The several threads in the Steam Forum and here show that Zealot has … issues. And there are always more or less two opposite groups of people where one thinks his current playstyle is okay while the other thinks it is not okay.
Personally, I belong to the second category. Don’t misunderstand I think it is okay for the Zealot to be tanky, to trade hits and to be a zealous murderer. However, I don’t think it is okay that he can do both things at the same time without much issues. His strongest builds relying on low hp simply have no real disadvantage. Why? Because he has to many safety-nets. He has high Hp, he has literally a passive which lets him avoid death and he hides behind a white wall. Legend and above this white wall will simply not decay between waves due to high frequency of ambient elites and horde spawns. It is okay if you chose Zealot for mindless playing. But it is not okay to be super-effective at the same time. He has so many advantages tied to Fiery Faith that it isn’t funny anymore and he has close to zero risk or do you actually know many players which chose Armour of Faith and/or Calloused Without and Within? No? I wonder why? Because it not needed, so nobody has to come here and tell me Zealot has a disadvantage/con because he is risky to play.
So, what to do? Personally, I would be completely okay with making THP counting again versus Fiery Faith as it was in the beginning and which was obviously his intended design. Great powerup, for low overall health. This has however been changed and the bandaid has never been removed. A compromise would be to make THP count “hald” towards Fiery Faith. But for this discussion it is not a route I want to delve in deeper.
The second possibility would be removing Heart of Iron and making it a talent in competition to Castigate. Balance-wise I think this would be a fine solution as for the mindless safety you have to sacrifice dps. But it would take away from the safe Zealot hurr durr and I have little faith to get this through the community. Also, he would only have two passives although we should not go into “but xyz has more/better passives” territory. These arguments are rarely constructive.
Third possibility would be to remove the power bonus for ranged attacks. This would be only a minor influence but it would be a start. It is also where I want to set the main idea for the thread. Instead of just flat out removing the ranged power bonus I have a more “entertaining” approach in the form of a new passive:
- “I am missing a good name for the passive”: Victor gains a ranged power bonus of 30 % (for reasons I have yet to find out). With each stack of Fiery Faith though his ranged power will drop by 10 %.
With this set-up the Zealot would now have two conflicting buffs. Just consider it as him starting to “aim” badly the more zealous he gets. With this set-up he will have an unique playstyle where he has to consider his personal sweet-spot. Going full tank-route/green health Zealot which has less melee bonus but the ranged power bonus (contrasting to BH by less effective ammo regeneration and higher average damage instead of damage spikes)? Going middle ground to have normal ranged play but only getting half the melee bonus? Or going low on health, being the melee slasher he is right now but being penalized in range therefore? Makes him more unique and more interesting and finally he has to balance his health actually again, instead of just going the usual powerdrooling/cheese builds.
Another potential change (which is only a sidepoint of the thread) I consider concerns Heart of Iron. As I don’t think that removing it will fly with the powergaming fraction I consider only a change to the passive. Instead of outright resisting death the Zealot will gain an “Overdamage” bar which pops up if he would drop to zero or below health. The overdamage bar can be reduced simply by killing enough enemies (let’s say 10 horde enemies or three elites in 10-20 seconds, just example numbers). Consider it as some kind of blind rage which he will have to appease. If he does not manage to fulfil the criteria, the damage will take him in and he will then be downed.
What would be the effect of this change? Against hordes and larger ambient elite groups the result would be the same as with the current Heart of Iron. However, if he gets attacked by disablers he will no longer be able to mate with them for 10 seconds without consequences, he will be incapitated as he should. Also, the occasional stabby horde roamer between actual hordes will be a greater risk as the single enemy is not enough to satisfy his overdamage bar criteria. So he will actually be a tiny bit riskier between hordes.
And now I have to sleep -_-