Offical Phantom Army and Fire Imps Thread




Ok, too many PA and FI threads. Put your constructive opinion about it here. No flames or trolls or your comment will be removed. Try not to start long arguements, agree to disagree if you need to.

Other PA or FI threads will be locked.



So, when can we expect a dev to explain the rationale behind the PA nerf?

Illusion was the hybrid controller. Ice blaster's counterpart if you will. One gave up control for damage, the other damage for control. Many of us picked illusion for this reason, we liked the idea of a controller who could solo theri way out of a paper bag. You took illusion's damage without supplying adequate control powers to replacement. In essence, you puleld a bait and switch, taking away what many felt was the defining feature of the powerset.

Illusion doenst have staying power with its controls. It gets flash to deal with groups, thats it. Other controllers get ae immobs, disorients, mmultiple ae holds, etc. Flash is PB, and rather risky, esp w the inclusion of mobs that see through invis liek the Rikti drones.

PA was decent burst damage. There was downtime, random targetting issues, knockback, random number of PA's summoned, etc. In many occasions, it could be wonderful. In others, your PA's would fail to arrest, attack poorly, etc, leaving you running with an empty end bar and no exp, assuming you werent killed.

Illusion, because of mob healback, cant afford to take longer to arrest. Fire imps, which received the same level of nerf, are much less effected. The fire controller has otehr tools to lock his mobs in place while his imps go to town. They have to simply take a little longer. PA's damage becomes low, heals back, and then the mob poofs, transferring aggro to you.

Simply put, PA didnt deserve the same treatment fire imps got, and was MUCH more negatively impacted than imps.

Statesman said they are fine with people soloing, and fine with people's rates of exp. By your own admission, controllers arent that needed in groups, so why nerf the 2 controllers who were having a decent go of things. More importantly, why nerf the one who was less effective at soloing even MORE than the other? I realize they took the same damage, enrf, but as stated, the impact is much more painful on illusion.

Illusion now offers a group bad damage, and inferior control. We could contribute to a group with damage and some control before, beating a few enemies on our own (imagine... a hero beng a hero) to make up for our control shortcomings. Now we cant, and our control wasnt significantly upped.

The aggro management isnt nearly enough for a power used so infrequentyly, and even if it was, disorient/root and other RANGED ae control powers do a far superior job of locking things down that doesnt cause major knockback and rely on random mob AI.

This change is similar to letting ice balsters holds only work on +1 or less minions, and not upping their damage appropriately.

If you insisty on majorly impacting illusion's damage, upgrade its control siginificantly.

1) Give Spectral terror the upgrade terrify got. Include accuracy debuffs in there as well.

2) Remove knockback from phantasm and PA. They arent real, how are they making stuff fly 10 feet? Replace ti with knockdown. Its a better CC tool, and makes sense (guy things hes hit, falls down).

3) Reduce reuse timer on PA to 2 mins. Its up too infrequently to be an effective CC tool. Street sweeping or moving between rooms in missions with decent spawns will leave it down for a large number of the fights. The PA's dont move well between battles to simply run from one to the next. Moreover, when they poof, they transfer all aggro to the controller, making it a very poor choice to begin a fight with a PA that might poof shortly thereafter.

Again, I think changing the damage was a mistake. PA had the potential to be good damage, but was random, and cause plenty of problems (knockback, killing debuff anchors, aggroing other groups while chasing fleeing mobs, etc).



Your pets are supposed to control, not decimate.

If you think they aren't a competent replacement for the AE CC then you might have a point, but in reading most of the Dev's threads (and also noting that the name of your AT is CONTROLLER), I think you're barking up the wrong tree asking for your soloability/damage ability back.



Were PA modified such that they have hitpoints now? If not, perhaps they should get compensation for not getting the increased hitpoints that imps got.



Okay, I'll repost what I asked in my other thread:

Was PA nerfed because the dev team believed it was overpowered? Or was it just changed to "pet" class because of a blanket decision to change all pets to "pet" class?

In other words, does the dev team believe PA was overpowered?

Essentially, I'd like to hear from a dev on this. We've heard them make statements about Imps, but what about PA?



Fair enough, and this should clean up the boards - I feel sorry for you - they got REAL littered with the update hitting test...

Well to some it up We are shocked. All the other ATs got plusses while controllers got minuses. The two main ones to note are FC and Illusion *I'll discuss fulcrum later since it is truly a def main and only our secondary*.

FC were overpowered - everyone and them knew that - even so a 50% hit to damage is extremelt harsh - and very much a "low blow" to those who worked their way up to lvl 32. However even so FCs aren't too bad off since they still have excellent control powers, and imps are still effective - soloing just takes a bit longer - but far from really "breaking" the primary.

The main concern right now is Illusion. PA was hit with the nerf bat HARD. 50%? They don't do as much damage as people think. I remember the first time I saw them in action was in DA - a guy was teamed with me and I loved the damage I saw them initially do - but the guys werne't falling - the guy explained to me it was illusionary damaged and healed back. Eventually I still rolled a ill/kin because I was in love with the idea of having so many pets and Flash. Well Illusion is considered by most to be the ******* child of controllers - delving more into damage than CC - I've tried to show people the controlling powers, but even at that it still pales in comparison to the others. Well our main CC cornerstone is Phantom Army - but with the change to them - they have become...not useless...but their value has dropped TREMENDOUSLY. Dropping the damage on them affects us in every single way. They have a long recharge - we can't pull it out every fight - and the damage heals back *90% without enhancements I believe*. Wether we are soloing or in group play - we can't hold groups like other controllers, and now we can't even use damage as a form of CC - thinning the crowd so they are "beatable". Increasing the ACC is oh kai - but the trade off is definatly not worth it.

Illusionist adapt to the situation - we are good at it - so some of us have looked at how to make light of the changes but several things have come to light. If PA is to be used PURELy for CC instead of damage - then more needs to be changed to them - for instance a shorter recharge, longer time "out", or even attack a bit quicker - but in their current form - they really are lack luster - which is unfortuante for a class defining move. Please - reconsider the damage drop - or if te devs are persistent in dropping the damage - try to balance it by giving us the ability to use them when needed - our only other AoE hold not only is point blank - but has a 2 minute recharge - that means effectively we are only good for a hold of more than one person once every 2 minutes on average. We also drop off in fights as is because of the long recharge on our holds - so making our moves weaker makes us drop off even HARDER - turning us into second rate defenders.

Thisa leads to my other dislike - the change to fulcrum shift. This should prolly be discussed elswhere - but it is still relevenat since FC and Ill use them alot to help their pets. Essentially it has been ruined for ill. Phantasms are not "nice" in terms of staying close to the mobs - and you don't want to get in close to a mob to use fulcrum shift either - since you will eqsily get one rounded. If balance is an issue - get rid of double buffering - but essentially all that has done is FS has become a second siphon power that debuffs several mobs instead of one.

Throw in the new anti-stealth bad guys who can discover us trying to sneek a flash in, the ruomrs of blinding lts needing to be cast twice like they are bosses - and things just went down hill for arguably one of the arguably "most rewarding AT" - which according to the books etc - are suppose to be weak ealry on - but blossom into something special later. With the incoming raise in minion HP - I don't see us blossiming at all.




Modified Class for Fire Imps and Phantom Army. They were previously Minion Class and are now Pet class. This gives them less Damage, but more HP and 25% better accuracy.

Increased Threat Level of Decoy Phantasms and Spectral Army so they draw more agro (which is their job as decoys)

[/ QUOTE ]

Couple of points:

Is the Spectral Army above a typo for Phantom Army? Need to know if the threat level for Phantasm AND Phantom Army were raised.

There is a major difference in how this change effects the controllers. Phantom Army damage heals back 90% of base quickly, which means they are doing less permanant damage. Is the additional accuracy enough to make up for the short duration and long recharge time for a pet that does 50% less damage that heals back quickly? Plus, as pointed out, added HP for a pet that is indestructable isn't really a help.

I have no experience with Fire controllers, so don't know the specifics of the impact to their pets.

I understand this is fixing a mistake, but perhaps if the mistake had never been made a lot of controllers would have reported the pets not being up to par from the start. Everone got used to how a power, that we now find out was broken, worked. Are there any numbers out there that show PA was unbalancing as it was?

One other thing to consider is the Illusion Controller has far less in the way of crowd control options than their counterparts, so we rely on our pets quite a bit, especially if we want to solo without figting blues/greens. I personally like a challenge, but as it is, I'll never finish a fight with more than two yellow mobs in the time PA lasts (since my main damage is spectral as well).

Possible fix might be to lower the recharge time and increase the time PA is active. That way if they are truly meant to be agro magnets they keep agro longer. Another could be to add crowd control powers to the summoned PA themselves. Might be pretty helpful if after drawing agro the PA used flash or blind as well, helping lock down mobs. Not sure how overpowered that would be though.
Just my two cents.



Thankyou very much for showing we're not being ignored, Cuppa.

I guess since I'm an Illusionist I'll put my 2 inf forward about the current changes on test.

While I understand PA is easy to perceive as overpowered, many people never take into consideration the balancing factors of those heavy damage hits (and not all Illusionists slot PA for damage alone).

-- The biggest factor is illusory damage. The damage PA does simply does not STAY as big as the numbers that fly above a target's head. A substantial portion (90% un-enhanced) is regenerated/healed back by the target within 4-5 seconds, thus making PA a constant race to defeat targets before the damage done heals back too much. Now PA does 50% less damage, this has become a race impossible to win, furthered problematically by another point.

-- PA casts tend to favor 2's, then 3's, then very rarely, 4's.
2 Decoys struggle. 3 Decoys do a decent job. 4 Decoys tend to be a frightening force. With the change on test, 2 Decoys are an embarrasment (I cast on 2 white con minions and a yellow LT and PA didn't defeat a single one in their lifespan), 3 struggle now and the ultra rare 4 barely get the job done on small groups.

--PA's lifespan is the shortest of all pets. 45 seconds is a very small window to achieve results in and it's never a case of sit back and watch. An Illusionist is in with his PA and working to cover the targets PA ignores or defeat the targets PA has grown bored of. Even on live servers, PA's Attention Deficit Disorder can turn a straightforward fight into a problematic one. Add to this the 4 minute base recharge and with the changes on test, we've now got the shortest lifespanned, poorest damaging, highest end-cost to result pets in the game.
It's almost a case of 'is it worth it?' now

--Nature of 'pet' AI dictates that we have no control over PA and cannot tell them to target specifics. This means we're always fighting to cover mobs they don't, or in a group involving a boss, we might want them to concentrate on the big target but they're only interested in playing 'miss the minion'.

The fixes to the change affect only Fire imps in terms of an HP increase. Decoys are invulnerable, they have no HP to increase, so this change does nothing for PA. The 25% accuracy increase is not enough to sacrifice an accuracy SO (33%) since PA are myopic and need all the help they can get.
The aggro increase is just not needed. Solo, it's almost impossible to catch much aggro while PA is doing it's thing, and grouped, the AE from blasters and the aggro from tanks is already making any aggro a decoy can generate a moot point.

Most illusionists just can't see why we've taken such a huge shot in damage stakes for absolutely zero tangible benefit, and have had no increase in our sub-par CC skills.

Illusion was a true hybrid class, almost a unique identity in the game - the proper pet class, reliant on our pets because of the synergy between us. We've lost a large portion of that now because the pets just can't do what we need them to. The factors I illustrated above balanced things as they are in the live game. On test, they cripple us now.



I think it makes sense to classify all of the pets as <Pets>. It would be inconsistent if some pets were <Minions> and others were <Pets>. That having been said, I think Pets doing ~55% less damage than Minions is too harsh. It would make a lot more sense if pets did the same damage as minions but had a lower damage cap.

The bottom line is that I think that this fix hits Phantom Army too hard. I can't comment on Fire Imps because I've never used them. It would be good to see one of the following changes made to Phantom Army,

-Increase duration
-Reduce recharge time
-Increase damage
-Reduce endurance cost

Some combination of the above would bring Phantom Army back into balance. Too much was taken away and not enough given back.



I just want a duration increase on Phantom Army, nothing major, just so they have more staying power like the Fire Imps do, since the hit point increase doesn't affect them.



Have you tried it? I've heard from people that have used the powers in test that the pets are actually more powerful now (at least the fire imps). They can take several swings now, and hit more often.
Basically, test it, see if the change is actually for the bad, come up with numbers, and we can discuss.



A rationale for the change to PA would be appreciated. If they were simply overpowered along with the FI's, then just say so but the FI's were not balanced as roughly (net capabilities) and the minion/pet classification problem is difficult for me to understand.

I recently posted a request to add 15 secs to Phantom Army to make up for the irrelevant HP increase. I got mostly agreements. This would be an easy fix (i would hope) and at least mitigate the large change to damage output.



My PA definately shouldn't decimate, but I'd really like to be able to solo small groups of white or yellow mobs. The soloing is very slow compared to that of a damage dealing AT, the guys are only out for 45 seconds and then there's a 4 minute recharge.

If this change is really intended to keep controllers from soloing, then the PA needs to be changed to make it better at crowd control so that we can at least be useful in groups. This could be done with a mix of the following:

- Increase the time they last, or let us slot for that
- Shorten the recharge time
- Lessen the End cost (40% is a lot)

I would rather the damage they did last longer so that I could solo a little while trying to find a group, but if that's not to be please make this a useful enough power that groups want us.



OK first, I understand the need to limit the damage of the PA. It was overpowered. But with large decrease in damage should come a corresponding increase in duration or a decrease in recharge time and maybe a decrease in endurance cost with one of those two. The change going to be hard on lower level Illusionists.

Or as someone else suggested, maybe it should always create 4 phantoms. But, I'd prefer the former for consistent aggro management.



I posted before but lets start this off the drawbacks of this fix to Phantom Army.

1. Spectral Damage - 90% of the damage is healed back in 5 seconds, the damage reduction really hurts just about any damage aspect they did have.

2. The HP Boost - They are indestructable, so it wouldnt matter if they had 1 hp or 1,000,000. No benefit for this power.

3. ACC Bonus - Yes its better they hit, this didnt bother me.

Now things I have read (by other players) or things I have thought that *might* balance this issue with Phantom Army.

1. Change the damage reduced from 55% to closer to 25%
2. Change the damage they do to permenant rather than spectral.
3. Make it permently summons 4 phantoms instead of the 2 to 4 it does now.
4. Increase Duration, Reduce recycle time and Endurance cost.

Thats all that really struck me from other Illusion controllers. I might have missed other suggestions but you are correct that there was many many threads on this.



The main problem is: many people think a ~50% loss in damage for a 25% gain in ACC is not a fair trade.

The best teams right now are the small teams, 3-4 member in a group. The loss of damage is felt in these small groups. Esp without a AoE blaster.

In the higher-end hazard zones, mobs with 2 bosses and 2 liet's and a few minions are common. A Illusionist is busy just holding on to the bosses. If the liet's/minion are not defeat, only option at this point is decieve for us.



I'm not very familiar with fire imps so I will only comment on PA. It seems that all we get is a little ACC boost for loss of damage. Health is irrevalent (and really should have been separated in the note, think saying it was added to something that is invincible is a little misleading). PA still seems about the same for holding aggro (not much or for long once other people start attacking).

It used to feel that the strength of PA was a trade for the insane (for a pet) recharge time, short duration, and damage that heals back. Now, it seems that their usefulness has been somewhat axed. Yes, they can still tank and even do some damage (which heals back), but for the short time they are out, the tanking only really is good for the initial strike by MOBs.

To offset the change a little, I personally would like to see one or a combo of the following. I'm not suggesting drastic changes by any means. I defintiely don't believe the change is as horrible as others seem to think. It just seems kind of unnecessary to begin with though.

1) Less heal back of enemies to compensate for PA doing less damage.
2) Increase PA duration
3) Decrease PA recharge time



I would like to hear a little more about the controller philosophy. Is it or is it not an AT able to deal damage?

I have 2 controllers, one Earth one Illusion. I really enjoy the character concept behind my Earth controller but he is a real challenge to play as he is so group oriented. That's not a whine, just a fact. Some days I can have a lot of fun playing him if enough people from my SG are online of if I find a good pickup group but other days it's just painful to play him - a run of bad teams or no teams at all and I'll just be running around bored, because he simply cannot deal out enough damage to solo. I rolled my Illusion controller as a way to play a controller who could go solo at least some of the time. Soloing is a slow process for her but she can at least run missions and take on smaller street groups. She does tend to team a fair amount of the time because it's more fun but at least she is not forced to team all the time. I consider that a good example of balance, but I'm curious to hear what the devs think.

I got Phantom Army on the live server earlier this week and have been comparing it on the live and test servers. At lvl 18, without any DOs or SOs and only one enhancement slot, it's not an alpha strike power either way, but I did notice that on the test server the healback of the damage my Decoys inflicts seems way out of proportion. I didn't jot down the exact numbers but my sense was that 50% to 75% of the damage inflicted heals back very rapidly. That basically makes the PA a form of hold more than anything else, IMO. And a not very useful one. Blind or Flash are more reliable.

So the long and the short of it is I'd like to hear more about what the exact philosophy on why the changes were made to PA.



I don't have fire imps yet, but I'm one of the many grinding towards it. As such, I feel that if you are going to take away the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, it would be nice if you could chuck some spare change our way. Every fire controller is taking a double hit with the smoke and fire imp change. What's frustrating is that right now, as a lvl 20 fire/rad controller, I can barely kill a green troll minion, taking a great deal of effort and most of my end in the process. If imps and smoke is overpowered and needs the nerf, I can live with it. I like my controller and am not going to quit because of it. I feel very fortunate that I built my controller on Freedom, one of the busier servers. If there isn't at least 2 dots worth of load on the server, I don't even bother trying to play her. It's no fun standing around lft or trying to convince the few people on to join you. I'd like to be able to grind xp "capturing" opponents close to my level in missions or on the street in those cases where I can't get a team. But, right now, thats just not possible. Any solo effort is futile because none of my standard attacks do enough damage to be worthwhile. When I'm punching a gray minion with brawl because that's one of my better damage attacks, and having little effect, something is not right. Please sir, may we have a little more damage from Char, Ring of Fire or Fire cages. At least then I wouldn't feel like this second hand hero always depending on the kindness of others for my xp and fun.

Brimstone Angel
20 Fire/Rad