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Thread: Rampart ability mod discussion

  1. #1
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    Rampart ability mod discussion

    Hey guys, I've been playing more Rampart than any other character lately, and I wanted to talk about the guy's mods - which are good, which are bad, which might need changed, and my own opinions on such.

    En lieu of star rating, I'm going to color code mods I think are poor choices in red, and highlight mods that I think are staple choices for their ability in blue (Note that not all abilities will have one of these, as it represents an "obvious go-to".) [edit] Mods that meet neither of these conditions and are just "good but not outstanding" will be yellow. Lastly, purple will indicate abilities that I think are awkward or problematic, but not for power level reasons. Don't expect to see much purple.

    My opinion is not the be-all nor end-all. I absolutely encourage more discussion and if you'd like to crawl through the mods yourself, feel free to do so.

    Let's begin.

    Primary - Radamantium Flurry

    Area Suppression (Default Mod) - 2 points
    "Increases damage done to adjacent enemies by 6"


    >I'll be honest, I am not fond of this skill. Increasing damage to secondary targets isn't worthless, but in my experiences it only comes up a minimal number of times per game. Against a single target, it's nigh worthless unless they're starting adjacent and you're trying to cover a dash. I think more damning, though, is even when multi-hitting you need the adjacent target to not be in line of your stab to gain value out of this ability. Typically there are either 5 or 6 tiles you can't cover by adjusting the stab hitbox on your intended target. So, the condition for this skill to be of use to you is 1) A target is adjacent to you, 2) A second target is within 2 to 3 tiles without being adjacent to you and 3) The first and second targets are at differing angles. And then the payoff is six damage, but you're spreading it across enemies, which is slightly less desirable than focused damage per point. Combining all that, and I believe this is a poor choice for two mod points.
    >As far as improving this ability, you could drop it to one point, or perhaps raise the bonus damage to 10 so it's the same as the stab at 26. The latter would open up options where you can use the stab speculatively when your target is adjacent.

    Danger Zone - 3 points
    "Deal 7 additional damage to enemies hit by both the stab and spin."


    >This one is my personal go-to, but I think it's fairly costed at 3 points, and isn't an auto-take. This ability allows you to focus fire more effectively, assuming you've positioned well, and 33 total damage is nothing to sniff at. It's not super hard to set up, and it comes up a lot.

    Battle Rush - 1 point
    "Increase energy gain per enemy hit by 2"


    >At one mod point, you don't expect the bonuses to blow you away, and this is a nice little bonus. Multiples of 5 are a good thing in energy management, and this pushes you up to +10 energy per hit. Totally reasonable package if you're spending mod points elsewhere.

    Deadly Stab - 3 points
    "Increases the width of the initial stab by 50%."


    >I'm lukewarm on this mod. Having tried it, it effectively gives you Titus' hitbox on your stab (roughly 3x3, though you only cover part of the side tiles.) This allows you to strike enemies with an empty tile between them, as well as boosts your damage from 16 to 26 directly to your sides (since those foes will now get hit with the wider stab instead of just the spin.) You can definitely get benefit out of it, as hitting two foes in a situation where you could previously only hit one is a big upside. That said, I feel like it might be dragged down a little by its cost, and I perhaps the cost is only at 3 points because it was compared to Area Suppression (to which it is no doubt superior.) It can feel situational but it's certainly not awful. It certainly has value in theory, it's just hard to consistently replicate in-game as of writing.
    >If this mod was changed (which may not be necessary) I might change the 50% wider to 25% longer to give it a bit more of an identity. Maybe make the animation show Rampart partially launching the blade during the attack.

    Next post is Bulwark mods, stay tuned!

  2. #2
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    Bulwark

    Defensive Posture (Default Mod) - 2 points
    "On use, gain 25 shields until end of next turn"


    >Not bad, pretty good. I approve of this as being the default mod as well. While the idea of Bulwark is to protect yourself and others, the shields from this mod can come in handy if :1) You receive indirect damage while shielding, 2) You are pincered and shot from behind while shielding, or 3) You can utilize the shields next turn. The duration really makes this ability a solid choice as even if you aren't hit the turn of use, carrying a whopping 25 shields over to next turn is never something to sniff at.
    >The downside, if you can call it that, is that this mod does not empower your Aegis Protocol blocks like some of the other mods do. Still, solid choice.

    Bullrush - 3 points
    "Enemies are now rooted instead of slowed"


    >Roots are certainly a good thing, but I cannot endorse this mod for a number of reasons. One, as the above, this does nothing to empower your aegis protocol blocks. Two, it is often the case that you will shield with nobody directly in front of you, opting for high block value rather than attack value. Three, if you're getting the shield hit, it means your foe is close enough to you that a mere slow will essentially ensure you remain in range to strike them if you choose to pursue. And lastly, this mod costs three points on an ability with spectacular mod options!
    >I certainly like the idea of a mod to empower the shield's strike portion rather than the block portion, however I think this mod warrants some improvements. The most obvious change would simply be to discount the cost. Another might be to increase the shield bash damage or energy while using this mod.

    Bunker - 2 points
    "Gain 10 health for each attack blocked."


    >This is in many ways a higher risk higher reward version of Defensive Posture. It has the advantages of being true health rather than shields - gaining the upper hand if you make blocks and are missing HP but aren't hit this or next turn - and having a potentially higher EHP in the case of three or more blocks (that's "effective HP" if you don't know the term.) The downsides are a lower EHP than Defensive Posture if you don't make enough blocks, or if you're overflowing your HP (whereas the shields from Defensive Posture can at least carry over for one turn and effectively have you at 225.) All in all, not bad, and it feels good to have the little green numbers pop up. While using it, just remember to occasionally note to yourself whether you would have done better with Defensive Posture, so you can make an informed choice.
    > Oh, and do note that this will still proc if you make a block with Aegis Protocol, which is definitely a point in its favor.

    Kinetic Absorption - 1 point
    "Gain 8 energy for each attack blocked [instead of 6]"


    >Another non-spectacular one-pointer that is nevertheless a decent bang for your buck. As above, this will improve Aegis Protocol as well, which can result in a fairly minor but still nifty positive feedback loop. Use it if you want to spend points elsewhere. Can easily net a dozen or more energy in a game without needing a miracle. You can certainly do worse.

    Reflective Shield - 3 points
    "Deal 10 damage to enemies whose attacks are blocked"


    >This one deserves its 3 point status, in my opinion. Channel your inner Asana and punish foes for shooting! Unlike the more defensive variants, such as Bunker or Defensive Posture, this one does not require that you take any damage either beforehand or after use. Instead, it just cranks out a decent amount of extra damage when you call a good shield. As above, it works with Aegis Protocol. You can use this one to do hilarious things like killing Zukis who rocket jump away with less than 10 HP too. Because of this total lack of conditionals, I feel it's a decent choice even though you can get comparable number swings with mods that cost less. However, it is certainly not a must-have.

    >One more thing to mention in general: remember that your shield also works from behind, and you can still get block procs even if an attack hits you as long as it keeps going afterwords. For example, cone abilities used from behind you can still trigger your block effects, both the +energy and the effects from mods. It can be handy!

    Next post will be a while before I write it, but will be about THE HOOKS! (Fusion Lance)

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by FogRaider View Post
    Primary - Radamantium Flurry

    Area Suppression (Default Mod) - 2 points
    "Increases damage done to adjacent enemies by 6"


    >I'll be honest, I am not fond of this skill. Increasing damage to secondary targets isn't worthless, but in my experiences it only comes up a minimal number of times per game. Against a single target, it's nigh worthless unless they're starting adjacent and you're trying to cover a dash. I think more damning, though, is even when multi-hitting you need the adjacent target to not be in line of your stab to gain value out of this ability. Typically there are either 5 or 6 tiles you can't cover by adjusting the stab hitbox on your intended target. So, the condition for this skill to be of use to you is 1) A target is adjacent to you, 2) A second target is within 2 to 3 tiles without being adjacent to you and 3) The first and second targets are at differing angles. And then the payoff is six damage, but you're spreading it across enemies, which is slightly less desirable than focused damage per point. Combining all that, and I believe this is a poor choice for two mod points.
    >As far as improving this ability, you could drop it to one point, or perhaps raise the bonus damage to 10 so it's the same as the stab at 26. The latter would open up options where you can use the stab speculatively when your target is adjacent.
    Are you sure you're interpreting that correctly? Have you tested it? When I was looking him over I read that as an extra 6 damage to each lancer that is adjacent, which seems pretty good.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vostok View Post
    Are you sure you're interpreting that correctly? Have you tested it? When I was looking him over I read that as an extra 6 damage to each lancer that is adjacent, which seems pretty good.
    I am certain and have tested this. If you hit an adjacent foe with the stab, you will deal only 26 damage, not 32. That is what Danger Zone does, not Area Suppression.

  5. #5
    Well, poop. That's less cool. I was thinking about starting to play him, so I'll keep that in mind.

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    Fusion Lance

    Gone Fishin' - 3 points
    "You can now select the square the enemy is knocked back into."


    >Ah yes, our first purple mod. To explain why I think this mod is currently not functioning, I have to first explain what it does. Gone Fishin' allows you to enter a second input after aiming your hook, selecting one adjacent tile. If the enemy is hit, they are pulled in a straight line from their position to the selected tile, rather than to Rampart's "front" (though you can still put the foe in front of you.)
    >Now, read that again, and you might see why I have problem with this mod. It pulls your foe in a STRAIGHT LINE from their position to their destination. That is to say, let's assume a situation like this. R is rampart, F is a foe, and X is your target while #'s are walls. Periods are empty space.

    F

    ..###R
    .......X

    >In this situation, Gone Fishin' will ALLOW you to select the square behind the wall, but when the ability executes, the foe will get "stuck" on the wall and land in front of Rampart anyway. That is to say, foes are NOT pulled into Rampart's tile and then "dropped" adjacent to him, so the ability is extremely finicky around barriers, and will effectively lie to you about where you can place foes.
    >That's a shame, because manipulating enemy positioning to a finer degree is theoretically a very interesting/powerful tool, but the situations it can be used in are currently artificially limited, and basically require you to visualize everything yourself, as the targetter is non-helpful.
    >This could be fixed by fixing the targetter and not allowing squares to be chosen if they cannot be reached, but I'd rather the ability just allow Rampart to act as a pivot in the knockback path. That is more consistent with this mod as a 3 point behemoth.

    Radamantium Tipped Blade - 3 points
    "Pierce through the first enemy."


    >This one is expensive, but with high payoff if you can get it to work. Basically works like other piercing mods, damaging both foes and then pulling both. It can sometimes be a tiny bit wonky to predict where the second foe will land, but here that's more in line with what's going on. I don't use it often, as there are some great mods on Fusion Lance at lower costs, and it is not always practical to achieve the second target. If you're going for big, clutch turns though, this can make it happen.

    Plasma Lance - 1 point
    "Increase the damage by 5."


    >I heavily endorse this mod. 5 points of damage with NO special conditions means you can easily free up a mod point while still getting a comparable payoff to many 2-point mods. 30 damage means there are cases where you can even use this at short range as a "root" against a single target - something that is possible with any mod, but especially appealing with this one. There are certainly reasons to take some of the other Fusion Lance mods, but this one is extremely cost-efficient, and for that reason I believe it should be the go-to in most builds.

    Rocket Lance (Default Mod) - 2 points
    "Increase the range by 2."


    >This one is also pretty good, and would be blue if I didn't feel plasma lance was so efficient. Longer hooks mean more freedom to target who you want, when you want, and less wasted turns if you position far from foes (either intentionally or by accident.) Maximizing your target options is a powerful asset, and at a 2 points this mod will certainly pull its own weight. A good choice if you have the point to spare.

    Next will be Unstoppable Force! I hope to get this thread done by this weekend, so stay tuned!

  7. #7
    So I went and tested the area suppression mod and it doesn't spread 6 damage across enemies. They each get an extra 6 damage.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vostok View Post
    So I went and tested the area suppression mod and it doesn't spread 6 damage across enemies. They each get an extra 6 damage.
    I might have been misinterpreting what you were trying to say. Yes, each enemy hit by ONLY the spin gets 6 more damage (total 22), but any enemies hit be the stab will always receive 26 damage with this mod, with no "+6 bonus."

    When I said spread across enemies, I meant that the bonus damage is being dealt to a secondary/incidental target, thus "spreading." The damage is not subdivided across multiple characters, no.

    I apologize for this lack of clarity on my part.

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    Unstoppable Force

    OK, this one gets a preface. On its own, Unstoppable Force is half an Adrenaline catalyst, but in general how you mod this skill massively effects how and when you should use it. A lot of the power of this skill lies in its mods - while there's nothing wrong with the base effect, this skill's baseline use cases are essentially overwritten by the mods you put on it. OK? OK.

    Show of Force - 3 points
    "Gain Might until end of turn."


    >This mod is often maligned because of being offensive, whereas Rampart is mostly seen as defensive. But having played with it, it's not all that bad. You get a Blackburn stim/Critical Shot catalyst on demand, so when you are able to hit multiple targets, this can actually stack up to non-awful amounts. I think it's less that this mod is bad, and more that the default one is so good, that people consider this mod undesirable, but honestly it's not horrid by any means. Give it a spin if you're feeling saucy.

    Special Forces - 1 point
    "Nearby allies also gain Unstoppable for the turn."


    >This one is basically a counterpick against area crowd control. "Nearby" in this case means a 5x5 square around you, for the record, so it's large enough to theoretically counter a Finn ultimate centered on you, for example.
    >Um...I can't really say this is bad, in a way. It does its job and only costs one point. It simply will not always be helpful, due to the nature of varying opponents. Just don't pick it until you see the enemy lineup (or have exactly 1 point left over in your build), and you should do fine.

    Invincible (Default Mod) - 2 points
    "On use, gain 15 shields for the turn."


    >We all saw this coming, right? Half a turtle tech on demand PLUS the existing half an adrenaline on a short CD is simply useful, often too useful to pass up. You're going to be in danger as Rampart, it simply is not avoidable. This helps you live. Living is good. Only 2 mod points. I don't think it's possible to regret taking this mod.

    Terrifying Presence
    "Nearby enemies are slowed for the turn."


    >This one is awkward. Again "nearby" is a 5x5 square around you, much like Special Forces. The problem with this ability is not so much that it's a bad effect - it's not - it's just awkward on Rampart. Let me explain - literally every other ability you have except your primary is already a slow or better. Shield bash? Slows. Fusion Lance? Effectively a root. Aegis Protocol? Slows. All that means you're paying 3 points for an effect you already have on half your turns.
    >It's not totally useless, as it hits targets 2 diagonals away which Shield Bash can't, hits multiple targets which Fusion Lance can't, and can be used as a "radar sweep" of nearby camouflage (though it does not apply Reveal, it only briefly shows what tile foes are in.) Plus, you can use it while using your Primary for more uptime on CC.
    >And yet, I never liked this ability. Its redundancy and expense puts it in a very weird place. You might get value here, sometimes, but you rarely feel good about it. Not to mention, it's a slow that's only useful when you're already near a foe, on a skill which already applies haste. That doesn't make the slow worthless, just...even more redundant sometimes. It even devalues the Haste to which it is attached.
    >Honestly if it were up to me, I would scrap this mod and make a new one. I don't understand the flavor of why this robot is so scary, and even if I did, it overlaps with Titus. Perhaps, if we ever get a debuff equivalent of Energized (Drained?) it could apply that instead. Call it "Electromagnetic Flux" or something.

    No mod - 0 points
    "Oh hey yeah that exists too."

    >Is an option for those who want point-heavy builds elsewhere. Doesn't dilute your usage cases either. This is probably the only ability I'd consider zero-pointing, personally, but go wild if you want.

    Only one more to go! Stay tuned for Aegis Protocol mods.

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    Aegis Protocol

    I'll be honest - mods for Rampart's ult sort of seem like a wash to me. It's not that they're bad, but IMO none really stand out in either a positive or negative way very much compared to the others. I suppose that's ultimately a good thing.

    Live to Fight - 2 points
    "Increases damage by 5"


    >Not a ton to say about this. Five damage for two mod points is not very cost efficient for an ultimate, but you can hit multiple foes with this, and there is no special condition to meet. It's acceptable.

    Engine of War - 3 points
    "Roots all enemies trampled over."


    >Unlike Bull Rush, this one can be good. You don't get to move after your ult, so "guaranteeing" targets for next turn (barring burning dashes) is a decent perk. Expensive, and arguably you can get better value with your mod points on other abilities, but not bad.

    Rocket Boosters (Default Mod) - 2 points
    "Increases range by 2."


    >This is probably the closest thing to a "default good option" amongst Rampart's ultimate mods. +2 range takes you from 7 to 9 tiles. This can position you for clutch blocks better. If your play experience is like mine, however, you'll find that often your ultimates only travel short distances, and at times the extra range can be unnecessary (or where you want to be is cut off via walls rather than distance.) Even so, this mod is a fine choice for many builds, and I recommend it.

    Protective Wake - 1 point
    "Allies passed over gain 20 shields for the turn."


    >I'm a fan of this mod, mostly due to its low cost. First, the bad part: You don't get shields on Rampart himself, and if the shielded allies don't take damage (say, because you set up a shield to block everything that would have hit them) the shield is easily wasted. It's often possible, though, to get shields on multiple allies, and also possible to be flanked at your destination, have allies eating "lobbed" damage, or otherwise have allies eating damage which you cannot reasonably block. So, in some ways, this mod allows you to replicate Asana's ultimate and spread some love around. Not bad.


    So, that wraps it up! A bit of an anticlimactic end, but those are my long-form opinions on Ramparts mods. What mods do YOU use for our favorite giant robot? Let us know!

    (Note: I edited the color coding a wee bit, for clearer reading on this background, and gave "neutral" scoring a yellow color.)

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