Firstly, as a foreword, I want to clarify that this is a discussion. I won't claim that I have all the answers to the topics I will be discussing below, but I'd at least like to bring some of my ideas and lite criticisms to the table for consideration in order to make some classes better or just more enjoyable to play, if they're possible to implement. I'd also like to say that I'm very happy and impressed with how far Clementine has come as a server and where it's going. Kudos to all the admins, moderators, and supporters for getting the server to where it is now; it's already better than official in a lot of ways in my opinion. With that being said, and hopefully my overall enjoyment of the server being made clear, I can get into what this post is actually about. Balance. I'll try and keep this as organized and straight to the point as possible. It may be long though, apologies in advance.
Note: Topic and sub-sub-topic transitions will be bolded for the sake of making this easier to read and organize.
Currently, I main MF and WT on the server. I also sub AT, and I have a friend who mains GT (Human GT, to be specific), so most of my proposed changes will be surrounding those classes. Starting from the top, I'd like to look at Dam-techs. Right now, outside of a solo play defensive option, they don't really have a use, and even then they have some issues with them imo.
Damfoie, Dambarta, Damdiga, Damgrants, Dammegid Cons:
Generally speaking, as soon as the tech goes down, faster mobs (which will only get faster as we get into higher difficulties) have a tendency to rush you down so quickly and effectively that you can longer use the tech unless you hit their re/despawn range. This excludes that you're also probably getting hit because of that.
The damage on these techs is low. As of right now, Dam-techs seem to be a mix of offense and defense, but fails in both. It stops casting after a period of time so that it isn't a complete lockdown, but still somewhat defensive. Although, it also hits low damage to the point where it won't even kill the target on S2, so they end up slipping through and damaging you (if they don't just ignore the tech to begin with), ruining the positioning for the dam-tech, and to top it all off, it's also a huge PP dump in comparison to just running up to the spawn and casting a Gi-tech and getting better results. Poor damage; poor defense. Not looking good so far.
Damgrants has sleep. That's it. That's the description of the problem. If they do get staggered, the mobs will get knocked out of range, then put to sleep very frequently, so they just sit there not taking any damage. What am I supposed to do? Cancel the tech to reposition, then have all the other mobs flood in and damage me and ruin my positioning for one mob? This is not helpful at all. To add, this is not even useful for team play because as soon as they get tapped by anything they wake up. I'd rather just freeze, shock, or literally any other form of CC. More on this later. This can also be applied to laser cannons, but I don't have as much experience with those, so take that with a grain of salt.
The range on these techs feels unholy inconsistent, not to mention there's no value for context or comparison on the wiki. Damfoie feels very small, Dambarta feels medium, Damgrants literally goes across the map. The other two fall in-between Damfoie and Dambarta. I have no idea what's going on here, but some range values would be very helpful.
Give Dam-techs an identity and a more defined spot in the tech kit. Is this tech type more offensive or defensive? Whatever you decide, I have suggestions for both that'll be listed below.
If you want the tech to be more defensive/utility based, give it blowdown, a higher status effect level, and infinite hold time, or at least increased. However, lower the damage to compensate, if necessary. Why blowdown? This gives the squishier force-types another option to deal with bigger, harder hitting mobs beyond just going up to them and spamming Nosdiga for stun and damage, or just eating damage to deal DPS in whatever way. This does somewhat conflict with Regrant's effect, but I look at this as more of an on-element option for lockdown versus it just making Regrant completely useless. Why status? This would be a way to balance the very strong lockdown that Dam-techs would have with this proposed change. Not every enemy can be burned, frozen, poisoned, infected, etc., so mostly you'd just be using it for a defensive lockdown, but when the status gets to kick in, it'll be a nice reward on top of what you're already doing. In the case of MF, these changes help towards avoiding the scenario of "Use LV10 Sabarta as MF" that will inevitably ensue in solo play later on. Their lockdown tech is not only comparable in utility, for themselves that is, to Sabarta, but also does damage and complements MF's PA level caps. This would be a lot less awkward, I feel. Sa-techs would still have usage on other classes however due to their nigh guaranteed status proc instantly. You would not catch me using LV50 Dambarta over Sabarta for support in my melee parties because it could potentially be a waste of time and not proc freeze quickly enough.
Giving sleep its GAS customization innate. Simple. If a mob is sleep, the first hit gets a damage boost of X%. If the enemy is going to be out of my hit range due to being put to sleep, at the very least I'd like to blow it up when it's the last mob remaining. In the case of teams, when it is out of your range, at least another player can hit it for big damage thanks you. A form of support, somewhat. Also, it actually makes sleep useful. I'd keep a close eye on sleep traps though. I'm not sure how out of hand that could get, but again, that's why this is a discussion. Share your thoughts, please.
This next bit will be about Acrotecher. One of these I can see being potentially problematic. It's the section I'm the least confident in, but I have a few suggestions based off what I've seen/played. I'm especially intrigued how everyone would feel about these.
Acrotecher Proposed Fixes/Changes:
LV30 PA cap. I'm not sure why AT gets twin daggers when they can't even use any of the PAs to their "full power" beyond Soujin Ranbu-shou (JP PA). Kind of weird.
Access to S-rank R-mags. I think this will give AT some extra, interesting status effect utility to support the party with. This is the problematic one considering some of the later R-mags.
Changing AT's limit break from Gi+Dam to Gi+X. AT never uses Dam-techs right now, as far as I can tell. With my proposed dam-tech change implemented, you may see them used more, but even then I doubt it because you have traps and Sa-techs. Any other limit break would be useful, in my opinion.
Just gonna jump right into Guntecher. There isn't much to say, but my friend and I feel techs are somewhat neglected right now despite having a limit break. Most of these observations and suggestions are on his behalf.
Guntecher Proposed Fixes/Changes:
Increasing LV21 Ra-tech base hit count by one. Right now, taking limit break into account, fighting large melee/range resistant mob pulls can be somewhat cumbersome because only having 4 targets allows for them to slip through quite often. Not to mention the somewhat awkward targeting priority that Ra-techs have. Now, having used Ra-techs on MF and hitting 5 targets at 41+, this almost never happens considering you're gonna see around 5~6 enemies at most per pull in non-JP missions. This would make the tech casting on GT feel a lot better. The balance here is that it doesn't get as much range or damage notation as FT or MF would get. This may make their bossing capabilities a bit stronger, sure, but honestly, my friend is noting how dangerously close bow DPS is to his techs already, if it's not higher already. A single hit option versus a multi-hit option. Again, this is something to discuss.
Last general note as well, Nos-tech tracking. It's kind of wonky on flying bosses. I think this is just a bug though, but I thought it would be worth mentioning anyway.
Okay! These are my takes and suggestions on some things related to balance right now. I'm eager to see what you all will think. To reiterate, I do not have all the answers. These are just my observation-based opinions that I want to share to get some type of discussion going. Again, this is written with all due respect in mind to all the people who contribute to building this server and making it what it is. Try not to tear into me too hard. Thanks for reading <3