Volley Crossbow is the least used elf ranged weapon. Despite being a shade exclusive, it has no redeeming niche or build to make it strong enough to ever use over the other options, outside of fun. To create a niche build on shade:
- Tweak: Bloodfletcher – Return 5% ammo back
- The cooldown nerf on bloodfletcher was deserved, given shades were spamming hagbanes as much as waystalkers; however, the 1 bolt/arrow back is pitiful on volley crossbow and swift bow. Making the talent scrounger on backstab still means longbow and hagbane gain only 1 arrow back, but allows volley to gain 2 bolts and swift bow 3 arrows. This would make volley and swift bow more appealing without buffing longbow or hagbane.
- Rework: Shadowstep – Retain dash, invisibility, and guaranteed crit. Increase ranged damage (50% ranged power? damage? increased headshot damage? Crit chance? Crit Damage?) for 5-10? seconds and lose melee damage bonus. 10-20% Ammo gain on ult? Conditional cooldown reduction?
- Shadowstep is a rarely seen talent pick that is completely overshadowed by cloak of mist and cloak of pain. Providing a ranged damage bonus and some ammo gain encourages the use of the ult to drop aggro, dash to reposition, then output ranged damage. Given the already powerful melee ult alternatives, removing the melee damage bonus means you don’t get both boosted ranged and melee damage requiring a trade off.
- Additional Buffs:
- 10-20% ammo gain on ult usage (2-4 on longbow/hagbane, 4-8 on volley, and 6-12 on swiftbow). Though it may seem excessive, the conditional and low ammo gain on scrounger and the above bloodfletcher tweak would still make volley shade ammo hungry. Furthermore, volley and swift bow have terrible special breakpoints, meaning you will be spamming arrows to kill a single special with no guaranteed ammo return. Providing ammo regain on ult usage can help assuage ammo issues without necessarily giving infinite ammo. Additionally, this encourages utility ult use such as ulting during a horde to pick off specials or a few elites.
- Cooldown reduction for ranged kills during the ranged buff (up to 20% with 2% per ranged kill or hit or something) or flat cdr (boring option). This optional change combined with ammo gain allows the ult and ranged weapon to be used a bit more often for sniping/hording. Although the ult does guarantee a crit for scrounger procs, at most scrounger provides 6 for volley and 3 for swift bow from the guaranteed crit. (Without considering increased crit chance or the like on ult).
The purpose of these changes is to create some niche that makes elf volley crossbow feel usable and fun, not cripplingly bad as it is now.