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Operative DPS Brainstorming

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Morde_'s Avatar


Morde_
10.28.2013 , 05:59 PM | #21
The two main problems with Concealment are lack of sustained damage (mostly from energy management issues) and lack of survivability. Lethality damage is moderately good (some say it's "fluff", but a triple cull on anyone will be insane damage), but again the spec is crippled by virtually no survivability. The larger of the two issues is most certainly survivability.

In this thread already are dozens of ideas to improve both aspects. Ones that I am personally in favour of (that I feel balance us but don't make us overpowered):

For Damage:
  • Granting the ability to use Hidden Strike while Sneak is active (but only knockdown when from stealth).
  • Reducing the cost of Explosive Probe for Concealment so that there is some more sustained damage (currently it costs too much and can quickly leave an Operative out of energy). This can also be acquired by reworking energy management or adding more useful talents that address energy regeneration.
  • Adding a strong healing debuff to Acid Blade or Laceration. This will add utility to Concealment for lowering the global TTK (which is currently too high imo) and intrinsically buffing Concealment damage against healers without people screaming nerfs about huge Concealment numbers (lol).
  • Making Acid Blade a passive (permanent) effect.
  • Hidden Strike from stealth should be 100% crit chance. There is nothing more unsatisfying in this game than being a "slippery" snake and working your way around to prepare burst on a target in the back only to open up on them with a lackluster 4k hit.
  • Make Tactical Advantages last longer for DPS. Think of how long Marauder stacks last for. Think of how long DPS tactical advantages last for.
  • Granting CC immunity for a few seconds after exiting stealth. (Think of Unstoppable in the Vengeance tree)

For Survivability (both Lethality and Concealment):
  • Move the heal on Shield Probe collapse from the Medicine tree to the Concealment tree, and buff the amount that it heals (it's way too weak right now).
  • Reduce the cost of Exfiltrate or have some sort of proc to make it cheap/free. (DPS only, not for healers)
  • Merge Shadow Operative Elite and Quickening so that both Lethality and Concealment can acquire the benefits of both. Don't allow the Medicine tree to acquire them, though.
  • ********** Change the Cloaking Screen mechanic to be "stronger", i.e. more like the Marauder vanish. Perhaps change Sneak/Cloaking Screen so that AoE damage/Stealth Scans do not bring us out of stealth while either is active. This should only be for DPS specs, as it would be overpowered to give this to healers as well. This is a big one. Our biggest defensive cooldown as concealment should NOT be as fragile as it currently is. **********
  • Implementation of an AoE damage reduction talent so that we're not torn to shreds by 3 smashers. Put this HIGH in a DPS tree so that healers cannot obtain (Operative healer with AoE damage reduction would be too strong).

Also, PLEASE ADDRESS OUR SET BONUSES. THE PVE SET BONUSES PUT THE PVP ONES TO SHAME.

TL;DR: There's lots that can be done (and needs to be done) for Operative DPS. Give us something useful for 2.5 please.
Scold
<Hey im washed up>
carried by jonie

Rayinte's Avatar


Rayinte
10.28.2013 , 06:10 PM | #22
I've been playing Concealment Operative for a while now, and I agree with many of the previous posters that the class has some glaring issues.

- Hidden Strike as a "once per fight" skill is annoying. We wait so long for it, and it's just the opener.
- After the opening, energy maintenance is frustrating.
- After the opening, sustained damage is difficult, requiring a lot of Rifle Shot spam.
- Positioning is hugely important for Backstab, but it's often difficult to tell where the target is facing. Even with human enemies, I'm often not "behind" the target even when it is clearly facing the tank, who is standing directly on the target's other side.
- We need a better, cheaper, more consistent way to close gaps. Roll is too little, too late, and is so energy-expensive that it's often more effective to just run to the fight the normal way, spamming Rifle Shot. Sneak's speed boost feels insignificant compared to Marauders that can just leap *directly* back into the action.

There's a lot to like about Operatives; few abilities require channel times, we're able to do most of our stuff "on the move," the animations and visual style is awesome. But playing them is frustrating.

Norblick's Avatar


Norblick
10.28.2013 , 08:13 PM | #23
Hello,

I play Operative Lethality in PvE HL.
The DPS are really good, you can easily reach 3k dps and there are a lot of nice AoEs available already.
Still you could make weakening blast effect only affect the agent who casts it (like the correction you made on deathmark effect in the sorcerer's madness skill tree)

Our defenses are weak, my idea is to add a bonus like the one present on the marauder's carnage skill tree, for instance Shiv or Backstab could grant us 1 or 2% (or more) dodge with 1 or 2 stacks (like with Frenzied Sabers)

Zavi, Battle Meditation

j-cart's Avatar


j-cart
10.28.2013 , 11:39 PM | #24
Disclaimer: This perspective is taken mainly from a PvP standpoint. I have played all of the SM content on my Scoundrel and have completed some of the older HM/attempted NiM content as well. However I do not believe I have enough knowledge to support these claims for high end PvE, though I do believe everyone will enjoy these changes. I know there is another mirror faction, however because this is about the Operative advance class, discussion will use Imperial and Agent terminology. Please enjoy the read (crl+f THX-1138 for skill changes), it was extremely fun to write this out


As an Operative I can understand the problems with trying to change this class. There are two facts that are absolutely true:

1. Medicine Operatives have the ability to maintain a consistent high amount of healing while under pressure.
2. Lethality has the ability to post the highest amount of total damage (as long as a cleanse is never used) and has the potential to deal out a substantial amount of burst when the stars align (the glorious three cull).

This is why Operatives/Scoundrels are a top class; we are capable of these two facts without having to take a set bonus. Based on gear and stat optimization, we have a potential that is unmatched by others. Then there is our Concealment middle tree and it is clueless on what it is trying to be.

I am actually content with the current damage output from the concealment class. The Operative is a multi-function class, we should not be better than others in DPS (especially pure DPS classes ie, Marauders and Snipers) but we should have better utilities. For concealment that means better single target control and this how I think the class was envisioned to excel at. For those that remember from the glorious launch month, Concealment had a 5 second knockdown from Hidden Strike and the Resolve bar functioned in a much different way that allowed for an Operative to practically “stunlock” an opponent. Damage output was never very high (until the relic stacking became known), but their ability to lock a character out of a fight was the reason Operatives were immediately considered overpowered.

We do know that Bioware is heavily involved with the lore of Star Wars, class designs and the KotOR series is proof of this. What this means to me is that an Operative is not a capable melee fighter when compared to a Sith/Jedi. Lore wise, Operatives they rely on their cunning (wonder why dexterity/agility was changed to that?) to get them out of dire situations (“We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?” ring a bell for Scoundrels?). The Operative is a new character that wasn't in any past Star Wars games (maybe in some books?) but this to me is why their story and character animations is the best of this MMO, Bioware basically had free range to develop how an Agent of the Imperial Army would be portrayed.

What does this have to do with class changes? SWTOR provides two stealth classes, the Deception Assassin and the Concealment Operative. The Assassin advance class is a Sith that stills know how to fight from the extensive training in their saber art and force powers. This is why I can accept that the Assassin class is capable of maintaining their DPS out of stealth because they are capable melee fighters, they are the “rogue” of this game. The Operative on the other is just a regular human (or w/e race, but one with no force sensitivity), however they have risen the ranks of the Imperial Army with proven military tactics and knowledge of sophisticated Imperial technology to allow them to stand shoulder to shoulder with a Sith.

So how do we increase the viability of the Operative Concealment but not also break any lore character standards that Bioware may have? The concern is that right now our damage output from stealth and out of stealth is low compared to others. In addition with the changes to how critical currently works, it really downplays our ability to maintain any threating damage on a single target and thus we are forced into playing this double Hidden Strike game to maintain any sort of single target damage.

So why am I okay with this poor damage assessment? Because Operatives must be tactical in their approach, not play this brute out of stealth in your face type class like the Deception Assassin. To me, utilities that cause debuffs and an increase to snares would be the answer. A class that allows us to be a mosquito, a minor nuisance at first, but if not properly treated it will be too late to realize that the itch has become an irreversible pain.

Currently the changes that are being suggested are to bring Concealment Operatives into this standardization of the “rogue” dps, big upfront damage to make up for the lack of sustained out of stealth DPS. That means there must be a way to increase confirmed critical chances and allow for users to be threaten by large numbers. I believe that the Deception Assassin class already fills this role and for an Operative to become this all powerful melee warrior is not consistent to what it means to be an Operative of Imperial Intelligence.

The changes mention from here on will change the way a Concealment Operative is currently played, but I believe that this will change the dynamic of why people should play this class.

THX-1138

Skill revamp for Concealment Operatives:

-Replace the skill “Revitalizers” with Venom Dart. When specced into Venom Dart, it will replace the Operatives Sleep Dart with a stinger that applies the Venom debuff. The skill description will be as follows:

Quote:
When Venom matures (15/10/5 seconds) the target is struck with Kouhun Neurotoxin causing 50% slow and 10% reduced armor rating for 10 seconds. 45 second cool down, requires stealth and can be used when opponent is in combat. Venom can be cleansed, however once Kouhun Neurotoxin has settled in it cannot be cleansed and is not considered a poison.

-Acid Blade will also get the following changes:

Quote:
When using Hidden Strike or Backstab on an opponent with Kouhun Neurotoxin, target will receive 50% reduced armor rating for the next 15 seconds. 25% reduced armor rating if no Kouhun Neurotoxin is on the target.

-Shadow Operative Elite will get the following changes:

Quote:
Upon a successful dodge during Evasion, Cloaking Screen as a [25/50/100]% chance to finish the cooldown on Cloaking Screen.

-Calculated Frenzy will be changed to “Calculated Risk” and receive the following changes:

Quote:
Backstab and Hidden Strike have a [50/100]% chance to trigger Calculated Risk. Orbital Strike cannot be interrupted when Calculated Risk has been triggered.

-Pin Down:

Quote:
Server Tendon has a [50/100]% chance to immobilize target for [2/4] seconds

So why these changes?

A Concealment Operative is a master strategist and will utilize all tools (including others!) to support them in combat. The idea behind the Venom Dart is to allow an Operative an assisting tool without yet revealing their position so suddenly. In the PvP aspect, the Venom Dart will force healers to seek out the Venom debuff and cleanse it in time before it settles in and becomes Kouhun Neurotoxin. The point of the Kouhun Neurotoxin is to promote this idea that the Operative has now marked their target. The slow is there to start the slow process of confusing the opponent in what should be done next to defend themselves from certain death. Venom Dart places the Operative in combat but does not remove them from stealth.

The application of Armor Reduction is to allow for teammates to apply their support in the dispatching the target. Currently armor penetration is a single target ability designed to allow Operative to increase their damage to an opponent (I believe that is the difference, Armor Pen= user buff and Armor Reduction= target debuff. Please tell me if I am wrong about this). Going for the single 50% reduction to armor rating really opens up the usefulness of an Operative as they are now a teamplayer rather than a lone wolf. The point of the Kouhun Neurotoxin plus Acid Blade is to really drive home the idea that the opponent is being singled out from the rest of the group. The fastest way to break a cohesive unit is to make them think that they are no longer working together. The combination of the two still makes for achieving the 50% reduction to armor rating a skilled task that can be easily disrupted if not planned properly.

Shadow Operative Elite now becomes a three skill point skill and basically is an Operative’s way of getting back into the stealth game and doubles as their “defensive” ability. Having a successful dodge to be able to proc the reset on Cloacking Screen, is a plays on the elusiveness that Operatives are known for. The changes to Calculated Risk is to allow an Operatives to call in air support back up without having to worry about being interrupted. This allows them to maintain damage through support and still apply the out of stealth damage as need be without it forced to be a “melee” ability. The change to Pin Down is to play on this idea that Concealment Operatives are trying to confuse the target on when to use their stun breaker and really cement the idea that Operatives are calculated in their combat and understand that confusing a powerful opponent will make them weaker.

While I know these changes seem different from the norm, but I do believe it will provide practical applications as a tool to assist a team in both PvP and PvE. In a game with no assisting type bard class, the Concealment will fill that role while maintaining their ability at being a stealth class. These changes also will synergize with the current set bonuses, so I believe this tree change could really work within this game and allow them to become tools to assist in combat and counter the idea that all stealth classes must be rogues.
The Gistang Legacy
<Atlas>
Siret Scoundrel ZhaneOrdo Operative Yahs Powertech
The Bastion

CaptainApop's Avatar


CaptainApop
10.29.2013 , 12:19 AM | #25
Before any other changes get implemented DPS trees NEED longer TA's. Seriously you acknowledged this is a problem for healers waaaay back when and it was the single best QoL change we ever got. Respec'ing dps in some respects feels like regressing to the stone age of resource management.

Losing TA's because you got stunned or the boss moved out of range and being powerless to avoid it is rage inducing.

I quite like the idea I saw to fold backstab and hidden strike into the one ability. Backstab essentially becoming hidden strike(more damage, +1TA) under certain conditions(sneak up, from stealth etc). Saving a keybind is totally welcome, it'll make concealment feel less of a dead tree for leveling and a followup reduction in the cooldown for backstab would help with concealment sustained damage. Win-win.

I'd love concealment operatives to be able to cast orbital strike from stealth. Frankly this is is more rule of cool than anything else. It would be awesome, do it. Snipers can guarantee an orbital as a denial, operatives should have a method of doing so that fits with their class.

Lethality could do with some of it's utility talents becoming less laughable.
20% accuracy from flash powder?
2 seconds of sprint after shiv?
a 50% shot at maybe getting a free infusion after exfiltrate?
Two talents that make shield probe better and it's still not very good.
Rework some of them to be a bit more significant or noticeable and I'll be very pleased.
"I bind kolto probes to Q, partially for the convenience but mostly for the irony"

Subterfuge legacy - Tomb of Freedon Nadd

snave's Avatar


snave
10.29.2013 , 01:18 AM | #26
Quote: Originally Posted by Morde_ View Post
The two main problems with Concealment are lack of sustained damage (mostly from energy management issues) and lack of survivability. Lethality damage is moderately good (some say it's "fluff", but a triple cull on anyone will be insane damage), but again the spec is crippled by virtually no survivability.

In this thread already are dozens of ideas to improve both aspects. Ones that I am personally in favour of (that I feel balance us but don't make us overpowered):

For Damage:
  • Granting the ability to use Hidden Strike while Sneak is active (but only knockdown when from stealth).
  • Reducing the cost of Explosive Probe for Concealment so that there is some more sustained damage (currently it costs too much and can quickly leave an Operative out of energy). This can also be acquired by reworking energy management or adding more useful talents that address energy regeneration.
  • Adding a strong healing debuff to Acid Blade or Laceration. This will add utility to Concealment for lowering the global TTK (which is currently too high imo) and intrinsically buffing Concealment damage against healers without people screaming nerfs about huge Concealment numbers (lol).
  • Making Acid Blade a passive (permanent) effect.
  • Hidden Strike from stealth should be 100% crit chance. There is nothing more unsatisfying in this game than being a "slippery" snake and working your way around to prepare burst on a target in the back only to open up on them with a lackluster 4k hit.
  • Make Tactical Advantages last longer for DPS.
  • Granting CC immunity for a few seconds after exiting stealth.

For Survivability (both Lethality and Concealment):
  • Move the heal on Shield Probe collapse from the Medicine tree to the Concealment tree, and buff the amount that it heals (it's way too weak right now).
  • Reduce the cost of Exfiltrate or have some sort of proc to make it cheap/free. (DPS only, not for healers)
  • Merge Shadow Operative Elite and Quickening so that both Lethality and Concealment can acquire the benefits of both. Don't allow the Medicine tree to acquire them, though.
  • Change the Cloaking Screen mechanic to be "stronger", i.e. more like the Marauder vanish. Perhaps change Sneak/Cloaking Screen so that AoE damage/Stealth Scans do not bring us out of stealth while either is active. This should only be for DPS specs, as it would be overpowered to give this to healers as well.
  • Implementation of an AoE damage reduction talent so that we're not torn to shreds by 3 smashers. Put this HIGH in a DPS tree so that healers cannot obtain (Operative healer with AoE damage reduction would be too strong).

Also, PLEASE ADDRESS OUR SET BONUSES. THE PVE SET BONUSES PUT THE PVP ONES TO SHAME.

TL;DR: There's lots that can be done (and needs to be done) for Operative DPS. Give us something useful for 2.5 please.
Just quoting this post because it sums up pretty much what should be done and there's no real need for another 10 players to write out exactly the same thing. I'd love to see backstab on a shorter cooldown and to have it's positional requirements removed (but that's purely because of the crappy engine the game uses which tells me I'm not behind a target when I clearly am).

znihilist's Avatar


znihilist
10.29.2013 , 02:36 AM | #27
Quote: Originally Posted by j-cart View Post
snip
For once someone with an actual integrated idea the class. But while I don't fully agree with everything you proposed, I actually like the ideas!
SWTOR: KotFE, Rise of the Ehh I guess I'll get used to it eventually
__________________________________________________
This is what a tentative roadmap should look like.

gaboost's Avatar


gaboost
10.29.2013 , 03:27 AM | #28
First of all, i'd really like to know BW's vision of an operative. What exactly are they supposed to excel at, because right now, I can say that no one ever brings a dps operative in arenas or even raids.

So here's a couple suggestion, these are individual suggestions and shouldn't be taken as a whole.

- Tactical advantages duration is way to short, you get stunned once and they're all gone, when i'm in lethality, i put 8 points in the healing tree to get longer TA's and faster heals and getting TA's while healing, that way you can get back in the fight right away.

Or i'd even say to simply get rid of TA's and slap cooldowns on everything, lot more work since it would require to rebalance all 3 specs but could also fix operative healers.

- Sever tendon should be more than just a snare/root. It should become an attack with real damage like shock but with a snare effect as a bonus, it would also give us a reliable 10m attack like so many other melee classes, because let's face it, we are the most melee class of all melee classes.

It should be a root then a snare for all 3 specs, simply reduce the snare duration. The big problem about snares is their weakness versus leapers.

- Explosive probe and snipe, I suggest you simple remove them and replace them with abilites more fitted for an operative, you clearly said that cover was never intended to be used by operative, neither should explosive probe and snipe then... plus using explosive probe in our rotation can really mess our energy regen.

- Add stances for each spec maybe? I can see the concealment one being Acid blade, it could help energy since you wouldn't have to cast it everytime. Or simply make acid blade a passive ability.

Acid blade right now doesn't make any sense. As long as it's not proc'ed, you don't benefit from the 30% armor penetration, that means your fist hidden strike will never be your best hit.

- Infiltrate and sneak, i feel like these 2 abilities could do a lot more, infiltrate is useful just at the beginning a warzone and it's also difficult to coordinate people. In arenas, it's used once and then you just forget about it.

It should have a in combat version of it, 6 sec in combat stealth or i don't know, because when you compare it with other classes 3 min cooldowns abilities, it falls pretty far behind, it doesn't bring you anything personally, you already have stealth.

And sneak, just find something else than a 50% speed increase, a speed increase without movement impairing immunity is simply useless.

- Evasion and cloaking screen, see these 2 abilities are often used together, cleanse everything and then go into stealth but the truth is, you're still vulnerable to a lot of aoe's or even getting doted at the last second, i feel like shroud is a better ability just for that, because you can't get smashed or doted right after going in stealth.

Give a 4 sec immunity to everything after cloaking screen? Or put another purge on that ability too?

- Kolto injection and kolto infusion, i remember you saying that heals on an operative are part of his survivability but how can you actually cast an heal in melee range... imo they both have really long activation time, maybe reduce one of the 2 just like mercs or sorcs who both have a 1.5 cast heal.

- Attack roll, alright this one sounds crazy but it could be nice to have some auto attack that targets enemies near you when you roll next to them, nothing huge, something in the same range as suppressive fire or sweeping blaster in terms of damage.

- Double knife attack, don't know exactly what it'd do but i feel like operatives could use another ability and something that would look like the operative /flourish emote would be pretty sick.

Lethality does feel kinda awkward, that mix of different range abilities is just ugh.

I'd even sacrifice attack power for better defensives cooldowns and better mobility. Some sort of get in/get out playstyle.

Oh and jeezus, of all classes, i think advanced prototype powertechs are the hardest to kill as an operative, they move too fast, you just can't get any solid hit on them, can't control them or get behind them because of their range and speed.

I'm not looking for extra opening burst, i don't want to kill someone without them being able to fight back but it feels like we should because without stealth, your options are limited.

Can't think of nothing else right now but i wanted to point something out. People complained that operatives are shady and slippery... well i thought they were designed that way... i mean why are you complaining that you can't get the killing blow on a fleeing operative. When fleeing and recuperating, it's just like they were in the respawn box, same thing, they're not bringing to their team.

Why complain about the roll? Of course, it's annoying in huttball but did anyone got killed by a rolling operative? I don't think so. ( BTW.... FIX ROLL BUG, OMG!!! )

Kaos_KidSWTOR's Avatar


Kaos_KidSWTOR
10.29.2013 , 08:15 AM | #29
Quote: Originally Posted by DarthZaul View Post
Make stim boost much better to reduce energy problems.
Maybe increase the damage of corrosive dart so they do more damage without being bursty and OP in PVP.
Just give us back the old Stim Boost, nothing was wrong with it before so why was it changed?

Operative DPS is kinda under whelming, I think a minor change for Concealment that would make them work a little better is, with a talent such as Shadow Operative Elite (the one that makes the roll have a % chance to activate Dodge) allow Backstab (a major DPS component) Gain tactical advantage. That would be a really simple addition to Concealment that would allow for more TA management.

Lethality, give them a 30% chance for DoT ticks to grant TA.

And while your at it make the default stacks of TA go up to 3 and everyone gets 3 stacks.

those would be 4 minor changes that, would bring Operative DPS back up to atleast semi-par.

hallucigenocide's Avatar


hallucigenocide
10.29.2013 , 08:45 AM | #30
Quote: Originally Posted by Kaos_KidSWTOR View Post
Just give us back the old Stim Boost, nothing was wrong with it before so why was it changed?

Operative DPS is kinda under whelming, I think a minor change for Concealment that would make them work a little better is, with a talent such as Shadow Operative Elite (the one that makes the roll have a % chance to activate Dodge) allow Backstab (a major DPS component) Gain tactical advantage. That would be a really simple addition to Concealment that would allow for more TA management.

Lethality, give them a 30% chance for DoT ticks to grant TA.

And while your at it make the default stacks of TA go up to 3 and everyone gets 3 stacks.

those would be 4 minor changes that, would bring Operative DPS back up to atleast semi-par.
a 30% chance would probably make them too powerfull.. that'd be like the healers with their 30% chance for ta on hots(crazy *** burst)