Tera – Time for Class Hauls?

TERA-logo

Time for Some Tera Class Hauls

No, not Class Halls, but Class Overhauls. One of the things that impresses me about World of Warcraft is that they are willing to periodically change major aspects of their classes and supporting mechanisms as changing game requirements demand. Not only have they changed Talent trees multiple times, but Glyphs, and even Class Skill Trees have changed dramatically over past releases.

I think that it’s time for Tera to consider some major overhauls to the class skill trees and this document tries to lay out some ideas for those changes and rationale for them.

Let me say first of all that I’ve been playing Tera for over two years and that I’m a severe Altoholic. I’m not even going to say how many toons I have at this point, but suffice it to say that I’ve played all the classes in PvE and also done Corsairs with all the classes. I was around before the Avatar Weapon change and the changes that made enchantment easy with the introduction of Feedstock. Also I’ve done the PvE Story content for Fate of Arun and done a dungeon there. I’m not a dungeon raider expert, but I’ve done plenty of dungeons at all levels. So I think I have the experience to know what I’m talking about to suggest these changes.

General Changes

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Warrior

Self Heals for all classes. Just give me a minute, would you…

With the way we play lately, with avatar weapons, ease of enchantment, and the new content up to level 65, I think it’s time to change the way the non-healer classes deal with healing. In PvE there appears to be some historic confusion about whether pots and bandages are a way to heal non-healer classes, or to use orbs that drop during PvE combat. But these orbs are not consistent, except in the case of BAM combat. I suggest the following changes to clean up self healing for all classes that need it.

  • Single Heal skill for all non-healer classes with for example: 50% – 75% of HP in 15 sec using 20% of “Resource” [Mana] with cool-down of about 1 minute. While soloing, or in a party doing PvE, you get to heal between fights. And during a BAM fight you get to occasionally safe yourself. Maybe it works in PvP too, but I’ll let the PvPers duke that one out. This skill works during combat and has instant cast. The healing effect is not stopped by taking damage.
  • Get rid of HP Red Orbs the drop in PvE combat. They are too inconsistent to be anything more than annoying. I have pictures of being knee deep in them when I don’t need them and then have none when I do.
  • Get rid of HP Pots in the game. No more drops and remove from Merchant NPCs. They still work, but you can’t get them any more. Likewise, get rid of low level bandages.
  • Simplify bandages. Just one type of bandage – Veteran Bandage that heals 50% – 75% of HP for all levels, out of combat only with a reasonable cool-down. It is widely available from NPCs and for a price that all can afford. So maybe we don’t need this if we have a self heal skill. What do we think?
  • HP Orbs and MP Orbs still drop during BAM combat. These long cool-down self heal skill, or bandages are not going to cut it to solo a BAM, unless of course you are OP as a reaper, gunner or brawler.
  • Hunter Yellow Orbs still drop from named bosses. Those are a buff as well as heal and are the recognition that you have killed something special. Also, increase the buff time on these to something reasonable, like 10 minutes. Currently they heal you up great, but the buff doesn’t last long enough to be more than trash, so if you don’t need the heal, just leave them on the field, they are useless, and should not be. You probably worked hard to kill that named boss, or he and his entourage and so you should be rewarded.
  • Preserve Valiant potions. Allow purchase from NPCs. These are vital in some later content that oddly, must be soloed, like the story quest line in Fate of Arun. More on that later.

All this may seem radical, and there may be some tweaks for PvPers, but this is based on Solo, and party, leveling of lots of all classes through the content over the past few years and watching the changes. These items have not kept up with the changing nature of the content and the changing nature of the users. Given the rush to PvP and the race to higher levels, much of the old way of doing things is just a waste of time. EME and BHS have encouraged this with the changes for Avatar weapons, simplifying enchantment, the changes to Story Quest Rewards, Vanguard Request rewards, etc. that make leveling fast to allow players to reach the higher levels quickly. So it’s time to streamline more than just the starting area, but the whole healing process as well.

Enchantment Changes The Game

One more word about the enchantment changes. The changes to enchantment have made enchantment during leveling ubiquitous. I think my behavior is typical of those leveling a new character:

As soon as available at level 27, purchase on Action House Superior Gear that is enchantable, and enchant it to level 9. More may be possible, but not worthwhile since you don’t keep the gear long enough.
Each 10 levels or so, rinse and repeat to have good gear to proceed.
This process is continued until you get Idoneal gear at level 65.

Was all this obvious? That means that all white, green and blue gear is basically trash to be dismantled or sold for gold. We know that right? No reason to even save it for the looks of it, since looks are only available in the Store or Fed Bills shop. I am not clear why any work was done to change the names of armor and provide a bunch more types in the Fate of Arun release. At that point I kept seeing new names appear. Why did BHS spend the time to do that? No clue. Also all quest reward armor, and weapons are trash. Maybe all low level gear rewards should be feedstock, alkahests, and relics. Unless the gear rewards are going to be changed to Superior Armor. That is work better served in the game than changing the name of armor pieces that are trash anyway.

Fate of Arun Experience

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Rhodos Khirian Leader

I have taken many classes through the Fate of Arun content since it appeared. I started with Reapers and Gunners and found that they basically Solo this content, up through the Story Line to level 65 and Idoneal Gear, without any problems. And actually with no help from anything special. No surprise to anyone.

Let me point out that I am not a tweaker. I do what gets me the 90% benefit. There are folks out there that fine tune everything to the 98% or 99% level, but when you are an Altoholic and are leveling toons through equipment that you are not keeping very long, then the tweaking does not make sense, IMHO. And I’m not a tweaker in skill usage either. I pick 3-5 skills to use in rotation to kill things. With a few less often used support skills. You may have different skills and may have some very arcane rotation that gets you another 5% in effectiveness. But again, I’m doing all the classes and don’t have time or energy to tweak every class to the last 1%. That said, I’m consistent about this approach, so that again is a benchmark to measure the effectiveness of the classes and their skills. If classes are very different at the 90% tweaked level, then they will be different at the 99% tweaked level that you can find too.

This section does not suggest any changes to this storyline, although I’m sure we can all suggest things we don’t like. I’m suggesting that from the Airship Platform to level 65 and getting your Idoneal Gear is a benchmark that shows how balanced the classes are and how their overall performance compares with each other. So given this fixed content and my experience doing it, I’m making a set of suggestions to the skills of the classes to balance them. I think those changes will make PvE content, as well as dungeons and probably PvP more enjoyable for most players. Without balance, we risk leaving other classes behind, in favor of Reapers, Gunners and Brawlers.

However, as soon as I tried the other classes, I had to make some modifications to successfully do the content. So these changes obviously point out that the Reapers and Gunners are Over Powered with respect to the other classes. Surprise, surprise. We all knew that. And let me say that this is OK with me. Your opinions may vary, but my point of view is that OP classes are ok, as long as other classes are not disadvantaged. At this point I think that some of the classes are disadvantaged significantly. See below.

Next through the Fate content were Priest and Mystic. These could solo the Fate of Arun content as well, but probably wanted to use the following list of items to make the job easier, especially in the citadel and solo instances:

  • Veteran Bandages – stack of 10. In solo instances, you get some breaks while Rhodos moves ahead, and you can back off and use these. Save those Valiants by using these.
  • Valiant Potions – stack of 10. When you are about to die in combat, safe yourself if you can.
  • CrystalBinds – stack of 3 or 4. Save those precious crystals when you die in those solo instances.
  • Noctenium – You don’t actually need this for Reaper and Gunner, surprisingly enough. But you better turn it on for other classes.

By using these methods I have taken Berserker, Warrior and Slayer through the Fate content to 65 and Idoneal gear. My opinion is that Fate PvE Story content was designed to push all the classes to the very brink and require these things to succeed. But as far as I can tell, Archer and Sorcerer are just not reasonably up to dealing with this content Solo. I’ll point out class balance suggestions below for these and others.

Balance the Classes

Mystic

Mystic_Skills

There are too many stun and support skills. Too many choices. And too many of them use too much mana to be interesting. Toss them out. Pick a couple of stun and damage over time skills and make them stack, have reasonable cool-downs and use reasonable mana. These skills are not useful if you burn through your mana so fast that you spend all your time dropping Orbs and doing Mana Infusion.

In dungeons, between level 40 and 60, the mystic can’t use the stuns without depleting mana to the point of not being able to heal. Folks are in a hurry like never before in these dungeons. I skip them mostly because I no longer like the social atmosphere there. The tank, if we have one, or the gunner acting like a tank, rushes on without waiting for any buffs or to build stamina. Won’t watch the mana levels of healers or anyone else. They act like they want slaves to help them solo the content.

That said, the class needs a clean up for a faster play style and to balance it for the new world.

Remove the stupid Thrall of Vengeance. This is not survivable enough and has too low a DPS to be interesting. Replace it with a pet that can move around, does better DPS, and no tanking. The Thrall of Protection works very well. But it takes long enough to cast that if you lose it, you can’t get out of the fight with that, so the DPS Pet needs to cast instantly.

Like I said, I was able to do that Fate content with Mysics, so except for what I’ve mentioned, it’s balanced enough for the future.

Priest

Priest_Skills

The biggest problem with the priest is those silly buffs. Let me count the problems:

There are too many buffs. How about one Divine Intervention skill that as it grows through the levels takes on more and more of these aspects until it has all of them. It has instant cast, and works like a mystic buff that is up all the time and buffs allies in range, long range like the radius of a boss platform in the Sky Garden.

What is up with these current buffs that I do them on myself and I help a bunch of folks that then run off to do their own thing with my buffs? Never paying attention to me? I used my hard won mana to give them a bunch of 10-15 minute “Charm like buffs”? Nonsense. If these folks are not willing to work with me on the content, they should not benefit from my buffs. Just like the mystic, if you don’t stay around you don’t get the benefit of my buffs.

Also this fixes the problem of the rushers in the new way of running dungeons. Currently the young buck gunner, or whatever class, that rushes off ahead never waits for the buffs from the priest. But with the new scheme, when the priest catches up, the YoungBuck player gets the buffs. After all, he would have gotten the mystic buffs. Why not those of the priest?

Obviously, the priest does not get the new Self Heal skill. She already has her own self heal.

Warrior, Slayer

Warrior_Skills

Slayer_Skills

Just add that self heal skill. I like the rest of these classes. I was able to do the Fate content on both of these classes with the list of items above.

Lancer

Lancer_Skills

I have not completed Fate with this class yet. I’m still grinding through the level 55+ content to reach 60. My experience is that this class does not do enough damage to Solo PvE effectively. I use the avatar weapon, and superior gear and gear it for damage, not tanking. But still, not enough DPS. I suggest that we change to a scheme like warrior to have a tanking mode as default, but an Assault mode as an option for PvE and PvP content. Up the DPS in that mode, and remove the aggro enhancements. About 20% more DPS or so may be right. Yes, and add the Self Heal skill as mentioned above.

Berserker

Berserker_Skills

I was able to do Fate content with this class with the items listed. I suggest two changes:

  • Add the Self Heal skill as above. Yes you can use Vampiric Blow, but it doesn’t do much damage and doesn’t heal that much. Leave it alone, but give the Berserker the Self Heal.
  • Also, let’s bring in the Berserker tank skills at level 27 rather than 65. With the dungeon finder having a new feature – “Continue matching without a Tank Class”, one would suspect that there are not enough players playing tanks in the game. So why not allow low level Berserkers to play tanks?

Archer

Archer_Skills

This is the most disadvantaged class with respect to the new content. Yes, I got to level 60 and started the Fate Content. But it’s so painful to do it that I pretty much gave up. This class needs a tanking pet. The problem is that the archer skill designs are taken from other games where the powerful bow skills have very long windups, and cool-downs, but in those other games there is a tanking pet. So the skills are the same, but there is no pet. So the traps are supposed to work like the pet? Keep the mobs off me until I can kill them. Well the traps don’t stun long enough, or slow long enough, or work on enough enemies, or work on the mobs that got by them.

And, using the traps has the same problem as the priest buffs. Too much button mashing. Each fight starts with a lot of button mashing to set up all the traps, then kill the trapped mobs, rinse repeat. Borrrrring…. and I get RMI – repetitive motion injury to my fingers doing this. I talked with someone playing a 65 archer who managed to get there and said they “liked the archer” but I didn’t talk in detail about how they dealt with the later Fate content to close the Storm Pillars [Shut the Door quest] where you are rushed by a lot of mobs as you near each pillar. Maybe this person got to 65 by just grinding the dungeon and didn’t really do this content.

The archer is designed as the perfect dungeon DPS bringer. Long range, high damage and reasonable cool-down. But as a solo class it stinks.

  • Add a tank pet.
  • Add the self heal.

and then play Fate content over and over and tweak until it’s no harder to play than Mystic. I’m not asking for Gunner or Reaper, but only for Mystic parity.

Sorcerer

 

Sorcerer_Skills

This class is pretty close to ok actually. But she too needs a tank pet. The Hail Storm skill and other stuns work well. Arcane Pulse is pretty much useless in PvE since it takes too long to wind up. And in a dungeon, it doesn’t do enough damage to be really useful. All that windup, and you hit the boss and what.. That’s all I get? Waste of time and mana.

One of the best strategies I’ve found for PvE is to cast Hail Storm and then run back into it to drag mobs into the death circle. Spam the mana shield when you can.

This class needs the self heal and it really needs a water or ice tank pet. The traps are just about useless. They don’t stun long enough, take too long to cast and don’t do enough damage. Oh sure, they work great at the top of the ladders in Corsairs. But are we really tuning the classes for so specific a task? I suggest tossing the traps and adding a tank pet – maybe a little version of a Frost Mob you find in Frost Reach. Either the ones with the large hammer pillars or the shaman like frost wizards. Maybe one of each. One is a tank and one is DPS. Make them have the same specs and behavior as the Mystic pets. And again, test these by playing Fate of Arun PvE content until the Sorc and Mystic have parity.

The Sorcerer is designed for dungeons, like the archer. But we are PvE and PvP now, not about dungeons as much. Sorcerers are disadvantaged for those of us that want to do PvE content. But a frosty tank and the self heal would fix that right up.

Gunner

Gunner_Skills

No changes. The Fate content was apparently designed with Gunner as the benchmark class to do it. The self healer robot, the excellent crowd control skills make this an excellent solo class.

Reaper

Reaper_Skills

The reaper was designed almost as well as gunner for a solo class. The only place it’s lacking is Self Heal. I’d add the self heal skill to this class, and leave the rest alone.

Competition for Tera

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Scenery with Sky Castle in Distance

Well I think it will be a cold day in Frost Reach before anybody at EME or BHS takes these ideas seriously, but maybe we can hope that the rest of the game will get some attention. With all the rush to “End Game Content” and OP Vanity Classes like Gunner and Brawler, the core game is being neglected. If Tera turns into Gunners and Brawlers in battle grounds with nothing else being paid attention too, I’ll look elsewhere. I love PvE and the experience of all the classes. And there are up and coming contenders.

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The Cute Race

I’ve played some WildStar and it is a lot of fun, and now Free 2 Play with a very reasonable set of play / pay choices, just like EME Tera. Tera has not had credible competition for a long time. Aion never really got going, and Rift wasn’t a contender either. But WildStar is now free to play, viable and fun. And full of friendly looking classes, and lots of attitude. “Hooo! Haaaa! You leveled up, cupcake. Now get back to work!” And they have an OP Gunner class they call Engineer and a Medic healer class that can kick butt to solo. Yep, I’m an Altoholic over there too.

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Legions Expansion

The new changes to Wow that will come with Legion makes me think I might go back there, if not for Legions, at least for the changes that will come with it. Hey the new Shadow Priest looks cool. Who would not want to go insane? Insanity as a resource? Cool. Wow has always been willing to redesign and rebalance their classes and game mechanics for better game play. I remember, gee was it five or six years ago, when it was impossible to play a priest at level 35-40 because if you got jumped by two mobs, you ran out of mana and died. Sorcerers and Warlocks had similar mana problems. Then a few months later an update came along and all the classes suddenly had no mana problems.

Other games redesign and rebalance due to changing gameplay and player needs. Time for Tera to consider those changes, don’t we think?

: windy