This is going to be a bit of a lengthy post, discussing a lot of the issues I have with the passive skills available for classes. In this situation I’d like to discuss this issue on the side of necromancer, as I think it will serve the purpose of my argument reliably.
I personally love the passive tree system. It’s very easy to pick up and understand what’s happening. However, I’d like to talk about what ultimately hurts my enjoyment of this game. The game has its quirks, it’s bugs, complicated crafting, that’s all fine. The issue I have are the passive trees and how it feels like your character “never feels right”.
I touched up on this awhile back, but I’d like to talk about it. Let’s start off with the first row of the Acolyte tree. Your first three points available are either Blood Aura (You and minions deal 6% increased damage), Bone Aura (grants you and your minions 15 armor), and Forbidden Knowledge (1 intelligence and 15 necrotic protection).
At a first glance, You are immediately drawn towards either FK or BA, while they’re both strong, choosing one of them is always a trap. Say you take BA, this increases all damage you and your pets do, that’s great, you do more damage, now you suffer from taking a lot of damage if you take a hit. Then because of not having a certain amount of armor or hp based on the damage you take you’re more prone to stun… which is another stupid mechanic that shouldn’t exist, but that’s for another time. If you take FK, you’re then choosing a node that also doesn’t help protect you from damage, and doesn’t give as much damage as much as taking BA, but it makes your pets have more health. That’s fine and all, but what purpose is that? I’ve tried running tanky pet builds and it’s just terrible, you can’t deal any damage at all, You have no ability to kill things because pet hp means nothing if they can’t kill. So then your third choice is bonus armor… again, another trap. You take less damage, probably don’t get stunned when playing a necromancer… but your pets no don’t do any damage now.
I get that each talent is supposed to have this rewarding feel about it, but ultimately it feels like no matter what build you take, no matter what choice you make, you’re making the wrong one. Let’s look at another example…
In the new necromancy tree, you’re given the choice to go left, up the middle or to the right. The left caters towards ward allocation, and crit reliant builds, similar to frost archers with the new skeleton rework. the middle is just pure damage and armor shredding, while the right is all about increasing yours, and your minion’s, max hp, and getting more skeletons as a result. I took the right side because i wanted to try building into a pure skeleton build. Guess what, taking all these health nodes was a waste of time. I possess no damage despite having minion damage on most of my gear. Having +1 to skeletons doesn’t do ANYTHING if those skeletons are worthless to begin with. These talents are just traps. Nothing on the right side provides bonus damage, outside of +1 skeleton. So what’s the point of this entire side of the tree. If you try to play a blood wrait build of some kind, it feels terrible because even though they last for so long, they don’t do enough damage to warrant not building into damage.
I love the passive tree ideas and systems, I hate that the choices you make feel punishing 90% of the time. Very rarely has a choice felt 100% rewarding.