You are questing on *insert name of planet here*and ahead you see a lone elite npc blocking your path. You charge into battle and discover there were another three npcs, two of them elites, around the corner. Do you:
a) Cackle with glee and rain death and destruction down on all and sundry?
b) Blow all your cooldowns and hope for the best?
c) Vanish and get the hell out of there?
d) Resign yourself to another long wait for the resurrection cooldown?
If you answered:
a) Congratulations, you are playing a Trooper or Bounty Hunter.
b) You are playing almost anything else.
c) Stealth classes rule.
d) Sentinel and Marauder really suck, don’t they?
First of all, let me just go on record as saying that playing a Sentinel isn’t hard. Levelling up anything is pretty simple as long as you avoid all the heroic quests; but Gallandro, my Sentinel, hit 50 last night and having already levelled Commando, Sage, Scoundrel and Guardian to 50 (and Vanguard to 41) I’ve definitely had a harder time on the Sentinel than anything else. Don’t believe me? I’ll prove it with science!
Stuff other classes have that Sentinels don’t:
1. Heavy Armour.
3. Self healing.
4. Crowd control.
5. Healing companion.
6. Combat resets.
Stuff Sentinels have that other classes don’t:
1. Er… dual-wielding? Oh right, Gunslingers and Mercenaries. Ok, you got me.
Playing a Guardian is almost as bad, in fact until you get Doc on Balmorra it’s pretty terrible too. Once you get him, however, it’s plain sailing, since he can easily handle the steady damage you take because you’re wearing the Bismark strapped to your chest. Sentinels on the other hand, struggle even with Doc around, because medium armour sucks donkey balls and Sentinels take a ferocious beating. Every other class can either avoid trouble, reduce the number of active opponents, dictate the range at which combat begins, knock out entire groups in one shot, outheal the incoming damage or weather it, or a combination of all the above. Some can do almost all of the above combined, yes Troopers/Bounty Hunters, I’m looking at you. A Sentinel has to kill everything. One at a time. In melee range where everything can hit him. And everything does.
Something else I noticed too. Gallandro has the luxury of having a rich family who have level 400 everything at their disposal. So his gear was always the best (or as close to it) as it could be. Despite this, I couldn’t help but notice that Doc, in his starter greens with no helmet, implants or earpiece, had almost 1000 more health than Gallandro in his best in slot levelling gear. It wasn’t until around level 46ish that I had more health than a healing companion in castoff greens. And I was the one taking the beatings. Seriously Bioware, what the fuck?
Actually, looking at the 1.2 patch notes it seems like someone agrees with me. The following changes are the ones that directly affect your ability to kill stuff faster, take more damage or handle large groups of enemies. Things that, for example, Troopers get just by a) being Troopers and b) using Mortar Volley.
- Awe no longer costs Focus to activate.
- Dispatch can now be used on targets at or below 30% of maximum health (up from 20%).
- Force Kick no longer costs Focus to activate.
- Master Strike can no longer be interrupted.
- Force Camouflage now additionally reduces all damage taken by 50% while active.
- Pacify no longer has a Focus cost and is no longer limited by the global cooldown.
- Zen (while in Ataru Form) now additionally reduces the Focus cost and global cooldown of Cyclone Slash.
- Focused Pursuit has been replaced by Focused Leap, which increases the Focus generated by Force Leap.
- Force Fade no longer grants damage reduction while Force Camouflage is active. It now increases the duration of Force Camouflage by 1 second per point and increases the movement speed bonus of Force Camouflage by 10% per point.
- Ataru Form damage effects (procs) now deal weapon-based damage instead of Force-based damage. The overall damage of these effects has been increased by approximately 10%.
- Ataru Form now correctly triggers when fighting very large targets.
In fact, you could scrap almost all of that, leave us the Dispatch, Cyclone Slash and Force Camouflage changes and I’d be pretty happy. Everything else is just icing on the cake. With lightsabres for candles. There’s another major buff to Sentinel/Marauder playability that isn’t obvious from just looking at the Class notes, however. Before I get to it, I realise that about halfway up this blog entry, those of you for whom Doctor Sheldon Cooper is a role model had to resist the urge to leap straight to the comments and remind me that C2-N2, your ship droid, can heal. Well sure he can, but since he comes with zero gear you first have to be prepared to spend a butt-ton of cash on the Trade Network to equip him properly with all that money you accumulated now you’re level 16 shut up you idiots, C2-N2 is not a valid healing companion. If you have to go to great expense to make something work with tools that aren’t given to you out of the box when no other class in the game needs to, it’s not a solution, it’s a band aid. But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? Is that… yes I do believe it’s a ship crew droid, with gear equipped in all slots, fresh out of the box. Why thank you patch 1.2, this looks like it might be a healing companion at level 16 or thereabouts. Fuck you, Troopers! (Yes, I know. Bounty Hunters. Mako. Level 8. Bah!)
See, these are the kind of patch notes I like to see. Unlike certain other developers, Biowares’ response to something they perceive as an imbalance isn’t to automatically nerf the bejesus out of the Haves, rather they prefer to buff the Have Nots if at all possible. Giving is always better than taking away, unless you’re on the pvp forums of course, but some things are eternal. The sky is blue. Water is wet. People on pvp forums cry like the whiny little bitches they are. C’est la vie.
P.S. Nothing whatsoever to do with Star Wars, but I need to share this:
Yes, really. Starfish Hitler. God bless the Japanese!