Fey Pact Binder

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Fey Pact Binder

www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/d...

Comments?

Kind of looks to me like this is a bit stronger than the HoS Binder. There are a couple of pretty nice powers here, but it also seems like the concept is 'control at melee range', which is OK but surviving is going to be tough. I doubt it will fully address the original's weaknesses. Sort of sounds like some of the powers are still likely better used on a regular warlock (though many of them are also pretty anemic unless you have the Fey Pact Binder riders. Overall not bad, but you can still get basically the same sort of concept with a stronger build using straight feylock. Maybe I'm missing some detail though, lol.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Fey Pact Binder

www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/d...

Comments?

Kind of looks to me like this is a bit stronger than the HoS Binder. There are a couple of pretty nice powers here, but it also seems like the concept is 'control at melee range', which is OK but surviving is going to be tough. I doubt it will fully address the original's weaknesses. Sort of sounds like some of the powers are still likely better used on a regular warlock (though many of them are also pretty anemic unless you have the Fey Pact Binder riders. Overall not bad, but you can still get basically the same sort of concept with a stronger build using straight feylock. Maybe I'm missing some detail though, lol.



Its mostly par for the course. The problem with the original binder is that its pact goes off when you either kill(you don't deal damage well) an enemy or when one dies adjacent to you(you're a ranged Controller who doesn't want to be adjacent to enemies). This failure of class features combined with the generally weak riders on Binder powers and quality powers from the base Warlock class result in the fact that a regular Warlock does it better than the Binder. So much better than the Binder in fact that the Binder might as well not exist.

The end result is that the Binder class still sucks, the article gives more candy to the original Warlock than it does to the Binder, and we got a third option for Hybrid Binder to poach the Boon onto a Striker chassis(taking as little from the Binder side as possible) that will actually benefit from it.
...whatever
The trigger condition for the pact boon has always been the big issue. There's just a low chance of ever invoking it. The value of the boon is pretty situational too. Yes, clearly this new variant does nothing to fix that.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
I don't often agree with Erachima, but his "This is clearly meant to be a joke" in the CharOp thread sums this article up quite well IMO.

The idea of the binder subclass was a good one: a warlock who gives up his striker extra damage feature to get controller riders on his powers. But the execution has been abysmal. In many cases, the binder's riders actually make his powers worse rather than better, by giving the enemy concealment from the binder's allies or dealing damage to the monster he just dominated, as examples. Even when the rider makes a power slightly better for the binder, it generally does so by making it deal a tiny extra bit of damage, not by improving its control effects. Combine that with the binder's inability to actually choose most of his powers (controllers value flexibility more than any other role) and his borderline-unusable Pact Boon, and you have the game's one and only (to date) true 'trap' class.

It's not a trap because it's merely bad (although it is very, very bad, to the point that it can easily help the monsters more than it helps the party), but because it is strictly worse at being a controller than the pre-Essentials warlock, who can take nearly all the binder's powers and use them almost as effectively, just as effectively, and in some cases more effectively, than the binder, while also doing more damage and being able to choose powers that are better than the binder's fixed powers anyway. The one and only advantage the binder has as a controller over the pre-E warlock is access to multi-target at-will attacks, and a human or (at paragon) half-elf warlock doesn't even have to worry about that. Even then, the binder's multi-target at-wills are nowhere near as potent as the wizard's, invoker's or druid's equivalents.

This article does nothing whatsoever to fix any of that. At best, it gives pre-E warlocks some more controllerish powers to choose from. Arguably, by doing that, it actually makes the binder's problems worse, because it makes it even more obsolete than it was already.

"My flying carpet is full of elves."

I don't often agree with Erachima, but his "This is clearly meant to be a joke" in the CharOp thread sums this article up quite well IMO.

The idea of the binder subclass was a good one: a warlock who gives up his striker extra damage feature to get controller riders on his powers. But the execution has been abysmal. In many cases, the binder's riders actually make his powers worse rather than better, by giving the enemy concealment from the binder's allies or dealing damage to the monster he just dominated, as examples. Even when the rider makes a power slightly better for the binder, it generally does so by making it deal a tiny extra bit of damage, not by improving its control effects. Combine that with the binder's inability to actually choose most of his powers (controllers value flexibility more than any other role) and his borderline-unusable Pact Boon, and you have the game's one and only (to date) true 'trap' class.

It's not a trap because it's merely bad (although it is very, very bad, to the point that it can easily help the monsters more than it helps the party), but because it is strictly worse at being a controller than the pre-Essentials warlock, who can take nearly all the binder's powers and use them almost as effectively, just as effectively, and in some cases more effectively, than the binder, while also doing more damage and being able to choose powers that are better than the binder's fixed powers anyway. The one and only advantage the binder has as a controller over the pre-E warlock is access to multi-target at-will attacks, and a human or (at paragon) half-elf warlock doesn't even have to worry about that. Even then, the binder's multi-target at-wills are nowhere near as potent as the wizard's, invoker's or druid's equivalents.

This article does nothing whatsoever to fix any of that. At best, it gives pre-E warlocks some more controllerish powers to choose from. Arguably, by doing that, it actually makes the binder's problems worse, because it makes it even more obsolete than it was already.



Designers please read this and act upon it.
I don't often agree with Erachima, but his "This is clearly meant to be a joke" in the CharOp thread sums this article up quite well IMO.

The idea of the binder subclass was a good one: a warlock who gives up his striker extra damage feature to get controller riders on his powers.



Yeah. The problem there is that the Warlock already had great controller riders on his powers. So, giving up striker extra damage to gain them is giving it up for nothing. 

I'm having trouble even trying to figure out what the design goal is behind the Binder. The Vampire is terrible, but at least it looks like it was designed with goals in mind. I'm just lost when I read the Binder. 
I agree with the consensus.

Unless!

They are doing something with Binders in the upcoming errata package, then it could be cool. 
I agree with the consensus.

Unless!

They are doing something with Binders in the upcoming errata package, then it could be cool. 

If they were doing that why would they release an article now that would simply have to be updated in a few weeks? I wouldn't hold out any real hope for that.

I think you just have to understand that the devs clearly have different criteria than charops. In the case of the Vampire IMHO that's all there is to say about it, the class is solid and the design deliberatly does what it does for reasons that relate to what the devs wanted it to do. The Binder I think is just one of those concepts that theoretically sounds neat, but just doesn't work in practice.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
I agree with the consensus.

Unless!

They are doing something with Binders in the upcoming errata package, then it could be cool. 

If they were doing that why would they release an article now that would simply have to be updated in a few weeks? I wouldn't hold out any real hope for that.

I think you just have to understand that the devs clearly have different criteria than charops. In the case of the Vampire IMHO that's all there is to say about it, the class is solid and the design deliberatly does what it does for reasons that relate to what the devs wanted it to do. The Binder I think is just one of those concepts that theoretically sounds neat, but just doesn't work in practice.



Well, yes, but some of the bigger flaws are fixable via update.  Reword the pact boon so it triggers if an enemy dies in your LoS while adjacent to an ally (rather than just you) and you'd give Gloomies some quite viable positioning tricks and Stars an excellent defensive feature.  "Unfix" the encounter powers so binders can cherrypick from the entire warlock menu and you'd reduce the complaints about how awful some of their pact riders are by letting them just skip on them without MC swaps.

Add a good Dragon article with some build-specific feats designed to buff their controller role and some good encounter powers keyed to each binder pact that can't be poached by other warlocks and you could have a viable subclass with minimal effort.

They're flawed, but not so badly as to be unrepairable, no matter how stridently some argue otherwise.  Trading curse damage for control or defensive pact boons isn't inherently a bad idea, it's just the current execution that needs work, and not even all that much work at that.

The vampires and bladesingers are in much the same boat as the binders.  Probably none of them will ever make CharOps happy, but with a little feat support and a few more options to choose from, they could be quite nice to play in campaign games at all tiers.
I agree with the consensus.

Unless!

They are doing something with Binders in the upcoming errata package, then it could be cool. 

If they were doing that why would they release an article now that would simply have to be updated in a few weeks? I wouldn't hold out any real hope for that.

I think you just have to understand that the devs clearly have different criteria than charops. In the case of the Vampire IMHO that's all there is to say about it, the class is solid and the design deliberatly does what it does for reasons that relate to what the devs wanted it to do. The Binder I think is just one of those concepts that theoretically sounds neat, but just doesn't work in practice.



Well, yes, but some of the bigger flaws are fixable via update.  Reword the pact boon so it triggers if an enemy dies in your LoS while adjacent to an ally (rather than just you) and you'd give Gloomies some quite viable positioning tricks and Stars an excellent defensive feature.  "Unfix" the encounter powers so binders can cherrypick from the entire warlock menu and you'd reduce the complaints about how awful some of their pact riders are by letting them just skip on them without MC swaps.

Add a good Dragon article with some build-specific feats designed to buff their controller role and some good encounter powers keyed to each binder pact that can't be poached by other warlocks and you could have a viable subclass with minimal effort.

They're flawed, but not so badly as to be unrepairable, no matter how stridently some argue otherwise.  Trading curse damage for control or defensive pact boons isn't inherently a bad idea, it's just the current execution that needs work, and not even all that much work at that.

The vampires and bladesingers are in much the same boat as the binders.  Probably none of them will ever make CharOps happy, but with a little feat support and a few more options to choose from, they could be quite nice to play in campaign games at all tiers.

Bladesingers and Vampires are fine. More options never hurts any class, but there's at all really wrong with either one.

I'm not really so sure with the Binder. Sure, you can 'fix' the pact boon, but I just don't see where the class really filled a niche that needed to be filled by a new class. Better to just give regular 'locks the option to take a fixed version of the boon. One less class to support and nothing lost. Really though there just never was a strong need for more controllery 'lock anyway. The fundamental problem with it was always that the concept is just weak.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
I agree with the consensus.

Unless!

They are doing something with Binders in the upcoming errata package, then it could be cool. 

If they were doing that why would they release an article now that would simply have to be updated in a few weeks? I wouldn't hold out any real hope for that.

I think you just have to understand that the devs clearly have different criteria than charops. In the case of the Vampire IMHO that's all there is to say about it, the class is solid and the design deliberatly does what it does for reasons that relate to what the devs wanted it to do. The Binder I think is just one of those concepts that theoretically sounds neat, but just doesn't work in practice.



Well, yes, but some of the bigger flaws are fixable via update.  Reword the pact boon so it triggers if an enemy dies in your LoS while adjacent to an ally (rather than just you) and you'd give Gloomies some quite viable positioning tricks and Stars an excellent defensive feature.  "Unfix" the encounter powers so binders can cherrypick from the entire warlock menu and you'd reduce the complaints about how awful some of their pact riders are by letting them just skip on them without MC swaps.

Add a good Dragon article with some build-specific feats designed to buff their controller role and some good encounter powers keyed to each binder pact that can't be poached by other warlocks and you could have a viable subclass with minimal effort.

They're flawed, but not so badly as to be unrepairable, no matter how stridently some argue otherwise.  Trading curse damage for control or defensive pact boons isn't inherently a bad idea, it's just the current execution that needs work, and not even all that much work at that.

The vampires and bladesingers are in much the same boat as the binders.  Probably none of them will ever make CharOps happy, but with a little feat support and a few more options to choose from, they could be quite nice to play in campaign games at all tiers.

Bladesingers and Vampires are fine. More options never hurts any class, but there's at all really wrong with either one.

I'm not really so sure with the Binder. Sure, you can 'fix' the pact boon, but I just don't see where the class really filled a niche that needed to be filled by a new class. Better to just give regular 'locks the option to take a fixed version of the boon. One less class to support and nothing lost. Really though there just never was a strong need for more controllery 'lock anyway. The fundamental problem with it was always that the concept is just weak.



I can't speak for others, but I like both the idea of a true controller warlock, as well as the slightly modified flavor of the binder relative to other warlocks - sort of esoteric, cthulu-esque, and summoner-y.  I see the subclass, in concept, as being very interesting and distinctive enough from the standard warlock.  As stated above, it's merely the execution that's flawed, and much of what is flawed in that execution is at least partially reparable with some fairly simple errata. 

I hope they take the time to do that, because until they do, the Binder is the only class that genuinely stands out as being inferior.  Other weak classes really only suffer in highly optimized parties, but the binder is noticeably weaker than other controllers as well as other warlocks regardless of the party's optimization or tactical set-up.  
Bladesingers and Vampires are fine. More options never hurts any class, but there's at all really wrong with either one.



They're fine at heroic.  By mid-paragon I'm not so sure - and most of that's because classes with actual specific feat support are really starting to get their engines humming, which puts the unsupported classes farther behind the curve.  But yes, they aren't as bad off as the binders.

I'm not really so sure with the Binder. Sure, you can 'fix' the pact boon, but I just don't see where the class really filled a niche that needed to be filled by a new class. Better to just give regular 'locks the option to take a fixed version of the boon. One less class to support and nothing lost. Really though there just never was a strong need for more controllery 'lock anyway. The fundamental problem with it was always that the concept is just weak.



Kind of subjective, but you have a point about pact variants.  I'd rather see them do different choices of boons for exiting pacts than come out with more and more new ones.  That way you could differentiate more between (say) any two infernal pact 'locks and still allow them to benefit from power riders.  Probably too late to go that direction at this point, but it's a thought.

OTOH, giving the standard striker 'locks curse damage plus the option to take a fixed binder boon is probably way too good.  Those binder boons (if written properly so they can actually get used more often) are quite strong, especially the starlock one - they could reasonably expect to be invisible most of each fight, and the binder features layer insubstantial on as well at 16th.  Even CharOps would concede that's darned fine defense, with a fair amount of free CA and mobility to boot.  The gloom binder boon is more limited, but at 16th you can do some really unpleasant things - slide your enemy through blocking terrain?  Unless you're outdoors or in a dungeon with a lot of room between levels, sliding down through the floor ought to be an option.  Heaven help a non-flying enemy that faces you in a tower and stands anywhere near an outside wall.

Those binder boons are strong, very strong at 16th.  Only the fact that they're very difficult to trigger right now has limited discussion of that. 

[


Those binder boons are strong, very strong at 16th.  Only the fact that they're very difficult to trigger right now has limited discussion of that. 




i would want to see one thing changed to the trigger

from
You reduce a creature to 0 hit points, or an enemy adjacent to you drops to 0 hit points.

to
You reduce a creature to 0 hit points, or an enemy adjacent to you or your binders/warlocks ally drops to 0 hit points. 

also add  binger only feats
with an effect like al squares adjacesnt to your binders/warlock ally are dificult terain to your enemies.

and others that do things for your binders ally.
so tacticly placing it on the battle field becomes part of the binders control
 
Thus making a very situational trigger for mostly-useless powers into... a very slightly less situational trigger for mostly useless powers, for one encounter per day.

Yep, that sounds like the kind of fix I could see WotC making to me. 

What your suggestion is not, is actually a decent fix for the class.  The fix this class needs, is a: much, much more multi-target capacity, and b: some kind of useful at-will control-based replacement for Warlock's Curse.  Not having fixed encounter powers would go a long way, but it would still render the class a less-good version of the o-lock unless you gave it a replacement for curse, which supplies an awful lot of the o-lock's control support.

The major problem with predicating things on SWA is that it's a Daily power, that only lasts for one encounter per day.  Make the Warlock's Ally a permanent feature, you might have something.  Actually, that might be a cool way to come up with a rewrite for the class - make it a pet class - mostly attacking through the permanent summon, the summon being a pact-appropriate creature which gets blasts and bursts which can be used alone against single targets (thus qualifying as O-lock support, and allowing more strikery use, maybe they would get more damage when used this way), but which would affect all creatures in burst/blast if used through the pet.  Control riders could come from that too - and there's so much room for flavour in pacts with Infernal/Fey/Shadow critters.  Give them auras, Fey Beast Tamer style, probably 2 or 3, though to make them handier, with debuffs and ally enabling functions, maybe switchable as at-will or encounter powers, Skald-style...  Maybe the Pact Boons would go towards moving thps and hps around between you and the pet, too - if he's in a bad way, your pact lets you siphon some of your health into him, or vice versa - maybe one of them would be you lose X HP, he gains X THP or vice versa, when an enemy dies in the aura, another could be you grant CA he and allies in the aura gain concealment, or vice versa, another trading penalties to hit for you, for penalties to hit for enemies in the aura (though this would need some decent non-hit powers or significant other benefits...).  I'm just riffing here, but it really might be something that could work.

Shame it won't happen.  Seriously, that could actually be a really cool, really flavourful class, with a genuinely unique feel, but still heavily tied to the Warlock's 'pact with dark entities' flavour.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
I'd just like to see the boon triggers not based on "you reduce it to 0 hp", like the o-lock. a slide 3 or EONT invis when that happened would actually not be bad at all. Seems like they were trying to get rid of the curse mechanic in the simplification.

wouldn't fix the whole thing, by any means, but it's a solid start. Replace the curse with a controllery ability (-2 to hit, difficult terrain around the guy, etc) and it might get better.

not that that would fix the multitargetting, but hey, ti's a start