Monday, March 12, 2012

Tarelther's Swordmaster Revamp Version 3

Keaven recently posted in the developer discussion forum for WAR looking for Combat and Careers balance feedback. The very first post stated he would not be doing a restructuring of all careers in the game, so I'm posting this here to not derail the entire thread.

Currently the SM is a very flexible tank, able to switch from offensive to defensive mode simply by varying his rotation. This is reason for his short buff/debuff durations. If the buff/debuff durations are extended without any additional changes, the SM will be capable of maximum offense and maximum defense at the same time and will be able to maintain both easily. I really don't think we want to recreate the OP Chosen that once got all the QQ though.

This is not working for most of the player base though, as evidenced by the recent survey Keaven posted. The big question I see asked is why bring a SM instead of a Knight? The big problem with the SM is the lack of a very clearly defined role. So let's make the Blade Enchantment very clearly define the role of the SM. This involves combining a lot of effects for tactics into the Blade Enchantment itself and replacing them with more interesting effects.

Also we can take this opportunity to make CC as available to the SM as other tanks.

Prior to making suggestions for changes, I'll lay out what I think each spec should do.

Also keep in mind that I am batting zero on my other two revamps.

Khaine is all about damage and damage support. A fully committed Khaine SM has forgone defense for offense, sacrificing his defensive utility for more damage. A SM less committed to Khaine still gains offensive utility allowing his group to kill opponents more quickly.

Vaul is about protection. Less committed SMs only look to Vaul to protect themselves, while those fully committed to Vaul also use the Winds of Magic to protect others.

Hoeth is about the SM using the Winds of Magic to enhance his Blade Enchants further. A SM less committed to Hoeth will find his Blade Enchantments working more often and will be able to push himself for longer. A SM fully committed to Hoeth will also use the Winds of Magic to rip apart his enemies' magical defenses for his team to exploit.

Blade Enchantments:

Heaven's Blade: Moved to Khaine: 25% chance on hit: Reduce all resists by x. Deals x spirit damage. Also increases outgoing damage by 45%, parry by 5% (GWM and Taunt) and crit chance by 0/10/20% based on balance state (Balanced Accuracy) and disables Taunt, Challenge and Guard. Requires 2h weapon.

Balanced Accuracy and Great Weapon Mastery get other effects.

It's known that the dev team wanted to restrict Guard to shield. I find that rather heavy-handed. I felt it was better to allow the SM to trade his defensive utility for damage. Adding another percentage increase might make damage get a bit out of control though. The flat damage added to Heaven's Blade makes the DPS SM easier to balance than another percentage increase would.

Alternately, Heaven's Blade could increase outgoing damage by 10% instead of 45%, not do the extra spirit damage when applied, and still have the SM keep his defensive utility.

Phantom's Blade: 25% chance on hit: Absorb x damage over 10s. Also Increases armor by x. Increases chance to block by 5/15/25% and chance to parry by 0/10/20% based on balance (Crushing Advance and Perfect Defenses). Increases duration of Eagle's Flight and Dragon's Talon to 10s.

Crushing Advance and Perfect Defenses get other effects.

I know the player base wanted the effects of Eagle's Flight and Dragon's Talon increased in duration, but I felt it would be overpowering to allow a DPS SM to keep these up and still output a lot of damage. By restricting the duration increase to using Phantom's Blade, which does nothing for the SM's damage, I think that problem can be avoided.

Nature's Blade: Moved to Hoeth. 25% chance on hit: Steal stats from enemies within 30 feet and give them to your group for 10s. Also increases chance to disrupt by 5/15/25% based on balance (Aethyric Armor and Calming Winds)

AA becomes group armor buff like We'z Bigger. Calming Winds has new effect.

Nature's Blade is group utility, so I think it belongs in the utility tree.

Normal ability moves: Quick Incision moved to Vaul. Wrath of Hoeth moved to Khaine (probably should be made single target and AP cost reduced with the other Hoeth changes). Intimidating Blow moved to Hoeth. This is to reinforce the purpose of each Mastery line. Khaine is damage, Vaul is protection, and Hoeth is utility.


Deep Incision is made core trading places with Forceful Shock. It's not worth the Mastery point in my opinion.

Forceful Shock now causes Blurring Shock's Shock effect to do x damage, where x is what a normal max point investment in Khaine would give, or maybe a little more. The idea is similar to the Bright Wizard tactic Fueled from Within. A full Khaine SM probably would not use it unless it was a drastic increase in damage, but this would allow a Vaul or Hoeth SM to offspec Khaine and still make use of the Shock debuff to help his group kill the enemy faster. Besides, why would anyone want to knock away a target you just made more vulnerable to damage?

Sapping Strike is now a 50% incoming heal debuff for 10s. SM is the only tank on Order without a heal debuff. The AP drain isn't strong enough to be worth anything.

Balanced Accuracy. Crashing Wave, Whispering Winds, Crushing Advance, Redirected Force, and Gusting Wind are x% (more than 20%) less likely to be defended/are undefendable. I only used Poised Attacks and Discerning Offense for one purpose, to make sure my CC landed, but 2 tactic slots is very costly for this. This tactic would accomplish the same thing with only one tactic without increasing the SM's damage potential. I would prefer undefendable, but it might be too much. This also makes Khaine more attractive for an offspec.

Phoenix's Wing is moved to 13 Hoeth with new effect.

Crashing Wave is moved to 9 Khaine. Knockdowns are offensive utility and have no business in a defensive tree. Vaul is going to be picking up a single target stagger, so this may need a 2h requirement if having both a knockdown and a stagger is too much for the SM.

Great Weapon Mastery – You gain 4 x Mastery level Strength while using Heaven's Blade. Basically Brute Force. By this point, only full Khaine SMs are still hanging around in this tree, so it's time to start piling on the DPS.

Ether Dance. No change.

Whirling Geyser. No change.


Vaul's Buffer – moves to 3 Vaul. This keeps the SM alive, not his group, so it belongs lower in the tree. Absorb values may need to be adjusted. This is more for the SM who isn't using Phantom's Blade anyway. It makes Wall of Darting Steel a much better survival tool.

Redirected Force – moves to Crashing Wave's old spot 13 up Vaul, requires Perfect Balance, no longer requires defense, super punt, 10s cooldown. Blurring Shock can hold hate in PvE just fine. We don't need this for PvE. A super punt for the SM is another request, which I feel is reasonable so long as it's restricted to defensive tanks. If a SM puts 14+ points into Vaul, he won't be doing much damage anyway. It can be restricted to Phantom's Blade if a problem arises.

Protection of Hoeth – moves to 5 Vaul. This used to be worth 10 points when Sudden Shift was not in the game allowing the SM to move to Improved Balance without a target. Now, not so much. It belongs in Vaul since it's a self survival tool.

Lingering Intimidation – is now core replacing Dampening Talon. It's more I needed to room to improve Dampening Talon than not liking Lingering Intimidation.

Perfect Defenses – moves to 7 Vaul – Reduces chance to be critically hit by 10%. Mirror of Chosen tactic. In the current state of the game, this is a more practical defense then parry and block.

Crushing Advance – Requires Shield – 9s ST stagger, 20s cooldown. It's not AoE like the Knight/Chosen, but I don't think it really has to be either to make an impact on the battlefield.

Dampening Talon – moves to 11 Vaul - Dragon's Talon affects up to 9 targets within 20 feet while under the effect of Phantom's Blade and it deals less damage. Another change the player base has been asking for. I feel it really needs to be restricted to defensive tanks. DPS have no business having something like this. Granted spending 12+ in Vaul won't exactly make the SM a damage machine though.


Bolstering Enchantments – Increases chance for Blade Enchantments to trigger to 33%, instead of 25%. I always liked the idea of having a tactic increase this. It makes the SM more of what he already is. More DPS from Heaven's Blade. More survivability from Phantom's Blade. More debuff/buff goodness from Nature's Blade.

AA – group armor buff like We'z Bigger. No longer increases disrupt since that was rolled into Nature's Blade. Could also be made into a toggle, like Prayer of Absolution.

Calming Winds – You gain 40 AP when your Blade Enchants trigger. Mirrored to Stop Hittin' Da Runts. Similar to Bolstering Enchantments, it allows the SM to be more of what he already is by letting him stay in the fight longer.

Whispering Winds – Moved to 9 Hoeth

Blessing of Heaven – Nature's Blade now also reduces all resists of enemies affected for 10s. Makes up for the loss of Heaven's Blade to Khaine. Brings total utility closer to a Knight's. Name fits well.

Phoenix's Wing – Moved to 13 Hoeth. 40% AoE snare for 5s. Similar to BO Big Swing with Big Brawlin' tactic slotted. No longer has 2h requirement. I don't think the AoE disorient is needed, and the Strength debuff is already covered by Nature's Blade, but feel free to add these effects.

Alternately, Blessing of Heaven could add a 5s snare to targets affected by Nature's Blade and Phoenix's Wing could be an AoE to debuff all resists.


  1. does that mean you would grant the inc healdebuff to bo too, cause i would like that for ultimate 1onMany ownage

  2. Yeah I would, I believe the equivalent on the BO is Arm Breaka. The BO trees are more of a mess than the SM ones if you ask me and more in need of some rearranging.

  3. While I disagree regarding the direction you try to change the swordmaster to, there is one thing, that doesn't make sense to me:

    Crushing Advance – Requires Shield – 9s ST stagger, 20s cooldown. It's not AoE like the Knight/Chosen, but I don't think it really has to be either to make an impact on the battlefield.

    With a shield, you'll attack about every 1.5 gcds without even using an ability, so that the stagger will most likely be broken by the swordmaster just around the time he applies it.
    Not sure, it would make more sense, than using our aoe-kick while standing somewhere on an open would just hand out more immunities


    1. by granting it a not realy melee range of 30 feet that could be made way less likely, or it could just stop autoattacks