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Bombardment Rework (Skirmisher)

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 4:51 am
by Tryble
Skirmisher is a strange class.

I've read the design document found here, and I see what the designers wanted to go for. But there are some strange interactions with skills in the class.

The class very much wants to be a mobile hit-and-run class, and for the most part, does it pretty darn well. Swift Shot is a great example of incentivizing nondamagine movement turns during battle. However, once Bombardment is unlocked, it all changes. Unlocking your first Prodigy and taking Eye of the Tiger causes it all to come crashing down.

Testing on the training dummy, staying on the move with Swift Shot attacks is inferior damage to just plain Shooting. But not by a huge amount, and this is fine. Movement has plenty of useful advantages in battle, not to mention the ammo resupply. But the introduction of Bombardment grants the player an option that does damage so extreme when compared to Swift Shot, that there's no more need to move anymore. Planting yourself in one spot and slugging it out will kill most enemies before your Stamina or ammo is drained.

My winning skirmisher is here.
Moving with Swift Shot attacks does 670 DPS, normal attacks with Bombardment does 1410. This is also with 145% movement speed, which helps Swift Shot become available more quickly.
With Bombardment available, you are occasionally forced to take steps in combat...but now it is done grudgingly; movement is now a cost of doing damage, rather than an enabler as it once was. We step away from the original design of the skirmisher by taking this talent.

In addition, Eye of the Tiger is a crazy good Prodigy for Skirmisher, but it places even more benefit on Bombardment attacks than before. With three attacks in one action, the player can reduce the cooldown of powerful attacks hugely. With the same character, I can alternate between Kill Shot and Bombardment for 2,410 DPS. No movement necessary beyond initial positioning. In fact, standing idle is just as useful for acquiring ammo as movement is. It's not like Skirmisher has any natural movement bonuses. It also makes Bombardment more powerful than Swift Shot for reducing Hurricane Shot's cooldown...
Against tough enemies, I threw out Called Shot talents and Bombarded those cooldowns away; I took steps in combat only when absolutely necessary. Using Swift Shot was actually a detriment, as I wanted Eye of the Tiger to refresh Kill Shot and not Swift shot.

Given the huge disconnect between early and late game Skirmisher, I suggest Bombardment be altered into another form.
Thoughts - I like the idea of transforming the basic Shot into something more useful, and special attacks that don’t have cooldowns. This is both!

With the designer's original concept above this in mind, we should retain Talent 4 as a sustain that alters Shoot's normal properties. But rather than making Shoot into a multi-attack with huge damage, we should make it synergize powerfully with Swift Shot. So how about this?

Rapid Impact
Your basic shot grants you +15% movement speed for 4 turns. The buff stacks up to 5 times, and each new application refreshes the duration. Additionally, at the fifth talent point, Swift Shot deals extra damage equal to your movement speed bonus. The bonus caps at +X%.

This talent is nearly identical to The Eternal Warrior, but activates on non-stamina consuming basic Shots. It cements Swift Shot as the Skirmisher's 'bread and butter' talent as originally envisioned by the designer, and really hammers it in that the Skirmisher is a character that wants to dart around the field quickly and land quick shots when advantageous. Even Eye of the Tiger won't mess this up too badly, as other than Noggin Knocker, this is your next-quickest attack; utilizing rapid Swift Shots to try and lower cooldowns is one of the core mechanics of Skirmisher in the first place!

Losing Bombardment's multishot attack is a huge DPS and utility loss (you're less capable of abusing on-hit effects than before; see the Ivumirin shots in my skirmisher's inventory), so the enormous movement damage bonus to Swift Shot is necessary to retain Skirmisher's offensive abilities, and the movement speed itself is utility enough. At its best, it will deal damage similar to a max-range Kill Shot, and can be fired about as quickly as Kill Shots can be now with Eye of the Tiger/Bombardment support.

Thoughts? This is from the perspective of a Normal Mode/Roguelike winner, so I may not be able to see the whole picture.