Blademaster - an identity crisis 14 years in the making

Blademaster is a bit of an odd class as it stands. I’ve been playing through as a BM on my current seasonal stream and I’ve encountered some serious issues, part of which comes from (in my opinion) a very confused identity.

What do I mean by that? All other classes have mechanics that inform well into the playstyle of the class.

Marksman have access to grenades, strikes, the Tactical stance tree, sniping, rapid fire tree (all befitting the remnants of the British Military which they represent) with a little of stealth in Escape and Camouflage to break aggressive AI. Marksman don’t get any heals but they get the only stealth in the game and the ability to deal damage at a much longer range than other classes.

Engineers get access to untargetable bots, a drone, and some skills from Marksman (tac stance, rapid fire, beacon) they can’t do it as well but their strength comes from their summons which are not exclusive to each other, and they have the glorious Haste Bot which is by far the strongest over all buff that can be applied to a team that doesn’t heal.

Evokers get mid range damage in every flavour of type and choices between AoE or single target damage. They get shield restores through Arcane Shield (which just straight out adds hundreds of shields on cast) as well as increased shield regen through Arcane Resilience. Brom’s curse for on-hit heals for the entire party and drain life to necromantically drain the life from your foes.

Summoners summon anywhere from a small army to a full on regiment of elementals, demons, and if you’re going Dark Form, mini-zombies. They also get Brom’s and Drain life, albeit not as powerful in some respects as Evokers, while also having skills that Evos also get like Word of Fear scaring foes away with magic.

Guardians get armour, taunts, heals, prayers, up to 3 auras (if you take Aura Stability) and it is the epitome of a tank. Also Great Defender is a party wide buff that increases size, health regen and armour.

Blademasters unfortunately have a problem in that your main damage output skills (SoJ, SoA, WW, etc) all require melee to work, while having less ability to take a hit compared to Guardians who have had a massive spike in damage with the shield rework and the more recent guns for Templar being overall more useful in the hands of Guards due to their natural tank stats as well as Anchor as a much better source of damage multiplication.

Essentially, as I see it on live, Blademaster doesn’t do anything that other classes can’t do better, with less risk and with less gear specific requirements. Sniper would be the next nearest in gear requirements but then you’re comparing a skill that can one or two shot mobs at 70m+ with a melee centric class. For those of you who would jump in and talk about going one pistol-one sword, that’s not fixing the problem as you can’t proc the surges you need for healing, crit, or “velocity” with ranged attacks.

Is there anything anyone can think of that Blademaster outshines any other class because I’m having serious issues finding the niche of the Blademaster when all other classes have dedicated roles, if Blademaster is a generalist then what’s the point of having so many skills spec up to 10. You’re not putting 9 points into a skill (9 base +1 from a helmet) without getting a bunch of equipment to back up either survival abilities like running double Unconquered Sun to get +6 on Surge of Restoration, which then locks you out of other weapons which might be better to do that whole dps thing that the class is designed to do. I know there are many players out there who’ve been Mastering that Blade for longer than I have and I’d really like to know where you guys see the class. What role does it do that others can’t, or when do you think “if only we had a BM here”?

(Edit: added an “a” to the paragraph on Guardian. Damn my fast typing)

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BM is weak in defense compared to Guradian, but has various Sword attack techniques. In fact, the BM’s way of surviving a lot of enemies was to get rid of them before I died. Isn’t this the identity of BM?

The problem is, however, that this method doesn’t work well in Party Play.
If you think about it, even if you get support from the Haste bot, you will lack Power (mana) and there is no big gain.
Even if SOJ is the main deal, the other skills must be strong enough.
That way you can benefit from Haste Bot’s Increases use rate.

  1. Sword Typhoon

In an old alpha patch, BM got Sword Typhoon’s Cool Time reduction and Pierce.
The multi-hit feature for a single Enemy is gone.
A skilled BM was able to hit 20 fragments in close proximity to Molly.
But now this kind of play is no longer possible. Why doesn’t anyone tell me?
Multiple shards must be effective against a single Monster. If the intentions of the producers are clearly for lot of number Targets only, I accept.

  1. Whirl Wind

If possible, the number of hits should be affected by attack speed.
Affected by the Haste Bot, it can be used more often, but doesn’t hit faster.
Originally, this was patched to increase the duration of WW, but new measures are needed.

extraordinarily
It can be canceled with Sprint while in use, so it would be interesting to be able to use SOJ or Sword Typhoon while receiving buffs for movement speed and attack power.
(Actually, it was possible on the Hanbit server, and although it was recognized as a bug, it was quite popular. Pretty creative, just for reference.)

  1. Hamper

50% penalty compared to Guardian. You need to get rid of this or change it to SoR - Hamper - SoA order.
SoR will be easy to invest in Hamper as every BM has one.
I always use the Ignite Attck Strength Pyredge against Cata 1st floor bosses and it works pretty well.
If Hamper is enabled, the options will be wider.

I’ve been thinking about it for quite some time before writing this post, but it’s just a thought.
In fact, I was quite fascinated with Swarm by Kikina Sword.
Isn’t Tempast also possible? I think it will be very fun.

Thank you!

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i see a melee class with mobility-based survival and offence tools: surge of speed, whirlwind, charge, path of righteous.

but the last two are very unreliable and there are so many good passives, there’s simply no points left to pick anything but Whirlwind. in theory, a Blademaster could dash in and cut down ranged attackers, then deal with small groups of melee enemies on BM’s own terms, on practise it rarely works (edit: because of Charge and PoR pathing or damage bugs). that one anti-taunt skill also looks like it should play into this swift and rapid melee attack style - scattered enemies should be no problem with so much mobility, right?

additionally, line attack skills and self-centered AOEs paint the playstyle that is all about manipulating enemy formations through your own presence: charge towards ranged attackers and AOE them before they can scatter, throw a sword or dash through a line of melee enemies trying to catch you, do the same again if they yet live, “dance” with whirlwind past survivors to another group, AOE them too, use charge inbetween all of this whenever a better opportunity for cutting is present. (BTW, if this was a top-down view game, this would’ve been easier to see and perform)

kinda want to mention design flaws a couple of skills, but that’s not the topic :zipper_mouth_face:

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Sharing a set of suggestions here for posterity and discussion. Copy-pasted from here, if readers need additional (Discord) context.

Problems:
-Missing damage
-Lack of a unique party asset, whether buff or debuff
-Eternally BiS SoJ
-Lackluster Hamper and BoP
-Endgame survivability that’s not SoR/TR
-Useless HA

Solutions, not in order:

  1. Have SoR only use the mainhand sword, like Throws do and like how Guardians always used it, then adjust the damage bonus. This would set it on a course to replace SoJ as a damage dealer, leaving SoJ to be the multi-hitter and proccer it will always be the best at. In the meantime, it would also free up the offhand slot for utility while leaving the “Green” line for dual wielders.
  2. Give Hamper a unique party asset that’s ideally not a Guardian copy-paste. Something like a stackable Ele Drain-type effect, or AO’s damage reduction effect (which bosses wouldn’t be immune to), or an entirely unique new thing.
  3. Give BoP a self heal. Could take up Hamper’s new effect above as well.
  4. Provide a SoS popper that buffs parties or debuffs enemies in a unique way.
  5. Give HA some air-appropriate effect, like an actual arc of electricity or some other effect.

Alternatives/additions, not in order:

  1. Have CW’s effect spill over into parties, like TR does. Likely not the full effect or the penalty.
  2. Reduce CotC/AO level caps for more toolboxing options.
  3. Provide an all-Surge popper past SM with some unique effect of its own.
  4. Have Surges provide a small part of their effect as a passive.
  5. Provide some reasonable (read: not game-breaking) swordsmanship damage buff to MB.

Nothing completely solid, just an amalgam of ideas floated before in a condensed form.

Considering how Blademaster has been in the past, would increasing the damage of the skills not possibly create a similar situation?

i dunno what exact problems BM used to have, so generic propositions only: could other things related to skills be changed then? execution speed, reach, number of targets hit?

BM is already by far the most powerfull (non caste) Bosskiller - with SoJ Blade of Chaos that is !
There is nothing that can reach his damage output (Guard thrower has been nerfed to 1/3 of his former damage output). So thats a pretty good defined role at least.

With the introduction of Kilji the Sword Thrower has also ecome a very flexible build with less bosskilling advantages though (but still).

What is not really functional is SOR and to an extend SOA. The role of SoR is badly defined as it is single dam but seriously weaker than SOJ. My experiments with SOA where a mixed bag. To make use of the ele bonus you need a sword with high base ele sfx and slots but those are generally more on the lower damage. Also you need aura of elements reducing damage further. And then because it produces only a single hit the chances of applying sfx are very weak compared to just using SoJ with a few mods. I had a mythic phase mushroom thingy sword with 1400 phase and the outcome was abysmal. The damage component of the skill is nice to have but doesnt do alot more when being part of a dps rotation. I wouldnt mind boosting this skill at the cost of more cooldown.

Also BM got buffed alot on the defensive side. We got a good source of Evasion now and i cant stress it more the ability to have endless shield emitters are exceptionally valuable on a char that has high shields gearwise. And then we have a working heal over time with the option to instaheal. Anything more would place him near Guard in tankiness which wouldnt be fair due to the much higher damage output.

If anything the identity of the Blademaster is “get out of the way i am gonna kill the boss”. And with all the nerfs to the other classes this is more true than ever.

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