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!