First off, I just want to say, thanks for reading, this is a long one. ~5-10 minutes of reading? If I could go further to ask for feedback, I’d appreciate that even more.
Unchained is my favorite career by far, she probably makes up a solid 75% of my playtime (It’s a lot of hours, I’m only slightly ashamed), but the longer I play her, the more I notice the conflict in her kit. I feel like I rarely contribute much; I often find myself the last person alive. I have the tankiness to carry games when my team dies, but not the damage output to prevent my team from dying to elites or hordes. Swapping to Pyromancer, it’s difficult to go back. And with Bright Wizard, she’s just so slippery, with massive burn damage to boot and the ability to snipe specials so well she’s competitive with the crossbow/longbow.
Unchained is currently in this strange limbo. She’s the tankiest of Sienna’s careers by far when she manages her heat properly, and she can outright ignore chunks of damage - if she’s at 90% heat and takes 100 damage, 50 of that damage basically just disappears thanks to her overheat gate. Toss on Bark Skin and Enfeebling flames, and you can reduce the damage you take by 79% even with the changes to damage resistance coming soon. She is very arguably the tankiest career in the game. Use Natural Bond, and if you’re playing efficiently you can effectively regenerate about 1 ehp every other second.
But that’s not very engaging. It makes Unchained simply not care about taking damage, and while that’s can be an interesting tank role for Sienna, any unchained that’s mastered the ability to swap to her stave and press ‘r’ is virtually unkillable. Toss in Burn-Bloom and Hand of Shallya, and now you can take constant damage and never need to use healing items on yourself. It doesn’t have much engagement to it, and it certainly doesn’t hit that “High risk, high reward” playstyle the class’s core theme and kit was built around.
Speaking of kit, her kit and talents heavily conflict with both her theme and her main appeal. Maintaining high heat for high melee damage is great, but a significant portion of Unchained’s talents focus on mitigating her heat. Five of her talents -nearly two entire rows- and Living Bomb’s main purpose is removing all heat. I understand that this helps keep her alive if she overheats, but this does two things; it drastically reduces Unchained’s melee damage, as well as reducing her skill ceiling, two things that are bad for her fun factor.
By the way, I lied. It does three things. It also makes Unchained a strong ranged caster. She might lack the damage of her other careers, but her extreme control over her heat gives her one of the best sustained use of staves I can think of. Hefty heat reductions, more control over venting, and an ult that instantly vents all heat (Without cancelling whatever spell you’re currently casting btw) as well as giving you breathing room to continue casting even in the middle of a horde. It’s all a bit ironic, considering she’s the “Caution to the wind fiery melee spellsword”. Meanwhile, Pyro’s melee damage boosts are overall better - sure, crits are inconsistent, but they allow her to chew through armor with horde clearing weapons, and her ranged attacks are incredibly powerful. Unchained isn’t strongly defined with her high melee damage. She does have that raw boost, but it’s not the most competitive, and it’s a constant juggling act swapping back to staves to rebuild heat. My teammates always look at me like I just singed the Slayer’s beard whenever I do it, probably because I did.
So, for a while I’ve gone back and forth making my own talent tree for Unchained. A few of these talents stay the same, namely the best of the bunch plus those that I suppose wouldn’t make sense to change (thp generation and stagger talents). Overall though, I wanted to make something that played into Unchained’s theme, gave players meaningful options that allowed them to decided how they want Unchained to play largely inspired by Battle Wizard’s extremely fun talents, and I wanted to make Unchained more engaging.
My ideas were fairly long, so I have it as a seperate google doc for anyone interested in taking a look at that, Aqshy knows this is already too long. To summarize though, changes to blood magic. You no longer overheat from damage taken; instead, any damage that would overheat you isn’t effected by Blood Magic. It’s risk reward, and you choose how you want that to go; heat management keeps you tanky, but reduces your damage, while letting your heat ride makes you hit like a truck, but you lose out on your tankiness. This encourages adapting to your situation; if you’re in the thick of it, venting to reduce incoming damage could be good. Or, if you’re confident, keep your heat high, and be a glass cannon. This also encourages players to use Living Bomb offensively instead of hanging onto it, opening it up for new and devastating talents. Speaking of, talents were changed almost across the board, focusing on raw melee damage and setting beasties dancing.
For those that don’t feel like reading my short novel though, I’d love to hear, what are your thoughts on what I’ve touched on? Am I wrong, and does Unchained have a very defined role? Or does Pyromancer step on her feet with damage, with Unchained’s tankiness not really mattering?