure the Devs appreciate it too. However, they are min/maxers just as the best GD players are… and, as such, it is suboptimal to change an entire system in order to address a problem that can be addressed simply by tweeking numbers.
I said it and will say it again here:
NOT ALL casters are underpowered in the late, late game. Summoners are also casters and their pets scale nicely. This is a big misconsception I think, but a nuke is a nuke and theirs walk on legs or fly. Can they destroy all nemeses without god gear ? NO, ofc ! However, a legendary set such as the Beastcaller sure helps you feel good because you can stomp Fabius in less than 25 seconds with it. The Summoner caster respects a nice idea - namely, that of a trade-off between how easy a class is to play and how much patience you need to have in Ultimate difficulty in order to make it good by farming a legendary set or a relic like Bysmiel’s Domination. The same goes for the much hated Blademaster. These two cookie cutter builds are fine where they are. They don’t need nerfs, neither buffs.
Cooldown casters have Time Dilation and allthough you need just as much gear as a Blademaster to pull it off, you can do it without abusing mechanics. Their power is gated behind insane gear, so I don’t believe TD needs a nerf. What needs to be addressed are issues related to bugs, such as “the million eyes of Dreeg” or “million flame torrents”; as well as how SS-spam free riders exist in the form of Spellbreakers and Witch Hunters. Meanwhile…spaming TSS or Grenado or anything that is not Doom Bolt for that matter is pure trash and you just wasted all your points into the Hourglass to obtain s**t. FACT. Unlike ppl who say “nerf x” or “nerf y” I actually take my time to determine empirically how much of those 3-second Mad Queen videos are smoke and mirrors and how much is truth.
It is cast speed casters that are underpowered because with the exception of Frentic Throw Phantasmal Blades and DEE, PRM builds or AAR builds are trash. Stun Jacks spamming is also borderline impossible to make.
So, with these being said it is actually AAR, PRM, TSS, Stun Jacks and Grenado that need to be addressed not the whole caster class spectrum !!!
I don’t really class summoners as casters since it’s the pets that are doing the damage and tanking. There are clever builds that can make casters very strong, but I have yet to see one in the same league as blademasters or saboteurs or classes like that. They out dps casters, and are far more tanky due to lifesteal and not needing to get so much defence from devotions. TD is amazing, but it’s basically needed if you want to be tanky, and have fast boss clear speeds when melee can do the same without it.
Summoners are a subclass of cooldown casters. Their pets are “casted” and affected by cooldown reduction. Furthermore they cast debuffs in order to proc devotions.
Anyway, there are caster builds that kill Fabius faster than a Blademaster at 0 risks and without stacking +% damage to humans through the roof. That performance is not, however, readily available to you NOR it requires you just to press left click and win. But, for the record, there are…it’s just that it requires gear that only 0.5% of the playerbase will obtain legitimately.