As we all know, Unchained has a very unique class design, that revolves around trying to balance risk vs reward that you get by keeping yourself at high heat level.
Sadly, after some time, I have noticed that her kit has some relatively serious problems, which got highligted even more by the current state of the game:
Damage reduction effects do not affect the heat generation of your passive, because it is counted before any damage is applied to you. It’s not a big problem on the lower difficulties, because the heat generated via a couple of missed hits is easily managable and vents through block really fast, but on legend even a couple of cheap pokes (especially from the beastmen horde) can put you into a critical state or even force you to explode. It was not noticable before, because with the Dodge Safety Dance you could effectively stay invulnerable on High heat and have and effectively endless Health Pool thanks to Natural Bond covering your mistakes. But right now, most of the gameplay that I have experienced consist of trying to keep the heat bar low enough so I don’t instantly explode if I take 2 cosecutive damage instances (be it cheap poke from a horde, a stray gas globe and ratling gunner bullets, or an ally friendly fire and misjudging their kiting pattern on the bosss).
Unchained has a passive that gives her bonus melee damage on high heat, but her only option of venting heat with melee is a block-related talent, which makes picking it sort of mandatory, if you want to take advantage of your damage bonus. Other talents force you to take out the ranged weapon for venting, which would endanger you in a melee fight. And let’s not forget that one of those talents is also effectively useless, because the damage reduction does not affect the heat you get from being hit.
Despite, in theory, having a flat 50% damage reduction, Unchained actually tends to be the most fragile character in the team. Because of the way her damage reduction works, she doesn’t really have much of a problem staying healthy, in fact, she actually dies to overheat more often than anything else. This can lead to absurd situations, where the only thing you have in mind during the fight is trying not to explode, instead of actually fighting and helping your team.
It actually puts Unchained players in a strange position, where the more chaotic and out of hand the situation is, the less usefull they become. When your team gets surrounded (for any reason, be it an ambush, twitch mode, poor positioning), most of the characters can use their ultimate to somehow help the team “unscrew” themselves: Waystalker/Pyromancer/BountyHunter/Zealot can try to snipe key thereats and/or thin the horde, Ironbreaker/Footknight/WitchHunter/Slayer/BattleWizzard/RangerVeteran can push enemies back and make room to breathe, even Shade/Handmaiden/Huntsman can use their invisibility to somehow influence the fight, but Unchained has to hold on to her ultimate exactly because of the fact that the fight got out of hand and if she uses it now, she will lose her only hope of surviving overheat.
Because of all abovementioned problems, I have noticed, that a good Unchained players actually tend to play her: either as a “worse battle wizzard”, relying on her ranged weapons for the most part and resorting to melee only when there is no other option, OR focus entirely on their own survival, permanently holding block just to be safe and using gimmicky builds that rely on constant dodge dancing with occasionally landing a single hit on the enemy.
This does not really make for a fun gameplay, when you compare it to other “risky” characters, like Zealot (who actually kind of excells in dire situations, due to his insane damage potential), Slayer (who can still wreck both hordes and elites despite having a “glass cannon” status and no ranged weapo onptions) and Shade (who has insane potential if played correctly). I know, you might not agree with my comparisons, but I am not trying to start a fight here, so please, bear with me on this one.
So, now, when I voiced things that I have personally noticed and wich concern me personally, here are the answers to the points I have brought up:
I believe, that making her 50% damage-to-heat reduction calculate after other ressistances are applied will solve a lot of problems people have when playing the character. This will finally make her talents synergize with her core mechanic and create a more accessible niche for the character and allowing some room for experimentation and tweaking.
Giving Unchained an ability to Vent while holding a melee weapon could also solve some of the problems, because it would make the heat management less punishing (being caught with your ranged weapon out while venting can arguably leave you in even greater danger than not venting in the firs place). It would also have great synergy with the 15% x 3 on vent damage reduction talent, even if the damaga-to-heat calculation is not changed.
This last problem was a result of the two above mentioned ones, so fixing at least one of them would make the situation a lot better on its own. If Unchained will have less problems staying alive in the first place, there will be less problems when the situation becomes dire.
But that’s just my perspective.
Please, share your thoughts in comments and correct me if I am being horribly wrong on something. Just keep it polite and reasonable. I am not trying to antagonize Unchainde Veterans, who have been carrying my sorry Mercenary butt to victory in more than one occasion.
I haven’t seen it as poor, but that just may be how I play it.
I use a 1-2-1-2-1-(2 or 3) build with Flame Sword + Beam Staff and it works very nicely for me. It’s sort of a damage/CC combo build and is a very proactive team play build.
I bring out the staff for quick alt-fire plumes if I need to generate overcharge and/or give a cluster of enemies a good smack, and for higher boss damage. Maybe vent if needed but it’s rarely a case.
The Flame Sword’s heavy attack is a staggering attack that also sets the enemies on fire. The burning effect from UC’s melee weapons scale with Unstable Strength, so spamming heavy attacks both keeps the hordes off balance and does good burning damage. The added effect of Enfeebling Flames which reducing the damage burning enemies do is also a great boon at higher levels since higher damage means more damage shaved off via the percentage.
Note that the Enfeebling Flames effect still applies to immune enemies. They may not take the burning damage, but they’re still technically burning. At least based on what I’ve seen, someone may be able to show raw numbers.
All that said, I agree with a lot of what you say because I see it all the time when I’m not playing Sienna.
I like the idea of damage-to-heat calculated after resistances, but am skeptical of venting with melee weapon. It feels like there’s too much best-of-both-world since she’s already really tanky.
You might be on to something there. As long as it’s talent based so it’s an option. I foresee plenty who won’t like it, but I would rock it.
It’d fit into the play style I described above, at least. It’s basically the reverse of what I currently do.
The damage buff would need to apply to the staff attacks as well before the OC drain occurs since you’ll end up killing yourself melee attacking at high OC just to get use out of it.
I’m entertaining the idea, but don’t want to get my hopes up too high on something that has a good chance of never being implemented.
I’ll be honest, the only thing I actually want is the damage-to-heat conversion part.
The melee venting option I included just as an alternative, because I do realize, that Unchained having both good damage mitigation and an abbility ot vent on demand with the melee out would just make her broken, so it’s “either one or the other” for me specifically.
Wouldn’t it make her the best ranged character then? If you can endlessly spam-high powered ranged attacks at no cost, why even bother with melee? Just like how in the pre-release beta of the game Saltz rapier+pistol ended up being the best ranged weapon in the game.
The way he explained it, you can’t keep spamming ranged attacks. They vent. So you’d get a couple off than then ranged attacks are locked once you have no overcharge. You need to ignite enemies with melee attacks to bring OC back up to use ranged attack again.
It does have drawbacks, so probably some fine tuning on the idea is needed, but it’s far from the best ranged character.
I can’t agree. UC is actually in a really good place, better then before. It did take one big hit, and that’s the loss of the 20% overcharge boost talent. Without that, you can’t ride your heat as high and still keep a safety margin, so you lose quite a bit of damage potential. It was a mandatory talent but it should become a baseline passive to the career IMO.
The rest is basically playstyle. The two scenarios (“worse BW” and “playing for survival”) are both cases of not managing heat properly. Don’t think of her as a melee class. UC is still a Sienna build - use that staff! A lot! Rather, use the melee as a heavy knockout punch after you’ve bombarded the horde into submission.
It helps to know the mechanics - you can never overload from a single hit or spell. Any single hit can take you to the critical line; it’s only at that line that you are at risk of a 1-hit overload. Which means, if you manage your heat, single big hits are not your nemesis, many smalls ones is. Fortunately, Sienna has some great anti-horde staves to counter this nemesis before it gets to her.
Venting with melee is a REALLY bad idea. It will take the risk/reward heat dance and turn it into merely another HP pool. Everything that makes UC great would be removed and it’ll just become another melee bruiser. It would also unbalance everything. Can you see how OP it would be with “Conduit” talent for example?
Side note: The vent one block talent isn’t great for high skill play, but it’s vital as a stepping stone into learning UC heat management, and it’s vital for making an UC bot viable. It should stay in game as is.
This is exactly what I means by “worse BW”. Unchained is a character with a core mechanic that gives a bonus to melee, but you openly state, that players are not supposed to use her as a melee character. Why do you even take Unchained then? Battle Wizzard is played basically in the same way, but gives you more utility via being more mobile, having a way to stagger bosses and in general much better effect for exactly the same playstyle you have described - spam the range weapon and use melee rarely.
Because she can do all the typical Sienna things and also melee. Just because 1 of her several bonuses is a melee boost, does not make her a melee class! She still has Sienna’s staves, which are powerful even without talent boosts, and she still has the tankyness boost from UC. The three things together blend and make her a unique playstyle.
What’s in a ‘melee class’? I mean, even BW melee’s a lot - she just casts more spells then normal. Pyro is top notch melee character, easily does more melee DPS then UC with the right build (although too squishy for my tastes). If you are limiting yourself to “heat up for bonus, then melee, repeat” you are taking away some of the best tools in your arsenal. Use them all!
A strong AOE staff like Fireball or Conflag can murder a horde faster then you can with melee - even counting the full heat bonus. So do that! It’s a waste not to. Then once all the cannon fodder is dead (or at least thinned down to manageable levels), take that overheat bonus you just built up and smash the surviving elites in the head.
Or you can vent down and soak a lot damage when needed. Or you can vent down and spam spells when needed. Or you can heat up and DPS the brains out of something while someone else has aggro. Or you can ride the heat at mid level and wing it through an unpredictable situation. UC can do everything! As long as you can plan ahead for about 1 second - long enough to vent/heat to the appropriate level for the situations - it’s the most adaptable class in the game. Nobody else can go from tank to dps to ranged powerhouse without ever visiting the keep. THAT is why I play UC.
Nope. It’d buff it actually. A lot. Enough that it might be OP, but that could be balanced with tuning. It’s only the ‘vent with melee’ idea that I think would be bad.
It could be fine, but it’d be simpler and easier to balance to just increase the overcharge bar to 50 like we had with the old talent. Same result, won’t bother balance since it’s been tried and tested for ages.
As she should. That’s the entire reason Tranquility exists.
Unchained is overwhelming melee oriented in it’s kit. Even the basis of overcharge being used for damage and for taking damage exists to primarily have you in front lines. 50% DR (to overcharge) 15% DR on venting 30% reduced enemy strength it’s very clearly a melee centric career
BW and Pyromancer can both engage in melee, BW being directly rewarded for it in passive venting, Pyromancer being able to with enhanced crits and the ever present boon of generating temp health. Unchained however trades uses of staff for hits to the person.
The problem remains that while it should be Sienna’s Zealot or Slayer in that it has a crap ton of synergy with being the front line of your composition, it has to disengage too frequently from combat because stray hits, which are now universally harder to avoid, are relatively harder to also get rid of in your vent. The reason her DR is so strong is to encourage a risk reward playstyle where you trade survivability for damage. Can’t do that right now. She simply can’t frontline for her team in bad situations because she’ll explode.
And with a character with THAT many DR and melee talents? That probably shouldn’t be the case.
Elsewhile Ironbreaker gets the ability to self dislodge disablers in a talent, free damage, insane DR in his taunt, and the all powerful nature of a FREE hit every 20 seconds? Comparing that with zealots 15%+ and the ability to flat out not die for the duration of his ult allowing more riskier plays? Having more manageable overcharge wouldn’t come close to breaking her.
But realistically if you want to make her better and allow more skilled expression, all you really have to do is increase her swap speed such that she can actually actively vent in battle. Making it a thing you always think about but something that you can control deliberately from both ends. Else give her an inbuilt talent that provides CDR. Maybe as she kills burning enemies or as burning enemies die.