We have stated our intention to replace some skills in Last Epoch which we regard as placeholders. Two of the most commonly discussed examples are Fire Shield and Ice Ward, which we believe are fundamentally too passive to exist in the form of active skills. The functionality offered by these skills and their trees will instead be made available through class passives, trees for other skills, unique items, and possibly other sources.
Some of the feedback we have received regarding these plans is that skills which provide ‘always there’ bonuses can be fun - as they contribute to the power fantasy that is integral to an ARPG, and facilitate your character doing multiple things at the same time.
We agree with these points. For us the issue is not that Fire Shield and Ice Ward provide passive, ongoing benefits to your character, but that they fail to do anything else. To put that another way, we are not opposed to skills with passive elements - we just don’t believe that Fire Shield and Ice Ward are particularly good examples of such a skill.
We are currently designing the specialization tree for a new spell. Static will be added to the Spellblade’s arsenal in a future patch, and incorporates both a passive element and an activatable component. This combines the enjoyable aspect of something passively happening while your character is actively casting other abilities, with the decision making and more active engagement associated with a skill you use while in combat.
2 second cooldown
Gain stacks of Static Charge while moving and taking hits.
Activate to Discharge lightning tendrils at 5 nearby enemies.
Damage increases with stacks. Max 100 stacks.
Full-sized skill art
It is our intention to implement Static and its specialization tree as part of the same update at some point in the near future - possibly as early as Patch 0.7.3, which will be released later this month. Additional skills with passive elements will be implemented in future patches. This includes another Mage skill, Flame Ward, which will most directly replace Fire Shield and Ice Ward. Flame Ward will have a shorter duration than its predecessors. We’ll go into greater detail regarding our plans for Flame Ward closer to its release.
At its core, Static is an active skill which allows you to cast it frequently for moderate damage, or infrequently as a higher damage ability. Unlike other skills, Static does not ask that you make these decisions when deciding on your character’s build - it is a choice you make during the moment-to-moment gameplay, affording you the freedom to use it however you believe to be most prudent at the time. We believe this flexibility represents a much better design than the ‘fire and forget’ nature of older passive abilities.