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In EE10.1 (which we will be deploying as soon as it has passed it's QA certification on our Test Server), we’re making several individually minor changes to feats that add up to some noticeable changes. Below, we explain the reasoning for each of the changes, and an overall picture of what these feats will look like in Early Enrolment 10.1.
This is a “TL;DR” summary for the pile of information below:
First off, the additional time spent on 10.1 (and the inclusion of this combat balancing pass that was originally intended to appear later), has allowed us to create a more nuanced change to AoEs compared to EE10.0 and earlier. While AoEs still have their reduction in power due to the removal of friendly fire, we heard you on the overly long cooldowns. In addition, the wider scope of changes to the combat math means that AoEs are usually more powerful overall than after the initial rebalance, especially when considered against the other changes outlined below. The increase in the power of expendables allows AoE spells to still pack a punch, and the rise of more weapon combos gives AoEs a compounding effect as they trigger bonus effects on subsequent AoEs and single-target attacks. See below for more information about all these features.
The first set of changes was to physical attacks, cantrips, orisons, and utilities (i.e., the stuff on the bottom row of your action bar). The tweaks to these feats informed the changes to passives and expendables (discussed in their own sections).
Prior to EE10.1, most primary attacks were priced so they cost slightly more stamina than you’d recover during the attack animation (e.g., you recover 23 stamina while making a 2.3 second attack, and primary 2.3 second attacks consumed 31 stamina: you’d lose a net of eight stamina per attack if you used it over and over every time it was available). Ultimately, this meant that even just using primary attacks, you’d run out of stamina and your stamina recovery rate would quickly become the dominant combat timing factor, rather than attack speed.
For EE10.1, we’ve changed most* primary attacks so they cost less stamina than you’ll recover while using them (e.g., that same 2.3 second attack now costs 22 stamina, so you net a recovery of one stamina every time you use it). This means that if you just use primary attacks (and aren’t Exhausted) you should stay full of stamina, and if you empty your stamina with secondaries you can switch to primaries for a while and recover stamina without ever ceasing your attacks. Especially with the change to secondary cost (see below), this should mean you’re much more likely to have the stamina to execute an attack with a conditional while that condition is available, rather than having to wait for stamina to recover only to find that the condition has ended. However, keep in mind that stamina is a major factor in an attack’s potency, so cheaper attacks will be individually less potent (though see the other changes below for why most attacks will be better).
* Some attacks, particularly non-general ones, are allowed be a little more expensive and thus more potent, but they still cost less stamina than they previously did.
Prior to EE10.1, secondary attacks cost approximately twice as much stamina as primary attacks of the same speed (e.g., a 2.3 second secondary attack cost 62 stamina). This meant that you couldn’t use them very often in a fight at all, they were often individually more potent than Tier 1 spells and maneuvers, and you would have to plan extremely carefully to get their main benefit (conditional effects) to land while a condition was in play (since you might have to wait up to six seconds to have the stamina to use them).
For EE10.1, we’ve changed the stamina multiplier for secondaries to 1.5, and, coupled with the reduction to the cost of primaries, this significantly reduces the stamina cost of secondaries (e.g., that same 2.3 second secondary is now 34 stamina). This means you’re much more likely to be able to use a secondary when you need to (and you actually should use them pretty frequently, because staying full on stamina by using primaries winds up wasting a little stamina) and their individual potency allows spells and maneuvers to be more useful per period of attack in comparison.
Prior to EE10.1, only a few weapons (such as greatsword) had a significant degree of internal combos (i.e., effects that one attack on the weapon applies set up a conditional for another attack on the weapon, which itself sets up the conditional for a third attack, etc.). These combo sequences seemed to be a lot of fun, and players have asked for them to be more prevalent.
For EE10.1, every weapon now supports feats with a combo sequence, and most general attacks are designed to be part of one or more combos with other general feats on that weapon. Often, the benefit is minor, such that you’re not losing much by failing to use the combo, but the math of conditionals means that these feats are stronger than they would be if they just applied the effect without a conditional requirement. It also means that most attacks changed somewhat in their effects: an existing effect moved to a stronger version that requires a combo, the attack gained a new effect as part of a combo, or a condition changed to a different condition to make more sense in combo.
We tried very hard to keep the attack as similar as possible to its prior use, so if you bought an attack for a tactical reason it should still meet that need in most cases, but there may be some level of change to get accustomed to (and a new reason to buy feats you may have skipped that now combo with your already known feats). We welcome your feedback on whether there could be further changes to better adjust attacks to meet the community’s needs for them.
Prior to EE10.1, attacks without a deliberate cooldown generally had an “internal cooldown” that was equal to the attack time less the validation. For example, every 2.3 second attack had at least a two-second cooldown (the length of the attack minus the 0.3 validation seconds before the cooldown would start). This meant that you couldn’t initiate the attack again right after being interrupted (because it might still have a second left of cooldown), but it otherwise had no effect other than to be mildly confusing.
For EE10.1, we removed these internal cooldowns. Now if an attack has a cooldown greater than 0, it’s because you cannot immediately reactivate it. This should make it much more clear which attacks are deliberately meant to only be used once every few seconds, and which ones can be used again as soon as they’re done animating. (Note that the cooldown still starts 0.3 seconds after you begin the attack, so a 2.3 second attack with a 6 second cooldown can actually be used again 4 seconds after it finishes.)
There were several other miscellaneous changes made as part of the general balance pass. These include:
After changing the conditional math for the attacks, it made sense to revisit the balancing of Reactive feats. We developed a better sheet for pricing them, and it then made sense to go ahead and rebalance all the other passive feats to make sure they were in line with the updated Reactives. The upshot of these changes is:
Expendables (Spells, Maneuvers, and Consumables) saw a significant increase in power based on player feedback. In addition to inheriting all the pricing changes from attacks, they had the following adjustments:
Like all changes to Pathfinder Online, these changes are the result of Crowdforging and can be further Crowdforged. We’re doing our best to respond to player feedback, while keeping the systems constrained for the overall health of the game and in preparation for future features. Which is to say: yes, a few things did get nerfed, but a lot of things got improved and hopefully made more fun in general, and everyone should see more things in their builds that were improved than were nerfed. We hope you’ll try out the changes in the larger ecosystem of changes before reaching a verdict on whether you like or hate them.
The overall vision for feats is that your build is a choice, not a calculation. Within a type of feats, there should never be an option that is obviously the best feat or one that is obviously without value. The intent of this wave of changes was to try to compensate for some feats that were obviously better and some that were not being used at all. We’d like everyone to feel that they can take feats that speak to them (or are fun for them in combination with their other choices) without feeling like they’re making a mistake in their build.
This extends to existing builds: if you feel like some of these changes went too far the other way and made new feats that are obvious best choices, let us know. We are absolutely not trying to tell people, “Your build is bad now, start working on a different build.” Instead, we’re trying to reward players that stuck with builds that should have been competitive, but were not, by bringing them up to par, and to give new characters more freedom to build a character without feeling like there’s a best build that they’re missing.