Doing some Damage
Another upcoming change in the Next Big Patch will be a revision in the damage-doing potential. SOE has been extremely aggressive in addressing situations where their concept of the game has not matched reality. This is no exception.
SOE's vision is that when it comes to dealing damage, the archetypes should rank, from highest potential to least, in the order mages, scouts, fighters, priests. This is not currently the case.
Currently, beginning at perhaps level 30 and higher, fighters do the most damage. SOE's community guy Moorgard said this:
The greatest imbalance currently in the game relates to fighters. Tanks are supposed to absorb damage, but they're also currently the best at dishing it out. This is due to the way our strength bonus works. Currently in the live game, a strength of 400 (achievable at the higher levels with buffs and gear) results in a 200% damage bonus. This results in fighters being the premier melee damage dealers, since they typically have the highest STR values.
Here is a table showing the changes to STR damage bonus:
STR Old Bonus New Bonus
100 125% 125%
200 150% 135%
300 175% 145%
400 200% 155%
I don't know whether this table represents a threshold or not. Is there a big benefit for going from 199 STR to 200? I'd guess not, that doesn't seem consistent with the design philosophy. But I don't really know. Any commenters?
Characters below level 25, and characters that play in small groups or solo can't really get their strength up to the level of 3-400, so they shouldn't see much change.
In addition, damage output of mages in general and wizards and warlocks in particular has been poor. So the damage output for sorcerors has been increased, by as much as 300% for some spells. Not much along this line has been done for enchanters and conjurors, though a couple of changes have been introduced that are related.
First, summoning a construct will not make all dots and debuffs on a target go away, like it did. Second, all single target buffs will have a duration of 15 minutes, instead of the 3 min grind that it currently is. That will allow Enchanters (such as yours truly) to keep the whole party Breezed and Hasted. This will result in increased damage potential for the group.
But no other changes are in store for damage potential of conjurors and enchanters in the short term. I suspect that SOE feels the changes to STR and to sorceror damage are big enough that they want to look at the other classes in the new context before making further changes.
The main focus of complaints so far has been, "Now groups will never want more than one tank in their group." This change will reduce the attractiveness of that second tank, make no mistake. But smart tanks (hmm, "military intelligence", anyone?) will figure out how to use combinations with another tank to be more effective. I group quite a lot with another enchanter. This is far from ideal, but she's a good player, and so am I. So we figure out how to coordinate, how to be successful. That's fun. Isn't that what playing a game is supposed to be?