Heart of Thorns: Detailed Beta Weekend Event 3 Thoughts On Daredevil
Greetings everyone! In this post, I’m going to talk about Daredevil changes in Beta Weekend Event 3 (BWE3) and what I think was good and what I think needs to get updated or changed for launch (or after launch). Note that animations are a big deal and the devs already stated that they’re working on them so we won’t get into those details. So overall, Daredevil feels way better than last BWE. I’ll try to incorporate post-beta patch notes along the way. Here’s my take after testing the changes:
Staff Strike (Skill 1) – Feels better damage wise
Weakening Charge (Skill 2) – Feels waaaay better to use. Being a targeted skill makes it a bit spammable (don’t waste all your initiative on it) without charging away from your target. You can even use it to break away by simply un-targeting the enemy. The post beta notes signal they’re talking about making this skill have an additional role like extra conditions when you apply condition or receive less damage from weakened foes. I am all for the damage reduction. It’s what Daredevils really need; I don’t need more damage. But feel free to add that as well, I won’t complain.
Debilitating Arc (Skill 3) – At first I thought this skill needed a slightly faster animation to telegraph evade properly due to striking then evading but I think it’ll be fine with practice.
Dust Strike (Skill 4) – The cast time is way better but it still needs a smoke field or a dark field. The reason for this is that the staff is sorely lacking in the utility department. With a field, players can combo with it to blind with Weakening Charge and stealth or leech health with Vault or Bound dodge. I think staff would have a much better presence. I personally would go for a smoke field for the stealth since Daredevil still needs reprieves due to the thief’s innate sustain issues. Also, you can access the stealth attack, Hook strike, much more easily.
Vault (Skill 5) – Feels better but I think the cast time needs to be shaved down a bit more (maybe 1/4 or 1/2 a second off) and it really needs an evade. Also, the distance traveled is shorter than stated (60o) but was fixed post-BWE3.
Overall, staff is good damage-wise but is not good for competitive due to the lack of utility. I think the devs are looking into giving staff more utility and by proxy damage mitigation which is great.
Channeled Vigor (Heal) – Can’t really say since the 3/4 channel change isn’t in. I think, when it’s finally in, it’ll be great and can compete with Withdraw. Heck, it might help a bit with thief’s sustain problems.
Bandit’s Defense (Utility) – Still good even with the increased cooldown but the duration needs a slight increase. Also, this skill really, really needs a flip over for the kick followup; the kick needs to be optional. You can get caught out and die being locked in the kick animation like that.
Distracting Daggers (Utility) – Equip time & velocity is fantastic now but I personally still won’t use it due to the internal cooldown for the next dagger use. I feel I should be able to freely use the 3 daggers once I equip them.
Fist Flurry (Utility) – I like the skill and the idea of this skill rewarding you for landing all the hits for the flip over but I still think it’s too situational for decent reliable use. The cast time was reduce by 20% so the last hit gets in prior to 1 second so it might be worth checking out again.
Impairing Daggers (Utility) – Had no problem with it in BWE2, no problem with it now.
Impact Strike (Elite) – No problem with it but I do think that if you land the damage on an enemy you should be able to continue the chain. I read somewhere that stability stopped the chain so that might be a bug. I’ve seen people complain about not being able to hit this skill due to being CCed or something like that. Well it kind of makes sense. This is a very powerful elite, you can’t expect to drop 7-9k on someone and stomp them within 3 seconds and not have some kind of counter.
Evasive Empowerment – I thought it was just me that thought 2s on this was short. I guess not as I’ve heard quite a bit from other thieves about this trait. Well it doesn’t really matter since this trait was recently turned into Havoc Master. This grants 7% additional damage to enemies within 360 range which is a solid reliable melee damage boost.
Escapist’s Absolution – Right now, most if not all, thief mains take this trait due to being the only condition cleanse option without giving up a lot. The other master traits aren’t an option to take due to this. Right now the devs are looking to give Daredevil some damage mitigation which would greatly help. If enough damage mitigation is added, Daredevils could opt for something else in the master tier. If so, the talk on the forums of making this trait a minor would die down. Right now, I’d like it to be a minor to due the lack of good trait options of dealing with conditions without giving up something really valuable.
Bounding Dodger (Damage Dodge) – Couldn’t really test this outside of dodge distance and damage. I think this was getting a fix from a blast to a leap finish if I recall? Also the dodge distance is the exact same distance to a dodge (I’ve personally checked) but feels a little short probably due to the animation. Bound dodge got updated post BWE3 to additionally grant 10% bonus physical damage for 4 seconds after dodging.
Unhindered Combatant (Dash Dodge) – Fantastic, provides a lot and is very good for kiting with dual pistols. Dash dodge got updated post BWE3 to additionally grant 10% reduced physical & condition damage (it didn’t say in the notes but you can safely assume it for 4 seconds after dodging).
Lotus Training (Condi Dodge) – Maybe due to the animation but I felt the dodge distance was a little short (similar to Bounding Dodger). It is the exact same distance as a dodge though (I’ve personally checked). Lotus dodge got updated post BWE3 to additionally grant 10% bonus condition damage for 4 seconds after dodging.
All these buffs to the dodges make me happy. There’s been talk from thief mains for a while now wanting the dodges as a selectable option in the Function bar (F3) therefore not making them Grandmaster traits; this would mean thieves would get three new Grandmaster traits to work with. The reasoning behind wanting this is because Daredevil doesn’t openly show a big difference in the combat UI like the other elite specs. This was one of the reasons I wanted this but also because the new Grandmaster traits could have helped with damage mitigation and sustain in general which the thief profession has problems with now. These buffs to the dodges show to me that the devs have no intention of separating the dodges as the Grandmaster traits. Before the buffs, maybe. Now it’d be way too strong to have these new dodges in addition to new Grandmaster traits. However, I can see from the post-BWE3 changes that the devs are working on improving the sustain issues. If that works out, I can live with what is currently available.
Combining trait lines together with Daredevil I didn’t notice a significant difference with Daredevil and Acrobatics together. Maybe in a kiting build it’s more effective to see results. Deadly Arts, Critical Strikes and Trickery are good options to go with Daredevil. I read somewhere that Improvisation from the Deadly Arts line wasn’t working with Physical Skills though (possible bug?). The best combination I personally found was best was Deadly Arts, Trickery and Daredevil. This setup overall allows you to quickly spec to a different one (damage to conditions to kiting) and provide good damage options, steal upgrades and dodge mechanics.
Daredevil does open the door to more viable builds. Dual pistol with Dash dodge makes you a kiting machine but can still get smacked up and will need something like dagger/pistol or shortbow for escapes; that’s the trade off for range and kiting. Double dagger with Lotus Training dodge makes for a great condition build; there’s a small window where you’re not dodging which you’ll probably have to spend in stealth. Damage build wise, Sword/Dagger and Sword/Pistol with Bound Dodger seems to be the way to go. The main problems with Daredevil are staff utility and sustain in fights.
At the very least I’d like:
- Dust Strike to get a smoke field on staff; I honestly think that’d make it more viable
- Vault evade frame
- Bandit’s Defense gets a flip over for the knock down kick
- Impact Strike chain to continue if you land the damage (if the bug I mentioned above does exists)
Alright well, that’s all for me. I highly doubt all the suggestions I made will go in; I am optimistic that the four points I mentioned above having a good chance. I won’t talk much about Daredevil changes after this because HoT will have launched! Hopefully the devs address the big issues in time. Also, I hope I find that PvP Staff Daredevil build that works for me. Thanks for reading and I’ll be flipping, dashing and dodging around you at launch!