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KestrelPi

Ability choice balance: which ones do you always choose? (Survey link inside) - 0.85 - COMPLETE

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My preference of classes might differ from others (which is great!). I like alchemist best, after that hunter and closing with caberjack. My favorite way to play is 3/4 alchemists, 1 hunter and 0/1 caberjacks. You will hopefully see why:

Alchemists

Eagle Eye versus Acid Solution: I have taken Eagle Eye in the past (and sometimes is even good at early levels), but I much prefer giving my low accuracy alchemists a steady handler as one of their two items in the mid/late game. Also Acid Solution is just plain great, since it helps kill the hardest enemy in the game (bullwarks!!).

Throw Items versus Extra Item Slot: Extra Item Slot hands down. It gives you really cool options to build your heroes (supportive, tanky or whatever). Throw Items is a cool idea, but I really think it should be somewhere else on the skill tree (higher up?) so that you can take both Extra Item Slot and Throw Items.

Bees in a Bottle versus Fertilizer Flask: I always, happily, take Bees in a Bottle over Fertilizer Flask. This probably has to do with my playstyle, which is not getting hit. You would think Fertilizer Flask helps in that, and it does, but the Bees in a Bottle make your alchemist instant killing machines that don't allow enemies to even shoot. The main reason to take Bees in a Bottle though, is that it damages bullwarks through their bullwark shield (which means like 12 damage initial and 16 damage in their turn). This makes the hardest enemy in the game suddenly very killable.

Hunter:

Honed Hearing versus Put It Down: One of the most interesting options (I feel) in the game. I personally like to go with one hunter, just to scout for my alchemists. Honed Hearing is very useful for that since you can see the squares that your enemies are on without even seeing them. Alchemists will kill enemies they don't see no problem. That said, very late game I tend to switch over to Put it Down if I have a good relic weapon and a high level hunter.

Flarrow versus Hobblin Shot: This is Flarrow 100% of the time. It disables hard enemies just as good as Hobbling Shot does, but massive AOE, 2 times per fight and giving vision in the process. Only instances Hobbling shot might be better is when you're having a hard time against Wrinklers (glancing blows still age you) and Ruptures (he is going to explode either way). That said, I don't feel like these two enemies are a big problem this late in the game.

Dead Eye or Shoot 'n' Scoot: I like Dead Eye because it gives me better vision for my scout, even further enhancing the potential for my alchemist to position them. That said, I need to experience Shoot 'n' Scoot more, but it seems less valuable for my playstyle since I mostly kill everything with alchemists.

Caberjack:

Rebound or Fury: Never had great succes with either of these. I don't like to get hit often if I'm being honest. I take rebound for the chance to stun enemies that hit me.

Stun Slam or Charge: Both usefull, I take charge since the massive mobility boost to my stun capacity helps the caberjack greatly. Stun Slam is interesting, but only sees use in a niche circumstance. Caberjacks are my reserve option to stun enemies when things go wrong, if this happens he needs to be at the right spot to stun.

Stand Ground or Fortify: I take Stand Ground for the added hit points. The unable to get pushed back/stunned effect of it is sometimes usefull when fighting twitchers or lapses. I haven't used Fortify since it has been buffed so I need to check that out. Seems more useful when rocking a lot of caberjacks at the same time though.

I feel alchemists can deal with bullwarks the best. Caberjacks can of course stun one or two of them, but probably reveal new enemies in the process. I like ramcap cabers, they feel almost overpowered at the moment and given the opportunity I will take one of them with me should things get dire. Level 10 caberjack is great btw, especially in the final battle. Hunters aren't, in my experience, the massive damage dealers that they used to be. They are probably still viable for a slow methodical approach, but I like to stick to 1 hunter (which is almost essential!) to scout out the enemies ahead. This makes it possible for my alchemists and 0/1 caberjack to approach using the cover, coming very close without triggering the enemy. With 5 flasks and 2 bottles filled with bees per alchemist, I don't feel like I run out of firepower (also they have useful melee attacks as well). I focus early on the alchemist armor, since the enemy can sometimes stumble to a position where they can shoot or attack once from. The fully upgraded alchemist armor gives enough evasion and armor that ranged enemies that sometimes sneak a hit in don't deal that much damage (or miss). With the double items I can give my alchemists interesting builds, depending on how I send them forth in the battle. Close combat alchemist can get vitaliband and a pair of socks while ranged alchemist gets accuracy boost and an ultra-elixer. I just love the personal influence you have on the class once two items become available.

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Thanks for that. I'm definitely feeling a difference since the early access version game out, between what people are making of the classes. Specifically, people have started complaining about Hunters being weak in the late game (something that I actually think has been the case ever since the first hunter nerf when my non-relic hunters felt very feeble), and there's definitely been a greater appreciation (or at least less complaining) about Alchemists.

Caberjacks seem to have stayed about as popular throughout, which makes sense because they've changed the least so far. I am expecting they won't be so dominant in the late game, soon, though.

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@Simosso: You are by no means alone. I like the Alchemists best as well, simply because they feel like the most complete class at the moment and enable the most interesting plays. Caberjacks are probably my second favourite because they are currently the largest damage dealers. As for my squad, I tend to change it up according to the encounter, but I AM running two alchemist houses.

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Finished the game on Sunday so I was able to fill out the survey. I stand by my choices of the Steady Handler and Eagle Eye both for alchemists. My first level 10 character was an Alchemist and he was utterly devastating, never missing even at the very edge of his range.

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Based on all the anecdotal feedback, it seems like most are picking Charge vs Stun Slam. Hm...
That doesn't surprise me. Charge is a huge bonus to the Caberjack's mobility (especially once you realize there doesn't have to be an enemy at the end to use it), which is pretty important for getting the class into the action, while Stun Slam is a marginal skill that has a longer cooldown, making it harder to chain stuns. It doesn't help that you can already stun multiple enemies at a time by using Knockdown, Charge, or Ramcap Cabers to knock enemies into one another. I could maybe see Stun Slam being interesting on a Caberjack that uses a Skipping Stone, but that means that you aren't using Wunderpants and you've got a -1 movement penalty.

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Here are my thoughts after a couple of playthroughs:

Hunter:

Honed Hearing or Put It Down : I tend to split on this one. I try to keep at least one Hunter around with Honed Hearing, but if I bring more than 1 on a mission I'll take Put It Down.

Flarrow or Hobbling Shot : I'll take the Flarrow about 90% of the time. The ability to blind an entire pack of mobs while gaining vision on them is amazing. Given that so many enemies in the game are ranged, usually the hobbling shot isn't worth the point, unless you're looking for a low-damage shot to help level up another character.

Dead Eye or Shoot ‘n’ Scoot : I've only taken Shoot 'n' Scoot once, and I immediately regretted it (granted, this was before the Hunter changes last patch). Extra sight and range is too good to pass up.

Alchemist:

Eagle Eye or The Acid Solution : I split on this one. I've had some rotten luck with low-level alchemists blow up my own guys, so the accuracy (and peace of mind!) is nice. Acid Solution also affects the melee attacks though, and it can be nice to use Alchemists as hit-and-run warriors by using Free Throw and then running away, letting the Cadence burn over several turns.

Throw Items or Extra Item Slot : Extra Item Slot. I haven't found a good use for Throw Items that justifies taking it.

Bees in a Bottle or Fertilizer Flask : I split on this one. Bees are unpredictable and have almost gotten my best troops killed a couple of times, but they're pretty fun. On the other hand, the fertilizer flask isn't particularly flashy, but the extra evasion has come in handy a few times, especially during keep defenses (if the regent / partner has it!).

Caberjack:

Rebound or Fury : Split. Early game, I will take Rebound almost exclusively, but as my Caber families gain experience, I'll start taking Fury on a few of them. Also, the Fury effect is awesome looking, and in level three armor, many enemies do little chip damage, making Fury quite powerful.

Stun Slam or Charge: Charge. Stun Slam has a sweet animation, but it's very situational. As far as Charge goes, the extra mobility alone makes it amazing, and you add in the fact that it's a guaranteed stun, it's too good to pass up.

Stand Ground or Fortify : Stand Grand 3/4 of the time. The minor armor boost from Fortify is okay, but I like my Caberjacks to be up in the front of the battle, smashing Cadence to bloody pulps, not hanging around the back of the fight protecting the Alchemists.

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Throw Items or Extra Item Slot - This one depends on how many items I've researched. Throw items gets you a possible 5 uses per flask with its AOE instead of 1, so if you are going for the consumables (heal, hastehooch, agenrage, ect) instead of the equip-ables (steadhander, xp scarf..) it can be a net win.

WHAT. So that's why Throw Items isn't completely useless. I only tried upgrading it once to see if I could throw an XP scarf and when it did nothing I never went down that path again.

I feel like 5X use (and AOE?) is a MUCH bigger deal than the throwing aspect. That's absolutely monstrous. I haven't had time to play the game in quite a while so maybe this has been fixed, but this should really be communicated better.

Edit: oh wait, you mean there are 5 uses because you can hit everyone in your party with a single area of effect. That makes sense. Still, it'd be nice if the item description mentions the AOE.

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Hunter

I try not to take these, if I'm forced to...

Honed Hearing

Hobbling Shot

Dead Eye or Shoot 'n' Scoot as Accuracy allows.

Alchemist

Acid Solution

Extra Item Slot

(Alternate.)

Caberjack

Rebound unless very high hp.

(Alternate.)

(Alternate.)

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@ApexHawk and others: It is good to hear/see that alchemists get the love that they deserve. It wasn't a long time ago that they got heavy critisism and imo undeservedly so.

@Potato Shave: You only take hunters when forced to? That is probably the first time I heard that which means the hunter nerve really had an impact. I still like playing with one hunter for his invisibility helps immensly with positioning of your other troops.

I would suggest trying flarrow sometimes, it feels better to me than hobbling shot as I mentioned.

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I may just not be using them right. I mean they are ... okay, sometimes. It's not the damage so much as the trade offs you have to take on the abilities, I tend to go with utility so that even if I'm not getting positioning that I want or having LOS problems the Hero still does something. I didn't like the unique bows either, they just make positioning that much more difficult, sure, sometimes you get to pop off a shot that hits 3+ monsters, but the rest of the time I tend to find myself either hanging them back too far for good accuracy or getting them slaughtered with a Hidden move that puts the Hunter too close for safety.

I also kind of don't like the Hunter class, and made a post with suggestions to just let em be archers.

Maybe when Mods come out I'll tinker with em/make a separate Hunter.

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I think the hunters are going through a bit of an identity crisis right now. Their skills say 'damage dealers' (Follow up shot, Put it Down, Chalk-One-Up) but their nerfs sort of negate that. The nerfs felt necessary, since they were so dominant, but now I'm not sure what they're really good at, except scouting. And you can't really fill a party with just scouts. I'd like to see the skill tree split in the way that Alchemists are (almost) split between support and mayhem. Except the choice would be towards either building a super scout who doesn't hit very hard, or more of a damage dealer that relies on other people. Right now two of the damage skills are mandatory at level 2 and 10. Buuut....

What if overall damage was un-nerfed a little, and then abilities were rearranged along the lines of:

Class ability: Hobbling Shot

Level 2 Ability - Follow up Shot

Level 4 Ability - Honed Hearing/Put it Down

Level 6 Ability - Stealth / Dead Eye

Level 8 Ability - Chalk One Up / Flarrow

Level 10 Ability ???

Not saying that's optimum, but it's more of a choice between 'am I building a scout or a killer?'. Perhaps some sort of reshuffle is in order.

I think all the classes have odd stuff about their abilities right now, and I started another thread specifically to talk about this: http://www.doublefine.com/forums/viewthread/15738/

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@KestrelPi: Now here, is something we CAN agree on :D I think the skill tree you're suggesting is really good, aside from the fact that I would really like stealth to be lower on the tree just because scouting is important at all stages of the game, and getting the option for it becomes pretty important pretty quickly. Putting Dead Eye on lvl4 doesn't feel quite right either, but it still feels a lot better than getting stealth 10 hours into the game. I would also prefer Chalk one up to remain as the lvl10 skill, because it is really powerful, and flarrow would just become the new Hobbling shot. This game doesn't have pure support classes (yet) so even scouts will be dealing damage sometimes. :)

The devs probably wouldn't like the fact that Shoot n' Scoot got tossed, but to be honest, it's a hard skill to use to it's intented purpose, i.e. shooting once and dodging to cover before the foe knows what-the-f.... what happened.

What is weird about the hunters is that their low-level damage is about where I would like it to be, but their late-game damage is only compareable to other classes when using relics. There needs to be some voodoo worked on those numbers beyond simple scaling, to archieve the mythical "Balance". Or, y'know, see where the damage landscape is after the caberjack nerfs, whatever.

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I think the hunters are going through a bit of an identity crisis right now. Their skills say 'damage dealers' (Follow up shot, Put it Down, Chalk-One-Up) but their nerfs sort of negate that. The nerfs felt necessary, since they were so dominant, but now I'm not sure what they're really good at, except scouting. And you can't really fill a party with just scouts. I'd like to see the skill tree split in the way that Alchemists are (almost) split between support and mayhem. Except the choice would be towards either building a super scout who doesn't hit very hard, or more of a damage dealer that relies on other people. Right now two of the damage skills are mandatory at level 2 and 10. Buuut....

What if overall damage was un-nerfed a little, and then abilities were rearranged along the lines of:

Class ability: Hobbling Shot

Level 2 Ability - Follow up Shot

Level 4 Ability - Honed Hearing/Put it Down

Level 6 Ability - Stealth / Dead Eye

Level 8 Ability - Chalk One Up / Flarrow

Level 10 Ability ???

Not saying that's optimum, but it's more of a choice between 'am I building a scout or a killer?'. Perhaps some sort of reshuffle is in order.

I think all the classes have odd stuff about their abilities right now, and I started another thread specifically to talk about this: http://www.doublefine.com/forums/viewthread/15738/

I feel this has potential. Personally I would like this better:

Class ability: Hobbling Shot

Level 2 Ability - Follow up Shot

Level 4 Ability - Stealth / Shoot n Scoot

Level 6 Ability - Honed Hearing / Put it Down

Level 8 Ability - Dead Eye / Flarrow

Level 10 Ability Chalk One Up

This way you have stealth at level 4, and If you want to be the damage dealing backline you can take shoot n scoot instead of stealth to still have some ability to catch up or get out of danger while still attacking. Honed Hearing is still good at level 6 and Put it down becomes mostly relevant later game anyway (and is still good level 6). Flarrow vs Dead Eye seems like an interesting choice as well, keeping chalk one up as a strong level 10 ability.

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@Simosso

@KestrelPi: Umm.... Wow. We have it. We have a skill tree that may be legitimately better than the current in-game one. Joy! (OK, Kestrel has it, since he's the one who did the data collecting and other heavy lifting but still)

I think the next step is to judge it for it's downsides, and if it really is better than the current one... it has to influence the game. Surely.

-Early game Hunters lose the ablity to scout, leading to more danger from ranged units.

-Ok, so... Hobbling shot kinda sucks. The problem isn't it being bad, it's it being situational. In the opening battle, it is almost useless, since it easily misses seeds, and doesn't really influence Lapses. Giving Hunters a signature move, that is legitimately useless in many battles... It might actually hurt the class in a lot of player's eyes. Leaving stealth out of the early game also devalues hunters in the early game, so they would be relying on their range to make them enticing. THIS IS A BIG DOWNSIDE

-If a hunter doesn't take stealth, Veil armor loses it's uniqueness. Veil armor can become an armor project that's only exiting for half of your hunters.

-Stealth is very obviously better than Shoot n' Scoot. At the same time, Shoot n' Scoot does a lot of the same type of thing as stealth, (if you squint your eyes and turn your head to the side) exept from an offensive standpoint.

-Also, Flarrow and Dead Eye cannot exist on the same hunter as a combo. This is actually kinda fine, since that hunter couldn't shoot at the revealed area anyway that turn, so you can just use another hunter with Dead eye.

-Game voice over would need to be changed to reflect the loss of innate stealth. This should be done for some enemies too at some point soooo...package deal? (It's understandable, if all the voices for the game are already recorded though)

-Lastly, we don't have the full picture, that is, we don't know what the Hybrid skill trees are planned to be like. This is particularly important with the starting skill, which I suspect may be the same for all subclasses of a class. We have no way of knowing whether our model works with the plans for the game or not. In case it isn't obvious, THIS IS THE BIGGEST DOWNSIDE OF THEM ALL!

...And of course, we don't know what kind of damage skill would be added to Kestrel's model, though there are plenty of ideas in the other skill topic. Personally, I would like a long-range sniper attack that cannot be used after moving. The effect, on the other hand, would just need to be damage-based and powerful enough for slot 8. There are actually relatively few downsides I can see without playtesting. I think we have something here guys! I'm super optimistic!

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After a quick re-re-calculation, Simossos idea isn't as great as it first appeared... Hunter class may indeed need another damage-based ability to replace shoot n' scoot or Hobbling shot (and shoot and scoot would be better if stealth wasn't mandatory, but stealth is, and so the skill isn't) Luckily, there are quite few idea threads about skills at the moment.

...Still, balancing the class is possible with just stat scaling the numbers right though. It's not up to us, whether the Hunter class still changes or not.... As the hunters currently are, I would wait for the Caberjack nerfs before changing anything further about hunters.

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-If a hunter doesn't take stealth, Veil armor loses it's uniqueness. Veil armor can become an armor project that's only exiting for half of your hunters.

-Stealth is very obviously better than Shoot n' Scoot. At the same time, Shoot n' Scoot does a lot of the same type of thing as stealth, (if you squint your eyes and turn your head to the side) exept from and offensive standpoint.

Regarding Veil armor, that's not necessarily the worst thing. I actually like the idea that the upgraded hunter armor is best for some of your hunters (damage dealers) and veil armor is best for others (scouts)

Regarding stealth v. Shoot n' Scoot, I agree with you that it's not much of a choice right now. If SNS were buffed to create a full movement, however, I think we would be onto something. Stealth is very powerful, but the ability to move ahead, shoot, and have another full move would be very powerful (especially for your damage/high mobility hunters). The problem with SNS right now is that it's too small of a movement increase to be very tactically interesting.

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I think the problem is not that Shoot n' Scoot is bad, but that Dead Eye is way too good with the current game mechanics.

The main issue is that you can shoot at an enemy without anyone being in the AIs combat range at any point of the turn. This is because Dead Eye doesn't just increase the range of your shots, it also increases your sight range. You get a character who is a superior scout and a superior killer all in one.

If Dead Eye lost the +3 sight range it would be less compelling. You'd then have to get the Hawk Eye trait on your Hunters to use Dead Eye at its full range or use other characters to roll back the fog of war with Flarrows or movement. And why go to all that trouble when you can just walk up, shoot and then walk back after?

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Hmm, I'm kind of with ApexHawk in that it doesn't feel right to deny Hunters Stealth as a class ability. The ability to scout and/or ambush enemies feels pretty central to their class identity. What if, and I'm just spitballing here, but what if Shoot n' Scoot was their level 2 ability? There seems to be a consensus that Shoot and Scoot isn't that impressive and is hard to justify vs. a lot of choices, so what if we make hit and run tactics part of the core Hunter package? It gives Hunters some interesting tactical options for either scouting or offense, but isn't so good that it's going to allow them to kite melee Cadence.

So my hypothetical tree would look something like this:

Class: Stealth

Level 2: Shoot n' Scoot

Level 4: Honed Hearing/Put it Down

Level 6: Hobbling Shot/Follow up Shot

Level 8: Dead Eye/Chalk One Up

Level 10: Flarrow

I like putting Hobbling Shot opposite Follow up Shot because I think it creates a clear dichotomy in what you are building your Hunter for. Likewise, to me Dead Eye and Chalk One Up feel evenly matched and provide an opportunity to decide whether you want your Hunter to hit harder or hit safer, so to speak. I'll admit that Flarrow feels kind of weird as a capstone, but it does provide a sort of "I own the battlefield" flavor to the Hunter.

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Hmm, I'm kind of with ApexHawk in that it doesn't feel right to deny Hunters Stealth as a class ability. The ability to scout and/or ambush enemies feels pretty central to their class identity. What if, and I'm just spitballing here, but what if Shoot n' Scoot was their level 2 ability? There seems to be a consensus that Shoot and Scoot isn't that impressive and is hard to justify vs. a lot of choices, so what if we make hit and run tactics part of the core Hunter package? It gives Hunters some interesting tactical options for either scouting or offense, but isn't so good that it's going to allow them to kite melee Cadence.

So my hypothetical tree would look something like this:

Class: Stealth

Level 2: Shoot n' Scoot

Level 4: Honed Hearing/Put it Down

Level 6: Hobbling Shot/Follow up Shot

Level 8: Dead Eye/Chalk One Up

Level 10: Flarrow

I like putting Hobbling Shot opposite Follow up Shot because I think it creates a clear dichotomy in what you are building your Hunter for. Likewise, to me Dead Eye and Chalk One Up feel evenly matched and provide an opportunity to decide whether you want your Hunter to hit harder or hit safer, so to speak. I'll admit that Flarrow feels kind of weird as a capstone, but it does provide a sort of "I own the battlefield" flavor to the Hunter.

No. Just suffling the existing skills won't make the skill tree better, because with the current skills the skill tree is pretty much at it's optimal form, because taking away stealth causes so many problems, and if the signature move isn't changed, the skill tree can only be arranged into worse versions of the current one.

...Take your tree for example. If hunters lose follow up shot from their early game, they will be unable to take down ruptures and lapses by themselves every other turn. They'll be completely dependent on their primary shot, making them very frustrating to play when shots miss or roll low. Flarrow doesn't work as an ultimate skill. It's powerful, but it is not an "ultimate skill", just powerful. It would fit better as a level 8 skill though.

Because of problems like these with every other alternative skill tree, changing one of the hunter's abilities seems like the best way to improve the class. Since shoot n' Scoot seems popular (I kinda like it too) then I guess it should be Hobbling shot instead? Adding a passive skill or a new move might imporve the current hunter experience.... or at least that's Kestrels point.

I'll say it again, let's see what the hunter damage looks like after a few patches, and then it should be clear whether hunters should be changed or not. Either way, they are very close to what they are going to be in the final version, unless everything goes pear-shaped and they do a complete balance redesign!

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There's only 1 skill that I split on. Everything else had an obvious choice.

Hunter:

Honed Hearing or Put It Down : Split. Generally speaking: any hunter with a relic or I'm trying to earn a relic on, put it down (which would be 1 or 2 of 5 heroes), the rest, honed hearing.

Flarrow or Hobbling Shot : Flarrow. Blind + flare is too good.

Dead Eye or Shoot ‘n’ Scoot : Dead eye. 14 range makes hunters easily able to kill bulwarks are they outrange the bulwark view distance.

Alchemist:

Eagle Eye or The Acid Solution : Eagle eye. Accuracy guarantees the hit.

Throw Items or Extra Item Slot : Extra Item Slot. Throw item doesn't offer anything useful imo.

Bees in a Bottle or Fertilizer Flask : Fertilizer. Bees are fun, but ultimately just a random factor and don't help you win tbh.

Caberjack:

Rebound or Fury : Fury. The 10hp heal potions are easily researchable early and can keep your caberjacks healthy. Later on, you really don't need that slight armour boost.

Stun Slam or Charge: Charge.

Stand Ground or Fortify : Stand Ground. Fortify on a high level hero is kinda irrelevant.

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Hmm, I'm kind of with ApexHawk in that it doesn't feel right to deny Hunters Stealth as a class ability. The ability to scout and/or ambush enemies feels pretty central to their class identity. What if, and I'm just spitballing here, but what if Shoot n' Scoot was their level 2 ability? There seems to be a consensus that Shoot and Scoot isn't that impressive and is hard to justify vs. a lot of choices, so what if we make hit and run tactics part of the core Hunter package? It gives Hunters some interesting tactical options for either scouting or offense, but isn't so good that it's going to allow them to kite melee Cadence.

So my hypothetical tree would look something like this:

Class: Stealth

Level 2: Shoot n' Scoot

Level 4: Honed Hearing/Put it Down

Level 6: Hobbling Shot/Follow up Shot

Level 8: Dead Eye/Chalk One Up

Level 10: Flarrow

I like putting Hobbling Shot opposite Follow up Shot because I think it creates a clear dichotomy in what you are building your Hunter for. Likewise, to me Dead Eye and Chalk One Up feel evenly matched and provide an opportunity to decide whether you want your Hunter to hit harder or hit safer, so to speak. I'll admit that Flarrow feels kind of weird as a capstone, but it does provide a sort of "I own the battlefield" flavor to the Hunter.

No. Just suffling the existing skills won't make the skill tree better, because with the current skills the skill tree is pretty much at it's optimal form, because taking away stealth causes so many problems, and if the signature move isn't changed, the skill tree can only be arranged into worse versions of the current one.

...Take your tree for example. If hunters lose follow up shot from their early game, they will be unable to take down ruptures and lapses by themselves every other turn. They'll be completely dependent on their primary shot, making them very frustrating to play when shots miss or roll low. Flarrow doesn't work as an ultimate skill. It's powerful, but it is not an "ultimate skill", just powerful. It would fit better as a level 8 skill though.

Because of problems like these with every other alternative skill tree, changing one of the hunter's abilities seems like the best way to improve the class. Since shoot n' Scoot seems popular (I kinda like it too) then I guess it should be Hobbling shot instead? Adding a passive skill or a new move might imporve the current hunter experience.... or at least that's Kestrels point.

I'll say it again, let's see what the hunter damage looks like after a few patches, and then it should be clear whether hunters should be changed or not. Either way, they are very close to what they are going to be in the final version, unless everything goes pear-shaped and they do a complete balance redesign!

I welcome radical suggestions (as long as they're conceptually radical rather than developmentally radical). Asking questions like 'what if we completely changed these skills around' might not lead straight to the right answer, but it might help zero in on what area the right question is.

It's like right now we've got this big misshapen lump of marble that almost looks like something, and it's got a lot of promise and we're trying to chip at it until we end up with a beautiful statue. But we're not 100% sure what the final statue looks like. We know it really wants to be something, but we're not quite sure what.

And we think it looks like a statue of a guy, but before we start chipping away we should probably listen to the guy saying 'wait, maybe it's a statue of a dolphin!' Because that invites interesting questions... "where would we cut if this were a dolphin? And even if it's not a dolphin, maybe this guy is half-right. It might be a guy riding a dolphin. Or a guy with flippers. How would that work?"

Don't worry about the radical suggestions. They've got some time to figure out what shape this thing needs to be.

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@Kestrel: Fine. Let's look at some positives then:

The thing I liked the most about the new skill trees was the Dead Eye/Flarrow split at level 8. Those are two powerful abilities, that both have a use in a party. Flarrow is something that's probably only needed once or twice in a fight, and Having the tradeoff be reduced range (and having one hunter flarrow a distant area to reveal it, and another fire into it with Dead eye) seems pretty cool.

However, if we keep the current skills, it would mean making the lvl 6 choice Hobbling shot vs. Shoot 'n Scoot. Basically, it's forcing a choice between two situational support skills, neither of which is terribly exiting, which is kind of worse than having a choice between a good skill and a bad one.

I'll keep that conceptual stuff in the back of my mind, but I don't have a definitive opinion on the state of hunters right now. Some people seem to undervalue them, especially in the late game.

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..

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Ok, got it. The hunter class ability isn't tied to their skills at all.(Edit: yes it is, to honed hearing!) The only benefit you get from stealthing is the fact that the enemies don't see you closing in. Should the hunters then be a class that can fire a few shots, and then dissappear back to the shadows? Are hunters the premier stealth class of the game, or is it one of their hybrids?

Having something like an activateable ability that can only be fired from stealth, would further reinforce the kind of playstyle the hunter currently sees. Even if you just added "Can only be fired from stealth" clause to Hobbling shot (and made it deal a little more damage) the skill would gain a different profile. That's just one example. Stun effect feels more natural, of course, but that design space is already being filled by the caberjack family of classes.

...Something like that?

Also: 100 posts hype! Still not the least productive week of my life!

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I'll keep that conceptual stuff in the back of my mind, but I don't have a definitive opinion on the state of hunters right now. Some people seem to undervalue them, especially in the late game.

To be honest, I thought Hunters were weak-ish in the late game even pre-recent-nerf, without a relic weapon. I remember in my first game my relicless hunters were struggling to deal with enemies later on that similarly leveled caberjacks were tackling easily. My whole team was underleveled, but it hurt most in the case of the hunters. In my next game, the levelling was good, but my level 10 hunters, while competent, were still hitting much less hard than particularly caberjacks, despite hunters having way more damage-related skills.

I'd respond to your later stuff, but have limited time right now :)

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My choices after one (successful) playthrough in version 0.85 using a typical party of 2 caberjacks, 2 alchemists, and 1 hunter:

Hunter:

Note: I never got a hunter relic. I always used Veil Armor and Bonebarb Crossbows.

Honed Hearing or Put It Down: Always Honed Hearing for my single hunter. He rarely fired a shot that actually hit an enemy, so extra damage was worthless. Increased scouting was great, though.

Flarrow or Hobbling Shot: Always flarrow. I don't know how Hobbling Shot works, but from reading the forums it sounds like it can miss and is single target. Flarrow let me hit multiple targets, and do so while keeping my unstealthed hunter away from harm.

Dead Eye or Shoot ‘n’ Scoot: Always Dead Eye. Increased scouting and safe firing range was key. My hunter felt so inaccurate that I assume the Scoot would never have triggered anyways.

Alchemist:

Note: I had 2-3 alchemist relics, and used a mixture of throwers but always Unstable Carapace Armor.

Eagle Eye or The Acid Solution: A genuine toss-up for most of the game, but I eventually found the acid damage against Bulwarks to be invaluable. I didn't find myself having too much trouble with accuracy.

Throw Items or Extra Item Slot: Always Extra Item. I've heard that Throw Items gives you AoE effects, but getting my entire party so hurt that I need to quintuple a health potion seems inefficient. I do wish that all heroes got two items by default, though; I think it leads to much, much more interesting equipment choices, especially between consumables and items with static effects.

Bees in a Bottle or Fertilizer Flask: Always Bees, after getting Fertilizer and not really understanding what it did. After reading the forums, I would try Fertilizer on a 2nd playthrough for the extra evasion.

Caberjack:

Note: I had no caberjack relics, and always used Ramcap Cabers and Boneshell Armor.

Rebound or Fury: Eventually, I always Rebound. This seems like one of the better skill choices, but my caberjacks rarely needed extra damage. If they were landing a hit, they were usually getting a kill. Rebound gave me a few turns where one melee enemy rebounded, then another rebounded into the first one, stunning them both.

Stun Slam or Charge: Always Charge. Ramcaps already provide AoE stun half the time, as does Charge. Often I charged just to cover more ground. I've read that Stun Slam is 3x3. Since you can only move once to get into range, I can't imagine using it. I never willingly had a caberjack 1 move away from dangerous enemies. Either I ran all the way in and killed them, or I didn't know the enemies were there yet.

Stand Ground or Fortify: Always Stand Ground. I've read that Fortify is 3x3. I would never keep my units that close together while they were fighting. The only exception would be an all-caberjack squad, at which point stacking Fortify sounds neat. However, the stun immunity was pretty compelling.

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Thanks for all the responses everyone. We got 54 in the end, and now that the skill trees have changed on 2 of the classes, it's time to close.

I think the changes are in the right places, judging by the results, fingers crossed it'll make these choices more interesting for more players!

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Thanks for all the responses everyone. We got 54 in the end, and now that the skill trees have changed on 2 of the classes, it's time to close.

I think the changes are in the right places, judging by the results, fingers crossed it'll make these choices more interesting for more players!

Well, technically the hunter's skills haven't been touched yet, but I guess we're gonna make a thread to mull over the new skill trees soon enough.

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Thanks for all the responses everyone. We got 54 in the end, and now that the skill trees have changed on 2 of the classes, it's time to close.

I think the changes are in the right places, judging by the results, fingers crossed it'll make these choices more interesting for more players!

Well, technically the hunter's skills haven't been touched yet, but I guess we're gonna make a thread to mull over the new skill trees soon enough.

Yeah, I definitely feel like hunters aren't 'done' but moving in the right direction over all.

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Thanks for all the responses everyone. We got 54 in the end, and now that the skill trees have changed on 2 of the classes, it's time to close.

I think the changes are in the right places, judging by the results, fingers crossed it'll make these choices more interesting for more players!

Maybe rename the thread to "0.85" and make a new "0.86" ?

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Thanks for all the responses everyone. We got 54 in the end, and now that the skill trees have changed on 2 of the classes, it's time to close.

I think the changes are in the right places, judging by the results, fingers crossed it'll make these choices more interesting for more players!

Maybe rename the thread to "0.85" and make a new "0.86" ?

Perhaps a little further into the beta I'll do this again if it seems useful.

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