Hmmm, let's see... Which iteration are we up to for Fire at Will, is it #4? Have we officially decided on a name, even? New New FAW™, perhaps?
In any case, while we are examining and discussing powers that may need tweaking/balancing, what are the Community's thoughts on Fire at Will, in its current iteration?
Comparing New FAW™ to New-New (Nanu-Nanu? :p ) FAW™, the only things that really changed were a slight reduction from 75% effective up-time, to 50% effective up-time (assuming cycled copies); and an elimination of the broken mechanic that was allowing a single target to be affected by both pulses of a FAW-enhanced attack.
So, the question to the Community: Were these changes enough? If not, why not? What needs to change to make it more viable/balanced? As elsewhere, the purpose of this discussion should not be whether it should or should not be allowed in competitve PvP, but, rather, what (if anything) needs to be done to better balance and improve this power, while still keeping both the spirit of the power and its viability for PvE.
Personally, I think the reduction in up-time greatly reduced the effectiveness of FAW as an AoE (particularly, as a spam-clearing tool) while failing to address the greatest problem, which is the overwhelming amount of firepower increase that is offered by the power, for the duration of the power's up-time. Until there is some alleviation in the power increase (the problem being the second, full-strength beam per pulse, even with random targeting, still is an enormous increase in damage potential), this still is too easily abused in PvP.
We want it to be an AoE but just to clear spam and do some minor damage. I still favor a tiered power level 2nd beam. Like 20/30/40 percent based on tier. This is still enough to clear spam and substantial decrease the huge dps it gives off.
While I like the power as is, I'm not averse to trimming it a little. I seriously don't want it to end up being a purely anti-spam ability, though. Imo it should be a genuine alternative to the other tac powers, that does reasonably decent damage against either one target or multiple targets.
I recently replaced a Tac Team 1 with FAW 1 on my character "The Green Monster" and I saw a huge increase in my damage per match. In a good match before I switched out Tac Team 1 for FAW 1, I would get around 100k dmg and about 800k-1mill in healing. Now with FAW 1 on my build, I still the same healing numbers but my damage has increased from about 150k to around 250-300k and I find it much easier to kill people while in matches. I mean all I have to do now is chain my EPS Power Transfer with EPtW, Nadion Inversion, and Tac Team and watch escorts melt.
In conclusion, I would agree that it could still use some tweaking in the damage output department. I mean FAW 1, imho, shouldn't give the big damage boost that I have been seeing in my numbers.
FaW now is not a big issue and to make the situation better would be flight angle changes because the people that use FaW effectively use the rain the pain strategy which is sit 8-10 above the fight and pretty much stay their mindlessly cirlcing with beams knowing that the true damage dealers can't touch them effectively.
just make it a single target beam rapid fire. it seems unfixable no mater what they do to the current version.
A slight variation on this was something suggested when JHeinig was tweaking the power, in making the effect a 'Beam: Rapid Fire' kind of effect, if a target was selected, but, if you un-selected all targets (or targeted a friendly, say, for Healing), it would fire with the random targeting that has always been used by some aspect of FAW, this would allow the power to serve as either a boost to damage on a focus target, or allow spam-clearing, as it always has.
The argument against a change such as this: "We think that it would be too counter-intuitive for the majority of players..." Okay, so, the argument is that you don't think the players are 'smart' enough to figure out, both how it works and how to benefit from it?
With all versions of FAW, I have frequently de-selected targets, to facilitate spam-clearing, maybe I just don't feel that it's all that 'counter-intuitive'...