My experiment to discover which of my horde of lvl 40 low RR alt characters is the most viable, took a slightly unexpected turn last week. A conversation with a mate of mine that’s somewhat obsessed with his DPS Shaman, unwittingly aroused my curiosity and I decided to see if it was possible to go DPS with my own RR50 Shaman. Previously it really wasn’t possible to get the stats required, but now thanks to the lowered armour restrictions and the new accessory set, it worked out very well. I’ve been playing the Shaman most of this week, have taken him from 50 to 60 and had a bloody marvellous time. However, more on that another time, as today I’m actually going to talk about my Magus.
The Magus is RR50 and turned out to not be quite as bad as I expected, yet at the same time was utterly frustrating.
At high RRs the Magus is quite potent; I’ve grouped with some great Magus players and have seen the impact they can have. They can hit pretty hard, though they’re no Sorcerer by any means and it takes a good player to do well with, where as a bad Sorcerer player can be carried by the career to a point. A Magus does not have that luxury. At low RRs however it’s quite a frustrating career due to the commonly recognised overarching problem with the Magus since launch; it doesn’t know what it is trying to be.
I’ve seen ranged support class bandied around, or a CC based ranged class, a DoT based nuker and so on, None of them are quite correct. The idea of it as a more support based class has some sense, but it doesn’t play out like that as the Magus doesn’t bring anything unique to the table other than Rift , but that is something you have to choose to spec for high up in the Daemonology mastery, is only 1 ability anyway and taking it greatly limits your ability as a ranged DPS class. It does have quite a lot of CC in total, but there are issues with most of it that limit the career reaching a genuine and valuable support role.
AoE stagger – A little demon you place down that enemy players have to go near to detonate the stagger. It’s very easily avoided.
Snare – A melee range snare. MELEE RANGE? It is utterly useless because of how melee abilities have longer range than should due to latency (type thing) and the burst damage output MDPS have. This would only work if it was an unbreakable root.
AoE stun – This requires you to detonate your pet. Your pet is stationary, so this stun is not always in the right place and if you do detonate your pet, you have reduced your damage output by 20% and that’s not including the pets damage itself. This wouldn’t be so bad if pets were an instant cast instead of 2 seconds.
Knockback – Single target, short punt and a 2 second cast.
Disarm – You have to choose to spec it and because of its long cast time, it’s of little use in the moments it would be required.
AoE Root – Instant cast and as such it’s fine.
There are also morale abilities, but they’re reliant on morale obviously and are nothing that other classes don’t have.
So as you can see the Magus does have quite a lot of CC options, but they’ve almost all got problems, particularly when you consider the class is very squishy and spends most of its time stuck on terrain. What I found with my low RR Magus is that with a Havoc/Changing spec I could do reasonable damage if I throw absolutely everything into DPS related stats and completely forget about survivability, but because of the limitations and unreliability of the career’s CC, you find yourself really struggling to stay alive. That spec also means no Rift, which is the Magus’ only unique selling point.
To be able to utilise all of that CC the Magus needs to be able to deliver it and that requires it to either be tough enough to shrug off attacks, or mobile enough that it can avoid them. Unfortunately the Magus is neither of those things. You can spec Daemonology, turn yourself into a melee range character and build your stats around survivability, but this is at a dramatic cost to damage output and is a very restrictive playstyle. It’s probably not what people envisaged when they choose to create a Magus.
So I think with the Magus Mythic need to:
Make them more mobile by changing how their pets work and reducing/removing CC cast times.
Make them a LOT tougher and literally make them pillboxes of doom.
In both cases I think Rift should become a core ability, the snare should be made ranged and their pets needs to be made a LOT more powerful. The pets should have abilities that go beyond just damage buffs, perhaps like Chosen auras. These changes could help better define them in a pet based ranged support role and give groups a reason to want a Magus instead of a Sorcerer. I believe most of this would apply to the Engineer too.
Also their DoTs are too easily removed and too slow to provide any meaningful burst and their cast time nukes do not hit hard enough. Which is not made up for by the career’s CC in any way and means it’s not able to compare if you consider damage it’s primary purpose..
Well there you go; I still can not recommend the Magus for a returning player. They’re not terrible, you can have some fun with them, but as it stands every other class is just that bit better. Mythic have changes coming in 1.4.4 for the Magus, but I have no idea if it will be enough to stop them being the worst career in the Destruction arsenal.