I'm mostly annoyed with the state of poison at the moment. Skills that deal half of their damage or less as physical are beating out phys/chaos skills because they tend to hit more frequently. Viper Strike feels central to this issue, and instead of fixing it, they've tried adding some poison skills around it that will get the job done. Each feels more gimmicky than the next, and while they are capable skills, they feel like they're missing the desire to be a poison build.
The problem with Viper Strike is that it feels as much like a Viper as needed in basic mechanics, especially now with slower attacks being implemented a couple leagues ago, but it's missing something even to that effect. A viper strike should feel more one-and-done, but instead it's meant to whittle in a slow, building death, somewhat unlike any other poison skill. Others generally have to hit their potential within the 2-second poison period, whereas Viper Strike might hit its stride at 4 seconds of constant hits, or you can drag it out to 8-10 seconds or more with Increased Skill Effect Duration, unlike any other poison. I like the duration fantasy, mostly, but not when I have to keep biting to make it feel like I'm getting that effect. I'm more expecting something like Essence Drain, or basically standard bleed effects, which won't gain damage on subsequent hits.
Now, I realize that's where poison is now, and that's mostly fine. However, Viper Strike needs to be a different type of skill, in my opinion. What I'm envisioning is a skill that, as an example, does a minor hit of damage, and then poisons the enemy over 8 seconds based on the poison damage they're already taking. If they are taking 1 regular hit of poison, they'll take that regular hit again over 8 seconds. If they're taking 8 full hits (by damage, no 20x poison in one cast type deal), you'll deal 8 full hits over that 8 second timeframe. As poison has gotten somewhat ridiculous on other builds, I'd suggest this to be capped at around 8 or so hits worth of poison, but I think this would fit the viper fantasy by requiring a "threat period" where you build your poisons, and finally swoop in for a powerful strike. Keep in mind, once you cast Viper Strike in this case, your current poisons will no longer be available for the next Viper Strike, it'd require a new counter, or simply envelop all current poisons into one big Viper Strike poison. It might be helpful to make this then scale harder with more counter-intuitive stats, like Crit Multiplier or possibly Attack Speed, since Viper Strike will no longer gain anything inherently from either.
TL;DR, I'd change Viper Strike into a skill that deals more damage based on poisons present on enemy, not as a skill based on building poisons alone. This will make the skill feel more like a one-and-done, and build more on a real venom fantasy than going for the thousand bite method. Bites do not feel very impactful when the DoT doesn't go very far on a single strike, particularly on the weapons allowed for the skill.
And as a second note, I would be interested in more builds that can utilize a ranged-melee dual presence like this could usher in. This would open the possibility of poisoning from a range into a snake bite at melee, and the other build I liked to run occasionally was using Bow Frenzy from afar to gain charges, then Flicker Strike in quick sequence to mow down enemies. Any possibility of working that direction would open up more build possibilities for me, and I'm sure others that'd get a kick out of the idea.
on Jun 14, 2020, 2:09:42 AM