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While I disagree with both using a baseline reave as your comparison point (as most of a knight's punch comes from the supplemental damage being done with flares/enhancements/etc..there isn't a single person who would categorize Septus' rolling damage as underwhelming) and your casual suggestion that the affliction route is viable without you having much experience in the current meta (Risca is our current aff-centric dude, and would also disagree), I would concur that belial + steal (aka crucio, aka machine gun) has the sort of extreme out-the-gate damage that was an issue with druid several builds back. I don't know the easiest way to fix....simply lopping off 10-15% probably isn't the answer...and unpairing the two (which was probably the doing of Iniar in the first place) means that Belial is now back to being relegated to the finisher from a Cadmus transition. Which is fine (I know Risca disagrees), but the jinx pendulum still hasn't found the equilibrium necessary for this (tl;dr version: aff pressure was weak, jinx was added to make it too strong, jinx was neutered and brought pressure only slightly right of stage 1, last classlead round looked to find sweet spot but Garryn implemented only one of two approvals).
Wytch isn't really that much fun to play (summoner/dk/diab top it, easy), but the crowd control + linear, ez-button machine gun means you almost feel obligated for big fights where killing more guys faster than the other team is the goal. If you have some ideas beyond, "damage is broken - nerf", which is a wholly unhelpful synopsis of the problem, I am all ears - we got druid fixed because we moved past the "damage is broken - nerf" mentality to actionable changes that made sense.
Yeah, just for the sake of disclosure my numbers did factor in cleansing/flare. They did not factor enhancements (because those are basically impossible to quantify, and I figured a rough approximation without prophecy/danaeus would probably be around the mark). Curse/knight dps aren't really comparable as mechanics: this was mostly a thought experiment as I wanted to know how the dps actually compared (because reallistically, noone is going to be able to claim my dps is bad). That said, I don't actually have a problem with wytch out-dpsing knight, because wytch arguably doesn't have the frontloaded tank knight does.
I am also not a fan of the "reduce the damage values" solution, because historically whenever we try that it doesn't actually resolve anything; it just makes people complain less for a short period of time until they pick up steam again. My initial inclination is to say that belial scaling off of affcount is a big culpret of the problem. Stock belial values (as per my testing) are really solid, and I think that's good; damage approaches are more accessible and pretty much a staple for anyone who wants to be more than an afterthought in a standard large team fight at this point. The aff approach being good doesn't justify the damage approach being bad, however.
I don't have any specific ideas, but I definitely think looking at how it scales is a much better use of time, or perhaps looking at ways to make the damage crank less aggressively; currently its very much a machinegun as Eldreth mentioned, where there's very little respite from the pressure. The comparrison to old druid is a pretty apt one in that regard.
But yes, let's please not get into the mindset that a good aff approach requires you to suck at damage and vice versa. That's how you end up with hunters.
If I see a difference between current wytch and old druid, it's that the latter was effectively a juggernaut in pretty much every scenario (teams and 1x1). While a wytch could roid up to 22 INT and ez-button someone 1x1 (I have done it against some people), this approach has zero aff pressure, no burst pressure, and is arguably not going to be all that successful against people who can apply aff pressure or otherwise have the wherewithal to disrupt the sustained damage in some fashion. But it just scales so magnificently when thrown with some allies and the linear drawbacks can be hidden. So in my opinion the challenge here boils down more to mitigating their impact in teams which is always a hard thing to build a classlead around. Changing the scaling would make sense, since as you note that already high DPS is independent of any bonus from several other affs being delivered by allies, but the risk is that in a 1x1 setting, the primary wytch path (build aff pressure via Cadmus to flare, transition to belial and burst before affs go away) is also hit. Plus this doesn't address the primary issue that we can set up a 18/19 INT wytch with a collar to be a killing machine with about 5 minutes worth of work (see: Kanthari).
My gut tells me that the easiest compromise would be to unpair belial + steal (effectively cutting adjusted damage in half on the off-prophesy balances), increase Cadmus flare damage (not previously mentioned but flared Cadmus damage even with a lot of affs is pretty mediocre) so a belial transition isn't necessary (but not to belial levels), slightly reduce belial scaling, and give a 3p jinx cure message. In teams, the wytch loses a lot of DPS when off-prophesy balance, but should be able to make it up long-term with the fact they are probably sticking an aff (in lieu of steal) to help towards scaling. Or it allows a wytch to go the Cadmus rout if they want (affs towards increased damage and they can stay on this path).
edit: Another consideration is taking away the ability to manually flare the mark - with the artifact and a sub two-second investment I can flare belial at the start of a fight for a sweet damage bonus, and the fact the mark will fade in about 20 seconds is irrelevant as the target is likely dead by that point (and if not? I can reapply mark with no balance loss). Manually flaring marks is generally not something one does during normal fighting conditions anyway.
classlead 429 comment Better yet; re-repurpose Steal to what was initially requested - a dynamic heal. Please Garryn. I played Wytch back in 2013 and it was already an amazing class. Risca can show you logs of me burning him with 300 damage Cadmus flares even back then. There was no reason to make Steal what it is now. More importantly, there was very little reason for improving Wytch to the point where it is now; jinx, prophesy, prismatic, 15% resists on top of dustcover, +2 con, blink, paralysis break, vitality. Siath/Zith and I always talk about Wytch and how a great class was turned into an overburgeoning class of -lol-. The reason we say this (being the two players who have extensively played Wytch for long periods of time in multiple avenues against multiple types of opponents) is because Wytch already came with 3 MAJOR advantages baked in: speed of attack (swiftcurse lets players react FASTER), prismatic and shield bypass (innate team clutch-class) and rare type damage. These are HUGE advantages, one I really appreciated as a wytch fighter. These things were COMPENSATED by not having on-demand frontloaded burst damage. What we have allowed to happen is repeated cycles of upgrades of a class with amazing innate benefits that not a lot of other classes share, without allowing for a reduction in these innate benefits. You now have a class that can rip things to shreds (fine), but without much counterplay. At the speed of Wytch's attacks, ignorance is almost a non-factor. I really think you should take a long hard look at this class; it has been upgraded with less than careful deliberation and very specifically, the two people who have used this class in more situations than most of the other players agree that this cycle of upgrades has left this once well-balanced, fun class in a place that is quite unpalatable to play - too much damage, too tanky, no longer rewards intelligent play. This is probably one of my biggest disappointments in recent classlead history. Aside from the +con changes and probably jinx, all the subsequent changes have been nearly entirely unnecessary.
If #415 gets submitted while I'm at work, I just want you all to know that if it gets approved, I will stop playing Imperian.
The big problem that you have with things like that, Jules, is that you don't think things through properly.
Let's use Dazzle as an example.
Question #1: What is my goal? What are we trying to accomplish? How are we trying to kill them? Are we running longsword Templar? Pushing for a damage kill with axes and reave?
Question #2: What does this ability do? Well, Dazzle takes 3.38-3.95(diadem depending) seconds of equilbrium to do confusion and dizziness. C
Question #3: Does this ability work towards my goal? Well, it does zero damage and reave-knight doesn't care about afflictions at all. So in that case, this is a resounding no; sacrificing damage for afflictions is never a choice that works out for the axeknight. For longsword Templar, though? Well, it's slower than DSL and does no damage or bleeding, and it does dizziness and confusion. Dizziness I could get from Lindane on a DSL if I wanted it, so scratch that. Confusion? It's focusable and we neither hinder nor prevent focus cures. So, for longsword knights, the answer is also no. The only thing it gives you that you can't get anywhere else is confusion, and while confusion is powerful, it's also not an affliction that a Templar can defend; you can't bury it under other affs or effectively prevent them from curing it.
So, should you use Dazzle? It's pretty clear that the answer here is "no". Dazzle does not provide any effective progress to your goals, so it is not worth using.
If you go over any given ability like this it is usually pretty easy to determine whether or not that ability is worth using.
"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."
Lindane is not one of the alpha toxins.
Dizziness however is not a bad affliction, and imo it fills its role very well.
Unfocusable mandrake afflictions are very problematic, because they both buffer impatience (which is the current major benefit to mandrakes for an afflictor) and also are not trivially clearable if you do manage to cure impatience (no focus while off herb bal). This is a problem because it turns the scenario into a sum 0 gain. That wouldn't be hugely problematic for a new affliction, because you can balance around that affliction being an impatience buffer and not being clearable via focus (i.e. you don't give it to impatience profs or make it have pre requirements of some kind). That ship has long since sailed for dizziness however. Off the top of my head, this would be a massive buff to shamanism inhibit, outrider, hunter (in theory), any dual aff class (knight, berserker, diab(for now), ranger, assassin/renegade etc), probably others that I'm not immediately thinking of. Note that avidya became an orphine cure when it became unfocusable. There's good reason for that.
There's also the fact that dizziness would be secondary hinder. Basically all classes that would use it already have strong primary hindering abilities, so the weaker secondary hinder effect is entirely justified and appropriate.
Of course, you could suggest moving it off mandrake onto something else, but at that point I think its getting into really needing a solid justification teritory.