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|Dervishes and utility|
The dervish as a profession is pretty much gone from any sort of high-end play. In PvE, warriors and assassins do what dervishes do (big damage) a lot better and faster with more survivability. Avatars for the most part suck - like pets, they chew up skillbar space, combat time, and unlike pets the elite slot. Their unique effects aren't worth running over the still-overpowered Wounding Strike. And in PvP, utility's ruling over damage for melee these days, and the dervish is woefully short on utility. That's probably half the intent of the class, given the damage a scythe is capable of inflicting, but it doesn't have to be that way.
Bottom line: the dervish needs utility. Note that a lot of what follows represent major changes to the profession. At this point in the game, it's more wishful thinking than anything else. And the following suggestions will very likely require some toning down of scythe damage, which has all been confirmed to not happen. I've balanced with that unfortunate fact in mind. These ideas are likely to be overpowered but they're more for generating discussion at this point. As such, don't take these suggestions in a vacuum, consider them all together.
Principle 1: Variety. Like a ranger, only in melee. Knockdowns with scythe damage would be too powerful, unfortunately, bring a warrior for KDs. Examples: Rework the "do nothing" enchantments. Because they do nothing and their begin/end effects are bad. Consider one example, Staggering Force. My inspiration for these skills was Aura of Holy Might, which works in a similar fire-and-forget fashion, which is still more interesting than the current implemetation of Staggering Force.
Current: 10 ¾ 12 , Enchantment Spell. All adjacent foes are struck for 20...68...80 earth damage. For 30 seconds, your attacks deal earth damage. When this Enchantment ends, all adjacent foes are Weakened for 5...13...15 seconds.
One clause (while using an earth weapon) looks curious, but it's there to prevent stacking these enchantments. The one on top of the stack's the only one that can take effect. Stacking issues are solved by changing the type of the skills - e.g., you change them to preparations, which goes against dervishes and their enchantment stuff. Anyway, this gives dervishes some linebacking utility as a broad, possibly OP example. Clearly, you can extend this rework to the other "do nothing" enchantments. Here's another for flavor.
Aura of Thorns
Current: 5 ¾ 12 , Enchantment Spell. All nearby foes are Crippled for 4...9...10 seconds. For 30 seconds, this Enchantment does nothing. When this Enchantment ends, all nearby foes begin Bleeding for 5...13...15 seconds.
They can function defensively too. Reworks like this open up opportunities for secondary dervishes.
Current: 10 ¾ 15 , Enchantment Spell. All adjacent foes are struck for 20...68...80 earth damage. For 30 seconds, your attacks deal earth damage. When this Enchantment ends, all adjacent foes are Blinded for 1...4...5 seconds.
Other skills are so hopeless even monsters don't use them.
Current: 10 ¾ 15 , Enchantment Spell. All adjacent foes take 15...51...60 holy damage. For 20 seconds, this Enchantment does nothing. When this Enchantment ends, you gain 4...9...10 Health for each successful hit while under the effects of this Enchantment.
5 1 12 Enchantment Spell. For 1...11...13 seconds, you attack 33% faster and your attacks deal fire damage.
Now there's a trade-off, near up-keepable IAS but you can't reliably use either offensive "enchantment preparation" above, or you're stuck with good old Heart of Fury.
Now, you get the idea, I don't really want to go through all of those silly skills.
Principle 2: Attack skills for utility, not just damage.
Here's where the dervish really falls flat as a melee attacker. Half the skills are BIG DOMAGE and pretty much nothing else. Tone down the bonus damage (it's high enough already) and give them interesting effects. Victorious Sweep and the new Aura Slicer are ok starting points. Nudge the former down a little in the direction of the latter. Makes the dervish/scythe less spiky. Which is a good thing.
I like to beat up on Irresistible Sweep, so here we go.
Current: 5 6 , Melee Attack. You lose 1 Enchantment. If you lose an Enchantment in this way, Irresistible Sweep cannot be blocked. This attack deals +10...26...30 damage if it hits.
Some scythe skills need obvious nerfs, some need buffs, here I chose one that'd work well with the changes above.
Principle 3: Defensive utility like the warrior's.
Tactics sucks, except it's not terrible on defensive characters. Earth Prayers until the recent Armor of Sanctity buff was pretty sad, only Mystic Regen saw any serious use. I'm not really sure what to do here, there's plenty of selection and secondary warrior will still be the profession of choice no matter how you buff Wind and Earth Prayers, so it's easier to leave stuff underpowered than OP it. Armor of Sanctity is powerful enough atm.
PvE: An IAS that makes dervishes comparable with WE warriors and scythesins.
My naive suggestion here's to link Aura of Holy Might to mysticism somehow, remove the beginning/end damage, and toss a 25 or 33% IAS in instead. That might swing the pendulum too far in the other direction though. But it's a PvE skill on a profession that could see some more use instead of farming.