Hey there! This is my massive suggestion for a sweeping rework of Shield Rush’s skill tree.
Let me give my quick reason for why I’ve done this. Simply put, I don’t like Shield Rush’s skill tree. It feels like a skill that’s more catered toward the Paladin and Forge Guard fantasy, and yet most of its tree is dedicated to Void Knight related things. In addition, some of the mechanics just don’t feel great to use. After asking other players and finding out that many of them also don’t enjoy Shield Rush, I took it upon myself to start this project.
As a note, this was originally a project that also included reworking Lunge slightly. However, my changes for Lunge aren’t as major, and are mostly focused on injecting more Void Knight themed things into the skill, while these Shield Rush changes aim for the opposite. Mechanics like Desynchronous Charge are things I enjoy, for example, but think would fit more on Lunge, so I’ve removed them from Shield Rush’s concept.
Moving forward I had a few specific goals with this project:
- Add more Forge Guard and Paladin themed nodes to the Shield Rush skilltree
- Put in a non-commital option akin to Desynchronous Charge that fits in better with the other themes
- Allow the Rush part of Shield Rush to have build options as opposed to just the explosion at the end
- Introduce interesting new mechanics that are unique and offer more reasons to try Shield Rush
- Open up new build synergies between Shield Rush and other skills
With that intro done, I think it’s about time I got into the skill tree. To help guide you along, here is my rough draft of all the connections, complete with self-made icons in order to understand how all the new nodes connect to one-another!
Now, let’s move on to the actual skill node descriptions. The first part after introducing them will be my notes about what they do, as well as mental ramblings about potential adjustments. Then, my reasoning behind each node comes afterwards. Different branches/themes are separated by double lines.
Note: Variables marked as X scale with the point investment in a node, while variables marked as Y are static no matter the investment. Set values surrounded by brackets scale per point. If a description has multiple X variables, they are not the same value, it just means that they all scale. Also, no concepts are exact and could easily be shifted and changed as desired.
Charging Gale [0/X]
- X% increased charge area of effect. X% increased cooldown length.
This node sets up for a few other new nodes on this tree that are reliant on the charge’s size. That’s about it, really. I decided it should have a downside of cooldown length to punish quick dashes and reward longer, well-aimed ones, since it fits in more with the playstyles that would often take this node.
Heavy Rush [0/X]
- X% increased charge damage. X% reduced charging speed
This node is similar to one that’s already on the tree, but the new reduced charging speed is essential for further nodes
Consuming Storm [0/1]
- Enemies you hit are carried with you during your charge. [Maybe give X% less damage taken per enemy you’re carrying, up to a cap, otherwise I think this node would just kill people constantly, even with the neat damage nodes that follow]
This node has a lot of interesting uses. First off, it can be used to gather up enemies for whatever reason you’d like, but it also sets up for the upcoming nodes that continue to punish enemies that you’ve caught. As for my thoughts on potentially lowering damage depending on the amount of enemies you’re dragging, it would reward well aimed charges rather than punishing them by blowing the player up when they gather a crowd of enemies. Although maybe that should be the risk of faster clear.
Recurring Gale [0/1]
- X% less damage on hit. Enemies carried by your charge are hit every second. [Maybe an additional line that adds a further damage penalty if an enemy is caught by a Projection]
As said prior, Consuming Storm sets up for future nodes, this being one of them. Enemies are scooped up and then repeatedly battered as you drag them on your quest.
Bladed Current [0/X]
- The hit rate of the charge is increased by X% of your attack speed. [maybe X% reduced/less damage on hit too or increased mana cost or even increased damage taken while charging]
This node is to further turn the charge into a source of damage. I’m unsure what I want the downside to be, but I think it needs one. Out of the ones I listed, I think taking more damage while charging makes the most sense when it comes to risk/reward.
Blazing Crusade [0/X]
- While charging, nearby enemies [scales with the AoE of the charge] take a large amount of fire spell damage over time. This node and those beyond it do not work with Projected Rush. X% more damage over time. [Maybe allow it to work with Projected Rush, but have it do far less damage, unsure]
This node is one of my favorite ideas. Gathering up enemies and proceeding to melt them in your righteous aura just seems like it would be very satisfying to use. In addition, you could use it alongside Recurring Gale to continuously inflict ignites and further increase your damage over time while charging.
Forsaken Crusader [0/1]
- Nearby enemies take void damage over time instead.
The void beams that are in the current Shield Rush tree are an interesting concept, but they don’t feel good mechanically. This node is to give the option for a dark DoT rush that feels great. In addition, a low cooldown insta-cast Abyssal Echoes could synergize quite well with this, gathering up enemies, and echoing them, then allowing the recurring hits while dashing to proc the burst alongside another strong void DoT.
Rush Mastery - Unchanged
Same thing as before, just a nice mana efficiency node.
Clear the Way [0/X]
- Enemies hit by your charge are pushed to the side X meters. Does not work with Consuming Storm.
This allows the player to either push enemies off of their teammates, create a safe passafe, or provide some self-peel while trying to escape a pack. Admittedly I’m unsure on this node, but I’ve kept it in the concept anyway. Nothing wrong with tossing out a few more ideas.
Lead the Charge - [0/X]
- X% increased charging speed. Allies that stay near you while you charge gain X% more movement speed. This buff lingers on allies for a few seconds after leaving the buff area, but not on you. This node and all nodes beyond it do not work with Projected Rush.
This is really the first major supporting node that I’ve added. A key fantasy of charging in with a shield, for me at least, involves not being the only one charging in! While this node is mostly support and party focused, it can benefit forge guards that are taking a summoning path when it comes to keeping minions nearby, and the increased movement speed alone is nice.
Bolstering Rush - [0/X]
- You and nearby allies take X% less damage while you charge. Allies maintain this buff for a few seconds after leaving the buff area or when the charge ends, but you do not.
Yet another buff skill that also works well solo. This helps you protect allies, while also making playstyles such as Blazing Crusade and Recurring Gale create less risk to the player.
Blessed Shield [0/1]
- The wider hit at the end of Shield Rush no longer deals damage. You emit a holy nova that heals yourself and nearby allies when the charge ends instead. Increases to the wider hit’s damage now increase the nova’s healing effectiveness. Increases to the wider hit’s area of effect now increase the nova’s size.
If you’re looking to be a support, having a big damage explosion at the end of your skill may not be that appealing to you. You might prefer to have a giant heal explosion instead! This node helps when heroically charging in to save allies, but it can also be used after gaining some space for yourself for a nice health boost.
Divine Intervention [0/3]
- Your healing nova pushes enemies to the edge of the nova and applies X stacks of slow.
This, once again, goes along with the idea of heroically charging in to save allies, pushing enemies away alongside the heal from the prior node to give much needed health and safety. It can also work well as a panic button for when you’re surrounded.
Projected Rush [0/1]
- X% reduced base mana cost. X% less damage. Rather than charging, you now project an image of yourself that uses Shield Rush toward the target location. [Unsure which nodes from the tree should or should not apply to this. Basic nodes that apply to the charge and wider hit should work, but the others are up for debate]
This node arose out of a dislike for Desynchronous Charge, but a desire to keep a non-commital version of Shield Rush in the game. I think this version fits in more with the sort of divine fantasy, as protective projections and emittals of divine energy are common tropes among Paladins. I do still like the idea of blinking back after a move, though, so I will be putting the Desynchronous theme in my list of desired Lunge additions, which I will post at a later date.
Phantom Phalanx [0/4]
- Release +X additional projections. Additional projections charge side by side and can hit the same target. X% less damage. [Needs another downside possibly, but unsure if it should be increased cooldown or increased mana cost]
Rather than focusing in on the second, continuous damage focused part of this branch, this node aims to emit a large amount of projections while keeping Shield Rush’s cooldown. This can be used to create space against approaching enemies for spellcasting and throwing builds, while also opening up the potential for a massive amount of damage if aimed and placed correctly.
- You can only release 1 projection. Cooldown removed. Projections can no longer push enemies.
This is the response to Rush of Sacrifice not being on my reworked tree. As said, I liked the non-commital shield rush style, but didn’t like how void knight focused it was. This offers the player a way to sort of… shoot themself as a projectile. While this projectile can’t carry enemies, it still serves as a ranged damage option that scales with melee bonuses, and can still cause a lot of damage if aimed properly.
- Shield Rush can’t deal void damage. X% increased projection size, area of effect, and stun chance.
This is for people who want to focus in on the projection locking enemies down via stun, opening up the potential of guaranteeing that an enemy is hit by both the projection’s dash and the explosion at the end. It bans the use of void damage to further push the “holy” or “pure” idea of the projection.
- Projections charge continuously in the target direction and never use the wider hit. Shield Charge no longer requires a shield. X% more damage.
This node alters projections to no longer be able to explode, but allows them to just keep on sprinting into the sunset. It also retains a quality from Dark Dash, which I removed on my verison of the skill tree, allowing players to utilize other weapon types. This fit to me because the explosion at the end of a charge, in my mind, is quite tied to the shield. If there’s no more explosions, the shield is no longer needed.
- +X additional void damage on hit.
This node adds corruption to the charge, gaining a chunk of void damage that helps to further augment the dashing projections.
Warrior’s Entrance - Unchanged
Oh hey, it’s the same!
Splintering Impact - Unchanged
It’s also the same… sort of… it leads to Aftershock now, which is the new “Echo” tree that’s more focused around Forge Guard themes.
Critical Rush [0/3]
- Altered slightly. Shield Rush has +[2%] increased critical strike chance, doubled for the wider hit at the end. Moved to be a bridge between Splintering Impact and Brutal Momentum.
Pretty similar to before, but it helps the dash now too.
Obliterating Rush [0/3]
- Altered slightly. Shield Rush has X% additional critical strike multiplier, doubled for the wider hit at the end.
Same adjustment as Critical Rush.
- [Echoes of the charge, but slightly different.] The wider hit at the end of Shield Rush deals 20% less damage, but leaves behind an area of Agitated Earth, which erupts after 1 second, dealing the damage of the wider hit again. Aftershock also retains other effects granted to the wider hit. Doesn’t work with Blessed Shield. This node works with Projected Rush, but nodes beyond it do not.
This is the new “Echo” skill. Once again, Shield Rush had way too much Void Knight influence before, when Void Knight is hardly a shield class. I really wanted to add more Paladin and Forge Guard related stuff, and this serves as the latter. There’s also more of a delay than the prior version of the skill.
- Aftershock deals 50% less damage, but triggers [+1] additional times. Doesn’t work with Prolonged Battle.
A neat gameplay adjustment to Aftershock to continuously deal DPS with your shield explosion.
- X% increased cooldown recovery speed. Additional Aftershocks trigger X% faster.
Just an augment to Earthquake to further solidify its playstyle.
- Aftershock deals +X additional fire damage and has X% increased critical strike multiplier.
Given that I wanted some Forge Guard influence on this skill, having some flat fire damage added on made sense to me. The crit multiplier could be removed, but I don’t think it’s too harmful or overpowered.
Warlord’s Domain [0/X]
- You and allies gain Y% increased physical and fire damage while standing on Agitated Earth. Agitated Earth lingers for +X seconds after erupting.
This creates another way to buff your allies, albeit one that’s more offensive than the other support nodes, once more playing into the fantasy of charging and fighting with your teammates.
- A Fissure opens among the Agitated Earth, dealing high fire damage to enemies standing on it. Aftershock now deals fire spell damage with X base damage. All relevant damage increasing nodes still apply.
The purpose of this node is to open up more spell options for Sentinel, which are currently lacking at the moment. It also would just feel really cool, at least in my opinion.
Perpetual Conflict [0/X]
- Each time you use a skill on Agitated Earth, it resets the normally 1 second countdown on Aftershock and then causes the Aftershock to deal X% more damage when it eventually erupts. The countdown can be reset a maximum of 5 times.
This node is both useful for extending the duration of the Warlord’s Domain buff, while also opening up a powerful burst option, albeit with a long delay.
War’s End [0/1]
- Aftershock always crits if you’ve reset its countdown the maximum amount of times.
This rewards patient players that want to get the most out of their aftershock. Auto-crits also open up interesting build and affix options, as seen in the new Rive skill tree.
And that’s that! Please give me some feedback about my ideas, and post any ideas you’d also want to see in a Shield Rush rework. We can all work together to improve this skill!