A few thoughts about underused skills and proposed emendations to make them more desirable.
All the following skills have either little to no practical item support, either in damage, defense, or utility; and are also either never used or only in niche builds due to set design:
- Smite - primary skill
- consecration - used in thorns set dungeon, nowhere else
- judgment - while an OK utility skill, outside being used for the Hammerdin SotL build, no application in major builds (I like it for my FOH speed build to keep up squirts by locking enemies)
- Falling sword - again, hammerdin SotL only, even though it is the only “teleport” (through walls, not doors) skill sanders have, neglected because of long animation sequence and high cooldown.
I personally love all these skills and often choose at least smite and falling sword while leveling, but none of which have any real application in the game as it stands - I was going to say endgame, but that just means 1 hour after the start of season really.
My suggestions for changes to these skills will prioritize itemization and possible set changes that would work with the current skills as they are while enhancing them to be more preferable, even opening up some new builds or altering others (too much to hope for?)
First, as to smite, given that most builds try to avoid a generator outside of generator-specific builds or to incorporate FnR, I suggest that smite get a dmg bonus via an item - a crafted flail and a chest armor currently exist which target smite - that could be used for leveling, low farming, or could somehow generate some absurd amount of wrath that would make it compelling over taunt or something else, maybe providing a debuff if some kind like slow or stun. Smite will not be an endgame skill unless some massive change happens to a set or a new set is introduced changing the mechanics of this skill and its dmg. There was speculation at one point that smite would work its way into the set theme of the Valor set but it was not to be.
Consecration is an area buff that gives support and some utility in the area, either healing, DR, slow, or DoT, and one that stops mobs from entering, also a thorns rune. This could have interesting effects if it were automatically applied without having it on the bar, which makes me think that the best way to implement this skill into a build is to change Sacred Harness (belt) to incorporate judgment and consecration as auto-casted using falling sword. It could apply a rune too, though the affix would be quite verbose at that point, which would at the least help hammerdins with extra utility and survive.
Judgment can be a very good skill for its utility, it can act like a ground stomp cast from far away. but in practice The skill has a long cooldown and sometimes the mechanics of certain runes feel not so great, like the one which pulls them to the center, which doesn’t seem to do so well with that. This would be an ideal debuff if it could reach a wider range or have a lower CD or just work a bit better. But again, the hammerdin uses it already and so maybe increasing its effect for that build would be enough.
Falling sword is, again, used mainly in hammerdin builds and nothing else. The skill itself is strange - a damage dealer in a high tier skill group That has a long cooldown. Outside of damage multipliers, it has good dmg itself, but in the single build which uses it, even though the damage of the skill is considerably buffed, it does not make up the damage of the build. The only way I can see this skill becoming more viable is either to lower its CD and casting animation time, or somehow increase its damage via an item and/or apply some debuff when casted. In Hammerdin builds the sacred harness belt is used to cast Judgment when Falling sword is cast, and I think this direction is a good one for that build, and more might be added, I.e increase the dmg of FS by some amount. I’d like to see FS be a desirable skill for speed builds with in-geom. going along the lines of what I suggested for smite, an interesting potential build would be a LoD condemn sort of build using FS to jump around into packs, smite to root and stuns them, and condemn to kill them, or something of that nature.
Those are my thoughts, I’d love to hear yours.