Thanks for the post.
The honest answer is our plan for the skill is to discuss it at a future design meeting. Since you’re interested in the skill, I’ll talk about some of the design challenges we face with it.
Any skill system needs to consistently work the same way for every skill. Our specialization trees have certain requirements. Each skill needs to do something prior to any nodes on the specialization tree being taken. There has to be a sizable number of ways in which to modify the skill. The base functionality cannot be too complete a package, or else being able to add to it causes problems. In short, we need a certain amount of design space.
By default, Black Hole offers both damage and a crowd control effect. The crowd control effect is one of the best in the game in terms of increasing the caster’s survivability when properly utilized (and utilized outside of the somewhat contrived Arena zones). The ‘pull’ effect also concentrates enemies, making Area of Effect skills more effective against them.
The issue with Black Hole was that it easily rivalled 20 point skills prior to having any points invested into it. There’s a few adjustments we could make. I think the two most realistic are either having it not deal damage by default so that it is balanced purely as a crowd control skill which can be given some damage through the tree, or alternatively have both damage and the pull effect - though with both being somewhat anemic without investment.
Having it not deal damage by default somewhat redefines the skill - making it more focused, and helps to justify its iconic pull effect being more powerful initially. The tree could offer branches associated with different damage types, allowing you to opt-in to dealing damage with it - and if so, choosing what kind of damage to deal. That could be interesting.
Giving it both damage and crowd control by default but having both feeling weak would keep it more ‘intact’ thematically, but result in it being less exciting to unlock. This would also mean having more nodes which just make numbers bigger. While there’s a place for these nodes, they don’t keep anyone up at night - we want to limit how many of them we have.
Personally, I lean in favor of it not dealing damage by default. Our skill system is at its best when baseline skill effects are focused and powerful. Black Hole tries to do a lot straight away, and this has balance implications while also making the tree awkward to design. But that’s just my take as an individual; I’m not speaking for the team here. What do you think?