Empathic Link

This post is part of the Escaping the Crowds series, which focuses on escape mechanism for PvP.

Today I’d like to talk about something completely new. I’d like to talk about… Murlocs! Nah, I’m just jesting, and rather badly probably. I have promised to continue the Priestish adventure, and promises I keep.

After we have looked into the different abilities the three Priest talent trees have to offer, escape-wise, I will attempt to propose a new ability for the task.

To Be Determined

To Be Determined

I admit it hasn’t been easy. I did have an interesting idea in mind for quite a while now, but the more I think about it, the more I am unsure how exactly it should turn out to be.

So I think, that for a change, I will not give the usual new ability pointers (my idiotically invented B.O.P.N.L.F, you can search all about it here) and instead share my conflicts regarding it.

Some empathy, please.

The goal was to give the Priests something original, that will increase their survivability in tense encounters. Similarly to other abilities we have invented lately (all accessible from the links on the right), the new ability should be tailored to the class’ needs.

The Priest wears cloth, so any kind of mitigation would be a blessing for him. He does however already have the excellent Power Word: Shield spell, which is used quite frequently, and to good utility I assume. Yet, I was thinking there could be something else.

A way to absorb a bit more, and maybe, even let the assailant pay for his misdeeds at the same time. I know it might not be what PvP Priests need the most, but hear me out nonetheless.

How about, in addition to the shield, the Priest could link himself to some target?

Err… Link?

Well, yes. An empathic Link that would make the target feel the Priest’s pain, even share it.

And so was born the first version of the spell.

The Draft

Empathic Link

(Instant, ?? min cooldown) For the duration, all damage taken by the caster is reduced by 50%, which is applied to the attacking enemy instead. Lasts ?? seconds.

It was still a rough sketch. The point was, to apply some damage reducing buff to the Priest, but instead of making this damage just poof and disappear, inflict it to the attacker. The “lore” behind the skill was that the link makes the attacker empathize with the Priest, therefore sharing his pain (and consecutively also making it less painful).

But I wasn’t exactly happy how this turned out. It felt too much like another Reflective Shield, and I wanted something that would be a bit more special.

So a revision was due.

The First Revision

And I kept thinking in the lines of a link. A link is a “relationship between two things”, and I thought, why wouldn’t the Priest be able to choose who he’d like to have this relationship with.

I updated the spell.

Empathic Link

(Instant, ?? min cooldown) For the duration, all damage taken by the caster is reduced by 50%, which is applied to the target instead. Lasts ?? seconds.

It was starting to take a nicer shape. Obviously, some tweaking was now due.

Tweaking, Tugging and Twitching

I was now standing on a very thin line. One hasty step and I could find myself inside Overpowered Kingdom, one false move and I’ll be standing in the middle of Lacklust Marsh. I decided to tread carefully.

So let’s start with the obvious, the duration and the cooldown.
5 minutes cooldown would make it a pretty standard skill, which would probably last for 12 seconds. But with such a cooldown, it makes it feel closer to an emergency ability than something you use more often. So I thought, what the heck, let’s heat-up the cooldown. So from 5 it dropped to 3, and the 12 changed to 5 (what about proportions? proportions are dead!). We now have something more solid.

Next thing to set was its range. Since you can instantly target something to share your pain, it couldn’t be something too far away. For fairness’ sake. So, to empathize with Mind Flay’s short range woe, I decided to pick the number 20 as well.

Update number two.

Empathic Link

(Instant, 3 min cooldown, 20 yd range) For the duration, all damage taken by the caster is reduced by 50%, which is applied to the target instead. Lasts 5 seconds.

Are we done?

Not quite. Although this does complete all the required fields for a spell (neglecting mana and rank which aren’t that critical at the moment), there is more to decide in order to make this ability balanced.

The Small Print

It is the time to put some restrictions on this skill, since frankly, it just feels too good at the moment (a shorter version of Shield Wall every 3 minutes that also damages any target? Yes please!). I had a couple ideas in mind.

First, we have to keep in mind that this is meant to be a defensive ability, and not an offensive one. That being said, I can foresee this being used to cause some concentrated damage within the ranks of the opposing team. To deal with that, the first restriction should be – if the damage transfer would cause the death of the target, it is broken.

Additionally, the ability will be immensly overpowered if it couldn’t be dispelled. For that reason, the Linked Soul buff would be magical, thus purge-able, and granting the benefits only while it lasts. Obviously, if it is purged, the affected target no longer shares the damage.
We could also consider putting a parallel magical debuff on the spell’s target, which could be cleansed. This of course would make the ability much easier to counter, so it’s a thin matter of balance.

And we thus reached a finite version (for now) to the new ability.

Empathic Link

Empathic Link

Empathic Link

(Instant, 3 min cooldown, 20 yd range) For the duration, all damage taken by the caster is reduced by 50%, which is applied to the target instead. If this damage would cause the death of the target, it is broken before it [the damage] is applied. Lasts 5 seconds.

VoilĂ !

A new ability is born. This is clearly only the first step in the long travel to come. In my next post, I’ll apply the B.O.P.N.L.F method to it, and we’ll try to see how good/bad/awesome/terrible it is.

It is rather ironic how old (and some present) punishment systems elect pain to teach men not to inflict it on others.
— Anonymous Philosopher of the Tranquil Dawn Community

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