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Death Shroud: Problems and Solutions

necromancer death shroud problem bug viability viable useful

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#1 Reverse Ghost

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 01:59 AM

Welcome. I'd like to use this thread to have a discussion about Death Shroud as the Necromancer's unique profession mechanic. I want to open up real discussion in this community, the Guild Wars 2 Guru Forums, to see what everyone's thoughts are on Death Shroud. Do you think it's fine as it is? Do you wish some things were different?


History


Death Shroud was at one point the downed state mechanic of the Necromancer. It was later changed to a manually activated skill. I believe this to be the root cause of Death Shroud's current underwhelming status as a profession mechanic. This should have been overhauled before the game's release, but I believe the people at ArenaNet were unsure just how to do so and/or ran out of time.

This is why Death Shroud changes the player's UI to look similar to a downed state where you cannot see anything but your Life Force pool and your 4 skills.

Death Shroud must be removed completely from its downed state past and allowed to breath a little on its own. Right now it's little more than a 3rd weapon swap for Necromancers, and not a very good one at that.

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Problems

User Interface
While in Death Shroud the Necromancer cannot see certain important UI elements that can have an impact on a given fight:
  • Boons / Conditions on self
  • Red Health Bar
  • Endurance
  • Utility skill cooldowns*
This is obviously detrimental to a Necromancer's battle awareness.

* In other transformed states you cannot see the right side of your skill bar. But the difference is you can enter Death Shroud every 10 (or 5) seconds and it can be useful to pop in and out multiple times during a battle, which is not the case with other long-cooldown transformations, so it's more like a weapon swap than a transformation. Being able to see your other cooldowns would be very helpful.

Update: ArenaNet have released a UI update. Check it out.



Lack of Build Synergy
Death Shroud's 4 skills clearly favor Power / Crit builds (and only barely does that, according to some players) and offer little to no synergy for Condition-based Necromancers, which is one of the defining characteristics of the profession! Fun fact: way back in time, Deathly Swarm was a Death Shroud skill in place of Life Blast!

This leaves many non-power Necromancers feeling like Death Shroud isn't even worth using except as a second HP bar to soak up some damage, and the marginally useful but very short anytime-Fear.

Depending on your build, even if you spec for Power, going into Death Shroud can be a DPS loss and offers little other utility.


NEW: Percentage-based Life Force pool
The problem here comes from a few things.
  • We just don't know how much damage we can soak up.

  • Small hits take away a full 1% of the pool even if they would normally do less damage than that.

  • Because the Life Force pool is calculated in a percentage, a lot of players get confused when they think they're increasing their pool, but cannot see any improvement. And even if you understand that the max is going to be 100% no matter what, you sill have little to no idea how much you've actually increased your survivability.

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Solutions

User Interface

Some options:
  • Make Death Shroud affect the UI like any other transformation skill. Replace the first 4 (or 5) skills with Death Shroud skills but leave the entire bar on the screen, complete with the health globe and boons and conditions.
  • Same as above, but unlike other transformation skills, keep skills 6 - 0 on the bar so we can see the cooldowns remaining. This would look more similar to an Engineer activating a utility Kit skill than a transformation skill.
    • Because Death Shroud can be entered much more often than other transformation skills, and actually encourages dipping in and out in a fight, the Necromancer should be able to keep track of its cooldowns in this way
In the case of both of these solutions the green screen border can be kept as is.

Two interesting solutions for the health globe present themselves with this "new" UI change.
  • Turn the health globe green, remove the numbers inside, and have it drain as Life Force drains
    • This unfortunately retains the problem of not being able to see your red health when in Death Shroud, but it would look very cool ;)
  • Keep the red health globe as is and drain either the existing Life Force bar (above the weapons skills) and/or make that Life Force bar more prominent when in Death Shroud. I.E. bigger and/or centered, or put some sort of pulsing glow around the bar to direct the user's attention
Lack of Build Synergy
There are many solutions to this problem that have been proposed around Necromancer forum sections. A few that I can remember are as follows, including the first one here, which is my own :P
  • Add a 5th skill to Death Shroud (which should be done regardless) that is based on the Necromancer's main hand weapon.
    • For example, a Necromancer with a Scepter in its main hand should have a Death Shroud skill added that is based off condition damage and synergizes with condition-based builds.
  • Add condition damage to Life Blast. Of course, I think we'd all like the cast time to be reduced as well.
  • Better Traits for adding to Death Shroud's versatility and strength should be located in each trait line. The Curses line should add Condition synergy to Death Shroud, for example
  • Multiple Death Shrouds. One power-based, on condition-based, etc. Kind of like Elementalist's attunements
NEW: Percentage-based Life Force pool
The solution here is simple: change to a pure numbers-based Life Force pool, much like the HP pool. Done. Necromancers can now see exactly how much Life Force pool they have, which lets them see how much damage they can take and how much they are improving it via traits and such. Small hits now do the actual damage they're supposed to do instead of rounding to the nearest percent.



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Conclusion


So I hope many people will come in and contribute to this thread. I will try to update this post as often as I can with relevant problems and potential solutions so that we, the Necromancer community can get a little bit closer to helping the devs master the usefulness of Death Shroud.

I'm not saying Death Shroud is weak or useless in its current form, but I do think it needs some improvements to help it work and fit better with the Necromancer profession.

Edited by Reverse Ghost, 27 March 2013 - 08:38 AM.

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#2 Featherman

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 02:25 AM

This really sums up my problems with Death Shroud in its current form.

For UI and utility issues I believe they can make Death Shroud act like Engineer kits (hopefully without losing weapon stats) rather than a transform. From my experience with an Ele it seems the devs have problems coding for transforms, so this might be a feasible workaround.

#3 Lopez

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 07:24 AM

My only problem with Death Shroud is the life force generation with a Staff and Scepter is awful.

#4 Babyspiker

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 08:17 PM

Even in a power/crit build, using death shroud does not keep up with your regular dps chain.  The animation on life blast is just too slow.  The only real dps boost is using life transfer in AoE situations.

That leads to folks using death shroud primarily as a defensive soaking mechnism.

I say just give me the ability to use my normal skills while in death shroud.  Keep the life blast type mechanic --- every skill used decreases death shroud bar along with damage taken.  In return, you get added spectral damage to your attacks while in DS.

That will give people resason to jump into DS for either offensive or defensive reasons.

#5 Khrushchev

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 08:45 PM

I love you so much.

I agree with literally everything you said.

As a Necro (only level 80, been that way side a week after release) the only time I've ever found death shroud useful was when I put 60 trait points into only things that were specifically tied to death shroud, and even then dagger/Wells outclassed the build in both damage and team support.

As it is now, death shroud is something I hop into when my heal is on cooldown to burn some of the downtime,  and while it's a decent "OHSHIT" button, it really isn't a comprehensive profession mechanic like every other class seems to have (thief and Mesmer might need a bit of work).

Also the auto attack is quite slow, I have time to yell "HADOUKEN" at my screen every time.

Edited by Khrushchev, 04 December 2012 - 08:46 PM.


#6 Bloggi

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 03:17 AM

Many thanks to the OP for creating this thread. There are very good suggestions here. DS has potential, but at the moment it just lacks a bit of polish in terms of the UI. Because of this and the potential loss of DPS in some builds, it's neglected and that's a real pity for a profession mechanic. Personal experience is very much as others have stated above: #4 is decent AOE (but channeled and easily interrupted), #3 is very useful if well timed, #2 is situational...good for chasing down fleeing foes in WvW, but care when using it with PvE mobs. #1 is just slow and the damage ain't good enough to be spammed unless using Reaper's Might and possibly Unyielding Blast. Underwater, #1 used to be absolutely woeful but they increased the attack rate recently.

A while back I proposed a balanced/ support build that traited into Curses, Blood Magic and Soul Reaping. In theory this would build condition damage, critical chance and critical damage, plus traits to benefit from spectral skills and DS itself, so a 'condition build' could still take advantage of DS. The real issue however, is that condition builds will usually want to spec into Spite for condition duration instead of Soul Reaping, and so long as DS remains in its current state, it is not going to find many fans.

#7 Briar

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 03:35 AM

These are great solutions!

as of now the main use of DS is to extend your life for a few more seconds while you wait for your heal to recharge. which it is bad at, because you cannot tell if your heal has recharged yet

In-fact I would say the only good thing it is good at is a instant speed unblockable interrupt fear. And that my friends is a sorry state of affairs. As to anyone who disagrees...

Macro
{
Deathshr; Fear; EndDeathshr
}

I mean really

#8 Reverse Ghost

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:20 AM

Loving the replies so far, all very supportive ^_^

Remember, if you do think of any additional problems or solutions that you have with Death Shroud please post them, I'd love to add more to the original post.

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#9 totothecat

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 11:45 PM

Honestly, I think they should just tie Death Shroud into the Soul Reaping tree more effectively, with traits that make death shroud better (after they improve it anyways to make it par), and then put a one-two traits, maybe three, into each other tree to give death shroud good versatility without over powering it.

Now a lot of trees already have some death shroud mechanics, yes, but they feel underpowered and not very well thought out at times. In addition, there's no really good way to increase the size of your life force bar in any way except by putting points into the Soul Reaping tree. I think there should be another trait in Blood magic for increasing Life Pool size, maybe by another 10% or so.

I also think there are a lot of UI changes in order to make Death Shroud feel more like something you'd want to spec your necromancer for rather than a last resort panic button near death...

#10 umbraticus

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 08:58 AM

wow! love your post. it really sums up the problems about death shroud. and great suggestions!
if it just worked like the lich form elite (but ofcourse with the death shroud skills in your weaponskills) most of the pronlems would actually be resolved.
maybe you should post this in the official forums to get more attention from the devs :)

#11 Bloggi

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 02:29 AM

View Posttotothecat, on 08 December 2012 - 11:45 PM, said:

I think there should be another trait in Blood magic for increasing Life Pool size, maybe by another 10% or so.

AFAIK, the life force pool is tied to vitality, so increasing vitality should increase the life force pool, which would include putting points into the Blood Magic line.

#12 Reverse Ghost

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 03:06 AM

Check out what Jon Peters posted on the official forums about 10 hours ago! https://forum-en.gui...irst#post980222

The "first step" for Death Shroud is a very promising phrase. :lol:

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#13 Reverse Ghost

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 05:56 AM

This topic is kinda old at this point, but I recently did a quick mock-up (and I do mean quick) of what I'd like to see for the upcoming Death Shroud UI change:

Posted Image

So, when activating Death Shroud, the existing bar over your skills would disappear and your Life Force Pool would display where your normal HP is. As you can also see, your normal HP will still be visible via a sliver similar to how that shield thing works in Path of Exile.

With this UI you can still view (and potentially use) your Utility skills and whatnot, and of course your buffs / debuffs are visible.

This opens up the possibility for a 5th skill being added to Death Shroud, which I believe I've previously mentioned should be weapon-dependent, in my opinion.

I'd also like to see a smokey green mist above our Death Shroud skills when in the form, similar to a Guardian's blue smokey effect for his Virtues.

Edited by Reverse Ghost, 13 February 2013 - 06:26 AM.

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#14 kendro1200

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 04:06 PM

View PostLopez, on 03 December 2012 - 07:24 AM, said:

My only problem with Death Shroud is the life force generation with a Staff and Scepter is awful.
Generation on staff is fine, generation on scepter is bad.  Feast of Corruption should give a lot more life force than it currently does.

One thing I'd like to add to the list of things that'd be nice to have changed with DS: Remove the cooldown.  Back in first BWE DS didn't have a cooldown, which was really nice.  The cooldown was tacked on because some people used traits for when you entered and left DS to spam conditions onto people at a insane pace that was obviously broken.  Rather than fix the traits that were causing problems by putting a cooldown on them, Anet just put a cooldown on DS.  Just like the bleed cap, this was a poorly thought solution to a serious problem.
Being able to weave in and out of DS with greater ease w/out having to spec 30 into Soul Reaping frequently would greatly help dagger power builds.  At least for me I'd like to be able to hop in and out of DS when using a dagger w/out having to pick up Near to Death.

#15 Reverse Ghost

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 09:06 AM

I added a bit about how Life Force pool should be measured in terms of numbers and not a percentage. Because it's the right way to do it. For a lot of reasons.

>_>

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#16 ZCKS

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 10:31 AM

View PostLopez, on 03 December 2012 - 07:24 AM, said:

the life force generation with a Staff and Scepter is awful.

I actually think the life force generation with the staff is alright as the spammable #1 adds 3% per use and you can trait to have marks provide 3% when triggered.
That being said though your completely right about the scepter's ability to generate life force sucking.

View PostBabyspiker, on 04 December 2012 - 08:17 PM, said:

Even in a power/crit build, using death shroud does not keep up with your regular dps chain.  The animation on life blast is just too slow.  The only real dps boost is using life transfer in AoE situations.

That leads to folks using death shroud primarily as a defensive soaking mechnism.

Sadly this ^ is right.

There are only 2 reasons I ever use death shroud on my necro
1: To absorb damage that would otherwise kill me
2: To proc the trait weakening shroud after which I immidately pop back out because death shroud provides crap for condition damage.


As for how to fix it's problems

1: Reduce the base damage of life blast slightly but greatly increase its power scaling. This will make it a viable skill for powermancers.
2: Change the skill "Reapers Precision", get rid of what it does now & instead have it cause life blast/plauge blast to apply 2-3 stacks of bleeding for 6 seconds.
3: Make it so that when death shroud is active it only replaces your 1-5 skills & not your utility skills (note heals/healing taken would not increase your life force pool).
4: Allow the use of utility skills while death shroud is active.
5: Change the UI so it doesn't black important info.

That would fix the damage scaling problems & almost every other problem with death shroud.

Edited by ZCKS, 12 March 2013 - 10:32 AM.


#17 takarazuka

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 02:46 PM

View PostZCKS, on 12 March 2013 - 10:31 AM, said:

As for how to fix it's problems

1: Reduce the base damage of life blast slightly but greatly increase its power scaling. This will make it a viable skill for powermancers.
2: Change the skill "Reapers Precision", get rid of what it does now & instead have it cause life blast/plauge blast to apply 2-3 stacks of bleeding for 6 seconds.
3: Make it so that when death shroud is active it only replaces your 1-5 skills & not your utility skills (note heals/healing taken would not increase your life force pool).
4: Allow the use of utility skills while death shroud is active.
5: Change the UI so it doesn't black important info.

That would fix the damage scaling problems & almost every other problem with death shroud.

1. The power scaling is not the biggest issue.... cast time.  It casts far too slow in its current form.  Power scaling would help some, sure, but cast time is a bigger issue on it.
2. Not a bad idea.... RP is pretty useless really.  Powermancers have decent ways of gaining life force, but conditionmancers have some issues due to scepter's terrible LF generation and they aren't going to have enough crit to make RP be beneficial to them.
3 & 4. God yes... being able to use my wells or BiP while in DS would be amazing!  It actually hurts me to go in to DS since I could have cooldowns come up and I am not able to reapply anything.
5. Change incoming from ANet, but who knows when...

Also... adding this to the discussion section in the master list of threads.

Edited by takarazuka, 12 March 2013 - 02:46 PM.

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#18 ZCKS

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 11:38 AM

View Posttakarazuka, on 12 March 2013 - 02:46 PM, said:

1. The power scaling is not the biggest issue.... cast time.  It casts far too slow in its current form.  Power scaling would help some,

Ah ya, I forgot about that.

As I said above the only 2 reasons I ever pop death shroud is to proc weakening shroud or soak damage that would otherwise kill me.

Maybe they could also add "applies 1 stack of bleeding for 6 seconds" onto it as well to make conditionmancers happy.

Edited by ZCKS, 13 March 2013 - 11:39 AM.


#19 xaragon

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 11:57 AM

View Posttakarazuka, on 12 March 2013 - 02:46 PM, said:



1. The power scaling is not the biggest issue.... cast time.  It casts far too slow in its current form.  Power scaling would help some, sure, but cast time is a bigger issue on it.
2. Not a bad idea.... RP is pretty useless really.  Powermancers have decent ways of gaining life force, but conditionmancers have some issues due to scepter's terrible LF generation and they aren't going to have enough crit to make RP be beneficial to them.
3 & 4. God yes... being able to use my wells or BiP while in DS would be amazing!  It actually hurts me to go in to DS since I could have cooldowns come up and I am not able to reapply anything.
5. Change incoming from ANet, but who knows when...

Also... adding this to the discussion section in the master list of threads.

Agree with a lot of idea in this thread, and these 2 posts especially. My biggest problem is the slow cast time of the 1 ability, as well as the obvious ui problems. Love the idea of the bleeds talents, unsure about the utility skills while it would be awesome would it make it too overpowered.?

#20 Lunacy Polish

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 12:34 PM

Wow what a good post.  I do not talk about my necromancer enough.  I seem to have a penchant for playing and the most loved and most neglected professions XD.  Necro falls under neglected BTW.

DS is certainly not the only poorly implemented profession mechanic in the game (Warrior Adrenaline/Burst and Ranger Pets both suck too) but it does fall well short of being a really well integrated and clever  mechanic rather than a gimmick.  Let us face the facts it is in its current form a gimmick and I say this as someone who uses it offensively.

I for one certainly agree all the changes suggested are very much in order save perhaps the fifth weapon skill.  I am not against that idea but I generally favor fixing what already exists before adding something new, because you can sometimes get OP if you add stuff then fix stuff.

I don't agree with some comments though.  The main thing that hurts the necro is the metagame people use with it.  I believe the lack of perfect synergy between the abilities is actually very good design, forcing players to thing deeply about how to best use the profession.  What is unfair to the necro is that more than most professions save perhaps the engineer it really needs more easily available state allocations on gear to make more builds viable.  I for instance would love to see Power Condi Damage Toughness items.

I also feel necros in general need an overall skill damage boost even if this takes them somewhat out of the expected range.  The reasoning is that the lack.of synergy in the class ensures no individual necro can be terribly design efficient outside of straight power or straight condi builds.   Even those are not really efficient per se, a conditions necro using a staff who has no Power gear is doing rotten damage with marks just for example.  Even the straight up Power based skills just seem a little off.  While I favor necros being more about options and utility than straight up damage I think there still has to be parity.

While not as nifty I think that is the real problem.  A fifth weapon skill is a cool idea but it is fluff in comparison to.the undergoing design flaw.

#21 Phenn

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 03:47 PM

So DS got some love with this update! Well--at least the interface did. Curious as to what the general consensus is on the improvement. Still no access to Utilities, but being able to see conditions/boons, etc. is nice!

#22 takarazuka

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 05:25 PM

Well, at least we finally got a new interface.... thank god!!  I don't think they will ever give us access to utilities to be honest.  If I remember the wording correctly, DS is supposed to be a "transformation" not a "state" so our normal non-transformed abilities are just not accessible as they would be in a state or similar.

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#23 Typhron

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 06:35 AM

Adding to the suggestions: Maybe DS should instead alter the abilities of your current weapon(s) instead of giving you new abilities entirely (overly ambitious as this sounds)? In doing this traits that affect certain DS abilities affect all those versions of the DS ability. Things like:
  • Staff1 becomes Life Blast, retaining the piercing nature of the trait. Staff2-4 skills are still Marks that provide some lifeforce when procced.
  • Scepter1 becomes X Blast, applying Poison and Bleeds to the target. Scepter3 does what it does now in addition to dealing more damage based on how much life force the necro has.
  • Dagger1 becomes Y Blast, that can only be used at a close range but dealing heavy damage. Dagger2 becomes Life Transfer (while still recovering health ala Life Siphon), Dagger3 becomes Dark Path while immobilizing the target.
  • Axe1 becomes Z Blast, applying Vulnerability with every strike (and perhaps even having weapon cleave?) Axe2 and Axe3 remain largely unchanged but generate more life force while in DS.

Etc.

#24 mazut

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 03:15 PM

Wish granted :D





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