Why Amara’s Fist of the Elements tree needs some attention

So I’ve seen a few people comment on having issues with Amara’s FotE tree, particularly with the skills Sustainment and Infusion, so I decided to do some tests and see if I could find out what was going on. What I discovered was that several of her skills had some serious issues…

Sustainment: The Skill text states that Amara gains Life steal when she deals elemental damage with her weapon, healing 20% of the damage dealt when 5 skill points are invested.

In reality the health stolen has nothing to do with damage dealt and instead is entirely based on the damage listed on the weapon card. Yes, you read that right, your damage boosts from Tempest, your elemental damage boost relic, critical hits, and even enemies’ natural weaknesses to certain elements have no effect on the amount of life stolen.

So, let’s suppose you are playing as a Siren (in TVHM) with 5 points in Tempest and 5 points in Sustainment. If you shoot a fleshy-target (red health-bar) with a 1000 damage fire-element sniper rifle, you will deal 2275 damage to your target (1000dmg x 1.3 tempest boost x 1.75 enemy-weakness to fire) but your health regenerated with just be 200 (20% of 1000).

Incidentally, this also means that Sustainment only works with weapons that naturally have an element. Non-elemental weapons that have gained elemental damage (via Infusion and/or Forced Expression) gain no lifesteal due to the fact that their weapon card itself lists non-elemental damage. In fact, Infusion/Forced Expression have no effect (positive or negative) on Sustainment’s life steal when using elemental weapons either…

Given that the skill clearly states healing is based on “damage dealt” and not “base damage” I would hope that we can get this corrected by drawing attention to it.

Tempest: The Skill text states that (at level 5) Amara deals 30% extra elemental damage, with shock damage getting an additional 20% boost (50% damage boost in total).

In reality, shock damage is only getting half the boost it’s supposed to (+10% vs +20%, giving a total of +40% instead of +50%). Either the devs nerfed shock slightly and forgot to adjust the skill’s text, or they accidently coded the wrong value. Either way it ought to be an easy fix and hopefully gets addressed.

Infusion: The skill text states that a portion of the damage Amara deals with her weapons is converted into whatever element her action skill currently is

In reality… this skill actually does exactly what it states. Unfortunately though, it’s honestly a bad skill that will hurt more than it helps in almost any situation. If the skill gave additional damage (like Forced Expression) it would be perfectly usable, but since you actually have to give up weapon damage (that ideally should be matching the enemies weakness) for a less effective element you are only hurting your combat efficiency. An argument could be made that adding shock damage might save you a bit of time that would otherwise be spent swapping weapons to drain shields but Forceful Expression gets that job done perfectly fine on low-capacity shields, and if you’re fighting a shielded boss you really should just be swapping to your shock weapon to deal with their bulkier shields. Same argument applies if you’re using Infusion just to spread multiple different DoTs via Conflux and Wildfire; you’d get the same result (without giving up any damage) by just running Forceful Expression.

Samsara: (Not a FotE skill but felt it warranted a quick mention) The skill states that you are granted a stack of Samsara each time you damage an enemy with your action skill. WIth a 3 point investment, each stack grants 5% bonus damage and regenerates 5% of your max health per second. Stacks last for 20 seconds and you can have a max of 5 stacks at a time.

In reality, at 5 stacks the healing is nowhere near 25% of max health per second. It seems that they mistyped the healing effect, and it is actually coded to function similar to the Clarity skill where the healing is a percentage of your missing health and not a percentage of your max health. You can observe this by watching the health regen drastically drop as you approach max health; on my lvl 37 Amara she was only regenerating 1 health per second as she approached max health even though she had 5 stacks of Samsara.

Given how powerful this skill is anyways I don’t think it should be changed to be a percentage of max health, but the text should be adjusted to reflect what it actually does. Additionally Phasegrasp (and it’s variants) need some love with this skill… none of the Phasegrasp variants (except Fist Over Matter) will grant Samsara stacks even when you’re running the Revelation augment to add nova damage to your action skill.

That’s really all I’ve got for now, there are a few other quirks I’ve noticed but they’re relatively minor and related to Amara’s other skill trees. For example, you can aim phaselock at the ground to activate Helping Hands’ damage reduction without expending your action skill. Conversely Helping Hands currently can’t be refreshed before its effect expires, so if you activate your action skill a second time via the Avatar skill you’ll miss out on the Helping Hands boost. Now if Gearbox sees this and they fix exploit without also fixing the inability to refresh Helping Hands I’ll cry…

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