Sword and shield + spear + hammer or blunderbuss/greatsword are really the only weapons that can combo. There is no viable combo that a FS/IG can reliably pull off.
Everything else is ability spam. If you think great axe / warhammer or any combo of said weapons like greatsword or even spear sometimes are high skill cap you need to go play an actual fighting game. If you think spamming big AoE’s for big damage is actual skill based gameplay.
I hate that this game went down the road of big damaging AoE’s for melee players because it gives them such an inflated sense of self of being good at this game when in reality STR 300 melee players have been playing the most busted class in this game for most forms of content since launch and enjoy the privilege of the fact that it is what the combat dev who is in charge of balance plays and the very fact that he admits to never trying mages in a dev video and says he will try mage in fresh start.
An ice mage hitting the perfect ice spike consistently is literally the hardest thing to do in this game, maybe the only other thing harder is consistently clicking heads with the bow. Any melee class who thinks their skill cap is “high” is really deluding themselves.
Yes Firestaff is easy and is also a crutch weapons but this thread is not entirely about fire mages. Yes fire mage is generally a very easy magic class to play but if it is going to have only damage and none of the utility afforded other classes then there needs to be something that makes it viable.
New World has some of the more simpler forms of combat in an MMORPG, sure there is some depth but in reality most melee is afforded homing + large damage AoE stuns that become exponentially worse the more are added into the pot.
This is simply not true. FS/IG sure while being affected by the bugs would always top damage in wars because it’s simply stat pad damage, and fire can still continue to hit top of the leaderboard in damage.
Look at other ranged weapons
Bow - instant cast escapes plus much smoother/faster AoE rain of arrows compared to meteor shower that does far more burst damage.
Blunderbuss - sure a mid range weapon but again net shot is instant and splitting grenade does far more AoE.
Both of the above provide utility that firestaff sorely lacks.
Musket - very high single target damage and the strongest single burn application/slow in the game with powder burn. - Literally eats glass cannon mages for breakfast and destroys almost any other class in the game if played well.
This is the issue with the meta. VG/IG has become the “support” class and everything a ranged DPS can do with fire a BB/IG or musket or VG/BB or bow/rapier or bow/hatchet just does better in every single way than the fire staff. Hell even another bruiser is more utility and a better pick that actually slotting a firestaff / ice gauntlet in your roster.
Let’s also talk about Ice damage - Ice spike is consistently still bugged and one of the hardest hitting skill shots in the game to land. But you know what, lets give this great axe the ability to eat the ice spikes with maelstrom and AoE gravity well and maelstrom like 5-10 people at once. Yea balance is fine here.
You know what actually, let’s give blunderbuss the same thing, call it azoth shrapnel blast and just make it easier to land with very similar cool down reduction perks but also lets give to the strength boys don’t want them to feel left out.
If I could guarantee hit my spike combo every time because meteor shower was an AoE stun. Sure you can make the argument it’s a skill cap issue.
When we have an ability like meteor shower and archers get rain of arrows you need to ask yourself who actually implements these abilities in the game.
You have things like baleful tether on Void gauntlet - a complete waste of an ability along with void blade being the most desync ridden issue weapon on the known bugged weapons list for like 9 months at this point. But you know what here is another greatsword enjoy.
It’s a deeper issue than FS was broken.
In a 3 ability game you can’t have dead abilities on any of the weapons. Coupled with the fact that fire across the board has clearly lower DPS, lower DPS windows, and needs to be putting themselves constantly in the danger zone to be effective.
Healthy balance would be changing meteor shower to just METEOR - one long 3 second channel that drops a fat fucking bomb on the enemy.
Changing pillar of fire to be like a flame breath or something useful that does a slow or a stun.
Change burnout to maybe give grit or have a slightly faster windup. Or go a shorter distance but provide haste and be instant like evade shot.
There are many fixes to make it feel viable and have a purpose in the meta