First off, let me say that getting another BBB is fantastic and that I really appreciate some of the weapon changes.
This post is meant to deal not with the buffs and whether or not they are too weak/good/too strong but with the nerfs some weapons received.
There are some weapon adjustments that I take issue with. These concern the executioner sword, the sword&dagger and, to a lesser degree, the axe&falchion and the dual daggers.
Offical/unmodded cata/cata+ shall serve as the basis for this discussion.
In my opinion, some of these nerfs are misguided and unwarranted. There are 3 main reasons for this:
- The reasoning behind these nerfs is flawed.
- The weapons did not even need nerfs in the first place.
- The nerfs greatly impact builds and classes in a negative way.
Let’s look the arguments in detail:
**1. The reason behind the nerfs is flawed: **
“Designer Comments: Executioner Sword is highest pickrate melee weapon for Kruber together with Tuskgor Spear currently.”
I find this to be an example of how merely looking at statistics – and not the context of those statistics – can lead to misguided conclusions.
Why was exe his most picked weapon? Because apart from exe and spear, all Kruber weapons were mediocre at best and plain bad at worst.
Furthermore, spear is very much not a weapon that will make a player get all circles easily.
Instead, exe is straightforward to use and will present you with immediate results (chop elite=>elite dead), whereas spear will stagger more and be way stronger at def and cc – both of which are not well represented at all on the scoreboard.
My thesis: Therefore, players tended to gravitate to the exe instead. The high pickrate of exe is NOT the result of exe being too good; it is the result of all other weapons being too bad. => The reason given for nerfing it is flawed.
The same applies to S&D:
“Sword & Dagger, similar to Dual Dagger has been one of the most highly used weapons of Kerillian for a long time.”
S&D and DD were the only good choices for Kerillian (yes, the difference between her best options and the rest was not that big but still the rest underperformed – hence the current buffs in both the BBB and the mod).
Her other weapons were simply bad or mediocre, leaving only 2 options for people to pick. DD were harder to play, so people would go for S&D despite them being weaker overall. The pickrate of S&D (and DD to a degree) is NOT the result of them being too good; it is the result of all other weapons being too bad. => The reason given for nerfing them is flawed.
2. The weapons did not even need nerfs in the first place:
“Designer Comments: It performs extremely well in almost all situations, whether it’s hordeclear or elite slaying while staying relatively safe. To make the weapon a bit more high risk high reward we’re reducing the animation speed slightly so you have to commit and open up yourself to danger abit more to get the maximum possible output.”
Exe is definitely NOT a safe weapon to use as it only has 2 dodges and a low dodge range. Moreover, it is very slow on all attacks, especially the heavies.
You already have to open yourself up if you want to use the heavies and the lights are slow enough too. It does not overperform in either horde or elite clear, needing both space and well timed attacks.
The mod on which this beta is based also did not nerf exe in any way.
“Having both proficient crowdclear, single target damage and mobility”.
The same applies to S&D again.
It was worse than DD to begin with, dealing less dmg to elites AND hordes and only offering a bit more safety.
Additionally, S&D did not possess great horde clear, since it dealt limited dmg, did not have great cleave/cleave dmg and did not have great stagger either.
Its elite dmg was also locked behind combos, meaning they were suboptimal compared to the easy access on DD. Yet DD was not nerfed as much.
(I will address the issues with DD later on in this post.)
Once more I would like to point out that the original mod made no changes to S&D. (Corrected: See Incan’s post: [BIG BALANCE PATCH] Kerillian)
3. The nerfs greatly impact builds and classes in a negative way:
Exe was hard to use on both Huntsman and Fk and only works well on Gk because you can bring a 2nd weapon to keep you safe.
Yes, the extra crit on l3 is nice but not worth the overall loss of speed in my opinion.
As it was a slow weapon to begin with you needed some form of attack speed buff like Merc to make it do well.
Furthermore, exe cleave is kinda bad on any class except merc, meaning it is a slow weapon with low cleave. Reducing the attack speed further just makes exe even worse on any class except Merc.
Hell, if you want to you could even keep the extra crit on l3 since that attack was usually block canceled anyway because of its horrible swing angle, it would at least give players a reason to use it on anything other than skaven hordes.
S&D being nerfed negatively impacts both WS and Shade.
Both have tmp hp on cirt/HS, thus reducing crit chance means these already subpar tmp hp talents will see even less use.
The same can be said about the stagger talent assassin, which relies on crits/HS as well.
Reducing crit chance leads to an overall big loss of dps for these classes.
Most importantly, however, is that Shade is built around crits.
The aforementioned tmp hp and stagger talents are proof of this but also talents such as +50% crit power talent, +20% movespeed on crit, +20%dr on crit and instakill on backstab crit.
As is evident, a large portion of Shade relies on high crit chance.
Dual Daggers and S&D are used because of A) their synergy with these crit talents and B) because of their synergy with the ult. Removing the crit chance does not only impact the tmp hp and stagger but also a significant part of the class’s identity.
Concluding, I am of the opinion that the nerfs were misguided, unjustified and have a negative impact on build diversity and classes. They are too heavy-handed. Especially so since neither exe nor S&D were the best option for either character – that honor goes to spear and DD – and none of the two saw changes in the original mod on which this BBB is built.
Regarding weapon changes that I am on the fence about:
The highest single target dps in the game. Needed a nerf, plain and simple – agreed.
Nevertheless, for the reasons outlined above, I would like to advocate for a different approach to nerfing them.
Remove the bleed effect and reduce their dodge range back to 1.25.
This would keep the synergies mentioned while still reducing their dmg output vs. hordes as well as their defensive qualities.
As this would break the synergy with the Shade “increase dmg if enemy is poisoned/bleeding” talent
I would change that talent to apply to “enemies that are poisoned/got hit by a crit”.
Overall, I am not quite sure if this would be enough, and the current nerf only affects l1&l2 – not that big of a deal all things considered. Again, I am a bit on the fence about this one.
I am not quite sure what to make of that one. Similar to DD, the same nerfs were part of the mod.
My concern is more about the role this weapon is supposed to fill after its nerf.
For dmg, billhook blows A&F out of the water while offering more range and cc and similar dodge.
For safety and speed, rapier is the superior pick.
All A&F had going for it was the 20% crit chance on push attacks as that made the weapon stand out. Now, I feel it awkwardly sits between rapier and billhook, doing neither dmg nor safety better and being a weaker version of both?
Removing linesman from the push attack was needed. The crit chance I would have liked to stay. Maybe I am not doing A&F enough justice with regards to its overall performance.
As a result, I put it here where I am hesitant to call the nerfs too heavy-handed.
Congrats if you made it through that wall of text.