I've been playing Archon build for a while - mostly for item farming and paragon leveling since 1.03/1.04. All this time I've been trying out variations of Archon builds and would like to share some thoughts on design of the skill and particular runes.
In the analysis I present my subjective understanding of the skill/rune, what strong points there and what could be improved. I pursue 2 goals in my suggestions:
- To make all Archon skill runes usable
- Have players to make tough choice between these runes and try out all of them and not be able to stick with one in all situations (that's called "build diversity", isn't it?)
== The Skill ==
Archon is one of the top-DPS skills that work without active synergies for wizard. The goal of being in Archon form is to kill as fast as possible -- which is synonym of efficient farming. You want to stay in Archon form 99% of the time while it is assigned on your skills panel.
- high DPS, massive AOE
- "noclip" beam that shoots through most of the objects and all enemies
- looks spectacular in highly-populated areas
- Since this is a channeling spell, you have to hold it to attack. And you stand still while attacking. Standing is not good, because you want to move as fast as possible to get more mobs, to make sure Archon won't run out
- When Archon form is enabled, the set of skills to use shrinks which means less defense and less options for playstyle
- In Archon form you don't use arcane power at all. Feels like a kind of waste of resources. From the other hand, AP on crit on items is not mandatory
Both facts that it is a channeling spell and you are limited in skill selection, put Archon wizard in a disparity with other classes in terms of mobility. All you have is your movement speed capped at 25% and you have to stand every time you attack...
The Scramble helps a bit, but it is nothing in comparison with Sprint for barbs or Tempest Rush for monks -- they can use these skills any time they want (and Archon wizard has to stand or slow down to take damage). And remember that Scramble is rune of Storm Armor, which adds no mitigation -- but in Archon form you have to have respectable level of mitigation due to limited set of defensive skills.
For Teleport rune see analysis below.
Improvement suggestion: if to eliminate skill cooldowns in Archon form (Blast, Teleport, Bubble) and instead require spending arcane power on them, it would improve quality of life of the Archon wizard. There will be incentive in gearing up for AP on crit (but still it would be not mandatory).
== Arcane Destruction Rune ==
"1600% damage - wow, that's a nuke" -- you might think. Well, you use it once and then wait up to two minutes when Archon cooldown is over. The logical problem is that this rune defeats the purpose of being in Archon form: you want to be as long as possible in Archon form, but to use this ability you must be NOT in Archon form.
I'd personally use it if this ability was in Archon form and frequently - then it seems competitive with other runes.
- instead of explosion when you enter Archon form, just buff damage of Arcane Blast and Arcane Strike. This seems not changing the intent of this rune: deal more melee damage
- also with this rune if to add 1 second of Archon form with every meelee strike, it could be worth using Archon build against ubers
- replacing cooldown of blast with AP costs would allow more options in balancing game by adjusting AP costs
== Teleport Rune ==
Teleport is the distinctive skill for the wizard overall and in Archon form provides huge tactical advantage.
Cooldown is the issue:
- even despite it is only 10 seconds instead of 16 in normal form
- even despite in patch 1.07 cooldown will be affected by Critical Mass
- even despite The Oculus reduces cooldown on Teleport (still doesn't work in Archon form, seems like bugged; and who needs that Oculus anyway?)
The cooldown on Teleport requires you to slow down to 25% or stop and attack and hope that Critical Mass will reduce it. But proc coefficient of Archon skills in conjunction with 35% of CM chance don't get the job done. As result, Archon wizard has significantly lower mobility comparing to other classes or CM build.
Improvement suggestion: just replace that cooldown with AP costs or at least implement mechanics similar to the Wormhole rune
== Pure Power Rune ==
Reducing cooldown of Archon to 100 seconds (from 120) doesn't seem competitive with other runes. Honestly, I don't see any benefit of this rune at the moment.
As I understand, the intent of this rune is to make staying in Archon form easier.
- with this rune, make any buffs (armor, Familiar, Magic Weapon) not expire in Archon form, so that you don't have to exit and reset it. This opens possibility to farm in lower-populated areas
- hell, why not allowing shrine buffs not expiring in Archon form with this rune? Oooh yeaaahh!
== Slow Time Rune ==
A decent defensive ability. Not competitive with Teleport rune.
- what about redesigning it to do a more substantial party buff? Gives some incentive to play Archon wizard in coop games.
- or maybe add one or two crowd control skills to the panel, such as Frost Nova (a big one for entire screen, please)
== Improved Archon ==
Gets the job done. The rune of choice for many (if not majority) players. But that's the problem: it is too good comparing to other runes.
I think this one doesn't need improvements.
== Conclusions ==
I think that these improvements should open new possibilities:
- use Archon on higher MP with more damage (Arcane Destruction)
- more choice to improve your build: either with passive skills or with gear, or both
- farm lower-populated areas (Teleport, Pure Power)
- just be more competitive with monks and barbarians
- who knows, maybe Archon skill could become usable against uber bosses?
== Feedback ==
What do you guys think? Are these suggestions, in your opinion, going to make Archon builds more fun?