So, just to add a few thoughts to Unchained’s issues, and some context for my thoughts:
Despite her role seemingly being that of the tank/melee agressor, as noted by her passives (blood magic increasing her melee power by up to 60% and giving her theoretical damage reduction, no passive overheat slowdown, highest base HP of the Sienna careers, etc), she’s got some issues.
In terms of tankiness, Blood Magic is… well, it prevents her from getting 1-shot at the start of the game from an overhead. But in actual gameplay, it makes her less tanky than anything other Sienna career, and most other careers in the game. You have to micromanage your heat significantly resulting in needing to swap to vent to not die. The new Blood Conversion talent is a fantastic bandaid to this problem, however it’s just that: a bandaid. The current issue is that there is currently, effectively, only 1 talent on that row, because that talent is mandatory not only for Unchained’s survial but also her quality of life. As Ganjii mentioned in the OP, this should become part of her main Blood Magic passive.
Numb to Pain is problematic and does not adequately help her survibility. For context:
Added effect: Venting decreases the amount of overcharge generated by Blood Magic by 16%. Stacks up to 3 times.
Baseline effect is also 5% damage reduction per stack.
The problem is that this talent is two-fold:
- The amount of work required for the reward feels out of whack. To get all 3 stacks, you need to take 3 ticks of damage from venting, which is a long amount of time required to gain (for comparison’s sake) 1.5x what BW gains for having 1 enemy burning or Pyro killing an elite; less than half the value of Grimnir’s focus (which requires a heavy). Though all of those are shorter in duration (5s, 10s, and 5s respectively), think about the values. And I’ll come back to that in a moment.
- It’s counter-productive to how Unchained is actually encouraged to play and counter to Unstable Strength… which is to say, by being at high heat. This talent actively encourages you to vent frequently for maintenance.
This talent frequently results in needing you to vent mid-combat in order to either maintain stacks, or to entirely regain them due to having lost them from while out of combat. The result of this is a notable break in combat flow that feels bad. Due to #1, you have to swap to your staff (gain heat if you don’t have it) vent 1-3 ticks (lengthy process) to gain your stacks (lengthy process if you aren’t at 3). And then, due to #2, you then have to immediately cast some more to gain that heat back so you can continue meleeing effectively. For… almost the same defensive reward as the other 2 Sienna careers get from their talents for normal gameplay. BW’s whole kit is based around burning enemies, so this will happen naturally. Pyro will kill elites/specials by virtue of her ultimate and increase crit chance. No gameplay flow breaking mechanic to keep up damage reduction if they choose that talent.
On the melee agressor side:
She does not have enough melee prowess to to match Pyro’s melee capabilities:
a) At >50% heat she (via talent) gains +15% attack speed
b) Gains up to 60% melee power (more on this later)… and that’s it for melee stuff.
c) She doesn’t have smiter or assassin, which is significant.
Pyro for comparison gains up to to 40% crit (with talent, 30% without to gain 5% attack speed), 10% attack speed (talent at the cost of special = free heat), and has smiter (Unchained only has access to Bulwark and Mainstay, which coupled with the recent change nerf to fast attacking weapons, makes this feel even worse).
As a point of comparison on her power buffs, I’m going to compare that to Zealot, since the two get compared quite often. So, just note that since I’m using the BP calculator, and I for some reason chose the mace, these are using the old Light 1, but the comparison still stands. These are Mace Light 1, on a SV head, with Enhanced Power.
Baseline, 0 stacks: 15.75.
5 stacks (full) of Unstable Strength (UC passive): 25.00
6 Stacks of Fiery Faith (full Zealot stacks)(0 stacks of Unstable Strength): 20.00
Now, that seems like a fair difference, and it is. But bear in mind the following as well:
zealot gets this consistently (admitedly less-so now with Grail Knight quests, and pending Waystalker group heal), while Unchained’s fluctuates a lot (and she only gets full at high overheat). Zealot also gets 5% more attack speed from his talent, has access to Smiter (this changes that 20.00 to 22.75), way more health generation, a cheat death, and an ultimate that helps him be far more aggressive (gives him a dash, permeability, and 25% attack speed). By comparison, Unchained’s ultimate lets her stop herself from exploding, staggers some smaller enemies, kills weaker horde enemies, and (based on talent) gives 26 tHP (since it does FF first).
Oh, and it causes aim punch. And it’s twice the CD of zealot’s ultimate.
Basically, to sum up my post, and some of the other issues: Unchained is, currently, better played as a ranged character than as a melee character. She’s in a better spot now than she was before BBB. She’s much more playable, she can be more aggressive, she’s far more likely to die of HP loss than overheat explosion (due entirely to the conversion talent). But she still needs some actual encouragement to play in melee rather than ranged, to have viability on talent rows (she currently has none on the majority), etc.