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Boomhauer007

Balancing the game analysis Day 2: Advanced Class Skills / Mastery

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You know, I didn't realize how many advanced classes there were, had to make a cheat sheet with 12! classes going on. Sorry if this post runs long as a result. I also remembered that not every class gives you skills when you master it, hence the title change. Anyway, I had a lot of trouble with this one. Not only are there a lot of things, but some of them are simultaneously great sometimes and useless other times. And in thinking of replacements, it was hard to decide what to use here and what to save for master classes.  I'm only taking class Mastery things into account, not the classes themselves unless it directly applies to mastery critique. I added tiers since there are so many more items than intermediate. As always, the below is simply my opinion.

Great tier: Pavise, Aegis
Classic skills, solid results. The activation rate is a little bit lower than recent games but they are still skills that pretty much any unit doesn't mind having. I actually think their biggest weakness is the fact that you aren't getting these skills together without excessive grinding since fort knight and paladin have no skill rank synergy. (FWIW, I would have loved to see obstruct on fortress knights. Or wary fighter. Fort knight has a lot of potential)

Almost great tier: Astra, Hunter's Volley, Lifetaker
Hunter's Volley is one of the best combat arts in the game, but it's stuck on sniper when every bow user wants bow knight (or Wyvern Lord). Astra would be incredible but that -9 durability penalty means you're only using cheap weapons; it's over a third of a silver sword in one use. Lifetaker is great in a vacuum but essentially locked to mages, who typically aren't taking damage anyway. It would be a high level skill if physical had reasonable access. And of course, male only for some reason.

Niche tier: Wrath
Pair it with Vantage and it's straight up unfair. Otherwise you probably aren't getting much from it. 50%+ flat boost is comical and is one of the few skills I think straight up needs a nerf.

Meh tier: Bowbreaker, Lethality
Bows are the one thing that can regularly counter magic, so it's not useless. But bow classes also have low avoid and high hit, so you don't get a lot of practical use out of it. Maybe odd, but I actually think savage blow would be a good fit for warlock mastery. Go look at the animation for Bolganone or Ragnarok and tell me splash damage makes less sense than swinging a sword causing splash damage. Lethality working on any damage check is a neat idea, but with dex/4 its activation will almost always be in the single digits. I think dex/3 would have been better, keep below 20% but have it activate more than the paltry rate it does it now.

Bad tier: Defiant Strength, Assassinate, Seal Defense, Tomebreaker, Renewal
Tomebreaker being locked to fists puts it all the way down here. Something is pretty off if you don't already have sky high hit and the ability to one shot a mage with fists. Instead I think grappler could have used a skill allowing them to counter at 2 range. If bows get to easily counter at 1, I think it's fair to allow fist to give up a skill slot to get 2 range on EP. There's no reason to use assassinate over other sword skills, and I would just cut it since the class already gets a mastery skill. The seal skills took big hits in this game, and there's little reason to run seal defense on any class. Give them trample instead and have it do +5 to all Non mounted / flying. I think most of the defiant skills suck, and strength is no exception. Have less than 15 HP and die to a slight breeze in exchange for a strength boost? Just give hero sol like it deserves. It's crazy to me to put renewal so low, but 20% is nothing when the skill is basically mage locked. Getting 8ish HP per turn isn't accomplishing anything, mages in 3H can generally take one hit at full health and not much else. To top it off, it's very easy for most mages to nosferatu a 60 HP enemy fort knight and heal to full. Since all bishop can do is throw out physic (and warp and whatnot), give it live to serve in that spot (Sorry Mercedes).

That took almost 30 minutes to write up! But if I'm not coming up with replacements / balances, then it's just a tier list as opposed to a balance discussion, and those are boring. Maybe if almost half the advanced class skills weren't bad, this wouldn't be a problem!

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You forgot Fierce Iron Fist on Grappler.

I actually don't think Pavise and Aegis are that good at all, with Pavise in particular being on the class that needs it the least. I see them as Miracle that can proc at any HP %, but only on certain attack types. Agree with the replacements, but as for Paladin... whatever was the name of that skill that cancels all types of effectiveness? Give it that one. That or a buffed Renewal(from 20-< 30%)

Since bows are the primary enemy of mages(ballista as well), and tend to go through accuracy maluses, I'd definitely give bowbreaker a little more credit as a survival tool. Similarly, considering that there is a gambit in this game that gives you unlimited counter range for 5 turns, fist users can be really effective siege tomes killers and stuff. I'd say tomebreaker deserves niche, and Grappler does get a combat art as well so overall I wouldn't touch it.

Lethality to bad. You don't just go for 1 range attacks that won't ORKO by that point in the game, and the amount of times it'll save you from a counter is negligible. I'd give assassins Mov+2, doesn't stack with +1/outright replaces it; that, or scrap it and make assassinate considerably better. Same for Astra, no need to change it, but it should cost 4 uses or something. It's only 1.5 times damage stuck on a specific class, no need to treat it like it's the holy grail.

Seal Def is bad but the class it comes from is absurdly good so I'm absolutely fine with it in terms of balancing(not that it's enough).

I agree that Renewal doesn't really belong on Bishop, I guess they could get Aegis+Pavise instead, since it's a thing in this game? Call it divine intervention or something.

Generally we're in agreement on the rest.

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20 minutes ago, Cysx said:

Lethality to bad. You don't just go for 1 range attacks that won't ORKO by that point in the game,

Lethality works on bows.

As I've discovered, Lethality works when Shamir is shooting down pegasus knights and thus lowers her damage. (Of course, practically, there's no difference between 42 damage predicted and 38 damage dealt to a pegasus knight with 38 HP, but it's still hilarious.)

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All of the defiant skills are more or less terrible.

25% is a pretty darn difficult threshold to hit throughout most of this game, even with HP values going higher than in the past.

For example, if you've got a unit with 30 hp, a quarter is 7.5

Ok, cool. You some how got your dude to take exactly 23 damage, and they've got seven health left. What do you get for your troubles? 8 more defense (or resistance). Except, the first attack did 23 damage, and 23 - 8 is 15, so... you're dead anyway. Or, you get +8 speed, which does nothing. 

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17 minutes ago, bethany81707 said:

Lethality works on bows.

As I've discovered, Lethality works when Shamir is shooting down pegasus knights and thus lowers her damage. (Of course, practically, there's no difference between 42 damage predicted and 38 damage dealt to a pegasus knight with 38 HP, but it's still hilarious.)

True. Since assassin doesn't get bowfaire, I tend to see it as a sword class first and foremost.

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I would like to note that Lifetaker feels particularly good on Dark Knight Lorenz with Thyrsus equipped, since said wand lets him counter even Archers and Snipers, as well as occasionally reducing damage to him. Since he can strike decently well both physically w/ Frozen Lance, and magically at many different ranges, there's almost always an enemy unit nearby he can use as a battery during the player phase without worry of counterattack if need be, then broken style canto to maintain momentum.

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I mostly just treat Advanced/Master class mastery as though they don't exist.

None of the skills are particularly broken, and they all come super late, so their impact on the game is pretty small.

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Best to Worst

Aegis: Fantastic skill for making up for most physical classes' abyssal Res and is actually on a relevant class. Paladins are fairly straightforward to get and have reasonable growths. Being mounted is a huge plus.

Pavise: While traditionally on the promoted class, it hurts so much in this game to have it that way. Armor is pretty bad in this game and this skill will indeed help with bulk but it requires you to at some point actually use a Fortress Knight and for a long period of time. Maybe a decent pickup if you're going to try for a Great Knight but it'd be nice to have more mixed bulk for later in the game than just more physical defense. Great skill, but I have to say it is solidly below Aegis.

Hunter's Volley: Fantastic skill. 2 attacks with boosted crit chance and slightly increased might is great. Even on a particularly fast unit, this is a great skill for when you need those crits.

Fierce Iron Fist: Great skill, only slightly below Hunter's Volley due to only getting to smack your foe 3 times instead of the ideal 4. Still, boosted crit rate multihits are always great.

Astra: It's a worse version of Hunter's Volley/Fierce Iron Fist. In theory it could be devastating but no boosted crit rate and it eats weapons for breakfast. You are going to have to be desperate to use it.

Lifetaker: It's a great offensive skill to have to actually allow Dark Mages to trade hits and keep on rolling. In addition, every other class also loves this skill. It also frees up a turn for your healer to focus on more important things like Warping.

Lethality: Unreliable but an okay addition to any arsenal if you have nothing better. Seek more reliable ways to kill foes though. It's probably going to come in clutch at some point but it's not something to grow attached to.

Wrath: While not a dead skill, it does require Vantage to be godly. If it doesn't, it's going to be just okay. It'll come in handy a decent amount of times but since it only works on defense it's not as broken as it could be.

Seal Defense: Not exactly a top pick for anyone but it does make punching holes in tougher enemies a little bit easier. It's not overpowered or anything but poking a knight with a bow, canto'ing away, then having someone else clean up is one way of dealing with them. Or you can just use a mage.

Renewal: Good skill, wrong class. Bishops can barely handle getting poked by archers and if they're baiting mages both sides are usually dealing 10 damage max. Helps slightly if you mess up and end up letting a Bishop get hit but 90% of the time, dead skill.

Bow Breaker: Good skill for flyers, awful skill for mages. Since archers will consistently outrange most mages without Thoron and even those with Thoron later on it usually ends up being underwhelming in it's current line. It's a decent defensive skill for dodgier characters but mages really don't appreciate baiting archers anyway. 

Tomebreaker: Just punch the magie.

Defiant Strength: Wow, thanks man, 8 strength for my melee class when they're easily within one-shot range. This skill only works with Vantage AND Wrath both of which only proc at 50% HP instead of the crazy 25% Defiant Strength needs. One of the better Defiant skills but never bet on it. It's not going to suddenly make you a one-shot god, especially how late it comes.

 

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12 hours ago, Cysx said:

, but it should cost 4 uses or something. It's only 1.5 times damage stuck on a specific class, no need to treat it like it's the holy grail.

It's 5 chances for 3 times damage or 5 hits of effective damage, so its 1.5 to 4.5 rounds of damage for 9 durability so a guaranteed kill or near guaranteed kill or guaranteed hit on 90+ avoid. Probably better for someone who has an arts crest and fierce iron fist is more spammable but with the right build its not worthless, just really stupidly niche.

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8 hours ago, CyberNinja said:

It's 5 chances for 3 times damage or 5 hits of effective damage, so its 1.5 to 4.5 rounds of damage for 9 durability so a guaranteed kill or near guaranteed kill or guaranteed hit on 90+ avoid. Probably better for someone who has an arts crest and fierce iron fist is more spammable but with the right build its not worthless, just really stupidly niche.

That's very rough math though. Effective damage multiplies the weapon's mt, not the user's strength. Note that the game also cuts decimals, so 0.3*5 often won't result in 1.5. If the main hit had dealt 26, instead of 39 the result will be (7*5) = 35, which is about 1.35(but a slightly extreme case); Astra also lowers accuracy. However, yes, if you throw an astra at a mounted unit with a rapier in hand, it will likely crit once or twice and take it down(though armors are still out of your reach). Which I agree isn't useless, it's just not worth 9 uses.

Edited by Cysx

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