This is a follow up from my other thread, since @Frostysir suggested I write one. These are my opinions based on Cataclysm gameplay.
Firstly, I’ll talk about what’s good:
The Shotgun build is probably his best build as it offers a good amount of damage outside of his support mechanics. I play it with the 15 second Ult Talent, and Firing Fury. His Shotgun build has always been one of the more satisfying builds in the game. It now feels even better against Specials.
The feeling of being a support style Career is great. Buffing your teammates at the right time, feeding them Ammo and being able to dupe most items is good.
The Throwing Axe builds with 25% Power when out of Ammo feels ok, but there’s a clunkiness to it that I’ll talk about later.
Both Throwing Axes and Shotgun feel awesome to use.
The Exuberance Talent (30% damage reduction 5 Seconds on headshots) feels extremely necessary for any of the harder content, and I’m glad it’s been added to melee headshots.
Using 1H Mace/2H Mace/Dual Maces, feels safest because of the Stamina and Stagger they all have. The problem comes with how slow they are with a lack of killing power. I’m not sure if this is based around using Potions all of the time, but then you run in to another problem. *
On his playstyle:
The playstyle you choose depends on your ranged weapon of choice. Playing behind the frontline and taking out Elites or killing the Hordes, pretty much bog-standard ranged gameplay. Outside of that, you’re looking to use good item management to maximize their usefulness.
The problem with his playstyle is that it can feel very clunky and slow. Other than Shotgun with the Firing Fury Talent, most of his ranged weapons feel slow. That Talent isn’t really worth taking on anything else. A lot of his melee weapons, especially 2h, feel almost unusabe without heavily building for speed.
His Ultimate usage also feels slow, and takes some time to perfect getting it off in front of enemies. Using it with Ranger’s Parting Gift (free bomb Ult), can also be frustrating. This is because of the time it takes to get the Ultimate off, switch to your Bomb, look for the highest density, and finally make sure the Bomb won’t get blocked by the ceiling, wall, or by a random enemy split off from the group. This leads to 1-2 wasted Ults a match. Another problem is that because it takes so long, by the time you’re ready to finally throw the bomb, another player may have used their Ult, and wiped out half of the enemies.
*The next problem with his playstyle is that it requires heavy attention on Items. Constantly watching your teammates inventories, and looking at what drops, and then figuring out in seconds what may be worth switching, and who should get it. You must also have good communication with willing party members to make it work. In most Quickplay games, even if you ask for items or tell people you’re the best person to be carrying Bandages, they just ignore you, forget or just don’t notice. It forces others to manage inventory more heavily too. Without their participation in your playstyle and Career mechanics, you may be left feeling useless and Bombless. :saddwarf:
This can be remedied with VOIP or in-game chat, but still becomes frustrating as people often forget or get carried away etc.
Even if you’re constantly traded Bombs and Potions, you can sometimes still feel a little useless because of his mediocre weapons/kit.
As mentioned before most of his weapons feel slow with the exception of Shotgun (Firing Fury Talent), and Throwing Axes. The lack of speed isn’t rewarded with higher damage either, you’re kind of left with the lowest melee killing power/survival of any of the ranged classes.
His melee weapons all feel too slow, and like they’re designed around IB (being able to take damage between slow attacks/animations), and Slayer (being able to speed up attacks and benefit from passive power/movement speed). This is why changes to his melee weapons may be difficult.
This is why Exuberance (30% damage reduction on headshot 5 sec), feels so necessary. You don’t have the Stamina, Attack Speed, Power, or any other damage mitigation to avoid a lot of Horde damage, so you often get caught between pushes, or when you’re trying to do a slow swing at an enemy.
Maces seem best because of survival, which leaves most of his other melee weapons feeling very useless and barely workable unless built heavily for.
When it comes to his other ranged weapons, Handgun, Crossbow and Throwing Axes are all very single target, and can’t really compete with the clear or speed of the Shotgun build. Leaving you having to go into melee a lot of the time when Elites/Specials are up.
Handgun can still reach all of the one-shot breakpoints, but as with Kruber, it can feel very slow and unforgiving, compared to pretty much all of the other ranged weapons, if you miss. My suggestion in the other thread was a reaload speed increase on missing.
Crossbow can struggle to hit Breakpoints and doesn’t offer much else. You don’t really have much passive Crit, so you need to spam ADS for maximum potential damage, much less than Saltspyre too. Outside of picking off Elites and Specials it also feels very weak compared to other ranged weapons. Crossbow is probably his weakest choice.
Throwing Axes feel great, and make use of the 25% Power Talent when out of ammo, but it feels like a bit of a weird and clunky playstyle, constantly having to clear all of your Axes before the Horde comes. This leaves you vulnerable to Specials and Elites, because you have to reload your Axes while usually in a Horde. Being unable to save people who are stuck/caught by Specials really sucks.
The 25% Power still doesn’t give you enough to feel like your killing power is enough. You’re mainly just holding as best you can while the rest of the group clears everything.
I don’t think he should have absurd killing power, but I feel like with all of the things going against him he’s mediocre at best and almost useless at worst. With a special exception for the Shotgun build which is pretty good.
He’s a frustrating support, so try to make him less frustrating. An interesting idea I had was to make the potion he’s holding give a less powerful passive buff to either him or all of his allies within ‘x’ range. Much like Lucio from OW. Using the Potion increases the buff for it’s duration (not AoE because it would make Proxy useless), while still giving the lesser AoE buff until it ends, gives the effect of his Trait and removes the Potion (or dupes). This would be an easy way to buff all of his damage while still making him supportive, and giving others more of a reason to trade him Potions.
Edit: Maybe drinking the potion could buff everyone in range for a very short duration, so that Proxy still works with it.
Making his Bombs deal extra damage or have a passive Explosive Ordnance (explosion range) could also be a good way of making people trade you items. It could also make up for his low clear without the Shotgun.
Giving him any sort of melee buff to speed or survival would be fantastic. He’s just too squishy and vulnerable right now, and his melee weapons soak up too many Stats/Talents to make them strong enough.
UPDATE: another simple suggestion that could easily help. Add a loading screen hint saying ‘Ranger Veteran is thirsty, give him your potions’.
Thread I made this for: