On a BFM at level 9 I took Meteors, Mord, and Bigby. Bigby was more reliable than detonate, and mord and meteors are just very powerful to have.
Detonate just feels like an inferior disintegrate because the range of disintegrate makes such a huge advantage for casters that don't want to get up close. Getting up close means they can attack back and you might cause an extra spawn.
Further Detonate is one of the very few spells/abilities with 3 checks: save, sr, touch. Most have only two. This makes it much weaker than most spells since even if the mob has no conceal there's still a 5% chance of a 1 on the touch attack so there's a 95% multiplier on the success rate before doing the other checks which largely though not completely makes up the +3 DC over disintegrate, on concealed targets there's no contest. The extra damage it does really isn't often that useful. Most touch attack spells have no save (this is what makes combust such a powerful spell despite being level 2), and touch attack abilities of other sorts don't have an SR check. Granted most touch attacks aren't instant kills but it's still a severe weakness.
Honestly I think to create a niche for detonate would be rather difficult. I'd make it BFM/DSM only and give it some bonuses. At the bare minimum it needs either a SP or DC bonus to make up for the touch attack roll; consider weird that does 3 checks (sr, fort, will) but gets a +7 bonus on the saves checks. It could also use a range increase.
Listen works for all touch attacks.
Orbs are not a touch attack at all however. Orbs run a unique paradigm where they do a full standard AC check (not the reduced AC check of a touch attack) against their AB ignoring conceal on the AB roll and then their damage is modified by the conceal of the mob directly (100%-conceal%)*damage = modified damage without being affected by listen. The fact that orbs are reduced by original concealment of the mob unmodified by listen or blindfight is one of the reasons orbs fell out of favor in my opinion. Against mobs with even a light concealment of 60% that reduces the damage by 60% instead of the 28% a max listen tank would face. Conceal will never make and orb miss like AC does, but it massively reduces the damage. So a skilled caster really only wants to use them on things with no concealment like perhaps some of the Abyss Lords.
Against a pit fiend for instance with 70% conceal a greater cold orb that does CLd12 dice will be empowered and thus 90d12 ~= 585 before general lore/tag modifiers after 70% conceal it does 175.5 damage before mods. A freezing sphere does CLd6, max to the same level of emp greater orb = 360 before modifiers, but doesn't care about concealment. Thus the freezing sphere does more damage than the greater cold orb, and it's aoe. Conceal affects orbs so strongly that they're only good versus no conceal targets.
Empowered Greater Cold Orb vs no conceal target thus does 62.5% more damage than freezing sphere.
Empowered Greater Cold Orb vs 70% conceal pit fiend thus does 51.25% less damage than freezing sphere.
Mitigating this is that Orb spells don't have a save for half damage while freezing spheres and other evo spells do.
Last Edit: Mar 10, 2014 23:15:38 GMT by jeanhelixü
That's certainly why I stopped using orbs on wizard (basically completely avoid it unlike my 1st wiz; certain boss fight uses and that's about it) : more chance to fizzle spell with checking both SR as well as potential automiss from AB (with PSF + spec I had no issue landing them on basically anything, but 1s/20s happen a lot as we all know..pretty awesome to hit karsus and have 3 orbs miss), add on top conceal reduction and it's rather shabby when considering single target large burst (i see "in general" orb-tossers nowadays mainly as nubs and/or old skool vets who still play like years ago; same result of sub-optimal usage of slots/combat time imo)
Detonate is unique in that it can be cast underwater. It still sucks so bad (and/or other instas/dmg sources are better) that it's not even worth "abusing" for a run such as Sissy.
Not only is it useless for the reasons jean and raj explain but also: a) many otherwise-viable targets are immune (iirc detonate spell imm was added to more mobs as a bfm nerf years ago?) b) the aoe explosion makes the spell completely useless for the purpose of disinting donthit mobs c) it's quite impressive amount of dmg for any healer to suck in
Detonate currently has a niche: loca matriarch. even here the conceal check makes landing it annoying so it's a "fun" rather than "efficient" option. (conversely, lacking conceal check would allow you to hit something like apy swarm? could be interesting niche if other mobs present allow detonate casting without kb/heals)
I think the only place I use it on my BFM now is the Uro peak temple as its really amusing to blow up Yetis but other than this I rarely bother with it due to the distinct uncertainty of landing it on stuff. Add to the other potential failure routes the fact that you're much more likely to get your spells disrupted when standing next to hostile creatures and it really isn't a good choice for the limited level 9 arsenal of a BFM/Sorc. I think the conceal check is the biggest problem with it at least for non wizard builds as they rarely have the skill points to CC listen and improve their chances of hitting with it, might be nice if BFM characters got some innate improvement to the conceal check (if only for this spell) to give them a carrot to take it.
It does work on them, but keep in mind that Rakshasas are mages and have Ethereal Visage up when they buff. I don't know the concealment they get from it but I'd guess that you would need 2-4 Detonates to beat it.
I don't think it was ever meant to be balanced vs. disint; it failed if so.
(obviously I'll be corrected if wrong but my assumption was always that it wasn't quite so cut-and-dried?)
Detonate vs. Disint: The DC is really no improvement at all; by virtue of being a (for non-wizard ) precious level 9 spell alone it defacto gets +3 over disint, but that's misleading to describe in terms of a "bonus", since disint gets +DC boost class gear, doesn't cause damage on successful save, doesn't cause aoe explosion on failed save, and has 7000000 ft range.
Ingame discussions year+ ago regarding history of the spell led me to believe that originally it was pretty powerful/popular ? and was not only used decently for instakill mobs but that the dual insta/big dmg was so useful that (like other ancient BFM glory days) it was used a lot and downsides mainly ignored; the kb/heal damage wasn't too much issue ("use it anyway lol"). I was told something about like...kb mobs doing extra multipliers of kb when triggered by detonate? like machines? or heal maybe? I can't remember exactly but maybe there was some special treatment here (half-remembered convo but kralex generally knew what he was talking about or at any rate didn't pull things out of thin air)
I like the conceal check tbh. I think this spell is pretty hard to tweak without being overpowered or overly useless for many situations, just by virtue of instakill/big aoe dmg hybrid. Improving damage calculations or DC or even removing conceal check still leaves with the tactical issues of why it's not used much, and cost arguments vs. other 9s for why it's basically unchosen for non-BFM sorc (and does anyone even play BFM casters anymore?)
I suspect changes in limbo, including the decreased prevalence of concealment as a defensive mechanism, will probably help this spell considerably. We'll still need to provide it a couple niche uses along the way, though. I'll keep it in mind for any air-sac type creatures.