So here we are again after another patch, and while it looks like we’re retaining the top spot in terms of solo power, this patch did weird stuff to our internal balance.
The key points of this patch was ofcourse:
- The increase in damage to the norvald’s set.
- The added multipliers for bombardment.
- The buff/nerf to invoker.
The minor points was:
- Buffs to both seeker of light and roland’s set.
- Reducing the lag of hammerdin by having the hammers die after hitting 63 targets.
So, these changes did mess up some things, mainly sets in general. With these new changes both akkhan and invoker was effectivly hamstrung, seeing as they both lost their individual potential.
Akkhan cant be buffed any further now since the bombardment buff is halting its power increase (otherwise A6I2 will get even more powerful), this ofcourse puts a halt on both condemn, blessed shield and a possible phalanx build, the items needed for these builds cant be buffed any more because LoD can run them even better. So a balance to have them equal or better than their LoD counterpart was something to aim for.
Invoker was already one of the more difficult sets to balance, but compared to other elite killer builds, invoker had virtually no aoe pressure, even though it had some of the best aoe set bonus in the game. Bombardment could theorethically fix that by giving the needed pressure. The items were pretty much there, mostly just switching out the cubed weapon and some skills. With the changes done, they effectivly killed that possibility, doubling down on the single target aspect, while also forcing norvald’s on to the set. This was a weird turn of events because the idea on the set was to have bombardment be a go-to skill, now it returned to just being a way to proc the defencive bonus.
Now let’s adress the issues with norvald’s, the item set was great for it’s intended purpose, giving the crusader the movement speed to compete with other classes. This was already shown in our fastest speed build using Foth. It has issues though, it’s supposed to be for hit-and-run style gameplay, which fits foth speed builds, it’s not supposed to be for giving pushing builds a way to boost damage, that’s why it turns the invoker playstyle into a rather janky one, one that originally was, stand in the middle and take it while nuking down the rare, and block most of the hits.
For a build like foth it leaves the build rather vurnable since you’d have to run norvald’s to have enough damage to push. It’s not giving any defence, as such you’re about as tanky as a wet piece of paper.
So to fix this the obvious solution would be to return this set to it’s original power, but at the same time raise it’s defencive bonus. For instance:
“Gain 100% increase damage and 50% damage reduction while using Steed Charge and for 5 seconds after it ends”
“Gain 100% increase damage while using Steed Charge and for 5 seconds after it ends. Also while not using steed charge gain 50% damage reduction.”
First example is pretty straight forward, the other one makes you a bit more vurnable while on the horse, meaning you rather not stay in the middle of a pack and pop it for the damage bonus.
Invoker has always been in a weird spot, being the only full thorns based set, this added with the focus and non focus on bombardment which creates this weird situation. Having such a strong 2 set bonus naturally made it strong with something like akkhan. The problem is that at some point it shifted to be almost exclusivly single target, which made it arguebly one of the harder sets to farm and push with. Bombardment would have fixed that, bringing the aoe it needed.
The nerf to the 2 piece put a stop to that, killing all plans to have any meaningful aoe.
So there are several things to be done to ensure that invoker reatins that pressure, some have suggested swapping 2 and 4 piece bonus which wouldn’t help since akkhan is quite the versitile set. But the idea isn’t completly bonkers.
Swap 2 piece with 6 piece instead, now when the two main damage boost the set recieves swap, it’s possibly to run the A6I2, but it will give a different combo which wouldn’t be as absurd. Even if you double the power of akkhan, it will only affect the single target portion. If there is a fear that the single target combo of akkhan would be too great, then reduce a bit of the single target boost and raise the stacking mechanic. This is calculated from the old values of 15000% single target, and 350% 25 stacks for the stacking.
Nerf both the 2 piece and the 6 piece, but at the same time add a static thorns or bombardment bonus to 6 piece. Keeping this bonus away from Akkhan helps keeping them seperate.
Other issues created by things above, and simple solutions:
Fist of heavens: If norvald’s is nerfed and not given a toughness boost the build would be set back. Khasset’s cord has a rather low damage bonus, so bumping that up to a reasonable level is a simple fix, then it’s easier to have both a pushing build and a speed build. For toughness you can fix it by changing khasset’s to affect all resource cost from only foth resource, that has some nice interaction with CC3.
If norvald’s isn’t nerfed, then it’s easier to add a shield or weapon that can give both a decent damage bonus and a toughness bonus. Having it on one of those pieces ensures that it cant be used with the norvald’s set, meaning you have better gearing options for speed vs push.
Akkhan set: At the heart of all these issues is the akkhan set, being a versetile set. Before the set would inhabit several builds, so we use it as the universal damage set, but with these last couple of patches, they moved two skills to another set, that leave essentially 3 skills (4 if we count bombardment). The need for universal damage modifiers is less than it was some time ago, for the rest of it, we can cover it with LoD builds. If akkhan would be locked into condemn, blessed shield and phalanx, you can increase akkhan’s damage between those 3 skills rather than worrying about what universal damage could affect.
Bombardment: Many ideas I’ve posted here is not to completly kill a bombardment build, but narrow it to better balance it, as it stands now, the set that’s supposed to be the bombardment builds is actually the worst of the 3 (A6I2, LoD and Invoker), if it’s narrowed to atleast Invoker and LoD, then it’s easier to strike a balance between two very similar but still different builds.
Last words: I dont claim any of the ideas here, they are either variations on ideas from other people or highly inspired from them. Also I did not mention too much of Roland’s and Seeker of light, they are mechanically good, but missing some damage, and shield bash is a whole different cookie to mention here.
Thanks for reading.