This post aims to provide constructive criticism for Sienna’s third career, Unchained, whilst exclusively discussing her career skill, talents and passive abilities as I do not have the necessary insight to comment on the effectiveness of weapons(both melee and ranged) available for use. Unchained’s ineffectiveness is hard to take note of on Recruit, Veteran and Champion as enemy health values are low enough that her talent related short-comings are over-shadowed by the lack of challenge presented, hence performance on legend and cataclysm will be taken into account.
Most, if not all, of the people I have spoken to agree that unchained is under performing. I believe this is due to her talents not supporting a front-line(debatable) melee-focused wizard play style.
Blood Magic - 50% damage taken transferred to overcharge.
Getting smacked for 60 means the player takes 30 points of damage and the other 30 goes into overcharge. The problem here is that any form of damage mitigation(Barkskin, Walk It Off and Protective Presence) is calculated after the split. So, smacked for 60. With 40% damage reduction the player takes 18 points of damage while 30 goes into overcharge, unaffected by damage reduction. Strangely enough, Numb to Pain, seems to work exactly as I outline how the system should work in general.
A Possible Improvement: Apply damage reduction before the damage is split into two halves. Boinked for 60 with 40% damage reduction would mean that 36 points of damage is split equally between overcharge and hp, 18 to each.
Slave To Aqshy - No overcharge slowdown
Unstable Strength - Increased melee power on high overcharge by up to 60%.
Personally, I have no quarries with her other passives. Her career skill is discussed at the level 30 talent section.
Burn-Bloom - Healing yourself with a First Aid Kit or a Healing Draught also heals your nearby allies for 20% of their maximum health. Clears any wounds.
This talent supports a play style this post does not discuss.
Soul Quench - Staggering an enemy with a melee attack grants temporary health. Health gained based on stagger strength.
Currently the go-to talent and works well with the mace, flail, dagger and fire sword. The dagger and fire sword lack armour damage on most of their attacks whilst the flail fares relatively well against hordes and damages armours on all of its hits meaning it can make greater use of Unstable Strength. The mace just insane stagger on all swings apart from the first light and heavy attack.
Reckless Rampage - Damaging multiple enemies in one swing with a melee weapon grants temporary health. Max 5 enemies.
Works well with the mace, fire sword and really well with the normal sword. The normal sword simply does more damage per swing than the fire sword so whatever % increases is gained through Unstable Strength will result in an overall higher dps for the normal sword.
While these talents work well, Unchained cannot trade hits with anything as she has no thp on kill talent. For example, Ignoring an attack from a slave rat in order to finish off an elite. Also, a talent like this would allow players to use the crowbill, because it currently sees no use on Unchained since neither of the thp talents can accommodate its sole strong point, high-armour damage to a single target. Soul-Quench should not be switched as that would invalidate the use of both the flail and flaming sword. Leaving us with Reckless Rampage.
A Possible Improvement: Switch out Reckless Rampage with a thp on kill talent. The mace and fire are already good on Soul-Quench. The normal sword performs rather well with regards to thp on kill, this can be tested with pyro’s thp on kill talent. The same goes for the crowbill. Over all this change would allow players to add another weapon to their arsenal while keeping the rest just as relevant.
Frenzied Flame - Increases attack speed by 15% while at or above high Overcharge.
Little to be said. Best talent in the row. Works well. Needs no change.
Searing Grasp - Push attacks ignite enemies with a light damage over time effect.
This talent is useless. All melee weapons apart from the dagger use one shield(2 stamina) for one push. There is also no talent that increases stamina, stamina regen or push/block angle. Has no synergy.
A Possible Solution #1: Change the talent to ignite enemies whose melee attacks are blocked. This would be down-right awesome with Dissipate and Enfeebling Flames.
A Possible Solution #2: Change the talent to ignite enemies who are hit melee attacks.
Chain Reaction - Burning enemies have a small chance to explode on death.
Explosion does little damage. Small chance is far from small, around 10% or so. Easy to proc with attacks which apply a burn DoT to multiple enemies. Does NO damage. Applies 1 stack of stagger to surrounding enemies. Elites are only staggered if the explosion catches them between attacks. Far too few melee weapons can apply burn for this talent to be effective on a melee focused career.
A Possible Solution: Change the talent so that any enemy killed by a melee hit has the chance to explode. Increase chance to proc to about 15%(If my earlier assumption about it being 10% or so is correct then this increase is warranted as an entire build could be based around this talent working and 10% on its own is too small as you cannot kill as many enemies with a melee weapon as with a staff hence your overall number of chain reaction procs per mission would decrease). Apply a weak DoT to surrounding enemies. Chain reaction could be swapped with Numb to Pain(LEVEL 20) and this idea would mesh rather well with A Possible Solution #1 for Searing Grasp as blocks would ignite enemies, melee attacks(with Chain Reaction) could possibly ignite multiple enemies and Enfeebling Flames(LEVEL 25) would reduce the damage they can do.
Bulwark - Enemies that you stagger takes 10% more damage from melee attacks for 5 seconds. Deal 20% more damage to staggered enemies. Each hit against a staggered enemy adds another count of stagger. Bonus damage is increased to 40% against enemies afflicted by more than one stagger effect.
Mostly used on shields as those are the ones that can stagger a lot of enemies for the rest of eternity.
A Possible Solution: Melee weapons with high stagger but no shield are more suited for Smiter instead of Bulwark.
Mainstay - Deal 20% more damage to staggered enemies. Each hit against a staggered enemy adds another count of stagger. Bonus damage is increased to 60% against enemies afflicted by more than one stagger effect.
Enhanced Power - Increases total Power Level by 7%. This is calculated before other buffs are applied.
Mainstay is good for elite-hunting whilst Enhanced Power is used for ranged builds or to reach specific breakpoints.
Dissipate - Block cost is reduced by 50% when Overcharged and blocking attacks vent Overcharge.
The talent does not offer enough for the player to consider taking it instead of Conduit.
A Possible Solution #1: Just as before, blocking dissipates overcharge. Blocking at or above critical overcharge costs no stamina. Now that right there, would be beautiful. This change would allow for an aggressive melee grinder experience as the player could just hack-and-slash their way to victory because any damage taken is healed with a thp talent(hopefully thp on kill) and the moment their overcharge is too high they can just block a few hits and hop back to slaughter some ratties.
Playing Unchained at high overcharge is a high-risk high-reward play style. This talent lowers the risk of blowing up due to a single mistake but simultaneously forces the player to watch their step because slashing your way into the middle of 10 skavern is only fun for the rats.
Numb to Pain - Reduces damage taken by 5% for 15 seconds after taking damage from venting Overcharge. Stacks up to 3 times.
Possible Solution: Double the damage reduction. Change it so that the talent procs regardless of damage source. Perhaps reduce the 15 seconds to 10? This one really delicate one of my previous suggestions swaps this talent, Numb to Pain with Chain Reaction(LEVEL 10). If that were to happen venting damage reduction would be increased to 65% at max stacks of Numb to Pain.
Doubling the damage reduction would push this combo to 80%, effectively removing ventilation as a damage source. If this swap were to happen, I recommend nerfing conduit.
Conduit - Increases rate of venting overcharge by 30% and reduces damage taken from venting by 50%.
Overall, this talent is great, no need to change.
Possible Adjustment: Swapping Numb to Pain with Chain Reaction would allow players to reduce ventilation damage by 80%. To counter this, while still making the swap happen, venting damage reduction from conduit should be change from 50% to 35%. Maybe increase rate of venting to 35%? Doubt that’s needed. With this hypothetical nerf this talent is still amazing and a viable choice on this row or so I believe.
Enfeebling Flames - Burning enemies deal 30% less damage.
The other talents on this row are much better, hence there is no reason to pick this. With the previously proposed changes however, this may change.
Burning Dregs - Dropping below 50% health vents all Overcharge. Can only trigger every 60 seconds.
A very useful possibly life saving talent. Not seeing an overhead because three elites are almost stacked on top of each other is a common enough occurrence. I’d say this talent sees more use as the difficulty increases.
Natural Talent - Reduces overcharge generated by 10%.
Another good choice on this row allowing for more damage to be tanked and increased number of ranged attacks before ventilation. Natural Talent with Thermal Equaliser is a potent combo easily deleting hordes on legend with hardly any ventilation required.
Interesting to note is that this talent increases the value of each tick of ventilation(self-damage) as ventilation dissipates overcharge on a % basis.
LEVEL 30 & CAREER SKILL
Living Bomb - Sienna explodes, dealing damage to surrounding enemies and clearing her overcharge. 120 second cooldown.
That cooldown needs to be reduced. No questions about it. At least down to 90 seconds. Mercenary’s Career skill gives 25 thp to allies and a knockback big enough to revive 1 person. All that for 90 seconds. Living bomb in comparison gives 0 thp to allies, in the presence of a monster the knockback is too insignificant for a revive to be safely pulled off and clears her overcharge. Not to mention the negligible damage, 1300 with a SINGLE tick of 500 afterwards. The only(if I’m not mistaken) other career skill with a 120 second cooldown is IB and that is a game changer, Living Bomb isn’t.
At legend and above, Unchained’s career skill by itself is probably the least effective ultimate in the entire game. It’s saved by Bomb Balm, if that talent didn’t exist, Unchained player count would be in the double digits.
Flame Wave - Increases the radius of Living Bomb explosion by 50%.
The increased radius means that Living Bomb is not handicapped anymore because it now has the same radius as the career skill for WHC, Merc, IB and RV. This talent is not good enough.
A Possible Solution: This talent could focus on the damage side of the career skill.
Radius from 50% to 70%
Damage dealt by 200%
Number of ticks and damage dealt by the ticks
I know that this looks pretty crazy but there is a lengthy cooldown attached to this relatively big damage. So I think it’s scarcity of use balances out the damage potential.
Fuel for the Fire - Each enemy hit by Living Bomb increases power by 5% for 10 seconds. Stacks up to 5 times.
Ten seconds is far too short. Numb to Pain lasts longer than that. For a maximum of 25% power? Level 30 talents for Career skills should be substantial.
A Possible Solution: Increase power cap to something like 40-50% for 15 or 20 seconds then I’d say yes. This is viable. Because with that increase to power and time frame the player could go ham on anything, it would be like a berserk skill or something along those. Powerful, but long cooldown, once again, not 120 seconds though.
Bomb Balm - Living Bomb restores 30 temporary health to allies.
The only thing keeping this Career skill floating. A good talent. Not for this career skill though. Unchained cannot afford to activate her ultimate for healing others. The cooldown is too long and if the player does not have Burning Dregs(LEVEL 25), then it’s game over because she may need it to empty her overcharge because a mino showed up with 2 banners and an assassin. Just like IB cannot afford to ult for 10 skavern slaves.
To sum up the career rant. Reduce the cooldown timer to a base value of 90 or something. If the talents seem too powerful for that time interval, then give the talents their own unique cooldown timer.
In Conclusion, I have given my take on how Unchained could be improved. What I have written is not fact, only an opinion and is no way an exhaustive list of changes. I have also tried to keep balance at lower difficulties in mind which is why I focused only on improving already existing talents instead of importing new ones. I hope that what I have written will at the least be considered. I’d like to think that I have kept any and all in-game related information true to the fact and should anything be amiss, let me know.