character class roles with the new rules

ASFDan

Scholar
Based on what I've seen in playtesting and the obsessive amount of character building I've been doing here are my observations. They are by no means exhaustive, as practically any build works well and I think the likelihood of a preferred build emerging is low, which reduces the value of a 'role' in the traditional sense:

Fighters will likely have two main modes: prof-driven and crit-driven. Playtesting has shown that both are viable, but have really different approaches:
  • Prof-driven fighters will have excellent sustained damage but limited or no burst potential. They are excellent candidates for high armor, defensive skill loadouts, and lots of HP. These guys will be your 'tanks', such as they exist in Alliance, and are at their best when supported by a healer. These are the characters that anchor your battle line. Alternately, a prof-driven fighter with an offensive skill loadout makes for a really powerful archery build.
  • Crit-driven fighters, on the other hand, have fantastic burst potential, but limited sustained damage potential. They pair well with offensive skill loadouts and light armor, and are at their best when they can find a battlefield weakness to exploit or a particular target to go after. Defensively-oriented crit-driven fighters are a bit of an oddity. They have ridiculous survival skills, but don't really fill a niche that I can think of. They might do well on the end of a battle line.
  • There are other niche fighter builds that some players may choose to go for, but probably not commonly, such as blacksmith builds focusing on skill loadouts and quick refit times, or such.
Rogues, on the other hand, will likely not have have BS and BA-driven modes but instead focus on whether or not to add Alchemy, Traps, and magic to their build.
  • Unlike fighters, the choice of building via BS or BA is not quite as clearly delineated. Backstab is a more sustainable purchase and Back Attack a more bursty one, but neither lends itself more obviously to a particular style of play nor to a particular skill loadout, and I suspect the choice will primarily be one of how actively the player wants to manage their resources.
  • More likely I think the choice to make will be whether or not to include alchemy, traps, and magic into a rogue build, which, and how much of each. A build focusing exclusively on combat skills with only minimal magic/crafting might make an excellent assassin/gunner, while a heavier investment into these skills makes a character that is more likely to have a skill for any situation and probably makes for a better skirmisher, when separated from their support. I have it on excellent authority that they also make fantastic cooks.
Scouts, being part rogue and part fighter, necessarily fall into the above build styles, and are excellent all-around combatants. Since the above information remains relevant I think the next most important distinction for scouts is whether to build synchronously or asynchronously.
  • Scouts using a synchronous build (equal points in rogue and fighter skills) will benefit from heavy investment in Profs and Backstabs; the effect of cost scaling means a scout pays the same cost for x profs and x stabs as a fighter or rogue pays for 2x profs or 2x stabs, effectively negating that part of the hybrid cost penalty. Because of this, synchronous builds will probably favor defensive fighter skills much the same way prof-driven fighters do, though they may branch into the offensive rogue skills. They will do really well on the end of a battle line, where there may be some opportunity to wrap/pincer the opposition.
  • An asynchronous build, on the other hand, where the build favors either fighter or rogue over the other, will still benefit from a synchronous base (x profs and stabs), but the excess points devoted to the preferred style are best left in the form of critical or back attacks and their associated skills. This build heavily resembles its parent fighter or rogue build, but gains flexibility at the cost of raw power. I'm not sure what niche this build fills, though it may be preferred for those who like fighter or rogue but don't want to be bound by the class constraints.
  • Due to the prohibitive cost scouts are not likely to be significant alchemists or casters, but may find trapping to be affordable in certain builds.
Casters, hybrid casters, and artisans to come.
 

ASFDan

Scholar
Continued. Again these are my observations based on playtesting and buildcrafting, and they are by no means exhaustive. They are not intended to be a guide to character building, but rather an opinion on the likely direction of character build diversity by rough class.

Scholars don't see much of a change in skill focus, so I'm not expecting their builds to change significantly. There are some exceptions, though, which I'll try to highlight.
  • Massive (40+) formalists will probably become more rare on both sides. Because celestial lost a lot of its synergy with High Magic, and the earth High Magic is already lackluster (revive aside) there is no incentive to go deep into formal levels unless you really like ritual casting. Those who choose to remain deep ritual casters will probably stand to make a great deal of money, but won't be nearly as potent on the field as they once were.
  • Earth scholars see the least change, though their spell loadout got a much needed boost. You'll probably see some stratification in spell memorization (pure healers, mixed-memorization, necromancers, and such), but the builds themselves are all likely to look about the same.
  • Celestial scholars are going to be the kings of burst damage. The tradeoff, of course, is that faster melee combat, longer incants, and already low body means that they are even more vulnerable to a cold steel enema than they were previously. They will *need* to be protected because you can't drop the boom when you're running for your life like Russell Wilson on every passing down.
Adepts largely follow rogues in terms of build style and won't see much change overall, other than incorporating the new rogue skillset.
  • Celestial adepts are the true swiss army knife of the damage classes, being able to rogue from behind and boom from the front. No longer compelled to go deep into ritual magic, I expect to see larger columns becoming more common. Backstabs are easier to keep track of, but those really into the resource management game may opt for back attack builds.
  • Earth adepts are weird. They always have been and they still are. They have excellent survivability, but in a line fight they become second-rate healers and in a skirmish they lack the oomph of their celestial contemporaries. Two things they are really good at, though, are surviving when caught out on their own, and retrieving the fallen from hostile ground. I don't know that that's enough to make this more than a niche build, but the style of play may be appealing to some.
Templars also don't see a lot of change in role, though they do benefit heavily from the new fighter build styles.
  • Celestial templars are the answer to the 'squishiness' of celestial scholars. With a defensive fighter loadout and a heavy investment in spells they can have a lot more survivability at the cost of some of their burst capability. An offensive fighter loadout looks good on the surface, but requires strong situational play in order to keep from just being a weak fighter and weak caster.
  • Earth templars have lots of really strong options available to them. They can serve as backup healers, but I think that's selling them short. An earth templar with a defensive loadout is also a strong candidate to anchor a line, especially when healer support is limited. An earth templar with an offensive loadout can be an absolute terror anywhere on the battlefield; their numbers aren't flashy and their burst damage is pretty much nonexistant, but they can fight on a line, skirmish, support a rogue corps, and generally fill just about any hole.
Artisans make money. They also (usually) make potions and scrolls, and given that pocket scholars are a thing of the past a strong artisan is going to be in high demand pretty much everywhere. On the field, though rare, they can be surprisingly effective if they're willing to throw money at the problem, so to speak. With potions, scrolls, and alchemy they can buy their way into almost any role, from backpacking to burst damage to skirmishing. Just don't ask why they're crying with every swing/spell/globe/trap.
 
ASFDan said:
Artisans make money. They also (usually) make potions and scrolls, and given that pocket scholars are a thing of the past a strong artisan is going to be in high demand pretty much everywhere. On the field, though rare, they can be surprisingly effective if they're willing to throw money at the problem, so to speak. With potions, scrolls, and alchemy they can buy their way into almost any role, from backpacking to burst damage to skirmishing. Just don't ask why they're crying with every swing/spell/globe/trap.
This is basically what I'm looking forward to as an Artisan so heavily devoted to crafting (minus the crying): being much more able to support any role to do their job better, then filling in if things get dire. It's mostly because I'm only level 10 and there are higher-level production masters, but sometimes I don't feel very useful outside of running bodies to healers and dumping potions or alchemy on new players. I thoroughly enjoy doing both of those things, for sure, but sometimes it would be nice to be able to help out my more established friends more. It's just a shame that being both and Earth and Celestial caster is illegal in-game for our chapter, so I can't start making scrolls without ending up in the resurrection circle. :p I'll leave business to the merchants, though, I'm just the old man in the cave: "It's dangerous to alone, take this".
 

Daedric

Newbie
I'm looking at Earth Scholars with a great deal of scrutiny. I see them struggling in any kind of standing fight with an enemy that's not undead. They're seemingly being pigeonholed into the role of combat medic or heavy ritual caster.

Celestial casters, conversely, can serve a wide array of roles. They can serve as ranged artillery, still have access to protectives and binds, and their high magic and wand options make sure that they rarely run out of ways to be useful.

If an earth scholar runs out of healing, they have to flee the field until there's a lull so they can render first aid.
 

ASFDan

Scholar
Yeah, that sounds about right to me, except I wouldn't say that they're being pigeonholed so much as they are and always have been designed to primarily be healers.

There are certainly other roles they can fill, but they are either small niche roles or just can't be done as efficiently or effectively as others, and that's just fine.
 

Daedric

Newbie
It seems like the celestial scholars have been getting all the love though.

I posted a suggestion on the celestial earth balance thread regarding something I came up with a couple years ago. I doubt it will be adopted, but I think that would help rebrand earth scholars more as undead hunters than healers.

If I had to compare it to anything, think D&D cleric (without the deity worship aspect).
 

ASFDan

Scholar
I understand you, though with respect let's keep the earth vs celestial theory crafting confined to its own thread and try to keep this one to discussing the roles as they are likely to exist as written in the new system.

In the current system Earth casters have basically three spell loadout options (setting aside any mixed memorization):

1. Healing/Cleansing

2. Necromancy

3. Other (Binding, Curses, Command)

All three are effective in their own right, though I expect healing will be even more favored over the other loadouts than it is now due to its immediate usefulness and the fact that pocket healing is largely disappearing.
 
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James Trotta

Spellsword
Diversity Committee
I think the limited roles for earth scholars may be worth discussing here. I agree with the choices here:

1. Healing/Cleansing

2. Necromancy

3. Other (Binding, Curses, Command)

The problem is that 2 and 3 are pretty bad. So if the owners want earth scholars to be able to play these roles, they should consider a few changes.

Corrupt may be enough to make necromancy dangerous again but it is really hard to play a villain in most chapters. When they got rid of undead spirit store for players they pretty much destroyed any chance a player necromancer had of challenging the town. So now you have to do your necromancy in secret. It's very limiting.

With the bind / curse thing, there just aren't enough spells. If you want to cast offensive spells and impact the battle, celestial is clearly the better choice. My solution would be to make curse spells almost impossible to avoid. No resist, no phase, no spell shield. Let dodge work so that rogues feel cool. But right now, being an earth caster who tries to hurt bad guys is brutal.
 

Gilwing

Baron
Alliance Logistics
1) This sounds like it is becoming a PvP discussion as the primary source of class balancing in a predominantly PvE game? If so, we might want to explore the idea of moving that discussion to another thread, as it doesn't necessarily align with the intention of discussing classes' role access in v2.

2) Fighters have access to influence combat at range through the purchase of the Archery skill. Given the way Weapon Proficiencies and Improved Slays functions, bows and crossbows are considerable sources of damage. In one of Thorgrim's earlier comparative posts, the fighter with 14 Improved Slays would be dropping 320 point crossbow shots with their Slays (40 base + (14 IS x 20 crossbow increment)). Purchasing only 4 Weapon Proficiencies provides for 10 point crossbow bolts, or 20 point bolts if Critical Attacks are activated.
Nope, doesn't sound like that at all to me. I was just merely responding to Thorgrims post about comparing the fighter to the c caster, weather its player or npc (it should be looked at the same regardless).

So archery you say. Now we can go on to say that now the fighter is hindered by having to drop their shield (imo the best fighter skill in the game no matter the cost and restrictions added in) and other weapons because they need both hands to use archery. Also note that your can't use your parries with that xbow.
Regardless of what we say the urgent can come up with scenarios.
 

James Trotta

Spellsword
Diversity Committee
Will Blast Globes turn players into one-person armies? In all likelihood, probably not. The ability is essentially the equivalent of a 2nd level spell. Earth Templars with Alchemy are quite effective in v2. During one of our playtests in particular, we had an Earth Templar with some Celestial magic for scrolls as well as alchemy and trap globes. This player did not necessarily break encounters, however they always found a tool in their arsenal that could directly contribute to the successful completion of the modules they were on. If healing was needed, a hole in the line needed to be plugged, or an enemy needed to be crowd controlled in some manner, they were capable of making that happen.
We could say a second level spell, but we could also say that sword and board anybody can now have the equivalent of a 450 build celestial scholar's wand. In the hands of a rich player, throwing 10s all day might get out of hand. With celestial scrolls, you at least have to read them and may have a practical limit to the number you tape to your shield. Not that read magic isn't also a very powerful skill. It's just that if the new rules are supposed to make all classes necessary in combat, why are we making it so easy for earth templars to be healers, be sword and board tanky, do fighter weapon damage with crit attacks, and do ranged damage with alchemy globes? Plus buying a bit of alchemy gives the earth templar a dodge option.

I guess it seems that earth templars with alchemy might be able to fill so many roles that they hardly need teammates.
 

Inaryn

Knight
I guess it seems that earth templars with alchemy might be able to fill so many roles that they hardly need teammates.
Negative. I run a jack of all trades earth templar, and even in the new rules, it's still not a build that is any good run solo. It works so well because it can fill any gap that comes up, so you end up with maximum opportunities for play, but on it's own it can be pretty weak. You don't do anything as well as anyone else, so while you may have more tricks than Wile E. Coyote, they still won't stop the 1 ton weight from landing on your head.
 

James Trotta

Spellsword
Diversity Committee
I said they might not need teammates, but I didn't mean an earth templar could win a wave battle (or even a mod) all alone. Just that you might not need all the classes (which I think someone said was a main objective of the new rules - that you would need all the classes to get stuff done).

The earth templar can have healing, crit attacks, blast globes... As you say they can fill any role. If the new rules are supposed to encourage more cooperation and make each class necessary, maybe they aren't doing that.
 

James Trotta

Spellsword
Diversity Committee
*Anybody* can have all of these things. It's not unique to Earth Templars.
Anyone can have alchemy, so I don't know why they took maybe the best skill in the game and made it better. The say they want to reduce the gap between newer and older players. Alchemy makes the gap way bigger since many older players have more gas tags than they can fit on a tag ring.

But can everyone have an earth 4 column? Can everyone be a sword and board tank? Can everyone swing 10s or better? We have people saying earth templar can fill every role. I don't think we have people saying the same thing for fighters or celestial scholars.

If the new rules are supposed to make having a bunch of different character classes necessary, than the earth templar with alchemy is a problem, partly because of the blast gas addition.
 

Inaryn

Knight
The cheese cannot stand alone mate. They can *fill* every role, but in any encounter they can't *be* every role. And any class that wants to can build themselves so horribly inefficiently so as to be able to do the same.

I mean, seriously, you're harping on the fact that someone spent *24 build* just to be able to throw money at a problem!
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
If the new rules are supposed to make having a bunch of different character classes necessary, than the earth templar with alchemy is a problem, partly because of the blast gas addition.
I'm trying to figure out the build level of this Swiss Army knife you seem to be thinking of.

It's pretty high. Somewhere in the "They should probably be competent at what they do," range.

The Earth Templar swinging 10s in your problem world is certainly not the most dangerous person on the field. They probably do have the ability to drop a lot of influence in a fight if they need to (probably in the form of CC, not damage). But that leverage is far from endless. At some point, they're going to start saying, "Hey...hey guys? I'm about to run dry here. Maybe you can help?"

Oh, and they may send the adventuring community a bill for the coin that just got flushed.
 

tdae

Newbie
But can everyone have an earth 4 column? Can everyone be a sword and board tank? Can everyone swing 10s or better?
Actually yes, anyone can if they're willing to spend the build. Regardless of class. The rules don't prohibit the examples you provided.
Not likely a scholar will ever swing 10's,
But the option is there.
 
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Gilwing

Baron
Alliance Logistics
Actually yes, anyone can if they're willing to spend the build. Regardless of class. The rules don't prohibit the examples you provided.
Not likely a scholar will ever swing 10's,
But the option is there.
Well cmon here. Let's get realistic please. Just because any class CAN doesn't mean it's valid for the discussion. We are not dealing with infinite build.

I think Jim brings up valid points. As some one that plays a high level E Templar, yes I can do a lot and fill a lot of gaps, I think I can do it well too. At some places I go I have more 9th level spells then the guild leaders (more formals too).
Let's use a mod as an example. With the e templar you can take that fighter but you won't need 2 big sticks now. Same works go for the e scholar. You can have one not so high level of you bring that templar. They "bridge the gap" sort to speak. What boggles my mind is why would it be that I can now get a dodge for an extra 14 build (after alchemy I will need create trap and then I can purchase a dodge) instead of 68 which it is now.
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
Well cmon here. Let's get realistic please. Just because any class CAN doesn't mean it's valid for the discussion. We are not dealing with infinite build.

I think Jim brings up valid points. As some one that plays a high level E Templar, yes I can do a lot and fill a lot of gaps, I think I can do it well too. At some places I go I have more 9th level spells then the guild leaders (more formals too).
Let's use a mod as an example. With the e templar you can take that fighter but you won't need 2 big sticks now. Same works go for the e scholar. You can have one not so high level of you bring that templar. They "bridge the gap" sort to speak. What boggles my mind is why would it be that I can now get a dodge for an extra 14 build (after alchemy I will need create trap and then I can purchase a dodge) instead of 68 which it is now.
Realism isn't equating a 4 column of coinless spells with alchemy.

Alchemy's got some great tricks, but those tricks are disposable production tricks. Those build-points can get you some leverage in circumstances, but there are other circumstances where they're absolutely useless, such as when you're out of money.

Spell columns can run dry, but you get a fresh, -free-, batch every Logistics period.

Are we seriously arguing here about how Alchemy is...what...too cheap for E. Templars?
 
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