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One of the things about Druid is that the more they hit you, the more they hit you for because their earth Imbue builds up and they have nothing to spend it on. By the time they have stabbed 9-10 times(or if you've given them setup time), they have +20% damage bonus rolling. This is roughly equivalent to giving every druid an extra L2 staff. Feather also builds up if they aren't spending it, and this makes the stab much faster.
This is stored on the staff and they maintain it between targets. So if Ifreann switches to you after hitting me and Ultrix, he's going to be rolling full Imbue/Feather and his DPS is going to be massively higher than it would be if you just walked in and caught him cold.
One change I would like to make is having earth have no passive effect and requiring earth to be spent to increase damage. They'd no longer be able to just hit 100% Imbue and set the cruise control for +20% damage; it would be build and spend and build and spend.
"On the battlefield I am a god. I love war. The steel, the smell, the corpses. I wish there were more. On the first day I drove the Northmen back alone at the ford. Alone! On the second I carried the bridge! Me! Yesterday I climbed the Heroes! I love war! I… I wish it wasn’t over."
Here's the thing about wisp poison without any of Iniar's stupid math that doesn't explain the point.
Druids do so much damage that you cannot effectively sip mana; if I am managing to stay ahead of druid damage I am doing so by the skin of my teeth. Combined with wisp poison, this means that my sole effective means of regaining mana is my passive regeneration. Note that, because I am not an idiot, I disable toadstool on wisp poison application. Wisp poison is not damaging my mana, but it is completely blocking off access to a source of mana.
When you combine that with Oppression's extra drain, you get a situation where any class with mana costs attached to the offense or a reliance on passives puts themselves in a great deal of unavoidable trouble very quickly.
Oppression is one of those things I'd also like to address somehow, because the effectiveness varies so much from class to class and ranges from 'trivial' to 'crippling'.
Lots of stuff
1) I'm not sure this is even true. Honestly, with reflections, blink, drain tanking combined with not-stupid use of crystal charge, mages are quite tanky. <-- Reflection is nice, yes. Blink is easily defended against for many classes. Drain got nerfed hard. Clarify what non-stupid crystal uses you are talking about (infuse/mirroring)? The only tanky mages are the overly artifacted ones. @Iniar and I were actually just discussing it this morning.You failed to mention summoners comparable abilities: distortion/magician/priestess/hermit/pathfinder/danaeus/universe/several buffs on possession.2) I'm also not sure how this is relevant to the issue at hand. Fire spells give afflictions on both classes. There are always play style choices based on statpack, profession, weapon, spec. <--Merely pointing out the fire offense was not meant to require affliction tracking, which is what your proposed solution would require.3) I'm not sure you understand how taint generation works which makes it hard for you to compare flame circle to incinerate. You generate more attunement faster on average than a summoner generates taint. I can burst up taint, but I sacrifice dps, afflictions. Mage does not sacrifice this. <-- Mage sacrifices their own health/mana if they do this.4) I'm using them as combat currency. My buy in for incinerate is x. My buy in for fire circle is y. The value of Y is less than the value of X. You get more bang for your buck with flame circle, despite the similarity in mechanic with incinerate. It's not a direct comparison for taint/charge/attunement mechanics. <-- this is true in some cases and false in others, mainly dependent on target health.5) Garryn says a lot of things. The actually game play also says a lot of things. Sometimes they agree. Sometimes they don't. <--Agreed.At the end of the day, I did consider those things and they had 0 bearing on my interpretation of Incinerate v. Fire circle. Fire Circle is rolling at damage extremes that exceed old-incinerate, which was hot nerfed outside of a classlead. It is also a positive feedback loop in which high damage sustains the dps which allows for higher damage which sustains the dps which allows for hire damage. Positive feedback loops are bad. Incinerate is not a positive feedback loop.
It's okay if fire offense doesn't require affliction tracking - the problem is that fire circle is a self-fulfilling condition. In a 1v1 setting, this is probably fine and makes sense as a mechanic, since the cost of fire circle is very high to begin with. You're required to build up to 5 attunement and get someone below 2/3rds health, and then use fire circle as a bridge towards a finisher. This seems fine.However, the health condition is the underlying problem, because it's such a simple condition to fulfill in a group, and everyone contributes to it. It's the same issue that's brought up with cirihosisisohsis - everyone is contributing afflictions, everyone is contributing damage. These work to sustain towards a kill that becomes inevitable.My suggestion for having the ticks consume fire-related afflictions is just an example of moving the escalation towards something that doesn't build on itself. Alternatively, I would suggest reducing the cost AND upkeep of fire circle, and just outright remove the condition that perpetuates it. Have it cost 2 fire attunement, drain 1 per tick, and instead of ramping the damage up, have the ticks become more frequent.This both increases the DPS and increases the upkeep, making it unsustainable over time - exactly the balancing rationale for incinerate.
The biggest problem with firecircle is that the 66% condition is utterly trivial to reach in groups, since damage requires no complicated tracking and all sources of damage stack effectively without any need for coordination at all.
This is why Incinerate was removed, it is why attacks based on health percentages have seen so many nerfs over the years, and it is why firecircle will ultimately eat a sizable nerf or change; the effect is too powerful when the pre-requisite is so utterly trivial.
It should be viable 1v1 because combat should not become the sole province of affliction tracking.
This is one thing that never fails to amuse me about you white-knight duelists. You insist you enjoy 1v1, you insist that you want more 1v1, you insist that you want systems that actively encourage 1v1, and then come classlead time you go out of your way to ensure that 1v1 becomes less and less approachable for new players,
because if anything can kill you it must be the toxin deltas of the elite alpha PKer instead of something as uncouth as damage.
You continually try to raise the skill barrier to entry by requiring more and more offensive coding to even approach becoming viable and then you turn around and grouse about how nobody is getting into 1v1 anymore. You are poisoning your own well. You are pissing in your own Cheerios. You are the source of your problem.