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 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview

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Durriken
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Tue May 27, 2014 3:01 pm

I'm looking at the spellblade aegis... with the knight's defenders aura, the knight punishes on a shift or attack not including the knight. The spellblade aegis, enemies are only marked while in the aura and punishment trigger on attacks not including the spellblade, but the enemies can just shift out of it then do whatever. It needs to either be enemies that start their turn in the aura are marked until ...something or punishment should trigger on shifting like with the knight. With bladespells being ranged, I'd rather see an enemy starting their turn in the spellblade aegis is marked until the start of their next turn. Then the spellblade could lock them down better, even from off turn attacks.
Other than that, I really like this as a simple arcane defender. Very cool.
TjD
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Tue May 27, 2014 3:48 pm

Durriken wrote:
I'm looking at the spellblade aegis... with the knight's defenders aura, the knight punishes on a shift or attack not including the knight.  The spellblade aegis, enemies are only marked while in the aura and punishment trigger on attacks not including the spellblade, but the enemies can just shift out of it then do whatever. It needs to either be enemies that start their turn in the aura are marked until ...something or punishment should trigger on shifting like with the knight. With bladespells being ranged, I'd rather see an enemy starting their turn in the spellblade aegis is marked until the start of their next turn.  Then the spellblade could lock them down better, even from off turn attacks.
Punishing foes for shifting ended up being too strong once the extra damage and control effect from the bladespells were factored into the equation. Remember each basic attack that hits triggers a blade spell that's going to automatically deal damage and also slow, slide, knock prone, inflict damage if they leave their square, etc.

During tests, one of our spellblades would use the slide effect to move opponents to a position in their aura where shifting wouldn't let them reach any targets effectively or used the lightning ring to give them the choice of taking almost mark punishment level damage if they leave their square. That they could also put these effects on targets 10 squares away instead just gave them so much flexibility that letting the mark persist until the end of the creature's turn was overpowered.

Indeed, one of the reasons why the mark punishment doesn't kick in until the attacker's attack is resolved is precisely to prevent unseen hand from completely negating melee attacks by sliding the target out of range of its target before damage was dealt. That was just way too potent of an effect for at-will mark punishment.

Also bear in mind that, depending on level, the spellblade can also mark 1-4 targets until the end of the encounter via their aegis strike encounter power and then pound on them with mark punishment from 10 squares away each time they don't try to attack them. That'll let you lock down the most problematic opponents regardless of where they move while still leaving your regular aura to limit enemy options up close.
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Wed May 28, 2014 8:36 am

Aegis Strike probably should not mark until the end of encounter. I think end of next turn, especially since there are multiple uses at higher level. Drop the bonus damage, +2 at 9, +4 at 19. And an creature starting in the aura is marked until the end of the spellblade's next turn.
With effects of the blade spells, they are pretty powerful, but being able to put out multiple persistent marks is really a little over. Without a persistent mark and with enemies not able to simply shift out of the aura to avoid the effects it creates more dynamic battles. Then the spellsblade needs to keep moving into positions to threaten and mark enemies. And the punishment may be lower damage but it's the effects, as you said: slide, prone, grant CA, slow. I agree with resolving attacks first. That just makes sense

Maybe its just that most other defenders can't put an encounter long mark without using a daily. And until they get higher level cannot consistently mark multiple targets for more than a turn. And the way I look at the aura as is it doesn't really lock down anything. Any enemy can just shift out of it. Any enemy with a decent ranged attack might not be bothered at all. And if there are other melee targets in range of a shift or shift and charge...

I might be completely wrong. I freely admit that on paper and in play can be completely different. Just look at how many people completely dismiss 4e without even trying it. You've play tested, I'm just imagining how it works in my head. I do still think this is a completely, totally cool concept. You took what was a kinda crappy class (yes I did try it and grew to hate it) and turn it into something awesome.

TjD
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Wed May 28, 2014 10:20 am

Durriken wrote:
Aegis Strike probably should not mark until the end of encounter. I think end of next turn, especially since there are multiple uses at higher level.
The reason it was EoE was both to give a means to deal with ranged enemies and because it is possible for some of the more potent creatures to potentially shed their marks. However, in going back and looking at it, there was one mistake in my playtest (that I'll go into below) that probably skewed our results a bit.

Quote :
Drop the bonus damage, +2 at 9, +4 at 19.  And an creature starting in the aura is marked until the end of the spellblade's next turn.
The damage bonuses were set as they were to keep them roughly in-line with the Cavalier's mark punishment of 3/6/9 + secondary ability modifier damage (9 and 19 are close enough to 11 and 21 and I wanted to give the class SOMETHING at those levels instead leaving them blank), but I'll take a look at the numbers. The initial +2 is the one most needed to keep the damage values in line with the other mark punishments though so if anything will be dropped it would be the value of the 9th and 19th level bumps (ex. 2/3/4 instead of 2/4/6) and not the 1st level bonus.

Quote :
I might be completely wrong.  I freely admit that on paper and in play can be completely different. Just look at how many people completely dismiss 4e without even trying it.  You've play tested, I'm just imagining how it works in my head.
Well, in going back and looking at it, one of the things we did screw up on our end was we forgot that bladespells normally only trigger on your turn, rather than on every melee basic attack (i.e. opportunity and granted attacks) which is how they ended up being used in the test because I wasn't paying quite as much attention to the original mechanics as to the modifications I'd made. Dealing extra damage on par with many of the simple strikers (i.e. +secondary ability mod damage) with off-turn attacks really skewed their damage output to the point where limiting the mark punishment a bit made sense.

I'm still baking my noodle on it a bit, but right now I think the solution will be to either change;

A) Aegis Attack's trigger to "An enemy marked by you uses an attack power that does not target you or leaves a square in your aura on its turn."
-or-
B) Spellblade Aegis' effect to "Enemies that start their turn in the aura are marked until the end of their turn."

The first makes it function more like a traditional defender's aura in that it locks down movement too and doesn't require any tracking (and the movement lock down is limited to the area immediately adjacent to the spellblade). The second restricts their actions after moving, but still keeps tracking to a minimum because it ends at the end of their current turn.

Keeping tracking to a minimum is a big part of my design parameters because its not just a lack of daily powers and a repeatable encounter attack that makes something feel like an E-class, its also that there is very little tracking needed to be able to play it, especially when it comes to off-turn actions which can slow the action down. I'd much prefer off-turn actions to be as quick as possible to resolve (i.e. the enemy violated its mark so it takes X damage and gets slid/falls prone/grants advantage and on to the next turn we go).

I don't want to do 'marked until the start/end of your next turn' precisely because it does require keeping track of which monster may or may not have been in your aura past the end of the turn where they were in the aura. On the other hand, locking down movement or making the mark punishment linger does reduce the need for encounter long marks from the aegis strike and if either of those changes go into effect, I'd most likely drop the Aegis Strike mark duration to 'end of next turn.'

Quote :
I do still think this is a completely, totally cool concept.  You took what was a kinda crappy class (yes I did try it and grew to hate it) and turn it into something awesome.
I'm doing my best. I'll let everyone know which set of changes I decide on.
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PostSubject: Re: 4E Forever 'Essentials Options' Preview   Wed May 28, 2014 11:38 am

Okay, after some thought and running through the pros and cons of each, here's what I decided on for the Spellblade;

--------------

• The bonus to damage with bladespells at 5th level, 15th level and 25th level instead becomes a +1 bonus to damage rolls with arcane and basic attacks. This allows the damage bonus to apply to off-turn attacks as was the original intent (it also makes the damage for the aegis attack less complex to compute).

• The Aegis Attack trigger has been changed to "An enemy marked by you uses an attack power that does not target you or leaves a square in your aura on its turn." While the marking until next turn even if they left the aura was interesting, it overlapped a bit too much with the revised Aegis Strike for my tastes. It also has a more interesting interaction with the Level 12 Expanded Aegis ability which is always a plus.

• The Effect line for Aegis Attack has been changed to "You use a bladespell on the triggering creature after its attack or movement has resolved. The triggered bladespell deals 2 extra damage to the target (3 extra damage at 9th level and 4 extra damage at 19th level)." This puts the damage slightly behind the paladin/cavalier's mark damage since it will now be triggering with about the same frequency.

• The Effect line for Aegis Strike has been changed to "The target takes 5 extra damage and is marked by you until the end of your next turn. The extra damage increases to 10 at 17th level and to 15 at 27th level."

• The level 20 paragon path benefit Expanded Aegis Strike is replaced with Extended Aegis Strike with the following benefit; "Once per encounter, when you use aegis strike, the mark lasts until the end of the encounter and can be reapplied to the target as a minor action." This gives the Spellblade one inescapable encounter-long mark as they head into epic tier for those battles where you absolutely MUST keep one foe locked down.

----------------

Thanks for the feedback. I'll be passing this along to Froth ASAP. Hopefully it'll make it in time to be added to the actual magazine.
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