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Class Concept Theorizing #1: Nightshield

ValicValic Member
edited October 2020 in General Discussion
A1. The introduction
B2. So, what is it YOU think will exist in Ashes of Creation's archetypes?
C3. The Class and what defines it
D4. The skills
E5. Inconclusion

A1. Introduction

Hello! Welcome to a series I hope to complete before the release of beta that essentially goes into concepts of the class system in Ashes of Creation. As we already know, we choose our base class, select a secondary subclass that defines the outcome. The secondary class will be able to augment the base class skills giving it somewhat of a unique take on what the original class is. As interesting as this concept alone is, I don't believe it is sufficient enough for all 64 classes to feel "different" or "unique". There is also talk of the possibility that secondary classes will just contain the same skills they have as a base class added onto your base class. A lot of this is theorizing and it's my hopes that I can make some ideas that "could" be what makes the class unique. That said, you don't have to agree with my logic or any of this, you can even theorize yourself what to expect! I won't have much math done for these and they will merely be "concept theorizing" based on a format I'd like to see in this game.

B2. So, what is it YOU think will exist in Ashes of Creation's archetypes?

As someone who has been playing mmo's for a good 12 years now, I've seen every wend of the "skill tree" and all formats to making classes in games feel different. In Archeage you had the ability to pick from 3 classes as you leveled to create your own class. This meant relying on choosing skills that provide effects that would benefit from one another to combo or create what you want in a class. Unfortunately, systems like this end up reducing what classes can actually be viable and really defeats the concept that I believe Ashes of Creation is going for in making all classes viable for certain situations. That said, I am all for the systems currently in place with augmenting abilities, but I also would like to see "unique" skills added onto the newly gained class. Perhaps up to 4 new skills could be learned but due to limitation of skills points, only 1-2 could potentially be maxed out. These abilities would not be pre-existing to any base class and would only exist out of definition of the new defined class once you have picked your secondary. Meaning, you will have every base class skills, augments off the secondary, and a couple of distinct skills unique to your newfound archetype. It is of my opinion that this would create a diverse set of classes and would accomplish three things.

-1. Separate the difference from a class who is the same as you in playstyle. Assuming 2 players are both a Spellsword but you both chose different augments and unique abilities... This would mean one Spellsword could play differently than the other, especially when you include what skills you choose to level in the base class.

-2. Diversity in combat both grand scale and small scale pvp/pve. I imagine the concept of sieges having full fledged wars with 500 vs 500 players, and seeing varieties of classes ranging between one another. Seeing the same type of fire circle aoe on the ground 200 times over seems like it would easily get boring. I like to believe in the concept that every individual on a battlefield has a unique kit to themselves that can help different situations and having an understanding of how that kit helps is what determines the difference in who would win. Just because you picked tank then went rogue to make Nightshield for example doesn't mean you're incapable of providing support in a group siege or helping a caravan supply defense. Just the same, because you're a fighter + rogue to be a shadowblade shouldn't limit you to thinking having single target dps makes you inept in group combat. Tjhis is what will make everyone's contribution different and unique in their own way, by having specific skills and augments that separate you from the next and may determine the outcome as a result.

-3. This will help balance and weight rock-paper-scissors format gameplay a bit better. This is a system I am very familiar with since the beginning, and I appreciate it when it's done correctly. That said, I'm not fond of outright knowing the outcome of a match being "oh, well he's rock and I'm paper so this is game" outright. I'm of the mindset that while this is something to consider, it shouldn't be the end all be all. Just as an example, a tank facing a mage knows the mage is likely going to CC and burst through their defense like nothing. However, if the tank has skills that contain exploits to a mage or defenses against a mage, perhaps this fight doesn't look so one-sided as one anticipated. By then, it would depend on the skill and strategy of the players and how they use their kits, rather than knowing Class A defeats Class B so long as both are optimizing as they should. If you wanted to see a similar system to this that worked, Aion back in 4.0 had something along this idea. A magic class vs a tank class wasn't always a winner, sometimes the tank class's skillset was actually a useful counter to mage classes and made fights all the more tight because of this. Just to reiterate, I don't want to remove the rock-paper-scissors format, but rather balance out the odds of the format so that they are not a simple guarantee just based off assumption of the class's at play. Paper may beat rock, but a rock made out of magma may yet pose a threat to the paper and may not be as easily won!

All of this should result in you still maintaining the basic concept of what you chose to play the game as first but then giving your class its own flavor via the secondary chosen. If you pick a tank first, you likely want to tank and keep being one... so choosing your 2nd class should not alter it into becoming something it isn't fundamentally. That is of course my opinion and anyone is welcome to theorize other options. The following will present 4 "ideas" for the unique skills the class could learn by extension.

C3. The Class and what defines it.

Today's class topic: "Nightshield"

The Nightshield is a tank base class with a rogue secondary class. I'm starting with this as it's one I'm keen to try out first and very interested to see concepts of. We know tanks as the class that typically holds aggro, provides mild crowd control, and mitigates damage by having defenses and high HP to absorb blows. This usually tends to make the class "support driven" in most games. While it does provide damage and can hold its own for a while, its top priority is typically to reduce incoming damage for the party and be an absolute nuisance to enemies. By adding rogue into the picture, this opens up the potential for an evasion tank as well as multiple stealth related mitigation options. We only suspect certain augments off rogue to include stealth based off the idea of rogues typically being a class that involves deception and ambushes. To me what that would mean is, a Nightshield is essentially a stealth tank. One that provides a variety of support options that rogue wouldn't normally do on its own to the party. Its mitigation wouldn't just be raw damage absorption, but debuffs to player accuracy, buffs to evasion, groupwide camouflage options, and general trickery to reduce incoming damage while making opponent's vulnerable.

The following are skills I predict, with an option of up to 4, two being group driven and two being self driven.

D4. The Skills

-1. A place-able invisible barrier. At rank one, hides players caught within the barrier and reduces aggro generation. At rank 2, increases in size and perhaps duration. At max rank, providing a shield that blocks incoming ranged damage from breaching the barrier from the outside.

The idea is something that can contribute both defensively and offensively in group scale combat but may provide little use in solo. At rank 1, players inside the bubble cannot be seen but the bubble itself may project an oscillation effect. This means opponents and party members both have to be within the same bubble to target one another. Offensively this forces ranged to enter the space and deal with limited area to kite the target, as well as forcing melee into position but being invisible would be unable to receive healing and support abilities from the outside. Defensively this can also be used to cover the back end of your siege in siege pvp, the clerics and support casters in the back. This would mean assassin type classes would be viable in diving in undetected and sneaking kills or if the group is paying attention, it can lure out sneaky assassins. At rank 2, this acts as both a nerf and a buff. More area means greater coverage for stealth but also more kiting distance. If you can cover most of your group and their group, it nearly defeats some of the purpose in hiding a select area doesn't it? At the same time, having the option to hide more of your group can be just as easily advantageous. At rank 3 is when this would be a very optimal support mitigation in sieges, preventing snipers and long distance ranged classes from simply aiming at the direction of the placed barrier. This would allow for players of your group to advance but also force the frontline of the opponent to engage inside. PVE uses would be very limited with just acting as an aggro mitigation tool. Dropping this on your party while you stay outside would mean that mage can't rip aggro off you so easily and you'll be generating more than the overall party is. I can also see this being fun to use while in dungeons people are trying to contest territory over, as you ca hide your party and keep fighting mobs safely until an unsuspecting group comes by thinking they can easily gank you by yourself when really your whole party is under a veil near you.

-2. A groupwide limited stealth. Rank 1 being no movement or it's canceled, rank 2 being allowed movement but VERY slowly, and rank 3 being allowed movement but only half your normal run speed.

This one I can easily see being too overpowered if the right cooldowns and duration aren't done as well as not having those speed decreases. I also am of the mind a cast time should be attached to this rather than it being instant. Of course the effect would end on action unlike the barrier listed above. The main take of this is just simple stealth escaping and advancing. You wouldn't have the same agility a rogue may provide while in stealth but this is your whole party and yourself moving as one. This can create interesting plays in caravan defense/attacks and be both an escape when situations are dire or an ambush into the enemy's safe areas. I see this skill as something that helps define that "leader" trait that tanks are known to have while providing some of that "rogue planned strategy" stealth offers. Even at just level 1, it would at least be a "de-target" skill that would remove who you're targeted to when cast if only for a second. Those seconds are everything in pvp though of course. Pve limitations could be linked to how the level of the caster influences what enemies can see through stealth and so on.. on top of the fact that the speed reduction would likely be slower than if you just go ahead and clear the dungeon enemies.

-3. A buff steal.

So since we know rogues won't be able to steal items... What about abilities? This one would also be pretty up in the air as I can't see this working on everything but as an option for a "self use" ability for the Nightshield. Maybe on attack you remove or even use a random buff that is currently on the opponent that is a skill casted effect. If there are plans to be skills such as "dodge 1 attack 100%" and so on, I could see this skill being a fun counter. Something that could deal damage while simultaneously taking advantage of the effect on your opponent. Ranks for this could be interesting but I'll leave them blank because there's too many concepts for such little information. The main take is a "non support" option while still providing something a tank might be able to help with... So taking away someone's +10% damage buff and putting it on the Nightshield instead (maybe with reduced duration too) would in turn help you or your party, but mainly you. I feel like this would be limited to HP barriers and % buffs but wouldn't work on certain levels of skills or "unique" abilities.

-4. An evasion based counter attack.

A simple one, probably would already be something that could be achieved in augments but still an interesting idea none the less.... A skill that procs only after you successfully evade an attack. If the class has evasion mitigation as apart of its kit, I could easily see something along the lines of using a buff mid combat that 100% evades 1 attack and then after confirmation of that evasion, this skill procs maybe a shield bash that reduces the target's evasion stats and stuns for a couple of seconds. This would warrant a cooldown of course or evasion procs with this would be incredible overpowered. This is a bare minimum idea though, it could be another form of stat lower debuff that's applied and maybe a different form of CC. This would be a Nightshield's easy "this is just for me and only me" pick of the crop. Something you would use in the situation of being solo or heading into the fray that particularly would benefit how you keep up your assault. Could be something linked to an augment of blocking where blocking now also applies a + % of evasion stat and thus this would be a nice follow-up to it. It could encourage a form of stance dancing in anticipation of what skills will be coming out next.

E5. Inconclusion

By the idea of what this class could provide in support and mitigation, I could easily see Nightshields being a favored leadership support role in sieges. Providing a kit that can help their groups advance, retreat, and plan tactical movements mid combat when the situation calls for immediate action. Caravan runs would love this class as a good backup in case things go sour. Overall I see Nightshields as something you would enjoy if you love tanking but want a tinge of rogue's "strategic planning/setup". I see them more viable in group settings than solo compared to their counterparts called "Shadow Guardians". Beefy health, decent base mitigation coupled with evasion for added mitigation, then deception based play for mind games with targeting and aiming. If one were to attack a Nightshield by itself, you could be in for an easy victory against a support based tank or be at risk of wasting cd's and losing buffs by one that comes prepared for the solo fight. Scariest of all, a lone Nightshield could very well be accompanied by a group nearby without you suspecting it... Perhaps they're anticipating your attack and hope for it too with an ambush readily in waiting.

so... What do you guys think? What do you think a Nightshield should be about? Do you think they should have more or less support abilities? Do you even see it as a support class? Got any skill ideas or maybe some ranks you could see certain skills adding/adjusting? Feel free to give you opinion on any of this. I've got another 63 to go! Which class would you like to discuss or see concept theories on next?
Future mercenary guild owner in Ashes of Creation
“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
― G.K. Chesterton


  • I'll be trying to do one of these posts a day if not at least every 2 days, lemme know which class(es) you'd like to theorize on next!
    Future mercenary guild owner in Ashes of Creation
    “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
    ― G.K. Chesterton
  • Sounds really nice tbh, it could do with some more support abilities, as i would see it as more of a support class. But sounds really solid so far haha. Looking forward to what you come up next :smile:
  • Rhiv wrote: »
    Sounds really nice tbh, it could do with some more support abilities, as i would see it as more of a support class. But sounds really solid so far haha. Looking forward to what you come up next :smile:

    That's how I felt at first. Then I thought about the other possibilities and just how supporty they're gonna be too. As much as I'd love to see Nightshield be more on the support side than anything, I feel like that would disrupt a lot of that balance the team would want to develop. When you consider rogue as a dps class too, I figure it can't offer THAT much more support.

    Also I figure augments could affect skills like this one.
    Maybe adding something from rogue onto this would make it give evasion to party members and etc. That's partly why I was actively avoiding writing up easy skills like a simple party wide evasion boost and etc.
    Future mercenary guild owner in Ashes of Creation
    “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
    ― G.K. Chesterton
  • TacualeonTacualeon Member
    edited October 2020
    Valic wrote: »
    By adding rogue into the picture, this opens up the potential for an evasion tank as well as multiple stealth related mitigation options

    I would love a mechanical evasion rogue. Side-step or roll as a way of tanking.

    There a many ways to go about rogue. For balance, I propose a cc utility based rogue.
    High damage rogues, and nuke/ambush rogue might become a nightmare to balance if added cc and some type of mitigation.

    I think Crow control and Utility are common tags in rogues and tanks, playing to that might be a good idea.
    I propose a stealthy and utilitarian Batman with cc.
    For skills I would like smoke bomb for group stealth. Sounds something a tank rogue would do.

    I liked both ideas of evasion and counter-attacks.

    If we mix we could have:
    Stealth, Cc, Utility, smoke bomb for group stealth.
    Evasion tank and counters.
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