However I feel like there's one ability that makes me uneasy no matter what I do to it and that is sin's Bat Strike ability. The amount of technical difficulties I have with this is to be honest, quite overloaded, and from my limited search on the forums it seems like this ability isn't getting enough attention from both the devs as well as the community itself.
Batstrike "sucks" but not from the perspective of it being a weak ability to deal damage with or a bad ability in terms of game design, but more of, as I said, technical limitation that has been applied onto the ability itself that made it more of a pointless chore than anything. Let me explain.
0. This is not a real issue to me, since it is on the 0. paragraph, but the description of batstrike lacks A LOT of info. Minion dmg, hp, etc...
1. Let's start with the whole concept first. You attack with Batstrike and release effect with normal attack. Sounds fine and manageable until we get deeper into the issues
- a. First issue I found is that Batstrike has some sort of chance to miss that seems to be unique only to Batstrike itself. I dont know if that's a bug or feature, but it seems like the aura sometimes refuses to be applied no matter what. It is completely inconsistent with her other abilities - both Shadow Refugee and Bloodbath apply on a single swing every time no problem, but this ability just refuses to give you additional charge sometimes, completely messing up your muscle memory and timing which is unfortunate because Bat Strike is like the only ability in the game that would benefit from consistent timing making it very counterproductive on its own. It doesn't seem to be related to enemy avoid or def, your attack rating, nor enemies running away from you. If this is a bug that can be worked around I would love to hear solution but as it currently stands it is a lost case.
b. Same applies to releasing the charge. Sometimes I tend to swing normal attack 5-6 times on a standing enemy with capped AR and no Avoid until it actually activates the ability. It really messes up with this ability timing badly. And I am not mentioning that releasing the charge is tied to weakest ability in the game, or rather lack of it.
c. Visuals. Batstrike charges are represented as 3 small dots orbing around sin. This might've worked in original diablo where there is not a lot of visual clutter. But this is median we're talking about, where fancy procs and abilities as well as hordes of mobs swarm around your character. The way the charges are represented just doesn't work in this version of the game, and combining it with previous issue, as well as the fact that higher level charges no longer release previous charges, add for a very frustrating yet common situation of you releasing a charge you didnt want to release.
2. Let's now talk about first charge. There's one thing that is quite a big issue.
- a. The visuals of first charge, the bat nova, are completely desynched from the nova that actually hits enemies. It seems like the damage is applied nearly instantenuous to all enemies in the area, knocking back all enemies the moment you hit with normal attack, meanwhile the bats seem to fly slowly and just pop onto enemies doing nothing. There was a lot of instances where I wanted to use the knockback as a safe way to gather more charges, but to my surprise bats were just not knocking back enemies which lead to a lot of deaths. It took few uses of this skill to realize that desynch, to say the least.
3. Second charge. Oh boi. Let's just ignore that it is the most awkward way to summon anything in this game because she is supposed to melee around anyway and focus on actual issues.
- a. The bats might have some impressive health stats and solid damage, but bats are just too slow to be meaningful. Assassin is the fastest moving character in this game, with additional stamina and 2 abilities that can increase her movement speed. The bats very often struggle to get to the enemies before they can do something meaningful and just are visual swarm that is always behind the sin. It can be worked around with teleport but wasting teleport just to make your bats useful is a death sentence to assassin.
b. Their AI. The worst offender. Bats are flying pets which sounds like one of the best perks a good summon can have, but unfortunately they suffer from something that I like to call "Bat AI". What that mean is that they like to do the bat things. They have some weird behaviour when they fairly commonly will do a motion where they move about 1/3 of the screen away from sin and then go back to her before they actually start attacking anything even if mobs are close to them. This is especially painful considering their extremely slow speed. There are also certain weird behaviour that make them go in straight line, usually opposite of sin's desired path, and they wont return to her until they go offscreen. And it seems like it has nothing to do with fear effect. I personally don't think most summons have such AI issues with this game but feel free to correct me here.
c. Their "Skill Synergy". Perfect being synergy seems to work and is very good at keeping them alive. Can't say the same about ways synergy. Imo it isn't well thought off. I am not talking about the fact that ways are very outdated passives that dont mesh with sin's trees in almost any way currently, I am talking about how these passives seem to not scale with bat's minion damage. I was very surprised to find out that, but minion damage only affects their physical damage and smaxing ways just for that synergy is absolutely not worth it. I tried even going full summon build just for these bats and ways bonus was so insignificant I finally decided to just go for things like Beacon and survivability for myself. Bats don't have any way to increase enemy elemental pierce so the whole synergy seems absolutely pointless and very outdated right now.
4. Outside of clunky charge mechanics, I actually don't have anything to complain about the 3rd charge. It's very strong when it works even if gets shat on teleporting enemies.
While I don't have any power to tell devs "pls fix this", I wished that this ability received some love not to the powerlevel, but to convenience in usability. Batstrike assassin, when it works properly, is one of biggest fun out here imo. It has very cool theme, is extremely flexible for single ability, and bat summons are kinda cute too. It is very fun because it is one of few builds that seem not completely braindead and could do it's job if it were to perform at its best.
Now, I am not dev and I wont tell anyone ways to fix this build, but I do have some suggestions that can be entirely scratched for better solutions:
- 1. Make the ability always apply the charge and charge release without that chance to randomly whiff. I don't know if it is unfixable bug, but with the "new" sigma engine I wish it to be fixed or if it can't be fixed, make the charges and releases also count on whiffs even if no enemy is around. Assassin already needs to invest multiple swings to activate this ability, I don't think that would make it very overpowered and if it did we can always tone down the damage on these abilities and summons.
2. Make the charge more visible. There's no best solution, but maybe making the charges appear above sin head, change in color for every level, or even have a different sound que for every charge, would fix the visual clutter issue.
3.Obviously make the visuals of bat nova match the actual nova speed;
4. Make bats much faster, or make them benefit from Shadow Refugee and Beacon.
5. Change their AI to another flying creature if it's possible. Bat AI seems to be extremely not in favour of the assassin with that random flying ai behaviour. If that can't be fixed, then maybe add more bats so that there's a bigger chance that bats will do anything.
6. Rework the ways synergy. Either make passives scalable with minion damage, or if summonsin is a very scary idea because having multiple ways to make a build for a certain ability is too much fun, then make them scale with either the claw passive or just sin damage just like the new bear does with bow druid. Or even give them just a completely different synergy such as a chance to activate bloodbath on strike for the assassin - this would help with the fingerbreaking playstyle. There's a lot that would make their synergy more interesting, even a simple elemental pierce on bats per hard point could possibly work.
7. Make the charge be also released with Crucify in addition to normal attack. Not very needed but I feel like Crucify needs a little help in having a purpose. I understand how you dont want to release Batstrike with Bloodbath, SR or Noctule, because sometimes you'd want to keep the charge, but as it currently stands Crucify is an ability that is never used after you get Noctule, or an Oskil for naginata. Doing so would give Crucify new purpose without making it compete with both noctue and OSkills.
Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk, please tell me how bad I am at the game.