The Great Damage Rework of 2021
Although I will concede the Damage roster is pretty close to being balanced there are still qualities to it that could use adjustment. Shredder Nidhoggr spam is the primary culprit but the rest are not without desire for some change however small it may be.
As with my previous two posts I will be using the same disclaimer here: try to imagine any and all bugs and exploits have been patched. We are purely discussing balancing as well as reworks.
One difference with this post is that I would like to point out a few things. Currently our Damage heroes are designed in three sub roles: Assassin, Bruiser, and Sustained Damage. The Assassins are Daemon and Cass with Maeve dabbling in Assassin like qualities dealing bursts of damage but suffering from being squishy and reliant on cooldowns. Nidhoggr is supposed to be a bruiser but has a meta build that turns him into a Sustained Damage dealer.
The Sustained Damage dealer is Gizmo with her territory being encroached on by Nid both being able to dish out non stop damage through basic attacks enabling them to carry fights through sheer damage output. With these changes I hope to keep heroes in the role they are supposed to be in while keeping them balanced between each other.
-Cloak- reduce the bonus damage from Stealth and the mod that increases the damage from stealth by a small amount: I'm not sure what the current damage values are so I didn't want to put a number value on these nerfs. Since the damage from stealth is primarily used for the air combo these nerfs would be targeting a high skill combo which is honestly a bad thing to do. The truth is any hero that can be juggled by the air combo can evade it, parry it, or use abilities to escape it so the air combo SHOULDN'T need to be nerfed. However, most players don't seem to know this or even react to it. They merely accept they are about to be juggled and then complain about being juggled. I only want a small nerf since at the end of the day you ALL should be escaping the combo on your own. Handouts should be kept to a minimum.
-Deathmark- reduce the CD by 20%, extend the duration by 1 second, and make it so as long as the target dies Daemon gets the reset: Deathmark has a surprisingly long CD considering it is a single target damage boost and move speed buff so a CD reduction seems fair. Extending the duration and allowing anyone to get the killing blow while still giving Daemon the reset will be nice quality of life changes to the Super.
-Shadow Strike- increase the CD by 20% and reduce the damage bonus provided by the mod "Bomb It" by 1%: these are changes that I believe Jules thought and they seem to be fair to me. By reducing the damage as well as the damage from stealth nerfs Daemon should no longer be able to solo kill tanks while still being able to put a massive dent into their health pool. The CD increase is to justify the damage the ability does and the invulerablity it provides. At the end of the day the true culprit that makes this Super really strong is the Map Mod Glass Cannon but nerfing a really strong Super is always justified as long as the nerfs don't outright kill the Super.
As with Buttercup in the Tank rework, no change. Gizmk is quite possibly the MOST balanced hero in the game. Her Sustained damage output can win fights on her own but if you apply pressure to her the dps plummets. The only thing I can think of is doing something to Mini-Mech. Maybe some change to improve the Flamer so she is a bit better at taking down tanks or reducing the CD so she can hop into it more often.
-Shredder- substantially reduce the range Shredder bolts can jump between targets: this way a team would need to be stacked on top of each other for them all to get struck and burned. What makes Shredder OP is the damage it deals and the fact it damages multiply targets easily. If the range for the bolts to jump from one target to the next is cut down to 25% most Shredder spamming will only hit a single target. This will still be effective for burning down tanks but would lose its ability to kill entire teams.
-Flame Breath- fix the animation and super armor frames in order to prevent Nidhoggr from breaking out of hitstun: currently Nidhoggr can use Flame Breath to deal damage and ignore hit stun and then begin turning on his opponent as if he parried them. That is a bit busted so to fix this make the animation faster in order to more accurately represent a shorter super armor duration.
-Ride the Lightning- reduce the CD by 20%: currently the Super to use is Death Growl for its burst damage, big AoE (with a mod), and a long silence (3 seconds?). Ride the Lightning offers bigger play potential but its smaller AoE, damage over time instead of burst, as well as the fact that he can be stunned out of the ability makes it inferior to Death Growl in nearly every way. By shortening the CD Nidhoggr should be able to use it more often forcing his opponents to play safer since the threat of a big Ride the Lightning will be happening more often.
-Feedback- increase lifesteal: although I'm not sure how much of a life steal percentage he has base whatever it is seems a bit too low. By removing the effectiveness of Shredder spam and encouraging a melee playestyle he will need to be better at sustaining himself in melee.
-Burn Passive- increase the duration by 1 second: with Shredder spam being neutered with the reduced Shredder bolt jump distance increasing the duration of the burn shouldn't be dangerous. This will also give him a whole additional second to activate his Feedback passive with will help with self sustain.
-Health- reduce his health pool to 800: for a damage role hero Nidhoggr has a TON on health. Playing him should feel at least a little risky so by losing 75 health he will be more susceptible to burst damage even if only slightly.
Like Gizmo and Buttercup, Maeve is in a pretty good place all things considered. Maybe a CD reduction on Peek a Brew but other than that she should be good to go.
-Darts- revert her nerfs to her ranged basic attacks: the nerf to her ranged basic attacks was supposed to encourage a melee play style, but it is too risky on the bird. By reverting the nerf she will be returned some of her lost dps and it will help her maintain the Assassin play style she is supposed to have.
-Rake- increase the damage by 10%: I realize she already got a buff to Rake but honestly, it's not enough. Daemon can burst someone down in less than two seconds with the air combo, including tankswith a Super. Cass should at least be able to kill a squishy quickly or at least faster than she currently does. Buffing her two basic attacks are a good first step to bringing her into Assassin level dps.
-Hightail- make the cone of daggers smaller by 30-40% and make the daggers easier to see: Hightail is almost exclusively used as an escape, which is fine, but since it does have a damage aspect that can deal quite a bit of burst I feel like it would be nice for the daggers to be in a smaller cone. This ability is her only method to damage tanks quickly so making the cone smaller will make that easier to use effectively while making the daggers easier to see will help non-tanks evade the projectiles and for tanks to use defensive CD's to avoid or recover from the damage.
-Dive Bomb- lower the CD by 15% and add the ability to grab an opponent to bring them with her for the slam: by allowing her to grab a target she can isolate high value targets, something an Assassin wants to do. Additionally this will mean she is getting a guaranteed hit with the damage and stun which is fair considering how easy the ability is too avoid. Add an animation for the "grab" so the target is able to evade giving some counter play to the new mechanic. If the grab misses Cass would still go airborne to complete the ability but she would just do so without her target.
-Health mod- bring it from 60 to 80: this way both Assassins have the same base and potential health. Damage and mobility mods should be the go to on Assassins but her current mod is abysmally low. At least give people the option to have some survivability.
Assassins got more burst or slightly lost some burst and the most OP hero in the game got taken to the cleaners. Nidhoggr should never have had this high level of ranged damage output so it is about time for him to relinquish his crown and open the door to other comps and heroes.
I'm not fully satisfied with changes but I did start off this thread by mentioning the Damage roster is the closest to being balanced. Where I made a small or no change I think is fine and where I made major buffs and nerfs may be overkill but are at least a step in the right direction. Even if I took it too far I think we all agree this patch is stale so of we were to take all three of my posts, mash them together, we could have a potentially fun new patch with all new team comps and strats to run.
Thanks for reading, homies!
I would add that the divebomb is a rather stupid ability now for stunning, because it only stuns a small central zone, which is difficult to target running opponents. Here it is necessary to either expand this zone by 75% or to the full width of the circle, so that it would be like Nid's Ride the Lightning.