"Warrior, Mage, Rogue, Paladin, DragonSlayer, Ninja, Necromancer, Guardian, Alpha Pirate, Ranger, Shaman... today we talk about these things!"
Ultimate freedom of customization is at the core of all the AdventureQuest games. Want to be an axe wielding healer who wears an armored ninja gi? Go for it! Furthermore, you can switch between any and all of the classes you unlock. Which right now, is very limited-- but that is about to change.
Collecting and leveling up classes is one of the most fun parts of the previous AdventureQuest games. It follows a few philosophies that are important to understand.
First, we like being able to do and experience "pretty much anything" on our hero.
Second, we want to make sure you can always play with your friends. Switching between classes instantly solves the problem of "we need a support" or "we need more DPS!" or any other type of challenge. Also, as monsters get smarter and have new skills, your party will be able to change strategies.
Third, trying out new classes is fun and leveling them up is rewarding. Especially since we are planning a story-line for each major class.
We have A LOT of classes coming, which makes the philosophy behind designing them so important.
Not every class uses magic or mana but each class will use some kind of resource like mana. Magi will still use mana. Guardians will use Dragon Magic. Alpha pirates will use bullets or scurvy or something. Other classes like Warriors and Rogues may use resources similar to rage, stamina, blood-thirst, or combo points as you may be familiar with from other games. That is, they start with 0 resource, and increase it with successful attacks.
Before we add a bunch of new classes, we have been hard at work on fixing the existing classes' skills. Rabblefroth has been helping us re-balance and tune up Warrior, Rogue, Mage, and Guardian. I met with him this morning and reviewed all the changes in progress. For example, you can now move while casting spells on the Mage class. Fireball's cast time has been significantly reduced. Many of the mage spells have changed and there have been a bunch of other "feels fun" changes. Ice lance is a nice new projectile attack, cannot wait to see it with art in game.
(Dage's concept art for two of the new Mage spells... including the Ultimate)
In fact, Rabblefroth has redone all of the classes. Each class now has an "Ultimate Skill." For example the Mage's Ulstimate Skill an area of effect rain spell which rains fireballs down in a area, dealing damage to all enemies near the mage. Combat overall has become slightly faster, and the former auto-attack button is being replaced with a skill. This will let us do some neat things like filling up a resource gauge by landing normal hits (i.e. my original plan for Guardian.)
Tomorrow, Rabblefroth is going to have a pretty close to final version of our base classes. Korin created new animations that we will be using for some of the new skills. The previous super big, jumping, mega-crazy animations will be used mostly for the Ultimate skills. There is a little more animation / server-timing complexity that I do not have time to fully explain here, but I will keep you posted regularly on the progress-- I am so excited to get these out for testing.
We will be adding equip slots for bows, dual pistols/crossbows, and hand weapons (aka brass knuckles). Certain classes will only use these special types of weapons. For example, our first class to use bow will be Ranger. If you do not have a bow, you will have access to a default bow. Very much the same way if you somehow manage to delete all your weapons, the game automatically gives you a sword. The first class to use dual pistols this will be Alpha Pirate (which is a Kickstarter exclusive reward).
Do not worry, there will be other dual wielding classes in the future. Our biggest challenges with these special weapon types is that they use special animations-- and will not work nicely with the skills of other classes (like using archer skills while having a war-hammer equipped). There has been months of back and forth over how to handle this particular issue. Given the technical limitations of the devices we are supporting, this will be our best and fastest to implement plan. We are also experimenting with how we can have dual-wielding classes >_>.
When you get a new class it will be Rank 0 and you will only have one or two skills available. Just by playing the class you will rank it up. The skills will unlock very quickly. The first time you get to use your Ultimate should *coughs* literally be a blast :D From then on, ranking up will increase your passives making your skills and defenses even better. As they say, "A class should not be judged until it is rank 10." For major classes with storylines, Class Ranks will likely play a role in unlocking special armor pieces for that class. Inversely, you may need to complete certain quests to level up some classes.
Once the base classes are finished, we are going to immediately dive into DragonSlayer. It would be nice if we had it in time for Ashfall: Part III, but then again... it would have been nice if Paladin was ready for DoomWood. Our best course is to complete these properly and release them when they are fun and properly made. Especially Necromancer... which, if we hit our goals, will be a ton of fun and play unlike anything you have ever seen before O_O.
Holding true to our promise, we will be releasing the classes listed in the Kickstarter for the backers who pledged at that level to test first. When they are ready for testing, they will be obtainable at the Founder's Sancturary where all the Kickstarter rewards are located. If you were wondering why the Shaman class has been mentioned in each of these posts, it is going to be released for all players along with one of our two World Designer Backer's areas-- which is going to be really cool.
Needless to say, I am extremely eager to use the Paladin class. Which is a major class. There are also going to be sub-classes like Undead Slayer and Holy Defender. Actually, we could use your help coming up with a better name for the term "sub-class". But these are derivative classes offer variants to Paladin, which is a solid "all around use" class. Where Undead Slayer is very specialized for doing massive damage against the undead, but sacrificing defense as well as power vs other types of enemies. And Holy Defender is a more tank-like build that can take a bigger beating in exchange for giving up attack power. So if you like playing one type of class, you will still have different flavors of it to play in different situations.
I think we can all agree that the classes are one of, if not THE MOST important part of AdventureQuest 3D. It is the heart of the game. We will instantly know if the upcoming re-done base classes are right, because you will saw, "WHOA! This is so much more fun!" we are 100% committed to getting that response... and we will keep iterating until we do.