The 4.3/4.4 Changes to Shade's Ult Are Bad – Analysis and Suggestion

“We’re keeping a close eye on the reaction to these changes and are approaching this with an open mind, so please be sure to share your thoughts.”

As a response to this statement, I would like to combine some of the previous posts about the changes to Shade ult in this topic:

The changes to Shade’s “Cloak of Pain” and “Cloak of Mist” and “Shadowstep” talents that have now just been acknowledged as intended are detrimental to the way Shade is played and should be reverted.

For reference, here are the concrete changes as they were never listed in full detail, not even in the 4.4. patch notes:

These are:
-Cloak of Pain:
The 2nd charge no longer has a guaranteed melee crit upon coming out of invis.
Also no longer crits on the ranged attack on either the first charge or the 2nd charge of invis.

-Cloak of Mist:
No longer has a guaranteed melee crit upon coming out of invis. The crits only start with the 4 secs after coming out of invis. No longer has a ranged crit for the 1st ranged attack upon coming out of invis.

-Shadostep:
No longer has a ranged crit when using the ult with a ranged attack when coming out of invis.

Important to note is that the removal of the ranged crit is never mentioned.

Anyway, below are several reasons why these chanegs should be reverted/altered.

This post aims to do 3 things:

  • Demonstrate why/how the logic behind the changes (=“These Talents were changed so that they could accurately reflect their descriptions”) is flawed and inconsistent. Therefore, they should not be used as an argument to change gameplay in such a drastic manner.
  • Explain why these changes – independent of the reasons given – have decidedly negative consequences for the variety, enjoyment and theme of the Shade class.
  • Offer suggestions on how to better approach a possible nerf to “Cloak of Mist” so it that does not break synergies.

Tl;dr at the bottom.

1. Why the reasons for the changes are flawed and inconsistent.

As stated above, the only official reason given for these changes is this:

“These Talents were changed so that they could accurately reflect their descriptions, as the previous behaviors were unintended.”

This argument does not hold up to scrutiny. Not only do numerous other abilities NOT match their descriptions, the current descriptions for literally all of Shade’s ult talents still do not “accurately reflect” the actual ability.

Firslty, here are some (few) examples of descriptions not matching the ability:

  • The description of Huntsman’s ult never mentions any of the following:
    You break invis as soon as you hit an enemy
    -5% dodge range
    -10% movement speed
    +40% reload speed
    Can access increased zoom, similarly to Waystalker

  • IB ult description: “Block ANY attack” => False, cannot block boss attacks or grabs.

  • BH: Double-shotted: “Scoring a headshot with this attack reduces the cooldown of Locked and Loaded by 40%.“ => Does not mention that it can be triggered twice for a cooldown reduction of 80%

  • BH: Indiscriminate Blast: Does not mention the 25% cdr you get just by picking this talent.

  • Whc’s hidden +25% headshot damage - never stated anywhere

  • Whc’s hidden +5% crit chance - never stated anywhere

  • Shade’s hidden +5% crit chance - never stated anywhere

  • WS’s “Bloodshot” talent working with the ult also is intended according to its description. Still, most would consider it a recently introduced bug and not an intended feature.

  • Weapon descriptions are all over the place: Why does one Sienna staff have the tag “overheat” but the other one does not? Does that mean that the latter cannot overheat?!

  • More talents being wrong: Some buff & talent fix - underperforming/misleading

Concluding, a significant number of descriptions do not accurately describe what the talents/passives/weapon etc. actually do.

There are more examples that are not listed here, yet this summary should suffice to point out how inconsistent the game is with regards to descriptions matching the abilities.

As a result, stating that, out of all these incorrect descriptions, it had to be just Shade’s abilities that needed to be changed does not add up.

Furthermore, even in the current state, none of Shade’s ult talent descriptions accurately reflect the actual ability.

  • Base ult description: Infiltrate ult description: “Kerillian becomes undetectable and can pass through enemies. Lasts for 5 seconds, or until she attacks.”
    => Fails to mention that you get a guaranteed crit upon breaking stealth OR that you deal bonus damage.

According to the description, neither the base ult, cloak of pain, nor shadowstep should have a guaranteed crit upon leaving stealth nor should they deal any bonus damage.

  • Cloak of Mist: “Infiltrate cooldown reduced by 45%. After leaving stealth gains 100% melee critical strike chance for 4 seconds. No longer grants a damage bonus on attacking.”
    => Never mentions that you lose the guaranteed crit when hitting an enemy with the ult attack that breaks stealth - it only says you no longer deal “bonus damage” which refers to the extra damage boost on Infiltrate.

Consequently, claiming that descriptions need to match the abilities as a valid reason for changing gameplay seems simply disingenuous.

Additionally, just why should gameplay be changed to match the text instead of the other way around?

Clearly, the text ought to match the ability.

Especially in the case where something has been widely accepted and used to the point that it becomes an integral part of the game.

Mechanics should never be changed so that some lines of text are correct, especially not when the changes are detrimental to the actual gameplay.

2. Why the changes are bad.

Cloak of Pain:

Removing the guaranteed crit on the 2nd charge of Cloak of Pain cuts the damage potential against elites and hordes in half.
Previously, you could backstab another enemy with the crit, which greatly added to a risk/reward playstyle:

Use first charge of the ult to kill 1 enemy, then use the 2nd one to kill another one => ran the risk of being out of position after the 2nd backstab kill since you did not use the 2nd invis charge to get back to the team.

This presented a well balanced and dynamic mechanic that was a fun and engaging.

With the current changes, that was outright removed for no apparent reason.

There have been absolutely zero complaints about Cloak of Pain being OP.
On the contrary, it was already underpicked and clearly weaker compared to Cloak of Mist.

Additionally, compared to other classes that have talents that allow them to use their ult twice, Cloak of Pain (=60 secs cooldown) was already inferior in some ways:

  • Gk “Virtue of Audacity” adds another stab that deals even more dmg than the first ult attack (40 sec cooldown btw).

  • BW “Burnout” just gives 2 full uses of the ult within 10 secs (also 40 sec cooldown)

  • Bh “Double-Shotted” adds another high dmg bullet AND adds cooldown reduction (80% cdr = 14 secs cooldown)

=> There exists no reason to nerf Cloak of Pain in such a drastic manner. The talent was in a good place before and is now in a sorry state.

Cloak of Mist:

Cloak of Mist is/was overtuned, especially when combined with Vanish.

However, these changes largely destroy the synergies with Vanish, thus severly undermining the key identity of a backstab focused class:

You break invis but since you do not crit, you cannot guarantee a backstab kill => Vanish will not proc => the 4 secs of crits cannot be used to chain Vanish backstab instakills since you are visible and enemies will look at you, not exposing their back.

Counterpoint: “Why don’t you just backstab a slave rat with the first hit so the non-crit attack that breaks stealth nets you a kill?”

Having to rely on certain enemies being in the vicinity when ulting is exceedingly reliant on rng and unfun:

  • Are there any slave rats there at all?

  • Are there any slave rats even near the pack of SVs/other high value targets that I intend to ult?

  • Can your chosen weapon even reliably kill a trash enemy from the back (e.g. gor hordes vs. dual swords)?

  • If the answer to any of that is “no,” then Vanish becomes a useless niche talent (like basically all of the talents on that talent row - really would not hurt to put "Bloodfletcher on a 1 sec cooldown and buffing “Ereth Khial’s Herald” to 100% backstab damage and increase the backstab angle on this talent from 90° to 120° - anyway, I digress).

Moreover, it ruins the theme of the class as well:

The high value target assassin running after the weakest enemies just so her talents can work at all.

=> A change to Cloak of Mist should not mess with key mechanics and make the class awkward/clunky to play.

I agree that Cloak of Mist needs adjustment but this is one of the worst ways of going about it.

And frankly, Cloak of Pain definitely does not any need a nerf at all.

Besides, do these changes actually nerf Cloak of Mist that much?

Yes, but actually no. The synergy with Vanish being broken definitely takes away quite a lot of power from Cloak of Mist. So, discounting that, how much was Cloak of Mist reduced in power?

=> Even without Vanish, Cloak of Mist remains very strong:

  • You get guaranteed crits for 4 seconds AND invis on a cooldown of 33 secs.

  • You do not even need Vanish to instakill backstab enemies when you can attack them from the front with crits or reposition with invis on such a low cooldown.

None of this got actually addressed by the changes, so they are not even good changes in that regard.

All they achieve is that they made Cloak of Pain even worse and they really wreck the synergies with Vanish and overall damage the identity of Shade as a crit-based backstab-focused class without adding anything in return.

3. Suggestions

In order to solve these issues, here are some suggestions:

Completely revert the changes to Cloak of Pain, Shadowstep and the base ult.

  • That means adding the guaranteed crit back to the 2nd charge of Cloak of Pain and allowing all of the above ults to crit with a ranged attack if they use said ranged attack to break stealth (since you waste the melee damage boost when you use ranged).

Cloak of Mist:

  • Reduce the cooldown reduction from 45% (=27 secs cdr) to 20% (12 secs cdr).

This would put its cooldown to a total 48 secs instead of 33 secs, which feels like a fair compromise.

Decreasing it by over half its current cooldown reduction without taking the cdr aspect away completely seems reasonable.

Vanish:

  • Add a 1 second internal cooldown to Vanish.

What that means:

Vanish has a 3 sec duration, so adding a 1 sec internal cooldown means the cooldown starts as soon as Vanish is procced.

As a result, you need to spend 1 sec of your 3 sec invis not attacking if you want to stay invis.

After that 1 sec internal cooldown has run out, you are still left with 2 secs of invis during which you can refresh Vanish.

It means that spamming attacks while invis would no longer work:

  • Either you take full advantage of the Cloak of Mist 4 sec duration and keep attacking, meaning you ignore Vanish and become visible but have a greater damage potential as you keep attacking with no regard for any invis or internal cooldown.

  • OR you keep chaining Vanish invis, but that would mean not being able to attack for that 1 sec cooldown so your max damage potential is lower but you get to keep the safety of chaining invis.

A trade-off where one is high risk/high reward and the other is lower risk/lower reward.

Then, when paired with Cloak of Mist, you’d get 4 secs of crits, meaning an average of 3 elites kills per ult when chaining Vanish invis procs (human error would most likely not allow for 4 perfectly timed 1 second cooldowns of Vanish procs).

About 3 kills while staying invis seems reasonable (keep in mind that Cloak of Mist would get a weaker cdr as detailed above so you would not be able to use it as often).

Especially since it would require a modicum of skill to time and chain Vanish procs correctly.

This way Cloak of Mist AND Vanish would get separate nerfs instead of just breaking their synergy (synergies between talents is what makes them fun to use in the first place).

Consequently, the combo would still remain and be strong, but not overtuned.

Furthermore, each talent (=Cloak of Mist and Vanish) would still be decent on their own and thus balanced.

Double nerfs can easily result in an overnerfed combo, so one has to be careful not to go overboard with it.

Tl;dr:

  1. Changing talents so they accurately reflect what their descriptions state is backwards. Change descriptions, not talents.

  2. The changes themselves have detrimental effects as they ruin synergies, break the unique theme of a backstab crit based assassin and result in Shade being awkward and clunky to play. Also, Cloak of Pain does not deserve any nerf at all given its already subpar pickrate and performance.
    => All these changes should be reverted.

  3. There are several far more elegant and easier approaches to reining in Cloak of Mist, such as reducing its cdr and forcing Vanish to not attack for a 1 second cooldown while invis.

13 Likes

Very good post, if I may, I’d add suggestion for Shadowstep, as of right now I don’t think it’s effect has an significant effect on the chosen playstyle (or at least, much less than the two Cloaks)

  • Before the BBB I’m pretty sure Shade had an ult talent allowing her to not break invisibility with ranged infiltrate attack (no damage buff on those, the ult allowed for a safe “thin the horde”/“poke the monster” before landing the big shot). I don’t think this talent could come back in it’s current form, but I like the idea of Shadowstep being the “ranged” Shade option.
    So for exemple you could extend the damage buff/crit to ranged attack (may even buff Xbow usage because it would proc on the 3 bolts of the shot), or allow the next ranged attack to not remove Infiltrate (might be good with Hagbane if you run the 20% damage buff against poisoned targets)

  • Another approach, ignoring the ranged idea, would be more QoL, and simply split it in 2 parts. First activation would be the base Infiltrate, and in the next 5 seconds you can recast to dash forward. Would give more versatility and ease of use (I like to dash behind a monster, but I also like to delete the Chaos Warrior standing right in front of me and not dashing 10 meters behind it)

2 Likes

Thanks for the write up, 100% agree. It boggles my mind how clumsily Shade’s issues have been handled ever since CoM went live with 40% CDR.

If this isn’t resolved for good any time soon, I think, someone’s gotta make a mod to fix this, sadly.

1 Like

I dont like the changes either.
Maybe the ults need some kind of change, but removing the crit when striking from the shadows with cloak of mist and cloak of pain is a boring change imo.

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I’d appreciate a system wherein the small talent boxes have a brief generalized description of the function, with an addition of a button that allows players to open more in-depth descriptions.

Even if all descriptions were updated, the small size of the UI severely limits the available info. At my current hours I still have no blasted idea what half of the talents actually do. This becomes even more apparent when new careers are released and proper guides are not yet available. The wording “greatly enhances” really does not tell me anything.

And what talent is this exactly?

1 Like

Thanks for pointing that out, the talent I meant is “Indiscriminate Blast,” “Return on Investment” was the old name iirc.

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There are already ‘large’ description boxes on mouse over. Nine lines here to describe Bulwark. It’s obviously not a matter of space.

talentbox

I understand that things are meant to be kept short and crisp, players shouldn’t overthink everything and get the impression of reading a detailed manual or a research report. Many probably don’t even care as much. But I genuinely dislike when essential effects are not mentioned. Like the 25% CDR on Indiscriminate Blast or other hidden base stat increases (WHC/Shade +5% crit chance).

Inconsistencies with wording are another annoying thing. Huntsman and FK have ‘auras’ that give buffs, Engineer ‘increases X of nearby allies’, and Waystalker’s Rejuvenating Locus just globally ‘affects the other members of the party’. Of course, it’s the same mechanic but it’s described differently and confuses those who read descriptions closely. What’s even worse, it can make people second guess the functionalities of mechanics: Does an ‘aura’ have a larger AoE than just a ‘nearby’ buff?! Interestingly enough, the AoE of those career passives is different IIRC - but whatever.

There is no consistent glossary in regard to talent descriptions either. Games like Path of Exile also don’t tell players everything (and have vastly more complex things to describe than VT) but it is known that, for instance, wherever the keyword ‘recently’ is used it definitely refers to a time period of four seconds. But Grinding Gear Games, too, are inconsistent when it comes to ‘nearby’ for example.

In VT, there is ‘vastly increased combat potency’ (Radiant Inheritance) whatever this means (I know what it means because people checked the code). There is ‘increases stagger power’ (Staggering Force), ‘increases the strength and range of the push’ (Repel) and ‘increases stagger effect’ (Crunch!). There is also ‘power’ almost everywhere but Virtue of the Discipline mentions ‘power level’ for whatever reason. All of this not only hides numerical values but it also diminishes the accuracy and/or reliability of the talent descriptions.

1 Like

I think the Cloak of Mist + Vanish combo from before would’ve been absolutely fine if the cooldown were higher. In comparison, WHC has one talent that gives him 6 seconds of instakill crits on a 90 second cooldown. Shade needs two talents to enable the backstab instakill playstyle, AND only gets 4 seconds. But on the other hand her ult can also be used as a safety/panic ult in tough situations. I think this balances out pretty well. What was unnacceptable is shade having this every 30 seconds. It should’ve been 60 seconds (without any CDR at all) and then it would’ve been fine. If anything Cloak of Pain should’ve had some cooldown reduction to be on tandem with Grail Knight’s ult, since right now Cloak of Mist is significantly higher boss dps than Cloak of Pain (it’s more damage per ult and also lower cooldown).

In addition, as it is now, if playing with the moonfire bow/javelin the level 20 talent row is pretty much useless, and that absolutely needs to change.

2 Likes

Completely revert the changes to Cloak of Pain, Shadowstep and the base ult.

  • That means adding the guaranteed crit back to the 2nd charge of Cloak of Pain and allowing all of the above ults to crit with a ranged attack if they use said ranged attack to break stealth (since you waste the melee damage boost when you use ranged).

I agree with the OP. All the recent shade nerfs regarding cloak of pain need reverting.

I dont understand why other talents should suffer because of a clueless balance dev who decided cloak of mist was a good idea to add to the game (It was never a good idea)

Also remove or change the talents herald/vanish and change blood fletcher to 5/10% ammo back per backstab instead.

Shade deserves her 20% dodge talent back too.

Edit: Misspelled one word.

2 Likes

This, in my opinion is long due a fix as well.

I haven’t played shade enough in recent times to offer an opinion on this, but it’s not the first time FS changes something which has not been working as intended, and wording aside, they’re just saying the old working was never intended to begin with.

The ironic thing is, Double-shotted was actually “fixed” with 4.4 as it removed the ability to trigger it twice (or sth. along those, I did not play Bh in 4.4.0.0).
4.4.0.1 then “Fixed Saltzpyre’s (Bounty Hunter) ‘Double-Shotted’ Talent not reducing cooldown on headshots.”

Regarding Shade and abilities not working as intended, my original post argues that even if it never was intended, it made for a better game and removing these interactions now (after they have been working like this for several years!) is only harmful to the class and the game as a whole.

Consequently, regardless of the reasons, the actual changes are unequivocally bad.

Morever, even when looking at the reasons stated by FS, they are simply not valid arguments - these mechanics have become an integral part of the game, very much like being able to block while reviving was never an intended mechanic.
Still, that was accepted and even officially implemented, and many of the other examples listed in the post specifically because they improved the gameplay.
Just like these “unintended” mechanics that were part of Cloak of Pain, Cloak of Mist, Shadowstep and the base ult - they make for a better game with more nuance, depth and enjoyment.

Then I wasn’t wrong! I thought I remembered it, but then, seeing as it’s there and people didn’t know about it I convinced myself I might have imagined it.

As for the Shade, I think you might be right, I just haven’t played her much lately.

The change in 4.4 wasn’t that it removed the ability to trigger it twice, it was that it sometimes didn’t trigger at all. The times it did still trigger, it still triggered twice for 80% CDR total.

2 Likes

Aye, thanks for clearing that up.

Evidently, Double-shotted not working like its description advertises does not seem to be an issue, yet that very same argument is then used to justify negative gameplay changes to Shade’s ult talents - even though these changes still remain bad changes regardless of the reasons given.

1 Like

I’m still conflicted about the shade changes, but I definitely feel like double shotted has to go. It’s worse than inherited radiance in my mind. It gets to ludicrous levels while by itself (without any kind of cooldown) it would already offer twice the damage of the normal ultimates. Plus, I lost the count of the times I’ve been oneshotted by it, and that’s really no fun. :rage:
But I’m getting off-topic.

I know this isn’t really the topic of the thread, but if that’s how you feel there’s some absolutely incredible levels of bias involved. Double Shotted does precisely 1 thing well, and that is quickly ending a threat that may not even appear on a map to begin with. It requires headshots and also a conc pot to reach the point of actually trivialising a boss. In literally every other scenario it’s worse than Just Rewards, and TBH worse than most other ults period. Removing 1-2 threats with a 70 second base cooldown (even if you assume always getting headshots and having 40% knocked off that) is objectively not a terribly good Ult compared to the majority of the cast. When you miss a headshot it becomes one of the least impactful ults in the game for its cooldown. It’s a way too long cooldown to be a particularly good special sniper, removing 1-2 elites from a pack certainly does not trivialised a patrol or even close, it does nothing to get you out of a dense mixed horde.

To be clear, I agree the double proc interaction is bad and should go, but if you just remove that and give nothing in return, you’ll achieve nothing but change the meta to 100% Just Rewards overnight. There’s a reason Core rated BH as effectively F tier for DWONS content, currently he crutches on double shotted’s boss killing to have any kind of niche at all at higher level play. Just straight remove that while giving nothing back and he basically goes in the trash can.

Comparing it to Radiant Inheritance is incredibly insulting. An Ult talent that specifically trivialised one enemy type, requiring some skill no less as well as a potion to really shine, vs a buff that lets you easily trivialise every possible threat in the game with no other requirements other than left clicking in the enemy’s general direction, being equivalent to ~26 properties for 15 damn seconds. On what planet are these skills even vaguely comparable? I am genuinely bewildered.

3 Likes

I know it’s a bit off-topic, but there’s also the issue with Shade where one of her three ult talents is actually detrimental and it’s generally better if you pick no talent at all.

I’m not saying RI doesn’t need to be toned down, or even removed. But as I said I really hate DS.
For one, I’ve never been killed by an ally using RI, and I’m honestly at the point where I seriously consider kicking BH joining my games mid-way through, unless I know them. I have never kicked them yet, because I don’t think it would be fair, but I’m thinking it and a good chunk of the times I regret I didn’t. So I figure you might say the bias is there. :stuck_out_tongue:
I’m intrigued by what you say though: I can’t see Just Reward take the place of the current Double shotted use. JR might be better for the majority of a run, but against monsters DS still deals twice the damage for virtually the same cooldown (actually, if only 40% is cutoff, it would be twice the damage for a lower cooldown, so I just can’t see it). 80% cooldown has to go, IMO.
Its current iteration completely trivializes bossfights.

Not really (and sorry for derailing the thread further). If you don’t have a very specific set of conditions and a team willing to play around you, you will accomplish absolutely nothing with double shotted. Good luck getting any value from it if the monster keeps getting knocked around by people shouting “Nyaaah!” or dunking explosives on it. If you miss once, you become irrelevant for that engagement. The BH career itself is in a terrible state right now imo, as the only thing it can do is spam DS, which requires a fairly hefty set of conditions and coordination in a game that has devolved more and more towards a free-for-all green circle hunt.

2 Likes
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