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Time for a PvP Fix

First BioWare Post First BioWare Post

fungihoujo's Avatar

11.26.2012 , 09:15 PM | #1
When 1.2 came around, we saw two things. The rise of many other classes, and the monumental crash of our own. Since then, we are a class that even other classes agree can't 1v1, we are a class optimized for a pvp game style that isn't part of this game. We finally caught a break when they gave us a lightning talent that allows us to stun with our static barrier- the bubble- but the minute marauders began to complain, BW promised them this would get a nerf.

Right now many players have returned for the f2p launch- to see what has changed, what is new, and most importantly- what BW has done to restore the faith of all the sorcs who quit following the 1.2 NGE patch that gutted the game. Needless to say- most aren't impressed they're coming back to yet another nerf aimed at appeasing the class currently doing best in pvp.

The stun bubble is already the subject of a long post- so I won't go much into something here that BW has already decided to nerf. I'll instead go over some things that, in return, might make the nerf manageable and stop making us a joke.

What makes a sorcerer poor for pvp?

Ultimately, many of us likely realize we're being targetted, locked down, smashed to bits nonstop every game- and those that have multiple characters see the difference right away, but where is the problem?

Many look at the end of a match and see, as a sorc, they aren't actually doing less healing or damage than other classes, yet as more and more games go by it becomes clearer and clearer you offer less as a sorc.

The problem isn't the overall sustained DPS. Sorcs are good at cheesing the end of match numbers- lots of dots, lots of aoe, and most importantly lots of slow damage and healing. What we don't have is the burst, and the pressure.

Consider if you've ever specced a healing sorc before- when almost any enemy starts to attack you, you have to move- look for LoS from snipers, or try to run from mara, juggs, sins and PTs. When a DPS sorc attacks you though- you do not. You don't worry about being locked out and killed, because you know there is no chance a sorc is going to kill you faster than you can heal up, or lock you down long enough to kill you.

There's two reasons- one, they lack the damage and the density of interrupts that allow that damage to outscale a healer's healing, while all those other classes easily have that ability. Two, sorcs give you no reason to move- other classes if you stand still you'll be obliterated, but against a DPS sorc you can stand still and heal, and it's like being batted by a wet noodle... having to move as a healer though means losing out on healing, so any other class simply has to keep pursuing you and you will die sooner or later.

To make it worse- classes like a marauder will keep you in place, while pounding you with interrupts. When we root another class it gives us a bit of time to move away- when we're rooted though, it gives other classes time to lock us down and lay on damage.

What can we do well though?

We can kite and wear down an enemy over a long period of time. Even so though- other classes have anti kiting tools of their own, so while a game like WoW has kiting classes that are fairly one sided- even kiting we don't have a significant advantage when force charge is on such a short CD, and our kiting abilities are not as good as they should be.

We can support. The stun bubble is a big part of this, giving us the ability to provide good CC for capping. Without it, we generally still have support tools for healing with a tank backing us up.

What can we not do that makes us in need of a fix?

We don't function in the WZ that exist in the same way others do. Now, with the bubble stun we temporarily had a function- to control people going for objectives in WZs- but when that is nerfed, we become very limited in usefulness.

Our lack of burst gives us almost no use on offense and in stopping enemy ball carriers. Simply put, we cannot down a healer defending a turret like others can, we cannot even handle non-healers because our strength is kiting- which takes time. That might be fine in some cases, but in this game you have a very small window of opportunity to kill all defenders and make a capture before they respawn- sorcs are not built for that. Worst, our best builds even further hurt our damage output since we almost must lightning hybrid to have any survivability.

As healers, we have some some defensive function- but, it is no different from any other healer, and we are as if not more reliant on having a tank support us. When targeted, no tank is going to do much to stop a pair or trio of high burst classes from tearing us to pieces. Ultimately, sustained is weak in pvp for a reason, and even weaker when objectives rely more heavily on burst in this game. We are simply poorly made for this game's pvp.

What to do about it?

We need to be brought in line with other classes. We cannot be inferior in defensive CDs, escapes, mobility and burst all at the same time- it doesn't work period, and it isn't working.

So, the main two things that ultimately need to be buffed for when they nerf the bubble stun are- output and mobility. We need to be able to put out damage numbers that can compare burstwise to other classes, and healing numbers that can reasonably keep someone being attacked alive- right now, healing not only is too easy to counter, but damage is so high you don't even need to for several classes. We also need to be able to have great mobility if our only survivable feature is our movement.

I think if these things can get a serious look at and a significant boost- we may see sorcs being contenders once again as they were pre-1.2. It will need to be significant though, because the nerf we got in 1.2 was massive.

Here are some suggestions for things that could achieve this.

fungihoujo's Avatar

11.26.2012 , 09:19 PM | #2
Baseline Improvements

Ideally we want to see all specs having viability in pvp- no more needing to hybrid, and no more disappointing 31 point talents. We shouldn't be at a point where everyone considers it near insanity to not be a hybrid- part of this was caused by the bubble stun, and before 1.2 it was common to hybrid for chain lightning instant procs- but even between 1.2 and the bubble stun, sorcs were commonly going hybrids, not because hybrids were good- but because pures offer almost nothing.

Crowd Control
- we have no root, this must be changed. We also have no way to perma snare in a game where everything that wants to kill us is able to gap close on short CD or hit us at ranged at our kiting range, and most have spammable snares, some even aoe snares.

Force Slow- I suggest putting a 2 second root at the beginning of force slow. It has a 12 second CD, putting it close to where classes like juggs/mara have their baseline root at. Improve the slow to the full 12 seconds- again, if we are meant to be the kiting class we shouldn't have our kiting tools be some of the worst in the game.

Overload- Make it radial again- making it conal was the stupidest thing ever, considering it's main use is to try to get someone off your tail. I'm not sure why we got this nerf in the first place, frankly I don't want to know. Add a 50% snare for 3 seconds to it, as is without lightning spec it's very easy to just walk right back.

Whirlwind- Automatically instant. Other classes get aoe mezzes, including marauders for no logical reason- which are instant to top it off. I don't mind WW being single target- but at least make it instant so it can be used when you need it rather than easily interrupted.

CC Breakers
- We are a woefully easy class to shut down, interrupt and prevent from doing anything for an entire fight- and as an extremely squishy class, that's even worse. As a class that relies on mobility as our number one way to live (we have zero defensive CDs on top of the lightest armour in the game)- we need abilities that give us mobility.

Static Barrier- while this ability is up, the buff grants interrupt protection.

Force Speed- this also breaks and grants immunity to roots at baseline, as it always should have- if roots are going to be defended as 'off resolve because they're actually considered 100% snares', then force speed should ignore roots as it ignores snares. The ability is too easy to counter with a stun, mez, pull or leap already, that roots can shut it down too is terrible.

Recklessness- also breaks CC on use

Unbreakable Will- (and all baseline CC breaks of the same type for all classes), include 2 second total CC immunity, I think it also should automatically be restored on death while in WZs so you simply have one CC break to use per life.

Damage and Healing
- burst heal ability needs to be improved, healer mobility must be improved, burst damage needs to be improved

Dark Infusion- 3 seconds is an absurd length for a heal that ultimately heals less than an instant smash, instant rail shot or instant annihilate- etc... I'd suggest leaving the heal value untouched, but reducing the cost by 5 force, and the cast time by .5 seconds. This would give us enough breathing room to heal, while making it at least slightly harder to interrupt- as is, you start a 2.5 or 3 second DI and even clickers are having an easy time interrupting it.

Dark Heal- change this entirely. Right now this heal is at a point where it looks like it doesn't know what it is supposed to do. Ultimately, it's a heal that, for a corruption healer at least, is over half the cast of a DI, while costing about as much but healing half as much. Utlimately- it looks like an emergency heal, but it is so weak it is pretty much ignored. Instead- make this an emergency heal to handle burst damage or get off a heal when you're being hounded. Increase the cost to 80, keep the cast the same but make dark mending also reduce it's activation half a second, and make it heal as much if not a bit more than DI. This way- it'll be useful when you need it, but spam it and you'll run dry very fast.

Static Barrier- this really needs to scale. When I was in champ gear with 15k health and this protected me from 3.5k damage it was great, especially since most classes weren't hitting for that all the time. Since then though, abilities that once hit me for 3.5k are now hitting me for 7k, while static barrier has barely improved. Double its scaling rate so it can at least try to keep up with how out of control TTK is.

All baseline damage abilties- scale them better, almost across the board every one of them should be doing considerably more damage than it is right now to be competitive with other classes. Also, make Crushing Darkness internal damage rather than kinetic.

Tree Specific
- haunting presence- 2% healing/point
- dark mending- reduce DI to 2 seconds, DH to 1 second
- Force Bending- if you leave DI at 2.5 seconds- bring back the instant DI proc (just make it so it can't double proc this time). Change Revivification to 'duration increased by 5 seconds'.
- Sith Purity- On top of what is already there, it also removes one extra condition, and it can purge all conditions including CC (adjust merc/operative heal specs accordingly)
- Fadeout- Force speed now grants 50% chance/point to grant CC immunity for duration
- Conspiring Force- increase snare to 20%/point
- Innervate- is immune to interrupts, like ravage, also grants 50% more healing on the final tic
- Force Surge- make a 1 point talent that puts consumption on a 1.5 second CD but also removes it from the GCD

- Electric Bindings- change it to direct damage done breaks it, not aoe or dots
- Lightning Storm- buffs CL damage by 20% as well for that strike
- Poltarity Shift- also grants mobility while casting, reduce CD to 1min 30 seconds.
- Conduction- 2%/point
- Thundering Blast- is instant, doesn't auto crit but with affliction up it does double damage
- Backlash- we all know this will be nerfed (BW said so). I'd suggest, remove the ability to declick buffs, and make this root for 3 seconds at no resolve cost

-Sith Defiance- 2%/point
- Oppressing Force- reduce stun CD by 10 sec/point
- Parasitism - 1%/point
- Madness- you can also move while using force lightning
- Death Field- affects 5 targets, has a 5 seconds 50% snare on it
- Haunted Dreams- also removes all dots, or, makes WW not break on dots
- Creeping Terror- duration 9 seconds, does double the total damage it does now, also, if purged gives no resolve/resolve ignoring 3 second stun to purger.

Those are the ideas I can think of- now, if every single one of those were to happen that would be radical- I am aware of that so don't post with 'omg you'd be so OP with all that!' my hope is that even a few of these would occur- specifically some changes to the top of the trees, and some of the mobility changes. Utimately- Creeping Terror does terrible damage, and so does Thundering Blast- which is a big part of the reason why since day 1 sorcs have been using hybrid specs more than pures.

Make pure builds worthwhile, make burst possible, make this squishy class have mobility to make up for it, and give us a chance to get our spells off without being a cakewalk to interrupt.

Diablo_Cow's Avatar

11.26.2012 , 10:07 PM | #3
I like your suggestions, all of them are great and anyone would help immensely.

Another thing I thought that might help with lightning DPS would be to add in an auto crit to chain lightning when crushing darkness is active on to Conduction. To help keep CL from being spammed I also think that the cooldown should not be affected in the same way that Lightning Storm finishes CL's cooldown.

Vladnar's Avatar

11.27.2012 , 01:46 AM | #4
Bump, is true this.

We can support. Heal a teamate in a 1vs1 for example by healing him and dotting the other, but anyone can do this, pretty much or at least just dps the other guy down in only a fraction of the time.

I like pvp as a sorcs but its quite hard work and often demoralising, but you do what you can with the tools at hand.

What we'd do for a bit of proper burst damage.
The time of the Empire is now truly upon us

Vladnar's Avatar

11.27.2012 , 01:50 AM | #5
Crushing Darkness could also apply force slow AND when you get sorcs dots on you then its time to go "aaarrrgggh get them off" not argh just leave them they don't hurt very much....they need to cause real pain in line with burst damage strikes.
The time of the Empire is now truly upon us

Jaiyne's Avatar

11.27.2012 , 08:25 AM | #6
Good post.

The biggest fixes I would like to see are:
- DoTs hitting way harder than they do
- a complete redesign of Consumption for healing's a horrible design IMO.

on some dead servers atm

fungihoujo's Avatar

11.27.2012 , 11:52 AM | #7
I agree- consumption right now is so bad that even before the bubble stun- you weren't a viable pvp healer unless you hybrid lightning simply due to lightning effusion being that much better. The bubble stun just made it even better.

Ultimately though- people weren't so much speccing lightning because it was good- they were doing so because corruption's force regen- consumption- was that bad.

Squishiest class in game, no defensives- and our resource regen is based on dealing huge damage to ourselves? Terrible.

I'll also point out something should be done about madness procs- crushing darkness proc is great, that's a good ability... lightning strike though does worse damage that most other classes instants, and it shows because using the proc for instant lightning strike is a loss of dps over simply continuing to use force lightning spam. Either LS damage needs a boost (it does, a big big one) or make the proc also remove the GCD of what it procs so that we can continue what- apparantly- constitutes being a mobile dots class to BW.... standing still and channelling force lightning over and over.

islander's Avatar

11.27.2012 , 12:59 PM | #8
lightning strike blows. So does chain lightning for that matter.

I think the key problem with the class is that the only basic DPS attack worth a poop is force lightning (and the ability to chain it non stop, proc wrath, etc).
Gėllies Erimosi, Imperial Deadeye
<Hex> Prophecy of the Five

AdmiralParmesan's Avatar

11.27.2012 , 06:51 PM | #9
Bumping for effort. You have some nice points that you made in there fung, hopefully bioware will listen. I've been trying to increase awareness to fundamental sorc problems in pvp for a while now with little success but I hope this will grab more attention.

Maybe I should start posting on the marauder seems like I would be more likely to get developer feedback if I post over there.

AdmiralParmesan's Avatar

11.27.2012 , 07:21 PM | #10
Also although its not nearly as relevant I would personally like to see an improvement to the sorc melee abilities. There is some real untapped potential there that could be used to help the sorcerer class in pvp without effecting pve much. As currently our melee attacks are worthless, aside from rare situations where you may want to hit an assassin that is force cloaked, and really cuts down on our available options.

It is a fundamental problem that pvp is all about burst damage, yet we deal dot damage and have no dot protection. Assassins, Operatives, Sorcs and even Marauders can cleanse dots off themselves with certain abilities. Dot damage based classes always have a "ramp up" time before the damage becomes optimal. It is a huge hurt against all sorc dps specs that they rely on dots to produce optimal damage and yet there are a variety of ways to remove dots. The only way to "guard" your dots is to cover them with force slow, which as it turns out only helps you keep your dots on a sorc/sage target. GO FIGURE

Watching two skilled sorcs duel is actually very funny. If they both know when to use purge and what to interrupt it will take forever before the duel is finished since neither of them can produce decent pressure.
Depreva (Sith Sorcerer) - Prophecy of the Five-