I started playing this game right when AE first bought it.
Back then, you really had a diverse number of builds people used, often with equal effectiveness.
Since that time, more and more things have been added to force people into only using a specific, very narrow range of builds, otherwise you take heavy stat penalties and will likely lose.
First, they added bonus. This was to make sure that people who had low support (very common) or in any other way had a focused stat build, did considerably less damage. Unbalanced stat builds became much less powerful.
Second, they added agility. This was to ensure people who had high-HP builds became much weaker. High-HP builds became near-impossible to use.
Third, they added *very high* passive skill requirements. Now you more or less have to go with a +4 bonus build if you're BH, otherwise you cannot use the skills which make BH the unique class, ie the passive skills like bloodlust.
Why is the ED team punishing players for creative, unique builds? Focused-stat builds already were not overpowered because they were weak in certain areas and any good player would take advantage of this. Basically what they're doing is rewarding the uncreative player by making it easy for them to pick how to build their character.
Currently my build is this:
As you can see, I have a terrible win/loss ratio, though my excuse is that most of those losses came from while I was leveling up and swapping classes. These days I sit on around 85% wins.
My build is clearly adapted around the current system to get the most possible damage while keeping a good amount of defense/resistance. I spend a lot of time working out builds in notepad before I go ingame and buy equipment, a typical build calculation looks something like this:
40 +22 +6 =68 -> 17-21 +4 =53-57 (32 weapon damage)
50 +31 +9 =90 -> 30-36 +0 =30-36
40 +20 +3 =63 -> 23-28 +7 =30-35
40 +0 +0 =40 -> 10-12 +4 =51-53 (37 weapon damage)
In the above example you can see base stats, gear bonuses, enhance bonuses, stat bonuses. Total damage for primary/auxilary and defences is calculated. Robot I just do in my head since it's not the focal point of my build (in this case it does same damage as my aux anyway).
I have swapped between all 3 classes. My favourite was a very strong ~145hp strength-merc build. With the agility patch it became impossible to use for no reason other than "we want everyone to be the same".
My message to the ED staff is: if you are going to put in stats which limit a build, you should reduce the equiment requirements on high-level gear. If you want to have high equipment requirements, you should reduce the requirements on skills. If you want to have both, you should remove or reduce the agility penalty because otherwise you're funneling everyone into a very narrow selection of builds. Just to make the point, to use my equipment I have to have at minimum 40 strength, 42 dex, and 30 support. this is already putting a constraint on what type of build I can go. Skill requirements force me to have high tech (40 for poison) and support (38 for shadow arts) as well. Sure, I could make a build without them, and go smoke/massacre/emp? Bloodlust also has a tech requirement...
TL;DR: I want to be rewarded for making a good build, not punished for it with unnecessary stats which make it easier for lazy/uncreative players to compete!!
Let's just use in one area instead A Comprehensive Balance Discussion to discuss for balancing. Thanks. :) ~AVA
< Message edited by AVA -- 2/6/2011 9:11:02 >