Many players already know how bad of a place nightstalkers are in right now in regards to PvE. Without any built in mechanics to regain grenade or melee energy and a lack of weakening or suppression outside of their super or a direct hit with the smoke bomb, hunters are very weak compared to titans and warlocks. All hunters have right now is a bunch of fancy gimmicks that leave the hunter as a clunky and slow mess when it comes to invisibility and terrible at weakening and suppression. Speaking of said mess, I’m now here to propose some potential solutions to the problem. Without further a due, I propose the changes I would make to make nightstalker better in PvE while leaving it balanced in PvP.
The first change I would introduce to nightstalker is I would change the stylish executioner aspect’s second part to cause all the player’s attacks after performing a stylish execution to weaken targets for 5 seconds. This gives nightstalkers a safer and more consistent way to apply the weaken debuff than melee. It also allows nightstalker to be less clunky in combat with stylish executioner by giving the player a wider window and more options to reactivate stylish executioner than currently. This allows hunters to kill enemies at a more proper pace while maintaining invisibility, in turn making them very viable for a PvE fireteam. Meanwhile, it would remain balanced in PvP due to the “too stylish” debuff timer being longer at 10 seconds in PvP vs PvE. This prevents the invisibility from chaining in PvP due to weaken as the weakening on attacks would only last 5 seconds.
Second change (which will be more optional) would be to potentially reduce the “too stylish” debuff’s timer to 1-1.5 seconds in PvE. This would further reduce the clunkiness of stylish executioner in PvE and allow the hunter to kill enemies at a even more proper pace.
Third change would be to make vanishing step give 3 fragment slots since it only gives short term invisibility and nothing else.
The fourth and potentially one of the most important changes, along with the first change, would be to implement some form of ability regeneration straight into the class. Possibly making stylish executioner give grenade energy on killing void debuffed enemies or adding an exotic that does the same instead. Meanwhile, trapper’s ambush should likely give ability energy when making allies invisible.
The fifth change (which wouldn’t be so necessary with the previous changes) would be to enable orb of power mods like innervation and the echo of starvation fragment to allow the player to pick up orbs of power while their super is full. This change would be necessary without the aforementioned changes because the hunter is currently entirely reliant on devour with the lack of ability loops and the lack of accessibility for debuffs like weaken and suppression.
Another problem that is exacerbated by the other problems is the hunter’s lack of access to volatile rounds as a result of the lack of grenade feedback looping that the other classes have. This could be fixed by amending stylish executioner to give grenade energy, but a better fix would be to add an exotic that has some sort of volatile rounds effect. My idea is a pair of exotic gauntlets that cause kills charge up a buff called volatile charge. Once the player has 10 stacks of volatile charge (1 stack per rank and file kill in PvE, 2 stacks per major / guardian kill in PvE / PvP respectively), the player may hold reload at any time to activate volatile rounds. Once volatile rounds are active, the player can kill targets to extend the timer (not refresh completely).
Another issue that is a little more of a personal gripe, but more of a problem with void as a whole is that the “weaken” debuff seems to be a little weak itself. This is especially apparent with the introduction of radiant into the game with solar 3.0. Radiant is 25% while weaken is 15%. Weaken is on average less accessible than radiant yet it is almost half as strong. I believe weaken should be buffed to a 20% debuff combined with the previous changes to bring it more in line with radiant in terms of solo play. This would buff all classes but would especially buff hunter combined with the previous changes.
To conclude this post, this is how I would upgrade nightstalker in PvE to make it more viable. I would say most of these changes are definitely needed since there isn’t much the class does that makes it really viable in PvE at the moment. With everything having been said, peace out.
(Edit: below is a link to my previous and more detailed post that fully explains the problems and solutions to nightstalker. It should provide a more in depth context to this post. I mainly wanted to post this to push out a more simplified and “straight to the point” post that will hopefully gain more attention for this issue.)