Some background on me: I’ve been following the Necromancer and posting on the Guru forums since pre-BWE, back to when Dark Path was a teleport that could go through ceilings, and when you could trait Necrotic Slash to be a ranged attack. I play some sPvP, minimal dungeons, and primarily WvW on my Necro, Mesmer, and Warrior.
I feel that the Necromancer and Death Shroud aren’t as bad as many here claim them to be. Surely we have several bugs, as most classes do. DS isn’t a great profession ability — its just about average, but a bit boring and a bit too lopsided for those that focus on power.
One area that the Necromancers are severely lacking is boons. Despite DS, my Mesmer is significantly more ‘beefy’ or ‘tanky’ than my Necromancer due to the high uptime of several boons like Aegis, Regeneration, Vigor, and Protection. As Necromancers, we are limited to some Regeneration, and very limited Protection. Note: Well of Power also provides us boons on conversion, but this has a high cooldown and is far from as reliable as other professions.
My proposal are some very simple improvements to both Death Shroud and some traits and trait lines that might help fix some of these issues.
1. Improving Death Shroud itself
As I mentioned earlier, I don’t feel that DS is really very underpowered. With a good amount of Power and Precision, it can hit pretty hard. However, its rather niche for those that are specced this way. I’m not going to try to reinvent new abilities to replace what we have — I don’t think that is a realistic option for the Devs at this point. However, I do believe that much of what would improve DS already exists, and it lies in the underwater version of DS (linked: http://wiki.guildwar...ki/Death_Shroud).
Some combination of these abilities would make for a well-rounded DS that is useful and fun for all specs of Necromancers.
Life/Plague Blast- Allow the land version to also transfer one condition to the enemy. This spell would also greatly benefit from being a shorter cast time. Adjust damage to balance, if necessary.
Dark Path/Water- I think these abilities work well as they are, and wouldn’t recommend any changes.
Doom/Wave of Fear- I’m a big believer that our Fear is underpowered, especially as it was billed as a key component of the profession. I’d greatly prefer the underwater version, and would help reaffirm Fear as being a Necromancer-focused condition.
Life Transfer/Gathering Plague- I am a proponent of having BOTH of these abilities in both land and sea forms of DS, putting one as the 4th skill, and adding the other for a 5th skill.
These changes work off of abilities that we already have in the game, and therefore have theoretically been balanced at some point. These would also make DS much more valuable for conditionmancers and support focused Necromancers, and make DS more enjoyable.
2. We need more Boons
Necromancers have the following boons available:
Fury- one trait
Might- one ability, three traits
Protection- two abilities, one trait
Regeneration- two abilities, one trait
Retaliation- one ability, two traits
Stability- two elites, one trait
Swiftness- two abilities
Like the improvements to DS I suggested above, I’m not going to go and try to reinvent too much, as I don’t think that is likely to happen — and I think we can reasonably get to a good place with boons without creating too much new stuff. I’m going to base my suggestions around two traits that I believe work well, and would synergize with the changes to DS above — Furious Demise and Spiteful Spirit. To mimic the Furious Demise trait (Master trait for Curses), each trait line would have a specific boon in the Master (15 point) location of the trait line.
Spite Master Trait: Spiteful Spirit, gain RETALIATION when entering Death Shroud. I run this trait pretty often in my Condition build, and it is pretty decent, already in the game, and fits into the trait line.
Curses Master Trait: Furious Demise, gain FURY when entering Death Shroud. Already in the game, is a great trait and nothing to change here.
Death Master Trait: New trait, gain PROTECTION when entering Death Shroud. Adjust duration based on balancing needs.
Blood Master Trait: New trait, gain VIGOR when entering Death Shroud. Adjust duration based on balancing needs.
Soul Reaping: Keep Last Gasp.
These changes would greatly help our lack of Boons. Each build would be given appropriate boons to their playstyle, and would be able to use DS more than a meatshield or merely to fear. Being able to jump in-and-out of DS for a few boons would be more interactive, rather than jumping into DS and using most, if not all, of your Life force at once.
3. Adjusting Trait Lines
Every few weeks, someone comes onto the forums and says that “It would be great if Condition damage and Condition duration can both be in the same trait line”. Well, this isn’t going to happen, for several reasons (Balance, Primary vs Secondary attributes, etc). However, that doesn’t diminish the fact that our current trait line bonus’ are ill-designed. So lets get to my suggestions:
First off, Power and Condition Duration is going to stay the same. Every single profession has these connected, and I’m not going to suggest a change here. I also believe that Vitality and Compassion are correct to be linked together.
Based on the changes proposed above, it would be much more beneficial to have our Class Mechanic paired with Boon Duration, since the vast majority of our Boons would be coming from Death Shroud. Additionally, the current bonus of Critical Damage continues to be primarily focused on one playstyle, and this would continue the path of making DS more enjoyable for all builds.
Critical Damage makes the most sense to be paired with Precision. For those with balance concerns — this is already the setup for BOTH the Mesmer and Elementalist. It is, by far, the most logical place for Critical Damage to be located, and pairs well with the Fury buff from DS.
That would leave Toughness and Condition Damage, paired with Protection trait for DS. This line makes sense for condition damage, as this requires you to out-last your opponent. Toughness and Condition damage are already paired on the Elementalist — and these new trait lines would actually pair 100% with what the Elementalist has currently.
Of Note: This may (will) require some movement in current traits, for example you wouldn’t want Lingering Curses to remain in a Precision/Crit Damage trait line.
Of Note, Part 2: The third part of this thread is where I believe would run into troubles with the Devs — while I think the suggestion is reasonable and needed, I think it might be “too much change” for them to consider, unfortunately.
Thanks for reading!
Edited by jmb4028, 26 November 2012 - 05:22 PM.