Alright, I’ll bite. I already mentioned in another thread that I think a lot of Talents need tweaking, and have been planning a large post about that. I think we need weapon and career balance in a better place first, as all careers have at least one Talent on each tier that’s usable, so I’ve been putting this off for later, But as this thread got created, might as well answer. So, long post warning.
TL;DR version, lots of talents are no-choice or no-pick, that needs tweaking. I’ll only consider talents, looking at each tier of talents on each career. No comments on career viability or basic abilities this time.
First, a few general things. Lvl20 Talents are the same on each career. This is boring, but a bigger issue is, the “health on kill” is clearly the best one in vast majority of cases. On very few builds Health on Crit is valid, and I’ve only ever seen one guy comment that he used the “heal on boss kill” one. The last one is too situational to be useful (and if you’re good enough to not need temp health usually, you’re good enough to not need healing after bosses), and you very, very rarely constantly crit enough to utilize the on-crit health. Besides, crits are usually enough to kill the enemies anyway, so on-kill is useful then too. Unfortunately, I have no clear ideas for reworking here, besides vague thoughts of getting a unique method of temp heath regen for each career. Say, blocking for IB, backstabs for Shade… Something that supports their (usual) playstyle.
Another general thing is cooldown reduction at lv25, as that’s usually boring, but I’ll go more to that on each career.
Then on to the careers.
Lv5 is decent. Each Talent has its place, and they are all effective. In general, though, Battle Scars seems the most useful. There’s not that much special for Merc to raise crit chance, and he generally doesn’t expect to push or block enough for Stamina regen to matter that much. More effective healing affects temp health too, so it enhances his survivability a lot. Battle Scars could use a bit tweaking down, or the other two up to bring them in line in usefulness.
Lv10 needs more work. Desperate Defiance could see some use, if it counted only permanent health. But as Merc has very high temp health generation, he’s very rarely under 50% health. (This is a more general problem, too, as nearly all things that count health threshold count temp health. I think only Waystalker’s regen is the exception.) Shrug it off is nearly useless; attack interruption isn’t really the problem when taking damage (and it isn’t that long to begin with), it’s the actual damage. Then, there’s The More the Merrier, that’s useful practically always, caps at 15% Power (a significant increase), and actually strengthens the Merc when he’s already strong, i. e. against hordes. Far too useful (compared to the two others) to skip.
Lv15 is close to being in balance. Strike together seems generally the most useful to me, as it buffs your friends, but the other two are strong enough to merit using them. As a whole, Paced strikes would benefit from being able to reactivate before the previous one has worn off, and that might make the two other options slightly more attractive too, as they could be maintained.
Lv25 is mostly good, I think. There’s the 30% cooldown reduction that, while boring, is useful at least. Inspirational is probably usually overkill as Merc, as I mentioned, already generates temp health very well. On Yer Feet, Mates may generally be the best one, but on a good team you don’t need it, and you’ll hope to never need it anyway. Very valuable fallback ability, though.
Huntsman: (Disclaimer: I’m not that experienced or good with Huntsman, so take this with a grain of salt)
Lv5 is in quite good spot. Each Talent has its spot to use depending on loadout, but once you learn the career and game, Outdoorsman sees far less use than the other two. It could use some tweaking up to justify picking it on higher skill levels, but it has its place.
Lv10 is decent. Scavenger and Make 'em Bleed both have their places depending on your focus, but Hands Off! is questionable at best. It slightly helps a situation you’re doing your best to avoid, and which a ranged career is supposed to actually prevent from ever happening. Disabblers aren’t generally that durable to begin with. Far too situational, especially compared to the other two.
Lv15 is in balance, I think. Each Talent brings in a different significant buff, helping you in different ways.
Lv25 needs tweaking. While Blend In and I’m Coming for Ya offer different ways to buff Markus’s burst damage output, Hunter’s Respite is rarely worth it. You already gain temp health from killing (or crits), and some more isn’t going to increase your survivability that much. Especially when you’re already invisible, thus not taking damage, and the options are killing more, thus generating better output and more temp health.
Lv5 is pretty much there. Each option is different and has impact. Onslaught might be generally most useful, though.
Lv10 needs work. Regroup is useful, it helps your friends survive and Knight is one of the best revivers anyway. The other two… not so much. Uninterruptible attacks are rarely useful as is, and especially when your block gets broken you’re already staggering and taking damage enough that attacking your enemies despite everything is likely to still drop you. Besides, you need to be able to start attacking after broken block for it to be effective. Build Momentum might occasionally be useful, depending on your weapons and personal hitting patterns, but even then there’s rarely enough time to make use of it. Charge attacks and recovering from them takes time, and interweaving them with pushes (or more rarely, blocking) effectively is quite difficult. Shield weapons might be able to make use of it, but general opinion seems to be that they need some love right now.
Lv15 seems decent. Drillmaster and Defensive Formation present a genuine choice between different styles of survivability for the party. Battle Drill might have an occasional use, but in general, one Stamina shield is rather weak. Knight himself certainly doesn’t need it, and in general people will choose equipment with the Stamina property if they want more. In a coordinated group it might have a place, but otherwise, no. All three feel slightly weak for Lv15 talents, but that might be more of a personal preference issue.
Lv25 actually presents a choice. Cooldown reduction is once again boring but moderately useful. It loses in power to the other two though, especially as Knight has one of the shorter cooldowns already. A numeric buff to 40 or 50% reduction would bring it more in line, as the other choices are a lot more damage or plugging ability on par with Ironbreaker.
Lv5 is pretty good, in my opinion. Everything feels significant, and each option supports different styles. Apply Pressure might be the best choice usually, but it’s not as pronounced as on Mercenary. Foe-Feller might lose a bit from its usual utility, as Ranger is more of a ranged career and doesn’t have any fast-firing ranged weapons available. Each one has its place, though.
Lv10 needs work. Last resort gives a Power boost to a ranged career that constantly produces ammo when they’re out of ammo. So it’s either a (powerful) backup ability that very rarely works, or you’re purposefully limiting yourself to melee. And in the latter case, Slayer exists.No Dawdling is always useful, as movement speed is both a quality-of-life enhancement, and actually enhances survivability. Curl Up is highly situational, and as Huntsman’s Hand’s Off!, helps you in a situation that’s part of your job to prevent. The effectiveness is also debatable, as if you’re grabbed long enough for it to matter, you’re already separated from your friends.
Lv15 needs tweaking. While extra bombs are always useful (and likely the best choice usually), and the extra ammunition can keep the whole party up, potions lose. They are effective, sure, but when vast majority of runs include two tomes, there are two characters in the party who get left out of the loop. It’s effectively half as useful as bomb production. Something else needs to be set here, but returning Healing Draughts would very likely be too powerful still, no matter the odds it’s adjusted to. Or it would be too rare to be useful. One option might be to give a special healing item that returns, say, 25 health, or only converts existing Temporary health to permanent (or even just half of it).
Lv25 needs tweaking. Ranger’s Ambush and Preparation certainly compete in usefulness, but Preparation is the usual boring CD reduction, while Ambush is not only more interesting, but possibly more effective. I haven’t really played on Ranger since getting these, and thus cannot say what it feels like in-game. Catch a Breath though loses clearly here, for reasons similar to Huntsman’s equivalent Talent. It needs a buff in some form, be it more health, real health, or something else completely. Or just figure out something else to replace it.
Lv5 needs work. Shield of Valaya wins here, and even it feels underwhelming if you’re using a shield. IB is already the toughest career, and extra health is redundant. Similar trouble with extra Stamina: He already has one extra shield, and when he activates his Career skill, they’re nearly irrelevant anyway.
Lv10 Is okay. Irondrake helps enormously if you’re using Drakefire weapons, Miner’s Rhythm is useful on shields and while more difficult, still usable on other weapons (but it could use a little buff in some form, as Knight’s equivalent talent) and Gazul’s Duty is helpful in tight situations. None are always useful, but whatever you choose, it helps.
Lv15 needs work. Ironbreaker’s resolve is useful, but Runeforged seems redundant (and 10 temp HP every 20 seconds max isn’t that useful anyway). This is moot though, as Tunnel Fighter is a far stronger choice in any case. Unless you’re good enough to not need it, when whole Gromril armour starts turning redundant. What’re you doing on IB in that case anyway?
Lv25 could use tweaking. Heart of Gromril is usually the best choice, allowing you to use Impenetrable even more effectively. Booming Taunt can have an occasional use in large open areas such as nearly all of Athel Yenlui, but in most maps, there isn’t enough space to utilize it effectively. Quite situational, thus. Oi! Wazzok! could be useful… if not for bosses still being able to harm you through block, their aggro being quite jugglable without it, and the long cooldown of Impenetrable. Too situational and too little use even then to choose, unless you know your group is bad at juggling bosses.
Lv5 is good. On higher skill levels, See it Coming probably wins out, but Stoutfellow does increase your survivability enough to be useful, and while I personally don’t like to choose Hack and Slash, I can see sevral builds where it’s very useful, or even essential.
Lv10 needs significant change. Oblivious to pain is just too important for survival (especially on Legend) to skip even when its fellows are powerful enough on their own. Stunty Saviour is too situational for general use, but enough people do true solo that is does have its place there, and some might prefer a fallback for clutching. Crippling Wounds would be good for crit-built Slayer, if not for the importance on Oblivious to Pain. My suggestion for this is to give Oblivious to Pain as a regular passive for Slayer, and create a new Talent here from scratch.
Lv15 seems quite good. Unstoppable! enhances offense (but there’s another problem with this one, see below); Moving Target helps defense; Adrenaline Surge is useful, but with the existence of cooldown reduction for weapons and short cooldown to begin with it might feel redundant.
Lv25 needs some tweaks. I don’t know if Crunch! helps reaching any significant stagger thresholds; if so, then it could be potentially very useful. No Escape instead is very strong, and helps a lot to alleviate the Slayer’s lack of ranged weapons. Movement speed is also one of the always useful stats. Unstoppable is problematic, though. First, it has nearly the same name and icon as a level 15 Talent. That’s confusing. Rather minor thing, but needs attention. Mechanically, uninterruptible attacks on a character that already is very prone to taking heavy damage just invites disaster. If you need them to deal damage, you’re already dying. Combined with heavy damage reduction, this would be useful, but as is, the Talent is practically worthless.
Lv5 is good. Each of the three are useful for different playstyles and builds, although given Kerillian’s general mobility and dodging ability, Hukon’s Tenacity might slightly lose here.
Lv10 is okay. Each Talent is, again, useful for different playstyles, enhancing different aspects of the character. Ironfeather Flights is probably too situational, though, especially considering Waystalker’s other methods of generating ammunition.
Lv15 is hard to say, but likely needs work. Vaul’s quiver is the most powerful, and seemingly the heart of most WS builds, and I haven’t really tested Isha’s Embrace to say anything. Rejuvenating Locus is very nice on bot, which gives it a place, but far less useful on actual player builds. Might be worth testing more, though.
Lv25 needs some work. Asrai Focus and Kurnous’ Blessing compete with one another, but Lifebloom arrows loses out. It’s to orarely useful and too weak, especially as using Asrai Focus and Khaine’s Thirst you can still gain a lot of temp health on skill use - and use it more often to boot.
Lv5 is again quite good. Considering the Handmaiden’s tendency to push a lot and Kerillian’s lack of strongly defensive weapons, Asrai Vigor is more useful than the same ability on most careers. Quiver of Plenty is quite essential to some (many?) players and helps others, and Wraithwillow Stance also helps crowd control (and widens HM’s melee weapon choices).
Lv10 quite well-balanced too. Defiance is too situational for my tastes (and for a situation I try to avoid), but again there are true soloers, and some people like having a safety net. Eldrazor’s Precision is strong, even with the tradeoff, and makes it easy to reach some thresholds. Triumph of the Cadai has saved my skin several times, enhancing survivability and saving healing for those who need them more.
Lv15 is in good place too. Hukon’s tenacity may often be overkill, but on very push-heavy playstyle it has its place. Similar is true for Shadowstep. Gladerunner is just generally useful, but may be a bit weak for an ability of this level, especially as Shade has the same on level 10.
Lv25 needs some work. If Bladedancer reaches some thresholds, it’s useful if still weaker than the other two, otherwise it’s useless. Handmaiden’s Grace would be useful, except that Dash is already one of the fastest-cooling abilities, and already can be used quite freely. It’s also, again, boring. Gift of Ladrielle is quite clearly the best here. Giving you time to revive or heal, position yourself better or just breathing room for a few seconds is very useful. It also makes using Dash a lot safer in general. The only thing I’m missing is a reminder of the invisibility effect similar to Shade, as it’s hard to notice when it’s on at the moment, even for the HM player herself.
Lv5 is almost, but not quite there. I think Hukon’s Tenacity loses here, as Shade isn’t generally as push- or block-heavy as the other careers. If you do push a lot, it probably has its spot, but otherwise not. Fury of Anath Raema enhances your offence while Shadowstep helps maneuverability and survivability. Those two offer an actual choice, even if Shadowstep is probably the more powerful one.
Lv10 needs work. Gladerunner is useful if boring. While not quite as bad as on Huntsman and Ranger, I find Ellinill’s Venom too situational and weak. And then there’s Hekarti’s Bounty, which is very strong whenever your team has a grimoire, which is most of the time. Only Deprivation Deeds and a little while when moving to new difficulties generally see runs done without grimoires. Those are the only times picking Gladerunner is better.
Lv15 is quite good, even if Mistress of Sacrifice sees probably far less use on higher level play. Bloodfletcher is attractive if you tend to shoot a lot (and you likely will on the higher difficulties) while Ereth Khial’s Herald is quite strong, enhancing Shades strong points even more.
Lv25 needs work. As the first melee hit breaks stealth anyway, Veilwalker is near useless, only being needed when you’re really bad at positioning or need to clutch-revive or maybe heal. Even then, Shadespirit mostly does the job and is useful more often. Allowing another melee hit with Veilwalker could raise its usefulness, but runs a high danger of being to powerful. Extending the stealth a second or two beyond the first melee hit, even taking away the bonuses is likely the same. And then there’s Shadowhunter, which allows you to shoot your enemies in the back with impunity. More interesting than Shadespirit, and arguably more useful too.
Witch Hunter Captain:
Lv5 needs tweaking. While Charmed Life and Always Prepared are good, Unflagging Spirit loses even worse than usual because of Eternal Guard. Hard to justify extra Stamina when you have more limited use for it than usual anyway.
Lv10 needs work. Abjure Temptation is nearly always the best choice, see Shade for reasons. Deathknell could stand on its own otherwise, but Suffer No Heresy is again too situational. See above for more on that.
Lv15 needs some work. While Marked for Death and Wild Fervour are in nice balance, with Marked for Death the more often useful one, Justice’s Bounty feels too weak outside The Vanguard Deeds. There aren’t enough Elites and others to give a significant impact, even when the health goes to whole team.
Lv25 appears balanced, but feels bland. Three simple increases in effectiveness, none chancing the action in any significant way. I don’t have ideas to make any of them more interesting, though.
Lv5 is fine. Again, each Talent improves different aspect of the character, and none feel lackluster.
Lv10 needs work. While Leave None Behind is useful, it loses to Crippling Strike because BH is the one career that can crit often and (more importantly) reliably. Necessary Means is a strange one: There’s basically only one build where it’s anything but a fallback ability, and even then actually preserving ammo and using Crippling Strike might be a better idea. As a fallback it falls flat with Scrounger weapon Trait and Prize Bounty. So nearly always Crippling Strike is clearly the best choice.
Lv15 needs work. Prize Bounty is useful even when it’s not strictly necessary to have enough ammo as it allows you to shoot without reloading. Ammo savings with it are also… huge. With the reset on melee kill part of Blessed Shots, Cruel Fortune is useless against anything but bosses. Even then, the normal cooldown isn’t too bad. Pious Fervor could be useful on some builds, but usually feels very lackluster.
Lv25 Is troublesome. Encore is the boring but practical option once again. While the other two are certainly more interesting and change the Career skill’s style significantly, they both lose something quite significant when chosen. The regular Locked and Loaded is very versatile: It has good spread for crowds, decent range to help with specials - and it can stun bosses. At least Double-Shotted loses the boss-stunning effect along with crowd-clear capability. Buckshot loses range and boss damage. Both are quite important, even while with Buckshot the losses are felt a little less. Unfortunately, the tradeoffs are too steep, especially with Double-Shotted.
Lv5 needs work. While Holy Endurance and Saint of Battle are both good, I don’t see a use for Strong of Will. If I get hit, I have trouble with the damage, not stun. Stun duration is also so brief that a third less isn’t going to enable my survival if I already get killed without it.
Lv10 Is close, but not quite there. While each ability is useful, and there’s some real choice between offense and defense, Suppress Pain will lose out to Flagellant in most situations, especially on higher difficulties. Suppress Pain works (in theory) roughly half the time, in practice probably more often. While after it triggers it works on everything, it’s weaker than Flagellant. Flagellant instead doesn’t work on every attack, but it helps much more with the most dangerous hits, i. e. the strongest ones. And it does its job even on full health.
Lv15 is quite good. Each Talent works differently, and they actually help your fighting. I feel Undying Fervour is a bit underwhelming, but that might be just me. In general, it seems to me that the devs overvalue Stamina a bit, especially in Talents.
Lv25 is quite good. While Frother might be the more powerful option, it’s again the boring one. Holy Fervour gives enough of a attack speed buff to let Pleasure from Pain collect a good amount of temp health, even with the small amount. And longer buff helps offense a lot.
_Battle Wizard: _ _(Disclaimer: I’ve hardly touched BW since opening Unchained, so this is mostly based on general game knowledge and reading the Talents.)
Lv5 is decent. Stronger healing is good, and faster (ranged) attack charge helps on several staves, but even with Sienna’s generally low Stamina, one extra shield isn’t that much. It might help in the beginning, when you’re getting used to the game though. But BW is strongly a ranged career, and she’s more likely to stay out of melee anyway.
Lv10 is in pretty bad shape, in my opinion. World Aflame is the best option just about always, and even that’s less useful than similar abilities on other careers, as BW tries to stay further from melee. Molten Skin is very situational, mostly useful for true solo. It works as a clutch backup too, but that’s something people try to avoid. And Flickerform is again barely there, as again, the trouble with getting hit is damage, not stun. And again, strong ranged and weak melee will cause BW to stay out of the latter anyway.
Lv15 is… okay, I guess. Burning Vigour and Rechannel are both quite strong, and Burning Vigour actually helps Sienna to maintain Tranquility. I need more info, either in the game or by testing, on Centered to really say anything, but as is, it seems weaker than the other two.
Lv25 is bad. Volan’s Quickening could be useful, but it’s once again the boring option. I have my doubts about Lava Walker’s effectiveness, as the lingering flames seem to not do that much anyway. This moot though, because Burnout eats both for breakfast. Letting Sienna vent all heat with a fast Career skill immediately and safely, without drawbacks, is just too useful and strong to ignore. This needs change on both BW and Pyro. My first thought for change is to let it vent, say, half of all Overcharge, then balance it by giving a short buff. Another might be changing it to vent over time, or a strong vent speed bonus (both passive and active) instead of immediate venting. Even immediately activating Tranquility might work for BW. Overheating is the primary mechanic for limiting Sienna’s ranged effectiveness; allowing immediate and safe way to ignore it trivializes the whole mechanic.
Pyromancer (Disclaimer: For similar reasons to BW, I haven’t played Pyro that much. Read these with that in mind.)
Lv5 is close. While every Talent has its use, Natural Talent is usually clearly stronger, especially considering Pyro is the most ranged focused career on Sienna. She will use her ranged combat so much more than melee, that allowing her to cast even 10% more is very useful.
Lv10 needs work. Ashen Form is again a Talent helping Sienna in a situation she’s usually supposed to prevent. How much it really helps is also questionable. Dissipate is very, very powerful, as again, most runs will end up being with grimoires. Quickening could sometimes be useful, but I don’t see much utility in it myself. Partially it’s because it probably looks at temp health for deciding whether it’s active, as do most of these kind of abilities.
Lv15 likely needs work. Shield of Tarnus and One with the Flame are both good, but again, Pyro is so ranged-heavy that Blazing Equilibrium is just stronger.
Lv25 is bad. It’s even worse than BW’s in my opinion. For the same reasons, Exhaust is the superior choice. This time, it also allows Pyro to kill enemies, either priority targets or several lesser ones, while she safely and immediately vents. Besides, with her ability to generate Temp health with her staves and Burning Head, Bonded Flame gets somewhat redundant again.
Lv5 needs work. While Backblast is good by itself, and so is Volcanic Body (and they would actually compete with each other), they both lose to Form of the Fire Wind. By way of Unchained’s unique health mechanics, Form of the Fire Wind effectively does the same thing as Volcanic Body, better, while also allowing more casting if need be.
Lv10 could use tweaking. Feuerbach’s Fury is even harder to use well than on Bardin and Markus. Essence Syphon is useful for saving up healing items, but activates rather rarely. It’s slightly less useful than HM’s equivalent, as Unchained can take a lot more punishment and doesn’t run out of ammunition. Seared Nerves is useful for helping allies, but it suffers a bit from Sienna’s weak Stamina. It’s a hard choice, but because every one feels somewhat underwhelming, not because everything feels good.
Lv15 is quite bad. Dissipate is nearly useless, as venting damage is most often taken to temp health anyway, and Unchained has quite effective alternate methods too. Conduit is better, but still suffers from manual venting being somewhat ineffective compared to blocking. Natural Talent lessens the need for venting from the start, allowing more casting (and taking more damage even after casting). Also interesting to note, that while other careers’ lv15 Talents directly affect their primary Passive ability, this one doesn’t. There might be another like that, but I didn’t notice it.
Lv25 needs work. While Flame Wave and Blazing Crescendo could both be useful, they also endanger your teammates far more than usual. Tick, Tick, Tick is the usual boring option, but this time it doesn’t add friendly fire damage, and allows you to use Living Bomb for something else than just a panic button.
So, the talent need a lot of work for the choices they are meant to be to actually be there. There are other issues with the careers, and some of their basic abilities need tweaking too, but that’s not what I was discussing in this post. I’m aware that I didn’t give that many suggestions for actual improvement. That’s because numerical tweaks don’t always work, and other ideas are a lot harder to come by. Some Talents are also so far from their peers’ level, that they need something else completely to replace them.
Finally, thanks for everyone who actually read through this whole thing. I warned you about the long post (but not the two days’ time it actually took for me to compose this whole thing). Whew.