Beam Staff: Proc Interactions

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.

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:rofl:

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To me, the entire beam staff wiggle is 100% abuse of several mechanics and should get looked at.

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It only really “harms” gameplay in so much that new or less experienced players may not understand how to play with a beam staff user but in terms of balance it’s totally fine. It gets artificially inflated damage numbers on the scorecard like all Dot/AoE weapons but it’s actual impact and practical DPS are middle of the road.

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I’m not sure how to measure “actual and practical DPS.” If we can’t use damage, we could look to kills. But then you’d probably counter that we can’t trust whether those are kill steals. Then we’re at an impasse. So let’s ignore that whole line of argument. This is why scoreboards are a terrible measurement tool in these discussions.

Instead, let’s look at how beam with the proc interaction performs against individual enemies with a CDR build (infantry, armored, super armor, etc.). The game’s core design philosophy on weapons seems to be that each weapon should have a trade-off. Each weapon is better or worse at damaging different enemy types and dealing single target/aoe damage. Some ranged weapons are also better or worse at close or long range/special sniping. This is what encourages group play and is the rock/paper/scissors type decision making I referred to in my post.

Beam with this proc interaction is currently good against all enemy unit types, is good at both single target and aoe and is good at any distance.

  • Shotgun (aoe) or beam (single) at close range for infantry.
  • Wiggle/ult (aoe) or beam (single) at long range for infantry.
  • Armored damage with snipe is quite high. Two shots against most stormvermin with headshots/aiming.
  • Incredibly high boss damage with sustained beam (proven numerous times in other threads).
  • Great at special sniping. Wiggle/ult almost makes this trivial.
  • Can now easily kill superarmor (CK and Boss) with wiggle/ult (as explained in my original post).

At least, without the proc interaction, beam was bad (or just okay) against super armor and long range aoe. It also required you to aim at most specials since the ult actually went on cooldown. With the proc interaction beam is quite literally good at everything.

Looking at the weapon in isolation, how do you argue it’s balanced?

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Not saying you can’t use damage numbers, just mean they have to be tempered by common sense and understanding of how crits, dots, and aoe intrinsically yield higher damage:kill ratios where if you look at the actual lethal damage required for the same number of kills, it’s likely far less, even after you factor in the kills “stolen” by aoe and dot. You see the exact same effect on all of Sienna’s staves, Bardin’s drake and drakefire, and hagbane. Any one of those factors badly skews score; beam Pyro has all three. Relative to other classes, she isn’t doing as much as the card suggests she’s doing. The fact that most classes can match or surpass beam Pyro’s numbers despite this is indicative of how there’s really nothing wrong with it, especially when you factor in the actual low weapon DPS and other sacrifices you make when you take it.

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My position on this is crystal clear, simply look at the last 8 thread about it. But, I’m actually at the point that I don’t care anymore. Personally, go ahead and nerf it. I’ve spent so many hours now explaining why this tacit of “beam wiggle” is not only stupid, but preforms worse than actually using the staff normally. Or how any other ranged class out damages it…

I’ve honestly given up, nerf the god damn thing to oblivion so we can move on. I’ve spent so much time arguing on here about how weak this tactic is. Backed up with evidence from other classes… But I honestly don’t care lol. Go ahead FS and try to balance the beam staff to their whims of what “feels OP”, or just completely nerf it. I don’t even play Sienna. I can’t believe I gave this much of a shít this long.

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We tried to beat beam pyro numbers. Couldn’t do it with either Bardin pistols or WS hagbane, and on top of that pyro was killing more specials and elites. Random players don’t even come close.

I strongly suggest finding someone who can use the staff as described or learning to weave the mechanic into the beam playstyle (you don’t use the wiggle 100% of the time) and trying it yourself.

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We’re not going to agree on whether damage/kills are an indicator of whether there is an issue with the weapon/build. That’s a pointless mental exercise. As I said in my original post, game performance is extremely relative, and, as I said before, there’s no way to get at “actual and practical damage.” Or somehow adjust dmg/kill numbers to somehow account for the factors you raise. So let’s just put it aside.

FS has been pretty clear in their interviews about their design philosophy, however. And it’s borne out in most of the available weapons (some balancing with other weapons aside – looking at you hammer/shield). We can use that to analyze this weapon in isolation.

The proc interaction on beam makes it good at everything. If it was bad/okay at ranged aoe (which it is without the wiggle/ult), it would give fireball and conflagration an advantage when you’re ticking down the list. As it is, every other staff scores worse in comparison. They all have some downsides (which they should!).

P.S. – And this is just one problem with the proc interaction (i.e., how it affects damage by situation and enemy unit type). We still haven’t addressed temp health replenishment using this mechanic, which itself is a large balance issue.

Agree with this completely.

Everyone arguing that this tactic doesn’t matter is arguing against it being good when used by itself; using the wiggle CDR 100 percent of the time isn’t going to be very effective all the time. But having it as a tool in the beam staff arsenal (when you use the other tools in the appropriate settings) makes it good against everything with no weaknesses. As OP and others have said, that lack of a trade-off is the problem. Obviously there are niche weapons that are better at one specific tasks, but those weapons have trade offs of things they’re bad at.

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How so? It is a tool in your arsenal. I don’t use beam that often, but when I do, of course I sometimes use the wiggle to charge up my skill faster, why wouldn’t I? I mean, I run barrage on beam, so I still don’t get it up suuuuper fast, but I do that if I need my skill ready and it’s not there yet, or to open against a horde.

I absolutely agree, people who round around perma-wiggling are annoying, as it contributes almost nothing. But I don’t see how the beam staff behaving like it does “encourages” this play. I think it is more that the Memestaff has this notorious infamy of being super OP which leads to people running around and tagging anything they see with the beam.

To me, the beamstaff KINDA is that jack-of-all-trades weapon that covers everything, but not as good as the more specialized staffs, with fireball being a close second contender in this regard that only falls a little short on accuracy over longer distances and has a little worse boss DPS, but soooooo much better CC and wave clear (and imho, overall the best staff in her arsenal). The beamstaff covers all fronts, but doesn’t really excel at any of them.

The beam staff has the honor of synergizing well with Pyro’s active. So does the flamestorm staff btw, but that one stays under the radar because almost nobody uses it, even though @Kitten has shown pretty well that it can be even more devastating, which it absolutely is.

To me, there is just too much perception and confirmation bias involved with the memestaff.

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I agree, the mechanic is broken. Most importantly it’s not fun to play with a pyro doing this as melee.

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I can’t speak for others, but personally I attract the burning head like a magnet attracts metal and get hit a lot, which is incredibly frustrating when you play WHC or Huntsman as it takes a solid chunk of your health.

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Thanks for making a clear post.

The Crit period allowing for a burst in Temp Health On Crit, Trait procs and CDR is the biggest issue with this mechanic. It leads to 1-2 second ults that I don’t think should be the case for any career, especially one which has such a devestating ult.

Wiggling the beam over enemies constantly and through/around allies constantly is unaesthetic, irritating for the players and leads to one player doing almost all of the kills with spam ults. After playing the build more and more, I can say it almost feels like I’m using a CDR mod. It’s quite frustrating that one of the easier builds in the game can outperform anything else by abusing the wiggling.

Just have to mention that it’s one of the only builds that can actually make use of the Temp HP On Crit Talent.

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i feel there are 2 ways to fix this

  1. 1/2 tick rate 2x dmg per tick = less crits over time
  2. remove the right click to make the beam staff long range only and not viable in short range scenarios to give it a weakness.

While I think no matter the numerical performance, this stuff does certainly seem like unintended behavior, and I fear what it might become if we got more stuff to interact with crits. But I’ll also bring out another point of view here: immersion.

Immersion in the game is important for many players, enough so that some people silence voice communications on that reason alone. FS and GW also are ones for immersion, through enforcing the lore perspective. Jumping all the time looks silly, and in this game doesn’t really help except in some specific situations. Thus, FS subtly discouraged it, at least in VT1, by adding voice lines commenting on it. This build and behavior, in addition to appearing abusable, is just weird. The beam staff is supposed to work (as suggested by it basic mechanisms) by holding the beam on target (and then exploding the beam) for damage, sweeping across swathes of enemies for negligible damage but stunning all for others to take them down, or blasting enemies nearby with the “shotgun”. Wiggling the beam across a single target goes quite contrary to the design, and I believe will break immersion (and possibly lore) for those who do care about it.

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The problem is that switching a target restarts the tick immediately. /2 wouldn’t fix it.

Actually, I do know what I’m talking about here. regardless of character/class, I routinely, at worst, top the card in most areas and am often in the 12-20k damage zone (WHC being the general exception)… This includes Pyro. I’m well aware of how to effectively play Beam Pyro and wrote detailed guides on how to be universally effective with it without even using the specs with the most potential damage, including how to use the wiggle correctly. I’m also well aware of the class’/weapon’ strengths and weaknesses, what it’s actually doing, and the fact that most people who QQ about it while teamed up with it generally play like trash and avoid fulfilling their roles altogether. PUG players who actually play their classes normally while I’m on Beam Pyro do balanced damage on par with their skill level. Skilled players tend to keep up with other skilled people, regardless of classes/characters played, and when the numbers aren’t spot on they’re within that artificial AoE/DoT/Crit margin that staffs, drakes, and hb have in addition to any crit-based character. So here we have a situation where something is objectively balanced when players are at comparable skill levels and people are crying about it as though this was a PVP game and everyone was ladder matched. In reality, the stuff I see people cry about in VT2 in general is almost always not a case of the class/weapon they’re QQing about being broken but rather a case of that player not being anywhere near as good as they think they are relative to players using the mechanics they’re decrying. Most specifically, if you look at the classes that are most QQed about, you’ll notice they all have at least one of those three factors at play: Crits, DoTs, or AoE… even though non-crit non-aoe non-dot characters/classes are just as potent in practice.

I play every class. Almost every class is extremely well balanced. Balance includes more than just personal damage/kills and includes things like tankiness, mobility, and other factors. I wish people would be honest with themselves about what they don’t like about the beam staff because it not being there isn’t gonna change the fact that the few people “dominating” or being “annoying” with it are going to continue to dominate/annoy with other classes. Further, the vast majority of Pyro players I’ve ever seen are extremely bad, beam players especially, so if Legend players are actually getting beaten by that on a regular basis, that’s either a git gud problem or they need to understand the fact that staffs, drakes, hb, and crit classes get a free pass to do 10k “damage” because of the janky way the game keeps score.

Here’s an example of how one can disingenuously attack other classes in the same manner as ppl bash beam:

Merc - One shots SSV?! OMG… AND he can wade indo horde after horde, barely having to dodge, killing everything, and never having to worry about keeping up with damage thanks to extreme melee lethality temp health generation AND he can pick off individual specials/elites at any range? Such bs! Oh… and he can add enough health to the party to make it as though there was a fifth members’ worth of hp pool while knocking everything on the battlefield down… seems legit… AND HE CAN KILL ELITES/SPECIALS BEFORE BEAM PYRO CAN! WTF!

Hunstman - One shots SSV?! Access to the same weapons that make Merc a melee beast AND unlimited ammo?! Pffft… Oh… and he can stealth/clutch? Wow… such balance… AND HE KILLS ELITES/SPECIALS FASTER THAN THAN BEAM PYRO! WTF!

FK - One shots SSV?! Oh look… it’s a CC merc that can flatten/push back an entire horde and knock swaths of enemies off cliffs. That’s so stupid! Oh, and he can kill CW pretty much just as fast as Huntsman does? Bs… AND HE KILLS ELITES/SPECIALS FASTER THAN BEAM PYRO! WTF!

Ranger Veteran - One shots champions, gibs hordes, obliterates CW patrols with his ult, crazy duration stealths/clutches, has crazy mobility, gives the whole party bombs/pots AND ammo, and AoE stuns? Like… really? Wow? So annoying! AND HE KILLS SPECIALS/ELITES FASTER THAN BEAM PYRO! WTF!

Iron Breaker - Oh… really? He can draw aggro from the entire battlefield with the push of a button, has actual damage immunity, and still does insane damage?.. AND HE KILLS SPECIALS/ELITES FASTER THAN BEAM PYRO! WTF!

Slayer - Most devastating melee in the game, debuffs CW/bosses, and his ult is up 100% of the time in combat, giving him permanent, insane attack and movement speed buffs on top of his already insane damage??!?!?! What?!!! Wrecks CW?!! AND HE KILLS NEARBY SPECIALS/ELITES FASTER THAN BEAM PYRO! WTF!

You get the idea. Also, you probably picked up on the trend that everything kills specials/elites faster than beam Pyro… and in all cases but one, at greater range. Just… Christ… if they did change it I wouldn’t do much more than roll my eyes but the arguments against this are being made in increasingly bad faith every time it gets brought up. If logic, facts, reason, or the fact it’s been repeatedly demonstrated the objective arguments against this mechanic have been wholly baseless, sure, let’s ask for it to be changed on the basis of our feelings alone… seems legit.

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No matter how often you repeat that, it won’t magically become true. Unfortunately there isn’t perfectly objective evidence that we can present to you but disregarding everything we can offer like videos, stat screens and the the comparison to usual builds not other absolute top tier (debatable if broken) while offering little to nothing in return is disingenuous.

Yeah… no. I have stopped to argue with the likes of you on these topics because anything you insist on claiming has been debunked rather well. Why do you blatantly lie?

Why not join the Fatshark Discord https://discord.gg/K6gyMpu