How can you Balance Anointed Army?

Devoted Clerics need to be strong now. Yesterday Asterdahl confirmed on the Arcgames forum that the Anointed Army daily will be looked at “soonish”. Although no change is imminent, it’s clear now that the reign of the power will only last so long. So I’d like to discuss what the issues are and how you could properly balance it.

Just wanted to chime in and state that anointed army has been on our radar for a long time, we were talking about making changes as early as during development of Fangbreaker. There won’t be an adjustment coming with Module 11, but it is something we’d like to address. I’m happy to see so many of you in favor of a change and the team absolutely appreciates all of your passionate feedback, both for and against any adjustments.Asterdahl

Damage Immunity and Buffs

In case you’re unfamiliar with Anointed Army, here’s a quick rundown. It grants a significant amount of Power to nearby allies and makes them immune to damage for up to four hits, dependent on AA’s rank. This combination of buff and damage immunity makes DCs mandatory members of any party, at least much better than any replacement. Most builds nowadays focus around AP gain to be able to spam the daily constantly. In an ideal case a DC can even make a party essentially invulnerable. People are jokingly referring to the power as “DC bubble”, hinting at a similar problem with the Paladin’s Divine Protector daily that got fixed in April 2016.

I get this is a sensitive topic for some folks out there. AA DCs are such an inherent part of the current meta that you have no choice but to use it. You can’t blame people to rely on the power and hence having invested time and money to max out builds. A change would not only be a nerf, but probably warrant a reshuffle. New artifacts, new gear, new enchantments… Anointed Army could soon create an annoyed army of DCs.

Why is AA broken?

The power however is simply too strong. The reason for its current state is simple. Looking at the history of overpowered powers and feats, it always comes down to a combination of the following facts:

  • It allows to run content more efficiently using a single class than a mixed group
  • The power is the best choice in any situation
  • It allows to skip boss mechanics or renders them useless
  • No skill is involved

Anointed Army indeed meets most of that criteria. It grants allies a massive amount of damage buff and protects them at the same time. It’s simply doing too much and hence presents a much better option than anything else. No matter whether you want to heal, buff or do damage, AA is a must. Then it has no skill component, you just have to activate it. Additionally it cancels stuff like “Call of Winter”, which was clearly designed as a wipe in case groups do not follow the intended mechanics.

How can you rework it?

Now let’s talk about reworks that might make sense here. In my opinion you either have to raise the skill bar to keep the current benefits or nerf either the buff or the protection component.

More skill

So how about stealing a trick from the HR and make it a daily that only costs 25% of your AP and has to be targeted onto a player. That way, the DCs could still buff all four party members, just not themselves. Targeting in Neverwinter’s action combat is no joke and it would need a considerable amount of effort and skill to keep the buff active for all teammates.

No AP gain while active

There’s another easy way out here in scratching AP gain while the daily is active. Hallowed Ground has received the same treatment so that it can’t become a permanent buff. Most would probably still use Anointed Army over HG in that case, but at least the flat 35% damage reduction of HG would be something to consider versus a potentially shorter four-hit immunity. Even then the power buff would still be too strong though.

Nerf the buff

If you want to keep the power an auto-activation then some of its utility has to go. The easiest way to deal with the power buff is to just reduce it. However the issue with the buff is that it scales way too well with a high power build. Clerics are very one-dimensional in a way that buffers just need an insane amount of the power stat and transfer it to allies through a Feat, an At-Will and the Daily. Now if you make the buff a flat one, we run into the problem that such a daily already exists with Hallowed Ground. So I’d probably go with something completely different like a significant buff to Critical Strike, Recovery and/or Action Point Gain. Those stats still indirectly buff the DPS of the party or raid.

Nerf the protection

The main issue of the protection is that most boss fights feature slow attacks that deal massive damage. AA is great against those. In Castle Never DCs can recast AA before the boss has attacked the tank four times. Obviously there’s a little bit more going on in fights like Svardborg, but the issue remains for DPS nonetheless. Basically they do not have to care about not taking damage at all. At any time DPS at least can take four hits before they need to react. That’s a huge feat, because it covers almost all “emergency” situations.

I’m not completely opposed to such a power. The Hunter Ranger has a similar one with Fox’s Cunning, but Anointed Army is Fox times four. What I would like to see is the blessings to also fall off over time regardless whether targets took damage and lose some of their effectiveness. I’m note sure about the overall duration of AA, but let’s say it’s ten seconds. If a blessing fell off every 2.5 seconds and lost 10% of its damage reduction, teammates would get considerable less protection over its duration. If an emergency happened at eight seconds into AA, the power would only be able to suck up one hit at 70%, not all four at 100%. This would force the DC to cast the daily more timely.

We again need to look towards Hallowed Ground, which already offers a sizeable Damage Reduction over its duration. You need to make AA a shorter-lived, yet more potent, buff. In theory it is, but the way boss fights are structured it’s not really the case. That’s why I would add an auto-expire to the blessings.


In the wake of Asterdahl’s comments, these are my initial thoughts on the Anointed Army daily. Do you have own suggestions or even think the power does not need to be changed? Share your thoughts in the comments below or visit the corresponding thread on our message board.

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j0Shi

j0Shi

j0Shi plays the Neverwinter MMORPG since the open BETA in 2013 and is a regular contributor to the blog and the whole UN:Project. Originally a Guardian Fighter, he has built up ALTs of all classes and plays on BIS/near-BIS level.

19 thoughts on “How can you Balance Anointed Army?

  • Avatar
    February 8, 2017 at 8:34 am
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    How about CD after daily usage for all classes? It would fix daily spam problem in PvP as well. Snail and other stuff would still profitable as we can use another daily power when AP will be ready. Would be more fun to see something else than AA all the time.

    Reply
    • j0Shi
      February 9, 2017 at 5:35 am
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      I think AP Gain is another problem of this game, but a separate issue. Even then AA would still be the best choice in most cases imho.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    February 8, 2017 at 7:01 pm
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    If you nerf the protection aspect of AA, which is it’s primary use, then you have to look at other ways to increase damage mitigation in the melee fighting classes. The Orcus fight is a good example. Orcus does so much damage that most melee characters cannot survive the hit with out AA. Even when they move to a far corner it will take most of their hp. So tread lightly with this thought or you will make the newer dungeons unbeatable by a balanced party. or a DPS heavy party.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      February 9, 2017 at 5:11 am
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      Thats why you need tank for Orcus. Have done CN with my OP friend right after his class nerf, without cleric. We wiped when he screwed his rotation but then done it without problem. In CN you dont need AA spam to survive. All you need is good tank who can handle aggro and not die easily after one hit from Orcus. mSVA is a problem since some people dont give a fuck about its mechanics such a ice dot circles. I think its doable without AA but need good players to do that not just greared dumbasses who pull everything on group. Most groups run cheese because they are made from random people from zerg channels or even people taken from zone. Its more safe to bring 2 AA spammers there than risk fail.

      Reply
      • Avatar
        February 9, 2017 at 5:26 am
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        While I agree with not always needing aa clerics to make u immune, it is unfortunately necessary as like u said either people don’t care or they just simply don’t know. Who h essentially comes down to the majority of templates base not reading stuff. Take Nova for example, he runs a channel and then posts a video of his first run in msva and admits he doesn’t know anything about the mechanics. The problem is peeps don’t want to think when playing, they ask for harder content but what they mean is not more complicated, they mean they just want to wreck shit that’s tougher. And it’s very frustrating to try to find a capable group, waiting one hour and then they either fail bot win and everyone drops out and I’m like wtf. The idea of sva is nice and challenging but not with that player base that nw has but unfortunately a f2p game comes at a price….

        Reply
  • Avatar
    February 9, 2017 at 12:26 am
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    Yes yes, just nerf everything, already no one wants to play clerics… lol

    Reply
    • j0Shi
      February 9, 2017 at 5:39 am
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      Let’s not hyperbole. A downgraded AA is not going to mean the end to all DCs. Groups still need their protection and healing.

      Reply
      • Avatar
        February 16, 2017 at 1:55 am
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        Sorry, this is a mismatch: Buff/Debuff doesn´t mean protection. For me as a cleric the protection of anointed army is a nice side effect. To play a DC for healing is geting more and more senseless (except areas where people get damaged permanently like in Demorgogon) as players using life steal/potions/whatever.
        Finally I´m going for Buff/Debuff and this works well.

        In general I think (and I see that every day): Players with the protection by AA doesn´t give a s**t where they´re standing and where to move. Same with the Bubble before, nobody cares about red areas on the ground.

        Reply
  • Avatar
    February 9, 2017 at 3:45 am
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    More nerfs thats exactly what we need so fun ! ffs What about GF damage ? Its insane and noone talk about it… GF shouldnt be first paingivers !! And what about overpowered GWF ? Just ballance all classes no nerfs bullshit.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    February 9, 2017 at 4:29 am
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    How about DC powers, feats and offhand bonuses broken since mod 6 and devs not care about it for FEW years?!

    They broke another bunch of feats and powers in mod 10.
    AA – was one of them: 4 hits with 90% idr become immunity, also power not drops when mobs hit it.

    After GF “rework” none of their buff not scale with stats, that mean GF Buffer gearing – uselsess.

    Please, devs, nerf DC like GF and dont forget to nerf OP again, so we can back to 5 DD groups and left any “garbage classes” like GF/OP/DC with their quest, since thay need 4-5 more time to do daily quest.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    February 9, 2017 at 7:31 am
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    Everything I do on my DC/OP and GF takes immeasureably longer than on my DPS classes. The only thing I can take solice in is that when it comes to running dungeons and MSVA the role is reversed and I actually get to run more regularly and feel like I contribute. My DPS characters do the daily quickly but wait their turn for dungeon runs.
    Its all about a balance. Otherwise the game becomes the realm of DPS only and no one will be making/running the support classes as there is no benefit or reward for spending that extra bit of time.
    A good, tanky GF or power DC does so at the expense of other skills and they will struggle (in terms of time) doing their daily grind or spend gold swapping out enchants etc, the same applies to OP and DC so before you wave the magical wand of nerfdom consider the bigger picture please!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    February 9, 2017 at 9:31 am
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    I don’t think the power buff needs the nerf the old AA where it gave 90% reduced 4 hits, this is what it should be imo. The thing that needs the nerf is the protection part of AA. AA’s power buff already got nerfed a while ago anyway now it only works with base power.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    February 9, 2017 at 9:33 am
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    U know what the funny part of all this is? DC’s brought this upon themselves. How u ask? Well remember when the bubble of the op got nerfed? That was because DC’s were whining about now being useless, now no one needs op’s for sva/msva and now we have the exact same outcry from them. You won’t hear a dps class saying yes please nerf the aa power of the dc. Exact same thing happened when the cw’s were top dps. And this will continue and continue and continue until the envy and greed of being best stops. Just play ur class the way you like and stop comparing everything all the time.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    February 12, 2017 at 7:12 am
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    Remove the damage mitigation and CC immunity portions of AA entirely, and then add those properties to the Divine Armor daily (which is currently useless) and then turn off AP gain while the reworked Divine Armor is active. Leave the Power buff on AA. This will take away the potency of being able to ignore all game mechanics (because you’d have to properly time you DA), AA would still be an extremely viable option for buffing party damage, and DO DCs wouldn’t be shunned anymore (as much)

    Reply
    • Avatar
      February 13, 2017 at 2:19 am
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      There would be no need to turn off AP gain for divine armor as that was already done in mod 3. That was the first time perma dailies were adressed as an issue and persistent dailis got AP gain removed while active. Affected were Divine Armor, Hallowed Ground, and Lurker’s Assault at first and also Tyranical Threat later on. Too bad they forgot about that idea by the time pallies rolled around…

      As far as AA goes, giving immunity is as we all know a bug, and for the buff the main culprit is bondings for multiplying said buff by 4. Without that multiplication HG would outperform AA as a damage buff with any realistic amount of stat points.

      The one thing I don’t want to see is them going after power buffs one by and nerfing them each in turn going DC>OP>SW. Only to one day make something else that also works off the bondings and finaly getting around to fixing those only to nerf by then already nerfed things to a quarter of themselves.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    February 12, 2017 at 8:14 am
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    Here’s another thought for nerfing the protection that I just had: AA absorbs 4 hits as it does now, but after absorbing a hit the player suffers 10% of the absorbed damage each second for the next 10 seconds. Instead of getting one-shot by a 200k boss hit they bleed 20k per second for 10 seconds; which is much more heal-able- but it would still require healing, instead of just ignoring the damage entirely.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    February 16, 2017 at 11:48 am
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    They kill the game this is a pay to win game the grind is from other world i mean 1000 cn runs no shard 1000 demogorgon runs no 5+ brutality the good stuff it drop now from dungeaons since key changes are bount to account you can even sell it on ps4 sometime it takes forever to find a good dc for fbi now they want to nerf dc is like the palaheal they die nobody want them they are bored and is useless and at the of fbi they drop you shit

    Reply
  • Avatar
    February 17, 2017 at 6:17 am
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    I play a DC full time and honestly, as much as it pains me, make the AA nerf. Focus on power share reduction rather than protection or protection rather than power share. I just want to know that things are going to get fixed before their is an effort to nerf something. Some of our feats are not working as originally intended, fix those in the same patch and I can live with whatever the change is.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    March 3, 2017 at 5:55 am
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    Then the problem is the way the developers have designed the Boss mechanics. Back in the day when bosses spawned endless adds, being able to take 3 hits at level 60 (the old max character level), AA was not all that, and the long-ago abolished diminishing returns of gear stats meant that base power was nowhere near current levels. In those days, an Astral Shield inside a Hallowed Ground was considered the ultimate, must-have defence buffs.

    Of course, they nerfed both of those long ago. Mod 5, IIRC. No wonder AA and AC DCs took over form DO DCs.

    Reply

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