Ravingdork wrote:I for one understand why they did it, YuriP. It still diminishes both a potential strength of the class as well as the fun of playing a kineticist.
I don't disagree with you. I just showed my understanding of why the designer did it.That said, I think it's pretty bad too. In the end this practically renders the Elemental Weapon useless, since its main advantage would be to be able to fight melee without suffering AoO, being forced to spend an action to switch to the normal Gather Element, which is a handling action also ends up greatly limiting the usefulness of the weapons. Elemental Weapons.
In fact, this is the main reason why my players haven't used Elemental Weapons in my Playtests. Because I warned them in advance that if he was going to use a Bastard Sword Elemental for example and they needed to do a range Elemental Blast he would have to spend an action doing Gather Element.
In other words, the only advantage that remained for the Elemental Weapon was being able to make 1d12 attacks with an Elemental Bastard but that requires strength, and it would have to deal with the low AC or it would have to be with less hit or less Con and if you face an opponent with AoO it could neither use Stone Shield nor even Deflecting Wave as the reaction itself is an Impulse and therefore causes AoO.
That's why we just ignore Elemental Weapon. In fact we are just ignoring melee kineticists at all.
On the one hand, the confusing language is bad. On the other hand, ignoring melee and strength in your group's playtestsing means you are all doing it wrong. Having to spend an action to switch from melee to ranged is completely standard; plus any build using overflows is going to be regathering anyways (I dislike it immensely because its boring, but if one is regathering anyways it lets me choose again if I want melee or ranged).
My main playtesting is with a dedicated air and melee with elemental weapon is essential. At low levels my basic attack options were d4 ranged, d4+3 reach melee that provokes, or d8+3 melee. In theory I could get away with going from 7.5 to 5.5 average damage and sometimes I would if it meant making the enemy spend a move action getting to me, though at level 4 going from 12 to 8 was more painful, but going all the way from 12 to 5 is right out.
As to "why melee" in general... because of all the usual melee advantages for both the character and the party that come along with the increased risk: flanking, higher damage, athletics, and damage spreading are all huge. Then there are the more unique kineticist factors of close range auras and powers on top.