User:Raine Valen/Musings/Dervish Buffs
 Fuck Yeah, Dervishes!
For the first time in a while, I can say "good update, guys". I actually like the majority of things that you've done. Fucking kudos, you've earned them.
Of course, with any large-scale update, there are bound to be a few issues. I'll quickly list a couple of things that you might have overlooked:
 Wounding Strike and Feeder Enchantments
Wounding Strike was a cool change. With the reduced scythe critical damage, the +20 makes it feel like it did before, when it goes off, which is cool because WS was one of the few viable dervish skills before the update. The issue with it is the "when it goes off" part: it retained its three-second recharge, but there's simply no way to use it every three seconds because no enchantments recharge quickly enough. None of the nonelite enchantments recharge quickly enough to spam the shit out of Wounding Strike and, unless you can, in fact, spam the shit out of it, it's "meh" next to Dismember, the Deep Wound skill of choice for the past two years or so.
There is a way to bypass this, though: you can simply run multiple enchantments. The issue with that, however, is that there are a grand total of three strong feeder enchantments that recharge fast enough to facilitate WS on recharge with only two feeder enchantments:
Whirling Charge has the necessary recharge, but has zero synergy with Wounding Strike because removing it prematurely causes it to do... well, nothing. Because Rending Aura is in an attribute with no other twin feeder and WS requires a duo of enchantments with 6 recharge, Rending Aura isn't really viable for the purpose, either. That leaves Dust Cloak and Staggering Force as the only viable feeder pair for using WS to its full potential. Yay for variety! The redeeming factor is that Staggering Force and Dust Cloak have very strong effects that make them a great asset on the bar: Staggering Force gives you AoE Cracked Armor, which increases your overall damage significantly, and Dust Cloak gives you AoE Blindness, which both prevents linebacking on yourself and allows you to lineback others hard.
Now, there isn't really a reason that many other enchantments need to be limited to 10-second recharge, so, I think, the ideal solution is to reduce the recharges of a couple of other enchantments so that they can fill the same role. This is an indirect buff to WS that wouldn't really affect the power level of each individual skill, because there isn't much else that one could do with their quick recharges:
- Grenth's Fingers: reduced recharge to 6, increased Energy cost to 10.
- This skill was (1) too cheap for its benefit and (2) recharged too slowly to really make use of its benefit when necessary; the only meta anti-melee skill that recharged as slowly as this skill is Oppressive Gaze, so it's not really strong as a condition removal, in spite of the fact that it can potentially remove two conditions. Decreasing the recharge and increasing the cost makes its cost proportional to its effect and increases its viability in a feeder capacity.
- Heart of Holy Flame: Reduced recharge to 6, reduced Energy cost to 5.
- Let's compare this skill to Staggering Force. Though Heart of Holy Flame deals holy damage, Staggering Force deals higher damage, overall, and also isn't particularly affected by armor due to its own effect. Furthermore, Staggering Force not only increases your own damage on your target, but it increases the damage of your entire team against any target that happens to be near you. And, to top it all off, Heart of Holy Flame has a higher recharge and the same cost. That's not to say that Heart of Holy Flame doesn't have anything going for it; it changes your damage type to Holy, which can potentially increase your damage. However, that effect is completely independent of the skill's recharge because it lasts so long, so decreasing the recharge doesn't buff the skill's strong point noticeably. That being said, as it currently is, it's completely underwhelming next to Staggering Force, and there's no real reason for that. Even with the same recharge, it would still be... well, worse, so the Energy cost can be lowered, as well, without making this skill stronger than its colleagues.
- Mystic Corruption: Reduced recharge to 6.
- Four seconds of disease at most normal attribute splits isn't really an amazing, or even noteworthy, feat. This skill isn't as good as many of its alternatives, so it won't really see play: either the Disease duration needs to be increased or the recharge needs to be lowered, if it's to retain its current functionality and be good at what it does. Lowering the recharge makes it stronger in a feeder capacity and pressures energy harder in line with its increased strength, so I think this skill is a good candidate for a recharge drop.
- Mystic Vigor: increased Energy cost to 10, removed activation time, increased recharge to 15; functionality to: "Flash Enchantment Spell. (8 seconds.) Initial effect: gain 5...9...10 Health (maximum 30) and 1 Energy (maximum 2) for each enchantment on you. End effect: this skill recharges in 5...3...2 seconds if you are still enchanted."
- Currently, this skill really isn't useful because Grenth's Aura does the same thing, but better in every conceivable way. Grenth's Aura steals life, casts instantly, ignores most prot (and, of the 4 skills that it doesn't ignore, it smashes through RoF and LS), and heals you independently of the number of enchantments on you. Mystic Vigor can't stand up next to it, so it needs a new niche. Pious Renewal has that niche – amazing synergy with any and all teardowns. However, there needs to be some differentiation between this skill and its elite brother skill, so there are a couple of major drawbacks: (1) Mystic Vigor would be vulnerable to enchantment stripping (no base enchantment = no recharge bonus), (2) Mystic Vigor costs Energy, where Pious Renewal gives the user Energy, (3) the healing and energy gain are dependent on enchantment stacks, and (4) the recharge isn't instant, so it can't be used to fuel, say, Wearying Strike to Twin Moon Sweep to Pious Assault in the same chain.
- Whirling Charge: changed functionality to: "Flash Enchantment Spell. (1...5...6 second[s].) You move 33% faster. End effect: deals 10...50...60 cold damage to all other foes near your target if you are adjacent to your target. Ends if you hit with an attack."
- Because this skill doesn't affect the target, at all, there is zero balance issue caused by allowing it to trigger on teardown skills (you can't spike with it). Though the wording has changed (because its previous wording simply would not work with a teardown skill), it still does more or less exactly the same thing; the only differences being that (1) it can potentially trigger without the user actually hitting with an attack and (2) it no longer has anti-synergy with teardown attack skills.
- Zealous Renewal: increased Energy cost to 10, decreased recharge to 6, changed functionality to: "Flash Enchantment Spell. (1...4...5 seconds.) Initial effect: deals 5...25...30 holy damage to nearby foes. You have -1 Energy regeneration and gain 0...2...2 Energy when you hit. Gain 0...3...4 Energy if this enchantment ends early."
- Firstly, this skill was too efficient in worst-case scenarios; even if you removed it immediately, you would still net positive energy. Increasing the energy cost requires users to actually hit with attacks to get a real benefit out of it. Lowering the recharge, again, increases its strength in a pure feeder role.
These changes not only create more viable skills all around, but also serve to place Wounding Strike back into its niche.
 Reaper's Sweep, Wearying Strike, and Feeder Enchantments
Because Reaper's Sweep takes significantly longer to charge than Wounding Strike, the issue here certainly is not that enchantments don't recharge fast enough. The issue actually stems from a different skill, entirely: Wearying Strike, the only nonelite Deep Wound in the Dervish skillset, requres that an enchantment be removed. This means that, in order to pull a spike (barely) on par with a hammer warrior, the player would need to either (1) stack two enchantments on themself before spiking or (2) only spike when a feeder is both in effect and recharged, effectively causing them to wait twice that skill's recharge between spikes (we're talking 20 seconds for most feeders).
To be effective as a frontline character, the bar must include the following: Snare, Reaper's, Wearying, Followup, Feeder, IAS, IMS, and Sig; this is already 8 skill slots, so the only way to add a second feeder is to run a feeder enchantment that is either a snare or an IMS. A feeder snare (Aura of Thorns) is okay, admittedly, but then we're talking about the same versatility issue that Wounding Strike suffers from, where there's only one or two viable ways to run the skill. Using an IAS feeder is not an option because removing your IAS on a spike is not an option (and I don't think one exists, anyway). Using an IMS as a feeder can work, but none of the IMS enchantments are really ideal for the role (though perhaps a Whirling Charge, as above, could work?) or support the type of spike that an elite knockdown is asking for. A feeder enchantment that served as a spike followup would be amazing and versatile, but would be broken as hell in anything but its intended use (Shockwave -> spike flash skill; no thanks). So I have a different solution in mind.
Unlike Wounding Strike's issue, I don't think that the ideal solution lies in indirect buffs, but rather in a straightforward buff:
- Reaper's Sweep: added the following functionality: "and that enchantment recharges instantly".
- This effectively allows the user to use the same enchantment for both Reaper's and Wearying on a spike, which allows for bar compression necessary to bring, say, an interrupt or utility enchantment removal.
Please keep in mind that Reaper's Sweep dervishes have to be comparable to hammer warriors, because they're dedicating their elite skill to the same cause – if Reaper's Sweep dervishes can't apply effective KD as well as Devasting Hammer warriors, no one will run Reaper's Sweep dervishes and will run Dev wars instead. This change, I think, would allow Reaper's Sweep to compete for a frontline spot.
 Pious Renewal and Teardown Skills
Pious Renewal suffers from an issue similar to Wounding Strike's: it's got amazing potential, but there's nothing to apply it to. The skills that require enchantment removal either recharge slowly enough that they can utilize more effective feeders (like Wearying Strike and Twin Moon Sweep) or don't have enough potential to justify devoting an elite to their usage (like Pious Assault or Pious Fury/Haste).
To rectify this, one of two things needs to happen: either (1) Pious Renewal, itself, needs to be modified in such a way that it adds something elite-worthy to the current teardown skills or (2) some nonelite teardown skills need to be modified in such a way that creates a potential in them that requires an exceptionally-quickly-recharging feeder. I put forth the following for consideration for the first case:
- Pious Renewal: added the following functionality: "and deals 10...34...40 Holy damage to adjacent foes".
- Pious Renewal: added the following functionality: "and you gain 0...1...1 Adrenaline".
- Either of these options let this skill bring more to the table than simply "good fodder", and makes it a worthwhile skill on its own merits.
Alternatively, I put these forth for consideration for the second case.
- Eremite's Attack: changed functionality to: "Scythe Attack. Removes a Dervish enchantment. Removal Effect: deals +5...25...30 damage, strikes all adjacent foes, and recharges instantly."
- In PvE, where this skill is workable, Pious Renewal changes it from "an AoE attack every so often" to "high, consistent AoE damage". In PvP, it's worse than Pious Assault, so won't really see play.
- Irresistible Sweep (PvP): reduced adrenaline cost to 3; changed functionality to: "Scythe Attack. Deals +1...8...10 damage. Remove 1 of your Dervish enchantments. Removal effect: unblockable, removes a stance, deals +5...17...20 additional damage."
- There's no other fuel that lets a user use this as a pre-spike while still being able to use Wearying on the spike.
- Pious Assault (PvP): decreased activation time to 1 second; changed functionality to: "Melee Attack. Removes 1 of your Dervish enchantments. Removal effect: this skill deals +0...20...25 damage and recharges 75...91...95% faster. Disables removed enchantment (+12...9...8 seconds)."
- Without Pious Renewal, it's a very reasonable spike skill. With it, it's pressure on a similar level and in the same vein as Magehunter's Strike.
- Pious Fury: decreased recharge time to 4 seconds; changed functionality to: "Stance. (2...10...12 seconds.) You attack 5...21...25% faster and remove 1 of your Dervish enchantments. Removal effect: you attack 33% faster instead."
- Heart of Fury is a good skill. Pious Fury actually has a drawback, so should be a better skill. In most builds, this makes Pious Fury just that: a more conditional, more expensive, better skill that bites into your limited pool of enchantments to be effective. With Pious Renewal, it's simply "better".
- Pious Haste: changed cost to 3 adrenaline; changed functionality to "Stance. (1...6...7 seconds.) You move 15...29...33% faster and remove 1 of your Dervish enchantments. Removal effect: you move 50% faster instead."
- As per Pious Fury.
- Rending Touch: decreased recharge time to 8 seconds; changed functionality to: "Touch Spell. Deals 15...55...65 cold damage. Lose 1 Dervish enchantment; that enchantment is disabled (8 seconds). Removal effect: target foe loses 1 enchantment; that enchantment is disabled for 3...9...10 seconds on nearby foes."
- With most builds, this skill becomes another "big drawback, big potential" skill. With Pious Renewal, it becomes "amazing".
- Winds of Disenchantment: increased Energy cost to 15, removed activation time, reduced recharge to 6; changed functionality to: "Flash Enchantment Spell. (15 seconds.) End effect: deals 15...39...45 Cold damage to all nearby foes and you lose 1 Dervish enchantment. Removal effect: deals an additional 10...26...30 Cold damage to and removes an enchantment from affected foes."
- As per Rending Touch. It goes from being a costly-with-proportionate-benefits skill to an all-around-amazing skil.
Either above approach works to make this skill desirable.
 Overbuffed Skills
There are a couple of skills that, I think, were made too strong with the update:
- Attacker's Insight: reduced Energy cost to 5, reduced recharge to 4 seconds; changed functionality to: "Flash Enchantment Spell. (6 seconds.) Your next attack skill recharges 40% faster. Gain 1...4...5 Energy and 0...1...1 adrenaline the next time you hit with a melee attack skill."
- The new functionality on this skill screams, "EARTH PRAYERS!". It's a passive defensive buff, and it isn't balanced when coupled with the aggressive offensive buffs, like Harrier's Haste, that the same attribute provides.
- Aura of Thorns: increased recharge time to 12; added the following functionality: "Recharges 0...3...4 second[s] faster."
- It's simply too spammable for a cheap, instant, non-specced, AoE unprottable snare. The hit to the recharge is minor, but should make it more reasonable at low specs and high specs.
- Avatar of Grenth: added the following functionality: "You deal 1...7...8 less damage with attacks."
- Essentially, this skill is permanent Order of the Vampire for one person that also changes their damage type to "you have -10 to -30 armor". The damage reduction here isn't as severe as that of Grenth's Aura because allowing some extra damage on the elite isn't bad, but allowing +15 lifesteal on everything wasn't okay.
- Grenth's Aura: added activation time of 1 second, increased recharge to 30 seconds; changed functionality to: "Enchantment Spell. (45 seconds.) You deal 5...21...25 less damage and steal 5...21...25 Health when you hit with a scythe."
- Permanent Nightmare Weapon is reasonable... when it doesn't also double as a spike skill and recharge fast enough to be an effective feeder enchantment for Twin Moon Sweep.
- Harrier's Grasp: decreased Cripple duration to 1...7...8 second[s].
- There is no reason for this skill to cause Cripple for 15 seconds; this made it quite abusive on spears. Decreasing the Cripple duration doesn't really impact its use on melee characters, but reduces its effectiveness at spreading the condition over multiple foes with ranged attacks.
Avatar of Grenth and Grenth's Aura are the two larger problems; the other issues are quite minor.
 Underbuffed Skills
To complement the above section, there are a few skills that weren't pushed into the realm of viability. I addressed many of them in previous sections, but there are a few more:
- Ebon Dust Aura: decreased recharge to 8 seconds; changed functionality to "Elite Flash Enchantment Spell. (15 seconds.) Deal +5...17...20 earth damage with your melee attacks and your attack skills inflict Blindness condition (1...6...7 second[s]). Initial Effect: Blinds nearby foes for 1...3...3 second[s]. End Effect: removes Blindness. No effect unless wielding an earth weapon."
- The ability to lineback amazingly without dedicating any time to actually, y'know, lineback was too strong. The other aspects of this skill, though, were relatively weak: it wasn't a good feeder and its condition removal was very, very meh. Those aspects could be enhanced safely.
- Extend Enchantments: removed recharge time; added the following functionality: "and that enchantment recharges 10...122...150% faster."
- If it's going to do something mediocre (there aren't really any derv enchantments that reward long durations), it should be good at it. Recharging slower than most strong enchantments did not facilitate that.
- Meditation: removed activation; changed functionality to: "Skill. (60 seconds.) You have +0...12...15 armor while enchanted and gain 0...4...5 Energy and 0...24...30 Health whenever an enchantment on you ends."
- Devoting a skill slot to what was previously a passive effect necessitates increasing the power of the previously-passive effect. The opportunity cost here is that it's not particularly useful for any sort of synergy; it's more of an "I have an extra skill slot (in AB); I'll put this skill in it" skill.
- Veil of Thorns: decreased recharge to 8 seconds.
- It it's going to consume a skill slot and not be offensive utility, it needs to at least be a good feeder enchantment.
- Vital Boon: added the following functionality: "Casts instantly if you are below 40...88...100 Health".
- If it's going to be an ass-saving skill, it's got to be better than Mirage Cloak. It currently isn't.
Also, all three dervish signets are very meh now; they could all use buffs, but I'm out of ideas, for the time being.