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.