The idea behind these changes are to make HM (Handmaiden) more fun, a dodge/mobility specialist (that’s actually better at dodging than careers like WHC) without damaging current playstyles and to resolve the underlying clash HM has as both a frontliner/aura tank and a mobility career. Doesn’t concern all of HM’s kit, just the parts that I think should be changed.
Career Skill/Passive Ability/Perks:
Now counts as a dodge by default.
Dance of Seasons
Increased to 20% as most passive abilities are at least as strong as a talent. This would put it on par with a dodge range talent.
Unlisted Stamina Perk
Handmaiden has an unlisted perk that gives half of a stamina shield. Just as the unlisted perks that WHC and Shade have should be listed, so should this.
Moved to where Quiver of Plenty is. A new perk is added that lets Handmaiden dodge between enemies, but not through them. This mirrors FK in how It’s Hero Time is not forced on the career and instead a decision. If reduced radius is not possible, then a simple passive that decreases the window between dodges, where another dodge cannot be performed, by a small amount would suffice and be distinct. Alongside the change to the base dash, the changes to the ultimate talents and HM’s already strong block, having to choose between this and Birch Stance should not damage support playstyles.
Specific Talents From Rows 1, 4 and 5:
Additional effect of increasing movement speed by 15% while doing a heavy attack. This would go hand in hand with a lance/charge approach to combat that places more emphasis on keeping careful distance landing precise attacks. Think of how much effective reach (different from raw reach as it does put the user in more risk at the end of the attack) this could give weapons like the Spear, Greatsword etc. This gives these weapons a competitor to Asrai Alacrity.
Power bonus removed. Attack speed effect decreased to 20%. Now lasts for 3 attacks, allowing it to be used with more of Kerillian’s weapons, including ones that don’t have optimal horde clearing push attacks.
Dance of Blades
Now passively increase dodge range by 20%. Dodging and not taking damage increases power by 10% for 3 seconds. These changes are needed because the current version, while interesting in theory, is clunky in practice because of how often you want to be pushing and dodging as HM. Timing these things alongside each other is too dependent on things like dodge speed, attack speed, the situation you’re in etc. 20% dodge range is still useful on HM, and would pair well with the movement speed boosts so dodging doesn’t give that feeling of slowing down like it does on Slayer with high movement speed.
Heart of Oak
Now increases dodge count by 2 and movement speed during heavy attacks by 10%. The health increase isn’t that useful for HM and not really inline with what Elfs do.
Gift of Ladrielle
Changed to flinch enemies nearby at the start of the dash for 1 second. This would be a light flinch and would not affect bosses and elite’s doing overhead attacks/CW upswings. This has the opposite effect of the current Ladrielle, as it means a HM can help an ally still, albeit temporarily, even if they must move somewhere else to do something. Support orientation. Incredible synergy with Ariel’s Benison due to being able to ult while reviving. 1 second may sound brief, but from a support perspective, which is what this talent would be for, it would be strong, especially considering how often HM has dash up, and because the effect would be an aoe light stagger.
Now lets the player turn direction freely during the dash and lets the player attack as normal during it. Attacks apply a low damage bleed affect. Passive bleed from dashing through enemies removed. This makes the talent interactive, not reliant on other talents to be useful and makes HM an actual ‘bladedancer’. Mobility/‘selfish’ approach to combat.
If turning while dashing is not a possible change, then increase the length of the dash by 20% instead (in addition to the other bleed changes). This would let Handmaiden have more safety when dashing through an entire horde, which is something that Slayer can do more safely with Leap currently despite clearly being what is supposed to be a riskier career.
Power from Pain
Renamed to Power from Unity. This talent would grant bonuses based on the number of allies near HM when dashing, encouraging HM to be near allies as often as possible. The bonus could be something simple like crit chance, cooldown reduction etc. Pairs well with a group that is sticking together, but still differs significantly from the way FK’s (aura row) and IB’s (Blood of Grimnir) talents work.
Overall, this should let HM specialise into proper, diverse forms of mobility, support and frontlining.
The movement speed additions could be used by some players to run off on their own, but they’ll die so who cares. If they don’t die, why aren’t you playing on a higher difficulty/deeds/twitch mode where they will? They’d run away on their own anyway even as IB with a 2h Hammer. Bear in mind that speed running into a trigger would be no more powerful than just dps rushing with a conventional build. Think about all of the in-combat stuff you could do with it, like precisely dodging a large swathe of attacks and then quickly using a Greatsword heavy to reach deep into a horde to headshot a specific target and then dodge away through a narrow opening between two enemies.
Also, why is HM’s Renewal aura labeled as a perk while FK’s Protective Presence aura is labeled as a passive ability?
Overall, is it too much? Are there too many changes to talents you like? If yes to either, are there any ideas here on their own that would be good, with or without different numbers?
[Version 3] Can be found here: Version 3