Game Update 2.5 Class Changes

swtor The Loremaster

BioWare just released a lengthy news post explaining all the upcoming class changes players can expect with Game update 2.5. You can check out the full post here, or read out copy pate below:

Game Update 2.5 Class Changes -10.17.2013

Hello there! We here on the Classes & Combat team wanted to take some time to keep players up-to-date on the changes we have planned for the upcoming Game Update 2.5. As always, these are subject to change, and we welcome your feedback. There are quite a few changes to go over, so with no further introduction, let’s dig in!

Sith Inquisitor

Madness

  • In addition to previous effects, Devour now makes your damage-over-time effects uncleansable. This affects Creeping Terror, Discharge, Crushing Darkness, and Affliction.

Jedi Consular

Balance

& In addition to previous effects, Psychic Absorption now makes your damage-over-time effects uncleansable. This affects Sever Force, Force Breach, Mind Crush, and Weaken Mind.

We previously mentioned this change in the Top 3 Answers thread for the Shadows. Specializations that depend on damage-over-time effects often have a hard time being effective in PvP, so we are trying out this change on one of the most damage-over-time dependent specializations in the game: Balance/Madness. As previously stated, this benefit will be for both Sorcerers/Sages and Shadows/Assassins, and if this change plays out well, we may expand it to other classes in the future.

New Game Terminology

  • Cleanse – Removes a limited number of a certain type (or types) of negative effects, usually Force or tech, from the target.
  • Purge – Removes all negative dispellable effects from the target, usually yourself.
  • The Sith Sorcerer’s Purge ability has been renamed Expunge.
  • NOTE: Many ability tooltips have been changed to clarify whether an ability cleanses or purges negative effects from a target.

To go along with the damage-over-time protection for Madness/Balance, we needed to give players a simple and consistent way to understand the various manners in which negative effects are removed, so we came up with this terminology.

Cleanses tend to be abilities with rather short cooldowns, and they will no longer be able to remove protected Balance/Madness damage-over-time effects. Some examples of cleansing abilities are Cure, Field Aid, Toxin Scan, Triage, Restoration, and Expunge (formerly known as Purge).

Purges tend to have longer cooldowns and can usually only be used on yourself. In addition, purges will continue to remove the protected Madness/Balance damage-over-time effects. Some examples of purging abilities are Evasion, Dodge, Force Shroud, and Resilience.

Sith Assassin

General

  • Dark Charge no longer heals the Assassin, but now increases armor rating by 130% (up from 115%) and deals additional threat when it damages an enemy target.

Darkness

  • 3 stacks of Harnessed Darkness no longer cause the Assassin to be healed when Force Lightning deals damage. Instead, it grants Dark Protection, which increases damage reduction by 1%. Dark Protection stacks up to 4 times and lasts 18 seconds.
  • Swelling Shadows has been redesigned: It now increases the armor rating Dark Charge grants by an additional 20/40%.

Jedi Shadow

General

  • Combat Technique no longer heals the Shadow, but now increases armor rating by 130% (up from 115%) and deals additional threat when it damages an enemy target.

Kinetic Combat

  • 3 stacks of Harnessed Shadows no longer cause the Shadow to be healed when Telekinetic Throw deals damage. Instead, it grants Shadow Protection, which increases damage reduction by 1%. Shadow Protection stacks up to 4 times and lasts 18 seconds.
  • What was formerly Rapid Recovery has been renamed Elusiveness and has been redesigned: It now increases the armor rating Combat Technique grants by an additional 20/40%.
  • What was formerly Elusiveness has been renamed Rapid Recovery (this was just a name change – the skill’s effects remain the same).

Again, we already went into detail about these changes in the Shadow’s Top 3 Answers thread, and as we have been following that thread, we noticed some good points brought up by the community about the healing boost provided to Dark Charge/Combat Technique by Overcharge Saber/Battle Readiness. With the loss of the Dark Charge/Combat Technique triggered healing process in 2.5, we are also considering a change to Overcharge Saber/Battle Readiness that would allow all the different Charges/Techniques to heal the Assassin/Shadow while Overcharge Saber/Battle Readiness is active (of course, everything you read here is subject to change, and we have not come to a final decision on this yet, which is why it does not appear in the notes).

While we had to remove “healing as a form of rotational, constant survivability” to rectify the spike damage issue for Assassin/Shadow tanks, we still care about theming and are not against some small self-healing for Assassins/Shadows in general. To this end, we are okay with all Assassin/Shadow specializations sharing a “panic button heal” ability on a long cooldown.

Sith Inquisitor

General

  • Slightly increased the damage dealt by Thrash.

Sith Assassin

General

  • Slightly increased the damage dealt by Maul.
  • Slightly increased the damage dealt by Lacerate.

Deception

  • Slightly increased the damage dealt by Voltaic Slash.

Jedi Consular

General

  • Slightly increased the damage dealt by Double Strike.

Jedi Shadow

General

  • Slightly increased the damage dealt by Shadow Strike.
  • Slightly increased the damage dealt by Whirling Blow.

Infiltration

  • Slightly increased the damage dealt by Clairvoyant Strike.

As with the other Assassin/Shadow changes, we have previously mentioned these changes in the Top 3 Answers thread for Shadows, and we changed these abilities because they all had various issues with how they were performing. So we brought these abilities in line with other abilities in the game because of player concerns that the Infiltration/Deception and Balance/Madness specializations did not provide adequate DPS in PvE – and even PvP in some situations.

Imperial Agent

General

  • Increased the damage dealt by Overload Shot.

Smuggler

General

  • Increased the damage dealt by Quick Shot.

Overload Shot/Quick Shot was not performing well as an energy dump for Operatives/Scoundrels. Many players preferred to use Rifle Shot/Flurry of Bolts, even when they had available energy for Overload Shot/Quick Shot, because they did not feel that the damage done by Overload Shot/Quick Shot warranted the amount of energy it required. By increasing this ability’s damage, we hope to turn it into the energy dump that it should be – one that actually gets used when Operatives/Scoundrels have some extra energy to burn.

Operatives and Scoundrels

Operatives and Scoundrels can now be charged and pulled by other players while in cover. For Snipers and Gunslingers, cover remains unchanged. Operatives and Scoundrels are very slippery, and we never intended for them to continue using cover after choosing to be an Operative/Scoundrel rather than a Sniper/Gunslinger at level 10. However, with the innate cover defenses being provided to Operatives and Scoundrels, we incentivized the use of cover beyond level 10 for them. Some Operatives and Scoundrels picked up on this incentive and used cover to become more survivable than we had intended for them to be.

With this change, we are moving all remaining defensive bonuses granted by cover into the Hold Position passive ability, which Snipers and Gunslingers already have. So while Operatives and Scoundrels will still be able to enter cover to use any abilities that require it, they will no longer gain any defensive bonuses while in cover. For Snipers and Gunslingers, this change has no real, noticeable effect.

Sith Juggernaut

Vengeance

  • Overwhelm has been added to the Vengeance skill tree and provides a 50/100% chance to immobilize the target for the duration of Ravage.

Jedi Guardian

Vigilance

  • Debilitation has been added to the Vigilance skill tree and provides a 50/100% chance to immobilize the target for the duration of Master Strike.

Vengeance/Vigilance Juggernauts/Guardians rely more on Ravage/Master Strike in combat than any other Sith Warrior/Jedi Knight specialization, making it one of their signature abilities. But they lacked a way to reliably use this ability in PvP – where players could just run away while it was being channeled. With this skill, already found on the Marauder/Sentinel, they can choose to now have a more reliable way of keeping their target around for Ravage/Master Strike.

Sith Marauder

General

  • The stacking buff provided by Juyo Form now lasts 24 seconds (up from 15) and can be applied once every second (down from every 1.5 seconds).

Annihilation

  • The stacking Annihilator buff provided by Annihilate now lasts 24 seconds (up from 15).

Jedi Sentinel

General

  • The stacking buff provided by Juyo Form now lasts 24 seconds (up from 15) and can be applied once every second (down from every 1.5 seconds).

Watchman

  • The stacking Merciless buff provided by Merciless Slash now lasts 24 seconds (up from 15).

These are quality of life improvements for Annihilation/Watchman Marauders/Sentinels. Often times, situations occur in combat that require players to temporarily withdraw for a bit. In these situations, we felt that Annihilation/Watchman Marauders/Sentinels were being penalized too severely. While we do intend for the Annihilation/Watchman specialization to have a ramp-up time, we do not intend for them to constantly repeat this ramp-up once they are in combat.

Sith Marauder

General

  • Bloodthirst and Predation no longer prevent the Marauder from building Fury while they are active.
  • Bloodthirst now affects your entire Operation group up to 40 meters away from the Marauder (up from 30 meters) but also applies a debuff which lasts for five minutes on all affected group members. This debuff prevents affected players from regaining Bloodthirst while it is active.

Jedi Sentinel

General

  • Inspiration and Transcendence no longer prevent the Sentinel from becoming Centered while they are active.
  • Inspiration now affects your entire Operation group up to 40 meters away from the Sentinel (up from 30 meters) but also applies a debuff which lasts for five minutes on all affected group members. This debuff prevents affected players from regaining Inspiration while it is active.

Marauders/Sentinels were being penalized personally for helping their groups with Bloodthirst/Inspiration and Predation/Transcendence by not being allowed to build Fury/Centering while those buffs were active. Such a penalty actually discouraged the use of these group utilities, so we have decided to remove the personal penalty for their use – improving Marauder/Sentinel quality of life in the process.

Some Operation groups felt like they needed to bring a Marauder/Sentinel for each party in an Operation group to get the Bloodthirst/Inspiration buff, so we have made it affect a Marauder’s/Sentinel’s entire Operation group. We have also added a five minute long debuff to Bloodthirst/Inspiration to prevent Operation groups from feeling the need to bring as many Marauders/Sentinels as possible to “chain” Bloodthirst/Inspiration for as long as possible. Now a single Marauder/Sentinel will be able provide the full Bloodthirst/Inspiration benefit to his or her Operation group.

Sith Marauder

General

  • Undying Rage now has a 2 minute cooldown (up from 1 minute and 30 seconds).
  • The health for Undying Rage is now spent when the damage reducing effect expires, rather than when it begins. It still costs 50% of current health.

Rage

  • Undying no longer increases damage reduction but still reduces the cooldown of Undying Rage by 15/30 seconds.
  • Force Vigor no longer interacts with Undying Rage. It now permanently increases passive damage reduction by 1/2% and still builds 1/2 Rage when Dual Saber Throw is used.

Jedi Sentinel

General

  • Guarded by the Force now has a 2 minute cooldown (up from 1 minute and 30 seconds).
  • The health for Guarded by the Force is now spent when the damage reducing effect expires, rather than when it begins. It still costs 50% of current health.

Focus

  • Enduring no longer increases damage reduction but still reduces the cooldown of Guarded by the Force by 15/30 seconds.
  • Force Vigor no longer interacts with Guarded by the Force. It now permanently increases passive damage reduction by 1/2% and still builds 1/2 Focus when Dual Saber Throw is used.

Marauders and Sentinels currently have some of the best on-demand (active) survivability tools in the game. These tools are necessary because, for a melee class, they have very little in terms of passive survivability, but Undying Rage/Guarded by the Force is an example of an ability that was just too good at providing survivability. Because Undying Rage/Guarded by the Force is improved by multiple skills and a set bonus, the fix was not simply a matter of increasing the cost or cooldown; it needed to be reworked in various ways.

We moved the health cost from the beginning to the end of the effect so that it would no longer synergize exceedingly well with a group member that could heal the Marauder/Sentinel. Undying Rage/Guarded by the Force was giving healers four (or five with the set bonus) seconds where their Marauder/Sentinel group member became nearly immune to damage and could rather easily be healed back to a more manageable health level. This needed to change because it provided the Marauder/Sentinel with an unbalanced advantage in group play.

The change to the cooldown of Undying Rage/Guarded by the Force makes the uptime of the ability a little less potent. With all of the different ways the cooldown gets modified, it was getting too low to be considered fairly balanced. A Rage/Focus Marauder/Sentinel with the PvP set bonus could have five seconds of being nearly immune to damage every 45 seconds. Now Rage/Focus Marauders/Sentinels will still be able to reduce the cooldown of the ability to one minute and 15 seconds, which is still 15 seconds less than the old base cooldown – but allows for adversaries to have an additional 30 seconds to deal with the Marauder/Sentinel between uses.

The cumulative effect of all these changes should bring Marauder/Sentinel survivability down to a more reasonable level in group play where healers are involved, while not doing too much to affect their survivability in solo play or in situations where no healer is present.

And that wraps up our current plans for Game Update 2.5 class changes. We hope you have enjoyed this inside look at class development. Please feel free to let us know what you think about the upcoming changes, and we will be keeping our eye out for good suggestions!

Sincerely,
Your Friendly Neighborhood Combat Team

 

Here are a few thoughts on the Class Changes:

For Sentinels,  Juyo and Merciless stacks will now stick around for 24 seconds, up from 15. This is great news, with so many of the fights in the operations we are forced to lose stacks while we sit back and wait (Titan 6, Calphayus, etc). These are usually good fights for Combat spec, but with the adjustments Sentinels should be able to stay in Watchman if they’d like.

It will be interesting to see how much Quick Shot / Overload shot was increased and if it’s enough to make the ability worthwhile to use as much as they seem to think Scoundrels / Operatives should.

Also wonder how much the adjustments to Shadows / Assassins will help trim the gap in PvE. Don’t think any of those smaller changes will fix Madness in PvP but the DoT protection is needed and welcome.

Wish they would have addressed healers more. The cover benefits being taken away is a good first step but the gap is still wide between Ops and the field in PvP. Particularly wish there were some positive changes for Mercs and Commandos.

As for the other changes, I’m glad Inspiration now covers the entire raid and we can still gain centering during this time, but I don’t like that there is now a raid-wide 5 minute cooldown. While they are trying to keep groups from HAVING to bring more than 1 Sentinel, it feels like this more-so gimps having more than 1 Sentinel in progression raids. Comps will now be swayed to ‘slingers even more than they already are. This would be like making all ‘slingers flybys useless if 1 person uses there’s.

I know I’m exaggerating, but I just don’t see why anyone would bring more than 1 sent now.

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