It's no secret that Ghost is one of, if not the most popular classes in the game right now. Because it has so many tools to keep itself alive, deal damage, and properly leverage some of the best weapons in the game, it very rarely loses out to other classes in competing archetypes. Before making a suggestion, I'm going to cover some of the reasons I have for making this claim.
With all of that in mind, here are three changes I would like to see to prune some of this power:
Survivability: A core aspect to the class' identity.
Synergies: The Free Space in Bingo.
- Ghosts have access to Wraithguard, which provides them a buffer of 300 HP, can block unfavorable positions (such as your ass), and can stall out fights once the Ghost has gone unconscious. The spirit summoned never times out. Because of its duration and its small, but good enough, cast range, Ghosts can all but guarantee using this skill at the very least trades evenly with momentum from the enemy. Because the spirit will mitigate the full damage of an attack even when it dies from transferring it, this buffer very often exceeds the 300 HP threshold. To visualize this, imagine taking 500 damage from one attack, when the spirit is at 10/300 HP. It will still mitigate the remaining 150 damage off of the hit, despite its health.
- Ghosts have access to Rebound. Though this is not nearly as momentum efficient as Wraithguard, it comes with unexpected utility that adds more tools in Ghost's toolbox. This skill can serve its function as a heal, but it also has no trouble wiping out a non-spellcaster's FP to zero after two or three casts. Additionally, it can be used as a way to bypass 'on damage' effects, such as: killing someone with 50 HP and Body of Isesip, or finishing someone off who Die Harded across the entire battle map.
- Ghosts have access to Eviter. Though this is Duelist, and not Ghost, the latter necessarily inherits the strength of the former. Eviter provides such potent damage reduction that it can easily be a deciding factor in fights, and adds another layer of passive damage mitigation for the class.
- Ghosts are permitted to build heavy evasion, without exposing a glaring weakness elsewhere. With free stats and the aforementioned mechanisms for surviving, Ghosts can defend against spells and autohits well enough that they can forego some defenses for raw evasion. Using Disengage with Miragewalk still forces an unfavorable circumstance on just about everyone -- moreso if the leap back necessitates burning additional momentum just to reach them afterward.
- The class has access to an enormous suite of damaging effects, passives, and skills. Claret Call provides a finite, stacking bonus to all attacks and skills, almost all of which have higher scalings than every other skill or spell in the game. Blood Spike, which costs a small tithing of HP, has more scaling in an Area of Effect than every spell and invocation Evoker has. On top of this, it benefits from and applies Claret Call. Much of the same can be said about Scarlet Twister, but the health cost attached to it is significant enough to dissuade endless spamming.
- Even without using these spells, Ether Invitation is a spammable attack that deals on average 150-200 additional damage before being multiplied by crit damage and other external % boosts. This poses a problem because it functions as a one-point-wonder. The missing health scaling does not scale with level, the cooldown does not scale with level, and the skill itself does not even require Claret Call to be present anymore. This provides a top tier offensive option for dirt cheap, and allows Ghosts to leverage the saved Skill Points on their other skills.
- Ghost, by inheritance, gains access to Eclair Lacroix and Fleur. Because these are base class skills, it's important to be careful about attributing issues with the base class to the promotion. With that in mind, these two abilities add more area of effect damage (more scaling than almost every other ability in the game, a common theme), and shift the action economy. The latter could be far more of a discussion than I'm giving it here, but suffice to say influencing Momentum is single-handedly the most powerful trait in the game. Resisting physical elements to weaken Fleur is extremely difficult for non-summoners, and Eclair Lacroix can be spaced to detonate in front of enemies so that Spirit Mirror can be easily bypassed.
Synergies: The Free Space in Bingo.
- Ghost can effectively synergize with most of the other (generally agreed upon) strong items, to make itself a walking ball of optimization. The class works extremely well with swords, some of which put most other weapons to shame (Tarnada, Spine Leash, both granting access to Eclair Lacroix), and is one of the few that work with axes in general. It can easily support any other weapon that want hits and crits, like guns, daggers, or bows, simply based on passives and Fleur alone.
- Ghost supports most of the other strong classes, too. It can easily leverage Hexer, Black Knight, Demon Hunter, Bonder, Void Assassin, Monk, Curate, any Archer promotion, and any other Duelist promotion. This could be viewed as a positive attribute, since promoting diversity is, in my opinion, desirable. However, the reality I'm seeing is less that everyone plays all of these different classes, and more that everyone plays all of these different classes...With Ghost. Even using a Katana, players are almost always better off using Ghost over Kensei for the majority of situations they encounter.
As always, I appreciate the time taken to read through this.
- Wraithguard no longer reduces the full impact of attacks that will overkill it. An attack that deals 1500 damage to a player with a full health spirit would be reduced to 1200, instead of its current iteration where it would be reduced to 1050. An attack that deals 200 damage to a player with a 10 health spirit will do 190, instead of 140. Lastly, the spirit will disappear when the caster drops to zero hit points, unless it's in range of Gravestone.
- This should incentivize investing more Momentum into Gravestone usage, which opens the opponent up to less disparaging momentum trades.
- Ether Invitation now scales damage with rank, dealing [4%/8%/12%/16%/20%] of missing health as additional damage on hit, and requiring Claret Call be active.
- This should make SP distribution across the numerous powerful abilities harder.
- Blood Spike now costs 8% of the caster's health, up from 5%.
- This should make people just a little more weary about spamming the ability every turn.