Here are the marauder top 3 answers to the questions raised by class representatives for post patch 2.7.
Marauder Top 3 Answers! | 03.11.2014, 04:23 PM
Below you will find the answers to your top 3, relayed from the Combat Team. Thanks!
Carnage revolves around the ability to anticipate, plan, and execute periods of burst damage. However, carnage suffers from an inability to fully capitalize on Gore windows due to two distinct issues: Slaughter RNG and the excessive susceptibility to stuns/knockbacks. Due to the RNG design of Slaughter, any unplanned Ataru strikes (i.e those not originating from Massacre) have the potential to replace an available Gore with a Gore from Slaughter, essentially denying a second burst DPS window. Allowing the Gore from Slaughter to activate only when Gore is on cooldown, for instance, would resolve some of the negative aspects of RNG. Second, Gore windows are exceedingly vulnerable to stuns and knockbacks, especially in PVP where these counters are more readily available than Gore itself. Adding a level of protection to Gore windows would further encourage the use of Carnage in competitive PVP and, subsequently, would require a more skillful use of stuns and knockback counters. For example, Gore could be altered so that it remains as a temporary static buff until direct damage is initiated, at which point the 4.5 second window would commence. This would increase the damage potential of carnage and would require players to use stuns and knockbacks more skillfully.
Is this inability to fully capitalize on Gore windows intentional and, if so, what is the reasoning behind this decision?
To answer the question, yes and no.
When the Slaughter/Hand of Justice skill was first designed, it did not originally reset the cooldown on Gore/Precision Slash. After some play-testing, the thought was that players would just sit on their free Vicious Throw/Dispatch until Gore/Precision Slash was available, so we made the skill reset the cooldown of Gore/Precision Slash as well (to keep players from feeling like they needed to hold off on using Vicious Throw/Dispatch until their Gore/Precision Slash buff was active). The Gore/Precision Slash cooldown resets triggered by unplanned Ataru Form strikes was not thoughtfully intended, but rather, it is a byproduct of making sure Marauders/Sentinels do not have to hold off on using Vicious Throw/Dispatch until their Gore/Precision Slash comes off cooldown. However, we did not plan to make Gore/Precision Slash harder to use by resetting its cooldown, because the Slaughter/Hand of Justice skill was primarily focused on resetting Vicious Throw’s/Dispatch’s cooldown rather than Gore’s/Precision Slash’s cooldown.
As for the difficulties presented by various forms of crowd control, that is intended. We will continue to keep our eyes on Marauder/Sentinel and how their overall performance is in PvP. If we feel that they are being outperformed by many of the other classes, we might consider having Gore/Precision Slash grant a few charges with a longer duration that get consumed when damage is dealt to help Marauders/Sentinels use Gore/Precision Slash to its full effect.
According to the response given in the Jedi Sentinel forums, the development team stated that Annihilation was intended to be the superior spec for sustained DPS. However, this does not hold true when comparing Annihilation to Carnage and hybrid DPS OPs parses. This discrepancy is due to Annihilation’s lack of on demand DPS required with target switches. The developer response in the Jedi Sentinel forums regarding Annihilator stacks and buff duration promises to address some of these issues. However, the community feels that additional changes are required. For example, Annihilate could be improved to do bonus damage on bleeding targets or apply a separate bleed. Furthermore, Annihilation DoTs could feature better protection against cleanses and/or provide better options for application/reapplication, such as a bonus effect added to the Pulverize/Rupture reset mechanic (i.e. Annihilate stacks, cooldown reduction, reduced rage costs, crit rating boost etc).
Does the development team believe that the design of Annihilation as a sustained DPS spec is performing as expected, especially in a PVE/PVP environment that favors burst damage and target switches?
We are not completely satisfied with how Annihilation/Watchman performs. In a vacuum, where no movement is required and the stars align, Annihilation/Watchman is capable of dishing out some massive sustained damage, but that is not the world in which SWTOR gets played. We do intend to make some changes to Annihilation/Watchman in order to improve its performance in both PvE and PvP, but we are not ready to discuss any of the specifics. As we work to improve the performance of Annihilation, we will definitely consider the suggestions made in your question!
Given the recent changes to the Undying Rage mechanic and the future plans to tone down the AOE damage output of Rage, Marauders are potentially faced with limited options for competitive gameplay. Annihilation greatly suffers from the changes to Undying Rage, as self heals are essentially negated by the backend health cost. Implementing a 3rd party healing debuff with the original front end health cost, for instance, would provide a balance to Undying Rage while keeping Annihilation survivability intact (outside heals are lessened, self heals are not penalized). Furthermore, the changes proposed in patch 2.7 undermine the viability of Rage as an AOE specialization. By allowing Shockwaves originating from Force Crush to affect secondary targets, for instance, Rage can provide some potential for AOE damage. As is, Patch 2.7 threatens to transform Rage into a lackluster single target DPS spec. Meanwhile, Annihilation will continue to suffer from DPS ramp up/target switching issues, and diminished survivability due to the Undying Rage changes.
Given the redesign of Undying Rage and the proposed changes to Rage in patch 2.7, can the combat team comment on the future intentions for Marauder specializations, especially as they pertain to performance in competitive gameplay and to the developer comments (see below) regarding AOE based specs?
Even with the changes in Game Update 2.7, Rage/Focus looks to remain the burst damage leader among the Marauder/Sentinel specializations (and in PvE, the AoE damage remains unchanged). Meanwhile, Carnage/Combat doesn’t trail too far behind Rage/Focus in the burst damage department, while also providing more sustained damage – assuming the Marauder/Sentinel is able to stick to his/her enemy target long enough to get the job done. Annihilation/Watchman is meant to provide pressure with its sustained damage, but it might require a boost to get this job done properly. For example, we might consider giving Annihilation/Watchman the same kind of periodic damage protection we gave to Madness/Balance Assassins/Shadows and Sorcerers/Sages.
The changes made to Undying Rage/Guarded by the Force were necessary to bring Marauders/Sentinels down a notch and give other classes and enemy NPCs a fighting chance against a Marauder/Sentinel that is being backed by a healer. The negative impact these changes have had on Annihilation/Watchman self-healing is an unfortunate side effect. We might consider making a change to allow Annihilation/Watchman healing to thrive while Undying Rage/Guarded by the Force is active, but due to engine limitations it would probably not be possible to have it work as described in your question.