Have you ever sat back and wondered why no one in the game is quite tanky enough anymore? Why only a select number of classes are viable without artifacts? Why you either need burst damage, a non-toxin class with spammable lethargy/clumsiness, or 10k credits in defensive artifacts to compete? Well pull up a chair, because I'm about to explain and then give a solution to fix it.
In the tug of war that is combat, each side should be pushing for their own window of greatest potential while trying to dodge the same window from their opponent. What you have instead is two people jousting in semi-trucks and the one with the biggest engine gets to stay on the road. We've de-emphasized control and over-emphasized tanking, making combat balance very polar. The only surviving exception are the afflictions that increase balance and equilibrium time, because they still work. Unfortunately, access to these afflictions are limited and need to remain so due to the team fight implications.
But all is not lost! The problems of hindering and momentum control can be solved without removing the ability of people to fight back! Attached is my 'King for the day' proposal for adding dynamic decision making back to combat.
- Ciguatoxin needs to be made hindering again. I like the direction of Numbness, but it went too far. I would reduce the delay to upgrade from Numbness to Paralysis from 6s to 3 seconds (which by itself puts an ICD on paralysis in team fights), and make sure I've fixed all the edge cases that let someone re-afflict with Numbness while Paralysis is active.
- Now that I have a toxin that can be used to control momentum, I would need to make it easier to cure. This is critical to prevent the 'you don't get to attack me' stack that caused Ciguatoxin to be nerfed initially.
Unshackle Transfix from the 'everything is cured at once' writhe system. With Wardancer dead and gone, there is less potential for a quick and comboable writhe stack, but some writhe synergy is beneficial for team fights to reduce DPS. I would place writhes in three catagories: Hindering (ropes, entangles), mental (transfix), and physical (bladeimpale, boltimpale, daeggerimpale).
- Delete Metrazol as an affliction. It only exists to get in the way of curing Ciguatoxin, and we don't want that to happen anymore.
- Move Slickness to Nightshade, leaving only Numbness and Sensitivity as stackable Maidenhair cures. Given that Sensitivity has its own internal spam blocker, anyone will be able to prioritize mobility at the expense of healing other afflictions because there is no stack.
- Move Nausea to Kelp alongside Clumsiness, and move Hemotoxin to Galingale. With the lack of any other toxins on Galingale, and the nerfs to Peace and Rage, you'd make Hemo a guaranteed cure on demand at the expense of curing something else. Both Nightshade and Kelp stacks keep the same number of afflictions.
The point of all of this is that, in good combat systems, you sometimes need to be able to stall without leaving the room. We have gotten to the point with Imperian that no one can do this anymore, so the winner of combat is decided by whoever has the largest DPS number. Hard locks are still possible, but they come all at once and don't slow your opponent down along the way. There is a way to do this better.