Sakurai the Cursed
So, I've done lots of general questing and I've beaten every Inn challenge except for Triple Trouble and Elemental Chaos with SWoT now (and all on my first try, so it's certainly not a bad class), and I'd like to update my thoughts. First, I sort of agree with Bamzalot's feeling that some Umbral skills aren't rewarding enough, in that I rarely ever used Phantom Hit or Impaling Hands and when I did it didn't even really matter because they're only slightly stronger than most other skills you've got if you're in Umbral anyway; perhaps they could do with a bit more damage, or maybe added effects like a bit of -bonus on Hands or something? That aside, other than Umbra and Antumbra, Gear of Time and Shade Spikes were my most used skills for sure, whenever I didn't need to stun or have a final available to buff and use I'd go with one of those, and otherwise I generally used Attack to help with MP sustain or simply used Umbra/Antumbra to reduce cooldowns. Gear of Time in particular is fantastic, it's generally the most damaging of the Umbral skills except Eternity Ray since it buffs itself with its -All on 5/6 hits, so any time it's available I use it ASAP, unless my finals (or stuns, on an enemy with Immob. resist) are close but not quite ready to use, because of course it hugely buffs the rest of the skills' damage too. There's definitely a really nice feeling of synergy between Gear and the rest of the kit, choosing when to buff your other skills and planning how you're going to build and use charges accordingly. I don't personally have any problems with Chronic Lock either, I think it works just fine in conjunction with Doomsday Clock; sure, it's only one hit so it's not always a guaranteed stun, and I wouldn't complain if it was given more hits, but I didn't ever feel like it needed to be better, perhaps in part because it does good damage too unlike most stuns.
As for Eternity Ray, it's obviously very strong on its own, but... Well, to put it in perspective, Ascendant can do just as much damage (700% with no added crit, which is about 980% on average for me; Eternity for comparison is 500% which for my crit damage comes out to 985% total) every 4 turns, and that's without using a single Boost skill, just Scythe>Wand. With 2 out of 3 Boost skills for the full loopable 4-turn rotation, Wand does 1,568% (1,813% fully buffed, but that's not sustainable) which dwarfs Eternity Ray, again every 4 turns if you're forgoing defenses. Once Penumbra is working, assuming it works how I think it will and with Gear active as well, Eternity Ray will be doing ~2,044% or so, however that's assuming the enemy had no weaknesses to start out with, making Gear give a full +50% damage which in practice doesn't actually happen very often, and includes a turn of 0 damage from using Penumbra so is actually very skewed in Eternity Ray's favor. Either way though, even with that ideal, unrealistic number, it's still only moderately stronger than Wand but can only be used once per quest, if even that. Now, I know not every class is going to be the ridiculous offensive powerhouse that Ascendant is, but Ascendant also has an almost-loopable blind so it's also better off defensively, against single targets at least. I'm honestly not trying to say that SWoT should be better or even just as good as Asc in terms of damage or anything else, but what I am saying is that I don't quite understand the drastic penalties SWoT (and AoT for that matter) gets for having high-tier damage, when higher top-tier damage classes have no such things... In any case, just to weigh in on the suggestions given, I would definitely be okay with a charge-up time as Doomtown said, if that would allow it to get rid of the carry-over, because it certainly feels good to use this skill when it's available but that's basically going to be once per play session for most people. Alternatively... with the epic feel of the skill I might even like it better if you kept the CD and carry-over and instead made it suitably more powerful, with the charge-up added even if that's necessary. :P Nothing DmK-level or anything of course, but something to make it worth 10 times the cooldown and carry-over and possibly charge-up.
I'd also like to comment about the charge system in general and how my usage of it has evolved, due to both the scarcity of appealing options outside of Umbral as mentioned in my first post and the lack of interest in Hit/Hands mentioned above in this one. So, to begin with I figured the idea was to build up charges and then unload all of your super strong Umbral skills and repeat, right? But, as time went on and I grew accustomed to the class, I found myself stocking up on charges less and less, as turns spent gaining charges are turns spent doing low damage unless you've got Shadow People or Doomsday Clock available, and the payoff outside of Gear or Eternity isn't that large. So instead, my strategy evolved into something rather more unorthodox but I think more effective; rather than, say, build up 3 charges and use Gear>Hands>Hit or something like that, I'd simply use Shade Spikes (or Shadow People or Doomsday Clock, if they were available) to build up one charge, then use Gear of Time if available or Chronic Lock if a stun was needed, otherwise I'd just use Umbral>Antumbral to trade that charge for reduced cooldowns and use Spikes again, all in one turn (on a side-note, this makes the class very good at multi battles aside from its somewhat substandard shield, as it lets you use the strong 175% multi every turn). It's a little less damage than going with Hit or Hands, but it combats the problem the class has with long CDs and I found it to be much more effective because of that. I'm not sure if that sort of strategy was intended or desired, hell I'm not even sure whether I like or dislike it. Certainly it's a very unique playstyle, letting you lose 3 turns of CD on many turns instead of 1, but it definitely helps devalue Decay, Hit and Hands even further and I do find myself wishing I had more reason to use all the skills, as I'm not a fan of "wasted" skill slots. I think my aforementioned suggestion of switching the effects on Decay and Phantom Hit would probably help with this by giving another attractive skill outside of Umbral, although I wonder if I'd just replace Spikes with Decay then and still play the same... Though if Decay and Hit were switched and Hands was given -bonus or something else to make it more attractive, then I think that would definitely be a more appealing setup (while still allowing for the CD-reduction focused playstyle as an option), but that's just my personal take on it.
Anyway, with all that being said, nothing that I mentioned above is class-killing or anything, it's still a fun class to use at least for the time being, I like the strategic feel it has to it and as I said before it's a solid class for farming normal quests and certainly decent for challenges too given that I didn't die trying all of them (though I already know it will fail completely at Triple Trouble and Elemental Chaos so I haven't bothered). I suppose in the end I'm being a bit of a perfectionist here, as a lot of classes have "wasted" skills that I never end up using, but to be fair I don't find myself wanting to use many of those classes. I guess the main reason I'm giving all this detailed feedback is that I feel like once the novelty of the class and infatuation with the aesthetic wears off, I'm not sure the playstyle and effectiveness alone will keep me using the class and I'll end up gravitating back to the 2-3 classes I've been using for years. But well, it's not the end of the world if so, not every class is going to end up being used by everyone. :P
Edit: Oh, I almost forgot! I have something of a weird question/request for you, Dove. Would it be very troublesome to alter the animation on Shadow People very slightly, to make it so the two weapons are flipped in opposite directions while shooting the beams? That is to say, have one weapon upright and the other upside down while they're being held stationary in front of us and the beam is shooting. I dunno if it would be annoying to do or if anyone else feels the same, but I've been using Death's Royal Scythe and the Judgment Wheel with this class and I feel like it'd be a pretty cool little detail for most any scythe and even the default weapon, so it doesn't look like the two weapons merged into one or something.
< Message edited by Sakurai the Cursed -- 11/5/2017 2:45:02 >