As you probably know, gear stats are being removed, and replaced with “Perks” – smaller static buffs that have a much lesser impact than gear stats (eg. +20% damage) and are much more situational and characterful (eg. Gain 20% movement speed for 10 seconds on killing an opponent). I’ve been looking into the new perk system, and this is how I think it works. There is a tl/dr at the bottom.
There are 21 total perks in the game, in 3 categories: Offense, Defense and Assist. Each hero can pick from a different subset of 7 of these, for example Centurion can have any of the Offence perks, and Warden gets access to 4 Offense and 3 Defense perks.
Each hero can pick from 3 common level perks, and then 1 each for each rarity (ie. Rare, Heroic, Epic, Legendary) – for a total of 7 perks per character. Perks are limited to their rarity or higher gear, for example you can get Epic perks on Epic or Legendary gear, but not on Common, Rare, or Heroic gear.
You need 600 points towards a perk to get the perk. You can get more than 600 points, and excess points are wasted.
Gear can give points towards two different perks, a primary and secondary, or 2 secondaries.
Any perk can be in a secondary slot, but it would seem that only Common and Rare perks can be in a primary slot. Heroic, Epic and Legendary perks are always in secondary slots.
This means there are 34 possible perk combinations per gear type (ie. Helmet, etc), if my calculations are correct. (4×7=28 of the 4 possible primaries and 7 possible secondaries, + 3×2=6 combinations of the perks that can only be secondaries). As far as I can tell, this is a significant increase in possible combinations vs the old gear system, so it will take you longer to get your desired perk combos.
For non-maxed out gear, upgrading gives 20 points towards one perk, and you can choose which one to upgrade (primary or secondary).
Maximum points per piece for legendary gear at gear score 30 is either: primary 260 points and secondary 120 points; or secondary 130 points x2. For non-maxed out gear, the values will be random up to the maximum for primary and secondary perks Eg. A gear score 25 item can have between 260/20 and 160/120 towards primary/secondary perks respectively. This also makes it less likely that you will find the “perfect” points distribution on an un-upgraded item.
This also means you cannot get ANY combination of 3 perks, because if you wanted the 3 higher tier (Heroic, Epic and Legendary) perks on a single loadout, the maximum you can get towards those is 130 per slot, so minimum 5 slots per higher tier perk, but there are only 12 slots maximum (2 per gear item).
As far as I can tell you can theoretically get at most: any 3 common or rare perks; any 2 common or rare perks + 1 heroic, epic or legendary perk; or any 2 heroic, epic or legendary perks.
Because you need 600 points per perk in theory 3 perks can be equipped with a minimum total gear score of 156, although this relies on not only getting the right perk combination, but also the right distribution of perk points within those gear items.
Because upgrading gear now gives points towards perks, the difference between upgraded and un-upgraded gear can mean having or not having enough points for a perk, so upgrading gear makes more of a difference now, vs before where it would often be only a 0.5% increase in a stat or less.
As far as I can tell refining gear is gone? None of my “refineable” gear was there any more. Unclear what would happen if I had already refined it, but if anyone has noticed a change, please let me know and I’ll update this post.
When you start up the Marching Fire, all your currently equipped items get assigned their primary as the 1st common perk, and their secondary as the 2nd common perk. The levels within this are random, (eg. My highlander had 25 gear score arms and blade, and they resulted in “Aegis” +240, “Shields Up” +40 on the arms, and “Aegis” +160, “Shields Up” +120 on the blade). Any unequipped gear is random. According to the recent Warriors’ Den, this is how gear will be changed when transitioning to the new system.
For example, my 160 gear score warden ended up with 1280 points towards “Shield Up” and 600 points towards “Aegis”, essentially wasting 680 perk points. This means that none of your equipped load outs will be able to get 3 perks when you start up Marching Fire. You will have to find gear with different perk combos to get 3 equipped.
This essentially means you will have to get, and probably upgrade too, a whole new load-out to get your 3 desired perks. I would recommend to start hoarding as many high gear score items with your desired visuals as possible, so hopefully they will randomly be assigned the perk combos you want. The steel cost of changing appearance of gear is slightly reduced (400 for a legendary visual, 700 for an event visual) but regardless, this is going to cost you A LOT of steel, especially if you have multiple characters with multiple loadouts. Any steel you have spent upgrading or refining gear up until now is going to be wasted.
In my opinion, the perk system is excellent for game balance, with a much reduced impact on gameplay vs gear stats, and more interesting too. Revenge gain builds are gone, and no longer will you be hit by 50 damage warden heavies, or 20 damage Orochi lights. However, I feel that making all players’ previous steel investment in upgrading gear or changing looks essentially pointless, plus an increased importance on upgrading gear, means that this system is just as much as a cash grab as before. I strongly urge the devs to reconsider the steel costs of upgrading and changing gear visuals, to prevent backlash over this otherwise welcome change. Please make it just cost Salvage (which is currently nigh on useless), and squash any potential accusations of milking your players or making a “pay-2-win” system.
Perks are less powerful than tier 1 feats in general
Each character can access 7 perks, 4 lower tier (common and rare) and 3 higher tier (heroic, epic, and legendary).
At most you can have 3 low tier; 2 low + 1 high; or 2 high tier perks per loadout
Each perk needs 600 points to activate
Each gear piece can have points for 2 perks, in 2 configurations:
Up to 260 towards a low tier + 120 towards a low or high tier
Up to 130 each towards two high tier
Equipped gear will have points towards the first 2 low tier perks.
Unequipped gear will be random
Refined gear is gone
It will be more difficult to get a specific perk + visual combination (much more time or much more steel)
Upgrading gear will likely make the difference between 2 perks and 3 perks
You are going to have to acquire and upgrade all new gear – any steel you’ve invested will most likely be wasted
Changing visuals is between 10-20% cheaper.
EDIT: To outfit my warden with my desired perk set up (Shields Up, Endurance, and Fresh Focus) with the visuals I had before cost me 4835 steel in upgrades, and required sifting through 8 saved up scavenger crates, 9 steel-purchased crates, and on top of an inventory of 55 items that I already had (of which most were randomised). For a single character, on one loadout. The new system is going to be extremely expensive or grindy to get your “maxed out” gear set up back.