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DOT / Healing effectiveness Paladin archetype feedback, problems, and suggestions

Disclaimer:

I know not every DOT Paladin uses Judgement. I also know not everyone builds the same way. This is about a very specific archetype and what choices are available for it.

This feedback is not just my own, but multiple peoples with me just submitting it. Everyone has their own opinion on things and we are just looking to help make more builds possible/fun by giving feedback where we think it is needed.

Thank you!


Currently damage over time Judgement is one of the safest builds while having quite high top end damage. While the build is not super meta at this time, I am sure as more people discover this fact, it will be played a lot more. It is near immortal and has enough damage to do everything in the game and some.

There are three large issues with this build:

  1. You scale a large portion of your defensive and offensive prowess off the same stat. Healing Effectiveness. This issue has plagued many ARPGs where 1 stat can scale both DPS and Tankyness at the same time.

  2. A most-likely unintended interaction from a Shield Bash skill tree node. The node “Kindling” reads as follows: “Melee Fire damage: +200% (multiplicitive)”, but in reality it works a bit different than that. It is actually a buff that causes your entire next melee ability to deal +200% more damage. This means when you have this buff and use “Judgement” it will get a 200% more damage multiplier, not a melee damage multiplier. This means it works on the Concentrated Ground effect as well.

  3. Mana sustain (I will get more into this later on in this post) I know this issue can be solved with Volatile Reversal, but it pretty much kills the playstyle of “Aura around you doing damage” since you will use Judgement, return backwards and away from the enemies now, thus not doing damage with the aura for much of the already short duration it has. This is fine against bosses, but pretty much destroys your clear feel. Simply put its a solution at the heavy cost of fun, which should be the point of gaming in general.

This is where the build gets absolutely disgusting. A defensive based build that has a buff ready at a moments notice that enables them to snapshot a 200% more damage multipler as needed. This keeps it defensive playstyle, but brings the DPS side into the promise land.

This interaction is most likely unintended and will be nerfed, removed, changed, or something of the sort. That is fine.

The problem with changing this interaction though is that without it, the build is quite difficult to scale and I will explain why.

This is the most common baseline of a Judgement tree going the Concentrated Ground build:

You have 8 points to spend from here. What are the options?

  1. You could grab duration, which doesn’t really add any power but rather quality of life.

  2. You could head to the right side of the tree and grab “Searing Faith” and “Holy Fire” to raise your damage by a decent amount, but this will remove all healing from the Concecrated Ground. While the identify of this node is understood, you are willing choosing damage over the defensive aspects of the build, it ends up falling short because of some of the new nodes added to the Judgement tree.

  3. The real bread winner: “Pious Offering” and remaining points in more duration.

Pious Offering is very strong, but is extremely hard to build around currently. The reason it is strong is because it allows you to maintain your defensive side of the build, while getting an absolutely insane amount of damage at the cost of all of your mana.

Judgement scales with Attunement in multiple ways. 4% increased damage per point, 4% Healing effectiveness per point (more damage multi), and Attunement gives more max mana per point baseline. This means each point of attunement is triple scaling Judgement with this node.

The large drawback is after blowing 400+ mana on Judgement, getting all the mana back at a decent enough pace in order to continue to use Judgement.

Current builds:

Current builds use the newly added “Javelin” ability with “Holy Trail” which gives you another DOT based ability to use for clear, “Path of Judgement” to enable it to scale with healing effectiveness just like Judgement, and “Sacred Forge” which gives your next Judgement a 60% more damage multiplier on next use after hitting with your Javelin directly.

Issue:

Attunement does not scale Javelin or Holy Trail, nor does mana, nor do you have any way to restore mana while using any set up with Javelin. On top of this there is only one Prefix on Chests/Helmets that scale both Holy Trail and Judgement: “Fire Damage Over Time”. The only other affix that does much is Attunement, since it scales Judgement so incredibly well as explained earlier.

Other options:

Smite is the obvious other option. It scales with Attunement, can build through fissure/ignite/DOT based things, and can generate mana.

Issue:

Healing effectiveness loses all of its charm and already extremely limited use in build diversity when using it with the Smite/Judgement combination. Instead of Healing Effectiveness, you would just want to stack Attunement, Damage over time, elemental damage over time, and fire damage over time.

So Smite is turning into the logical choice for this build right? No. Sadly the damage of Javelin in combination with Judgement is still significantly better. Concecrated Ground being duration based means buffs like the Javelin giving 60% more damage to your next Judgement are just too good to pass up. It just creates a snapshotty mess of a playstyle that is too strong to pass up, but isn’t that much fun since it relies on you waiting quite awhile for your mana to come back, but still being near immortal as needed.

Solutions: (Multiple ideas, none set in stone or perfect)

  1. Fissure node on Smite currently stacks. This means the more you spam, the more these Fissures build up and do more damage. It also takes a huge hit on performance, but thats another conversation.

The nodes connecting to Fissure can give Duration (With added mana cost), Area, More Damage, and Kill Threshold.

My suggestion is add a new node, or replace the kill threshold node, that will make it so Fissures will no longer stack. Instead Fissure can now scale with increases to healing effectiveness. 1% healing effectiveness = 1% more damage (Similar to Javelin’s node). This would make it so you have one super powerful Fissure, rather than multiple weaker ones built up.

In order for this to truly work though, I would really appreciate a buff to Fissures base damage or its damage effectiveness. It only has a 25% damage effectiveness because of it stacking, so even with all these new Paladin “added damage with a shield nodes” that were added it doesn’t feel the greatest currently.

I suppose it is also possible to just make Smite in general scale with Healing Effectiveness in terms of damage, but I think limiting it to the Fissure is safer for balance. It also gives more love to building Smite out of Fire instead of the popular converting it to Lightning that is currently going on.

  1. Add a node to Javelin that is only accessible if you have already taken “Holy Trail”, so it can’t be abused, that makes it so Holy Trail’s Healing Per Second (25 baseline), that you get by standing in its fire, no longer will heal you but instead grant you increased mana regen. Baseline will be 25% increased mana regen and from there you can make it so attunement will raise the amount of increased mana regen per point.

This would be at a 1:1 ratio. One Attunement will be 1% increased mana regen while standing on the fire. This means if you stack Attunement you can now, if you have good rolls on gear, reach 75 Attunement and with the 25% base mana regen it has, reach 100% increased mana regen.

This helps play the mana/attunement based Judgement version of the build still without giving it additional power, while also removing a defensive aspect of the build and still has a condition around it (must be standing in the flame)

Personal side note: while this is a viable option, I can’t imagine standing in the flame is something many people will enjoy feeling like they HAVE to do. It may be a good solution math wise vs power vs drawbacks, but might make the build a lot less fun to actually play which is pretty lame. Games are about fun afterall <3 If EHG can come up with a clever way though to have Attunement do something like this for this archetype that would most likely be the best way to fix it I just can’t come up with a perfect one.

  1. Time and Faith passive on the Sentinel base tree currently reads “You regain 25 health and 10 mana when you directly use Rive, Vengeance, Smite, or Multistrike.” If Javelin could somehow be added to this (already extremely easy to negate the mana cost problems of this skill since -9 is on the tree and can get -6 from rings) then the build possibilities open up quite a bit. I have more to say on this in number 4, please continue reading.

  2. Similar to number 3, but in a different way… Don’t change Time and Faith passive, but instead add a new Prefix to Helmets and Chests exclusively that make Javelin restore mana if directly used and hit an enemy. This would be very similar to the Smite prefix which will restore mana if directly used (not procced) and hit an enemy.

Personal Side Note: The reason I am not 100% approving of 3&4 for this archetype is because Javelin has a cooldown with this playstyle. As such you would only be gaining the mana on hit once every 3 seconds IF you hit your Javelin. Doesn’t really solve the issue that much, just helps it a small amount, on top of the fact that regular throwing builds would get much more access to mana which can cause issues.

  1. Add more damage multipliers on Judgement specially for Conc Ground that do not turn off the healing portion, nor take all of your mana. Make them smaller than other choices currently. This alone will honestly not be enough damage after losing the big 200% more multi from Shield Bash… but it could be with one factor added in.

The other factor would be alongside adding more options on the Judgement skill tree, giving Conc Ground added damage effectiveness. Paladin just got a lot of these nodes added recently, but Conc Ground has 0% added damage effectiveness so it does nothing. Even giving it 25% would help a lot compared to having 0 currently.

Choice 5 and 1 still ends up being my favorite solution by a long shot… But maybe from talking about this archetype and some issues it has the devs can think of a clever way to help this archetype stay viable/fun after the Shield Bash change that will most likely happen. (Assuming you don’t like Choice 1 or 5 for whatever reason)


These are just some ideas about solutions.

I really appreciate your time in reading all of this and I hope it helped explained some of the issues and leads to some positive changes in the future.

Thanks!

Much love,

Bryan (Tak) on the Last Epoch Discord

If anyone from EHG gets around to reading this, we would really enjoy it if you let us know with a reply! Even if nothing comes from it, knowing our feedback was seen after so much work was put into it would be great. Much appreciated <3

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Wow! Killer write-up. I was watching some footage of this build yesterday and really appreciate this post. I like your ideas for solutions as well. Very well thought out.

+1

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Agree that this build deserves some QOL & changes to make it more interesting, different perspective from you on the specific problems and solutions

I don’t think Consecrated Ground benefitting from the Shield Bash Kindling node is bad at all. In fact since it makes running Shield Bash with a cooldown actually good, it’s a positive thing. If necessary nerf it, deleting it entirely seems a shame with Shield Bash already being a niche skill.

I think Pious Offering is a good node concept. The problem of using up all your mana in one shot makes this build much more interesting to build and play than if you got that damage multiplier for free. I think the way to make it more fun is just to improve the QOL and variety of the mana regeneration solutions available.

In general Volatile Reversal seems to have a problem of being extremely strong but creating unsatisfying combat patterns. I’d like a node which removed the movement aspect. This should make it a lot smoother for this and several other builds.

One thing you don’t talk a lot about is using the various melee abilities which offer mana regeneration. I see why you’re not interested in them right now, but it would only take a couple of nodes per tree to make them a lot more attractive to spell-focused builds.

I don’t agree that Holy Trail should get an integrated solution to the mana problem - that seems outside Holy Trail’s role and maybe overengineering to a specific build. Standing in the narrow trail also seems very awkward. In general I think it would be cool for Javelin to have a mana generator build but not one that stacks on top of the DPS javelin specs. For that reason I think the most obvious thing is to open up the option of Javelin as mana generator by changing the terminology of the Sentinel mana gen passive to “When you directly use and hit with a 0 cost melee or throwing skill”.

Finally I’d love to see Javelin’s Sacred Forge node made more interesting. It’s just a one-and-done buff rn which can give Javelin a useful but boring role in this build. I’d like to see it be a stacking 4 second buff with smaller base value. All stacks consumed on trigger. The number of stacks per cast can be increased by Javelin’s cooldown (eg 1 - 1.5 stacks per second of cd). That would support genuine switch-hitter attack speed Javelin+Judgement/Forge Strike builds which could be a lot of fun.

I agree having an interaction between Shield Bash and Judgement is fine, but I think 200% more damage multiplier is excessive and there is zero chance it survives long term without some sort of balancing. The problem is most Conc Ground builds are building entirely around this right now to feel in a decent spot and nerfing it to not absurd levels of damage will honestly leave the build feeling lackluster.

The point of this post is to come up with solution to help the archetype post-nerf.

Yeah a node that removes the movement part of Volatile Reversal WOULD fix this issue as well, but unsure of how that would effect balance of other playstyles that use the skill. We were trying our best to not do fixes for this playstyle archetype that would touch other builds and make them randomly a lot stronger.

The hard part of balancing some of these things is not accidentally buffing something else to the heavens as a result of it.

Based on this section of your post, I am curious on your thoughts a Judgement Conc Ground being your only real damage source for clearing.

I have talked with Youtubers, Twitch streamers, decently smart people in the community, and multiple of my friends about this and most people agree that Judgement Conc Ground in its current state really only feels good on bosses where much movement isn’t needed.

Lets look at Righteous Fire from Path of Exile, which shared the playstyle almost 1:1 outside of the healing. That game allows you to have a persisting damage zone around you and you have infinite mobility in that game. Last Epoch has a short duration on Conc Ground and limits your movement.

Based on our limited movement and duration, clearing high end timelines/arena feels pretty awful overall. Bossing though feels amazing from its great damage and the survival it brings.

This is why we don’t bring up the melee options for this archetype. If there was a melee ability that could build out of Healing Effectiveness, sure we can talk. At this time though, the way you scale melee to feel good and the way you scale Conc Ground are entirely different. Javelin, Smite, and similar things are the way you get a decent feeling clear that feels like it synergizes with Judgement’s Conc Ground. This is why people currently use Javelin for clear and Judgement for boss killing.

I hope that explains things for you. I appreciate the response!

Edit: Fixes some grammar mistakes and added to the second response a bit.

Yes I agree that in the current situation you’re forced to take Holy Trail for clear. I’m not saying the melee skills are helpful rn, I’m saying it would be good if at least 1 of them got some nodes or interactions to make them helpful.

I have a feeling that Volatile Reversal is warping the whole problem and obstructive to any really satisfying solutions (hardly the only archetype this applies to). Resetting your mana pool with 1 button trivialises and dumbs down the gameplay of a whole load of otherwise reasonable mechanics including Pious Offering. With VR out the picture, it would probably be okay to give Judgement some buffs that make it smooth and efficient as its own clear solution. Then you’d be able to look at supporting skill choices in terms of the utility and mana regen they offer without worrying about scaling a 2ndary source of damage.

Thanks for the detailed write up. Before reading this we already had changes planned for a hotfix for Consecrated Ground and healing effectiveness scaling DoT paladin in general.

These mostly stemmed from Holy Trail scaling with added spell damage. This was a result of a miscommunication late in the skill’s development and was not intentional. The healing effectiveness scaling from the Path of Judgement node is meant to act as a replacement for added damage scaling, like it does for Consecrated Ground. The fact you can scale it with both, and they’re multiplicative means you can extremely high damage. If you have 100 adaptive spell damage that’s a 6x damage multiplier, which is fine on its own. If you have 500% increased healing effectiveness, that’s also a 6x damage multiplier which is fine on its own. However if you have both that’s a 36x damage multiplier, which is not fine.

Despite this being a mistake it has meant that healing effectiveness scaling damage over time paladin builds have become viable, which was one of our aims when adding Holy Trail to fit in such a build alongside Consecrated Ground, so we’re not removing it. Instead we’re keeping the spell damage scaling and extending it to Consecrated Ground, but make it stack additively with the healing effectiveness scaling. We’re doing this by changing the healing effectiveness scaling on both Holy Trail and Consecrated Ground to grant 1 adaptive spell damage per 5% healing effectiveness.

This change has no negative effect on Consecrated Ground as the effective damage multiplier you gain from increased healing effectiveness is the same as before (i.e. the 20 adaptive spell damage from 100% increased healing effectiveness will still result in 100% more damage). There’s now just the additional option of scaling it with increased spell damage and other sources of flat spell damage, such as caster weapons and paladin passive nodes.

We’re also just buffing the damage of Consecrated Ground and the Pilgrimage node in Javelin to try to ensure that these builds still deal good damage without the crazy multiplicative scaling on Holy Trail.

The Kindling node on the Shield Bash tree is also being addressed. You’re correct that it’s use for something like Consecrated Ground wasn’t intended. When we add nodes that buff the next use of a skill we generally intend for that to be used to provide a powerful boost to a single instance of an attack, not as preparation for a persistent effect, and balance accordingly. However we haven’t generally been careful enough to avoid edge cases such as this interaction with Consecrated Ground. It’s being changed to give +5% crit chance (additive) and +100% ignite chance and it will also work with throwing attacks, but will no longer work channelled skills. The hope here is that this will leave the node with some uses in setup heavy attack builds, without it having the potential to warp the power of persistent effects such as Consecrated Ground.

After reading your post, it’s clear that there is a separate issue of the Judgement tree not having enough options when optimising purely for Consecrated Ground damage.

We’d rather not funnel players towards Pious Offering as taking on that magnitude of mana burden should ideally be a choice that people can feel free to avoid for this sort of build. Prior to the spell scaling there also wasn’t a spammable mana generator to use in between Judgement uses. As you correctly pointed out, Javelin wouldn’t be a good fit for this because it has a cooldown. Smite kind of fits now, but we still don’t want that sort of mana management to feel mandatory, especially as the build is already juggling multiple cooldowns.

Instead we’re changing several nodes on the right side of the tree that previously only applied to Judgement hits to also apply to Consecrated Ground. These nodes are Sigil of Sacrifice (consuming sigils for added fire damage), Divine Destruction (more damage against high health enemies), and Purifying Flame (more damage against ignited enemies). Purifying Flame will also require only 1 point in Sacred Sword (from 2), so that you don’t have to spend more than the one point you would already put in it to reach Swift Verdict.

The Scourgebane node (more damage against bosses) was excluded from these changes to avoid further pigeon holing this build as a boss killer, which would make it harder to balance.

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Thank you so much for your response and taking feedback into consideration on top of your already planned changes.

This new way to play sounds extremely exciting! I will do my best to give feedback on the updated version when the time comes. Hopefully the feedback will be short and sweet in that it is fun and feels great.

Keep up the great work EHG! <3

__

Feedback for EHG before the hotfix goes live in the next few days:

Copy pasting my recommendation from Discord in-case it was missed, since it was posted at a very late hour.

Edit: The numbers of 8m is prob too much after talking with Mike W on discord, but I think the idea is more important than the exact numbers I provided.

The key take-away is that the base radius just feels a bit too small.

Come on man, I’ve waited MONTHS for consecrated ground to become viable, I even did a “playing judgement consecrated ground until they fix it” series of streams. Let me get at least a bit more than a week before it gets nerfed hahahah

EHG can nerf holy trail to the ground tho, I’m okay with that. I’ll burn holy trail at the stake to keep consecrated ground.

As someone who has done a lot of work since 8.3 launched on this exact architype. I feel like some of these observations fail to understand the basics of the “healing” mechanic. Namely healing is not true regen, or even a true defense, it does nothing to actually mitigate damage taken, rather exists to refill your missing life only once you have taken damage. It does not work otherwise. If I say take a hit that exceeds the entire available HP pool, I’m dead and healing is useless. I think this misunderstanding has led some to over hype that actual mechanic. You still have to invest in other defensive layers and pay all of the resists and defensive stat taxes.

While the build is arguably strong, but please do not over compensate based on a lack of understanding. Namely the dummy does not represent actual endgame damage, shield bash interaction is broken, but just removing without giving back is not a QOL improvement in the places it really needs help, namely in the AOE department. For example inside judgement the aoe nodes are practically useless at max points it takes a 2m radius to 4m radius (for 4 points). Javelin itself suffers from many of the same issues all throwing attack suffer from, namely failing to hit thing it appears to have hit. The ground coverage of Holy Trail is also buggy and at times mobs will be taking damage side by side enemies that are not. I kind of wish it had a similar function to its D2 counterpart and inflicts some lingering effect of the dot when they pass through. I really like the skill shot nature of the skill and I thought the 4 seconds of wait it had to use was a good way to control abuse without completely gutting the effort of investment into it. I was really surprised you remade it into a 3 second cooldown.

I will start by saying that I agree that the Conc Aura area size could use some love. I hope EHG gives the aura radius some love in the future.

Feedback for EHG before the hotfix goes live in the next few days:

Copy pasting my recommendation from Discord in-case it was missed, since it was posted at a very late hour.

Edit: The numbers of 8m is prob too much after talking with Mike W on discord, but I think the idea is more important than the exact numbers I provided.

The key take-away is that the base radius just feels a bit too small

So maybe 3m base radius which could go to 6m with taking all of the area nodes? I don’t know how big the radius would/should be exactly with Last Epoch’s measurements. That is why the idea is more important :stuck_out_tongue:


As for “failing to understand the basics of the healing mechanic” there is no misunderstanding. Whenever I play this style I have invested heavily into both block and armor, on top of capped resists.

My current character is sitting at 51% armor mitigation, over 70% block with 51% block mitigation, and 1779 health. So yes, the healing from the Conc Ground is quite important for me since it is rare I get one shot by anything outside of a choice few boss attacks.

Not sure why you assume so much without really know how anyone else is playing it.

This is why my original post tried to state not everyone builds the same and should respect that fact.

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Because a lot of the thing you said before you edited your posts seemed flat out wrong and misunderstanding a lot?

I have not edit anything to the point of changing it. I have only added things (which I label), fixed typos, or to fix grammar mistakes.

Not sure what you are talking about.

Either way I am going to move on from your comments because they aren’t really important in context of the purpose of this thread.


Edit:

I seen a good feedback suggestion on fixing the area problem of Concentrated Ground when converted into an Aura on the Last Epoch Discord and thought I would share it here!

Just updating the base area of it is fine, but this is a secondary way to go about fixing the issue. Currently “Sanctification” is pretty useless with how weak the pull in it and it requiring it to “Hit” even though the “Hit” does no damage. Could be a fun addition to the game.

I’m pretty sure Consecrated Ground is getting buffed, if I understood the devpost correctly.

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I took it as better damage for normal use, less damage on bosses by a small amount since you can’t snapshot a 200% more dmg multi anymore from shield bash, but gaining some power back by having more damage options and changes to how you scale it.

Should be a net gain overall for the build!

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Excited to see how it pans out. Hoping we get to actually use the polearm version of the Holy Trail build now!