I tried thinking about this new bar as a concept in isolation, to figure out how good it’ll be, and found I couldn’t make heads or tails of it as there’s a lot of variables, so decided to try a series of tests across many difficulty levels and now it’s a lot clearer.
In its current form on PTR (this is the day before the reset so might change tomorrow) I just think the payoff of the empowerment ability doesn’t feel worth it overall. The bar takes potentially most of a floor (about 70/80% of it) to fill up, and this could take anywhere from 5 minutes to 20 depending on class and the difficulty being attempted, then there is a period of time, maybe 1-3 minutes after the bar is full, where you are coasting until the time is right to unleash the empowerment.
…and then essentially all that happens when you activate it is a boost to haste. There are other stat increases and movement speed too but the whole thing feels very flat. This is exacerbated by the fact that its over very quickly. The bar drains away in practically no time during the empowered state and keeping it filled up simply is not an option, you cannot kill a group of mobs fast enough during empowerment to replenish the bar significantly, so its not much like a Shadow Priest’s insanity bar in previous expansions where if you timed each spell accurately, you could maintain void form for longer and longer.
For this long buildup, it should be a super-cooldown where your damage just explodes and destroys everything. The movement speed bonus should be set to a recklessly high level to make it more exhilarating, something like +80% movement speed, so you can rocket through the level aoe-ing everything.
Also because of the long wait time and the short window of opportunity it can feel pretty punishing if you get feared or interrupted during the empowered state as you then have to build it up again from scratch, perhaps if you made it so that you have the option of deactivating the empowered state and saving some of the empowerment up for next time, instead of having it all drain away for nothing if you’ve already killed the mobs you pulled.
Generally, while I like the torments/blessings/talent-tree changes this PTR, I’ve not really been a fan of the empowerment bar in any of the iterations. It feels tiring to be watching out for the bar all the time, and boring to watch it fill up really slowly, and also frustrating to have to go and do everything in the level just to increase the bar (eg all the Ashen Phylacteries). You always feel chained to the bar to try and increase it and it just becomes this hassle, once its over you have to start again, etc. I would much prefer if the bar simply didn’t exist, or perhaps if you made it into an blue/purple anima power, making it optional, which would drop like all the other anima powers, the same for all classes, as it is still an overall increase to the player’s power level.
One important thing relating to the time pressure aspect. I think the recent iteration of the bar where it is no longer time pressured is a move in the right direction and honestly a sign of good will from the developers so I think it is much appreciated. However it is not made clear to the player that they don’t have to speedrun to get a good score, because the score window at the end of each floor presents you with a floor time, and the player cannot tell whether that is being factored into their final score or not, because no doubt completion is an important factor and that is also being displayed on the score window of each floor. So even though the bar doesn’t time pressure the player, this score window does. If time really isn’t a consideration, don’t present the floor time taken to the player at the end of the level, I don’t think anybody particularly wants to see how much of their life they spent on a floor anyway.
Lastly, if you are committing to the empowerment bar being there, it would be more interesting/fun if the empowered state was some massive class/spec specific bonus. So as an example, for me, a destro lock, a random suggestion would be something like Chaos Bolt becomes instant cast and each time you cast it you gain another charge of conflagrate, so you still feel some benefit even after the empowered state has expired. It’s more interesting than a flat set of stat increases as it changes your class’s gameplay briefly, instead of just doing the same spells a bit faster.
It should be something unbalanced ideally, because Torghast is the place for that. No raid teams will be affected, nor M+ teams, world first races, pvp tournaments, arena comps, metas, no levelling alts, no pet battlers, no twinking alts, etc, …nobody will be negatively affected by some crazy powers in Torghast, because its all locked inside the instance. Generally you guys need to add in more of those, as realistically it’s just harmless fun which will make people want to go to Torghast to try the powers out. If you somehow added a crazy new anima power each week for every class, there’d be nobody anywhere complaining about grinding soul ash, because everybody would want to go see what its like when they can convoke 20 targets at once or set a whole floor on fire with the ignite dot or something wild. This cautious mentality gets us nowhere.