There’s this weird phenomenon right now that just doesn’t feel quite right with scrounger, crits, and ammo pools. In the current state:
effective ammo consumed per shot = 1 - ( ROUND[ammo pool * 0.05] * crit chance )
Effective Ammo Pool = ammo pool / ( 1- ROUND[ammo pool * 0.05] * crit chance )
The balance discussion here is complicated so lets look at some examples:
Swift bow on waystalker:
You go from 135 at 0.05 crit chance (35% boost) to 200 at 0.1 crit chance (one trait - 100% boost) to 400 at 0.15 crit chance (300% boost) to infinite ammo at 0.2 percent crit chance. Now lets look at the other extreme of this situation.
Grudge-Raker on ironbreaker:
You basically get one extra shot per 5% crit chance, maxing out at 4 extra shots (25% increased ammo pool). The issue you will face here is it will be anywhere between two and four extra shots over your whole ammo pool depending on how RNG treats you (due to small number of shots and high statistical noise).
So two extreme cases to demonstrate the range of possibilities. If you plot effective ammo pools as a percentage of the original ammo pool, this is what you get. I added huntsman with the repeater handgun to the mix as a less extreme example.
Forgetting, for the moment, about guaranteed crits, every class and weapon is going to fall between the two extremes of this chart.
So the effects are clear:
- Weapons and careers with high ammo sustain benefit much more from scrounger than weapons and careers with low ammo sustain
- Critical hit chance is the gatekeeper for ammo sustain in cases where scrounger is significant. If your crit rate is high enough, you have infinite ammo.
From a design perspective this seems wrong. Because this is a thread about ammo sustain, I will use bullets:
- An ammo sustain talent should make high-ammo and high-sustain careers even sustain-y-er. That much seems to be working here.
- It’s strange to have an ammo sustain talent that can’t make low sustain weapons sustain any better.
- It’s strange to have an asymptotic return curve where some combos can get infinite ammo while others can barely get 4 extra shots.
- Ranger veteran bardin is sad because nobody wants his ammo pickups anymore, especially with many weapons having no ammo requirements anyway.
I would like to see scrounger re-worked so it can provide a more consistent and balanced effect across all weapons and careers. Here are my suggestions:
Eliminate reliance on crit. Critical hits are already a must pick for many careers and traits, and I don’t think it creates a very good balance environment when crits can be stacked to exploit a weapon trait like scrounger. It makes the trait too strong in some situations and useless in others.
Change scrounger to directly affect reserve ammo pool. That’s what it effectively does now and it would be much easier to have it work directly on ammo pool rather than indirectly through RNG. I could see +X% ammo pool size being a happy balance point. All (ammo’ed) weapons would benefit from this equally.
This would have the following effects:
Ranger veteran is passively buffed a little. Even with bigger ammo pools, heroes still need reloads because ammo pools are no longer potentially unbounded by high crit rates. 30% ammo pouches could make a comeback and people would actually be thrilled to have a RV supporting them.
Ranged characters still have the potential to increase their ranged weapon sustain and synergize with talents like “regain x% of your ammo when you do Y”.
Low ammo pool weapons can have another trait that’s at least somewhat competitive. Being able to have 24 shots on grudge-raker vs 16 would be great. 150 shots on the swiftbow instead of 100 would not be too broken. 4 javelins instead of 3 would be a nice bump but not too crazy.
Crit chance is nerfed a little. Crits are great, I like crits, but they are just too central to too much of the game. I’d love to run with some other traits sometimes, and not having infinite ammo dangling in front of me would make that an easier choice. Guaranteed crits are also no longer a pathway to infinite ammo unless you have some talent synergy, which I think is a better place for the ranged meta.
Infinite ammo sustain is more exotic as a trait. This would contribute to an (IMO) already problematic power consolidation issue in moonbow and the javelin, but that’s a different topic.
Scrounger might still out-compete all the other ranged weapon traits, but I think that’s a ranged weapon trait issue and scrounger would be in a slightly better spot for making other balance changes.
I also want to point out all the numbers in this post are theoretical maximums not including any guaranteed crit talents. Your actual ammunition benefit will be less than what is presented here, due to missing shots that would have been crits, which is less of a problem on the high end of the curve (swift bow) and more of a problem at the low end (crossbow, grudge-raker).
TL:DR - scrounger is both too strong and too weak depending on your loadout. I’d like to change it to a flat ammo reserve buff so it’s consistently good-enough-to-pick across all builds without being broken-A-F on some.