Deceptive Design

So, I know from my start as a Shadow Warrior that I rolled this class because I wanted to be a ranged damage class (RDPS). I remember vividly from the production videos that this was to be a class that was all about the bow. Paul Barnett standing in front of the camera going “Bow, bow, bow!”. I can’t speak of how close we were to that at launch, but I can speak for them as of now. After the 1.0.6 Combat and Careers patch, we were improved, albeit, slightly. However, now that we are solidly past that patch, and the game is supposed to be far more balanced, I still feel as if we as a class are missing some our bite.

Particularly problematic is the relative states of the Skirmish/Assault stances. A very common play-style for the Shadow Warrior at this stage of the game is to specialize heavily in the Skirmish Mastery but to play at almost all times in the Assault stance. See, the bonus for the Skirmish stance is some toughness, a 5% increased crit rate, and the ability to have your auto-attack go off in movement. These are all well and good. However, the Assault stance gives the following: doubles your armor value, applies all +Ballistic Skill to your Strength stat AS WELL.

As you can see from the way I emphasized them, this is huge. It’s not as if in Assault Stance you give up your ability to do proper damage from ranged, as you still retain all of your +Bal., and the bread and butter attack from the skirmish tree, Spiral Fletched Arrow (SFA), is still use-able from the Assault Stance. Not only SFA, but the vast majority of skirmish trees cross over to use-ability while in Assault Stance. I know for a fact that Takedown (our ranged snare) is not use-able in Assault Stance, and there is one other attack I know of for sure that cannot be used, but it isn’t a vital aspect to game-play that isn’t mitigated from the bonus of Assault Stance. As it stands, unless you play in Assault Stance, you make life moredifficult for you, which seems counter-intuitive for a class that’s supposed to fill the role of RDPS.

See, the design problem comes into play when they tried to make Shadow Warriors a hybrid melee/ranged DPS class. I’m not sure where the cross over happened to kick this into gear, and I wish I knew so I could talk directly to the person who green-lighted this idea. I wanted to play a class that’s all about the bow, and since Wood Elves are not likely to ever be in the game (who wants a third race of elves?), the Shadow Warrior and the Squig Herder are my only options, and I have zero desire to play the Herder. Something needs to be done to correct this glaring over-site in class design. I hate to cry for a nerf to my own class, but right now, we need to be nerfed in our melee area and seriously buffed up in the Skirmish stance, and our Scout stance needs some love too, but that’s a whole other discussion.

If all of that dosen’t highlight the situation well enough for you, think of it this way: Do Bright Wizards have a melee tree? Engineers? Magus? Sorc? Squig Herder? I’m not 100% certain, but I think the answer to all of those is no. The phrase Path of Stabbin’ is ringing in my head like it might be a similar line for the SH, but I can’t be entirely sure until I get home and can verify. If it is a melee line for them, they need to have it changed, just as badly as we do.

Edit: I checked it out, Squig Herders DO have a Melee line, but it led me to notice another disparity. All of their mastery trees improve at least 7 abilities, and the melee line improves 12. TWELVE. Each of the Shadow Warrior trees only improve five a piece. The Engineer and the Magus do have paths that improve close combat as well. It still seems like the Shadow Warrior leans most heavily upon it, but that may just be perception.


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4 Responses to Deceptive Design

  1. Snafzg says:

    I have absolutely no idea what gear, stance, or skills these guys are using on my server, but I’ve come across two completely insane SWs that own up everyone. One guy is melee… I can win if I keep him off me but if he gets in close enough, I’m dead within 5 seconds. Another guy is set for maximum ranges damage and he simply tears me apart. He opens with some sort of stun/disable thing and I’m at half life before I can even start shooting my first bloody arrow! :s

    • shadowwar says:

      Thanks for the comment!
      Yeah, there are definitley some nasty options as far as melee goes, and that’s part of the problem that I see with the class as a whole. Creating a Ranged DPS class and then making their melee capabilities one of the strongest options.
      I did respec to scout yesterday (our long range, hard hitting, long cast time spec) and it does wreck some face if you pick your targets right. I’m not sure what the disable thing is he’s hitting you with, I’ll have to look into it.

  2. Shotokan says:

    Hi there! I enjoy reading your blog. I don’t normally add input to blogs, but wanted to put in my two cents on the issue. I don’t think nerfing our Assault stance is the answer, but rather buffing it in some sort of way. i.e. making us more viable in a melee situation. We are intended to be hybrid thus being able to pop in and out of our stances pending on the situation we face. That being said, my experience so far (lvl 35) is that in PvE it’s ok as it is, could be better, but no “real” complaints, pull from range then use melee to finish the target off. But the lack of viability comes from the RvR side of our class, when in a scenario for example, we are doing our thing from range (I personally am Skirmish spec) we are melting faces, until someone realizes “Holy crap I’m gonna die if I don’t take this guy out of the picture!!” so in comes some mdps types (be tank, marauder, WE’s or DoK) and we’re face down for a dirt nap til we res or get rezed. So, my thoughts are these:

    Give us Medium armor, we’re a hybrid range/melee class, thus medium armor seems appropriate, also I was attracted initially to the class (1. because I love bows and being rdps, but also) because they boasted an awesome highly agile SW jumping from roof to roof shooting a bow at a Marauder, then holds an awesome encounter where the SW DUAL WIELDS gains some ground and pops a couple of arrows in the marauders face. Now I’ve emphasized on dual wield… so yea, gives us melee dual wielding!! I don’t want to seem like I’m complaining but they gave the Disciple of Khain the ability to heal self and others, AND dual wield? I say Medium armor and dual wielding ability would enable us to get into a melee skirmish with our adversaries and have a chance of coming out alive, because as it stands right now, all it serves is PvE questing and in RvR scenarios it serves as a “change stance to boost armor allowing us to take a few more hits than in other stances while we get a disarm in, root (which hardly works in scenarios given the dots being thrown out like mad) and run like hell… which in practice we all know hardly ever works out and we end up face down in the dirt.

    I expect to die in RvR and it’s part of the game, but the Shadow warrior needs a little more love… heck they gave out counterpart a pet to harass us with, with equal ranged ability… yes we get to change stances, but lets face it, we’re either Scout for long range or skirmish for a more AoE arrows and on the move play style… so one OR the other, with as mentioned a switch into Assault to try and get away from the mdps who’s about to kill us.

    I would love to see medium armor on us combined with dual wielding capabilities, at that point our melee tree would perhaps look more appealing and SW’s would perhaps be more capable in terms of surviving in various situations when in battle. Without buffing abilities or nerfing. Just add Med armor and dual wield.

    Sorry for the rant!! Cheers!

  3. shadowwar says:

    I appreciate the comment and your reading the blog, but couldn’t disagree more. If you read through the boards at Warhammer Alliance, you’ll see the numbers people are putting up in regards to Assault Shadow Warriors. I even read one where the poster was a White Lion thinking about switching because the advantages a SW has in melee are that good.

    “Give us Medium armor, we’re a hybrid range/melee class…”

    That’s the part I take issue with. We weren’t supposed to be one. We were supposed to be a ranged class that had some close range FINISHING moves. I don’t want to get into melee fights, I don’t want to be next to anything that’s got a pointy object and looking like they want to hurt me. I want to put an arrow in each of their eyes so they can never look at me again!

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