As an Atlas main, it is my duty to waste my time and make my fingers press down on a keyboard for an hour or more, as the date for Atlas Prime's release is constantly approaching and ready to attack my innocent wallet. I have made a rework thread in the past past that covered my general suggestions to improve Atlas, even revisiting a month later to make some slight adjustments based on new ideas at the time, but I feel like there's no wrong in making another thread for the sake of keeping new ideas relevant and fresh.
Now I want to address a couple of things about this thread, is that I will be focusing on doing three things through it:
I want to keep Atlas's kit the same as it is. Sure, it can be easy to look at an ability and simply replace it, but I am not looking to make a complete rework for him, rather a revisit to take a look at reasons why things may be considered weak within his kit and suggest fixes for them. This does not mean I won't be adding new aspects or removing specific things about abilities, rather I am not going to be removing them entirely.
I am going to change the way how Atlas uses his stats within his abilities, to give you a clue on how this will continue on throughout the thread, look at the 'Timeless' part within my title. Basically, Duration as a stat in total, will matter a lot less for Atlas. But I will try to make sure that even with a high Duration build (because I imagine that someone out there uses a build like that, heck I even do it sometimes), can still benefit after this whole revisit.
I will be addressing ALL of his abilities and even his augments, even the ones that are seen as 'good'. Admittedly, even I have exaggerated their power sometimes, so yes, even Landslide will be discussed.
So with that out of the way, let's begin. If you want to skip reading all of this, don't worry, I will provide a Too Lazy, Didn't Read A Research Paper On A Rock Brawler Space Ninja down below.
At Rank 30, Atlas will have a Health and Shield values of 300 each. Not bad, but I wouldn't really say the stats really benefit Atlas. Now of course, this issue is probably going to change with the Prime variant, but there's no harm in changing the way how his stats work now. I would probably just suggest increasing Atlas's health value slightly, possibly by 25 points or trading in 50 shields for 50 health or so. Shields don't really matter on Atlas, so I don't see the exact purpose of making the values even between his health. I will make a suggestion that somewhat contradict this point very soon, but just understand where I am coming from right now. I do recall a lot of people suggesting that Atlas's shields should just be completely removed, but then that would call for having Rubble to be reworked in order to suit that specifically, since how it's also tied to Atlas's health in terms of healing him. Speaking of which...
- Immovable: It's actually fine right now. I always felt like that Atlas's main passive should have included more resistances to attacks such as staggers or specific ones that lift you up, but surprisingly it was updated in the Plains of Eidolons Remaster (well, it only resists the 'lifting' attacks now, not staggers too but oh well). I don't know why it was updated, but I don't really mind at the same time. I know there's some people asking for this passive to work in the air, but I don't find it as necessary since it's you're already resisting certain attacks by just staying on the ground.
- Rubble: Now this is where the real changes start. I feel like there could be a way to make Rubble feel more convenient and consistent, rather a thing you constantly have to manage, and the first thing that needs addressing is the decay. It somewhat makes sense for Atlas to have it since it's supposed to be a benefit on top of what he's doing with Petrify, but the issue comes with working against it. Since honestly, there's no real way to do so, as the only way to pause it is to just pick up more Rubble. So for the first change for Rubble, I would just make it so that the decay can only start once Atlas's health gets damaged, slightly similar to Health Conversion. In order to stop it, simply just heal, which by picking up Rubble or a health orb will do the trick.
Next there's another convenience issue with Rubble, the way how it heals Atlas. I honestly don't mind having the heals replacing the armor additions when your health pool is damaged, but I can't stand the way how it interacts with the armor pool. To understand where I am getting at, let's just say you just killed a Petrified enemy with Landslide. That should be 75 Rubble ready to be picked up, right? But, you're missing 10 Health, so that means that 75 Rubble now gets reduced to a 10 HP heal, which is extremely inconvenient and punishing to the player. A simple fix to this would be having the excess Rubble value go directly into the armor pool, simple as that.
Speaking of the healing value of Rubble, I don't think there's anything technically wrong with it, but I feel like it could use a small buff. Considering that Atlas Prime is coming soon and people already use Umbra builds (or even possibly a Vitality + Vigor build), healing 75 HP out of 1000+ HP total, seems a little slow. Sure, when you destroy an entire group of enemies, it probably won't matter but it feels a bit lacking compared to just using an Operator Arcane for quick heals, when Atlas is supposed to be one healing himself. So I would simply just raise the healing value by 25 points, on both Landslide and regular Rubble. But then there comes a small dilemma, how does the previous suggestion work with this one? Easy, just make it so that the excess healing part (the additional 25 points) is now added to Atlas's total health pool, as an overheal of some sort. So picking up a regular Rubble with 1 HP missing means 24 additional health points and 50 armor. Side note: Don't let the overheal HP count towards the decay activation. Just to continue the theme of convenience.
What can I say about Landslide? On paper, it's great. Full invincibility, instant lock-on, can be increased with (most) melee mods, reduced energy and increased damage within the combo duration; it's a pretty good ability. But, it does get a bit weaker after cutting through certain levels. As blatant as I will state it, it's not great at scaling. Sure, some specific weapons or even companions can help subside the issues with it, but the ability needs a way to do so properly by itself. And that's where I talk about status chance. Landslide, has no way to apply status chance by itself, so it may seem weird to bring it up, but I have a proposition to fix that. Let Landslide apply status effects, but with reduced effectiveness (50% of their original) and reduced status duration (33% of the original). This naturally balances out certain statuses such as Corrosive and Gas, as I feel like letting the complete statuses take effect could be potentially overpowered. I know Exalted weapons and even other stat stick abilities can go all willy-nilly with their procs, but considering the other benefits Atlas's gets when using this ability, its somewhat fair to do it this way.
I will also mention another mod that I feel like wouldn't hurt anyone in letting it affect Landslide, and that would be Shattering Impact. It would allow a different way for people to scale the ability by itself, and probably allow for more extensive weapons to be used along with the stat stick weapons that are already used so commonly now.
Finally, as a small Quality of Life Change for Atlas within this ability, it would just be to simply allow it to target grounded or knock downed opponents. Not necessarily asking for a finisher variant of the move, but as a way to reward players in a similar way, the critical chance and status chance could increase slightly for doing so. A nice bonus along with a simple fix.
Path of Statues:
While I do not have any sort of experiences using the augment (I know, blasphemous), I won't sneeze at the power this augment does provide. Some extra CC and a potential free Petrify on top of a pretty good ability. The only issue I technically have with it is the actual potential of using the rock path. Sure, it's supposed to be a small addition to the ability, but I feel like if it's going to take a mod slot, it needs to matter in a bit more of a specific way. So, I would change it so that the first target of a Landslide combo would have Atlas punch through them, instantly petrifying them, while also slightly extending the duration of the combo counter (in order to subside for having to potentially turn around). This would make the solo petrify more consistent, and make the augment seem more apparent. Now there is an "issue" that seem people have with it, and that's how you don't get Rubble from the augment, which I sort of don't mind. You're already using a pretty good move to get additional damage by itself, so I don't see the need for even more benefits on top of it. Side note: Path of Statues used to have an actual rock trail behind it, but apparently it's been gone ever since a time I can't really pinpoint. I just remember someone stating that it doesn't do it anymore, so I guess just fix that too.
If I were to guess, I could assume that this ability is the most proposed for a complete replacement within Atlas's kit, and I can sort of understand why, even though I don't agree with it. It's a pretty standard and simple ability, as it's a defense and distraction ability with some CC attached to it. But I feel like that's the issue, it's too simple and specific to be used on a general basis. You're practically mostly using the Bulwark for Defense, Mobile Defense, and maybe Capture and Survival (sometimes you just need a little bit of safety to activate things). Of course, you can also use it when you need to hack something or revive a teammate, but I can still understand the frustrations around it. And plus, the Boulder is pretty damn weak.
- Bulwark: So let's address the main issue, it's defensiveness. While it does do a satisfactory job at protecting an small area, there's two problems that come with it. The size and whether or not enemies actually care about it. Sometimes, they just straight up ignore it, which is sad to say the least. So, two fixes for these two problems. First, let the Bulwark increase in size, mostly width, and have it curving inwards, this way to provide a more solid coverage of an area, while not going too crazy with it. Second, allow for the Bulwark to generate an occasional aggro effect to actually have enemies want to attack it (especially when it starts as it benefits from a damage absorption effect). In terms of how these are affected with Atlas's stats, I feel like it could be simple. Make the size increase be innate with the health modifiers that are already placed within the ability, and have the aggro effects duration (not the applied duration on enemies) be dependent on Atlas's Duration. Also, small Quality of Life Change, allow us to see the actual health of the Bulwarks in our HUD, similar to some other abilities that also have health. Side Note: Remove the way how Nullifiers instantly destroy the Bulwark, they already torment Atlas enough.
- Boulder: Oh man, I can't lie, this is actually the weakest part of Atlas's kit. Sure, it's a small amount of CC for a defense move, but it could be a lot better. So let's improve upon it's main problems, it's damage and reach. Simply, I would just have it so that the Boulder has it's rolling duration and explosion damage increased the more enemies get into it, meaning that along as enemies keep lining up, it would just keep on moving and build more damage. Also, I feel like a small enemy vacuum effect for the Boulder around also wouldn't hurt and help increase the CC potential of the move.
Now I also want to improve on the interactions between these two parts of the ability, so let's first start with a small but potentially useful Quality of Life Change, which is how the Boulder activates from the Bulwark. Ever since they added aerial activation to certain abilities, Atlas doesn't really need to worry anymore about casting Tectonics in front of an object to properly cover it, as he can just drop it down properly now, so a Boulder doesn't go wasted. Even then, I still find myself doing it the old way because, to be honest, it's just faster and convenient. So I would just change it so that the Boulder can start from any direction, no matter how the Bulwark was placed, so it doesn't instantly exploded by running to a nearby object.
Finally, let's go to another issue with the whole ability, it's Synergy. It's not exactly great, since it only interacts with one other ability that also only changes a half of it, which is silly. So let's improve and add some more to it.
Petrified Bulwarks get an actual health/armor increase, Petrified Boulder buff can stay relatively the same.
Landslide should be allowed to be used on the Boulder, to amplify the damage of the explosion based on the ability's base damage and slightly extend it.
This one might be actually silly, but why not have it so that a small Rumbler gets formed after a Boulder explosion that helps for a small duration (as long as the Rumblers are out).
With the buffs I already gave to the default version of this ability, I don't think the augment needs anymore changes. In fact I believe that the default variant is now on par with this one, so I'm not going to change it, really. Although, I will still propose the baby Rumbler change whenever a Bulwark is destroyed, just for fun (not manually but by enemy destruction).
Surprisingly, this is going to be an ability I did not expect myself to change so much, because I have too many ideas crammed into my head that I need to release.
First, the duration is getting a huge change and even a new mechanic. I feel like Atlas has the potential to basically make Ability Duration a forgettable stat for himself, as when you think about it, a lot of abilities don't really need it. However, I want to make the significant-less more significant, if that makes any sense. So, Petrify will no longer rely heavily on the Duration stat, but now it will have two different types. The first one is the Guaranteed one, which is obviously based on the stat for it, this will unsure a specific amount of time that enemies will remained Petrified, but now the second one will be dubbed "Break Away". Basically, it's a duration that is based on half of Atlas's current armor value, and can be visually seen on enemies as they struggle to move from their Petrified state. Essentially both of these durations are now taken into place for the entire one, let's make two scenarios:
Atlas with 175% Ability Duration by now would get approx. 35 seconds for Petrify. Now, with a build with the same Duration and the base armor value (450) will have an even greater duration, but separately it would be 35 Guaranteed seconds, 2.25 Break Away seconds, creating a total of 37.25 seconds.
Atlas with 25% Ability Duration by now would get approx. 5 seconds for Petrify. Now, with a build with the same Duration but with an armor value of 945 armor can still get a pretty good amount, as let's just say 5 seconds would be Guaranteed, but the Break Away seconds are 4.73, making a total of 9.73 seconds.
It feels weird how Petrify is an ability dependent on Duration, yet has to be sacrificed within that area to benefit Atlas's other abilities. So this would technically balance out the ways how he is affected by this, while also benefiting people using either type of build.
Second, the energy cost. While there are other ways for Atlas to deal with the energy cost of the move, I'd be silly not to mention how costly the ability is, which is off putting since you have to cast this ability pretty commonly already. I would say the most ideal amount of energy that would appropriate for this move could be 50, but in terms of balance, 60 would probably be the perfect number. I know it's not a huge reduction of the cost, but it would definitely help within how much you can use it.
Third, Status Effects. This could also be proposed for both Gara and Frost changes, but let's stick to Atlas for now. As we know, you cannot apply statuses to Petrified opponents, so I would actually just make the same change I did for Landslide, just have reduced effectiveness on enemies. I actually wouldn't give the reduced duration since it's mostly a focus of actually being able to apply status through it, so the duration really doesn't need to be hindered. Also, there would be a hard cap of the status effect reductions, so they can only be reduced down to 50%.
Lastly, Rubble for teammates. Small change for Rubble to make it seem less like a reminder to the team, "Oh yeah we have an Atlas". Picking up Rubble as a non-Atlas player can now either heal you or give a small armor bonus (let's just say the Rubble value is always 25, and there's a small armor cap of 250).
I don't have much of an issue with this augment either, but I can see why people see it as useless. It was probably just added as a small way for Atlas to be able to 'farm', but it ain't that useful. Small buff to it could be having Landslide affect the drop chance slightly.
You know, I sort of like the concept of these guys, too bad they sort of suck. They can provide some nice distraction and tanking, and the activation of the ability is actually kind of useful, plus they can even provide easy self heals. But let's start with one suggestion I remember seeing that would actually make them by default better.
Have Ability Duration not affect the time they can stay active. Sure, this sounds like a crazy concept, but considering how flimsy Rumblers can be and how you literally have a way to heal them (aka making there health the new duration) it could make the ability in total be a lot more interesting. Don't worry, I'll make Ability Duration still matter soon. I also remembering the same person saying that as a reward for keeping the Rumblers alive, they should occasionally drop small amounts of Rubble when damaged, which could make managing them actually worth it. I can't remember their name, but thank you for the really cool suggestion. Now for a small Quality of Life Change, the HUD should also show the Rumblers exact health as well.
Next up would be their damage, and there's two suggestions to help them be deadly by default and as time goes on. First, have them count as a Melee weapons and as a small thing would be allow certain mods to affect them (probably mostly damage). This would add both the benefit from Steel Charge, but also give them a small chance to deal more damage no matter which weapon you use. Second, give them a separate melee combo duration which can allow them potentially deal more damage just by simply doing their job and jabbing at enemies (could maybe even be increased with melee combo counter mods).
One thing I would change and make Ability Duration prominent again in, is within their attacks. You know how the Rumblers can go throw rocks at enemies? I feel like it would be better to simply have them stunned (and open for finishers of course) rather than just ragdolling, allowing for less potential interruptions by them and simply benefit themselves more and the player. The stun time can also be affected by the Duration stat, so there's a new reason for that stat to exist.
Another thing I would add, to improve some distraction and tankiness, is to give them an occasional aggro effect as well. I would not have them perform the taunt though, so we can throw away that idea or the fact the augment even does that.
Finally, I would change the way how their health is even calculated. Shields mods affect it for some reason, so as a simple change, Armor mods should affect them too. Could be crazy in terms of the total amount if modding for both stats, but maybe a fair trade for putting so much in a not-so-useful stat for Atlas.
Before I would just say to completely replace the augment with something else to increase another aspect of Atlas, but I wouldn't mind it after most of the changes I made. Of course I would slightly reduce the speed reduction and remove the taunt, and I would probably actually try to use this augment.
Increase Atlas's health slightly, make Rubble seem more consistent with Rubble healing, improve Rubble healing, have decay only activate on health damage, let Landslide use Shattering Impact and apply weaker and shorter status effects, allow Landslide to be allowed to be used on knock downed enemies, make Path of Statues more apparent. and consistent, increase Bulwark size and add aggro effect, add health value of Bulwark to HUD, don't let Nullifiers instantly delete them, Boulder increases damage and roll distance with enemies, Boulder can be activated from any position of the Bulwark, more overall synergy with Tectonics, Petrify has new secondary Duration based on armor value, slightly reduced energy cost, Reduced status effects can now be applied on Petrified enemies, Teammates can pick up reduced Rubble amounts, Ability Duration does not affect Rumblers active duration, add health values of Rumblers to HUD, make them count as Melee weapons and give them small benefits such as melee mod usage and melee combo counter, Rock throws no longer ragdoll enemies instead stuns them, occasional aggro effect that replaces taunts on all versions, better calculation for health, and Titanic Rumbler has the speed reduction lowered. Immovable passive, Tectonic Fracture, and Ore Gaze mostly unchanged.
So yeah, that's my entire essay on Atlas. Hopefully that was an enjoyable read, and nothing was offensive nor vague about it. I honestly hope that DE does consider on changing Atlas to a greater extent before his Prime (a passive change and aerial activation buff is not enough). Even if the balance team just adds a couple of small changes here and there, I wouldn't mind some bigger changes to be added to this lad as well.