I've been testing stuff in the simulacrum on my own since the patch and it seems like each time I try to write this I end up going back to test another idea instead. So today I'm going to brute force through what I have and I'll try to get everything right the first time. To be clear about what I know, it'll look like that and what I think will look like this. As much as possible, I'll use base values for numbers.
Not kit-specific, but there are a few heat-specific effects and comments I have to make, so I should share how heat is working too.
- In the absence of any modifiers, a Heat proc does half of the attack's damage (as heat damage) with each tick, ticks 7 times, and lasts 6 seconds. It doesn't matter what proportion of the base damage IS heat damage for this purpose.
- Having a heat proc reduces current armor by 50%.
- Instead of adding a second heat DoT, new heat procs add the new damage to the current DoT and refill the duration.
- Tick damage doesn't go back down. It continues adding together until the last heat proc ends.
- I've tried to see if the initial damage tick behavior repeats with each refresh, but it seems to just keep ticking away on whatever interval it started with.
Despite how it's supposed to work, I've seen it fail to keep the existing heat proc's damage when I was testing between the Javlok (critical, area damage, heat proc) and Fireball (fully charged with full immolation, no combo). The change to heat procs are a huge increase in potential damage, most practically for removing armor, but also as heat procs can be repeated to cause ever increasing damage over time.
Passive – Conflagration
Ember gains +5% ability strength for each enemy within 50m that is suffering a heat proc.
- Not much to say here. It just adds in with mods like intensify. I haven't verified if its value can be boosted by other buffs or is added last.
- Its values aren't influenced by any mods on Ember, and patch notes says it has a cap but I haven't tested or noted what that cap is.
I like her new passive, even though it serves little practical purpose. Increased damage is usually overkill and her other abilities cap out on ability strength early.
Fireball – 25 energy
Ember hurls a fireball at the target.
- The target takes 400 heat damage with 100% heat status. A 2m radius, including the target, takes 150 heat damage with 50% heat status.
- The first heat status on the enemy actually does 100% of the base damage instead of the expected 50%. I have a theory as to why.
- Can be combo'd, combo window 1.5 seconds, with each additional cast within the window doubling in damage over the last, up to x8.
- Can be charged to deal more damage, affect up to a 2.4 m area, and cost double the energy. The charge will end and fire early if Ember doesn't have enough energy.
- Damage bonus from charging adds to the damage bonus from combos. The combo window does not pause while Ember charges.
- If you equip the Fireball Frenzy augment, Ember will cast the augment instead of charging.
- Does double damage if the target currently suffers from a heat proc. I think this bonus is being applied between the first impact and determining the heat damage of the first heat status. Charged fireballs and combo bonus fireballs multiply the impact and the DoT, but fireballs on already burning enemies deal increased initial damage and add burning damage that is half of the new initial damage. The area damage is usually doubled on the initial target due to the 100% heat proc on the impact.
- Ability Strength changes the damage, but not the status chance. Range changes the radius of the area damage. Duration changes the combo window. Efficiency changes the energy cost.
- Casting fireball increases the rate at which Immolation fills its heat meter by 1/second.
- The current immolation level effects the charging time and damage bonus of charging Fireball. It starts at 2.5 seconds for +100% damage with 0 meter and scales up to 0.25 seconds and +500% damage at 100 meter.
It's taken a lot of testing to understand how Fireball works. I've gone back and forth on whether charging it is a good idea, for example. Now that I understand it, I can say charged fireballs at full heat are fast and powerful, good for destroying tough targets, but this also drains energy fast. The ability would benefit from reduced energy costs as part of its combo benefits. The area damage also feels like an afterthought. The radius is small, the charged radius boost is small, the damage is less than half of the main target, and it isn't even guaranteed to light them on fire. It feels more like a fire bolt. Right now, the main target typically takes 700 damage and is guaranteed to be ignited for at least 400 per tick while others take 150 damage and aren't necessarily on fire. Increased radius on charged fireballs isn't a benefit if the area effect itself is so disappointing. I'd be happy with just one instance of 400 damage to all in the area if I could get 100% status chance on them all and hope to see 6m radius, which is impossible without using Overextended right now. (Yes, I'm saying I want my Fireball to have a 20' radius.)
When the heat gauge is full, Fireball is charging from 1x to 6x, from 2x to 7x, from 4x to 9x, and from 8x to 13x. So full combo fireballs again shouldn't be charging, and casting multiple fireballs instead of charging will reach full combo sooner and at less energy cost, which is draining faster and faster if you're playing at full heat. It's enough to make me ignore the mechanic altogether, with or without Fireball Frenzy. This is another reason I'd ask to shift some of the damage bonus of Immolate's synergy from the charge mechanic to the base fireball.
Immolation – costs 50 energy
Ember covers herself in fiery protection that grows in intensity over time and provides benefits to her other abilities.
- Puts a UI indicator on the side of the screen where the % value is the current damage reduction and the meter's fullness represents a scale that goes from 0 to 100.
- Once Immolation is activated, the meter rises at a rate of 0.5 per second. Casting other abilities adds to or subtracts from the current rate, with a minimum of 0.5. Fireball adds 1, Fire Blast subtracts 2, and Inferno adds 3. Ending Immolate removes the meter and the meter gain rate.
- Damage reduction starts at 40% at 0 and increases proportionally to 85% at 100.
- The energy drain starts once the meter reaches 100. The energy drain resets once the meter is no longer full. The energy drain value scales up the longer Ember is overheated, costing 1 energy per second for each second spent overheated. Immolate ends when Ember's energy reaches 0. For example, it drains 1 energy the first second, 2 energy the second, 3 energy the third, and so on. I've seen no cap on this energy drain. It will drain 225 energy in ~21 seconds, 900 energy in ~42 seconds, and 2248 energy in ~67 seconds.
- Ability strength changes the damage resistance, up to 50% at 0 and 90% at 100. Efficiency changes the energy costs. Duration changes the energy drained as well, but efficiency is still capped at 25% cost overall.
- Ember's other abilities have an extra modifier based on the current meter level. Fireball charges faster (2.5 at 0 to 0.25 at 100) and adds more damage (+100% damage at 0 to +500% at 100). Fire Blast removes more armor (up to 50% at 0 and up to 100% at 100.) Inferno deals more damage with its ring of fire (350 at 0 to 700 at 100.)
I'd really like all of Ember's ability damage to get some bonus from Immolation, or even all her heat damage or all her damage, and not just the charged part of fireballs and the lesser, over time, part of Inferno. As it is, playing at high heat feels like it has high costs and little benefit. Charging fireballs is basically a nonstarter until the heat gauge is nearly full, as it will constantly lose the combo bonus and doesn't justify the extra cost. When the meter is full, it can only stay full for a short time due to the energy drain, and then the extra cost of charged fireballs is ending it faster. I also realize that due to balance necessities, it may be better to have abilities with constantly acceptable damage instead of damage that jumps up and down with an immolate gauge that has to reset to 0 sometimes.
Right now, the first ten seconds of overheat cost 55 energy (not counting that this state also turns off a bunch of energy regen effects.), the second ten seconds cost 155 energy, the third ten seconds cost 255 energy, and so on.
Fire Blast – costs 75 energy
Ember releases a wave of fire that ignites and knocks back enemies around her.
- Enemies hit take 200 heat damage with 100% status chance, lose 50% of their current armor, and are knocked away from Ember.
- The armor removed scales up with the immolation meter, up to 100% at 100 meter.
- The wave extends away from Ember in all directions, traveling out to the limit of its range (25m), but is blocked by terrain between her and a victim.
- Reduces the current heat level of Immolate by 50, and reduces heat gained per second by 2, to a minimum of 0.5.
- Ability Strength changes the damage and % of armor removed, but the armor removal cap is the base value at rank 3. Range changes the speed it expands and the maximum distance it reaches. Efficiency changes the energy cost.
The cost is very high for what it currently does. If you don''t need to remove armor, it does very little damage at a very high cost. Because of obstacles, it often misses a few enemies when you do cast it. Then if you do need to remove armor, it only works well at or near 100 heat gauge, then you have to wait before it works again. If you miss one heavy gunner, you're just SoL until the gauge refills. I'd like to see a lower energy cost. It feels like an ability that should cost 50 energy or less right now. I'd like to see a higher cap on the armor removal. Right now it scales with strength but can only go down with negative, not up. I'd like to see it hit enemies more reliably. Right now I think it may be working on the Arson Eximus explosion, and it'd be really nice to know for sure that one of my abilities will set everyone in the room on fire. It also doesn't damage the environment. It passes right over containers and laser panels with no effect. As an ability, I'd rather it be more effective than less expensive.
it's also necessary for managing the heat gauge. As heat management, I'm pressured for just the opposite. If I have a comfortable heat gain rate, I have to cast more than one fire blast per inferno and another fire blast for every two fireballs, and I don't want to spend a lot of energy on that, or reduce the heat gauge that much at once. As an idea, how about Fire Blast getting a cost reduction from high heat or high heat gain rate, and instead of reducing the heat rate by a flat amount, reduce it to half, rounding to the current 0.5's. As a final look, I think it deserves a better cost/reward ratio at high heat, better potential to strip armor even at 0 heat, and a look at how the heat gain rate is managed.
Inferno – costs 0 energy + 10 energy per target, up to 100 energy.
Ember calls down fiery meteors on enemies in front of her.
- Meteors deal 2500 damage with 100% Heat status chance. The meteors are half impact damage and half fire damage.
- Targets all enemies within 25m range that are in your field of view. Targeting extends off sides of your screen, just not behind it. Changing your field of view (in display settings) changes which enemies are targeted. It seems a little short of a full 180 degree arc from your viewpoint, but it can be close.
- Can target enemies behind obstacles, but not behind walls.
- Each enemy hit by a meteor gains a ring of fire that expands over time and does heat damage each second to all enemies in it. This heat damage depends on the current Immolate heat meter, dealing 350 at 0 and scaling up to 700 at 100.
- Enemies that are hit by a ring of fire gain their own ring of fire with full duration. Where rings overlap, enemies take damage from each ring separately.
- Enemies that already have a ring of fire cannot gain another one until their current one ends, and cannot catch a second ring from the same cast of Inferno.
- Casting inferno increases the heat gain rate of Immolate by 3, even if there are no targets.
- Ability Strength changes the damage, both impact and over time. Duration changes the duration of the ring of fire, and thus the maximum size they can grow to. Range changes only the maximum distance at which it can select targets for the meteors. Efficiency changes the energy cost.
This one's a doozy. The massive impact damage and subsequent heat proc make simple fireballs tremble before its might and efficiency at pummeling individual targets. The spreading rings of fire speaks to a desire for this to spread and stack up damage for multiple enemies too. Fireball has in its corner longer range, the ability to pick out a single target among many, and the destruction of 8x combo fireballs. Inferno has everything else, as it covers the screen with big, efficient damage.
As enemies typically die on or shortly after impact, the ring of fire portion of Inferno isn't making a good impression. Also, enemies that pick up the spreading flames instead of getting hit by meteors directly don't actually get ignited. So that's the two things to be addressed. First and foremost, the ring of fire shouldn't end just because the victim dies. Burn the bodies. Second, the ring of fire damage should have some ability to cause a heat proc, even if it's just on initial application. I understand even a small chance of a heat proc from the damage over time could result in rolling heat ticks that deal massively more damage. I'm okay with that, but I understand if you aren't. Do at least consider a guaranteed heat proc when an enemy first picks up a new ring of fire.
So that's what I know, and that's what I think so far. Overall, Ember's rework seems fine right now, but I think a few tweaks could have it really shining. I initially thought I'd more to say. Maybe I forgot something.
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