The world boss, Kithrawl, on the new planet Ruhnuk has been updated with new visuals and balance tweaks. In addition, Fury Marauder and Concentration Sentinel have received additional balance changes.
World Boss: Kithrawl
When the world boss was initially released to the PTS earlier this month, it was in a very incomplete state.
Many attacks didn’t have proper animations and the model (at the time) was the same as the first boss from Dxun, the Pack Leader AKA Red. Now, Kithrawl has proper animations and a unique model!
I apologize for the poor lighting, the whole room is pretty dark and he doesn’t like to move near the lamps. The new model makes me think that the Tineback is somehow a distant cousin of the Writhing Horror from TFB since they both feature prominent teeth and dopey eyes.
The boss is still unfinished. It doesn’t deal very much damage at all; my companion was able to keep me alive as a DPS and someone apparently managed to solo it.
Based on the damage the Kithrawl was dealing, it definitely seems possible, but it would take a long time.
Marauder and Sentinel Changes
BioWare has made additional changes to Fury Marauder and Concentration Sentinel:
- The Gravity Fissure discipline passive no longer makes Berserk / Zen cause your next ability to autocrit, so this autocrit has been completely removed from the discipline.
- The Vehemence / Fervor discipline passive once again increases critical strike damage from all attacks increased by 10%, up from 5% as it does currently on live.
One of SWTOR’s gameplay and systems designers, Shabir Dhillon, offered the following explanation on the forums:
I wanted to add a bit of insight on this change as it does not come lightly. Since Fury/Concentration is a hybrid spec, we saw that Fury/Concentration was leaning too far as a burst spec and wanted to bring back into balance as a hybrid spec. This change also gives more flexibility to the player when they can activate Berserk/Zen. This also allows Carnage/Combat to further establish itself as the burst specialization and Annihilation/Watchman to establish itself as the sustain spec.
I thought the autocrit from Berserk / Zen was a neat idea. While I recognize it increases the challenge of the rotation since you have to precisely time its activation, BioWare should keep it around in some form, and having it on an ability tree buff makes sense.
They should have one of the level 43 options offer a higher challenge and higher reward while the other be the opposite like it is for Rage Juggernaut / Focus Guardian.
The only thing that really needs to be done with Fury / Concentration anyway is making it so players can’t or don’t need to right-click off Berserk / Zen for a DPS increase that enables their current absurd dummy numbers.
It’s strange to see BioWare messing around so much with such a minor issue though since these labels don’t matter all that much anyway.
Burst potential is extremely inconsistent, but it’s mostly balanced against AoE capabilities where the worse your burst potential, the better your AoE potential, and vice versa.
Hybrids then sit in the middle where neither their AoE nor burst are among the best, but they can do both. Under this framework, it would make sense to incorporate Smash / Force Sweep into the single-target rotation alongside Raging Burst / Focused Burst without any sort of single-target DPS loss.
BioWare doesn’t need to worry about the burst potential of Fury / Concentration even with the existing autocrit since they lack proper offensive cooldowns (OCDs) to make it a competitive burst spec.
Regardless, there are far bigger issues than trying to get specific disciplines that are doing fine DPS-wise to better adhere to these vague labels, including:
- Obliterate / Zealous Leap acting as a self-root, creating a viability issue in some fights
- Plasma Probe / Incendiary Grenade being stuck in one spot, creating a viability issue for Engineering Snipers / Saboteur Gunslingers in fights with a lot of boss movement
- Ranged DPS and burst specs dealing less single-target DPS than Melee DPS and DoT specs for no applicable reason
- Vengeance Juggernaut / Vigilance Guardian having literally double or sometimes triple the AoE DPS potential of any other DoT spec
- Insufficient Operative / Scoundrel healer survivability
- Numerous structural issues with IO Mercenary / AS Commando pertaining to proc instability, resource management, and the viability of individual abilities
- Incomplete proc and discipline passive synergy, most notably where some disciplines can effortlessly incorporate their spammable AoE into their rotation while others can’t
This is complete conjecture, so take it with a grain of salt, but from reading the recent (greatly appreciated) developer explanations, I get the impression that BioWare has multiple people assigned to deal with combat style balance, potentially where each person is in charge of a few combat styles.
However, they don’t all appear to be on the same page in terms of methodology, acceptable quality, or issue prioritization. The ethereal DPS targets that only some members of this team mention feel outdated and it seems like no single person on the balance team has a complete idea of how all specs should feel and perform.
Again, I could be totally wrong about my impression of how the dev team coordinates the balance changes internally, but either way, it definitely feels like BioWare is wasting time making arbitrary changes to Fury Marauder and Concentration Sentinel that make the discipline less interesting when they have much bigger fish to fry.