Hi LM team, Wise here - I'll post more details later but I am still @ work.
I'll begin by saying two quick things - I have been at the LM changes for quite some time and overall there has what I would call minor adjustments from original inception with I would say a select few being player based. There is a lot of change to consume, and for my part, I think it will fall short of what it could have been and your LM community invested A LOT of time and feedback into it. In the end I think there is really no reason to play any line other than DPS build and that is coming from a Yellow fan LM.
There are some positives to the changes and I am generally okay with the approach to TT. It is more about the nature of the class and that I believe the intention/premise/desired end behind doing these changes fell very short. I do not expect to see players making hard choices or really feeling like they have less skills or the game is more challenging or that rotations are more invigorating.
With that said, I have not purchased the Xpac and while the class changes are a big part of that, the entire bow around the xpac just doesn't look attractive for the cost (and money is not a problem for me). If I buy it, it will be for my kin's sake alone as I lead them into it.
I'll comment more on the above later. I had started this change list as well, but got too wrapped up in hoping for many adjustments, and in the end what E did above is way better and helpful for you all. I'll shed some additional color, but I think generally we are now much more about blowing things up than times past and most things are accessible from DPS line (including passing healing and full daze duration) that yellow really will not find its place for now.
High Level Positives:
Blue - close potential for a PvP line
Red - much more dps and many ways things interact
Yellow - consolidated healing to this line
High Level Set Backs
Blue - Conflicting traits within it and trait names
Red - Slow on rotation (i dont mean induction) and access to too many Blue and Yellow kin traits with many animations looking too similar to others or are similar
Yellow - lower debuffs that live, shares much with other lines, 4-5 traits focused on sharing power, captsone and passives and specializations very very wanting
Some Ancient Masters might feel "weak", but their flexibility makes them the most powerful* support class now, especially if they find time to switch pets in combat and use a flank group heal set.
*powerful means here: has to decide between meaningful skill options during a fight, a rarity in the new trait tree system among even the support classes.
Furthermore, outside of BBs, I do not see this line being passable in FFT2C, or Sar T2C.
Example for BB (imagine that mobs die in about 1.5 to 2s and that there are dozens of NPCs and then dozens of mobs continually engaging at a run speed you havent seen yet on live with all sorts of items of war in LoS so whether you click or Tab finding a target is not easy.)
1. Throw Fire-lore - 5% less melee damage than live and single target
2. Throw another Fire skill, which adds a layered debuff
3. Throw Windlore to spread
4. Wait for cool down or hit capstone or do Frost lore
Your single target Fire lore mob is probably dead before #2 - regardless of debuff.
CC - you get everything you need in DPS line - Herb Lore only hits 3 max targets now unless there is a legacy I have not seen yet.
As for healing, probably decent approach in these, but trying to find low bar NPCs amongst dozens is not a fun task with no UI support. Additionally, your healing inductions are slower than live. Water-lore is 2s and when traited it is 1.7s. On live it is 1s.
As for Pets - even if on agressive, they will not natively attack mobs. They have to really be directed and in certain ranges or faced directions.
The best use I have seen for LM in BB is: Sticky Tar, ISG, Lightning Storm and then clicking ladders, Batistas and rocks etc. - The reason is bc those items leave damage affects on the ground that will be ran through instead of wasted dps on a single target that will die anyway. Even last night in DC BB I would stand way in front and try to get Nature Fury on a troll or BE or something big that could be effective and carry over to the next waves and 1/2 time troll was still dead. I resorted to taking a back seat and watching the BB and occasionally repairing a barricade or banner or firing a Batista - not the skills i got from the TT or from being 95
That's just been my experience. Perhaps others have found better ways to contribute
I must agree with JTollers that the way skills are now it is rather frustrating in BBs. Consider that the biggest heavy dps skills have a 3s induction and most mobs are dead after 2 seconds in these runs. The best gamble you can take is throwing an Improved Sticky Gourd out there.
However, I personally found the combination of using dps skills to invoke certain effects on Fire-lore and Frost-lore fun to play around with. It managed quite well in solo landscaping as well as in Scuttledells, Dale and OD - Wound Wing, although it did take some getting used to. Also you can't just immediately use the dps skills because you'd get all the aggro on you and a dead Lore-master isn't a useful Lore-master.
Also mentioning the loss of melee damage is something I don't really like, as it's actually one of the things I like about the class as it is now, a caster that is actually able to melee well (up to 50% of total dps). The melee part involves taking the risk from being close, requiring you to always be aware of your surroundings, it further is also a nice thing to do while moving (I dont know what a lot of other players do, but if I have to move I use melee skills in the process assuming I'm in range). The melee part of the LM creates an exciting way of combat, it's a meaningful choice (using the terms turbine uses when marketing HD) between to increase your single-target dps and not taking the risk of getting hit by AoE of melee mobs.
I hope at least that MoNF will stay as mobile and optionally risk-taking as it is now. This can possibly be done outside of the trait trees via legacies, thinking of -25% harmful skills inductions at max rank (as a major book legacy), and the +15% melee damage (was thinking of this becoming a major one and staff strike cooldown a minor).
There are probably several other options, but I think these things allow each spec to be more fun, so I personally wouldn't tie these to a certain spec.
Don't bring every meaningful choice out of combat, else the game will be a lot less exciting as it is right now.
Firstly, big thanks not only for the concise information but that's it current. As a returning player I find 4/5 things I am looking for are dated after Mirkwood but before Isengard - lots of changes recently aren't covered.
A query from myself is whether Blinding Flash always had a fifteen second cooldown? I had Fast Loader setup so there was no induction. I remember moments where I would spam stun (individual casts) several mobs at a time when Bane Flare was still on cooldown. I couldn't do this if it had a cooldown ...seems like I'm forgetting something.
Also, wasn't Embers and Blinding Flash castable while moving at one time? - or at least it would stop you moving and do the animation before letting you move again?
I played around with my LM again soloing and I felt a lot weaker both in mitigation/morale and potency of general abilities didn't seem as affective. Unfortunately it's not as solo effective as I remember it ;(
I think you will find that solo leveling an LM after Helm's Deep releases is a LOT easier then it is now. A lot of that comes from pets, particularly the Bog Lurker that you get at level 16, doing a LOT more damage and being able to hold aggro most of the time. You also get a self heal that works in any trait line as long as there is a handy mob to suck the life out of. :-) In the Beta, I leveled to 28 (so far) and was able to take on elites and do fellowships that previously only my Warden could handle at that level. In addition you can use either the Blue or Red line for rapid killing of normal mobs, and then switch to the Yellow line when you want to take on tougher content. Or just stick to the Yellow Line -- I've been sticking to that line most of the time since level 7, and the difference in killing speed between the other trait lines is so barely noticeable. Anyways, I think you will be very pleasantly surprised at how nice the LM will become for leveling.
LMs are highly solo effective you just have to trait according and use your skills to your greatest advantages.
Thanks for the info. I can't say I'm super excited to see how the changes sound on paper. I'll try them once they're live. DPS sounds fun I guess.
With the changes to pets and pet buffs, does pet food still add to the pets, or is it not needed anymore?
Agreed. There's no Improved Staff Strike on Beta. No 5 sec stun on crit. No extra damage on flanking.
The max base damage for me on Live (with ISS) is 1369 with a 5 sec cooldown. On Beta, it is 1169 damage, same cooldown and power cost.
As for Sword and Storm, that triggers once per minute, and the extra damage is nothing to get excited about. From my parses, it appeared to be a constant 204 lightning damage each hit. (Note that this extra damage just gets you back up to the base damage of ISS on Live, for one strike.)
Improved Staff Sweep had a modest improvement in damage (from 1051 to 1118 for main hand strike, and from 715 to 782 for offhand), and is otherwise the same. It doesn't make up for the Improved Staff Strike nerf by any means.
Based on my parsing between Live and Beta (same level, same mobs, same area, same time limit), you likely will find that the melee portion of your damage will drop by 25% to 50%. A lot depends on how often you use Improved Staff-strike now. Admittedly, I use it a lot.
As a side note, an important thing to keep in mind when reading reports about Beta is to compare apples with apples.
If you are trying to compare a skill on Beta vs. Live, make sure you are comparing it on the basis of a identically-leveled and equipped character. In my case, a level 85 LM with the same Hytboldt armor and LI points distribution as on Live.
I've seen several reports about hitting harder and being stronger that turned out to be based on a leveled up character (91-95) with some new high stat armor or items (you will see substantially higher stats on items). Of course a character in that stage is going to be hitting harder than you do on Live now. Just like I hit harder now at 85 than I did at 75.
It gets to a larger question. Looks like they got rid of all the threat bonus buffs which would leave the bear as the only pet able to get it unless they also changed food. Also, catmint looks like it's designed to make a bear more tankish. So the question: do pets look like they'll make capable off-tanks, or even, and this is the big one for me, can you still jerry rig a bear into a main tank for smaller scale content?