Content of the article: "Virtually all the new Slam-related skills scale poorly in endgame – Some discussion on why that is, and how it can be addressed"
First, I would like to say that all the new slammy stuff feels AWESOME while leveling and is pretty good while working your way through white and yellow maps. Kudos to GGG on getting the visceral chunkiness of Slam skills down, they all look and feel great, I just wish I could continue playing a big, chunky, slammy beefcake of a character into red maps and beyond.
Tawhoa/Fist of War
Right off the bat, Tawhoa doesn't feel as exciting as Fist does, the numbers are there for %MORE damage calc for what an ascendancy skill should be doing (~20-25% MORE is plenty to be a snap pickup), but ultimately, it ends up being redundant with what most slam skills already do. You tend to one-shot groups while clearing, and Tawhoa just adds to that overkill. It really needs some of that juicy increased AoE that Fist has. The major difference between these two is that Tawhoa really only lets you do what you already do even harder, while Fist tends to help clear up stragglers and give you a more complete experience while clearing maps.
The problem that both of these eventually encounter is that even with the slowest weapons, you inevitably end up with 0.5 attack speed or even less with relatively minor investment and they start to fall off pretty hard at that point. Tawhoa loses out in comparison to virtually any other DPS-adding ascendancy skill while Fist loses out to enough Support skills it becomes hard to justify keeping it in your setup. These attacks NEED to scale with attack-speed somehow, and that doesn't mean we need to slam more often, we can alternatively slam harder when the cooldown is up to make up for that, but as it stands, once you start accumulating top-end gear, neither of these can hold their own against the plethora of other options that become available.
Much like the above skills, Shockwave falls off pretty hard once you get high enough attack speed, that said Shockwave has a much faster cooldown and multiple charges to help it stay relevant a LOT longer. I actually don't mind Shockwave where it is, and as a player, it's pretty easy to justify skipping a little more attack speed and investing a little more into increased damage effects to keep Shockwave in your build, and it's often easy to feel rewarded for making those kinds of decisions with this skill.
Warcries and Exert
Warcries currently have multiple issues going on with them, not the least of which is the amount of passive points required in order to make them usable. Escalation, Natural Authority, and Measured Fury all feel awesome until you realize you invested a minimum of 10 points to pick up those passives. While the investment itself isn't huge, the fact that only about half your attacks are gaining power from that investment sucks, and they eventually fall off as scaling continues upward. Again, negative synergy with attack speed really comes out with warcries on the losing end of the battle. I think these need special acknowledgement because Warcry effects specifically seem to be geared at slow 2H attacks, but they just can't keep up with the standard attack speed scaling that is core to these type of game.
I feel like this one should be specifically noted because it is especially clunky mechanically, having to monitor your exerted attacks and not refresh too early in fear of losing those big beefy 4th and 5th hits really ruins the rhythm of game play in a larger scale. Wouldn't it further emphasize slow attacks to reverse the scaling anyway? Just a random thought, but this Cry is especially unfun to play with.
Slow, clunky, bad. I have spent very little time actually exploring this skill because it is rarely worth the investment and doesn't add any meaningful power to builds that might use it. It is often better to just invest in 2H Impale without this because you can 1-shot most packs while clearing anyway, and Impale adds meaningful damage to boss fights, especially considering you can usually attack more than once a second with any respectable gear level.
There is also the issue of accidentally impaling with things like Shield Slam or Leap Slam. This is a HUGE setback after investing 9 passive points and wearing Dread Banner over War Banner only to have your chosen movement skill accidentally shut off a keystone 1 out of 5 times.
Leapslam and other movement problems
Combat Control seemed to acknowledge the issue with Exerts being used up by movement skills, but it really needs to work the other way around if it's going to be worth the point. With the current iteration, it is merely another tax on using Exert effects that ultimately can't keep up with standard scaling – at some point in red maps, it becomes undeniable that the best way to improve your character is to drop the Warcries, get your points back, put them in other hugely scaling options like crit and attack speed, and get significantly stronger for it.
To go along with this, Leap Slam is a very clunky movement skill to begin with, Dash or Flame Dash ends up being better 99% of the time for less investment. It's so awkward having a big slammy beefcake cast a spell or dash like a rogue when you're just trying to get from point A to point B.
Stun and Attack Speed
Finally, something that is noticed even while leveling is that the relationship with Stun and attack speed in this game really punishes slow attacks. I'm aware that Cyclone had it's stun immunity removed this patch, and can't help but think that a lot of these slammy attacks would benefit immensely with some sort of nudge in the opposite direction. wink wink
I really enjoy the new slammy skills, and it has been a sad past 3-4 days working through upgrading mine and my wife's characters and coming to the realization that it is both easier to play the game and you get significantly stronger once you go back to well-known pre-3.10 effects.
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