On capstones/gamechangers being buffed

This is a copy of the post I made on reddit.

In a recent gameplay video, Bahroo revealed 1 point skills conventionally called ‘Gamechangers’ or ‘Capstones’ can now be buffed by classmods.

I really love this, and I wish this had been in BL2 or Presequel (imagine buffed Critical ascensi0n or Sponsored By). That said I think Gearbox needs to be careful in the way it is implemented.

Capstones and Gamechangers are referred as such because they are already powerful skills even at a single point. For example, Salvadors Lay Waste gives him 8% FR and 6% Crit damage, which is very powerful, but only at 5-10 points. Conversely, Keep Firing gives him 88% Fire Rate and 50% reload speed. If Lay Waste was buffed, it would have been insanely overpowered.

A prime example in BL3 would be Megavore which gives Fl4k 20% chance to autocrit. Many people have said how amazing it would be to buff it from 20% to 80% or even 100%. I mean sure it would become insanely strong, but also incredibly imbalanced. Not only would it invalidate the importance of aiming for crits (and Fade Away), it would also write the entire Fl4k meta. Basically, it would make any com that buffs Megavore, and the builds that utilize it to be so much more efficient than any other. Nisha experienced this in TPS - while she had so many great coms, players found no reason to use anything but the Crapshooter or CoE simply because it was too op. And that was only with a 60% Tombstone!

Or Amara’s Forceful Expression. At 18% it is pretty strong, effectively giving approximately 30% to 40% multiplicative damage, depending on elemental multipliers. However at 4-5 points, this would be come 150% to 200% multiplicative damage which is effectively passive! Every other Amara com and build would pale so much in comparison that it would writ her meta.

There are many other examples of how easy buffing capstones can become broken, like Death Follows Close, Tenacious Defense, The Power Within etc.

So I recommend that instead of +1 Capstone adding the full bonus, each point should improve the power of the capstone by an incremental amount. So +1 Megavore would give +5% to autocrit, and +4 for +20%, effectively giving Fl4k a 40% chance to autocrit, which is still overpowered, but not broken. And a similar system should apply for all 1 point skills.

Fl4k Megavore is already to strong (from watching some gameplay videos almost all hits from Torgue shotgun makes crit no matter where it lands) for 1 point. If this skill could be even 3 points then Raid bossess would die within 30 seconds…
"Video may contain spoilers for some viewers, at this certain time contains boss fight"
Fine example is here at 8:25 time stamp: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hf38ewx2bdA

I understand some vault hunters will be stronger than others but this in MY OPINION is broken…

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I mean I’m sure Megavore is doing what the card says ie only 20% of projectiles are critting, which is a good multiplicative buff, but not that insane. The main thing that allowed the torgue shotty to do that much damage to be done was megavores synergy with leave no trace, which allowed 5-8 shots to be fired before detonation. Which means Moze can probably do smth similar.

I’ll take overpowered characters over balanced characters eight days a week. Break us into godhood!

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Absolutely agreed. If I can be bothered to earn the right skills and farm the right gear, I deserve the power :sunglasses:: Let’s face it, the vast majority of players will only do a playthrough or two. Using the Steam BL2 stats as an indicator, only about a third of purchasers finished one playthrough! t’s going to be the minority of enthusiasts (like the people who post here :smiley: ) who are going to be in a position to make these “broken” builds. Good luck to us all!

I would’ve maxed out more characters in BL2 if the characters didn’t feel so weak in UVHM. As it was, the only character I got to max level was Maya, and that was in dogged pursuit of a goal - it had largely ceased to be enjoyable.

I’m not only hoping for overpowered characters, but also less ridiculously overpowered opposition. I don’t enjoy getting metaphorically groin stomped. Let that sort of masochism be purely optional rather than a barrier to endgame.

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I did grit my teeth and max all the characters solo. Except Zer0. I’m useless with Zer0 :anguished: I’m lucky in having a group of co-op friends. Co-op takes the edge off UVHM and, with them, I got multiple characters to L72/OP8.

However, you make an excellent general point. None of the BL2 characters, with the exception of Krieg, felt as powerful as the BL1 characters. At L69, Mordy can just throw out Bloodwing and watch everything die. As for Lil, only the very toughest of enemies stand a chance.

Personal view, I think BL1 concentrated on skills whereas BL2 was all about the guns. It looks to me like BL3 is moving the empahasis back to skills. Hence, the possibility of these powerful builds.

I saw some gameplay, earlier this week, of a Brawler-build Amara that may mean that Amara finally displaces Lil as my favourite VH after all these years. We’ll see :smiley:

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I don’t think it was a shift in focus personally. Skills wise they felt on par. The issue with BL2 was the number bloat as raw base stats increased rapidly and subsequent attempts to balance the game around these bloated values just made things worse.

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Disclaimer: When I refer to something as Broken/OP, I mean something that doesnt have a weakness or trade off. So making a glass cannon character to me isnt OP becuase youre trading damage for survivability. So someone like Nisha isnt broken. Now Grog Nozzle MS Salvador was Broken becuase he can do insane damage and not die without any investment. Now that we have that out the way…

IMO Broken/OP characters are boring and is damaging to co op games.

Imagine matchmaking in this game getting 3 money shot Salvador type chatacters. I’d rather have as many endgame viable builds as possible over any broken characters.

I love the Path of Exile approach. Find things that are.broken and nerf it and find things that are underpowered and buff it.

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But, what’s to come after lvl 50? The guardian points, paragon like grind is here in the meantime I think till we get to that point. With bl3, we know dlc is coming where maybe those capstone perks will be put to use. We don’t know what mayhem mode is either so we might need that power if it’s anything like the jump from NVHM to TVHM then to UVHM.

It’s one thing to be broken and op out the gate. That I agree is boring. Earning your op status through skill, gear and planning? I’ll be that God.

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However, you make an excellent general point. None of the BL2 characters, with the exception of Krieg, felt as powerful as the BL1 characters. At L69, Mordy can just throw out Bloodwing and watch everything die. As for Lil, only the very toughest of enemies stand a chance.

That’s because the endgame of BL1 didn’t scale at all - ie enemies didn’t become exponentially tougher as in BL2 and TPS and almost certainly in BL3. The characters in BL2 and TPS, and what looks to be BL3 are far more powerful than their BL1 counterparts. I don’t think this is an opinion - its an objective fact.

Personal view, I think BL1 concentrated on skills whereas BL2 was all about the guns. It looks to me like BL3 is moving the empahasis back to skills. Hence, the possibility of these powerful builds.

This too is objectively wrong. In BL1 skills were always very simple mechanistically - all dps skills were either passive or killskills. And while the numbers of the skills weren’t small, they could rarely reach the level that resulted in the extreme specialisation of the classes of the next 3 games. There’s a reason passive classmod boosts were so op in BL1 - its because the skills weren’t.

By comparison, in BL2 and TPS you could hit absolutely obscene numbers in DPS and survivability. Sure the guns got stronger too - but Zer0 with the Lyuda is a completely different beast from Axton. Why? Because of the skills. Likewise, no one can do what Jack can do with Jakobs Shotties, or Athena can with Hyperion ones, no one can break a Luck Cannon like Nisha can, or make the Orphan Maker into a Raid killer like Salvador, or abuse Tediore launchers as nukes like Krieg. Its not the guns - its the skills of the classes synergising with the guns. Conversely, strong guns ruled in BL1, a Defiler or UF Masher was a Defiler or UF Masher regardless which class you were - they are always gonna be amongst your strongest choices.

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I mean I am all for overpowered characters - the last thing I want is for BL3 is to be filled with anemically weak classes, Which was why I was very unhappy when they nerfed some of Zane’s skills. I mean there are plenty of overpowered classes across BL2 and TPS - Krieg, Salvador, Zer0, Athena, Jack. Nisha.

But there has to be an elegance to the way classes become overpowered. Throwing in a skill which allows you to score 100% autocrits all the time isn’t that. There has to be a balancing factor to skills which can be overcome by either special gear combinations or player skill. I mean if your sole aim was for classes to be overpowered, then why not just make every skill 1000% gun damage or 500% fire rate passively - sure you would steamroll the game, but where’s the fun in that?

And these huge numbers did exist in BL2 and TPS, believe it or not, you could hit 1000% crit damage, 1000% gun damage, 800% Fire Rate, 500% Elemental Damage and 600% magazine size in these games. But there was always a sort of elegance in it. A good example is Money Shot. The last shot gives you 1000% damage - but that meant you had to get to your last shot and couldn’t control when you could use it. But then Chuck80 discovered you could break 2 shot Jakob’s shotties with it - and the rest is history.

My main point is that alot of these capstones are passive buffs - and if they are too strong, they could throw the class off balance, and ruin the way they are played. Skills should encourage you to change the way you play and think of a character not just flat out make them overpowered from the get go.

  • We’ve seen already on the official skill builder that many skills give diminishing returns
  • as far as we’ve seen, 1-point skills will get +2 at most
  • not every skill has to have a class mod for it. We’ve seen in previous games that certain skills could not be boosted beyond default
  • something a lot of people noticed is that many capstones are not actually as insanely strong as before. I would assume balancing with COMs in mind has already been done.

True some skills in the past didn’t have class mod augments to them. I think a majority of those were 1 point abilities that did things like melee override or added a new feature or passive proc. This will probably hold true in BL3 as well as I don’t see things like say a class mod boosting Moze’s skill that adds a turret to iron bear that another player can occupy.

Not all capstones in the past were insanely strong either IMO. However looking at trees I feel like there is more implied skill synergy than before