BM/MC, Aura mechanics and builds and MC Suggestion

I've been building, playing, and planning an Aura character for the past 2 weeks in Domination. It's been interesting and I learned a lot about the game and I've had my ups and downs and so on.

First, let me preface this by saying that I have no problem with the Aura change in general, except that I hope the devs know that it probably has the effect of buffing party play over solo play. Social games have a stickiness that solo games don't, though, so I'm not here to complain about that.

I also think the design of auras is still a smart one over the old version, but I do think that it is seriously imbalanced in terms of risk v reward for would-be BM users.

What I think is excellent is that the aura nodes are placed so it is difficult to get most of them. Because of most of the mechanics, though, you get increasing returns on additional nodes. More reduced nodes = more auras, and more efficacy nodes = more desire to run more auras, etc. But you sacrifice a lot to get them so you aren't OP for free. But with auras being stronger as they are, you also aren't gimped. Although I built as a "support character" I've been able to solo very effectively; not Kripp effectively, and not even quite as good as a guildmate's purpose-built stunlock marauder, but enough to effectively solo 66-69 maps so far and farm Piety relatively quickly and easily.

However, I initially expected I'd take BM because I hadn't initially noticed how the Mortal Conviction node worked (less vs reduced), and this led me to deep dive into the math to see exactly what my options were.

I'd like to just (re-)iterate some math behind reservations. Ultimately, I'd suggest that the keystone be rendered into a "reduced" keystone or possibly a hybrid reduced+less keystone.

Fundamentally, it feels flawed to me because building around auras specifically makes taking Mortal Conviction - a notable gated behind a Keystone - weaker, even though MC is an aura-enabler.

A Quick Review of the Mechanics

Reduced mana gems lower the reservation of an aura. Quality has no effect on this. They cap around .71 (not factoring in empower). This reduction is multiplicative with talent nodes. If you take the 16% reductions in the far northwest of the tree, you get: {60% * .84 * .71} = 35.78% for a 60% aura. Prism guardian and Alpha's Howl also reduce, 25 and 8% respectively, and those reductions stack additively with the talent node reductions. So if in the example about you had alpha's howl, you get: {60% * .76 * .71} (or, if you prefer, {60% * (1 - .16 - .08) * .71} to more easily show the alpha's howl and the talent nodes stacking). Prism guardian works the same way.

The sum of all reduced reservation nodes is 46%. That's 4 smaller clusters (with 15%, 5%, 5%, 5%) and the big northwest cluster with 16%). With both Prism Guardian and Alpha's Howl, you get 33% more, or 79% total reduction. So with a L20 reduced mana, you get {60% * .21 * .71 = 8.9% life}, and without Prism Guardian you can get {60% * .46 * .71]} = 19.59% mana.

Mortal Conviction is multiplicative with all other sources. So you can take each number above and multiply by .7. For example, the prism guardian + 60% aura means the 8.9% life reservation becomes 6.23%.

Now, you basically have 3-4 options depending on your gear if you want to build around auras:

- take BM+MC, pay all auras in health
- stick with mana, pay mana for main attack, pay for auras in mana
- stick with mana, pay mana for main attack, pay mana for some auras, life for others using prism guardian
- stick with mana, BM gem in main attack, pay mana for auras, optionally pay life for others using prism guardian

Running lots of Auras

If you want to run lots of auras you will need a lot of reduction nodes. If you take them, you will end up taking a bunch of +effect% nodes, because they are proximate and powerful. If you've taken those your motivation is to run even more auras. In short, the more aura nodes you have, the more you want, and the more auras you want to run. Aura nodes in general operate on a mechanism of increasing returns; I look aura nodes a bit like crit/crit multiplier. The more you have, the more you want.

Aura Nodes

You can get:

46% reduction from the tree. Depending on what else you want, it can be really painful to get all of them. As a Scion, I'll have the last 5% node at 84, and the efficacy nodes at 85/86. (The shadow/witch cluster will be my last).

78% efficacy from the tree. Not hugely relevant to the specific question of BM[+MC] vs not, but it's important to note how ridiculously strong your auras can be. We're talking about stuff like a 91% armor buff to the whole team. Or 28% attack/cast speed for the whole team. 64% added damage as cold. This stuff is crazy.

BM+MC strictly an inferior choice for running auras

Again, I want to reiterate that the new auras are actually extremely powerful and when buffed and applied to a team are arguably op. I just want to look at the Risk v Reward. Since this is a case where you are looking at the edge of running lots of auras, let's presume we want as many as possible. Let's say we want to run Purity+Haste+Wrath+Anger+Hatred+Determination. That's 340% base of auras.

Let's assume this is seriously end-game and we have access to both Prism Guardian and Alpha's Howl and are willing to use both. We have all the nodes. This means we get 54% off every aura (46% from nodes + 8% from Alpha). We can get another 25% off (so 79% total) up to 3 auras but those auras MUST be run off life. (And if we do all 3, we can only run reduced mana on two of them; and in order to get that we'll need to swap in another red-gem aura, either Anger or Determination, to be the third.)

Option #1: Run it with BM+MC. Assuming we're willing to play games juggling gems, we will run:

2 60% auras in prism guardian with a 71% reduced mana (6.26% life each)
1 60% aura in prism guardian without that (8.8% life)
2 60% aura in alpha's howl (19.32% life each)
1 40% aura in alpha's howl (12.88% life)

Total cost 47.26% life.

Advantages: no BM gem, lots of Auras.
Disadvantages: you've spent a ton of points getting to aura nodes, your life is probably ~4500-5000 at most w/out Kaom's, which means you're at 2400-2650 health. This means this is entirely not suitable for hardcore. You can't realistically get all the aura nodes and Iron Reflexes until the 90s unless you skip even MORE health nodes and have a lot lower health. (Incidentally, if you're anything but Scion then your prognosis is probably worse; Scion has a very unique position in terms of being able to pick up all the aura nodes in a reasonably efficient way by pathing through the projectile or regen nodes, and also the attack speed nodes to hit both sides.)

Option #2: Run stuff with just mana, slot a BM gem

Our max reduction without Prism guardian is 54%. We can basically pick and run 5 auras assuming we 71% gem them all. 5x60% = 300%, or 4x60%+40% = 280%. 300 * .46 * .71 = 97.98%; 280*.46*.71 = 91.5%. We could look at clarity here as a team buff as a 6th aura, but if you aren't buffing your mana pool then clarity is actually very expensive. If I opted for purity to be one of the 5 auras and had 8.5% mana left, I could squeeze a L3 clarity into the rest. So the options would be:

4x60% + 40% + L3 clarity or

Advantages: No health reserved, 5 (or 5+clarity) auras
Disadvantages: Less auras total, required to use a BM gem in my attack

Option #3: Run things with mana only, save enough mana for main attack

This can end up being really difficult depending on the attack you want to use. We're using a ton of nodes picking up auras, a few for survivability, and it doesn't leave a lot of nodes for recovery. A juiced up clarity solves our regen problems, but we can't afford that with a small mana pool. We might opt for EB, which is only 4 nodes from a corner we are likely to want to be on anyhow on the way to the shadow/witch aura cluster. We can also stack it on gear, although that makes finding the life/resists/etc more difficult. As a scion there's an extremely accessible 40% node, plus shaper is possible in-path or near-path for a lot of options.

We can get around 67% off our auras and they are 78% buffed (and more if you've picked up the Inner Force node cluster). So some options for mana regen in order to pick up the regen we need might be:

800 mana, 80% regen from nodes, L10 clarity (240 mana base reduced to 79 mana or 10% of our pool), yields total regen of around 67.8 mana per second. Whether you get the extra mana from EB or gear is irrelevent. If you use EB and slot a couple major ES pieces at the cost of other survivability, and say get to 1400 mana, you get 44mana/second, which would be 77 per second with clarity.

Alternately, you caan go wild with clarity. L18 gives 22.9/s (400 mana base, reduced to around 130); after 2 40% nodes and 78% aura buffs and inner force you're getting over 80mana/s from the aura, on top of around 14 mps from base (assuming 450 mana pool). That's almost 100 mana per second.

These options depend a ton on what you're using for attacks and why. However, even that may not be enough mana; I believe I need around 140 mana per second to sustain spamming my ST 5-link with (ST+LMP+WED+LL+FasterAttacks), but I am also using a 2.08 attack speed 1h weapon, specifically because the auras provide a colossal amount of elemental weapon damage. Less than 10% of my total attack damage is physical.

Let's assume we can pick up a pool of 800 mana AND run L18 clarity, which eats 16.25%, for regen of around 105 + gear. We want to save around 80 mana (10%) to spam our attack from a 5-link because we run at a small net loss. So we're at ~75% left for auras.

We can fit around 4 in:

240*.46*.71 = ~78% reserved (so we need a bit more mana, or we jigger other bits to get our regen or we run oom slightly faster or whatever)

220 (purity) * .46 * .71 = ~71% reserved.

Advantages: We use nothing but mana and we get to use a 5-link
Disadvantages: we spent our entire skill tree on auras and we're only running 4 of them. Granted, they're really NICE, but it's only 4.

Option #4: Run most auras off mana, use mana for main attack, run limited number of things off life (prism guardian):

Gear dependent. First, our clarity aura is MUCH smaller relative to our health pool than our mana pool. Inside prism guardian we can get a L20 clarity for only 65 life, and it's going to regenerate something like ~88 mana per second if we have 2 40% nodes (or equiv on gear). That's a negligible cost to health.

We can run 1 other aura in Prism Guardian that's fully reduced, and (optionally) another red aura that has no reduced mana gem. Again, we're getting an epic 79% reduction either way from our nodes + prism guardian. With a mana gem that goes to 85% reduction; so we can effectively run a 60% aura for 9% health, or a 40% aura for 6% health. Let's assume a 4500 life pool for now. Options would be:

Clarity only: 1.4% life reserved
Clarity+Purity: ~7.4% life reserved
Clarity+60% aura: ~10.4% life reserved
Clarity+Purity+(Determination/Anger w/out RM gem): 20% life reserved

In the worst case scenario we drop from 4500 to 3600 life. Painful but possibly survivable with our gear, auras; especially in a team where we are a support character.

We have very strong mana regen but need to save around 15-20% for our attack, but otherwise we assume a ~450 mana pool and want to reserve more for auras.

We pay ~19.6% of mana for a 60% aura with a reduced mana gem, so we can fit 4 in if we are willing to burn extra gem slots so we can run 3+reduced and then 1+reduced in another item. If we are willing to pay 86.37% of mana we can run 4 in one item, swapping in a red for the 4th (Anger). This is probably an Alpha's Howl that is RGGB with Anger/Reduced+Wrath+Haste+Hatred if you are running with a team. This is an aura discussion so I won't go too far into build specifics but if you are running a fast weapon to take advantage of the flat buffs from Anger and Wrath you won't bother running Hatred because your physical will be so low. You could also make up for survivability by running RGBB and dropping Hatred for Discipline which would give you (I think) ~623 ES. You could even run GGBB, drop determination, move Anger to Prism guardian, and run all 3 damage auras and ES. All valid choices.

Either way, you can end up running 7 auras, although one of them is clarity. You also have the option of maintaining 4 auras on mana + only clarity via life (again, the cost is so negligible against a life pool with prism guardian you are almost certain to want clarity on your life pool).

Advantages: 6-7 auras, a much more palatable 7-20% of life reserved, and you don't burn a gem slot on a BM gem.
Disadvantages: you are still eating up 7-20% of your life pool, and you still quite likely need a few nodes for regen even with your L20 clarity.

Technically, you can also make a hybrid here. You can use a 5th or 6th slot on your gear for BM for your attack, reserve 20% of your health AND almost 100% of your mana pool, and run 8 auras. (Clarity+Purity+6 60% auras, 5 of which would be on mana. You will absolutely burn 3 items with gem slots for auras, of course, which may or may not be an issue for you.)

Both of the options that aren't BM on your main attack get screwed by no-regen maps, of course. (In my case, I've been swapping mana leech in for faster attacks when I encounter one, since I've been running unidentified maps and will get the mod sometimes)

Comparing the BM use case vs Mana Use Case

Ultimately, there are arguments for different desires for doing almost any of the 4 options except taking Blood Magic. There's really no number of auras when you would want BM/MC. If you want a lower number of auras, you're better off running them off mana since it is fairly doable. (I spent a lot of my leveling time running Clarity+Wrath+Anger, and then Clarity+Wrath+Anger+Purity)

47.26% life to run 6 auras (340% worth) for a BM/MC use case vs
20% of life and 80% of mana for 7 auras (340%+Clarity) a non-BM use case

Equivalent power levels, but given that reserved mana is irrelevant as long as you have enough to power your on-demand abilities without a BM gem, it's clear which of these is a bigger win.

What if Mortal Conviction was 30% reduced?

I'll be honest, that's what I thought this meant because Chris had made a comment about MC/BM being strong. 30% less and 30% reduced are identical if it's the only node you have, but we're talking about almost 30% life reserved for a single 60% aura (assuming reduced mana gem), and that's already extremely painful to survivability. If we assume 30% reduced instead, it now is stacking with other nodes. However, here's what happens in practice:

46% reduced nodes
8% Alpha's Howl
25% Prism Guardian
30% Mortal Conviction
109% Reduction

Yeah. So you'd get 3 auras in Prism Guardian completely free. The others would be 84% reduced and further chopped by a Reduced Mana gem; so you could run 4 more auras for 27-30% life (depending on whether you wanted to burn slots on a different item or run them all in a 4-slot).

These 7 auras would also be, I should note, strictly better than the hybrid mana/life above with 7 auras for 20% life and 80% mana, because clarity no longer needs to be one of them (you're in BM so your main skill is BM w/out needing a gem) and since 3 of them are free if one is purity you can only pay 25% to run all 7. Moreover, new auras are coming and you could stack EVEN MORE auras if you wanted to. With another 4-link you could, in theory, pay up to 50% life and run 10 60% auras; a little less if one was purity. Granted, you'd be fragile but depending on what the new auras do, this might really be too much.

The case for a hybrid Mortal Conviction node

First, let me point out an interesting advantage: If Mortal Conviction read something like, "18% less mana reserved and 18% reduced mana reserved" then a new player who saw that node would say, "Wait, what? What's the difference between less and reduced?" and they would be more likely to get educated.

So let's imagine a node like that:

46% reduced nodes
8% Alpha's howl
25% Prism Guardian
18% Mortal Conviction (Reduced)
97% reduced

And additionally, you get 18% "less", and could use a 71% gem on 2/3 of the prism guardian auras, so running 3 60% auras would cost

60*.03*.71*.82*2 = 2.1% life
60*.03*.82 = 1.47% life

So you're paying only 3.57% life to power 3 60% auras. Wow! Seems unfair? Except this is what a mana user does with almost no penalty at all In fact, if they put a L20 clarity into Prism Guardian, they end up spending around ~107 life, which puts them almost at parity (2.3% life reserved in a 4500 health pool), except they can probably run 4 full auras on mana with no penalty with the same build/gear.

Then let's say you want to match the mana user's 7-aura case; except you don't need clarity as BM so we'll assume you are aiming for 5x60% auras and 1x40%. You start with the 3.57% from above, and for the gems NOT in prism guardian, you pay

(60+60+40) * .28 * .82 * .71 = 26.08%

Total reservation: 29.65%

You still pay 10% more life to match what a mana user can do. You pay for BM+MC, they pay for 2 40% nodes to make their regen work.

In fact, in order to get to parity, MC would need to be something like "18% reduced and 48% less" mana reserved. But maybe there's some extra utility to being BM: no deal with no-regen maps. You focus more on health and can discard mana stats completely. You get a larger benefit from life regen, your focus on life means you're less likely to be stunned/shocked/etc and will be for less.

Examining the non-aura-focused build case

So far I've been looking purely at the extreme: someone willing to get every piece of aura related gear and all the talents in order to absolutely abuse the hell out of this. What if we compare people who are considering mana vs BM with ordinary gear?

First, if you aren't using Prism Guardian for a huge clarity, and you aren't using BM, then mana management quite likely becomes a bigger consideration. A big clarity against mana can actually be a hugely expensive aura (L20 clarity eats basically the entire base mana pool of a L100 character). So there's some real advantage potentially to running BM and not needing to worry about mana regen and mana pots.

So imagine a scenario where a BM guy sees "18% reduced and 50% less mana reserved" on MC. A BM user pays 17.466% for an aura (assuming L20 reduced mana). That hurts, they probably only run 1. MAYBE they opt to just run purity (for ~12%) or to run purity+a 60% (for 29%).

A mana user, meanwhile, simply pays 71% of their mana pool and gets a 60% aura and purity and if they can handle their mana regen needs, gets it for free. If they have a sufficient mana pool (and they may be EB or stack +mana/+regen nodes to cast), they may even sustain 2x60% on 85.2% of their mana.

Even if Mortal Conviction were changed to -18% redcued and -50% less, it would still be less attractive for auras in the base case than just using mana.

========== Conclusion ==========

If you got this far, you're quite a mechanics geek or you're a dev and care about this particular balance.

My proposal is to change Mortal Conviction to provide 18% reduced mana reserved and 50% less mana reserved.

Maybe I'm missing something. I just looked at this from the perspective of my own build but after a lot of number crunching, it seems like this is fair. It gives a small disadvantage to BM users, but it is closer in both the flat use case and the extreme use case, and BM obviously has -some- advantages over using mana for some purposes.

Anyhow, that's my $.02. I'll be off continuing to build my hybrid.
ign: @Tashur
Last edited by mattw on Nov 7, 2013 4:42:25 PM
Thanks for taking the time to write up this amazing analysis of auras! This is a must read for anyone interested in theorycrafting the game.
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I'm still finishing the OP but wanted to bring up whether % reservation, and therefore % less reserve, is necessarily the best mechanic to balance auras. To me it seemed like a stopgap measure but maybe I'm wrong and this is indeed the way it is to be. What of alternatives like mana drain, % drain, % of regen drain, fixed reservation, etc. Surely different types of auras could favor different mana setups. Clarity is an example of just that.
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Good read, nice depth.

This is what feedback should be to all the people who complain when I say that their post isn't feedback.

Very much agree that MC needs changing. I find it interesting you didn't look at the option of increasing the % reduced though, as that seems like the simplest option to look at to begin with.

Either way, very good look into the actual numbers
This is a fairly clunky fix. It strongly incentivizes BM as an aurastacking niche keystone that gets other aura passives, due to the increasing returns of additive mana cost reduction from other passives and uniques. Your idea of a Mortal Conviction doesn't really work out of the box like Blood Magic used to. A viable BM is a BM that allows users to give up some amount of aura power in order to fund expensive skills with the power of life leech and regeneration. Simply getting BM and your hybridized Mortal Conviction doesn't accomplish this--it still requires substantial further investment in aura passives.

The utility of unreserved mana is not the same as the utility of unreserved life. Until these fundamentally different mechanics are treated differently for the purposes of reservation, BM cannot be balanced.

Mortal Conviction: Life is Reserved as prior Mana. 100% More Mana Reserved.

This makes it work, charging you around 350 life per aura you want to run, without forcing you to meander all over the tree to use what used to be one of the most basic build patterns in PoE. In fact, because every point of INT becomes a liability rather than an asset, it serves to lightly penalize moving into the areas that are richest in additive mana reservation reduction. The cost is still chunky enough that you give up a decent amount of survivability, but life nodes for you fuel more auras at a tradeoff roughly on par with the ones in the top half of the tree for mana users. Perhaps even consider putting mortal conviction behind a few life/liferegen nodes to increase its skill point cost.

I'm just not optimistic about fixing BM without a total alteration of how mana reserve works against life. Because of the increasing returns problem with "reduced mana reservation," there's not enough nuance between auras costing far too much (as is the case now) and costing far too little (in the case of strong additive reduction for Mortal Conviction in conjunction with other passives.)
Last edited by Uvne on Nov 7, 2013 10:57:24 PM
Thanks for taking the time to write up this amazing analysis of auras! This is a must read for anyone interested in theorycrafting the game.
My analysis is a little better, although perhaps less suitable for layman reading.

It's worth noting that your rounding is off in several places. To calculate aura costs, you take the base percentage, apply Reduced Mana and Blood Magic mana cost multipliers, then round down to the nearest percent; then apply reservation reduction and Mortal Conviction, then round up to the nearest percent. You also round down for Increased Effect of Auras you Cast, so it's 90% more Armour, not 91%.

It also explains why 50% less (nevermind an added reduction) is too much. MC can (and should) go to 40% less, but 50% is going too far; at best, 50% less would be the maximum (making the Blood Magic version of the build superior to non-BM), but in no case should a reservation reduction be added to MC's effect.
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Last edited by Rachel_GGG on February 29, 2018 0:61:72 PM
Last edited by ScrotieMcB on Nov 7, 2013 11:17:19 PM
It also explains why 50% less (nevermind an added reduction) is too much. MC can (and should) go to 40% less, but 50% is going too far; at best, 50% less would be the maximum (making the Blood Magic version of the build superior to non-BM), but in no case should a reservation reduction be added to MC's effect.

I really disagree with this.

Let's take the maximum reduced mana reservation ( no reduced mana to use 3 on prism guardian ).

46% red. mana reserved ( whole tree )+ prism guardian with BM with MC 50%
The cost of a single aura would be : (1-(0.46+0.25))*0.5 : 8.7% ( maximum : 3, the next one will cost 20% and won't be worth the cost whatsoever ), and this is for a full tree spent for aura management, mana users can run that completely freely, so basically, taking BM to have the same efficiency <=> paying : 46.26% of your life assuming 6 auras ( a little less with purity in there ).

So basically, you can't just make a build around stacking auras + BM, this may be intended, okay.
But then, BM cannot even run efficiently like 1 aura atm ( assuming 50% MC ).

20% red. mana reserved ( moderate investment ) + prism guardian with BM with Mc 50%
Let's say we got 20%reduced mana reserved from tree, so not a single build.
Assuming you're using prism guardian, you can get 2 auras for ... (1-(0.2+0.25))*0.71*0.5 = 0.195*60% => 11.7% life reserved .... who would run this ? I bet almost no one, 11.7% of one's life is huge already, and this would be for one single aura ( forget about more .... ).

So basically, it is not worth to use BM to stack many aura ( sure you can get 3 of them for 12% of your life, but that would have cost you your entire passive skill tree, and if you're not a Scion, forget it t__t or cry ), and it not worth either getting couple of clusters ( like ~2 here, I took 20% to have a simple value.

Even with 50%, BM still cannot efficiently use auras ( the cost would be too high ).
There is one problem here to me : Prism Guardian. 25% reduced mana with the current aura clusters is definitely wrong.
GGG please change this to a "less mana reserved" unique or nerf the value, to 15% or 10% ( or idk .... simply remove the property but add a %increased effect of aura in it or make it with only one or two sockets and add MC to it's linked gems ).
Then you can buff MC to ~75% and people could not just abuse it to stack auras. They would be able to run one or even two auras with BM because the cost would not be too high there.

Having MC at 75% without prism guardian would make a 60% aura with 20%reduced aura reservation from the tree cost : 60%*(0.71*0.25*0.8) = 8.5% life cost ( and with stacking all the clusters in the tree + alpha's howl, that would get us to a ~5% cost for at most 3 auras maximum so ~15%, which remains a lot considering the tree investment ).

The idea of mixing reduced mana reserved and less mana reserved is also very nice.

But to prevent abuses, I strongly believe that prism guardian should be nerfed, or reworked, because it won't be possible to allow BM builds to have auras without a too hight cost and use Prism guardian without being able to abuse it imho ).
When the aura system changes, the related uniques should also when they are that powerful.

PS : I hope that I didn't make any calculation mistakes, feel free point it out if you see one.
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Last edited by Fruz on Nov 8, 2013 5:33:33 AM
ScrotieMcB wrote:
My analysis is a little better

well you sure don't bring your ego into discussions, lol
Thanks for taking the time to write up this amazing analysis of auras! This is a must read for anyone interested in theorycrafting the game.

Who cares when for sure it will remain only a theorycrafting, never a reality. OP put a lot of effort to make such analysis, but it is pointless, because first of all, that aura rebalancing didn't fix the problem it had to fix, even made it worse and also made new issues. But GGG won't admit they made a bad change and it will remain as it is.
Last edited by walentaz on Nov 8, 2013 7:19:46 AM
Completed 9 Challengeswalentaz wrote:
Thanks for taking the time to write up this amazing analysis of auras! This is a must read for anyone interested in theorycrafting the game.

Who cares when for sure it will remain only a theorycrafting, never a reality. OP put a lot of effort to make such analysis, but it is pointless, because first of all, that aura rebalancing didn't fix the problem it had to fix, even made it worse and also made new issues. But GGG won't admit they made a bad change and it will remain as it is.

I put effort in because I found it interesting. I think given the complexity of this game it is incredibly well balanced, and I don't have sufficient hubris to assume I know better. It's clear that the devs wanted to make a change to make auras a bigger commitment for a bigger payout, while also offering a path to "specialize" in auras. I think in that effort they succeeded.

I do think that unless I've misjudged something, a BM user pays a very high price for their auras in terms of cost v benefit. I think the apparent goal of auras was a cool one (which is one reason I built an aura-focused character), but I think for someone wanting to use BM/MC the implementation is unfair to them. Normally, I'd simply shrug that off - not everything "works" the way we want it to; some combinations are more potent. But given the notable, it's location, and Chris's comments, I figured it was intended to be a working build, so I set out to compare it to the alternatives.

Other comments:

My analysis is a little better, although perhaps less suitable for layman reading.

I think your analysis paints a very extreme edge case that has only a tiny bit more marginal utility than my heavy aura-user, while ignoring the low-end user completely. I felt like just using Prism Guardian and Alpha's Howl was an edge case, but you're suggesting balancing BM/MC around a case that includes a Shav's and I think you've glossed over the low end case, the survivability of the Shav's character, and whether even all those auras provide sufficient utility to justify all that gear, given a team that are all at that gear level are probably steamrolling everything.

I'm still finishing the OP but wanted to bring up whether % reservation, and therefore % less reserve, is necessarily the best mechanic to balance auras. To me it seemed like a stopgap measure but maybe I'm wrong and this is indeed the way it is to be. What of alternatives like mana drain, % drain, % of regen drain, fixed reservation, etc. Surely different types of auras could favor different mana setups. Clarity is an example of just that.

A bunch of people mentioned how different life and mana are and how auras shouldn't simply be based on reservation percentage, and I thought it was very interesting. Also way too far outside the scope for me to really say anything about... the balance implications of changing an aura+BM mechanic to be something like a regeneration debuff are so far from how things are now that I couldn't even touch that.
ign: @Tashur

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