(EDIT: I AM STILL ACTIVE & ABLE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS. I know a shit-ton more than I did 5 months ago and if I don't know something I can ask on the Gender Bridge or Trans and Intersex NZ FB groups for you. idk if this post is archived but you can DM me and I'll respond & then add it to this post)
(Update 25 July 2020: Lena's HRT got through customs - only two people incl. me have ordered so far and both got through today - took 2 months. Payment is via sendmoney24.com)
(Update 26 July 2020: I got progesterone, scroll down for details)
so this is my experience, with as many details I can remember. i am a binary(ish?) trans woman, so obviously my experience will be different but they're apparently really good with gender diverse & non-binary folks too. I was also over 18 when I realised I was trans so if you're younger it's probably going to be very different.
- I told my GP mid-April that I was trans and wanted to start HRT, she asked me for my preferred name (but actually updating my name in their system seems to be a different process that might be harder, I will ask her about it next time), and then sent in a referral to Auckland Sexual Health Services. if you're at uni, GP appointments there cost something like $20-25. something I didn't do at this point was reach out to local LGBT orgs & add myself to FB groups in retrospect I should have done this because throughout the whole process I felt really alone. either that or finding a therapist / counsellor to confide in. also ask your GP for a blood test form for your hormone levels so you have a baseline (ASHS will test them later on but you can't see it)
- getting an appointment with ASHS took about 3-4 months. they will send a text to your phone 1-2 months and give you a list of possible appointment dates, then a confirmation text 1 month before the appointment asking whether you still want the appointment. spaces are really, really limited.
- my appointment was in Greenlane, & with Dr Jeanie Oliphant. if you can't get a lift there look up multiple bus routes in advance, I very nearly fucked this up & missed my first appo.
- in the first appointment - which like everything else is free - they will probably 1. give you a blood test form 2. ask if you want to freeze sperm 3. ask you some general questions about your sexual history, mental health background, how you experience being trans, etc., 4. discuss some possible hrt options 5. give you some forms to complete relating to fertility preservation
- then they will schedule an appointment with a counsellor,. mine was in mangere which was a significantly long drive. they will make you do two appointments with the counsellor, the first 1 month after the 1st appo, and then the second a month after that. if your appointment is in the morning they might open 15-20 mins late, but maybe that was just the one time.
- honestly i kind of did the 'cis baby talk' thing where i described my experience as a trans woman in the most unambiguous & stereotypical way possible to maximise the chance i'd get hrt, but in retrospect that was probably unnecessary. they're working on an informed consent model so don't worry about it i guess
- you shouldn't be worried about how the counselling session will go, the office is kind of cramped & weird but it was very non-judgemental & the guy made it clear to me that the point of the sessions was evaluating mental health & managing expectations around hrt - not "decide whether or not she can have hrt". just be prepared to talk about yourself
- the actual date I got the prescription for HRT was late December, so if you haven't processed your thoughts about your gender yet & you can't afford to go private then get a referral from your GP ASAP, do the processing in the meantime, & if you decide against it you can always cancel the appointment. this wait-time is shorter than other countries but it felt like a stupidly long time, especially because I hadn't found an antidepressant regimen that worked for me yet.
- T-blockers: they offer you Lucrin injections, Zoladex implants, or cyproterone tablets. I went with the cyproterone (12.5mg a day), but I want to switch to Lucrin since it's apparently the gold standard.
- estrogen: they offer you progynova tablets and estradot patches. they will start you on 50ug/day for patches and 2mg/day for tablets. push for higher amounts one month in, prescription guidelines say to start you on the lowest amount. with progynova tablets you can suck the coating off and dissolve it under your tongue which has 6x higher availability, but Dr. Powers' presentation said to start by taking it orally (swallowing it) to mimic the higher estrone (E1) levels (not E2, estradiol which is the pills & the patches) that girls have when they start puberty. I'm trying this
- you can see the max amount subsidised here: https://www.pharmac.govt.nz/2020/02/01/Schedule.pdf. for estradot this is 100mcg day, two patches a week. for more of that, all I know is that the Greenlane Hospital pharmacy charges $55.10 for 24 (3 months supply = max they can give you) but other pharmacies charge more or less. You can google "pharmac estradot" for the pharmac cost, all the pharmacies mark up from that. for progynova you can get theoretically as much as you want, but the 2018 Guidelines for trans healthcare only go up to 6mg, but you can argue for 8mg by just saying you want to try it out - if you're young ask about the risks of deep vein thrombosis, that will kind of force your practitioner to do a mental risk/reward calculation that comes out favourably for you.
- if they schedule another appointment in 3 months, your prescription probably won't last until then. Dr. Oliphant told me to text Jove the fax details of my local pharmacy or clinic to get a new prescription.
- install a pill tracker alarm app to your phone to keep track of when to swap patches/take pills.
- a month in ask your GP to give you a blood test. my e levels were super low & I wasn't absorbing anything from my patches (one 50ug/day patch, rotated every 3.5 days) when I placed them on my stomach, so I used micropore surgical tape I'd ordered from Aliexpress to tape down the edges securely (otherwise you get a lining of lint and hair and shit idk) & placed it on my bum instead of my stomach, which lead to less wrinkling. judging by my better mood this seems to have worked but I'm getting another test to see whether this made a difference or whether I'm just a non-responder to transdermal patches (???)
anyway this is where I'm at right now. I'm planning on switching to progynova, taking 4mg divided up through the day to start off with, and switching to a private provider. list here: https://genderminorities.com/database/medical-surgical/transgender-healthcare-providers/
on the off chance someone else living in nz looks up what the process for hrt is like in new zealand i hope this helped & i can answer any other questions
edit: 15 june update with info I've collected together Progynova dose:
I've been on progynova for like...4 months now. Got my dose increased to 6mg instead of 4 with absolutely no issue, didn't have to pay anything.
Since I was also on boron it was more like 9mg? or 10mg? Dr Oliphant wrote a paper on trans healthcare that suggested going above this is unnecessary so I'm imagining I'll get resistance if I try to push the dose higher, but I'm planning on asking since there's no harm. Switching to sublingual:
I switched to sublingual 5 days ago (and I should've done it earlier, my boobs were stuck at tanner 3.5 for a while). 1mg at 8am, 12pm, 4pm, 7pm, then oral at 10pm since I cbf. Someone recommended to crush them into powder but I found that unnecessary. Split them in two and it takes five. Pill cutters from Aliexpress are less than $4, they're a life-saver. Once you suck off the coating, they dissolve completely under your tongue in 14 minutes. The first time I did it, I swallowed a lot but it was a learnable skill and the longer you avoid swallowing the easier it becomes, what I do now is: swill water around in my mouth for 30 seconds to stop saliva production, don't put anything in and try to stop swallowing reflexively for 2-3 mins which means you'll get the reflexive swallowing over and done with, and then put the pill in and start doing ocused in-out deep breathing (I'm sure there are more tips, look up "how to stop reflexive swallow"). Since I got diagnosed with ADHD ritalin has made this 100x easier for some reason, could be partly salivation inhibition as a side effect, could be better focus and self-control. Maybe neurotypical people find this whole thing much easier. Overall changes:
Okay I'm getting Boron:
Obviously this is still experimental blah blah blah etc. etc., I got boron from iHerb like 4 months ago, I compared around 5-6 different sites with different shipping policies and a LOT of different brands and the cheapest per unit was [this](Now Foods, Boron, 3 mg, 250 Capsules) at 7.7c/capsule, realistically 23c a day (9mg was the point at which I got really noticeable breast tenderness w/o changing my e dose at all), currently it's Source Naturals Triple Boron since the other one is out of stock. I considered buying boron from Alibaba (USD$23/kg) which is literally a thousand times cheaper but that requires talking to people and negotiating and shit. Maybe a long-term option. If it goes well I will list the supplier I ordered from. EDIT:
so according to this
post, boron doesn't do much unless you're taking a lot of e already. check out their chart Progesterone:
So I'm on the Genderbridge FB group (really
should've joined ages ago) and there are at least two people who have managed to get utrogestan prescriptions from their GPs. A few more with progesterone creams. My GP said go to the specialists and the clinic said no. So I'm going to find someone else and if that's not possible I'll try get progesterone creams since amazon4health says 90% of unauthorised pills get caught. Not sure about vials. UPDATE ON PROGESTERONE:
Oneroa Accident and medical ctr gives out progesterone. Make sure to speak to Dr Michael karetai or Dr Isla Karetai or Dr Margaret Karetai. They do phone consultations, $70 if you're not registered and you're over 18, details on their site, much lower if you have a community services card. Further update:
Dr Margaret Karetai is the absolute best. If you have done the research, then she will trust you. Be clear about exactly what you want. She is very nice and I got utrogestan 200mg and bicalutamide 50mg!!!!!!!!!!
Note: pharmacy costs vary a lot, ask for your utrogestan prescription to be faxed to your nearest Chemist Warehouse (cheapest option) since it's not subsidised. The cost is here: https://www.chemistwarehouse.co.nz/CWH/media/Documents/CWNZPrescriptionPricelistNov2019.pdf
right now it's $24.99 for a pack of 30 100mg pills. If you're doing Dr Powers' 200mg regimen this comes out to $600 a year. Kind of steep but this is what I'm doing until I've finished negotiating with Alibaba suppliers and getting the powder tested at a harm reduction place (forgot what it's called.)
If I find a good Chinese supplier, I will do a full write-up as another post, with instructions and prices & link it here. DIY options
Regarding SRS and other surgeries
- According to Amazon4Health, 90% of pills don't get through Customs.
- You can get estrogen implants now, imported from Adelaide, there's at least one GP who does them. Ask on one of the trans FB groups. Comment for more details.
- You can get injections legit if you have a letter from your GP. Comment if you're interested, I can give you the whole procedure.
- The two non-prescription EV sources I've interacted with that ship to NZ are Lena and otokonoko. Otokonoko is pricier but their shipping is faster and they do refunds if it doesn't get through customs. However, they seem to only take bitcoin & other crypto at the moment which is tough since NZ's regulations make it difficult to get bitcoin, none of the major markets allow NZ. Might have changed since I last tried 6 months ago, though. DM me your results so I can add them here & expand our pool of collective knowledge
Regarding electrolysis and laser
- Orchiectomy - 100% free, and according to other people the waiting list is around 3-6 months long.
- SRS - probably better to get it done privately in Thailand or something, the current 'waiting list' is 15 years long.
- Breast augmentation is regarded as "cosmetic"
- If you're nearby I recommend Julie Martin for electrolysis. Electrology is kind of expensive, for her it's $90 for a 1 hour session if you can tolerate up to that much and it doesn't go that much lower. Apparently another option is combined electrolysis+laser, you start with laser, wait 6 wks, go to an electrologist and get whatever's left cleared away. Some laser places are doing a 50% discount right now, and they cheapen it if you pay for all your sessions at the same time upfront. Not sure, this might take longer overall, not sure about permanence.
- I'm using a home IPL kit for body hair, brand is Bosidin.
So, as I'm sure some of you have noticed, I post a lot about Chromie, and frankly have for a very long time. To clear the air about my position and expose any bias I might have, I will state that I don't think the hero has ever been OP or "unfun to play against", probably because I played her a lot and thus when going up against one on the enemy team had a pretty good idea of how they would play and how to counter them. I do respect the viewpoint though, and that's why my upcoming post on her rework and possible changes that could be made to it does it's best to keep that in mind. I'm not even close to GM, I'm not even the highest-leveled Chromie on this sub by a long shot, I'm just someone super passionate about the hero who nerded out over the past few days and did some MATHS and shit.
Thus, the stated goals of this post:
-Make Chromie more fun to play for the people who enjoyed playing her prior to this or other reworks.
From my general anecdotal experiences in various Twitch chats, it feels like most players including many former pros and GM players say that while the hero is stronger numerically, she's much less fun to play, and IMO her pick rate sitting at a fairly lackluster 11% in Storm League confirms that. She only has a 50% winrate, so it's also clear that she's not excelling even when played by those still enthusiastic about the hero or in situations that would be good for her to be drafted, as is the case with most niche picks. She's not the WORST hero in the game by a long margin, but if the dev comments on her 8-28 buff patch
are any indication, it's clear that Blizzard's internal data probably has her struggling a bit too.
-Make her emphasis fully on spells rather than her current combination of spells and sand clone auto-attacks.
She's a mage hero, and one with the longest range in the game. Nobody plays her to be a right-click bot, and yet right-clicks are a pretty big part of her damage - more than half her Q DPS if we're being exact here. This obviously isn't Whitemane rework levels of AA-focus, but it's still pretty high and if we look at other mage AA talents as any indication, it's obvious that people don't prefer or like those talents and prefer the focus for mages remain firmly on their spells. Yet because Chromie's AA gimmick is a baseline part of her kit, and not just an individual talent, obviously other parts of her kit were made deliberately weaker to compensate for that. I'd like to see that addressed, and think it would go a loooong way towards achieving stated goal number 1, which is to make her more fun to play.
-Buff her slightly in ways that aren't straight numerical changes.
See my above point about why she could probably use some slight tweaking. I think throwing numbers at Chromie is exactly why her last rework (with Temporal Loop/Timely Surprise one-shot shenanigans) grew to be so problematic, and I don't want to see that become the case here and see this sub fill up with posts again about how she needs to be dumpstered. Frankly she's finally almost
at a good place in the game and I think with some slight changes she could basically be almost perfect, or at least as perfect as she can be without pissing off people en masse.
-Fix her problematic level 1 and level 18 talent tiers.
There are no real choices at 1 or 18, and I personally think this is a shame because if those tiers were fixed, the hero could actually have THREE separate, viable builds IMO - a Q build, a W build, and a generic "spellpower" build that doesn't hyperfocus on either ability but rather buff them both mildly.
-What these changes are NOT proposing are increasing her burst, range, or other factors that players typically associate with frustration when playing against her.
I can't stress that enough. I think her current damage is fine for the most part, albeit a bit too reliant on Q pierce at 18 to do anything meaningful. I think Loop is a nice setup ability but the full one-shot potential behind it again, isn't realized until 18 and even then only on the squishiest heroes in the game. As I've said already, Chromie is MOSTLY fine and my goal isn't to make her OP, just improve her talent diversity on certain tiers and make her a bit more fun to play for people who liked playing her previously.
The numbers breakdown:
-Q = 122 damage per second, reliant on a line skillshot that can be blocked by PVE, structures, or other enemy heroes other than your intended target. 20 mana cost, 15 range. Q damage per second calculated assuming you land both the primary Q missile as well as the sand clone Q missile that does 40% damage.
-W, assuming all 3 drops land on a single-target = 43.71 damage per second. Unlikely that all 3 drops will hit, however has the benefit of being AOE. That said, even assuming a unicorn situation where all 5 members of the enemy team potato into all 3 hits of the ability it is still only a baseline 218.55 DPS...that's sad, IMO. Slightly less than double damage per second compared to hitting both Q missiles, a situation that is far more likely to occur, though obviously significantly more mana-friendly due to W's cooldown vs Q's cooldown. 65 mana cost, 13 range, but due to the nature of the vector can reach around 21 range (rough estimate). I wouldn't consider the max range that valuable given the drop delay - enemies will be able to predict the drop of the third hit and dodge it completely, making that range useless.
-AAs = 76.5 damage per second during Q setup period (basically casting a Q first to set up the sand clone), then 114.8 damage per second for every second thereafter, point and click, can't miss barring blinds or evade abilities/talents. No mana cost, 7.5 range.
So we can already see two things: number one, that Chromie's AAs are not an insignificant part of her damage, even assuming you are a god and can constantly land both the primary Q missile AND the secondary Q missile, and number two, that her W unless operating under basically impossible conditions is very lackluster damage-wise. This leads to a pretty boring playstyle where your Q feels like a clone setup for braindead free AA damage until level 18 when suddenly your power spikes off the charts, and your W feels like something you just use for waveclear, and MAYBE to pressure an enemy team in a chokepoint.
A "waveclear-only" ability isn't strictly a problem for a mage except that Chromie's has the unique advantage of getting completely dicked by long CC chains - unless someone is actually capable of moving you will only hit someone with 2 W hits (there's a small Venn diagram area where the hitboxes of two Ws overlap). This "Venn diagram" area is actually so small that you cannot fit two hero hitboxes into it, meaning you'll only get that particular value on a singular target, even if there are multiple people caught in something like a RoF/Mosh Pit. Other mages do not have this issue, not even Gul'dan due to the size and drop speed of his vector spell. Note that I use Corruption as the comparison here because not only are Corruption and Dragon's Breath both triple-drop circular vector spells, they also share an identical cooldown and
identical damage on each hit (lmao). The original comparisons to new Dragon's Breath being "Sand Corruption" were not far off, even though Chromie mains were called hyperbolic for saying as such.
Fundamental problems with Chromie's rework:
-To put it simply, auto-attacks on sand clone are too strong and thus make the level 1 Q talent where you gain a third
sand clone auto-attack too valuable to pass up. They also make Mobius Loop at 5 wholly unappealing because it does fuck-all for your sand clone autos, though Proper Greeting and Bronze Talons mathematically both have their strong suits and have a healthy competition with one another (tl;dr Talons is good if you have a target you want to hit who is unlikely to be affected by CC or your spells and the enemy has an easy fat target like tanks/Azmodan/Fenix that you can nail with Q to get the proc - so basically hypermobile heroes and heroes with spell shields who can pop them to as a response to Proper Greeting procs, OR in comps where you have literally 0 CC outside of your own Trap slow and Slowing Sands).
the level 1 Q quest is so good, it basically makes taking Piercing Sands at 18 somewhat inevitable to get maximum value out of the triple Qs you can set up. Bear in mind, I think Chromie's Q hitting PVE was fundamentally a nerf and I don't think it was a good idea in retrospect. I get that the goal was to "increase counterplay/reduce frustration" by making it so that players could juke behind minion waves or their buildings and not get gibbed over walls and whatnot, but because of this change the hero is now very reliant on her AA gimmick to deal consistent damage AND you could argue that she honestly doesn't feel like a real hero until you get pierce at 18. Regardless, I understand that this change is probably here to stay and I think there are ways we can work around her jank power distribution while still keeping the PVE Q block in. (More on this in "Proposed Changes" below.)
-Building into W just feels like shit because of how lackluster the damage is. It's clear that her power pie was distributed based on the rare unicorn chance that she will hit all 3 Ws on a single target, but given the winrate and pickrate of W talents we can honestly see that this isn't a winning strategy
, especially when Q gives you more consistent value (and probably would even if
sand clone AAs were removed tbh). To clarify, W would have to hit at least 6 times (as in, any combination of players in any combination of hits that would equal 6) to match the DPS of just Chromie's primary Q missile...saying nothing of her sand clone AA damage and secondary Q missile damage. Obviously Chromie talenting into W doesn't mean she can't use Q, so I did the math on simply the bonus 3rd sand clone AA and tertiary Q missile, and landing each one is an increase of 67.66 DPS. W talents are only an increase of 32.14 DPS, though bear in mind this is for 3 hits on a single target only. Here's where it gets stupid:
the third sand clone AA by itself
is an increase of 32.8 DPS. This means that unless you are consistently hitting at least two people with W for multiple hits of the ability or you simply cannot stay in 7.5 range to AA
* at any given time it is universally better to build into Q talent at 1 solely for the extra AA, even if you never land a single tertiary Q missile in your goddamned life. See where this is a problem?
The Proposed Changes (aka the meat of this post):
Suffice it to say, I think Dragon's Breath at this point needs a fundamental change to its design to not only be effective at what it is supposed to do, but also in general just to be fun to use.
Its current design is a move that largely punishes potatoes or players stuck in a "no-win" situation where they either have to eat the second and third W hits or face greater threats like CC chains for trying to facetank it by not moving during the first hit. My proposed change is to simply turn Chromie's W into a single ability with 3 separate charges, keeping its current damage, radius, and drop speed, giving each charge an individual mana cost and allowing all charges to return at once similar to Junkrat Q/Zarya grenade.
What this does by default is make W talents more appealing by allowing good Chromie players who can "read" their opponents correctly the option to build into that move and deal respectable damage, especially as an alternative to matchups where Q may not be a reliable source of damage (into summoners, Anub'arak, Nova/Samuro/Rexxar, etc). What this would NOT
do is bring back Loop one-shots, because with a .75 drop delay the Looped target will only eat one charge of the damage same as they do now...they will have to be more careful on how they move immediately after Loop though to make sure Chromie doesn't read their movement and plop another in their path. I think this is a fair change, even if it comes with slight numerical nerfs to W to compensate. (I don't think she will need this though due to other proposed changes I have below.)
To follow to that, I think that the sand clone gimmick should either be scrapped, or if nothing else the AA component of it needs to be removed.
I actually like the sand clone thematically and am fine with it mirroring Q - I think it would be neat if it could go further and also mimic her W, adding further dimension to Chromie's "prediction mage" theme. I get that two invisible Ws dropping anywhere would definitely be tilting AF for the enemy team though, so this change could either come with W returning to being visible or, as I stated earlier, simply keep the sand clone mirroring only Chromie's Q and nothing else.
What this change would aim to do is frankly tone down how stupidly effective her AAs are compared to her actual abilities. I can't think of a single person who originally picked up this hero to be an auto-bot; IMO there's Hanzo and Junkrat for that long-range/AA hybrid flavor and they were both designed around that purpose (Junkrat with splash AAs, Hanzo with AA-related talents/build). Nothing about Chromie's 2016 release hinted at "right-click guys for the same DPS as your spells", not even OG Bronze Talons which for the record I do think suffered from a lack of meaningful competitive options until Timely Surprise in 2018 and that's why it was picked all the time.
Regardless, I think Sand Blast should have 1-target pierce made baseline if sand clone autos are removed.
I think if you remove clone autos the damage numbers will simply default to W being unilaterally the best build outside of playing for the very binary power spike at level 18 from Piercing Sands, which I don't think is super healthy for her design. Chromie's autos paired with clone autos were actually one of the few ways the hero could damage people standing behind a Zagara minion, and if you remove the strength of those she'll need some
sort of extra power to compensate, IMO. That said, this is a change that might not wholly be necessary if other aspects of her kit are made better, such as the W change I proposed above. This could be a wait-and-see sort of change, I admit. Alternately,
if 2-target Q is too strong baseline, it could be an alternate reward to her level 1 quest, removing the tertiary missile altogether.
Incidentally this would give her more power in the early game by completing the quest, while not completely dumpstering the 18 talent's viability, while also
giving players the freedom to pick something else on 18 if they feel like 2-target Qs are good enough to pressure the enemy team. I think this is a pretty healthy change that makes her a little less hot-and-cold when it comes to damage dealing, especially when it comes to early game vs late game. Her level 5 talent tier will need a bit more parity, especially if clone autos are removed.
Bronze Talons' power budget currently factors in the extra autos from clone, including if you complete the level 1 Q quest - while I like the synergy between the two talents, I think if clone autos are removed Bronze Talons as a whole will need to be redesigned.
I think the simplest change is to bake in a functionality that mirrors the strength of her old sand clone when this rework originally went live, which is that sand clone's Q damage is increased from 40% to 50%.
This was originally nerfed in an attempt to increase parity between her level 1 talents, but failed miserably, and I think with the other changes I've proposed here the extra 10% clone damage could probably come back. Mobius Loop in its current form is really bad, and even with a full mana refund or something added in will probably continue to be bad.
While my proposed changes to W would make it get more value by default, I think we can do better by making the ability an active on a 60-90 second cooldown that returns all her W charges at once instead.
This seems kind of strong and I'm open to feedback on this one, but I think without some bold changes to W and W talents that Q will still be the dominant build and this was just one thing I could think of to make W more appealing.
For her heroics, I think Slowing Sands could probably use the level 18 functionality made baseline to make it more appealing compared to Loop.
I like Sands as an easy way to proc her current Greeting talent at 5, but since the straight nerfs that came with her latest rework that made it only a 5% slow baseline it just has really minimal use outside of Greeting procs, and you can rely on your Time Trap slow talent or allies for those procs. It could probably use some slight buffs. I honestly have no idea what to make the 18 upgrade if the spell armor reduction is added to the level 8 version.
Suggestions more than welcome here. Her survivability options on 11 are actually okay except for Here and There.
This is where I actually make a pretty bold change for her baseline Q sand clone, which is actually that rather than leaving a clone where Chromie previously cast her last Q, sand clone is now an active that Chromie can choose to place anywhere within 7.5 radius of her, with say a 10-20 second cooldown.
I think this is a bit of a "berf" in that it's probably a nerf to fairly aggressive/mobile Chromie players who are constantly moving and placing new Qs in very forward locations, but probably a buff to more strategic Chromies who want to aim their shots at the perfect angle to hit their intended target. The change is kind of playstyle-defining and I'm not 100%
sure it's what she needs, but I also think this could not only serve as a way of making Here and There more appealing (by giving more control over where you teleport to), but also a decent workaround to Q being blocked by various things until level 18. This might serve to reduce reliance on her level 18 pierce talent as well, which I always welcome. Fast Forward is in a similarly poor spot compared to the other 14 options.
By 14 Chromie basically has zero mana tension, making half the talent effectively useless. With some simple MATHS we can see what sort of DPS increase Fast Forward is vs the other two:
-Fast Forward, assuming you always get the proc and ALWAYS hit your secondary Q missile from sand clone, turns Q from a 122 DPS move to an 282 DPS move. This however doesn't affect her W, so the overall total DPS is 282 from this talent under perfect conditions - basically spamming because the CDR is so fast, never moving, and always hitting Q WITH also hitting the secondary Q missile. Bear in mind that this talent does not proc from a long-range sand clone Q, meaning you must position in such a way that the primary missile will always travel 50% of its distance.
Shifting Sands works similarly so I don't factor that into DPS contributions, though Quantum Overdrive does in fact get CDR from all sand clone hits, making its actual DPS higher than what I calculated in theory.
-Quantum Overdrive, assuming you always achieve the CDR from Sand Blasts for it (again, we're assuming perfect conditions for everything here), will be available every 24 seconds and is a flat 25% spellpower increase for 8 seconds - or basically, two Q casts and one W cast (we won't factor in Loop usage here for simplicity's sake). Factoring in the CD, this is a 54.1 DPS increase - not nearly as impressive, though worth noting that the upfront damage is much larger AND and as I stated above, you actually get CDR from every sand clone missile, meaning its value increases exponentially with the Q quest on level 1 as well as how good you are at landing multi-Q hits.
-Shifting Sands has math that is much harder to calculate due to its stacking increase, but because I love you all I did. Suffice it to say, assuming you do not let the stacking spellpower buff fall off, it is a 151 DPS increase on Q until it ramps up at 38.5 seconds (not directly, mind you, this is just on average, I wasn't calculating 10 individual DPS increases and pasting them here lol), then a 181 DPS increase for each second it remains fully stacked. This is actually less than Fast Forward, though you can also add in 58ish DPS for W hits (again, assuming all 3 hits on a single target only), making the total value of the talent 209 DPS until stacked, then 249 DPS after.
So this is still less than Fast Forward, right? So why the hell are people picking it, you might ask? Simply because at any point if you miss a Q, the entire value of Fast Forward is lost, whereas with Shifting Sands you retain the spellpower unless you whiff a second Q hit in that original 8-second window.
Basically, you have to land 1 Q every 8 seconds to get value out of Shifting Sands. Fast Forward, if you ever don't proc it, you don't have a level 14 talent during that and the window between your next Q.
(That said, doing this math actually made me realize that Fast Forward might be better than I think it is and I might give it a try in my next match, hehe.)
To be honest, all Fast Forward might need to be competitive is for the CDR to occur even if a secondary or tertiary Q missile hits, rather than requiring it to be the primary one. Since Fast Forward only buffs Q and not W, I think this is a fair buff that would reward consistently good aim with more sustained damage relative to Q, while still leaving Shifting Sands the favorite for a more forgiving slow spellpower increase and Quantum Overdrive for Loop/burst shenanigans.
As a final point, while I think that a lot of my proposed baseline changes to the hero would by default make Piercing Sands mildly less appealing at 18, I'm still not sure what to do to completely increase her talent diversity on this tier, especially because her ulti upgrades are frankly kind of lackluster.
This is an area where I sort of ran out of steam brainstorming, to be completely honest with you. I actually think both of her ultis are really boring baseline and couldn't come up with interesting 18 upgrades for either. Lend me your brains on this one, HotS subreddit! What would you do to make Chromie's Piercing Sands talent less appealing while making her ulti upgrades more appealing?
I'd love to see what we can all come up with!
These changes, whether implemented as a whole or by their parts in certain areas, would IMO serve to give the hero three viable build paths:
-1st build path, "Q path": Q talent at 1 for second pierce target, newly-designed Bronze Talons at 5 for the extra clone Q damage, Here and There at 11 for mobility shenanigans thanks to being able to manually place your clone target in advantageous locations, Fast Forward at 14 to put a further emphasis on landing good Qs and edging out W as a big part of your damage pie, and Piercing Sands at 18 for obvious reasons.
-2nd build path, "W path": W talent at 1, Mobius Loop at 5, any survivability option at 11, Quantum Overdrive at 14 to take advantage of the new Mobius Loop W charge reset, Piercing Sands at 18 could still be appealing with this build but I also think Blessing of the Bronze or Temporal Loop upgrade depending on your ulti choice could be good here.
And a final "generic spellpower path" that doesn't build strictly into improving Q or W separately and would instead opt to modestly increase the damage of both, with perhaps less binary gains than building fully into one spell: which would feature Timewalker's Pursuit at 1, Proper Greeting at 5, any survivability option at 11, Shifting Sands at 14 (though I think Quantum could work here too), and maybe Q pierce or Blessing at 18.
While I appreciate anyone who has read this far, for those who don't have the fortitude here is a simple tl;dr:
-W is no longer 3 vectored hits that drop at the same time but rather 3 circular AOEs that can be dropped individually but all return on the same cooldown similar to Junk Q/Zarya Q. If this is OP, reduce the size of the AOE so opponents have greater windows to dodge, or (possibly) make the landing point visible again (less a fan of this though tbh).
-sand clone autos removed to put more damage back into her spells and less into boring right-click talents/builds (her right-click damage is about 2/3rds the DPS of Q!). Her current design with sand clone AAs means that the level 1 Q quest that adds an extra sand clone is dramatically more value than the other two quests simply for the extra AA damage, which is a bongos DPS increase in comparison. Rather than gut the entire sand clone thematic, which I think is cool, I think simply removing the AAs would do loads for her talent diversity.
-manual sand clone placement on a modest cooldown to work around the newly-implemented Q PVE block. An alternate solution is to change her level 1 Q quest from a third sand clone to a singular pierce upon completion, allowing her once the quest is completed to have Q hit two targets for each missile instead of just 1. Either way if sand clone placement is made manual I think the level 1 Q quest will have to be changed, because otherwise manually placing two clones would probably make her a bit too "busy", and I don't want her to be butt-blastingly difficult to play for anyone who isn't a main. I think both manual Q placement and changing the Q quest at 1 to reward one-unit pierce would be fine, without sending her balance out of control, but obviously I can't say for sure.
-Some talent retooling and rebalancing to promote better diversity on certain tiers (namely 1, 14 and 18). I could use some help on brainstorming better ult upgrades at 18 than what she currently has.
-NO increases to damage or range except incidental increases from things like easier Q secondary missile hits or more control over W landing points. These would be offset by the removal of sand clone autos, as well as less reliance on Q pierce talent at 18, making her power curve less exponential.
-no changes to Time Trap, which I think after the rework is a beautifully-designed ability as-is and the talent tier representing it (level 2) is one of the most balanced talent tiers we actually have in the entire Heroes of the Storm game.
If you made it through all this without rage-quitting over the mere mention of Chromie, I appreciate your time, and am looking forward to having some discussions here. Are these changes too much? What do you think the hero needs to become a bit more fun to play, while not dramatically increasing her power level or the frustration factor that other people have playing against her? How would you improve her talent diversity with her current design? I look forward to seeing what everyone has to say!
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