Developers, implement a simple rule check on changes, treat it like a business...
1) Is this change to help us or to help customers? If it is only to help you, do not do it.
2) Is this change taking away any sense of power or abilities? If so don't do it.
3) Is the change relevant beyond the math weighting of ability? Often ability weighting changes or doesn't always apply, thus making the concessions wrong or poorly implemented.
So Cone Knockback?
Fails on #1, sure it helps you balance, but doesn't help any customer of the game. Very few players have a problem with it being a full 360 degree knockback. Especially considering the games ability to handle facing direction and lag, this is going to 'hurt' players as it will add more confusion. Right now, doing a Maul or a Force Push in the 'correct' direction is hard in PVP as all it takes is one player to have a crappy connection and even the players on nice 15ms fiber connections get screwed.
Does it really outweigh the reduction of the Stun feature? In the match it looks like a nice trade, but in reality, players that were not range stun dependent, will exploit the heck out of this. Sorc/Sage already are tanking in PVE/PVP and now they can FR more often and heal themselves easier. Why not just give them a KILL EVERYONE button?
There are some really strange things with the way the stun balance is being implemented, and instead of working to solve the problem in programming by creating a new dynamic, it seems like the developsers are taking the easy/lazy way out, and altering the current ability set to compensate.
In the live game, taking a Guardian and a Sage at 50, the Sage will be able to take more damage and outlast the Guardian if they focus on force armor, heals, and distancing from damage. And they can spike far more damage as well. How does this MAKE SENSE, when one is a damage/healing class and the other is supposed to be a tank?
This is where the game is off balance. Sure a game cannot ever be truly balanced unless everyone has the same abilities aka HALO. However, in an MMO, cross balancing should be resolution, so that Class A is the balance to Class X, and Class B is the balance to Class Y, and Class C is the balance to Class Z, and on and on.
Using this concept, what profession is the 'balance' to sorc/sage? I can't find one that beat them in a duel or one that can out damage them or one that can take more damage than they can.
Do you want this to be flavor of the month? And we all spend time rolling sage/sorc and stop playing the other classes?
I could be completely wrong, but I don't see the counterpoint or in game proof yet.
Just additional thoughts, and still a lot of concern for 1.4 changes.
You make alot of good points. Sounds like a rock/paper/scissors+Sage/Sorc setup, and balancing like that probably does need to be addressed. My issue has been with changing a basic ability, like the 360 knockback into a cone. What good is that? I get resisted alot of the time with my Sage when I do that anyway. The cone idea is just lame. Reducing the distance of the Assassin's lightning is lame. Maybe having new dynamics to address these issues sound more like the answer. Another thing that might work is if random PvP groups could learn how to work as a team and not run in alone into a heavily-entrenched enemy position to feed enemy kill counts.