Update 9 Combat Changes: Part II
In the last part we looked at the various combat changes coming with Update 9. In this part we will be looking at how these changes will affect the gameplay of everyone’s favourite creeps … wargs! I highly recommend that you read part one before reading this article so that you understand what these changes are.
The changes being brought in here don’t really affect us in an appreciably different manner to any other class. The most obvious change we will see if more of our attacks actually hitting freeps since we will no longer be able to miss (unless we are debuffed). There is a little extra advantage here for us though due to how Shadow stance works. Because some of our attacks in Shadow stance can’t be blocked, parried or evaded e.g. Bestial Claws this will mean that such attacks are almost guaranteed to hit every single time. These attacks pretty much hit all the time anyway, but by no longer having the chance to miss either we gain a little boost.
Of course this change works both ways and we will also see ourselves being hit more by freeps.
Summary: Overall neither a buff nor a nerf for wargs. If anything wargs gain a slight boost from this change, but it isn’t going to have any major effect on our existing gameplay.
Inductions & Interrupts
The changes being made to induction and interrupts are quite frankly a awful for wargs. That may sound alarmist, but allow me to explain.
For starters inductions will now be essentially impossible to knock-back. Inductions can only be knocked back once and even that will only add an extra 0.5sec to the duration of the induction. This will make dealing with self-healing classes, for example Minstrels or Lore-masters, a lot more difficult than it is right now, which is saying something.
The changes to interrupts are even worse for wargs. For starters we are not only loosing one of our interrupts entirely, we are also seeing another one have its cooldown increased by 50%. This increase in Sudden Pounce/Pounce’s cooldown is particularly bad because this skill isn’t just an interrupt, it also functions as a stun as well as a combat opener. What we have here is a very firm nerf for not only our ability to interrupt, but also our ability to perform crowd control.
The removal of the Raking Claws Brute Bonus is another serious blow. This skill had a fairly low chance of activating (5% base or 25% enhanced) and because of that the power level of the skill had a check placed upon it. It was a useful skill to employ against self-healing classes who can effectively negate your damage through the extremely high potency that healing currently enjoys in PvMP. This potency makes fighting classes with good self-healing abilities very problematic for wargs and being able to interrupt their inductions would at least give us a chance against them. Unfortunately the replacement for this Brute Bonus is a debuff that increases induction times by 50%. That might look good on paper, but to be blunt it is next to useless. Most inductions are in the order of 2sec or less so at best we will mostly see an extra 0.5-1sec added to an induction. That is of course if the effect even procs at all considering the low chance of it doing so. For an effect with a 5% chance to apply this debuff feels remarkably weak.
The one bright spot in all of this is that when we do interrupt an induction that induction won’t be immediately available again. Even so the induction will be available again after 4sec and with our reduced ability to interrupt the chances are that we won’t be putting very many skills on that 4sec cooldown.
Note: We can regain some of our interrupt functionality by using the trait Enhanced Skill: Eye Rake. This will mean that we once again have two interrupts available on a 10sec and 15sec coodlown. However, it is a rank 11 trait so you will either need the appropriate rank or have to spend Turbine Points in order to use it. It also means sacrificing a valuable class trait slot simply to restore some of our current functionality and those slot are always in high demand. Lastly this tactic will of course do nothing about the fact that we are also loosing one of our interrupt skills entirely.
Summary: Unfortunately the changes here are an out and out nerf for wargs, particularly when dealing with classes that have significant self-healing abilities. It could already be a stretch to deal with classes effectively and these changes will only exacerbate this particular area of existing imbalance. It’s a double blow that we are also seeing our crowd abilities being nerfed into the bargain.
Critical Hits & Damage
The changes here are something of a mixed bag. On the one hand we will be able to land more critical hits against targets, but on the other our critical hits will deal less damage. This probably won’t matter too much in Flayer stance given that the usual approach when using Flayer isn’t to burn targets down quickly. However, for Shadow stance it may prove to be a different story. Using Shadow stance the aim is usually to burn targets down as quickly as possible to compensate for our inherent lack of survivability in that stance. Depending upon how much our critical damage is reduced by the balance between damage and survivability may be thrown off.
The other factor to consider here is that we will be subject to more critical hits ourselves. Again this looks to be something of a mixed bag. On the one hand taking more critical hits is obviously a bad thing, but if we see fewer ‘mega crits’ from the likes of Rune-keepers, etc then this could prove to be a genuine boost for our survivability. Of course that will depend upon how many Critical Protection Boost corruptions you slot. This will probably require some testing to get a fuller idea of how much this will affect our survivability.
Summary: It’s hard to say how good or bad these changes are at the moment. There is the potential for it to go either way for wargs, either with our survivability being improved our our damage being diminished. We will probably have to wait and see how these particular changes bed down first before we can get an accurate sense of how they are impacting our gameplay.