Feedback: Evokers

Greetings and well met, Evokers! Some big changes are coming to the Devastation specialization talent tree in the next Alpha build, and I wanted to talk through some of the philosophy behind them and how your feedback is helping to shape the tree. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of every change, and more will be changed than just what is listed here. That said, let’s dive in!

With the current Devastation tree, a few things stood out to us amongst the discourse here and in other parts of the community. Namely:

  • The tree strongly signals that there is a “Red dragonflight build” on the left, and a separate “Blue dragonflight build” on the right.
  • Effects that scale with empower level, such as Power Swell and Tyranny, remove gameplay by indicating that it is always correct to fully empower your spells.
  • Feed the Flames & Everburning Flame are an awkward combination.
  • Scarlet Adaptation is having a larger impact than intended on builds.
  • Blue-focused single-target builds don’t flow as well as they could.

To dig in a little deeper to each of these, let’s go through them one by one.

The tree strongly signals that there is a “Red dragonflight build” on the left, and a separate “Blue dragonflight build” on the right.

Having thematic groupings on either side is a great introduction to the talent tree. It resonates as something you would expect for the specialization, and makes it easier to know where to look for modifiers to certain abilities. However, Devastation utilizes both Red and Blue magic, and the current tree isn’t celebrating that theme well enough. Builds that use both types of magic should be the norm, with all-Red or all-Blue being much more niche. To make using both colors more effective, we’ve adjusted many talents’ locations or function, as well as added new nodes. A few examples:

  • Honed Aggression now affects both Azure Strike and Living Flame, increasing their damage by 5% per rank.
  • Catalyze is a new, 1-rank passive on the left side of the tree. “While channeling Disintegrate your Fire Breath on the target deals damage 100% more often.”
  • Iridescence is a new, 1-rank passive at the bottom of the right side of the tree. “Casting an empower spell increases the damage of your next 2 spells of the same color by 15% within 10 sec.”

Effects that scale with empower level, such as Power Swell and Tyranny, remove gameplay by indicating that it is always correct to fully empower your spells.

We’re excited about the possibilities of empower spells and have experimented internally with many varied effects, including Power Swell. As a broad concept, attaching more effects to empower spells seems cool – lean into empower levels even more! What we’ve seen on Alpha, though, is that having even small effects get linearly better with empower level, without situational considerations to change up decision making, detracts too much from core empower gameplay. We see (and share) the excitement for choosing talents that make empower spells better, so Power Swell is being adjusted to not disrupt the moment-to-moment gameplay decisions of empower spell level.

  • Power Swell is now a 2-rank node that reads, “Empower spells increase your Essence regeneration rate by 50% for 2 sec or 4 sec [based on talent rank].”

Feed the Flames & Everburning Flame are an awkward combination.

Taken together, these two talents quickly push Devastation into a space of having Fire Breath off cooldown for a length of time while an existing Fire Breath damage over time effect gets extended. That said, both talents offer interesting potential gameplay and impact builds in different ways. They will now be in a choice node against each other, and Feed the Flames is being redesigned to fit into more builds:

  • Feed the Flames now triggers whenever you consume an Essence Burst effect, instead of whenever Pyre is cast.
  • Everburning Flame now triggers from all Red damage spells, instead of only Pyre and Living Flame.
    • This means that damage from Firestorm will extend Fire Breath. Damage from Ruby Embers will continue to not trigger Everburning Flame, and Fire Breath will not extend itself.

Scarlet Adaptation is having a larger impact than intended on builds.

The current value of Scarlet Adaptation causes a warping effect on how Devastation builds their talent loadouts, in particular due to the interaction with Leaping Flames – when Living Flame hits additional targets via Leaping Flames, all of the Living Flames benefit from any Scarlet Adaptation damage the Evoker has. The Leaping Flames interaction is intended, and the response to it has been one of excitement. However, it is important for there to be multiple options for how to build your character for area-of-effect damage situations.

The intent of Scarlet Adaptation is to encourage, and reward, hybridization for both specializations. Preservation Evokers who enjoy dealing damage can easily access the node, but aren’t required to pick it up in their path to other high-power healing talents. Devastation Evokers who want to help their group with additional healing can take it to be rewarded for taking action when their group is in a dangerous situation. To better meet those goals, Scarlet Adaptation’s damage cap is being reduced to 2x Spellpower, down from its current value of 6x Spellpower.

Blue dragonflight-focused single-target builds don’t flow as well as they could.

Two key talents to these builds are Charged Blast and Focusing Iris, both of which have been the subject of insightful discussion and concern.

  • Charged Blast is intended to be something that can spice up single-target gameplay for those who want an additional layer of complexity within the rotation. Many of you have expressed that the current design, requiring 2 Azure Strikes before casting Charged Blast, isn’t quite hitting the mark because although it does add complexity, it doesn’t add interaction.
  • Focusing Iris is intended to be a more passive option that accomplishes similar goals as Charged Blast. However, the combination of timing an ability immediately after finishing a channeled spell, with the relatively high uptime of the debuff, makes Focusing Iris both more burdensome & less potent than it could potentially be.

To address this, we’re combining what we feel are the best parts of both into a new ability! Charged Blast and Focusing Iris as they currently exist are being removed, and replaced with a spell called Shattering Star.

  • Shattering Star has a 15 sec cooldown, is instant cast, and does not cost Essence. “Exhale a bolt of concentrated power from your mouth for Spellfrost damage that cracks that target’s defenses, increasing the damage they take from you by 20% for 4 sec.”
  • The options in the choice node following this ability are also being redesigned:
    • Focusing Iris is a passive that increases the duration of Shattering Star’s damage taken effect by 2 sec.
    • Arcane Vigor is a passive that causes Shattering Star to generate 1 Essence.

As always, thank you for your playtesting and feedback. We’re excited to hear how about your experiences with the Devastation tree in the next Alpha build!

13 Likes

Not much to say about it that I can think off the top of my head. Just that it sounds intriguing and I look forward to testing them. That said -

Charged Blast was probably my favorite spell for Evoker, it really made me feel like a master of Blue Magic. I’m interested to see how Shattering Star works - but I am curious, will Shattering Star also have a cleave option down the line like Charged Blast did?

(Though no hate at all for changing Focusing Iris, that felt so bad when playing Charged Blast. Especially in combo with Charged Blast. It was so hard to get Focusing Iris on the target and 2 stacks of the Charged Blast Buff and manage to land Charged Blast while the debuff was up lol)

4 Likes

Currently Preservation has a very awkward playstyle where most of the bronze side of the talents feel somewhat lackluster. The new interaction between echo and temporal anomaly makes little sense as you are converting a single target spender in the form of echo into AoE healing with Temporal Anom but it feels as though it’s a pointless conversion since you can rather spend essence on Emerald Blossom. Overall I don’t see a place for the bronze side of the tree working well with the green side. Since they don’t have any clear synergy outside of Temporal Compression it feels as though each side of the tree is being designed as two healer specs in one which makes it fall flat when you try to hybridize between the two magics.

4 Likes

I have been playing Devastation Evoker every day for a couple weeks now and I have to say I disagree with the change of blue build. I will be greatly saddened if this change goes through as charged blast is by far my favorite ability . It felt SO satisfying to Dragonrage > 2x azure strike >essence burst disintegrate > MEGA dmg essence burst charged blast. It felt good to set up the big damage of charged blast and visibly see the mobs chunk from it. To change it into essentially a damage buff I feel will diminish the feel of its usefulness as a mini buff is objectively less noticeable than an ability flying to enemy’s chunking them.
I really really enjoy the idea of being a “blue dragon/build” or “red dragon/build”. Seeing my blue Dracthyr primarily using the blue abilities was extremely satisfying and I have not once had problems with how it plays now in any of my dungeons or world content.
I feel this change only homogenizes their kit and removes the visual difference red vs blue builds provided between players. Regardless of which side you went down even though the builds are being called “red” and “blue” you really did end up using blue and red abilities anyways it just felt like you “specialized” in one or the other which made the class fantasy better (imo).
Perhaps instead of removing two things (including a satisfying ability) just change one thing (the disintegrate buff).
I cant beg you enough I know its not just up to me but I personally really am saddened by this change. Please reconsider.
Thank you.

17 Likes

I’m really looking forward to testing the new changes. I’m happy about the change to Power Swell in particular. I like choosing the level to empower a spell to on-the-fly based on how many targets I want to hit or how long I expect them to live. Doesn’t the same logic that influenced the change to Power Swell apply to Tyranny, though?

To better meet those goals, Scarlet Adaptation’s damage cap is being reduced to 2x Spellpower, down from its current value of 6x Spellpower.

At this cap, Preservation Evokers will need to press Living Flame after pretty much every non single target heal (Emerald Blossom, Dream Breath, Spiritbloom (on 2+ targets)) assuming even a normal amount of overhealing (approx 20-30%). I feel like this just promotes weaving Living Flame for damage way too much and is disruptive to the feel of playing a hybrid healer playstyle. Is it possible to have this looked at again? I understand Devastation Evokers could potentially make good use of the large cap, but could the feeding rate be looked into as the potential balancing factor? I’m not fully filled in on why this talent is being changed in the first place. If it’s because Scarlet Adaptation was forcing Devastation evokers to hold Living Flame casts for big AoE scenarios I understand this change and would propose for the talent to function differently for whichever spec is selected (large cap for preservation but low feeding rate, low cap for devastation but large feeding rate)

5 Likes

Bit sad to see this, Charged Blast was a very fun spell, especially with its choice node giving the option between focusing on single target vs AoE, and its replacement not having this same choice feels a bit odd (though Evoker’s AoE isn’t lacking so I get why it isn’t totally needed).

I fear this might make Azure Strike feel a lot more weak and like annoying filler as a result, since it doesn’t have a super powerful animation, and requires two unrelated talents from both the general and devastation tree to become effective in AoE situations.

I hope that it get something to make it feel less like a filler spell alongside all of these changes, in the same way Living Flame has talents like the Ruby Embers/Engulfing Blaze choice node to determine how you want to use it, alongside Leaping Flames to make it useful (moreso than Azure Strike) in AoE situations for both Preservation and Devastation.

5 Likes

I agree! I had so much fun playing around and trying to learn things but I felt that as a Dracthyr having to wait 5 minutes to be able to fly in my own dragon form was…weird to say the least and extremely disappointing to say the most. I am literally a dragon, I don’t think even baby dragons would need such a long CD to attempt to fly again, why would a Dracthyr? :woman_shrugging:t2:

24 Likes

Been playing alpha a bit more today, enjoying meeting new people in dungeons. Had my first group that wasn’t 4 Evokers today! (shoutout to the uldaman group I was with :P)

A few thoughts:

Deep Breath feels… useless? It dawned on me I haven’t even thought of using it. Like, I ignore it because the targeting reticle feels horrible (which I will continue to say until we get an @target macro conditional), but I also noticed I’ve never seen another Evoker use it. I asked about it, and the general consensus is that unless you choose the endcap talent for a 3 second stun on it, it’s not worth using over something else.

Especially since while you’re deep breathing, you can’t take other actions and it lasts for like 5 seconds. That’s a lot of lost dps.

Not sure if that’s intended, as it’s a baseline skill meant for Devastation, but something worth considering.


Devastation, in my opinion has too much backup healing.

Unlike other hybrids, Devastation also uses mana, which means we have essentially an infinite mana pool to cast Living Flame to heal if a healer dies, etc. Because Living Flame is a DPS skill, the mana cost is low enough that we can pretty much just spam it. On top of that, we can get a power to make our next living flame heal up to 4 more people after Flame Breath. Then we also have Emerald Bloom.

This doesn’t even take into account the healing talents we can opt into, like cauterize or Twin Guardians - a 40% health shield to yourself and one other person every minute is insane as dps.

It might be worth moving devastation to a resource that isn’t mana - so you can properly reign in how often they can cast Living Flame as a healing spell (have it cost the Devastation resource if you are targeting an enemy or mana if targeting a friendly, for instance). Though, who knows, maybe it’s your intent that they can infinitely backup heal. Just giving my thoughts.


Just to bring up again what Porter said:

Azure Strike right now I enjoy over Living Flame (I’m sure I take a small dps loss, but it’s more fun to me, so I will play like that, as I’m not aiming for CE/etc. Lol), however, with the changes you plan - what incentive will we have to cast Azure Strike at all? When we need an instant cast for on the move, like Scorch for Fire Mages? And if that’s the case, why wouldn’t we just use Hover to let us cast while moving? Cause I can’t think of a time Azure Strike would be worth casting after these changes?

I think the combining of Charged Blast and Focusing Iris is a good change - but I feel like the choice node should retain the option to make it cleave, as well as retain the Azure Strike buffing it power talent elsewhere in the tree - this way we still have a reason to use azure strike as our filler if we decide to go deep in blue.

Also want to reinforce Apathina’s point:

Being able to choose (which you keep saying is the core idea of this talent system) was great. Do I want to be a Red Dragon, master of AoE? Do I want to be a Blue Dragon, master of Single Target? Or do I want to be a mixture? Shoehorning us all into a mixture without giving us the choice defeats the entire nature of the talent system, does it not?

This is similar to preservation, where if you want more utility, you go Bronze Focused. If you want more potent healing, you go Green Focused. Then of course, the mixed option exists.

13 Likes

I want to laugh but the reality is I agree. I think the low damage is to account for no target cap however I thought the entire direction they’ve been going is capping everyone to minimize HUGE pulls. Most dungeons are designed with smaller pulls in mind which only makes abilities like this niche to use which feels counterintuitive for how insane the animation is. Perhaps they should considering capping it and increasing the damage or something? I just don’t see it being viably used right now except in like HUGE MDI pulls or something…

Nothing else to say other than I agree!

8 Likes

Oh hey that was me, I was the Lightforged Paladin haha.

Yeah I definitely agree that it almost feels like devastation has too competent of a base kit and essence generation, and it ends up making a lot of their various filler spells/big cooldowns not really needed at their current damage levels.

The speed with which you can cast between Fire Breath, Eternity Surge, and Charged Blast with all the various cooldown reductions and essence regen talents almost makes you feel like you’re losing DPS by capping out essence at times, despite doing everything you possibly can.

3 Likes

A bit of empower feedback:

Unsure if this has been mentioned, but on empowered abilities, if you cancel the cast but want to start recasting immediately, the amount of down time where it won’t do anything feels bad. If there was some sort of indication about what is going on with it on your bars, (be it the full GCD triggering which is what it feels like, or just an internal CD visualized on the ability) it would at least let us plan for when we can use it again rather than frantically tapping and feeling helpless as it does nothing.

4 Likes

First, I want to say that Preservation is an incredibly fun spec and I feel like I was given an honorary PHD in Healonomics just for picking it. Some of the highlights include:

  • Echo. Just everything about Echo is wonderful. You couldn’t have picked a better backbone for the spec.
  • Spiritbloom. I love the tradeoff between quickly healing an ally and holding on for more.
  • Thematics. You’ve really nailed the fantasy for Green vs Bronze vs Red/Blue for most abilities and talents, both mechanically and visually.

That said I have one gripe: Temporal Anomaly stands out as the Bronze spell that feels the least Bronze.

Mechanically there’s nothing about Temporal Anomaly that really screams “This is a Bronze spell”. All the other Bronze spells have some obvious facet that makes you go “Yeah, that’s time magic right there”. It looks Bronze, but if it had a slightly different paintjob and name you wouldn’t bat at eye at it being a different color altogether (although it is very pretty, love me them sands of time).

Neither Temporal Disruption nor Nozdormu’s Teachings change that feeling. They may both adjust the “time” of Temporal Anomaly a little, but neither does so in a way that feels special. Convergence at least gives it a much-needed interaction with Echo, but that’s not a replacement for it lacking a fundamental mechanic distinguishing it as Bronze. It just really needs something that immediately and intuitively establishes its Bronzeness.

I may have more feedback once Echo starts actually working again, it appears to be bugged at the moment and isn’t being consumed by anything except Convergence.

4 Likes

I actually love Preservation. It’s already one of my favorite healers, even in this unfinished state. I only have two issues so far - One small issue, and one slightly larger one…

Issue #1 (The small one)

Temporal Anomaly feels a bit… ehh. I stopped taking it in all my builds. It doesn’t seem to fit with the kit at all. Not sure how to fix it either. I’m not sure a healing version of Frozen Orb will ever feel good.

Issue #2 (The slightly larger one)

I knew the 25 yard range would take me some getting used to, but I still haven’t, even after doing a bunch of dungeons. It feels awful, and that’s just in dungeons. I can only imagine how bad it would feel in a raid setting (Halondrus comes to mind…) or PvP.

If you want Preservation to stay shorter range, that’s fine, but I feel 25 yards is a bit much. Maybe try 30, or 35?

5 Likes

My bit of feedback for Temp Anomaly is that you need a way to reverse it. Firing off an anomaly and then being able to recall it at will for a duration would go a long way to make it feel more Timey Wimey.

1 Like

I like to point out that sometime that the Deep Breath ability tends to bugged out. When you cast and it dose the animation, it stay still and not able to move forward or do damage.

4 Likes

I’ve noticed this and it seems like mostly a pathing thing? The times I’ve used it, I clipped the telegraph into a wall or an object and it just hard-stopped me or didn’t let me move.

I have not had a chance to play a ton with the new talent changes, but I will say it seems a lot less clear/intuitive what is “best” for each side than it did before, and it definitely makes me try to get everything but seem unable to do so (which I believe is the intent).

So far I am giving shattering star an open mind, but I did really like charged blast and the fact it could reset on st or be turned into aoe.

I thought using blue only was a bit more fun for me, I liked being able to spec into one side over the other, but I do understand the goal of the spec is to use both.

1 Like

I much preferred Charged Blast resets over Shattering Star. Although I do like the Shattering Star damage windows.

With Charged Blast resets it was adding dynamic gameplay to the rotation and also caused you to not cast Living Flame and Disintegrate as often. This makes the rotation static and bland to me now, at least for blue build.

7 Likes

Update: I still prefer charged blast over shattering star.
Think about this… the talent node “Eternity’s Span” is logically for dungeons or big aoe fights right? Because it allows you to Eternity surge SIX targets instead of three. However it also making shattering star hit 2 targets feels absolutely useless. If you follow up shattering star with 2 disintegrates to use the damage buff… you are literally not hitting the second mob with the buff. So am I supposed to pyre in 2 targets to use the buff? Either way this feels bad.
Eternity surge (the ability or the free proc off the Scintillation talent) arent guaranteed to hit the target with shattering stars buff unless its two targets…
I much prefer “shattering star/charged blast” just doing damage. The window is great and all but it just feels horrible trying to use it in aoe which just makes me feel you would never use shattering star in a dungeon?
It only being used in single target or 2 target cleave is extremely counterintuitive to it sharing a talent point with 6 target eternity surge?

2 Likes