PvE DPS Class Balance

#1

As of writing this I have done 198 shard dungeons, 56 of which have been level 10 shards. During these runs I have played with a lot of different players with varying levels of mastery of the class they are playing. I have nearly always been running a damage meter. I have yet to run with any ranger that can consistently keep up with me on damage but there are a couple that are close. I have gone over all the theory crafting for the ranger class and I know what it’s maximum potential is and though I’m not perfect at playing it I’m able to come within about 5-10% of the maximum of what the class is capable of. So I figure I make a good point of comparison for how the different DPS classes measure up against each other when played to their maximums.

I have only run with a couple shaman so I don’t really have enough info to make any comments on their DPS capabilities. Though from what I do know about them they have major issues maintaining DPS on fights that require movement.

I have played with a few scoundrels of varying skill levels and the best of them have about the same damage output as myself. Of course they are all new to the class and have yet to really master it. One of our members did a full break down of the optimized rotations for ranger, scoundrel, and mage. This data shows that an optimized scoundrel can do about 30% more damage than an optimized ranger. This seems consistent with what I have seen in game as I figure those scoundrels I have played with would be able to beat my damage output by about 30% once they are as good at playing their class as I am with mine.

I regularly play with 2 of the best mages around and this is where I have seen the damage output of classes being the most out of balance. Cam and J are consistently doing 40-50% more damage in dungeons than I am. This gap in damage output was increases substantially when the change was recently made to how the server checks if a spell is drawn correctly. This seems to have removed a bottle neck for mages that increased their potential damage output dramatically. Not only are mages doing the most damage but they also have far more utility in groups than any other DPS class. Their ability to polymorph, decurse, mage shield, and slow with frost are very powerful in dungeons.

I find it very frustrating that I have put a huge amount of effort into mastering the ranger class which I love to play and I can’t compete with other players because they chose the overpowered class. I know the devs have some balancing changes coming soon but I fear they are not going to be significant enough to actually balance what the classes are capable of when played very well. Rangers need a minimum of a 30% across the board increase to all of our damage abilities to even get close to what mages are capable of.

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#2

@Landru have you tested the paladin and warrior i would like to know to dps range and who holds agro

#3

Palladin is getting a rework, so wont matter much.

Ranger right now is quite a hard class to master, with smal targets needing to be hit with specific arrows at a distance. Is not a easy class.

Yet the damage you get for mastering it is loosing to the other dps classes. Except Sharman that also needs some love.

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#4

@Landru when you have chance, play with @DocAibolit with him on his scoundrel, he wrecked me and I get close to your ranger dps so I would like to see how that compares

#5

I did play with Doc on his scoundrel once, he beat me by less than 5% in a Broken Hall. But that one run wasn’t much of a sample size.

#6

Well that is a problem with comparing a ranger vs mage. Most mages won’t ever reach that capability. I would argue that the mage base dps should go up but the cast speed cap goes down so such extremes can not happen. You still want a clear distinction between skill of the best mages and less mages though so the tweak should not be extreme.

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#7

I have been saying ranger is extremely weak since oldbus before mage was buffed again, thats why i simply stopped playing the class after no change was ever made, and now the higher skill version of ranger is even weaker than the easier version :man_shrugging:

#8

A cap on mage cast speed would be a good way to balance damage between classes. Though the best mages will surely complain if they get capped. If their damage remains uncapped as it is the only way to balance the classes is to equalize the theoretical limits of the other classes to the actual damage output of the best mages. At this point that is way out of balance, far more than it was before reborn.

#9

I wonder what “optimized” scoundrels look like, the main problem is to curve high enough and that is restricted by range, mostly, just like for rangers there’s not much to do about it in narrow corridors or if the group runs fast through mobs. It is not sooo incredibly hard optimizing a scoundrel tbh, for those hardcore playing since launch, so the fact you met none or barely one in all the lvl 10 shards you guys did does say something.

While I do think rangers need to be buffed, certainly, I am not sure if the couple ‘best mages in the game’ should be a measurement for any class. Unlike all other classes mages have a very very huge physical skill difference; some people are just really really really fast, like, faster than those really fast which makes them do 5 times damage than even very good mages (skills like cast-while-move, draw very tiny etc. add to that).

I can’t see that kind of skill gap in any classes like the scoundrel or shaman, they are more or less able to play their classes, sure, but you hardly will meet experienced people doing 5x damage of the lesser experienced and the mage is exactly that. It seems to even have kind of an “open end” to be perfected more and more once you draw tinier, find new shortcuts etc. Not sure if any balance can be done to reflect this without implementing fully different mechanics to most of the other classes (or a cap/nerf, but seriously, most enjoy exactly this open end style about the mage and nerfing other classes just for the sake of an equal dmg meter would be the worst possibility…).

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#10

There are a few things I’d like to point out as a mage:

The damage landru is referring to is throughout the entire dungeon. This is skewed when J or I cast afflictions on entire trash packs (not true affliction spreading, which is still complete garbage), while rangers have to focus down single targets. Scoundrels can also spread poisons, but this is much weaker than max afflictions (though it’s fully set up after one bullet) and pretty much once per pack. The idea is that afflictions do more damage than fireballs (around 2.8x as much damage without a frost empower) and when you have multiple targets you can put on more than 3 afflictions total. On bosses, our DPS is usually around 15%-25% higher than Landru’s. Of course, the multi-target damage is part of the class and should be considered for balancing ranger. However, the damage drops off dramatically as more mages join the party (far fewer afflictions per mage, both for single target and trash packs). There are no diminishing returns to adding extra rangers, scoundrels, or shamans to a party (aside from overlapping weakness debuffs, which is the same for mage). In a raid setting, the single target damage will be more important and there will definitely be multiple mages per group.

I try to keep up with other mages and frequently read through combat logs posted online. I rarely see any other mages reach the level of damage Landru is talking about. I’m talking about 3-5 mages in the game that come close. These mages have spent a lot of time and a lot of effort through old orbus and reborn to reach this level of damage. Of course, Landru had to go through a similar level of work and practice to get to where he is now. But this isn’t an issue for most players. Mages who fail more spells and cast slower have a harder time keeping afflictions up, keeping selfish/shared streak up, and keeping tilesets up, which reduces damage alongside the lower frequency of casts.

One of the main reasons I play mage is because my damage isn’t capped by arbitrary limits relative to other players. As challenging it is to approach theoretical max on capped classes (i.e. with ranger), I much prefer for the sky to be the limit. Of course, mages have to modify their rotations to optimize for their current cast speed too. But there will always be a very wide distribution of skill and damage among mages. Balancing the high end of mages to the high end of other classes means that the newer and intermediate, lower damage mages will be useless compared to similarly skilled rangers and scoundrels. Balancing based on the low end of the damage range means that the endgame will be dominated by mages of high to extremely high skill, who will completely outpace maximized rangers and scoundrels. With a skill ceiling for mages, you could balance this gap. However, I think that this is a terrible idea. It’s great to be able to see how fast other mages cast relative to you, and to realize how much you can learn and improve from them. The same can be said for the damage difference from accuracy and rotation optimization in ranger and scoundrel, but the difference is clearer with mages and even applies to people who have fully optimized at their cast speed. The lack of a hard limit and the clear demonstration of casting skill that’s possible for mages is one of the best parts of the class. Doing something like putting diminishing returns on spells cast too fast (which we already have to some degree because we can’t do extra afflictions, the bulk of our damage, by casting faster) or putting a cap on casting speed with a cooldown or delay would destroy this part of the class. I would probably stop playing mage if this kind of cap was implemented.

I think what we have now is something in the middle: rangers do less damage than 1 spell per second mages (probably 2-3 months of practice from the start to get consistently with a full rotation), who do less damage than scoundrels. My issue with this, aside from the ranger vs scoundrel balancing, is that I was able to do as much single target damage (in game, not theoretical) playing as a scoundrel with a couple hours of practice and a few hours of public events to reach level 30 as I can playing as a mage casting at 1 spell per second perfectly (which is probably about 2-3 months of practice to do consistently). This is also in a scenario where I stood still; in practice scoundrels can charge shots while moving and are much more mobile than mages, who have to stop casting to move.

I absolutely agree that ranger needs a buff, and something needs to be done about scoundrel. However, I also think that all non-expert mages shouldn’t get left in the dust with a big nerf, nor should expert mages be artificially limited against the core design of the class with a cap.

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#11

There is a lot you can do about keeping your range in dungeons as both a ranger and scoundrel, that is part of the skill needed to maximize the classes. We have not seen any scoundrels maximizing the potential of the class because no one has been playing it for a year+ like mage and ranger.

#12

Well maybe for you there is no option to get a nerve but at the same time there is no option for many to let the other classes just get boosted. Because that means not 10% of the mages keep up with the damage of other classes but it will become something like 4% of all mages. Which will scare away a lot of ppl from becoming a mage. Unless there is going to he something drastically adding difficulty to the other classes even more to allign with the max difficulty of the mage.

Actually just nerving the damage when casting too fast would not be too bad. It will just mean casting 1.1x faster is no 1.1x damage increase but just a 1.05x damage increase. And will also keep you feel powerful because you still see a lot of spells fly.

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#13

And then there is also this group of ppl who don’t want to break their arm to keep up while still being able to cast fast. I rather want to see an increase in difficulty of complicated casting then promoting cast speed. More combination possiblies then just fire frost and affliction. (Yeah know is more to it then that.)

#14

On a sidenote, one of the intriguing parts of orbus is that you can change class anytime. I know some identify with their class more than others and perhaps that’s the only way to do records and all, but we go with dual-classes alot currently, means, people switch between shaman/mage or shaman/ranger, warrior/pala, bard/musky etc. during dungeons to cope with some class restrictions.
The Sewer Boss for example is simply a pain for shamans. Very good if they got a ranger or scoundrel to switch to, though; same like airship there’s even time to do so before bosses. There’s so much possibilities now. Overall we got faster runs and more fun with that than in former times.

That said, the ranger is loosing out, alot, it hardly matters who plays it, this is visible in each dmg meter. So it needs a buff. Everything else should please stay as it is imo, specially the mage mechanics.

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#15

I’m suggesting rangers be buffed 30% and scoundrels stay where they are. You would still be more powerful than any ranger or scoundrel. I would love to see higher skill caps for ranger and scoundrel. Maybe hitting weak points should give much bigger bonuses to rangers and it should be much harder for scoundrels to curve their bullets. I think a lot of people talking about this underestimate the skill needed to maximize ranger even as it stands. I have seen several players who have been playing ranger for a year that can only do half of the potential of the class. Also something no one else mentions is the huge amount of utility that the mage class gets. That is completely out of balance with other dps classes. They are simply the best at everything.

My question to both Cam and the Devs is if I want to be the best DPSer in the game is it your stance that I should be forced to play mage?

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#16

Scott:
I’m not saying that damage should be balanced at the high end, where everyone else gets left behind. I think it should be balanced somewhere in the middle, so that most mages and rangers are similar. Right now, max ranger (as landru points out isn’t easy) is behind a 1 spell/second mage. This shouldn’t be the case.

If you reduce the damage from spells that are cast faster, I’ll just work a lot less hard and cast slightly slower. As you mentioned in your second post, it’s extremely difficult both physically and regarding skill/practice/muscle memory to cast extremely fast. Why shouldn’t we be rewarded for that effort? More spell combinations would be interesting, but wouldn’t really nerf mages at all (we can cast more spells fast…). We’re already doing very diverse rotations compared to other classes, especially with triplicity.

Landru:
Again, I absolutely agree that rangers should be buffed. I think that widening the damage potential and skill range for rangers and particularly for scoundrels should be a priority: making the classes even more skill based will not only give a better way to balance against mage but will also reward those who play those classes just as mages are rewarded for improving.

Alongside utility, we should consider mobility (i.e. for dodging bolts/pools/aoe). Scoundrel can teleport around or slide while shooting and can charge any time while looking away or being otherwise occupied. Ranger can slide while shooting and can’t really teleport effectively, because both hands are on the bow. Mage can’t do anything but teleport between spells, and lend a hand mages send all their spells sideways whenever they teleport sideways. Then of course shaman can’t really move much at all. Also remember that shaman has its own form of polymorph that works on multiple targets (I think?) and that scoundrel can self heal. Ranger still has its trap (lol), but it’s the least effective class at utility and a moderately effective class at being mobile.

My issue with the scoundrel numbers right now, which are 30% above the ranger numbers, is how easy it is to beat intermediate-advanced mages. I shouldn’t be able to do more damage after 2 hours of direct scoundrel practice and leveling than I can after 2-3 months of mage practice. However, this is exactly what happened when I tested. I pulled 24149 dps as a green gun scoundrel with a basic rotation, no armor, no potions, etc. I pulled 24952 dps as a mage with a 99% perfect execution of an advanced rotation under the same conditions. What concerns me is that I missed multiple shots as the scoundrel and I didn’t even touch my cards, which contribute a good amount to dps. I pulled far from the theoretical max as scoundrel.

This is why I’m concerned with buffing ranger by too significant an amount. Without widening the skill gap of rangers/scoundrels or narrowing the gap of mages, there is no way for rangers to be equal to mages in both the highest level of play and the lower/intermediate areas of endgame at the same time. As I am strongly opposed to narrowing any skill gaps, I think the best long term solution is to focus on more skill driven mechanics for ranger and especially for scoundrel (weak points were great in this regard, but not enough).

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#17

You are still rewarded but not in a lineair way anymore. The fact that you get rewarded for casting faster then the devs ever expected is already a problem on itself. This only ensures that you can keep improving but are not like skyrocketing away from your other class buddies. The extra effort that almost no-one else can do is ONLY rewarded for the mage, which is a big flaw in balancing.

I would like to see more damage being dependant on card usage and the main bullits damage decreased to start with. Other things like weak points for scoundrel maybe idk.

#18

I think a good way to put a cap on mage damage but still keep the class just as skill based would be to add a global cooldown to all spell casting. Maybe like half a second or so. So after you release a spell you cant start drawing the next one for half a second. Mage DPS would still be totally dependent on how fast you can draw and thus there would still be the same skill level stratification between different mages. This way the maximum mage DPS would not be unlimited but would cap at 2 spells per second. Global cooldowns on damage abilities have been a staple of MMORPGs for this very reason, without them you have unlimited DPS potential, which is game breaking.

#19

That breaks the flow of the mage casting and would really not be appreciated by many mages.

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#20

I think ranger definately needs a lot of love right now it should be doing as much damage as the scoundrel at least. As far as mages go I feel like it’s so skill based that the reward should be high. l personally cant cast a single spell even after trying for hours. The ranger is so skill based compared to the scoundrel the reward should be higher with mastery but it falls so short. Maybe if the ranger had more cc or push back to maximize globes from a distance. It just seems unfair to have restrictions on how you do damage but no way to mitigate it. I get that there has to be a fun easy class for new players to get into like scoundrel to get into but the ranger should be rewarded for the level of skilled required. Also ranger tires my arm out far more than any class lol.

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