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Durenthal

State of the Knight 5.100

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It's been a while since we did one of these, mostly because nothing has really changed - all the problems we've mentioned over the past few years are still present.

Knight remains the worst solo class in the game, primarily due to a lack of self-sustain.

Knight remains a decent contributor to group play, primarily due to the chain pull and dodge pip steal abilities that let a group isolate an enemy target and burn him down.

With the change to 3m melee range (from 5m), melee characters are suffering more whiffs and misses than ever before, which tilts the playing field towards ranged at the moment, too.  Edit to add: The loss of surging spirit, demon's pact, and expansive mind really hurt knight as well.

Knight's toolkit and playstyle are fun, more fun than many of the more effective classes out there, and so people still play knight quite a bit, despite the fact that it mostly sucks.  Knight has been my main since the early greybox days of hunger dome.

There are three knight specs:  Swordsman (nominally the dps spec), Secutor (nominally the tankiest spec) and Sentinel (the CC-heavy spec).

Swordsman - the swordsman gets more AP than the other promotion classes, but only a little.  It generally has less AP than a similarly geared DPS Myrmidon or Champion, for instance, because it gets less AP from the talent tree.  The swordsman's primary dmg boost comes from the mighty surge power, which can be triggered by using a non-shield non-ranged attack power.  There are a few issues with this - it's not predictable when you're going to get it, as it doesn't trigger off every instance that it could; it has a pretty long internal cooldown; and it is only triggerable by one native knight power (the onslaught combo).  So you get a dps increase for LMB (only) attacks that can't be triggered on command and that leans on only a few powers granted by disciplines to trigger, which limits your discipline choices.   Other features of swordsman include a reduced cooldown time on the pursuit (charge) power, guaranteed critical hits on bleed ticks, and an increased critical hit chance.  

Secutor - the secutor is the shield spec for the knight. It has better anti-CC than the other specs (meaningless, really, with the ease of retaliate in the past few builds), more health than the other knight specs (1500 more), and more damage on shield attacks.  Given that most native knight powers are shield attacks, this holds promise.   It also introduces a different playstyle for knight, as the best damage on secutor comes from shield bash crits.  Shield bash is activated after using another shield power or 3 LMBs in a row, and is guaranteed to crit if it's been used in the past 5 seconds already.   So the playstyle for secutor is shield power - shield bash - shield power - shield bash - 3 LMBs - shield bash - shield power - shield bash etc.  If your target is willing to stand in front of you and let you constantly shield bash them (like, say, a target dummy), the damage is quite strong for a knight.   Secutor also takes reduced stamina drain from blocking, so they can last longer than the other specs when focused, although they still can't do anything but block while they block.

Sentinel - the CC spec.  With the current state of retaliate (everyone has all the retaliates they could ever want, really), CC builds are weak in general.  That said, the Sentinel does have some nice features.  They get an increased power efficient cap which lets them use maces (maces are too heavy and inefficient for the other specs).  Their chain pull has a slow, their charge gives them a stun, their shield slam adds a suppress, etc.  And they get a 15% dmg increase for a few seconds after stunning or knocking down an opponent.  Unlike the swordsman's mighty surge, this gives the knight a consistent way to trigger a dmg increase on demand.   It's not a big dmg increase, but it's consistent.

 

Now let's look at damage mitigation.   The knight wears plate, and with training and good gear can easily reach the mitigation cap of 65% to physical attacks.  They can generally also get about 50% resistance to the non-physical dmg types.   When a knight uses block, he can further reduce the dmg he takes by 50%.  So a knight blocking will take about 25% dmg from non-physical attacks and about 17% dmg from physical attacks.  But he can't do jack whilst blocking (compare this to the myrmidon and champion mitigations where they can continue to attack whilst enjoying their extra mitigation powers).    The knight has no self-sustain beyond a passive that grants a 16% heal once (4 4% ticks) when the knight falls below 20% health.  The lack of self-sustain is what is most crippling about knight.   With a pocket healer, a well-geared knight can do very well.  Without a healer, nope.  Compared to the other tanky classes, knight is pretty poor at overall damage mitigation.  The knight takes dmg slightly more slowly than the other tank classes (assuming he blocks and deals out no dmg of his own as a consequence), but can't recover any health.  Myrm has much better dmg mitigation from vengeance and berserk, and can still attack whilst using those.  Champion gets ridiculously good self-heals (especially pitfighter).  Templar healing (paladin in particular) is very strong.  All those classes will last longer in a real fight than a knight due to the self-sustain.  Healing beats armor in every case.

Ok, so what about damage?   More bad news here.  Knight dmg output is lower than the other "tanky" classes - myrmidon, champion, and templar, and by a significant margin.  The swordsman spec, which is nominally the dps spec for knight, does significantly less damage than the dps specs of those classes, with same quality gear.  And the same down the line for tank and cc specs.  

Knight is very gear-dependent.  With top end gear (epic or legendary everything) and end-game training, a knight can do quite well.  The gap between it and the other classes I'm comparing it to here is closer at end-game than it is earlier on in the game.  But it's definitely still a gap.

 

After all this negativity, why does anyone play knight?  Why do I play knight as my main?   Because knight is fun.  It feels good to play, if you ignore the constantly dying while solo part.  In a group, knight has a clear role (pull an opponent, steal its dodge pips, and help your group burn it down).  I honestly don't like that isolating and burning down a target is the be-all and end-all of Crowfall group combat, but as long as it is, the knight has a place in groups.

Edited by Durenthal

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Good write up. You have echoed many of the same concerns I have had in the past. Given that they have removed Surging Spirit, I would like to see the Sentinel promotion changed so that knights could spec for healing. There are several talents in the promotion that aren't close to worth their cost and could be replaced.

Grip Strength: The benefit of this talent only exists because of the enforced penalty of using a mace. You have to spend 3 talent points to make up for the weight penalty on the weapon the spec forces you to use. It's like a store raising their prices, then having a sale. Add this benefit to the Sentinel talent and replace it with something better.

Heartless and Pinning: The benefits of these talents are marginal and nowhere near worth the cost.

That's 9 talent points that could otherwise be spent on abilities which help make the knight a healer. Some ideas for replacements:

  • talent that gives support power (each point gives X)
  • talent that makes the Noble Blood barrier apply to the group (each point gives a percentage of the knight's barrier)
  • talent that gives Obliterate a leech effect (each point gives a % of the damage done by the bleed)

I would also consider changing Macemanship to provide healing bonus rather than damage bonus.

That would at least give knights one spec that has some sustain, and give knights an alternate play style.

 

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My gripes with Knight also really haven't changed since my last post :P BUT a more recent thing I've had a problem with is the Knight specs forcing you to either use a sword (1 spec) or a mace (other two specs). Why are Axes completely left out? Would be nice to see talent specs that expand knights usage of weapons rather than restricting them.

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31 minutes ago, cremdalacrem said:

My gripes with Knight also really haven't changed since my last post :P BUT a more recent thing I've had a problem with is the Knight specs forcing you to either use a sword (1 spec) or a mace (other two specs). Why are Axes completely left out? Would be nice to see talent specs that expand knights usage of weapons rather than restricting them.

Whatchu talkin' bout? You got the choice between a longsword or a shortsword :P

But no seriously, I don't like how Axes aren't useful for any Knight Builds. I loved my Master of Axes Knight build way back when. A lot of build diversity has either been removed or nerfed to the ground, and that makes me sad :(


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You Can't Be A Genius, If You Aren't The Slightest Bit Insane.

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i just wish they would make CC spec  viable in someway to make them stronger agaist retalite either by putting retaliate on CD for a few seconds when a CC spec class CC's you or having CC from said classes reduce stamina or something.


Veeshan Midst of UXA

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