My Thoughts on the Esper July Update for the “Melee Mage” PVP Build

I wanted to share my thoughts on the impact of the proposed Esper changes, posted last week, to the “Melee Mage” Esper build :

Regarding this:

Asyreal, on 15 Jul 2014 – 2:45 PM, said:

Spectral Form

o This will become castable while moving

Obviously our Innate Spectral Form (SF) being castable while moving is a big quality of life improvement for a melee class.

Right now we have to use Dash, Projected Spirit, or the 9% movement boost from our PVP boots to move during the Innate self-root.

On the PTR, the buff to the Innate is being balanced by reducing the bubble from 300% to 250%. I’ll gladly take that tradeoff. The bubble from our Innate today is good, but our mobility is constrained, which means we eat attacks we might have been able to avoid completely.

Being mobile will allow us to avoid damage, and have the bubble absorb what it really needs to absorb.

Regarding this:

Asyreal, on 15 Jul 2014 – 2:45 PM, said:

Psychic Frenzy

o The initial cast GCD will be reduced to .75s, down from 1.25s

o The Tier 8 bonus will only requires 3 Psi Charge stacks, down from 6

I’m as excited about the Psychic Frenzy (PF) changes as the Innate change for the “Melee Mage” Esper.

PF on live is 2.25s to fire all 3 blades for a single cast. By reducing the initial cast by half a second, firing all 3 blades will take 1.75s. Obviously, a shorter overall cast time means higher throughput, and that means higher sustained DPS, which means higher sustain from the lifesteal, and we build PPs faster.

For those curious about the timing, here’s how it works on live:
0.00 – 0.745 cast time for 1st blade
0.75 1st blade fires
0.75 – 1.25 GCD for 1st blade
1.25 2nd blade fires (instant)
1.25 – 1.75 GCD for 2nd blade
1.75 3rd blade fires (instant)
1.75 – 2.25 GCD for 3rd blade

Ayestes confirmed the new timing on the PTR looks like this:
0.75 first blade fires
0.75 second blade fires
1.25 third blade fires
1.75 gcd ends

I’ve never complained publicly about PF, but my thought was that for a melee class – with light armor no less – this seemed like a slow spammable in terms of cast time and mediocre DPS, in this game and compared to other games. Usually melee attacks have the higher DPS, because meleeing requires staying in close range, which tends to entail more risk, and melees generally have lower uptime on their attacks as they run in and out of range. I think the shortened cast time is a step in the right direction. A huge step.

I’m also glad to see that the T8 bonus will be meaningful. Today, I always take T8 for PF, because the damage difference between T4 and T8 is significant, and more damage also means more sustain, but the T8 bonus is underwhelming. With the change to make a PP build every 3 full casts, we’ll get a nice bump to our finisher throughput. Like I said, if you aren’t already investing T8 in PF, you’re doing it wrong. But the change will provide better ROI.

Will PF become as viable as Telekinetic Strike (TStrike) for sustained DPS in PVE? Probably not, especially if there are AMPs that reward stationary play, and that synergizes well with a ranged build but not so much for a melee one.

In PVP, PF will still be superior for over TStrike, given the lifesteal and ability to melee strafe targets and cause them to miss. For Espers who struggle with movement, TStrike may feel more comfortable for them.

Regarding this:

Asyreal, on 15 Jul 2014 – 2:45 PM, said:

While we are moving away from forcing Espers to be immobile casters, we do not want to completely kill the playstyle for players that enjoy the concept. In the future you can expect to see some AMPs and Ability tiers that will reward players based on the amount of time they spend stationary.

I can already anticipate that some Espers are going to theorycraft that stationary AMPs might provide meaningful value to Melee Mage Espers.

While there are times when our targets don’t move – either the target is stupid, or they’re CC’d – movement is critical for good MDPS gameplay, and there would be an opportunity cost to taking stationary AMPs over other ones that synergize better with a melee build.

Stationary AMPs will be incredibly relevant for PVE RDPS, but not for PVP MDPS.


Lastly, it looks like the CC Resilience AMPs are getting reduced from 30% to 15% across the board, so I will likely use those points plus one from the Dash AMPs to take No Pain No AMP to further boost PP generation. My guildee Top (@unindel) also suggested Refund AMP as an option, but after thinking about it, I think Mind Burst with it’s wide telegraph would probably benefit more from this AMP than TStorm, which has a narrow telegraph and is unlikely to hit as many targets to increase the chance of a deflect-based proc.

Overall, I’m excited about the changes. I don’t think on paper they will make “Melee Mage” Esper too strong, but they will help to address the DPS gap we see right now between Esper and Warrior / SpellSlinger. Even with the recent nerfs to Rampage, Warrior is still a terror in PVP.

P.S. I am also glad to see that DPS Stalkers received buffs on live and have more on the PTR, as they need the burst to be able to meaningfully pressure targets.

P.P.S. I’ve been adding a lot of content to my “Melee Mage” PVP Guide, including a video where I output 2.1 million damage, 785k healing, and 17-4 KDR in a closely contested RBG for which I queued solo.

Posted in Esper, PVP, Warrior, WildStar
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