Path of Exile Skill Revamps, Part Six

Once again proving that the upcoming Incursion update for Path of Exile takes its promised skill revamps seriously, Grinding Gear Games brings us the sixth developer post in the series of official skill revamp previews. This time around, we get to read about the planned changes to a number of underused or underperforming skills, along with some recent adjustments to some of the previously covered ones. An excerpt:

Cold Snap and Vaal Cold Snap
  • The first prototype that we mentioned in Skill Revamps Part 1 was too powerful for early leveling and looked unimpressive.
  • We've reworked it so it instantly hits for damage in a medium sized area, and creates an area of cold damage that expands to twice the radius over a few seconds. This area chills, and deals cold damage over time.
  • The skill now has a chance to give Frenzy Charges when you kill an enemy in its radius, and you can spend Frenzy Charges to bypass its cooldown. The goal is to make it function well as a utility skill even if you're not building it for damage. It provides Frenzy Charges for spellcasters, which fits well within the cold gem theme.
  • Cold Snap is now a level 16 skill, alongside other charge skills, and requires Dexterity as well as Intelligence.
  • Vaal Cold Snap now creates a growing aura around you that expands in size over its duration, growing very large. If any enemy dies in its area, it always generates a Frenzy Charge for you. As long as there is an enemy in its radius, it also generates a frenzy charge every second, which is great for keeping your Frenzy Charges active during a boss fight.
  • If you prefer generating Power Charges, the Winter's Bounty threshold jewel will cause Cold Snap and Vaal Cold Snap to generate Power Charges instead of Frenzy Charges, and have the cooldown of Cold Snap be bypassed with Power Charges instead of Frenzy Charges.
Vaal Righteous Fire
  • In order to have the skill benefit from all of the same bonuses as Righteous Fire, the skill now provides a larger and more powerful version of the Righteous Fire aura that lasts a short duration.
  • It also grants more spell damage while active, multiplying with Righteous Fire.
  • It now sacrifices 30% of your maximum life and energy shield when cast, dealing a large amount of burning damage per second based on the amount sacrificed.
Vaal Earthquake
  • We've changed this skill from our original plan quite considerably; it originally created multiple chasms that released aftershocks, but this just felt like a bigger Vaal Ground Slam, and the effects of Earthquake covered up too large an area for too long.
  • Our reworked skill now performs an Earthquake attack with lower hit damage but much higher Aftershock damage, then gives you a skill effect that makes your footsteps crack the ground, repeating the Earthquake effect as you walk. You can only have one Vaal Earthquake crack at once, so you'll get regular aftershocks based on the skill's duration.
  • The skill has a limited number of aftershocks, so you don't have to walk the entire time you have the skill effect to get the most out of the aftershocks. You could alternate between moving and attacking to create as many aftershocks as possible, or activate it and then rush through an area, leaving a path of destruction behind you.
Charged Dash

Charged Dash can also be fully controlled while channelling. The marker can be directed by rotating your cursor around your character. It'll turn the marker in the direction of your cursor from your character. This sounds unintuitive at first, but when you focus on direction of the cursor rather than the location of the cursor, we've found that most people find moving the marker becomes much more intuitive, as it moves just like you would if controlling your character.

With this, you can easily control its movement to create a wider area of damage, navigate a path between spread out monsters to hit them all, correct your path if trouble appears or navigate over gaps and around corners.

This skill now has new damage behaviour to let it deal damage while channelling, and has more consistent ongoing damage, which is great for tough fights where one burst won't always kill everything.
  • While channelling, before the marker has stopped moving, the skill gains a stage every attack time just like before (and the skill has 60% more attack speed, so you'll gain stages quite quickly).
  • When you release, the skill now deals 75% more damage for each stage beyond the first. There are no more overlapping damage areas, it's just dealing one big damage hit.
  • While channelling, the skill frequently pulses damage along its length, every 2 attack times.
  • When the marker stops moving because it has reached its maximum range or hit blocking, you'll stop gaining stages. Instead, each wave that occurs while channelling will deal 150% more damage.
The goal of these changes is to make sure the damage you deal while charging up the skill and while the skill is fully charged is roughly equal, so you don't feel like you need to rapidly teleport when fighting a boss to do the most damage. Movement speed is important for faster traveling and covering a larger area, but doesn't increase the skill's damage.

Additionally, a few days ago, Elemental Hit got a detailed revamp preview of its own:

As part of our effort to revamp many existing skills in Content Update 3.3.0, we're also making some improvements to Elemental Hit! Today's news shares more details about what's changing and a video from ZiggyD where he interviews Rory about Vaal Skills!

Elemental Hit is receiving large mechanical changes as well as some damage adjustments with the goal of bringing it in line with other impactful skills. It will still choose a random element of damage to deal with each attack, but it will not deal any other type of damage with that attack. For example, if Cold damage is chosen, the attack will only deal Cold damage. It's also important to note, Elemental Hit cannot deal the same type of damage sequentially unless it can only deal one type of damage; more on that later.

We have increased the chance to Freeze, Shock and Ignite. At level 1, it is now 30% and scales up to 49% at level 20.

Each hit from Elemental Hit causes a small explosion which deals damage in an area around the monster. Hits against monsters that are affected by an Ailment of the chosen Element will cause much larger explosions. For example, if you hit a frozen monster with Cold damage, it will create a much larger explosion.

Elemental Hit attacks deal 10% more Damage per Elemental Ailment on the Enemy. This means that if you have all four Elemental Ailments on your target, you'll be dealing 40% more Damage.

You may be wondering how you focus on an element of your choice. The answer lies in a new jewel that we're adding in Content Update 3.3.0 which has three variations. Each variation of the jewel supports Elemental Hit in a different but similar way.

Each variation of the jewel has a unique property that restricts the type of damage that Elemental Hit can deal. Socket two of these jewels into your tree and you suddenly have an Elemental Hit that always deals Fire Damage. On the other hand, socket just one of these jewels and suddenly you're left with a skill that only deals Fire and Cold damage. Remember that we noted that it can't deal the same type of damage sequentially? Suddenly you have a skill that pairs very nicely with Elemental Equilibrium, as each attack will alternate between the type of damage it deals, taking full advantage of the reduced resistances.