ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 5:43 am 
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Cornac

Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:39 pm
Posts: 44
I decided, on a whim, to start up a Firmamancer. And so I did. I've mostly been enjoying myself so far: Firmamancers are fairly fun, especially compared to the anorithils they're closely related to, and are generally at a good power level.

Feedback/Comments:

-Basically the first thing I noticed when I first looked at the class was how starved they were for a bread and butter talent. Firmamancer spells all have huge cooldowns: The lowest cooldown for a spell I saw was six. This makes things annoying in general, but especially in the early levels. Early fights basically consisted of Downpour->Hide behind a corner for six turns->Downpour. Things got less aggravating when I added in Stargaze to the mix, but that only helped against trash enemies that I could probably melee to death.
-The Firmamancer generator attack trees[Sunlight/Firmament/Rainfall] are all pretty solid. They all have a nicely blended mix of damage, utility and aoe that vanilla trees should envy[Not for sheer power, but rather for how well they mesh together].
-Rainfall was the tree I invested the most in and thus the one with the most detailed comments. I'll go through them talent by talent:
-Downpour is a nice simple attack which makes up for medium range with a medium area of effect. If it weren't for its astoundingly high cooldown[7], it would probably be the equivalent of Moonlight Ray[3] or Slime Spit[4] for this class. Honestly, setting its cooldown to four would solve the vast majority of my problems with this class.
-Drench is a perfectly good ability that I set to autouse on adjacent enemy and then promptly forgot about. My only issue with it is that its somewhat vague about which resistances it reduces.
-Floodgate is a truly excellent talent. Like literally every other talent, its cooldown is too high, but its spectacular in every other way. Better damage then Downpour, an immense aoe that can hit enemies up to 10 spaces away and a solid knockback effect[Since keeping enemies far away is very important for this class]
-Open the Heavens is probably the worst talent of the four. Not because it isn't effective: It essentially fills up your entire negative energy bar and does decent damage in a very large aoe at a good range. But because its inconvenient to use most of the time. It has a range of seven squares and a maximum aoe of six squares. This is a big problem, since it means its very difficult to avoid hitting yourself with it. It also has a ruinously high cooldown[38], albeit one that's probably well-deserved, since it completely fills up your negative energy bar.

-Firmament is the other tree I used, although I only put two points in it. Its main problem is that there's no other category that does darkness damage and the cooldowns on its spells are simply too high to use them for the majority of your damage. Firmament is a great tree that I wish I could justify using.

-And now, into the meat of the other big problem with Firmanancers: Negative energy management. Its interesting that Firmamancers have no abilities with negative energy gain and must rely on the passives on their "Crescendo" categories to gain negative energy. Its also neat that they have to combo their way into their really big abilities. The problem is that none of this interacts very well.
-The most obvious problem is this: Your big flashy abilities cost a large percentage of your maximum negative energy, which scales with level. But you can only get negative energy in relatively small flat amounts. This isn't so bad early on when your finishers cost only about thirty negative energy and you can generate an average of 6 negative energy per turn. But by level twenty or so, when your finishers cost sixty negative energy and you can generate an average of 10 negative energy per turn, this becomes silly. Things promise to become even worse late game.
-Even worse, you start getting access to other, more reasonably priced abilities that also cost negative energy. Reckoning does maybe two thirds the damage of a similarly levelled Genesis, but for a much lesser price and to a larger area of effect. Considering that your advanced talent categories and your best escape talent both also require negative energy, burning your entire resource pool for an attack only somewhat more effective then your ordinary talents becomes dubious.
-Of course, Open the Heavens turns everything on its head by giving you a full refill without needing an enemy nearby. With Hymn Nocturnalist's negative energy regeneration, you can start every fight with a full bar, drop a finisher and then use Open the Heavens to fill your negative energy up again. This is actually pretty okay since Open the Heavens has a really long cooldown. Hymn Nocturnalist also has the disadvantage of sabotaging your negative energy pool if any enemies are within 5 squares, so I don't think its interaction with the other talents is too overpowering considering this downside.
-This dynamic would be changed a little bit when Open the Heavens becomes too weak to fill 90% of your negative energy bar[If you ever reach that point]. You'd still be able to prep a full bar out of combat, but you'd basically be limited to using only your "normal" negative energy talents for the rest of the fight after refilling with Open the Heavens.
-And of course you'd be basically barred from using anything related to negative energy against an enemy with antimagic, but that's not a problem exclusive to Firmamancers at all.

-Firmamancers also have a pretty pointless positive energy game. They only have two talents that consume it and both of them are in the Firmament tree. It basically has no effect on gameplay, in contrast to the tangled web that is negative energy. Then again, that's basically how anorithils work in vanilla...

-Back to giving specific feedback on talent categories. I chose Heavens as my secondary damage category, so its the only one I can give good feedback on.
-Genesis gives the most useful negative energy restoration ability and also the second weakest in magnitude. This is probably my favorite part of the negative energy generation mechanic for this class. If you just go about your business spamming spells, then you get enough energy to tide you over, but only in a trickle. If you run out of energy and have to retreat, you get a big enough fund of energy to potentially save you. And if all your spells are on cooldown[A state which is sadly quite frequent for Firmamancers], you can always spent an otherwise wasted turn netting a good deal of energy. The finisher for Genesis suffers from the scaling issues detailed above, but is otherwise good. The animation implies that it works as a beam[It doesn't] and the talent doesn't tell you the daze change, which is annoying, but those are small UI issues. The cooldown of 6 is actually reasonable for an attack this resource-limited.
-Revelations gives two fairly useful effects, but I just didn't end up using it that often. I usually reserved my negative energy for attacks/escaping and its duration is fairly small compared to Track/Barrier. I'd probably have used it more often if I hadn't found a thief escort and the Rune of Refleciton early.
-If Downpour ended up being my bread and butter, Reckoning became my turkey roast. It has pretty good damage, better range then most of your talents and a reasonable negative energy cost and cooldown. It also has an insultingly tiny chance to daze[13% at max level?] that seems more like a bug then anything else
-Blinding Presence is, sadly, pretty bad. Its pseudo-Thunderstorm proc happens rarely and the blind effect has a vanishingly small chance of proccing[3% at first level]. The stealth effect is worse then useless, since all stealth does is obscure your screen for no benefit. It having a negative negative energy cost[You know what I mean] is yet another downside, since it just makes your finishers more expensive. I put no points here.

-I invested pretty lightly into Gale, since I didn't plan on stacking physical damage.
-Dynamo is pretty useful for getting enough negative energy to outpace enemies in a footrace and can give you a sizable burst with the help of a movement infusion. I never used the finisher past the starting dungeon, but it seems okay. Less damage and range then Genesis' finisher, but in an aoe.
-Death-Dealing Journey is a really good escape talent at one point. The damage also looks pretty nice, which I think makes it a nice tradeoff: Use it for high damage or for a fairly reliable escape.
-Hurricane's Opened Eye doesn't seem good to me, but I generally tend to underestimate damage over time abilities. I never used it once.
-Scarlet Wind would have been a great ability on any other class. The passive damage is actually pretty sizable, especially combined with all the other sources of passive damage the class has. Unfortunately it requires enemies to get close, which means that Hymn Nocturnalist will make you start hemorrhaging negative energy, which is no good. The global speed boost is pretty decent... except that this class spends a lot of turns waiting for its talents to come off cooldown, so its not very good.

-Forecast is generally a pretty overtuned category. I shudder to think of how silly an adventurer with this category could be...
-Words are, as you described them, Chant-alikes. Words of the Sun and Words of the Storm are fairly balanced, nothing to see here. Words of the Wind, however, is not. It gives a small but noticeable boost to your physical defense, but also gives you a boost to the god-stat: Spell CD reduction. On literally any other magical class, that last would have been broken beyond all measure. On this class, it just moves the cooldowns from "I guess I'll just go Antimagic and bump attack people" to "I'll just try to end fights before I use up all my talents". All of my complaints about spell cooldowns are from a game playing with Words of Wind maxed and on 24/7.
-Forecast Prophet, unusually, is somewhat weak. The retaliation damage is nice early on and fast movement never hurts, but I'd never invest more then one point into it.
-Forecast Seer is really really good. The critical chance bonus is significant and the effects for deactivating the Forecasts are solid. Notably, Words of the Storm REDUCES COOLDOWNS, which will probably be crucial in making this class last in long fights. I haven't invested much into this, but mostly because I haven't had the points to spare.
-Forecast Oracle has insanely high numbers and that's about it. It gives a whopping 34% bonus to lightning and physical damage with five points invested[Maybe even more later on, since it scales with spellpower]. This is a LOT, especially if you add on one of the advanced category capstones. Dealing over a hundred points of damage whenever anyone dares ranged attack you is just icing in comparison.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:28 pm 
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Halfling

Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:12 pm
Posts: 91
I hear secondhand, via in-game chat, that Radiant's Second Sun's beams extend infinitely. As in, if you have 7 range on your beam and cast it at someone 9 range away, Second Sun will still hit it. If you've got 7 range, and Track, and an unobstructed enemy 30 range away.... it'll hit them as well.

While an infinite range Horizon Breaker Triple Danmaku Aftershock attack is inarguably awesome, I think some balancing and bugfixing should probably be in order.

In the meantime I'm going to go abuse my new blight sniper rifle before it gets nerfed, kthxbai

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