Well, I know Salan's only one guy, I do hope synergies gets balanced for HC at least somewhat.
Personally, even with vanilla HC, think one should get one life after beating a major boss, diying due to completely random mishaps sucks.
I just feel so uninspired to play non-HC, no risk no reward, you know..
Personally I feel cookie cutters are in existance, because some skills/builds are clearly overshadowing others, and they're so good, it's almost stupid not to take them.
Vanilla Prismatic Bolt build vs trying something actually fun like a Shocking Burst build.
Maybe it's just me.
Bane Breath + MotElements = carnage, at least on vanilla 2 players veteran it destroyed dwarves by the bucketloads. It's range a 2s duration is it's only downside; you have to use it against weak or already weakened enemies.
aybe Vault got fixed along the way. I am a version or 2 behind afterall. *sigh*
Synergies is built towards challenging fights where you could actually die if you screw up even a little. The margin for error is low, but not inhumanly impossible (i.e. if you practice every day, you could possibly do it? lol)
It is impossible for all skills to have equal power, and there wouldn't ever be a fair gauge of that in the first place. The most anyone could do is to have all builds be of similar power (not equal), although yes, there are some builds that are better than others due to various reasons.
For example, Glavie Throw is a decent skill that became ridiculous because of how accessible % poison damage is in the vanilla game, compared to other types of +% elemental damage. It was a pretty good skill to begin with and quickly went out of hand because of the gear, and not the skill itself. (the damage, in fact, doesn't scale at all)
Vanilla PB was strong due to FOC Enchantments and the Brand damage. PB, as a proc'ing medium for the brands, was also incredibly useful because it is homing, and fires multiple shots per cast.
Is Glavie Throw 'op'? Not without those easily accessible +% poison damage gear. Is PB 'op' on its own? Not at all. However, with the triple brands and FOC scaling, it is.
However, that isn't to say that all other builds are impossible/not viable. They are, but just to a lesser extent. They're not as 'good' (in the killing stuff department), but they're definitely still playable. They could use improvements in some aspects though.
And balancing the classes isn't solely about the classes.
The monsters play a part in this, and the most noteworthy example I can give here is Coup de Grace and the Stun Immunity that all bosses have. Coup de Grace might not have been a bad skill, but the fact that it is never able to proc on boss fights, and is a skill that requires your character to build heavily around, makes it a 'useless' / 'underpowered' skill.
The gear also plays a part, and the best example here is vanilla's Spell Trigger Outlander, using Chaos Burst/Venomous Hail (+Bramble Wall) to proc an absurd number of spell triggers for massive damage. (Oh and immobilize from Glacial Spike trigger just push it over the top) The gear itself also makes a difference to the power of the build, not just the plain skills.
Balancing isn't as straightforward as saying a Poison Glaive build is strong, therefore we must nerf Poison Glaive because it is strong. It isn't always really about one skill overshadowing others.
(Whoops, kinda went into a long rant here)
Bane Breath deals too little damage to kill things on its own; you have to weaken enemies with other skills first and it also has to get the killing blow too...... that makes it useless in boss fights and weak for clearing anything but super trash mobs like ratlins etc.
I don't think Vault was ever broken, but it takes a while to get used to the targetting because its pretty awkward to say the least. But the backwards leap is a bigger deal than one would normally assume, especially for a ranged class.