Unconditional Ascendencies balance discussion (with a focus on necromancer)

TLDR: Some constructive criticism about balancing ascendencies and minions if they keep the recent monster changes.

As far as I can see, Necromancer and Deadeye are the only Ascendencies where players can invest all 8 points into 'unconditional' nodes. Meaning nodes that have no conditions that need to be met to achieve their power.

(Conditional nodes say things like: 'nearby', 'recently', 'hit', cycling bonuses, using flask, etc.)

I argue that these conditional ascendencies lose a lot now that the game has so much more AOE ground effects, monster HP, requirements for players to manually dodge, and such things.

Further, I've been PoB'ing lots of skeleton, SRS, phantasm, zombie, spectre builds using different ascendencies. In almost all skill/item/passive combos, you can switch to necro and straight up double your DPS, as well as dramatically increase minion health.

Eg: Raider SRS vs Necro SRS: https://pastebin.com/3G22NefK

This is all fine, as long as the tradeoff gives you something in return (usually defences or utility).

Unfortunately, most of the defences and utility bonuses are conditional as well, and my experience in game is that defences, utility, regen, etc. mean almost nothing in the current state of the game.
My opinion of the current state of the game is that there is no room for subtlety past white maps. You either stack enough DPS and raw defensive stats to kill everything quick and survive the 'no counterplay' oneshots, or you can write off endgame content.

Consider the content you are facing:
Abyss, beasts, syndicate and many more encounters spawn countless, high HP/immortal allies, while having ground effects that kill you and you cannot affect in any way. So unless you are out DPSing their spawns and running raw EHP for yourself and your minions: either you'll die, or your HP based minions will get wiped quicker than you can replenish them, you'll run out of mana, pots, or simply take forever to wear them down. The game becomes a frustrating experience using temporary/HP based minions without DPS. The changes to monster balance and terrain also means that far more tanky build options are negated.
Increasing ground effects negates block and evasion
Increasing corpse explosions negates curses
Increasing monster density and spawning negates situational defences like decoy totem or frost wall
Increasing teleport monsters negates move speed or things like frost wall
Increasing AOE and terrain that kills you negates phasing
Increasing monster base HP and damage means mods get amplified, giving a disproportionate incentive to the kill fast or be killed option vs the build defenses option.

I've also found that stacking minion defences does almost nothing compared to stacking minion HP. I've given them evasion, armour, higher max resists, used decoy totems, given them knockback, used curse auras, stacked freeze and slow, and none of it keeps them alive vs the whole screen clusterf*#k of explosions, ground effects, etc. (None of it keeps my toon alive either)

So in the raider PoB example above, I can run Elemental proliferation for freeze, purity auras, grace, enfeeble and temporal chains and minions still die vs the necro's 20% more health keeping them alive. I can put in a minion life gem link and they die vs if I put in a minion damage link they kill the enemy before they can die. A 6 link minion with auras, Ice bite and elemental proliferation performs worse too often compared to a 4 link minion with raw stats from, say, a +2 levels helm.

Proposed changes
- Make the conditional ascendencies less common, or give them more chance to be useful in the new state of the game, which sees more monster HP, more terrain effects, more ground effects, longer fights and more categorisation of builds as either perfect or useless.
- Get rid of most of the explosions and ground effects that negate any of the subtle aspects of the game and give too much incentive to glass DPS at all costs.
- Make the subtle aspects of the game (I mean curses, evasion, dodge, block) have an effect on ground effects, terrain, unkillable monster spawns, etc. so they become more meaningful choices.
- Give life based minions the chance to compete with immortal minions by making them more resistant to being AOE wiped out by every second boss, mob, map feature or encounter.
Last bumped on May 18, 2020, 12:40:39 AM
Minion defenses are quite unrewarding as minion offense does boost the caster with both Attack speed and raw damage through tree nodes which seems to be the correct strategy.

As minions cannot be directly controlled where to go, AOE becomes the most deadly mechanic to them.

Minions should passively take less damage from AOE attacks in general.

Minion life nodes can be introduced that affect the caster or Spiritual aid like node for minion life/ES with 20% ratio can be implemented.

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