I know, another post about beam staff. /Sigh. Let me preface this by explaining that I’m not here to say that the staff is “overpowered” or to get into an argument about how it compares to other classes in terms of performance. The performance of other classes is relative to a number of factors that we cannot control for (map, loadout, team composition, actual gameplay, etc.) and so this is not a relevant benchmark. Scoreboard screenshots of your “awesome damage” are not relevant or welcome in this discussion.
I would like to discuss the interaction between the beam staff’s initial damage tick and the relevant in-game procs (Heat Sink, Resourceful Sharpshooter, and Seething Embers (temp health on crit)). Currently, these traits and talents can proc on the initial beam tick. There is also a “crit window” on the beam staff (lasting for about a second), which creates a small period of time where every initial beam tick is a crit. If the user rapidly swipes or “wiggles” the beam across enemies to fish for a crit window, they can obtain a large number of crits in a very small period of time (usually 1-5 seconds). When combined with on-hit procs, a user can obtain incredibly rapid ult recharges, overcharge wipes, and temp health refills by this “beam wiggling” method.
This issue was previously addressed in patch 1.0.6 – removing the on-hit procs on the initial beam tick. However, it seems that this proc interaction was added back at some point (silently?). @Fatshark_Hedge has indicated in a previous thread that this is not a bug – although that post did not reference the 1.0.6 patch notes. So it is currently unclear if Hedge was mistaken and was unaware that this issue had been previously patched. Perhaps he can weigh in directly and clarify whether this proc interaction is intended and/or if we are mis-reading the 1.0.6 patch notes.
Absent developer clarification, we can still discuss whether this on-hit proc interaction should be included in the game. Currently, I have identified the following odd results from this proc interaction:
Encourages rapid beam wiggling over aiming - especially on CDR builds at mid-to-long range.
Allows for dramatic/complete overheat wipes and ult recharges in a small timeframe (usually 1-5 sec). I have personally had PUG members accuse me of hacking during testing.
Allows for full temp health replenishment in a small timeframe (usually 1-5 sec) with no cooldown and regardless of enemy pack size. I am not aware of any comparable health replenishment on any other class or loadout.
Allows the user to wipe overheat, recharge an ult, and/or gain temp health against super armor (CK and Boss) by wiggling the beam across their head.
Allows the user to wipe overheat, recharge an ult, and/or gain temp health against shielded/invulnerable targets (Rasknitt and Convocation of Decay summoners) by wiggling the beam across their head.
Allows the user to damage CKs and Armored Bosses with the initial beam tick by wiggling the beam across their head. These targets otherwise seem to be immune to beam. A small beam wiggle period (1-3 sec) followed by an ult allows for consistent CK one-shots on legend (which otherwise appears to require a critical headshot with the ult). Combined with RSS, this allows CKs to be killed rather quickly (1 every 5 sec or so depending on crits).
NOTE: On these last three items, there seems to be an issue with how the on-hit procs interact with headshots. Or perhaps how crits and headshots interact on these targets. It is unclear whether this is unique to beam staff and it is difficult to test on other, slower ranged weapons with a finite ammo pool and without a “crit window.”
I’d like to hear your thoughts. Does this mechanic make sense? Are the results harmful to gameplay - removing the need to exhaust or allowing ult spamming? Should this proc interaction be patched out again? Or should it be left in – understanding that it creates the issues above? Is there another way to change the mechanics of the staff to remove some or all of these issues without eliminating the on-hit proc on the initial beam tick? For example, possibly by creating a hard cap on the number of procs that can occur within a certain time period?
In my personal opinion, I think patch 1.0.6 should be re-introduced. The current proc interaction allows for large damage spikes and offers additional utility to certain Sienna/Pyro/Beam builds that seems unintended. For example, a CDR pyro/beam build no longer has a clear weakness – it performs well against all enemy types in all environments – whereas all other Sienna class/weapon loadouts come with trade-offs. This seems like an inherent balance problem since the game tends to encourage a rock/paper/scissor type decision-making process when choosing weapons/classes to address the various enemies types and to accommodate group play.