Shade Rework

Some of these suggestions sound very interesting and would add a lot.
If I may shamelessly latch onto your post, I’d like to suggest some tweaks here and there:

  • Lvl 30 talents:
    I’d probably merge “Cloak of Blood” and “Cloak of Shadows” into 1 talent that just lets you stay invis for 5 secs while attacking (both for melee and ranged) but does not grant any bonus damage or dash (I find any sort of dash on a damage focused ult to be more of a hinderance than anything else).

Reason to merge these 2 talents is that just relying on the +50% backstab bonus and crit instakills is not quite enough for a level 30 ult talent to be worth it imo.

The level 30 talents are supposed to be strong and somewhat gamechanging (at least when their cd is 60 sec).
Only being invis either during ranged (Cloak of Shadows) OR only during melee ( Cloak of Blood) is a tradeoff that’s too harsh with too little payoff I think.

It means your only hope of dealing good damage during your Cloak of Blood ult (as a dps class no less) is to play Dual Swords and rely on their crit chance for instakills since you don’t get melee damage boosts.

For Cloak of Shadows the issue arises that Shade cannot really compete with a ranged class with her ult or she’d be too strong - having good melee and a good ranged ult.
NOT giving her a ranged damage boost on Cloak of Shadows would make that ult rather poor though - along the lines of “why pick a melee dps class that gets a ranged ult when said ranged ult doesn’t do much”.

Merging them would give you more flexbility; you could shoot specials while invis and melee while invis but would not get a damage boost to ranged or melee.
5 seconds is also not as long as the 1.6 version of 10 seconds invis shooting so that would probably be fine. Especially since you do not get a melee damage boost like in 1.6.

  • Cloak of Pain:

I really like this idea of giving it more interaction by adding some cdr on backstab kills.
Only thing to add here is to unnerf the 2nd invis by giving it its guaranteed crit back.

  • Cloak of Mist:

Since the other 2 talents are merged, just keep Cloak of Mist but reduce its cdr to ~25%.
The talent is not problematic in its underlying design, it’s just the numbers that are too good.
Completely removing the cdr would make it too weak however when compared to other dps classes.
Reducing the invis uptime is fine but lowering the dps too much is not, e.g. you can reduce the cdr even more or remove it completely if you increase the duration of the guaranteed crits from 4 sec to 6 sec or 8 sec.

=> Then you’d have a nice array of options for the level 30 ult talents:
A) a single target focused ult (Pain)
B) a wave/elite clear ult with more frontlie capabilities (Mist)
C) and a utility/invis ult with more ranged focus (Blood/Shadows merge).

  • Lvl 25:
    I’d keep “Blood Drinker” as a talent choice.

20% damage reduction is not bad at all and has a place on a melee class with only 100 base hp.

  • Changing “Spring-Heeled Assassin” to sth. like +20% dodge distance like the old 1.6 talent is a great idea.

Having 2 movespeed talents is frankly redundant.
Especially since Spring-Heeled Assassin is meant to be used in combat due to its crit requirement but more dodge distance is the better combat boost most of the time.

  • Resist Death: When struck with lethal damage, Kerillian turns invisible for 5 seconds and survives with 1 Health. All attacks break stealth, and no damage bonuses are granted. Can only trigger once every x seconds. (like 60 seconds maybe)

Intriguing suggestion, a fail-safe for messing up a backstab and getting surrounded offers more of a gameplay change than “+10% movespeed.”
Not dying can save a run and enables a far more aggressive playstyle.
Besides, we already have dodge distance > movespeed on this talent row.
If Resisting Death is too cheesy/abusable, just keeping Gladerunner would also work.

=> You’d then be able to pick your flavor of survivability:
A) Flatout more tankiness (Blood Drinker)
B) More evasion (dodge distance)
C) Fail-safe for messing up (Resist Death)

  • Lvl 20 talents:
    “Ereth Khial’s Herald” - I would increase the backstab damage from +75% to +100% and increase the backstab angle from 90° to 120°.

You might be overestimating how good this talent is. It’s actually rather bad.
It simply does not add much to your overall damage output since it only increases the backstab damage from +50% to +75%.
Compare it to Deathknell that adds +50% headshot damage instead of only +25% - that’s a decent increase.
Buffing to +100% more backstab damage and increasing the backstab angle for this talent from 90° or 120° (think it’s 120°?) to 120°/150° or whatever the numb would give it more reason to exist.
Might need to buff it even more, e.g. 125% more damage.

  • Bloodfletcher: I’d just change its cooldown from 2 sec to 1 sec and make it 5% of max ammo.
    Alternatively, bump the ammo gain up from 5% to 10% but leave the cooldown at 2 sec. That way, each backstab gains more importance, taking into account that getting backstabs is not sth. that happens organically.

Not quite sure why you would want limit Bloodfletcher even more so that it only works on backstab kills on elites /specials. That’s 3 conditions + an internal cooldown.
Just keep it on regular backstabs with no condition except for the internal cooldown.
In its current form Bloodfletcher is subpar.
It needed a nerf back then but 2 seconds is too punishing and reduces its uptime too much.
1 second cooldown is more reasonable.

  • I omitted “Shadowstep” on the level 25 row because in my opinion it’s the perfect talent to replace the current “Vanish.”

“Khaine’s Thirst” is a decent idea but whether you get +20% damage reduction from “Blood Drinker” or +20% healing from “Khaine’s Thirst” is more or less the same result.

However, having Shadowstep in place of Vanish allows for more risky backstabs but in contrast to current Vanish where you remain invis as your defense, you’d be visible and would have to dodge and thus risk more to get behind enemies.
More risk/reward => great.

I am aware that Shadowstep is not inherently connected with her backstab passive in the same vein as all the other level 20 talents are (as the level 20 row is supposed to enhance the main passive).

Nevertheless, I view it as the ideal replacement for Vanish in the sense that they both aim to allow for more backstabs by getting behind enemies.
The main difference is that Shadowstep does not rely on invis.
Tying Shadowstep to backstabs could work but would likely feel rather arbitrary.
Lastly, it would have great synergy with the extra dodge distance on the level 25 row.

=> The level 20 talent row would then be neatly divided into
A) an offensive buff for raw backstab damage (Ereth Khial’s Herald)
B) a defensive buff that can be used to get more backstabs by dodging behind enemy lines (Shadowstep)
C) a utility buff for ranged ammo on backstabs (Bloodfletcher)

  • Lvl 10 talents:
    “Flay” would give Shade an option for more horde clear.

With a cap on how much the dot can stack on a single enemy, it would be a great addition that enables more build/role variety. I like it.

  • Exquisite Huntress” - I don’t think it needs a nerf at all.

It’d be best to either keep it as it is or make it a flat +50% headshot damage boost like on Whc & Huntsman.

  • Non random crit procs: “Every 5 (or 4) hits grant a guaranteed critical strike. Critical strikes can no longer occur randomly.”

I feel like it would be a suboptimal talent on a class that has a +5% crit boost as a passive.
Furthermore, the crit power boost from “Cruelty” is actually quite important for Shade as it affects all of her ults (e.g. it enables her non Cloak of Mist ults to kill CWs with certain attacks/weapons).
I’d prefer keeping “Cruelty” as it is.

=> Level 10 row would then have
A) a talent that always adds a bit of damage (Flay)
B) a talent that only boosts her ult and crits (Cruelty)
C) a talent that offers the best damage increase but only if you hit headshots (Huntress)

Repeater Crossbow being bad is less of an issue of Shade not having great synergy with it (she really doesn’t have any outside weak Bloodfletcher) but more Repeater Crossbow not being that good of a weapon:
E.g. what is it supposed to even do? What is its dedicated role among her ranged arsenal? Kill hordes? Be a “lazy” bodyshot weapon versus specials? Or an anti elite weapon? Does it have enough base ammo? Etc.

On WS it might be good but Shade can’t buffed to WS levels of ranged power.
Since only Shade has access to the Repeater Crossbow anyway, buffing/changing the weapon itself rather than the class would work like a charm as you don’t need to worry about it being op on the dedicated ranged class.

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RV smoke also lasts for 10 seconds and doesnt break no matter what if you stay inside it/have the talent : P

More than enough time to wail down a chaos warrior or two for instance whilst 5 is like…1 or a smaller handful of enemies really. And most of keri´s weapons wont score more than 1-2 crits in such a timespan without a boost which in turn limits the kills she gets due to limited cleave.

Its also worth noting that ranger can do a lot with his ranged weapons from the smoke at times, like MWP into a monster/elite group or grudge into a dense horde.

…but admittedly i do not know what the specific numbers would have to be to be useful, i suspect there is no easy solutions due to how many different weapons she has. But i am fairly you do more damage with a headshot than a backstabb at the present, even with the level 20 talent boost.

Not often enough to really play as an assassin i think, and you never mentioned 60 seconds for anything but vanish. But really consider this, grail knights holy swing ability has a 40 seconds cooldown and it can pretty easily wipe a whole row of enemies very quickly.

If the shade ability doesnt match this then its definitely too weak.

Problem here is that if Shade doesnt become better than WS during that time there is no point but it´s likely to become overpowered if she does, and no shade is far from much better than WS in melee without a melee build.

Do remember, without her present level 10 row and a level 30 ability to boost her ability for melee use then she and waystalker basically have the same effective steroids in a melee.

And bad situation? Several existing waystalker builds at this time are the bad situations, for enemies that is.

This is a ridiculous comparison, gromril curse is a boost for gromril armor which means he takes no damage and he effectively can resist specials like assassins catching him.

You compare that with an ability that leaves you at 1 health and invisible for a few seconds if you take a bad hit from any random elite?

ehm, i am unsure what exactly you´ve quoted here (massive bit) but i assume cloak of mist still? And while i do agree with you that 90% time invisible is too much i still think that she should be able to use it perhaps as many as 3 times in a horde or more if prolonged.

No point in being an assassin if you just end up being a fighter, go play handmaiden then…just like before cloak of mist.

Problem here is that due to game design she cant make use of that and the rewards suck or would have to be overpowered (present vanish/past bloodfletcher) to not suck.

She needs something else there.

Invisibility which has far too long a cooldown to get much use of the backstabbing passives and thus they are useless much more often than not. With a present cloak of pain build you spent like maybe 5% of the run invisible.

Pop one elite, reposition, get back to upfront wailing on enemies.

And you dont just “walk behind enemies”, problem with game design there is that enemies unless taunted or staggered will turn to face closest opponent, you behind them for instance.

Thus these talents are just not doing anything.

Not every enemy no, but is it not silly that a melee combatant cant even make use of a fairly low impact combat boost for more than 7 out of 10 enemies they attacks?

No other melee career is so badly gimped in such a regard.

Its another feast or famine talent, either it works and does too much or it doesnt and it sucks. We all saw what happened to dual daggers post a bleed nerf.

Because those weapons hit really freaking hard when they crit but also attack quickly enough. If you can actively chose to have the most damaging attacks like a javelin heavy crit on demand then its too strong.

Goes for the likes of glaive too even.

Not even that, you need an insane headshot rate to get much power out of it and even then only a few weapons can actually pull it off or even hit many breakpoints with it.

Was a long while back but read someone calculating you need like 80% or something to make it good which is absolute nuts.

Yes? Because going invis and walking through enemies is good for escaping while GK removes the need to escape in the first place more often than not.

The cloak of mist replacement is probably fine with a cooldown reduction cake of debatable size built in. Remember that critical hits end up helping to fuel the recharge faster too. And i read some other similar thread with a suggested buff that makes her cause enemies to bleed for the duration too which i thought might be good.

Having her get some manner of archery build is pointless, it´d have to be better than WS for a time to be good but then it´d be broken. Her melee capabilities are far from impressive enough to make up for waystalkers supermassive ranged advantage even if she tries.

The level 20 row needs to get disconnected from her passive or she needs a new passive, this game was not built with a backstabbing assassin in mind and cloak of mist + vanish is just a bandaid product of that.

I can appreciate that you attempted to inject more ‘lore’ into the career. But a lot of these talent proposals are just not useful because backstabbing is neither consistent, nor particularly powerful.

Thus every backstab oriented talent outlined above is solidly meh out of the gate. Bloodfletcher got a pass before the nerf because it was both the best talent in the row and gave a melee career some decent ammo sustain. But stuff like dodging through enemies, additional backstab damage, or talenting to make the ult worse off just to backstab things safely? These are dead talents.

And that’s not even going into things like how terrible an idea it is to steal Smite and make it compete against Flense of all things.

A Cheat Death talent is moderately interesting, but the cooldown would need to be way longer than a minute and need far stiffer competition. The idea behind copying the old ‘ranged attacks don’t break stealth’ ult idea also has some merit, but it is impossible to say how much without a more concrete concept.

Ultimately though, none of the ideas in this thread would do anything to break shade away from the old Cloak of Pain meta that you proclaim to be so boring.

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I just wanted to clarify, in game right now you get cooldown regen when you take damage. For shade, any overhead attack will get you from 60 seconds to 0/full charge (or close to it), but also kills you dead most of the time.

The way Rebel has this worded (or the way i understand it) gives this talent an intentional weakness versus AOE damage, which i think is absolutely fair because it saves you from certain death once every minute. What I was pointing out wasn’t a suggestion, but how much survival and utility that talent could give (possible 10 seconds of invis plus massive THP regen with another talent). It’s basically Zealot’s Heart of Iron with a shade twist. Heart of Iron, for reference, is 5 seconds of invulnerability with a 2 minute cooldown.

I like it because it’s powerful, not dependent on damage reduction, gives survivability while having synergy with her other talents creating a solid build, but not so powerful that players can be lazy and unkillable.

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Aye, backstabs don’t really fit within the game that well outside of a couple situations.
To compensate, Shade has been pumped with more stealth & cooldown which just results in her feeling cheesy.


And thats just the shade problem summed up nicely, plus we got crit chance from cloak of mist, which together with vanish results in her being mostly overpowered&cheesy.

Really yep, cloak of mist + vanish is just a bandaid fix to a design that doesnt fit the game.

I can reply fully now. In my opinion, the most vital thing for Shade right now is either making backstabs incorporate organically into gameplay without ult spam, or changing Shade’s focus to something else, like a melee/range dps hybrid. A bit of both approaches may be best.

I like this. Safety without excessive dps. Incorporates backstabs into gameplay properly.

Sounds fine mostly. It does mean a Shade would have to choose between backstabbing a boss and killing a weaker enemy with a backstab, which isn’t a niche scenario but perhaps that’s fine.

This is good. I can see this working with firing a lot of ranged shots, which is relevant to Volley.

I’m indifferent to this. On one hand it sounds nice, but in practice standard dodge range is safer. Enemies can still hit you inconsistently with the same talent on Handmaiden, so without any stamina game it doesn’t make Shade that much better at clutching. It’s definitely more appropriate for Shade than it is for Handmaiden though, and I don’t have any better ideas atm.

Shade throws down a smoke bomb Batman style. This does come up for Shade due to a lack of raw defense, and the limitations mentioned sound reasonable enough.

We know the game can tell if the player is being backstabbed due to Exuberance on RV. It might be appropriate for an assassin to have some kind of resistance or counter measure against such an attack.

Sounds good, even if the stamina is a little off-theme. Again I don’t have any better ideas. Edit: I think the 20% movement speed is not bad. It works well with move techs, like Dual Swords light > heavy > block cancel.

One thing I did note when using it was its range horde clear is pretty okay because of how fast the alt-fire is, while the primary fire is quite slow. Question is what role is should serve. As Rapax mentioned it’s basically for bodyshotting specials, which is okay but a sad fate for a weapon.

I’ve had a few ideas for it. It could be turned into some kind of high burst reactionary weapon like BoP, which fills a niche that Kerillian’s other ranged weapon don’t-haha just kidding Moonfire does that already. Though, to be fair, it could differ in that its damage wouldn’t be dot based at all. I haven’t really thought this out though. Something like:

  • 6 shot magazine, high damage per shot, good armour damage, extremely minor bodyshot superarmour penetration (like 1 damage on bodyshot), with its superarmour damage being respectable on headshot. Something like 2-3 arrows per special (currently 3-4).
  • Faster firing speed, limited ammunition. Fires volleys of 2 instead of 3.
  • Mid tier dodge profile. Fatshark’s missed out on making ranged weapons have different dodge profiles. It’s either low (1/2/3 dodge, 1.0 range) or high (6/100 dodges, 1.2/25 range). For Volley, a dodge count of 2 with a decent dodge range of 1.2 would make it good for reactive play.

This would differ from Longbow in that it would still be worse at purely special killing, but better at dealing with multiple threats at once and better at killing armour, but with a still limited range.

Or, perhaps just increase the headshot damage of the primary fire. It’s a lot slower than the alt-fire, so letting the left click have better breakpoints at the cost of speed lets the weapon be more diverse. So alt-fire is for panicking/clearing, primary fire is for decent but still worse special/single target killing than Longbow, just not as much worse as it is now.

Or, make the primary fire faster/chain better so the alt-fire can chain into it quickly. This would mitigate some of its breakpoint issues.

I think it’s because of common perception of Huntsman being very weak, which is due to the perception of Huntsman having a very high skill floor (imo HM has a high skill ceiling but the floor isn’t too high). I figured out HM was solid earlier on when WoM launched simply because I could spam the Repeater Handgun into everything. Good point about playstyles. I’ve got a lot more Huntsman builds than I do Merc builds (the Merc builds are just 90% of the time MtM variants).

For Shade, I’d really love to see a barrage of teleports of some kind. I was thinking:

  • Infiltrate can be activated 3 more times within 6 seconds, blinking to a highlighted enemy with each use. Stealth breaks upon attacking or within 2 seconds. No longer grants a damage bonus on attacking.

So stealth only lasts for 2 seconds and breaks on attacking as normal, but you can teleport around 4 times total for a total of 6 seconds of stealth. The numbers are easy to adjust, but this is how I’d brute force backstabs into the gameplay. I don’t like this idea more than the ones you’ve already listed, but I’m mentioning it in case anyone likes it.

Do you think the talent designers at Fatshark have a good laugh at us trying to match their description patterns?

I tried memeing with it for a bit with pure bodyshot dps backstab builds, to see if I could get that classic Shade boss backstab damage and I was disappointed most of the time. It doesn’t stack with headshots, crits, strength pots or Infiltrate afaik.

Honestly 1 in 4 might be fine. I’d have to play with it and the ult talent to get a good idea of how strong the consistency really would be compared to pseudo crit chance. I appreciate the value the consistency has for something like Dual Sword’s charged attacks which cleave armour.

Keep it as is. At most, I’d like to see the stacks decay 5 at a time instead of the whole stack, but it’s not a big deal either way. It’s a high skill ceiling talent.

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