ArenaNet:Skill feedback/Assassin/Assassin Spell Combat

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Suggestions for giving assassins ranged functionality

Issue
OK, not so much of an issue, more of an idea - buffing and reworking some assassin hexes and other spells (such as the dagger ones - Dancing Daggers, Crippling Dagger and Disrupting Dagger) to make assacasters more viable - without buffing the already nasty KD-lock ones you get nowadays with Signet of Judgement, Entangling Asp etc. Those I do have something of an issue with.
Suggestion
Come on Izzy, I'm sure you agree with me, ranged hex assassins would be quite cool (but not with constant KD-lock, those ones are bad...).
Buffing certain hexes and thus making assassins more versetile et.c. et.c. would be the way to make them viable - see here for the read-up. See below for some more specific suggestions (note these are just general ideas). Changes are in orange again. :-).


Seeping Wound Seeping Wound. 5 Energy 1 Activation time 10 Recharge time.
Elite Hex Spell. If target foe is suffering from a Deep Wound, that foe begins Bleeding for the same duration. For 5...17...20 seconds, target foe suffers -1...3...4 Health Degeneration from both Bleeding and Poison. This spell has half the normal spell range.
OK, Seeping Wound is clearly an underpowered skill, especially for an elite. Making the health degen apply for both the bleeding and the poison (i.e. you get double if suffering from both) promote use of bleeding as well as poison, rather than just one, but gives it only a tiny bit more punch. Therefore I would also suggest adding the bleeding if the target is suffering from a deep wound, allowing synergy with many deep wound skills. The bleeding would also cover the deep wound as well as automatically fulfilling the requirement for the health degeneration, giving a total of -7 without the need for a poor bleeding primer (a decent deep wound one can be used instead) and still gives the option of adding further degen (to counter regen.) with poison, adding up to a total of -15 (potentially plus the deep wound). What's more deep wound is not even necessary as long as you can inflict bleeding and/or poison otherwise.
I also suggest making it half range. This would actually be more of a buff to sins as it still allows synergy with, for example Shadow Fang (would need a recharge buff) or Augury of Death -> Viper's Defence -> Seeping Wound (though maybe not that specifically as they're all in different attribute lines, not to mention the trickiness of using Shadow Fang, but you get the idea) et.c. as well as Deadly Haste which is in the same attribute line.
UPDATE 11/12/2008: This skill has been buffed, but still isn't really powerful enough to warrant taking. The main reason for this is that it's a pressure skill in the primary attribute of a class focussed around spiking. If it was in Deadly Arts, it may get taken by /As, but as it is, it doesn't. So, with the update in mind, here's a new suggestion for it:
Seeping Wound Seeping Wound. 5 Energy 3/4 Activation time 8 Recharge time.
Elite Hex Spell. For 15 seconds, target foe takes 2...8...10 damage per second. While suffering from Bleeding or Poison, that foe takes a further 2...8...10 damage per second. Whenever that foe suffers from a Deep Wound, that foe begins Bleeding for 5...17...20 seconds.
Giving assassins who use this a built-in way to apply Bleeding makes it much more effective, since they can now do it without attack skills - for example with Augury of Death builds. This would also synergise with those nasty assacaster builds (e.g. Seeping Wound -> Iron Palm -> Entangling Asp, providing Poison for SW) or with standard attack chains (Impale and Golden Fang Strike, for example, will now also apply Bleeding as a cover).
The improved damage (from 13 to 16 dps at 12 crit strikes) and, more importantly, the fact that half of it is unconditional, make it much more effective at pressuring. Furthermore, a faster activation and lower recharge mean it can be reapplied faster if it gets removed. To compensate, the duration has been lowered too, but previously it would probably get removed before it expired anyway.


Mark of Insecurity Mark of Insecurity. 5 Energy 1 Activation time 10 Recharge time.
Elite Hex Spell. For 2...22...25 seconds, target foe suffers from -0...3...4 Health degeneration, and Enchantments and Stances on target foe expire 75% faster.
As of the same update, MoI has become a very useful elite. However, it's slightly too useful, as it makes a target very vulnerable for quite a long duration. What's more, it's also used on /As rather than primary assassins. To attempt to remedy this, I have suggested toning down its power slightly, and making things which scale do so to a greater degree, so that Assassins with Deadly Arts runes get more out of it.
Also, there seems to be certain problems with very short enchantments (e.g. Patient Spirit). They probably need a minimum duration. What I would actually really like to see (though I doubt it'll happen) is for things which make other things expire faster to work properly rather than just shortening the durations of things cast while under the effects of them (though I realise that engine limitations may make this difficult). For example, say you were hit with MoI as it is now (90% faster expiration - let's say they mean 9x faster, or 900%) one second after you cast a 20 second enchantment on yourself. This would now have 19 seconds left but would also start expiring 9x faster. Now if your monk were to have great reactions and removed MoI only one second later, your enchantment would have only 10 seconds remaining before it ran out. As it is now, MoI only affects new enchantments, and simply sets their duration to 1/10.


Wastrel's Collapse Wastrel's Collapse.
moved to ArenaNet:Skill feedback/Assassin/Wastrel's Collapse#Assassin Spell Combat
UPDATE 11/12/2008: This skill is no longer underpowered.


Expose Defenses Expose Defenses.
moved to ArenaNet:Skill feedback/Assassin/Expose Defenses#Underpowered Skill


Mantis Touch Mantis Touch.
See more on this skill here.


Shameful Fear Shameful Fear. 10 Energy 3/4 Activation time 7 Recharge time.
Hex Spell. For 10 seconds, target foe moves 15% faster than normal. For each second, if that foe is moving, that foe takes 5...17...20 damage. This spell has half the normal spell range.
OK, this is not really a very useful skill as it is. However, it can be made slightly less useless by improving the recharge (so it can be used on multiple foes at once or reapplied if removed) and the cast time (sins don't want to waste 2 secs - by that time their foe will already have kited away and stopped again). Increasing the speed isn't actually much of a nerf since to keep up with your target you would need a speed buff anyway, and how many 10% speed buffs are there? In fact, it increases the likeliness that this may be used for synergy with Scorpion Wire (from about a 1% chance to a 3% chance...).


Blinding Powder Blinding Powder. 5 Energy 1/4 Activation time 12 Recharge time
Spell. Must follow an off-hand attack. Target foe and all adjacent foes take 5...33...40 damage and become Blinded for 3...13...15 seconds.
Though this skill is, on the face of it, a Throw Dirt with range and a better activation and recharge, the requirement for an off-hand attack makes it tricky to use and in most situations pretty much nullifies the range. What's more, assassins don't normally tend to spread blind around - they go in, gank, and come out again. Fast.
To make this skill actually useful, I suggest making it more spammable. Adding a modicum of damage would also prevent it from being totally useless on, say, casters, allowing more synergy with Unseen Fury and skills which function better with more conditions, such as Signet of Deadly Corruption (which also probably needs a buff, by the way).


Caltrops Caltrops. 5 Energy 1/4 Activation time 10 Recharge time.
Spell. Target foe and all foes adjacent to your target take 5...33...40 piercing damage and are Crippled for 5...13...15 seconds if moving, otherwise they are Crippled for 2...7...8 seconds. Caltrops has half the normal range.
Caltrops is a potentially great skill, but the 10 Energy cost hurts. Adding conditional (but not armour-ignoring) damage and reducing the energy cost to 5 makes it much more viable, probably too viable. Thus, I suggest making it mostly conditional, with a shorter cripple if the recharge isn't met. Though this would still be useable normally (6-8 secs of cripple is easily enough to catch someone), skilled play (waiting until a foe kites rather than using it before) would reap much more reward from it. The numbers may have to be tweaked a bit for this one, maybe reducing the non-conditional cripple's duration.


Mirrored Stance Mirrored Stance.
moved to ArenaNet:Skill feedback/Assassin/Mirrored Stance#The Problem with Assassins


Shadow Shroud Shadow Shroud. 10 Energy 1 Activation time 20 Recharge time.
Elite Hex Spell. For 3...8...9 seconds, all allied spells cast on target foe take twice as long to cast and three times as long if they are enchantments, and that foe cannot cast enchantments.
Possibly another This skill has half the normal spell range. After all, why not?
OK, this may be a bit drastic, but currently this skill sees little use. It would be great to stop a target from being protted by a monk, but its short duration (not a big deal in a spike, admittedly) and, more importantly, elite status make it eclipsed by better options. Making it affect all spells (but not actually prevent any, as that would be too harsh) would really harm a spike target (1/4 or 1/2 Activation time spells would still be OK, but still a little less effective, and anything from 1 second up would be way too slow). It would also open monks up to interrupts, thus rewarding coordinated play (in fact this could be used purely to allow a ranger to D-Shot a monk's hex removal, making it useless for 20 seconds.


Shadowy Burden Shadowy Burden. 10 Energy 1/4 Activation time 15 Recharge time.
Hex Spell. Lose 1 hex. For 3...13...15 seconds, target foe moves 25% slower and has 10 less armor against physical damage. If a hex was lost in this way, Shadowy Burden lasts 50% longer.
OK, now I'm not too sure about this myself, but I like the idea of assassins/necros, maybe mesmers, throwing hexes at each other, and with the added remove 1 hex clause, this skill could be used to get rid of empathy or a snare, et.c. allowing you to attack more effectively. I also like the idea that it's like you're throwing someone's hex back at them.
Anyway, that aside, this skill just wasn't really working. I mean, it's OK, but neither the requirement for only that hex nor the fact that the -20 armour is only against you attacks help it and neither promote team/larger scale play. Changing to conditional armour penalty to a smaller but unconditional one makes it less powerful on a lone sin but more powerful in a team (exactly what I'm trying to promote), yet isn't too much more powerful since it's physical only (so no eles et.c. getting on the bandwagon).


Shroud of Distress Shroud of Distress. 10 Energy 1 Activation time 45 Recharge time.
Enchantment Spell. For 30...54...60 seconds, if you are below 50% Health, you have a 75% chance to block attacks and other allies' spells targetting you cast 25% faster.
OK, this one's simple - it works better in a team.


Shadow Fang Shadow Fang. 10 Energy 1 Activation time 30 Recharge time.
Hex Spell. For 5 seconds, target foe suffers -1...4...5 Health Degeneration. When this Hex ends, you Shadow Step to target foe and that foe suffers from a Deep Wound for 5...17...20 seconds.
Shadow Fang is a potentially very useful skill which would work fine with a simple recharge reduction. However, I wanted to suggest this alternate version which could open up some interesting possibilities. This version would give you a Shadow Step combined with a Deep Wound in a single skill, providing bar compression and making it a lot easier to score a kill, while also softening your target up with some degen first. However, it would give away your target, allowing monks to pre-prot (if they are smart) or remove the hex (if they are not). Since the Shadow Step and DW occur when it ends, removing it will still inflict them, making enemy monks think twice since it won't actually stop the spike - however, it could surprise you meaning if you want to do something in those 5 seconds you have to be careful or you will get interrupted.
I see a change like this as making the skill potentially very powerful, but it would require a little thinking on the sin's part, and encourage some on the target's (on monks at least) so I don't see it as too OP. Even so, I have increased the energy cost and activation (making it potentially interruptable and giving your foes more warning) and kept the recharge fairly high.


Dagger Skills
These should probably be changed to skills, not spells. Additionally, consider:
Crippling Dagger Crippling Dagger - See here.
Dancing Daggers Dancing Daggers - Make it so that it only counts as a lead attack if at least one of the daggers hits.
Disrupting Dagger Disrupting Dagger - Probably fine as it is. Maybe change to 8 Recharge time, but that might be a bit much (it would be overrused by /A secondaries). Possibly up the recharge but change the damage scaling a little so that an investment in Deadly Arts is more worthwhile (e.g. 5...49...60 or so).


With these changes in mind, particularly those above, I would also suggest:
Deadly Haste Deadly Haste. 10 Energy 1 Activation time 25 Recharge time.
Enchantment Spell. For 8...26...31 seconds, half-ranged skills cast 5...41...50% faster and recharge 5...41...50% faster.
In order for the dagger spells to be changed to skills, this would need to be changed to allow skills, not just spells, to preserve the synergy. Also, with the increased number of half-ranged spells there would be if some or all of the above suggestions were implemented, this would indirectly become quite a powerful skill, thus I have suggested a slight nerf to the duration and recharge so that in order to keep in up all the time you would need at least a reasonable investment into Critical Strikes, which you might try to avoid if you were a Deadly Arts-based assassin (especially if you split into Shadow Arts, too).


OK, enough typing for now. Please discuss.