Stormdancer's Brace is far from being a popular exotic. Not only is Stormcaller (not counting Chaos Reach) rarely used in either PvP or PvE, but of those that do use it, the VAST majority are either using a neutral exotic or Crown of Tempests. Because of this, I don't think anyone noticed that Bungie stealth-nerfed Stormdancer's Brace. And let me just say: it definitely did not need a nerf.
For those who don't know, Stormdancer's Brace gives stacks of a buff called "Ascending Amplitude" for each kill you get while in your super. Ascending Amplitude increases your Stormtrance damage. At launch, you could get five stacks of Ascending Amplitude which would scale from a 12% buff at one stack to a 75% buff at five stacks. Was it good? Eh, not really.
I recently got a great roll on a Stormdancer's Brace and thought I'd give it a try. I quickly realized that you can now get up to 10 stacks of Ascending Amplitude instead of the five. Initially, I was thrilled and thought that Stormdancer's Brace had received a stealth buff! Until I checked the damage numbers that is… After this stealth change, Ascending Amplitude only provides a 10% damage increase per stack, meaning at five stacks you deal 50% bonus damage, as opposed to the original 75%.
Now you could argue that this is a buff because at 10 stacks you get 25% more damage than the previous max, but that comes at a steep cost of requiring twice the number of stacks. In my opinion, this is a net nerf on an exotic that was already underperforming.
Bungie please: it's time to update/buff/rework this exotic. Honestly, the power fantasy just isn't there. There are few problems:
- Stormtrance is most often used for clearing trash mobs, where the bonus damage is 100% redundant.
- Without Crown of Tempests, Stormtrance duration is pretty short. Meaning killing 5 – 10 ads and then transitioning to boss damage is rarely realistic.
- On top of this, Stormtrance already has built-in damage amplification (as of April 2019). It takes five seconds to ramp up to 150% bonus damage, which is more than what is provided by this exotic.
Even in the most ideal of situations, I can't see myself using this over the increased duration provided by Crown of Tempests. Especially since Crown of Tempests also buffs my ability recharge rate when I'm not in super.
Here are some possible buff/rework ideas I came up with. I think a couple of the buff ideas could even be combined together and this exotic would still be fair.
- Generate stacks of Ascending Amplitude from any ability kill, whether you're in super or not. That way you could prime your bonus damage BEFORE casting Stormtrance and then utilize the bonus damage for the entire length of your super. You'd also want something like "dealing damage with Stormtrance extends the duration of Ascending Amplitude" to make sure the stacks don't fall off.
- Change the perk to grant increased super duration with each stack of Ascending Amplitude. This would definitely help this exotic see more use, but also, Crown of Tempests already does that.
- Massively increase the chain distance of Stormtrance (not the initial damage distance) so that while you are focusing your damage on the big targets, you are much more likely to kill all surrounding ads (and build more stacks of Ascending Amplitude).
- Give this exotic the same effect as the "Berserker" mod from a few seasons back, where kills in your super grant you bonus weapon damage for a period of time after your super ends. You could even restrict it to arc weapons to make more sense with the electricity theme if you wanted.
- Change Ascending Amplitude to also increase move speed while in Stormtrance. That will make it easier/faster to clear ads and then transition to the boss. This may create problems for PvP though.
- Add a secondary effect when not in your super. To make things easier, it could mimic an existing weapon perk. Like maybe arc grenade kills grant a small damage buff to all your weapons (like Adrenaline Junkie). Or maybe it's something like arc grenade kills automatically reload all your weapons (a twist on Demolitionist).
- Make this a Landfall-specific exotic. Change the main perk to something like "arc defeats grant Ascending Amplitude charges, which grant improved aerial maneuverability and drastically increase the size and damage of Landfall." The maneuverability is to make sure you hit with Landfall.
- Have this exotic turn Stormtrance into a support super. Sounds crazy, but make it so that enemies hit by Stormtrance are blinded and take increased damage from all sources. This would make it effective in higher-end content where you may not be able to easily clear an entire room of ads, while also providing utility against a boss. The debuff would need to be at least 20% I think.
Anyway, those are some thoughts from me. Let me know what you think.
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