I want to hear from combatants & those involved in balance on what they believe the philosophy for Achaean combat balance is and how close the current state of things is to achieving it.
I've always thought that Achaea was balanced around the idea that if you played perfectly (with a respectable health pool) you would never die. It's the sheer complexity of combat that keeps us from reaching the point where all duels are decided by willpower, endurance, or supplies. That still happens, no doubt about it, but for the most part someone messes up and duels finish in a timely manner. The way that combat is constructed gives the defender a huge amount of options to escape death, right up until the very last couple seconds when their avenues of life disappear. We're all familiar with this holding true for momentum strategies: hinder your opponent or flee (neither difficult) and you'll survive. For the most part, this also seems to be true even should the aggressor perfectly prepare and execute their finisher. Speedy tumbles, well placed restores, even a mundane shield tattoo - use them well and you'll wriggle out of almost everything.
For the most part I think Achaea's close to the goal I stated above - there are very few situations in which you don't have any options at all. There are setups that are brutally strong however, and a couple I think might actually be inescapable; Jester concussionbomb shenanigans, full Blademaster prep, Monk... a whole lot of stuff, really. These are the ones that I would look at toning down to bring into line with the rest of the classes. Or, failing that, bring the rest of the classes up to the same level. But anyway, those were just examples, the main point is more important.
Is my characterization correct? Is this the idea of balance you think Achaea is going for? How close do you think we are to it? Do you think there's some other high-level goal that would serve Achaea better? The question also arises regarding exactly how much leeway should we give when avoiding setups - is a tumble delayed by half a second okay? Two seconds?
*Note that this is all about 1v1, not group combat.