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The reason Sorcerer/Sage CC is OP in PvP

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > PvP
The reason Sorcerer/Sage CC is OP in PvP

Tumri's Avatar

02.05.2012 , 02:19 AM | #1
Last Updated - 2/18-12

Apparently the forum mods are redirecting other threads regarding Sorcerer balance here.

I will be leaving my original post intact below for those that wish to read it but I'd rather not limit discussion to just my own ideas because of moderators redirecting other Sorcerer nerf/rebalancing threads here.

-----------------------------------My Argument Below------------------------------

The actual baseline abilities that a Sorcerer has are not the problem. The only thing Bioware needs to do is rework part of the talent trees to disallow overpowered CC heavy specs from making the class far more powerful than it needs to be. Certain types of hybrid specs that take all CC talents from both Madness and Lightning trees break class balance.


The Specs and the Utility

Here are the two PvP Hybrid DPS/CC builds I am talking about in this thread. There are many many variations but the key talents are Wrath, Chain Lightning, Death Field, Electric Bindings, Backlash, and Haunted Dreams.

Deathmark Hybrid - Provides ~1225 sustained DPS. "Lingering Nightmares" vs "Force Horrors" is personal choice. "Force Horrors" provides more damage through Tab-DoTing. "Lingering Nightmares" provides ~11 DPS more against a single target.
Forked Lightning Hybrid - Provides ~1226 sustained DPS. "Forked Lightning" provides more damage from Chain Lightning and as a result it increases your AoE as well as your burst potential. This build is also incredible for heavy AoE situations that arise in WZs like Voidstar and Alderaan.

The obvious issue here is the fact that a Sorcerer using a spec such as this gets all the utility of both Lightning and Madness without sacrificing much.

The standard Hybrid DPS build:

Standard Hybrid - Provides ~1326 sustained DPS.

The standard 31-point DPS builds:

Standard Madness - Provides ~1275 sustained DPS.
Standard Lightning - Provides ~1256 sustained DPS.

A Madness Sorcerer is supposed to have some CC and a lot of Mobility due to a reliance on instant casts and DoT effects.

A Lightning Sorcerer is supposed to have a lot of defensive CC and very limited Mobility due to reliance on hard casts.

The problem is that the hybrid spec has both the Mobility of Madness and the defensive CC of Lightning at the same time while also having greater damage than either spec. The standard 0/13/28 hybrid is extremely good compared to the standard 31-point builds. The CC heavy hybrids break the class.

Sorcerers in hybrid CC heavy specs have the following CCs, Utility spells, and Defensive abilities...

Additional utility abilities added due to posts from the thread suggesting that ALL forms of utility be considered. 1-11 are all personal CC and kiting abilities as before. 12-15 are general utility abilities that may be used for comparison with other classes although this thread is mostly focused on the overly capable hybrid CC spec with particular focus on "Electric Bindings" and especially "Backlash" in it's current state as an AoE immobilize on a 20 second cooldown.

1. 4 second 30yrd range stun with a 60s CD(50s Talented). [Electrocute]

2. A 30 yard range 6s 50% slow with a 12 second cooldown. [Force Slow]

3. A slow build into their main filler attack. [Force Lightning]

4. A 20(30 untalented) second cooldown 150% speed boost that is the best of it's kind. [Force Sprint]

5. A 20 second CD(shortest in the game except for BH knockback with a set bonus) knockback. [Overload]

6. A 5 second root attached to the above knockback.

7. A bubble that provides between 3.5-4.5k absorption. Since average health pools are on average about 16k this can be looked at as an instant 20%-30%+ health gain on a 20 second cooldown. They have light armor but this skill makes them far tankier than most DPS specced players in any situation where the players aren't receiving external heals for extended periods of time and even then it's pretty much outright better than heavy armor. This bubble is not overpowered as it's essentially a counterbalance to their light armor. What makes it over powered is the talented CC that comes with it(More on that below). [Static Barrier]

8. The above bubble has a 3 second AoE immobilize attached to it. The bubble can be Pre-Cast and kept up 100% of the time as a preventive CC that activates when you need it(when your bubble breaks). This can also be pre-cast and Static Barrier can be clicked off manually for a 3 second on-demand AoE immobilize and then the Sorcerer may immediately recast it if timed well. If the bubble is cast on other players then they may also manually click off the bubble(or let it break/expire) to trigger the CC.

9. A 60s(45 if talented) CD single target immobilize. [Whirlwind]

10. A 2s duration stun if the above immobilize is broken by damage.

11. A 12 second CD 30 yard range interrupt with a 4s lockout(6 if talented). [Jolt]


12. A 1m CD 30 yard friendly pull which provides an incredible amount of potential for tactical PvP plays and can save allies from the most dire of situations. [Extrication]

13. Self-Healing(Dark Infusion/Dark Heal while target(s) CC'd or not in LoS).

14. An AoE damage ability with no target cap and a 30% AoE slow to all enemies in area. [Force Storm]

15. A 30 yard range 4.5 second cooldown Cleanse ability that renders many DoTs and debuffs useless. [Purge]


What I'm trying to emphasize is how stupidly well the bottom halves of the two trees synergize. It's obviously not intended and needs to be changed without breaking the full 31 point specs. Bioware needs to move the incredibly good talents further up the tree and move some of the weaker talents down to the lower tiers.


Madness Tree
"Wrath" - Force Lightning damage has a 30% chance to make your next cast instant and do +20% damage. This is the talent that allows hybrid Sorcerers to surpass the 31-point specs. This makes it insanely effective to build hybrid and use the proc for instant cast "Chain Lightning".

"Haunted Dreams" - Causes Whirlwind to be instant-cast and causes Whirlwinded targets to suffer an additional 2 second stun if they are broken out by damage. A very solid CC talent low enough that hybrids have access. This isn't a huge issue on it's own but when more and more CC is added to a hybrid spec the effect is an exponentially more powerful class. This talent doesn't need to be touched but it's definitely an extremely good CC. Madness Sorcerers and Hybrids do not need anything on top of this in terms of CC talents. The Lightning tree's CC talents just push them over the top(more on this later).

Lightning Tree
"Electric Bindings" - Adds a 5 second immobilize to their 20 second knockback "Overload". Tier 3 talent. This talent is fairly balanced for a 31 point Lightning PvP build to be effective but for all other specs it's just a ridiculous amount of utility that they don't need. This needs to be moved up the tree.

"Backlash" - Causes "Static Barrier" to apply a 3 second CC to surrounding targets upon breaking. This is only balanced in the hands of an incredibly immobile caster with little defense. Sorcerers aren't anywhere near being immobile or lacking in defense. I suppose an argument could be made for 31-point Lightning builds to have access to this but it shouldn't be in the hands of hybrids. Period. Big burst damage with CC is dangerous for every single class but Sorcerers with this talent can simply laugh at anyone that attempts to burst them down. As long as they maintain their bubble(30s duration, 20s CD due to debuff) they get a "get out of jail free card" that activates on it's own. They can also abuse the bubble by manually clicking off the buff to AoE CC people with a 20-second cooldown. In addition to all of this if a Sorcerer casts a talented bubble on someone else they also get the ability to either trigger the bubble CC manually or let it trigger through damage. This is just an unbelievably broken talent all around. It shouldn't be able to be activated manually and it shouldn't work with bubbles cast on other players. It would also be wise to implement an internal cooldown on the AoE CC effect.


My Personal Suggestion

I propose that one of two changes are implemented..

Backlash+Electric Bindings moved up the Lightning tree so that hybrid builds do not have access to these talents. - The more preferable option. This fixes the large balance issue while letting people play Wrath/CL hybrid if they choose.

To do this while avoiding a full tree overhaul Bioware can simply make some of their higher tier talents require less talent points to max out while making some strong lower tier talents like Lightning Barrier, Lightning Barrage, and Lightning Storm require more points to max out.

Wrath limited to only affect Crushing Darkness and Lightning Strike. - The less preferable option since this would cause outrage among fans of the Wrath/CL hybrid build. If this is the path that Bioware chooses to take then I would urge them to consider buffing the damage of Thundering Blast to compensate for the nerf to the current top DPS spec in PvE. In my experience(as anecdotal as that is) Sorcerer DPS in PvE is completely fine in even with the Wrath/CL hybrid build and nerfing them in this area without not be wise in my opinion.

In addition to either of these changes there needs to be a fix to the huge imbalance that is the "Backlash" talent. The ability to manually trigger the AoE immobilize needs to be removed. AoE blinds/paralyzes are extremely powerful CCs and to put one on a 20-second cooldown is insane. The only way to make this even remotely balanced is to allow enemies a chance to counter the CC by not popping it with their damage. The talent also shouldn't trigger a CC if the bubble is cast on someone else. It's not balanced in the slightest for this talent to function the way it does right now.


Suggestions from the Thread

Quote: Originally Posted by Sirolos View Post
Make Wrath work ONLY with crushing darkness

Move Backlash to the healer tree

Make Bindings a 2sec root.

Quote: Originally Posted by biowareftw View Post
Much simpler solution. Move madness talent to 31 points in the madness/balance tree (no cooldown on lightning spam).

Solves everything.

Class would be less played (prevent overpopulation which is already a problem) because they would blossom at later levels in pvp.

Class would not lose any pve dps viability or dps role in warzones.

In addition resolve needs refined/looked at, but I think that is fairly obvious to any dev who has actually played a warzone.

Or? Allow class to become even more grossly overplayed then it is due to OP hybrid specs and nerf them into the ground for the same reason ret paladins got nerfed to the ground in years.

Both work for me...but I would rather see a class remain viable.

Static Barrier Math(PvP)

16k+3.5k(Static Barrier) = 19.5k w/16% mitigation = L (Light Armor)

16k+0 = 16k w/24% mitigation = M (Medium Armor)

16k+0 = 16k w/30% mitigation = H (Heavy Armor)


20k damage(6k internal/elemental) in 20 seconds:

L = 11,760(Kinetic/Energy) + 6k(Internal/Elemental) = 1740 health remaining

M = 10,640(Kinetic/Energy) + 6k(Internal/Elemental) = -640 health remaining

H = 9,800(Kinetic/Energy) + 6k(Internal/Elemental) = 200 health remaining

40k damage(12k Internal/Elemental) in 20 seconds:

L = 23,520(Kinetic/Energy) + 12k(Internal/Elemental) = -16,020

M = 21,280(Kinetic/Energy) + 12k(Internal/Elemental) = -17,280

H = 19,600(Kinetic/Energy) + 12k(Internal/Elemental) = -15,600


Now think about this for a second. When will you reasonably be taking 40k damage in 20 seconds? Keep in mind PvE DPS on a stationary target is around 1500DPS for most classes. In PvP you can reasonably expect a player to do ~1k DPS to a human target. For Sorcerers with a single bubble to have less mitigation than the Heavy armored classes with the most physical mitigation in the game two well geared players would need to beat on the Sorcerer for a full 20 seconds without interruption. If a Sorcerer manages to cast a second bubble from having one pre-cast prior to this happening then the Heavy armor is better at an astonishing 80k over 20 seconds. With this in mind it is safe to assume that Sorcerer light armor is more than made up for by Static Barrier.

Static Barrier is not overpowered. It is also not underpowered. With the above information in mind and a lack of offensive dispels in the game we can count Static Barrier as a counterbalance to Light armor. Sorcerers are no squishier than any other class because of Static Barrier and therefore extensive CC compared to other classes is not justified by their Light armor.



There is also the constant whining that "Sorcerers have no Burst". A Wrath Proc Chain Lightning can do up to 4k damage with Adrenal/Relic. This can be followed up by Death Field and Shock for almost 10k damage in 3 GCDs. DoTs can also add a decent amount to the burst if the Sorcerer put up Affliction and Crushing Darkness. This is more burst damage(not to mention it's AoE) than most non-gimmick specced classes can output.

As a comparison a Marauder's hardest hitting ability in Annihilation spec is Annihilate, which crits for 4k. The rest of the damage comes almost entirely from DoTs and weak ~1k damage attacks in this spec. The gimmick spec "Rage" can do one big 5k hit before being useless.


A small back and forth from the original maxed thread. I am leaving this here to show for the 100th time that I am not against the idea of a hybrid spec that is viable.

Quote: Originally Posted by Tumri
Quote: Originally Posted by The_Plum View Post
As a Sorcerer player the hybrid specs are what make the class the most enjoyable experience I have ever had with an mmo. I'm coming from being a frost mage player in WoW, so the playstyle was a natural fit. I don't care if they are op or up, they fit my style more than any other class and that is why I play one.

If BW ever get rid of hybrid specs though the fun factor of the class will drop considerably. The thing is though, every spec has considerable gaps that can be exploited.
Just taking the OP's lightning/madness build that takes every CC ability for example: The build has LOTS of control and the ability to kite exceptionally well. Average sustained damage, okay burst, but very high survivability. In a straight up 1v1 it's pretty hard to kill anybody, but on the flip side you should never die. Your power is in supporting your team with CC and DoTs for constant damage.
The thing I love though is that a variation of the lightning/madness build changes how it plays dramatically. A 13/28 build trades away survivability and control for damage. Once focused you can be fairly easy to drop, but if left alone you will do heavy AoE and considerable single target damage. Your burst is still somewhat lacking, but the big increase in damage on your DoTs is what really makes this spec worth it.
Then you can even hybrid for 1v1 battles. Something along the lines of 18/0/23 plays a game of attrition where you just outlast their damage until your DoTs do them in. You miss out on the control of lightning, and you also miss the AoE from chain lightning.

Take any hybrid spec for a sorc, and it should be easy to see what holes they have in their style compared to what they bring to the table. They all have tradeoffs whether you think so or not OP. If I want extreme cc ability and utility I have to make sacrifices for it contrary to what you have been saying in the thread.

What I think the problem is is that the 31 point talents aren't exciting enough for lightning and madness. I would be okay if they nerfed the specs numberwise, but removing the ability to actually play them is poor. WoW was much more exciting when you weren't forced to go all the way down a tree no matter what. I really hope BW doesn't kill off hybrids. More options is a good thing! Make the 31 point talents more worth it and maybe tweak the hybrid specs from there to bring everything in line with each other.
If you can take a class and have several different but viable ways to play that class then I think that is fantastic game design.
Good and thoughtful post.

I agree that the hybrid specs do add a bit of flavor to the PvP side of the game and builds like the Non-Utility DPS hybrid feel fine. This type of build allows a player to experience the game in a way that is both inventive and fairly balanced. Even with this build the player gains a decent amount of utility through +20% Static Barrier, 1% healing for DoT crits, more burst/mobility than madness or lightning, etc. It doesn't feel overpowered though. The only problem in my eyes is the amount of CC a Sorcerer can attain through the use of an extreme utility hybrid. This sort of hybrid can literally be unkillable while greatly influencing the outcome of a game just through the use of CCs. The spammable burst AoE damage is just a bonus. That's a balancing issue.

I don't really care if Sorcs are allowed to build hybrid. I don't really mind since I'm slowly leveling a Sorc for the rated WZs in March anyways and it might be fun to switch between hybrid, madness, and on occasion lightning. The only thing I mind is the fact that those utility talents are in such a low part of the tree. When I look at some other ACs I see these sorts of very strong spec defining CCs near the tops of the trees. My own Carnage Tree has both CC talents at the highest two tiers. It's the same with my other two trees as well. Operatives, Snipers, BHs, etc. all have such CC talents high up as well. It seems like a developer oversight that Sorcerers are the exception.

I am proposing only one change and that's moving Electric Bindings and Backlash up 1-2 tiers. To compensate for this change Bioware can make some other Lightning talents like the 5 point "Reverberating Force" into a 3 point talent so that Lightning Spec Sorcerers actually have the opportunity to take more optional talents while maintaining their damage since they're in a sort of weak spot at the moment. Doing this would buff the 31-point tree a bit, keep the balanced hybrid the same, and disallow the abusive CC heavy 0/20/21 hybrid.

Sorc leveling is already relatively easy(coming from a Marauder I'm having a much easier time playing a Sorc during questing) and I highly doubt that the loss of these talents at an early part of the game will make it impossible or overly difficult to do certain quests, afterall basic leveling content can't be balanced around people taking specific talents.
I don't care if hybrid specs exist.

I care when those hybrid specs break the game by making a class disgustingly overpowered.

I'm not asking for an end to Sorcerer hybrids.

I just want the hybrids to not have access to the utility talents in Lightning so they're not so incredibly powerful compared to the 31-point specs.

In their current state they're overpowered in every way.

With this change people wouldn't feel stupid for NOT using a hybrid spec because right now anyone using a 31-point build is gimping themselves as Sorcerers.

With this change people would still have the option to spec hybrid and do the same damage, they just wouldn't have disgustingly overpowered utility from BOTH trees.

It's incredibly stupid for hybrids to be like some ultimate fusion of two specs that's far more overpowered than either 31-point build. This isn't Dragonball Z.

I've had the "YOU GOT OWNED BY A SORCERER BRO U MAD?" comment thrown at me too many times so I'll leave this as a response to all future posts that use the same "argument".

It's safe to say that I'm one of the top 2-3 Marauders on my server. I am not some baddie that cries about classes that kill me in a WZ. I make threads when I feel there is a large balance issue that needs to be addressed. When I do make threads I make sure to actually find the reason for the imbalance instead of asking for general nerfs. In this thread I've pinpointed specific things that cause imbalance and I threw out suggestions that I felt would fix the problem while not over-nerfing the class.
P.S. - Don't you dare use these screenshots as "evidence" that Sorcerers are fine. Stomping over keyboard turning Sorcerers that don't use half their CC as a Marauder with glad ranked experience in WoW isn't indicative of balance.
Pre-Launch Hardcore Guild that has moved on to better games.

Zilrota's Avatar

02.14.2012 , 08:16 PM | #2
Because the previous thread has exceeded our normal threshold for thread length, we've started this new thread for the community to discuss the topic.

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Tumri's Avatar

02.14.2012 , 08:18 PM | #3
Could you change the title to "The reason Sorcerer/Sage CC is OP in PvP"? I feel that the old thread title is misleading and doesn't fit the content of the thread as well as I'd like it to.
Pre-Launch Hardcore Guild that has moved on to better games.

Lormif's Avatar

02.14.2012 , 08:19 PM | #4
to continue from the last one, while leveling at release the wzs were 50% sages, so why would you expect that to change?

Tumri's Avatar

02.14.2012 , 08:21 PM | #5
You found that you had a 50% Sorcerer/Sage population on your servers WZs and you thought that was all people that rolled the class because it was cool?
Pre-Launch Hardcore Guild that has moved on to better games.

Aidank's Avatar

02.14.2012 , 08:21 PM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by Lormif View Post
to continue from the last one, while leveling at release the wzs were 50% sages, so why would you expect that to change?
Naturally you would expect sages to roll other classes once they hit 50, but it's more common to have people from every other class rerolling sages.
Quote: Originally Posted by HileyQuiggley View Post
Nerf Grav Round are you serious? What else could we possibly do after that?

Zilrota's Avatar

02.14.2012 , 08:22 PM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by Tumri View Post
Could you change the title to "The reason Sorcerer/Sage CC is OP in PvP"? I feel that the old thread title is misleading and doesn't fit the content of the thread as well as I'd like it to.
Sure thing! The title is now changed. Enjoy your discussion!

Lormif's Avatar

02.14.2012 , 08:24 PM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by Tumri View Post
You found that you had a 50% Sorcerer/Sage population on your servers WZs and you thought that was all people that rolled the class because it was cool?
Well seeing how it is the class move related to a fantasy rpg that most are used to, and what most people who like starwars relate to, yes, I did think they did that.

Aidank's Avatar

02.14.2012 , 08:27 PM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by Lormif View Post
Well seeing how it is the class move related to a fantasy rpg that most are used to, and what most people who like starwars relate to, yes, I did think they did that.
What? You're actually going to argue that star wars fans are more used to sorcerers (seeing as force lightning was used, what twice in the original trilogy?) than they are to either jedi knight or sith warrior spec? Or bounty hunters? Or smugglers?
Quote: Originally Posted by HileyQuiggley View Post
Nerf Grav Round are you serious? What else could we possibly do after that?

Lormif's Avatar

02.14.2012 , 08:28 PM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by Aidank View Post
What? You're actually going to argue that star wars fans are more used to sorcerers (seeing as force lightning was used, what twice in the original trilogy?) than they are to either jedi knight or sith warrior spec? Or bounty hunters? Or smugglers?
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE LEARN TO READ. I said it was the class most related to fantasy which most RPG players are used to.