I haven't posted here forever, but I was considering making a comeback for this season starting with my favorite character, the Summoner Necro-subclass. I won't lie, I haven't played since before the 2017 build started, so I may be completely incorrect in my assumptions here, so feel free to correct me where I have erred. Having said this, I just read the Necromancer changes and almost died laughing! I actually thought the dev team would do something constructive to help buff the “Summoner” so that this sub-class wasn’t completely useless against some of the harder ubers without a complete respec.
From my understanding on how to play a Summoner (and from my personal experience with this build), this sub-class has notoriously lower than normal (aka not-survivable) defense and health, and no block. They have no solid skill-based attack which they can benefit from LAEK or Life Steal. They literally rely on their minions to not only defend them, but make attacks for them. So, what happens when you reduce the available number of minions to a Summoner build? Without delving too deeply into the math, you reduce the damage the Summoner is capable of and reduce his defenses; reducing the damage is bad because that means less enemies are killed with means the minions take ‘moar’ damage and die faster, and reducing his defenses by reducing minion count is even worse because that means more monsters can break through and hit the Necromancer. For a build already terribly slow at farming, and not all that effective at half of the ubers, this patch seems to have effectively killed the Summoner sub-build from what I can see.
Void Archon: fixed a bug which made it immune to physical damage
So my understanding of this patch note is that VA was literally immune to physical damage, is that correct? Of course, if this change was accidentally introduced within the 2017 patches, then by all means, fix it! However if it’s always been like that, then tell me what you think happens when you take an aggressive front-line AI summon and reduce his resistance to taking damage by 100%? VA was not only a solid tank for the Summoner, but a necessary defense provider for the entire army. Without more information, it's difficult to say rather this was the right choice or not, but on the outset, it seems to have been a poor choice and I could be wrong, but wasn’t Void nerfed in the 2017 version patch as well? Something to do with its DR% lowered? It seems to me the dev team envisions Void becoming the defacto Rathma’s Chosen (more on this in a moment
reanimate chance reduced by 50% to alleviate screen clutter
no longer has collision with other minions, so he can enter combat more efficiently
Hostile Veil king no longer uses his one shot attack on Hatred and Terror
Receives 20% less elemental damage
Reduced how many of the mini minions he produces without buffing their health or damage to compensate? Now the Summoner has an even smaller army to help alleviate his damage woes. VK himself receives 20% less elemental damage to compensate, okay, however I'd argue that the point was clearly missed about minions being a Summoners bread and butter; his attack and defense.
Lamia: slow target reduced by 66%, health increased by 35%.
So let’s see here, make Void die faster so his slow cannot be relied upon, lower the minion count so the available minions take more damage, then reduce Lamias slow as well, but buff their life turning them into mostly useless meat shields. Lamia’s always died first anyway because they were so squishy, and I doubt adding 35% life will make them live much longer, especially when there are less overall minions, i.e. more damage coming at them.
Rathma's Chosen: Howling & Death's fury totems damage reduction bonus is now only active while the Chosen is nearby
Shoehorn players into taking RC, since it is a critical requirement of the Summoner that allows the army to sustain itself. Here’s a ProTip: the less enemies means the less damage the minion army takes, so reduce your damage source = less monsters dead = more damage to entire army (and Necro). Combined with the other changes and this build has effectively become extremely difficult to play and ineffective at ubers at best, or an upcoming meme at worst. Those two totems without any nerfs were ESSENTIAL to every Summoners army for dealing damage, which means that without RC, the necro army is effectively neutered. So it seems the decision was made to force Summoners to take RC. This is unfortunate, as I think most players who played Summoners took Death Ward in the deeper ubers as a means of survival to complete those ubers, and I personally used to love the synergy between DFT and Jinns. By restricting choice… scratch that… by completely removing the choices players can make, one of the most diversified and funnest classes has been retooled into what appears to be nothing but a support class. Clearly the goal of the dev team here was to reduce the synergistic bonuses from multiple players, but this change was not the solution. Obviously, a better change would have been to leave DFT and Howling Totem as it was, but retool the bonus (if possible) to apply only to minions, reanimates, and the necromancer himself.
Extra Necromancer minions stat has been reduced across all items. Necromancers will still have the largest possible summon army, as it fits the class, but now it won't cause as many performance issues for others
Already been mentioned here by me, but by reducing the army without buffing the minions, they (the minions) will take more damage per square foot of space on screen meaning they will in fact die faster. I’m all for reducing the army size to improve online and TCP/IP performance, but not without factoring in the repercussions of doing that. I’m curious as to what calculations the devs used to derive these nerfs as necessary balance tweaks from. My guess is the average players #of minions and average damage given was calculated, and then the damage was reduced on a spreadsheet to reach the goals for these nerfs (across the board to all classes), and after taking into consideration the added damage from totems, the damage desired still couldn’t be reached without reducing the minion count to unacceptably low numbers, so by allowing the necro army to keep the bonuses at a level 90+ with RC, on the outset this prevented the early game from being too easy and the synergies between multiple parties from overlapping however, clearly these changes were implemented without thinking of the broader ramifications of what these effects would have on the Summoner as a whole (lower army count with same life), not to mention the appeal of uber diversity vs shoehorning.
Now let’s play a round of “fix this/fix that”. Suppose the minion’s health was decidedly the key factor to the necro armies’ survival, so to compensate for the reduction of the army size, it’s buffed. Well, this doesn’t solve anything because the minions will still be taking massive damage because they will be unable to kill the monsters dealing them damage without the full effects of the two nerfed totems. So, say to fix this, it’s decided that the minion’s physical damage also needs to be increased so the army can have more survivability. Well, this means that the Summoner will have to invest heavily into Fireheart totem as a secondary source of damage if he chooses not to use RC without the elemental +% from DFT to kill physical immunes, but this is counterintuitive to a Summoner build (might as well make a Totemancer), and will reduce his overall army size so, another poor band-aid choice IMO. My suggestion instead would be to reverse the changes to the totems and retool the bonus (if possible) to apply only to minions, reanimates, and the necromancer himself, and buff the minion’s life to account for the reduced army size. Without these changes, I’m afraid that this build is now DOA. Oh, and I could be wrong, but wasn't Talons Hold also nerfed in a previous 2017 patch? I could be wrong.