Unchained. Good, but not good enough

So this BBB is a step in the right direction, but I feel like there is still an elephant in the room, Unchained. There’s been a lot of discussion on the forums and discords, a lot of ego boasting (how people can play unchained and do well) and it feels like there is a lot of echo chambers. Yes Unchained can be played on cata, but it feels like it’s just staves abuse? It might be that you can make her work, but you have to look from other peoples views. You have to aggressively vent and you’re force to take conduit. New players don’t know how to do that! I agree that the new talent health to cool down is good, but it feels like a horrible band aid and I think it should be a passive.
So with that said I would like people to come up with ways that Unchained could be either reworked or have some new refreshing talents.

  1. Health to CD baseline, You shouldn’t want to overcharge, so it still needs to be punishing
  2. Buff her melee damage, right now pyro is a stronger melee class than unchained. 3. Remove her venting talents, these help her ranged use too much, turn it into talents that change the way her overcharge meter works, in short, make her actually use melee instead of fireball spamming or abusing other staves.
  3. Make some talents that reward blowing up other than temp hp.
  4. Put pre nerf kaboom on unchained? You can tell me if this a bad idea.
  5. Rework blood magic. Right now it feels like a punishment.

Feel free to come with other good suggestions.

10 Likes

It’s difficult to say, because as you say people can do extremely well on her if they spam switch to staffs.

E.g. light tapping with Conflag can absolutely carry, because she’s got so much resource and becomes a Ranged Tank- it’s one of the funnest playstyles for her, imo

It really depends if you want to move away from that kind of thing and actually make her a complete Melee Career with some kind of Ranged off-Talents to make them still useful, as some of them require too much building to reach any sort of break points.

The weird thing is, Battle Wizard with Fire Sword, Volcanic Force, Rechannel and Fireball, is the kind of frontliner I expected with Unchained. Lots of Melee damage/CC, which buffs her Staff to do one big blast, and then back to Melee.

1 Like

I play Unchained when on Sienna. Blood Magic is definitely overrated. When a couple slave rat hits can fill your heat bar in cataclysm, it becomes a chore, as the increased melee damage is not worth it. No one (and I mean, NO ONE) dies as Unchained from actually having their health drop from damage; it is always exploding from overcharge. As you correctly pointed out, Pyromancer destroys EVERYTHING in both melee and ranged with high heat critical hits… and has a far superior career ability.

Time for a rework to be a full close range fireball of destruction. I would really like it if she became the Sienna dual melee career now, with more talents like the ones added in this beta (such as the flame aura). Imagine her being the only career that does NOT explode from overcharge, but she can just choose to continue to take those hits at max just to dish out insane melee damage as much as her health allows. I would like that much better.

I would think a small rework would work for Sienna.

I thought since Sienna is a Melee focused career why not play into that?
at 100%+ overheat charge Sienna takes full damage from enemies and casting ranged spells will hurt her rather than making her explode. The stronger the spell ( Charged level ) the more damage she takes.

I’ve been having a blast on unchained in Cata…

I dont really say that as a brag, as she’s just about the only character that I can reliably hold my own with on Cata.

Blood Magic is amazing if you play around it, make sure you vent whenever possible to keep yourself from going over the edge and only ever intentionally heat up when your ability is off cooldown.

I use beamstaff, mainly to spam ‘shotgun’ blasts into a horde to both gain Barrage stacks and to reach max overheat, then swing into the crowd for insane damage. The talent to ‘vent on blocking’ is essential to safely cool down again if everything isnt dead by that point, and after each fight burn off THP to cool back to zero.

You are more vulnerable to consecutive small hits than other characters, but far more resistant to big instakill hits. But really on Cata, very few characters can survive multiple hits anyway so I see it as a net gain. The biggest threat by far is AOE effects that you cannot vent-block, so you have to position extra safe against these threats.

edit: im not against reworks, im just scared they will give her the huntsman treatment and make her braindead to use, stripping her of any interesting risk/reward.

Any change needs to maintain her identity, I dont want another spammy facemasher. Unchained screams risk vs reward and her playstyle needs to reflect that, and not in the way that zealot has ‘risk’ but completely ignores all risk with his talents.

3 Likes

DISCLAIMER: The closest career to UC in the game is Zealot. Tanky, risky (at least in intent), melee-focused but with access to range. All following suggestions are thus made with this career in mind as a baseline for comparison.

  1. Reducing the hecking ult cooldown to something viable. 2 minutes for a fart that does nearly nothing on its own other than very light damage and auto-venting is ridiculously bad compared to all other ults (~1m should be good*). Why? Reducing the risk of staying at high overcharge in melee would incentivize playing at high overcharge (which, by far and large, is the intent of the career but isn’t reflected in how to actually play her as effectively as possible right now as ranged UC is the meta playstyle);

*Conversely, Bomb Balm should increase her cooldown (after the baseline reduction).

  1. Increasing the base stagger of the ult. It should not be part of a talent, UC needs ways to fight her inherent shortcomings better (ulting out of a bad situation by staggering enemies is a massive help that many, many careers have. UC can it do it already, but much less effectively);

  2. Adding a passive that increases her overcharge threshold. It’s not pleasing to instantly blow up when a slave rat breathes on your neck in Cataclysm. Another way to combat this would be to just reduce the amount of damage converted to overcharge. 30% would be good;

  3. Nerfing or removing reduced vent costs talents that do not take advantage of melee gameplay (Dissipate is fine, Conduit’s increased venting rate is interesting but the venting damage reduction does not have its place so long as it doesn’t interact with melee);

  4. Buffing and adding talents that make her unique and help forge UC’s identity: playing with fire, melee-style. Here’s an example: the old Searing Grasp and new Heavy Attack Burn Push allow you to ignite enemies by performing a push attack. This talent is bad because its effects are very limited, however if it gave all attacks an added DoT effect (that stacked on top of base DoT effects), it’d be another story.

  • Chain Reaction is one cool talent in that regard. Give us more explosions, screw FPS. It still needs a buff though, even if it was just buffed.
  • Like Zealot, some talents could also use Unstable Strength stacks for new effects. Attack speed, increased damage for DoT effects, damage reduction, et cetera. Just give them more value.
  • Mainstay and Bulwark on a melee blender…? Bulwark makes some sense (even if it’s utter garbage and needs a buff) with high-stagger weapons like the Flamesword, Dagger or Flaming Flail, but Mainstay does not have its place. Give her Smiter.
3 Likes

Buffing and adding talents that make her unique and help forge UC’s identity: playing with fire, melee-style. Here’s an example: the old Searing Grasp and new Heavy Attack Burn Push allow you to ignite enemies by performing a push attack. This talent is bad because its effects are very limited, however if it gave all attacks an added DoT effect (that stacked on top of base DoT effects), it’d be another story.

Heavy Attack Burn Push is in a decent place now, to be fair. I use it on the mace since it makes use of push attacks anyway, and having a huge push angle means you can wade through crowds like other tanks (sienna has low push angle on all weapons), The extra dps on the crowd does help since you’re going to be hitting an absurd number of targets with it.

Perhaps its DoT could do with a tick or two more, but I wouldnt want to see it replaced.

Nerfing or removing reduced vent costs talents that do not take advantage of melee gameplay ( Dissipate is fine, Conduit ’s increased venting rate is interesting but the venting damage reduction does not have its place so long as it doesn’t interact with melee);

Agreed. ‘vent on block’ is well designed, the others promote ranged gameplay too much.
A suggestion:

Flame Barrier : You can now vent whilst holding a melee weapon. Doing so ignites enemies in an AOE, scaling both damage and size based on your overheat

Like Zealot, some talents could also use Unstable Strength stacks for new effects. Attack speed, increased damage for DoT effects, damage reduction, et cetera. Just give them more value.

I dont want to see attackspeed added. Every career is slowly becoming all about attack speed. I’d much rather see a different approach, such as adding a burn debuff on all melee attacks when over the critical threshhold.

This brings up my issue with the stagger talents overall- whatever you give a career you’re locking out weapons that others want to use, theyre restrictive in a totally arbitrary way. The stagger talents need to be tied directly to weapons in my opinion.

1 Like

I support this notion. Even right now with Burning Dregs she already is at close to zero risk. And people still have the gall to ask for a reduction of the cooldown timer of Living Bomb which is (after chosing a level 30 talent) one of the strongest active skills in the whole game.

Any more risk reduction would ruin her completely. I am also against making her another Slayer/Zealot. A brainless melee brawler. The charm of Unchained is the constant switching between melee and range as well as her flexibility. We need unique careers, not more left-clicking attack speed builds. Unchained iteration in BBB is already excellent. There are a mere three changes I would suggest to complete it.

2 Likes

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

5 Likes

Definitely agree with making health to CD talent a passive. It’s a no-brainer choice atm but also makes her feel worth picking.

Why not join the Fatshark Discord https://discord.gg/K6gyMpu