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Thread: Catalysts - Do some need buffs?

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Oct 2017

    Lightbulb Catalysts - Do some need buffs?

    It doesn't take many games to realize which catalysts are "good" and which ones are "bad". For example, I don't think I've ever seen anyone but AI 'seriously' run the Energize Prep Catalyst, meanwhile Critical Shot Prep Catalyst (gives Might) is above and beyond the most popular pick.

    Meanwhile in the Blast Phase Catalysts, Chronosurge and Adrenaline dominate. The Dash Catalysts actually seem the most balanced, with valid cases for running all four, and they all feel different in their purpose served/playstyle, which I think we can all agree adds to more a diverse and rewarding gameplay.

    As such, I believe we all stand to benefit from some reworking of the Prep and Blast phase catalysts. I'm not suggesting reverting to the S3 ones, with 30pt shield in prep and 45hp in Blast (that just made games slower =/= funner), however I do have some ideas that I think are worth considering. Maybe take them with a grain of salt, and not necessarily "as is" without any room for flexibility, but even then they may still be better than what we have.

    So without any further ado, I present some possible ideas for what the four new prep and blast phase catalysts could be, which are not all 4 new, but current ones are listed for comparison.

    Prep Phase Catalysts:

    Critical Shot [FREE] - Gain Might for the turn. (Same)

    Brain Juice [FREE] - Reduces ability cooldowns by 1 at the end of the turn. (Same)

    Second Wind [FREE] - Heals 15 health. (Version 1)
    Second Wind - Heals 30 Health over 2 turns. Allows full movement. (Version 2)

    Savior [FREE] - Gain Mend for the turn. (New- replacing Regenergy: Gain Energized for the turn.)
    Where Mend boosts healing and shielding on other allies (not self) by 25%.

    Blast Phase Catalysts:

    Probe [FREE] - Grant vision of an area for 2 turns. Can see through camouflage. Enemies spotted upon cast are marked for 2 turns, to generate an extra 50% energy to the caster. (Buffed to give energy)

    Chronosurge[FREE] - Slow all enemies until end of turn. Gain Haste until end of turn. (Same)

    Adrenaline [FREE] - Gain Unstoppable until the end of next turn. (Same)

    Savage - Steal 5 HP from all enemies up to two tiles away. (New, also note it's not free. Replacing Echo Boost [FREE]:
    Increase the duration of active buffs on you by 1 turn.)


    Now that you've had a chance to read the ideas and digest them, I'd like to provide some rationale for them, beginning with the Prep Phase Catalysts.

    Critical Shot/Brain Juice unchanged: these are already the best two catalysts, so buffing them would only lead to power creep, while nerfing them is avoiding the problem that the other two are simply underpowered. If we just nerfed everything it reduces gameplay diversity provided by tactical catalysts.

    Second Wind Version 1: I know that healing 15 instead of 30 is theoretically half as good, but it's for a worthwhile cause. Making the move free means that the player can perform other actions, making this actually an expontentially more useful form of Second Wind than the current form (not free, allows full movement, heals 30 Health over 3 turns, or 10 health/turn). Plus it heals more instantly in that first turn, but not overwhelmingly so- it's still only 15.

    Second Wind Version 2: If making Second Wind Free is too much, that's fair, but it still needs to be buffed. Healing 10 health/turn is laughable, especially since it consumes your action for the turn. It's rarely impactful, best used after retreating from the fight to lick ones wounds. However, three turns to lick wounds is quite needy, so if it must be kept non-free and non-instant, then it should at least be buffed to heal the 30 health over 2 turns, to allow a quicker return to combat.

    Second Wind buffed: both versions I provided assume that Second Wind needs to be buffed at all, but I would argue that it does, especially compared to Might and Brain Juice. Consider the impact of Might- 25% bonus damage is so huge when used on ults or great aoe abilities, and it can be used for Free and at any time, reducing the risk of needing map control to picking up a Might buff. That catalyst can turn games. Brain power can also turn games by putting that clutch heal or dash or aoe ability, or better yet, ALL of the above, 1 turn closer. Meanwhile you have Second Wind- forcing you to leave the fight, being useless to the team, and healing a small amount of health over three turns. It's just hard to make it impactful like the previous two, because it heals too slowly and it's not free, so changing just one of those might be enough to make it a competitive catalyst.

    Savior over Regenergy: I hope i don't need to explain why Regenergy needs to go; it's a terrible catalyst that is only ever good once in a full moon, and even then, why? I mean, sure maybe if you were going to get like 20 energy this turn, and this gave you an extra 10... is that even really good? 10% closer to having your ult? Or wouldn't you rather just make your ult 25% more effective? It's obvious why this catalyst sucks. With the Second Wind Buff, more firepowers might pick it up instead of Might- and that should be a worthy trade off! That gets really tactical, because now a firepower player has to decide between damage or survivability. But supports may still favor Brain Juice, so having an equivalent to Might would be cool. I mean, heals are already not very high, and shields only last 1-2 turns, so a 25% boost shouldn't be terribly game-breaking, but makes supports feel like they're setting up big plays. It's one of the reasons why running Might before an Ult is so satisfying- it's a hot combo. Let supports get in on the action, and make them decide between this and the newly competitive Second Wind (since Supports tend to heal others better than themselves). Now supports are choosing between self-survival and team-survival. That's tactical and rewarding. Frontliners can still decide between Second Wind and Brain Juice, or even Might (cough Titus).

    Overall Prep Phase Changes: Part of what makes this game so fun is making clutch decisions. Currently, there doesn't feel to be much decision making in catalysts, except perhaps with the Dashes. Making players choose between different competitive catalysts to suit their playstyle (might vs self-sustain, self-sustain vs team-sustain) also makes them feel like their skill won the game, as opposed to just picking what the op catalysts are this season. It makes the game feel more "owned" by the player, and results in an overall more rewarding experience.

    Much of the rationale (tactical decision, rewarding playstyle experience) applies to Blast Phase catalysts as well.

    Chronosurge/Adrenaline unchanged: These catalysts are already the top picks, and fairly so. As with before, buffing them -->power creep, and nerfing-->weaker gameplay.

    Probe Buff: Probe is not inherently a bad catalyst, but it's not very commonly useful, especially because most people will know where most of the enemies are at any given point of the game. Buffing Probe would make it a more competitive choice among, well, all roles. Making it award energy makes it particularly rewarding when utilized well. Perhaps the energy gain can be reduced, or the area smaller, or not fully free, or camouflage not detected if this is too strong. The idea is to make this catalyst competitive with the others.

    Savage replacing Echo Boost: Echo Boost is just too situational to be incredibly good. An important factor of a good catalyst is one that can be utilized by the player consistently and with versatility, and Echo Boost just falls flat. Don't get me wrong, I've seen it used beautifully to extend several buffs, and in a way it can be treated as Might for a turn if its used after picking up a Might buff, but as I mentioned, it's just lackluster compared to the alternatives. Savage would be a more exciting catalyst, and seeing as it launches in Blast Phase, would make sense. It's only 5 damage, and doesn't generate energy, but rewards positioning splendidly. A maximum efficacy Savage still only deals 20 damage and heals 20 health, which is good but honestly will be rare. One reason why I liked Echo Boost was that it seemed to reward a calculating playstyle, and I felt that a replacement catalyst should act the same way, hence Savage rewards a calculating playstyle. But more importantly, it forces frontliners to decide between mobility or team fight brawling. Perhaps I've made this catalyst too weak, and perhaps upping the damage or making it Free would make it compete, but the sheer concept of it should make more a much more exciting match compared to Echo Boost.

    Overall Blast Phase Changes: With these changes, Firepowers and supports now compare mobility to energy with Probe. Frontliners compare all four. Each catalyst caters to a playstyle that the player can feel like they own and calculated into their victory cunningly.
    __________________________________________________ ______

    Alright, that just about wraps it up. Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think! Like I said, all of this are just tentative suggestions, and if you ever thought of any ideas for catalysts that would be cool, let's share them!

  2. #2
    If you watch PPL you will realise how powerful Probe is, so that really doesn;t need a change.
    The saviour one you are offering would be so broken, double support is already crazy strong, any adding to that would totally ruin any other composition, especially considering how much more reliable healing is comparably with damage..

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    I belive the catas are fine as it is. If you understand positioning and can read the battle directional flow correctly you dont even need to use them. They are more of a o crap im surrounded so i better skedattle sort of option which can often be avoided. Probe is extremely useful and i run it on most of my frontliners esp Phaedra. The only lancer i have ever used echoboot with is Blackburn since it paors effectively with his combat stims

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Quote Originally Posted by Hossy View Post
    If you watch PPL you will realise how powerful Probe is, so that really doesn;t need a change.
    The saviour one you are offering would be so broken, double support is already crazy strong, any adding to that would totally ruin any other composition, especially considering how much more reliable healing is comparably with damage..
    Yeah Probe is still very useful, but I was leaning towards making it picked up more at all elos, which isn't necessarily important but sometimes something to keep in mind for the appreciation of the game by everyone.

    As for the savior catalyst, I think it will be good, but not broken. Consider how much damage boost lancers get with Might on their ultimate abilities- its a % boost not a flat boost, and these ults can do ridiculous damage. They aren't broken, they're just paired up really well, and not to mention you only get Might for the one turn. Heck, you can even pick up Might all over the map.

    I know that damage should always outmatch healing, so games end, but the lower base value of heals means that Mend wouldn't be making these ultra heals like Mighted Ults, and not to mention, it's only for one turn, and you can't even pick this buff up on the map. It's good, and could lead to clutch plays, just like Might does.

    I mean, consider Dr. Finn's healing spray- 25% of 30 (maximum heal) is almost 8. Even if you got all 3 allies for 24 bonus team healing, is that really even broken? By the end of the game you might have healed 200-300, so what does that 24 healing really do? That 25% for one turn? I don't think it's broken at all because of low base values on healing, and that it can be used only once per game.

    I still think that Regenergy is a useless catalyst that very few people take, and it limits the diversity of Prep phase catalysts. Savior was just an example of something that could spice up gameplay in place of Regenergy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ecoclone View Post
    I belive the catas are fine as it is. If you understand positioning and can read the battle directional flow correctly you dont even need to use them. They are more of a o crap im surrounded so i better skedattle sort of option which can often be avoided. Probe is extremely useful and i run it on most of my frontliners esp Phaedra. The only lancer i have ever used echoboot with is Blackburn since it paors effectively with his combat stims
    I agree with you regarding Dash Catas; they are almost exclusively used defensively. But the Prep and Blast phase catas are not always used this way. Consider Critical Shot- that's a purely offensive catalyst that a player uses to boost their damage, usually on a nicely positioned ultimate ability. I think that some of the other prep catalysts should be good enough to run, if not run every game like Might. I mean Might is so good that you'll sometimes see every player on the team run it- that's not diverse gameplay. Consider an example replacement to Regenergy that I explain above.

    I can cede that Probe is a very useful cata that is powerful in the right hands, which is all that's needed for a well-designed catalyst. But echoboost being consistently useful on only one freelancer is not a good catalyst. I feel like replacing it with a different type of catalyst, not even necessarily the example I provided (savage), would let us see more catalysts on the field. After all, a game is fun when it's at least a little different each time. No one would play if there were only the same 4 freelancers and the same 3 catalysts for all three phrases.

  5. #5
    The only reason you see most players use might catalyst is because it is the easiest to see a benefit from out of the blast catas, not because it is the best. There are energy builds on multiple characters (Blackburn, Rask) that get much more benefit from the energize than the might. Also there are many players that run the healing because it is the best defensive cata in the game. 30 hp is very often still more healing than you would get damage from might. There are plenty of team s that run nearly all second wind across their whole team. The dash catalysts are the best they have ever been. I still hate that regroup exists but It does still seem to be balanced as long as you see it go off. When you don't know it was regroup it is so hard to figure out sometimes where your target went and you can waste a lot of turns. Probe is easily the most powerful cata especially now that they buffed it. It's actually just stupid how powerful it is now. The haste is the most all around pick for most characters. Adrenaline is situationally an extra escape. Echo boost is a Blackburn catalyst.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Renergized is amazing and doesn't need to be replaced IMO. On Lancers who can get huge AoE/Free Action value it can lead to some pretty quick ultimates. The most obvious lancer to use it on is Isadora but it's also a great pick on Grey if people are standing in Rio's AoE, Elle if people are in Lurker's AoE, Lockwood if some people are going to move through Trapwire, Su-Ren/Fin/Aurora if you're healing a lot of people... etc. etc. etc.
    Energized is honestly a fairly underrated powerup. Mostly because it doesn't make big shiny numbers pop up when you ult.

    As for your "Mend" idea: Could be an interesting buff to Might to make it more useful on healers. You obviously run into problems when lancers like Aurora (who is already pretty decent with Crit Shot TBH) now have a Catalyst that increases damage by 50% and healing by 25%. I think it's an interesting idea for a powerup but it risks a lot of broken synergies, and I'd much rather have an "increased healing intake" powerup than an "increased healing" powerup.

    And Probe does not need a buff, nor does Echo Boost need a change. (Especially not to some wanabee lifesteal thing that isn't even a free action ) Probe is already an amazing utility tool in high tier play as it almost entirely denies stealth squares, which can be a huge counter to non-invis dashes. (IE Everything but Fade) Echo Boost is also great if you have amassed a lot of powerups (PuP, Blackburn, and Rampart obviously say Hi with their self buffs) but is also just an amazing tool to have if you want to extend the duration of a critical Might or Haste for a turn.

    None of these changes are necessary in my modest opinion. Some sort of increased healing output/intake buff could be an interesting idea for the future, but that change doesn't need to happen now.

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