Thesis: Traits should all provide constant benefits to the player that has a more impacting feel on the users gameplay experience throughout the entire run.
I don’t think the community is wrong for saying there needs to be more buffs or more nerfs . Change this or that to essentially feel like we should be free to invent our our effective builds that can have strengths that shine even in pugs. This is currently kneecapped by the prioritizing of what is most effective regardless of depending on other players. In short what gets things dead the fastest.
If we’re talking about balance… bringing things in line with one another to redefine ‘meta’ strategies. I’m going to skip player classes entirely for now. One of the worst OFFENDERS in my opinion is WEAPON TRAITS. At high level play, is ANYONE not using Swift Slaying on melee? If you are I’d argue you are in a very small minority. Or you ran out of orange dust. Off balance brings a nice buff to front line shield bearers for coordinated play. However things like Opportunist being a situational buff instead of constant push improvement and Heroic Intervention only applying for intervention of specials leaves these 2 traits very circumstantial in their usefulness as opposed to a constant benefit. Resourceful Combatant may have it’s role for coordinated party buffs but Parry is going to be one of the least popular as anyone concerned about defense probably has means to increase their defenses through their build elsewhere. The other traits really have mundane constant benefits when compared to Swift Slaying increasing your overall combat effectiveness reliably at all times. This also is helping keep you and your party safe with a faster rate of stagger and crowd control, and with the constant hoards that spawn on Legend currently it is a difficult to argue against the immense benefit of faster attacks for keeping hoards at bay.
Properties to an extent also suffer a ‘best’ by default ruling. I don’t feel like you could shy away from CRIT being king for most class builds and +15% being a golden rule, and I’m sure there are some out there evaluating surpassing breakpoints for -1 strike for removal. But with Crits leading to more dmg= faster clear and and more dmg in a game that rewards killing quickly as the best defense, it’s hard to justify other means of prioritizing. Crit for many classes also increases your defense with temporary health. ( However current meta suggest that for many weapons sans elf dual wield per kill is going to grant more, I’ve also read that if the crit kill the target the temp health won’t register * cannot confirm).
All in all I think having 1 shield bearer in a group with off balance is going to be the most common exemption for most preferences. The goal of this evaluation is that we might look to have more constant benefits tied in with the more situational traits. This may include giving a constant passive buff to the user for certain traits to make them more appealing. Something that could even tie in with boosts to properties to create a focus synergy build. For instance Parry could offer an amount of block cost reduction. Opportunist could grant +2 stamina for an extra push. Small but CONSTANT benefits to encourage an impacting means of changing the feel of play throughout the game. Because the other traits currently have a minimal impact on overall feel compared to hyper shredding through mobs with 20%+ attack speed increase. I have 5% additional on charm which means I’m reliably hacking 25% faster at hoards.
With ranged as well and the immense benefit of being able to rely on having ammo on hand, scrounger/heat sync also will be choice favorites to be able to continue a constant offense from a safe distance. Inspirational shot here going to be the step child with only groups that have a very coordinated approach to even consider this. In pug play there is no joy from using a skill that does not even benefit the user. And once again, you’re comparing a heavily situational benefit versus a constant improvement. It’s just hard to take these situational perks over something that is going to give you constant returns on your investment.