Venomlance is a weapon that I feel has gone under the radar for a long time. To my knowledge, the only forum showcased build that uses it ever has been the Dreeg’s Sniper by Avatar of Dreeg. It’s from v126.96.36.199 from very early Ashes of Malmouth, and it’s arguably more of a caster than an auto-attacker. In the thread @eardianm organised to discuss ranged weapons that spans 200+ posts over 7 months, there are only 3 mentions of it, none speak good on it or are informative. As of recent, @XandeRoot has given his opinion on a detailed feedback for a potential theorycraft in the v188.8.131.52 discussion. This is everything notable I can find on it across the forums. I think it’s fair to say it’s largely forgotten.
Because of the lack of information put forward by the community on it, I personally don’t know if it is in a good/bad position but as mentioned am highlighting it’s lack of widespread use/experimentation. If anyone has a successful build with it, I’d invite them to showcase it. Otherwise, I want to open up discussion and prompt Crate to take a second look at it with community input.
Venomlance: added 45% of Physical dealt as Acid and added modifiers for Righteous Fervor.
Earlier this year, it received the above changes in v184.108.40.206 which put it in a better place as a 2-handed ranged Acid/Poison Righteous Fervor weapon which I think is a step in the right direction, though perhaps it could do with another push.
I think significantly strengthening the signature proc or converting it into a Weapon Pool Skill keeping the 100% pierce-through would help with the conundrum many ranged users are facing at end game - building sufficient AoE. Deathdealer’s Sidearm was given 100% pierce-through to it’s WPS and combined with Smite and Cadence has been shown by Eard to be sufficient for all intents and purposes so what if the same happened here? Maybe I’m wrong but just eyeballing it, I honestly don’t think it would need so much more for a Righteous Fervor Sentinel or Dervish to be serviceable.
I also want to briefly go over the other skill bonuses on the weapon and other potential uses for it that could carve out more of a niche for it as it could also be argued that some lack of use is due to the bonuses besides the Righteous Fervor ones not looking appealing or fun enough to build around:
+2 to all skills in Nightblade
Typically with it being a ranged weapon, Amarasta’s Blade Burst with Righteous Fervor and WPS is a go-to idea for it. Though, I’d argue that the Ugdenbog Bilelauncher more than covers this at all stages of the game.
As far as a cooldown variant goes that pairs it with another 1-2 skills, the Bilelauncher or even Quillthrower of Dreeg for more of a caster approach with Biting Blades/Acid Purge on the side look like they cover this as well.
It’s been suggested in the past to make it the sister to Amarastan Crusher supporting spammable Blade Burst on 2-handed ranged - I don’t particularly agree with the notion but thought it’d be worth mentioning as another option to consider.
Fitting in line with the cooldown reduction and base damage on a 2-handed weapon is cooldown Phantasmal Blades - this is also what the Dreeg Sniper above long ago makes use of. There are options to convert the Pierce, Vitality, Cold and Chaos damage on the line to Acid in equipment as well though some conversion skill modifiers could alleviate some effort and make for an interesting character.
+4 to Ravenous Earth
- Could see some use on an Acid/Poison variant alongside other cooldown skills like Blade Burst or alongside Righteous Fervor I suppose. Though, for a full focus Ravenous Earth user, missing out on the skill modifiers on Pandemic and Leafmane Trophy hurt it’s damage potential and forces the user to look for global conversion through equipment.
+4 to Aspect of the Guardian
- Occultist makes a superb support for Acid/Poison damage, no one is arguing this. However, adding 4 additional skill ranks to Aspect of the Guardian looks superfluous to me with the only notable benefit to it being +2% Physical resistance and a relatively minor amount of +% Acid/Poison damage. I’d argue Blood of Dreeg or Vulnerability look better. Even Solael’s Witchfire or Possession could potentially be better.
Finally, I want to talk about the idea of adding Soldier support to it with Acid/Poison Cadence as another idea of giving it something unique. I’m not rooting for it as what happens at the end of the day is down to Crate, but do want to hear thoughts on it:
The recent change in v220.127.116.11 giving it global Physical damage converted to Acid helps in converting Deadly Momentum and Oleron’s Rage to Acid/Poison damage.
If the pass-through Venomlance proc gets a steroids boost, it’ll go nicely with Fighting Form building up more shots that pierce, doubly so with Smite on a Warlord (admittedly an Acid Warlord that isn’t Retaliation and is ranged will come off as bizarre to a lot of people though).
Plenty of itemisation already exists to provide Cadence bonuses on Acid/Poison equipment:
- Conduit of Warring Whispers
- Iron Maiden’s Shoulderguard
- Mythical Vilescorn Bracers
- Mythical Spidersilk Hauberk
On the other hand, there is little-to-none for Deadly Momentum, so if it were to be introduced to the rifle, a +4 to it would be a big help.