Content of the article: "Elementalist buff/rework ideas"
So Elementalist is my favourite ascendancy in the game, and I've always played at least one and often multiple Elementalists per league for over 11 leagues now. She's received some very major nerfs such as loss of prolif and base shock reduction from 20% to 15% (but then they buffed the base shock with a 30% inc eff modifier so it's effectively 19%) and minor buffs (golem line).
I've played and managed to beat all endgame with her, but not as cleanly or effectively as one can with other classes. Her current state feels very clunky and with few actual build options, and very difficult to effectively optimize compared to alternatives you would pick, such as Inquisitor, Heirophant, Necromancer, Trickster, and Assassin. A vast majority of the time whenever theory-crafting Elementalist builds, levelling them, and playing them through maps, the thought always pops into my head: "this would feel so much better as XYZ class".
Disclaimer: I am not a professional game dev/designer. I understand that ascendancy class balance is a difficult thing to properly achieve as it's incredibly easy to go in either direction of "trash, not even worth considering" and "OP, BIS, why would you even consider anything else???". Most of these ideas come from a place of trying to give the Elementalist some much-needed DPS/options boost beyond "just go golems lol"- I have gone Golems already. Many times. I think Golems and I need some time off from each other.
Buckle up, this is going to be a long post.
What can be done to help her while maintaining her identity? Well the core themes of Elementalist are the following:
Elemental Ailments: Ignite, Chill/Freeze, Shock.
Heralds: Whether used for damage buffs, Elemental penetration, or as skills on their own
Golems: Huge conditional general stat buffs that can be boosted even further
So what are her strengths and weaknesses of each line? Note: This is looking at the line as a whole with all buffs gained from it, and also as an explanation for those who may not be as familiar with the subclass.
Note1: I'm not going to talk about bringing back elemental proliferation. It was never an interesting mechanic to me beyond "free screen-wide clear with Herald of Ice/Inpulsa's" and just spawned an era of only Blade Vortex Elementalists. If you want prolif just use the gem and have a 5L clear skill or wait until PoE2 where we can have 9 six-linked skills and you can use the gem in one of your clear-skills.
Note2: "Suggested Changes" does not mean I think Elementalist should have all of those changes, some can be picked over others.
Shaper of Desolation
Beacon of Ruin
Ailment Line Pros: Can utilize any damage to inflict any elemental ailment (Conflux buffs), and has baseline 10% chill and 15% shock values (which go up to 13% chill and 19% shock with the 30% increased effect of non-damaging ailments mod on the node) that will always take effect regardless of monster ailment thresholds, and gives 20% more ignite damage. Those ailments can be buffed to raise chill/shock effectiveness.
Cons: Requires too much investment into non-damaging ailment effectiveness modifiers on tree or gear to make use of the baseline chill/shock values when simply having significantly higher DPS is a better option for inflicting high/max chill/shock values. Rotating conflux buff is ultimately not consistent enough to make proper use of its strength, since it requires you to already have significant DPS to achieve decent Ignite/Chill/Freeze/Shock values.
Observation: Elementalist has slowly been losing her identity as the go-to class for elemental ailments with the addition of many alternative sources of chill/shock with a baseline effectiveness that can be built off of, such as Skitterbots, shock-on-focus rings, Corpse Pact, etc. Some classes even have additional benefits for dealing damage to ailment-inflicted enemies, like Saboteur's Explosive Expert (in the form of additional crit multi, crit chance, and pen). There are also a number of items and skill gems with the inherent bonus "Chill/Freeze/Shock enemies as though dealing X% more Damage". I believe that she should be the class to go to for building powerful elemental ailments (barring ignite Chieftains).
Remember, these suggestions are not made with the idea that they should all be given to Elementalist, maybe some picked others not picked.
– Give Shaper of Desolation 1 more second on each rotation: so 5, 5, 5, 3, it gives a little more room for ailment application.
– Give Shaper of Desolation "inflict non-damaging ailments as though dealing 100% more Damage". This will buff her Shock and Chill rotations and make it more worthwhile timing your attacks for them.
– Give Beacon of Ruin "Shocks from your hits can increase damage taken by up to a maximum of 75%". Overshock from Cluster Jewels and Voltaxic Rift opened up new potential damage caps with higher maximum shock effect.
Giving Elementalist higher maximum shock value (more than Overshock's 60% but not as much as Voltaxic's 100%) makes her a competitive choice for shock application and gives her a much needed damage bonus.
Note: I was also thinking of buffing her chill's reduced action speed effectiveness but reconsidered since GGG did nerf things like Temp Chains and don't want you to just perma-slow bosses (even though perma-freezing bosses is a thing and is a funny sight to behold).
– Give Beacon of Ruin a similar effect to Elemental Hit's "10% more Damage per Elemental Ailment on the enemy". Possibly around 7 or 8% for a 21 or 24% more damage multiplier (even more if you can manage to get the other elemental ailments working through various means, such as Fireball's threshold Jewel, etc).
– Give Elementalist a modified version of Secrets of Suffering:
Cannot inflict Ignite, Chill, Freeze, Shock
Alternative sources of Ignite, Chill, Freeze, Shock have no effect (such as Skitterbots, Storm's Gift, etc)
Your Fire, Cold, and Lightning damage can inflict Scorch, Brittle, and Sap on critical strikes
All sources of "chance to inflict Ignite, Freeze, Shock", are converted to chance to inflict Scorch, Brittle, Sap, at 50% of their values
Giving Elementalist inherent access to the alternative ailments opens up more build possibilities in terms of raw DPS and defence. Scorch and Brittle would give her powerful damage bonuses in terms of reduced elemental resistances and base critical strike chance, and Sap gives her really strong defensive bonuses.
The current source of Secrets of Suffering is limited in the sense that it gives you no base chance to inflict said ailments, forcing you into a crit build to reliably inflict those ailments. The only sources of chance to inflict Scorch, Brittle, Sap, are the "-sight" helmets, which give a 25% chance and decent stats but there are better helmet options for sheer dps/defence.
Extra option, possibly too OP: Make the modified Secrets of Suffering a branch-off point from Shaper of Desolation and add an additional line to SoS that makes it interact with SoD's ailment infliction chances.
Pendulum of Destruction
Mastermind of Discord
Herald Line Pros: 25% reduced reservation of Heralds, 25% increased effectiveness of Herald Buffs on you, and 25% Fire/Cold/Lightning penetration depending on which Heralds you use.
Cons: Locked behind a useless node that has 0 effective impact on clear/dps and cannot even be timed for due to lack of a buff icon.
Observation: Mastermind of Discord has always been a very powerful node, but you're essentially spending 4 points (wasting 2) just for that node considering that Pendulum of Destruction is an ultimately useless node that has no realistic impact on builds. The 75% elemental damage bonus is additive with other sources of damage and has no noticeable impact on your overall dps in endgame situations, and the AoE is fine but you don't really notice it nor can you plan for it since the node has never had a buff icon added to it for its entire existence (17 leagues now).
- Give Pendulum of Destruction a buff icon. Self-explanatory, not sure why this still hasn't happened. Shaper of Desolation has a rotating buff icon.
- Swap Pendulum of Destruction's position with Paragon of Calamity. Paragon of Calamity always felt bad to take because you're essentially giving up one of the other big 3 nodes, Beacon of Ruin, Mastermind of Discord, and Elemancer.
If change #2 is considered then to make Pendulum of Destruction a viable option by itself I suggest the following change.
- Change Pendulum of Destruction's rotating bonuses:
From75% increased elemental damage every 5 seconds75% increased area of effect every 5 seconds
To30% more elemental damage every 5 seconds100% increased area of effect every 5 seconds
By giving it a more impactful and noticeable damage multiplier, as well as a buff icon, Pendulum of Destruction becomes an actual offensive option.
Liege of the Primordial
Golem Line Pros: Very large buffs to multiple general stats (increased damage, crit chance, accuracy, attack and cast speed, life regen, and physical damage reduction) depending upon which Golems you have active, as well as giving you 35% chance to avoid elemental ailments per active Golem (so having at least 3 gives you complete immunity to all elemental ailments), and overall a large amount of %increased damage.
Cons: Socket-starved, you have to effectively give up 5 or more sockets if you wish to have all buffs and those buffs are dependent upon the golem being alive. Lose the golem, lose the buff instantly, and resummoning them all is a pain since they are not instant-cast and have a long cooldown, and keeping golems alive in dangerous endgame encounters can be costly in terms of points/sockets/gear.
Observation: This line is just fine as it is to be honest. It grants you huge buffs to the overall effectiveness of your build in terms of damage, speed, and defense, at the cost of sockets and golem sustain. I honestly don't have any suggested changes beyond maybe giving like 10-15% physical damage reduction to golems and 1% life regeneration to them on one of the two golem nodes. The main barrier of entry to this build are things like Primordial items/Anima Stone which can be easily farmed for due to the number of maps that drop "The Primordial" divination card. The line is also incredibly powerful for building your golems to deal DPS themselves but the focus of this thread was for the Elementalist herself to have more options in terms of DPS/defense.
So that was it. There are many other options such as just giving her straight damage bonuses to each individual element or otherwise but I wanted to lean into her core themes with the suggestions. Discuss it, rip into it, claim that "bringing back prolif and BV Elementalist is the best thing they can do", go crazy.
Edit: fixed formatting, I don't use reddit often enough to be familiar with how it works.
- Investigations on Hexblast
- What the Hex? Even More Investigations on Hexblast.
- Alternate quality gems should have their own prefixes (or suffixes)
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