Writing too much about a single skill on a class no one plays: a blademaster tale

Starting with blademaster, I have an issue with a skill in specific: angelic orator.

  • Firstly, it’s maxed at ten points; not five, not seven, but ten - while I’m partially to blame for spreading my points across many skills, this is one of those things that I really need to max or get close to it to see actual effectiveness in play, as higher level enemies will just chuckle at the taunt and fear strength of a low level skill. This keeps my points from other important skills, such as auras, whirlwind, sword typhoon and balance of power.

  • It offers 12,5% taunt and fear per point while being a ten-point skill - this contrasts with the guardian’s taunts capping at 5 and offering 25% taunt strength per point, while the cabalists’ word of fear offers a fucking 33% fear strength per point, allowing you to spend 3 points on it (because the first one is empty, apparently) and using a +1 helmet to get the effect of spending 9 whole points in angelic orator with a +1 helmet… triple the investment, same result on fear.

  • The blademaster is overwhelmingly predominantly a melee class that, when built with a specific set of skills (surges, templar restoration and holy instinct) is able to handle crowds and sustain itself very proudly. This skill disperses crowds on a class that will have to chase each enemy down to kill them, while word of fear allows the cabalists to use one of many ranged attacks and guardians make frequent use of things like shield throw and nova guns to ravage crowds while also surviving enough to pretty much not ever need to disperse enemies. Lacking the AoE and the range, this skill heavily conflicts with the blademaster’s playstyle and combined with the ten-point investment it becomes ten points to shoot oneself in the foot when dashing backwards often solves the issue of getting ganged up on.

What do I suggest for the skill? I’m not gonna lie, I’m really biased and kinda bitter about its cost, so I would harshly lower its cap to 5 while keeping the taunt and fear strengths; yeah, straight up buff it. I would even be willing to cap it at 100% instead of 125% if it meant the addition of a movement debuff that heavily slowed enemies to make them easy to pick off as a melee class, also making another blatant buff. To add, I believe the debuff should kick in a second or so after the fear to allow enemies to make space for the intended crowd dispersal, instead of slowly trying to ungang the blademaster. These suggestions are based off of a few “ideals” I have for skills, which are:

  1. It has to be appealing to the player to introduce them to the skill’s usage, else it rots in a limbo like drain life on cabalists, grenades on marksman and drone crashes on engineer.

  2. The player needs to have their point investment be worth it - I previously exemplified it with guardian having a better taunt per point and cabalists having a better fear per point. As it stands, it tries to do both, costs too much and does little due to a lack of specialization.

  3. It has to synergize with the class’ playstyle, AKA “the melee range dancer” - that’s where the delayed slow comes in to not screw the blademaster for being a melee class.

Roast me in the comments for playing blademaster and caring too much about one skill.

*: By the way, it’d be pretty dope for sword typhoon to hit enemies higher in the air like SoJ, SoR, SoA and other melee attacks do. I think it’d also be beneficial for the blademaster to cause throw skills to trigger surges (ain’t like they don’t already stack like crazy from a single whirlwind use anyway, so there’s not a worry to balance its gain rate much) and for heaven’s arc to benefit from the increased crit stats in the sword master skill, given how little usage it sees and how slow it is to cast opposed to having someone else throw an AoE or mass-taunt enemies into melee range.

1 Like

“on a class no one plays”

worries me.

First, let me thank you for sharing this “tale”. It’s thorough and well-argued, which I deeply appreciate.
Now, you’ve made some excellent points here, on which we agreed on Discord. However, let me begin by bringing this argument here for reference first:

To be fair, while I see the point, there’s probably the reverse argument to be made too. In that CotC/AO packs both a Denounce and a WoF into one skill, on top of enemy damage reduction. So in that regard (assuming Fear/taunt strengths match) it’s an improved WoF (also not self-centered) for a slightly higher cost (2+10 over 10) or a Denounce+ (given the extra Fear effect) that offers enemy damage reduction over armor reduction for almost the same points (2+10 over 5+5 - but yes, as bare taunt skills Denounce beats it by 7 points).
So following that logic, perhaps the issue isn’t so much point demands per se, as much as it’s point value in practice. Not enough content that requires it? Low taunt/Fear strength? Lackluster skillset framing? Hm.

Following this, let me add a crucial bit of information I didn’t outline there (because it was late…), that relates to this point:

Keep in mind that % bonuses are in relation to base Fear/taunt strength, which is different for all skills - so these skills won’t definitively reach the same flat numbers with equal % bonuses.

Now, some points here I agree with, and some I don’t.

This I’m personally fine with, if the points have demonstrable value. Here, it seems they don’t.
The reason I’m fine with this investment is because I think CotC/AO, viewing it primarily as a taunt, might best be left for defensive builds - so a pointsink addresses this, while using Shimmer with “primary hand” skills yields a +AS and mitigates the cost.

Still, if you primarily view it as a panic button, it is fair that it’s too many points for one. I can’t argue with that.
In this case, then, it seems an issue arises from CotC being both skills at once.

This I fully agree with. Fear generally feels off for a melee class, because as you said, the player then has to chase enemies - or face a reshuffled assault as it wears off.

So, while I find your suggestions mostly agreeable (with the exception of AO level caps, for reasons highlighted above), let me propose an alternative (assuming it’s possible):
Split the two effects, and divide them between the two skills. Increased strengths for each can be folded into skill levels, and each skill can then serve as what it needs to be.Then we may judge each on its one role, and make other adjustments accordingly.

Still, even if we do split the effects, I find

reasonable, and probably the only way to make Fear viable for a melee class.

I definitely didn’t know about taunts having their own, uh… raw values, I guess. Though I personally haven’t
come across my 99% WoF having a noticeable difference in tackling enemies around level 55 when compared to my AO at 112% (or 125% with Shimmer) and “mistakenly” went with it based on how my guardian taunts were at 100% and 125%; I might be wrong on this because it’s purely observation and I wear glasses and things blur 3 palms in front of me, of course, but the whole thing’s kinda fishy to me.

I really can’t not think of it as a panic button because every use I found for it outside of taunting a lone enemy was to try to disperse a crowd with fear by targeting some random enemy in the middle of it. By it being almost an antithesis to the blademaster’s gameplay, I found myself avoiding using the skill unless strictly necessary, which I actually kind of enjoy as a concept because I spam taunts on guardian to keep enemies from attacking something else and because I need the thorns damage. Not spamming CoC and still having a specific niche use is something I really enjoy, even if the use is kind of the opposite of what it needs to be to me.

I’m not sure I’m understanding it correctly, but do you want to make CoC and AO two separate active skills, with one strictly taunting and the other strictly fearing? I mean, it could work and justify usage of points in both, but at the same time it feels like just putting denounce and WoF on a single class, which I honestly would find uninspired for a class that is otherwise very, very fun to play. I really think it’d be worth keeping both tied and doing the movement debuff thing I mentioned, allowing the blademaster to invest in a taunt, a fear and a sort of “evasion tanking” playstyle by virtue of not being hit while keeping enemies close.

That’s the idea, yeah. Its primary issue seems to be folding two wildly different effects into one active skill, so there might be a way to separate them properly.

To be fair, that’s kind of the current situation already :stuck_out_tongue:
But splitting them would be the basis, so then they’d be diversified enough to fit the skillset. Say, enemy damage reduction I find to be fantastic for a taunt, and I like the contrast with Denounce reducing armor. Then perhaps Fear could get your suggested movespeed penalty, so both could fit their concepts while being standalone - and thus more easily adjustable.

This is all a spontaneous idea, mind you. I don’t strongly believe this is the definite way to go; just a potential compromise for such an oddball skill that can’t seem to find its place or deserve its points.

Oh, when you mentioned damage reduction for some reason I imagined the armor reduction from denounce; it’d be interesting to see blademaster having its own taunt effect, definitely. On a little side note, I honestly really, really wish there was a viable evasion tank path to be taken because of surges being triggered by thorns and the blademaster being the only class with an evasion skill while being strong enough to last a sustained fight with several enemies (you should see the asspulling I do in some ABs sometimes); it’s actually fun to be a mobile, yet tanky class and having very active methods of lasting long, such as dashing, templar restoration and trying to restack the surges to use it as soon as possible, and the fabled melee evasion. I wonder what if blademaster had an AoE taunt that increased melee evasion according to the number of enemies taunted (and capped, of course).

Playing a BM with CotC and AO maxed I second Sterlings thoughts. It is way to much of an investment in relation to damage output skills and versatility one gets when investing in other skills. That said, AO will fall short even with a skillcap at 5. Sure it has it‘s uses in high density areas or packs of flyers that‘ll snipe one to pieces in a jiffy … my second BM (Gunmaster) has been a Novagunner even before the patch so he simply has points to waste, which is where CotC & AO came in handy besides Sprint that is :sunglasses:.

I do like the fear effect which can help in dire situations … and for „runners“ … well on my main BM distance is not an issue … Path of Righteousness or Charge combined with SurgeofSpeed and +Movement Gear stacked and last but not least a thrown Hikidas usually clears anything below mlvl59 no slower than an Evoker would with his range of AoE, e.g. while the Evo has a casting time with Hellfire the BM is in with Charge, SwordTaifun, WW … just to retreat with PoR as the Evo’s Swarm kicks in … yes it takes more effort, concentration and closeup battlefield awareness than the Evo needs … but that’s why and what we love the BM for … it’s pace and brutal punch.

I wonder how a reworked CotC/AO could add to that playstyle. The BM may use a “…” to simply pull an enemy or sword throw em to death if picking off a single target is what he/she is after.

So to me, on a BM CotC is simply a waste of skill points, be that 10/10 or 5/5 or even 3/3 … a waste because for sustain and damage other skills come first.

I do get that the skill line was mainly meant for Bosses to get pulled and especially their damage lowered, which is why I built the Gunmaster to try that on Big Syd on NM. Given it’s taunt rate atm … my guesstimate is that taunting Syd on NM with it is one of those great dreams which turns out to be a horrid nightmare on HC :sunglasses:, e.g. I do not expect it to work.

I’d love to see that particularity of CotC/AO to find its rightful and effective place in BM’s as I believe it was meant to create a “safe haven” around the BM & the Boss while they were infighting it.