I just wanted to post my thoughts on footknight here before the beta ends and see what everyone else thinks. I like most of what has happened in the beta for him but there are a few other changes I would really like to see to make him feel really balanced and more viable (with perhaps too much reasoning, apologies for the length of this).
For the love of god increase the base aura range on his passive by at least 50%. Getting consistent value out of what should be a PASSIVE ability has been the biggest issue with him for a while now. Even in premade teams with everyone on voice chat its too easy for people to drift in and out of range during combat when you most need the dmg reduction. On quickplay its almost pointless to try to do anything other than follow one character around all game trying to get some value out of the ability. This used to be just annoying but with the introduction of Grail Knight it’s become unconscionable. Grail Knight is able to get the same 15% dmg reduction (with the right blessing and the double blessing value talent) + another good team buff and give these to everyone consistently even after death. Throw in the fact that he can do decently well at providing crowd control/stagger with a shield and his level 25 buffing stamina recovery and push strength while maintaining offensive/boss killing ability with his other weapon/ult and it becomes difficult to choose the footknight.
Go back to the old days when part of footknight’s passive was to grant the entire team 2 stamina (1 shield). This would immediately make his presence on the team feel much more impactful as stamina is a universally useful resource for both defense (blocking/survival) and offense (push/push attack). Furthermore outside of item properties there isn’t really any other way for most classes to get more stamina shields ( as opposed to stamina recovery) adding to the unique value proposition of the footknight for the team.
Change the level 20 talent providing block cost reduction to something more useful (preferably stamina recovery, it has always been weird to me that footknight has no stamina recovery option for a tank). I think this talent is a good example of why pickrate can sometimes be misleading. Based on my own experience and having talked to several other footknight players almost everyone picks this talent at least partly for the following reasons:
Pre beta/live version: Your options are 10% power for yourself and aura no long effects allies (not good enough trade off goes against the team support vibe of character) and 5% dmg reduction increase (not significant enough to mean anything).
Beta: The only talent to increase his aura range happens to provide block cost reduction. Aura range is the biggest problem he has (see point 1). The new damage reduction talent would be much more competitive if the aura range was increased 50% as noted in 1, but as it is its just not reliable enough to take over the talent with block cost reduction + 100% aura range increase which guarantees more uptime for the 15% team dmg reduction.
While block cost has some utility in shield builds and with counter punch for the footknight himself it generally is not a useful ability for the team (which is the point of his aura after all). I struggle to think of classes that would not prefer/make more use of 20-30% stamina recovery vs block cost reduction. 20% block cost reduction is just not that good without stacking it on your items or with certain builds/classes (ironbreaker + shields, unchained + dissipate, handmaiden + block cost build/shield), something that you can’t rely on happening in quickplay games.
Consider reverting some previous nerfs on his talents specifically:
Crow clearer: back up to 5 second duration.
Counter-punch: back to 2 second duration.
Personally, I am not sure why these had to be reduced as they were. With 5 seconds crowd clearer was more sustainable (especially given footknight has no stamina recovery) while not really being that overpowered (plenty of classes can get that kind of attack speed without having to push/push attack all the time). Counter punch with only 1 second seems just too difficult to get value out of while 3 seconds was perhaps a bit too much with shields, 2 seconds seems fair.
I think these changes would really solidify the footknight as a good option with a clear identity of team support/tanking/stagger made more effective by these changes. It would also result in every talent row having meaningful choices and him having the ability to play with many of Krubers weapons effectively in an offensive or defensive manner.