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[392] General feedback on classes


PrimeJunta

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This was one of the core areas where the Obsidian team requested feedback from beta testers. I wrote one for the very first build. I'm now revisiting it, having at least tried most of the classes. I'm assigning a rating to each of them: 1 - more or less OK, balancing and fixing aside, 2 - fundamentally OK but needs fleshing out or some rework, 3 - significant problems.

 

Fighter - 1, Rogue - 1

 

The fighter and the rogue have gone from dull and constrained to fun and flexible. I've experimented with a number of different builds, and most have been both viable and fun. Breaking them open was a great move, and the number and breadth of talents and class abilities they now have is excellent. I can make them high- or low-maintenace, optimized for damage, staying power, or tactical flexibility, and it all works, yet stays true to the archetype. Good job!

 

Wizard - 2

 

The wizard has changed less than the fighter or rogue. While the spell selection contains highly useful AoE damage and debuff spells, I find the self-buff ones less useful. There's a significant opportunity cost to them, yet they run out pretty quickly. In practice when I tried to "gish" with them I was spending most of my time in self-defense rather than damaging the enemy. They were neither very much fun nor very effective. I think this problem could be resolved just by beefing them up.

 

I also miss a broader spell selection, similar to what was in the IE games. There's only one summon, and that's not a very good one, and there are no charm/dominate spells. I would suggest adding these, modeled on the cipher's and chanter's abilities, but less powerful (or only available at a comparaitvely higher level), to maintain class differentiation between them.

 

Some "metamagic" type talents would be rad too.

 

Priest - 2(...1)

 

My lack of interest in the Priest is probably more due to personal preference than anything fundamentally wrong with the class. It's a dedicated support class, and both competent and extremely useful as such. And that's all it is. If the P:E team feel that the game needs one, then it's perfectly fine.

 

I, however, would like some spice added to it. I tried playing with two priests in the party, with mine leaning more towards melee and damage rather than support. This made for a weak party. I simply had no need of two priests.

 

I would like the choice of deity to matter more, and tilt the priest more in a particular direction. The roguey abilities followers of Skaen got are a step in the right direction, but they don't really do all that much. There are a lot of priest spells. I would like more variety in them, with some spells only available to followers of some particular deity. There could also be boni/mali so that some priests have more powerful support spells, whereas others are good enough at melee to be able to stand in the front line and perhaps, with suitable buffs, do some significant burst damage.

 

Ranger - 3

 

In a perfect world I'd throw this one away and start from scratch, maybe making it a stealthy light fighter with some priestly magic, but single-target only rather than AoE. The animal companion thing just isn't working; the shared health pool feels unnatural and gimmicky and makes him extremely fragile, favors the bear and the antelope and Resilient Companion, the damage output is... disappointing. At the very least lose the shared health pool. 

 

The good news is that the ranger is the only class that I actively disliked. But something needs to be done about it.

 

Monk - 1

 

I got a huge kick (sic) out of playing the monk. The special attacks are totally monk-y, unique, powerful, and fun, and the Wounds mechanic works much better than I thought it would. The numbers need balancing however; as it is, the monk accumulates Wounds rather faster than he can spend them, especially with certain talents. That's just rebalancing the numbers, though, so it's an easy category 1.

 

Druid - 2

 

Love the spell selection. Why isn't the wizard's and priest's as varied, especially the wizard's who is limited by the grimoire slots anyway? In this build the druid was clearly my favorite caster class to play. 

 

The only real problem with it is Wildshape. It's currently spectacular but useless. It needs beefing up and it needs talents to support it. I would even consider making Wildshape a selected talent rather than something all druids have. It's a shame to see a unique and flavorful ability like this go to waste like it does now.

 

Cipher - 1

 

The cipher was a lot of fun. But then it was a lot of fun from the start. Some of the Powers seemed a bit underwhelming in this build though; perhaps you guys overcorrected from the time Soul Ignition let you cheese the whole thing. Some of them also just didn't appear to work, like the one that leaps from a friendly target and pushes enemies back. Like the monk, only the numbers need tweaking and bugs need fixing. Easy category 1. 

 

Chanter - 2

 

I liked the Chanter a quite a lot as well... in principle. In practice, many of the Invocations just didn't work very well and by the time I was able to use them, the fight was almost over. I would suggest allowing the Chanter to start with an Invocation, just like the Cipher has a certain (generous) amount of Focus available at the start of the battle so he can open with a Power, and has to use Soul Whip to charge up for more uses.

 

Also, for some reason, neither my summoned skeletons nor my summoned spirit seemed to do all that much other than stand around looking scary.

 

I.e. I like the concept; it's fresh and different and fundamentally sound, but it's not working very well at the moment.

 

(Paladin)

 

(My attempt to play a paladin was cut short by the stuck-in-animation-loop bug, compounded by playing the Mac build which required frequent reloading. No comments at this time.)

 

(Barbarian)

 

(Did not play a barbarian yet in this build, so no comments on it either. Perhaps later.)

 

Edit: Oops, wrong forum. Mods please move to Backer Beta Discussion? -- I guess that's my cue to go to bed.

Edited by PrimeJunta
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I like the cipher but do not think all the spells are working properlyor maybe I just don't understand when and how to use them.

 

I haven't played a barbarian as a PC but have added him to the party.  Again I may not know how to use him properly but his endurance seems to drop quickly.

 I have but one enemy: myself  - Drow saying


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There needs to be more offensive talents so you can actually make an offensive Fighter, right now the offensive talent pool dries up between level 4-6 depending on your weapon type.

 

Druids are just a flat out better class than Wizards.

 

Rangers are terrible.

 

Yes, a lot of the Chanter invocations are not great, and fights are usually over before you can use them sometimes. You might get to cast one, but rarely two. Summoning that Spectre always seems to be the best invocation to use. Better not repeat that though because then it will get nerfed. The design philosophy seems to be nerf the stuff people are using rather than bump the stuff they aren't :p

 

Your input might be a bit too late. There's not much Obsidian is going to do about classes now, because they're trying to limit themselves to bug fixing, only adding new things where absolutely necessary. There'll be balance changes, but we'll be hard pressed to actually get anything new in.

 

That's one of the reasons why I've stopped doing Suggestion videos.

Edited by Sensuki
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That's why I tried to limit myself to suggestions that ought to be easy to do with features that are already there, or that could be at least mitigated just by adjusting the numbers. The only class I think needs serious work is the Ranger. The others could be fixed or mitigated just by moving things around or adjusting numbers, sometimes within a class, sometimes between them. E.g. take rogue's Invisibility and make it a Wizard spell also. Take Chanter's summon skeleton spell, remove two skeletons, and make it a wizard spell. Beef up Spiritshift with better Accuracy and Damage on attacks. And so on.

 

(Also, I don't assume that they'll act on, or even necessarily read my feedback. If I see changes I like or have suggested, I like it of course, but I don't need a pat on the head that it was thanks to my great idea, nor an explanation that they couldn't do this because XYZ. They asked for feedback, I'm giving it; it's up to them to decide what, if anything, to do about it. I will stop giving this type of feedback if/when they formally announce that it's no longer needed. As in, "We're now in full balancing/bugfixing mode. No new talents will be added, no changes to the mechanics will be made.")

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I think they've already stated they won't be giving Wizards summoning spells or Invisibility, at least not in the vanilla game. Josh said something about this being the problem with so many backer funded classes or something. Kind of their own fault for a) having so many as a stretch goal and b) designing them the way they have but what can you do.

 

Contingency / Spell Sequencers etc etc is something they've said they couldn't realistically do for vanilla as well, but they would like to have it for the expansion.

 

I'm definitely not saying don't give feedback, it's good feedback, but it would have been more useful feedback about 2-3 months ago unfortunately :( Many of us said the same things you did back then, and I think there are some responses to those specific things, you'd have to check the dev tracker / Josh's post history though.

Edited by Sensuki
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Hopefully feedback will be used in the expansion or in a sequel.   Eora is large and the Eastern Reach relatively small so there is a lot of potential there.  Brainstorming is IMO always useful.

 

I also think that it is important that the more casual player give feedback and no just those who understand the mechanics and are more expert at playing the game.   

Edited by Nakia

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Well there you go :p not much has changed unfortunately

 

And yeah it's sad about the Ranger. Once again it ends up being a bad class :(

 

Oh, but much has changed. I'm especially happy about what they did with the Fighter and the Rogue. Pretty much everything I was asking for is in there now, in both classes, and it's working like I hoped it would. Just not as much as I'd like, nor all of the things that I would like to change. Which is life. Dat spit ain't perfect.

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They haven't really done too much to the Fighter and Rogue, all they did was change the progression from set to open, which I think most people would have preferred all along. By level 12, the classes will have less abilities and less choice during an encounter than they would have if they kept the standard progression, but due to having a limited ability choice, it plays better at lower levels and makes more lower level builds possible.

 

Personally I don't think too much has changed with the Fighter or the Rogue. You can build them different ways, but they still play the same. You definitely don't use Fighters as a ranged class, and Rogues are still a glass cannon.

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That's a matter of perspective.

 

I asked for it to be possible to make a "musketeer" build -- someone who opens up with a firearm, then switches to melee, and is effective on both counts. This was not possible in the early builds, because of the ranged/melee accuracy split and the 100% melee-oriented fighter abilities. It is possible and effective now.

 

As to a ranged fighter... I just made one, and he was pretty damn effective. Did Cat and Mouse, then fought through the beetles to the dragon's egg. Racked up by far the highest damage done (over 1500, next best was BB Fighter and BB Rogue at around 1000 each), highest single-target damage, and most dangerous enemy killed. Also remarkably low-maintenance. Much better ranged fighter than the ranger I tried earlier (although if they drop the stupid shared health, I've no doubt the ranger can be more effective). By the time I splatted the adventuring party BB Wizard was almost out of spells, so it's not like I was keeping him idle or anything, but I mostly used him as a disabler, with damage-dealing only secondary.

 

Wood Elf, pumped Mig, Dex, Per, dumped Con, Int, Res, Weapon Focus: Adventurer (for the War Bow), took all the ranged talents of which Penetrating Shot is fairly crucial. I liked it a lot, and it certainly helps that he's now rocking an estoc and can charge into the front line in a pinch, even though with the wimpy Con and no armor he won't have the staying power of BB Fighter.

 

Summa summarum, the fighter used to be a front-line defender specialist, your classic 'heavy.' Now he is an all-rounder, who can develop more towards damage, defense, or even defense+support. Certainly way, way, WAY more interesting than AD&D fighters!

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Okay, I tried making a ranged rogue. It felt like it was deadlier than the ranged fighter, but when looking at the stats they ended up in more or less the same place. Total damage done about 1700, with BB Fighter and BB Rogue both a bit past the 1000 mark. I did one more encounter this time around so the numbers aren't directly comparable.

 

In any case, both ranged fighters and ranged rogues are now viable and fun. That is a significant change (and improvement) from where I'm at.

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Okay, did another attempt at ranged combat. This time, with a ranger (again). To make it more interesting, I equipped BB Rogue with an inferior war bow as well, and used her mostly as a ranged unit too. BB Rogue was the damage queen: 1300-something, against 1100 or so for PC Ranger and, again, 1000 or so for BB Fighter. And BB Rogue isn't even built specifically for ranged combat!

 

I.e., the fighter and rogue both make for better archers than the dedicated ranged class. That can't be good.

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I've played all classes except the wizard IIRC, and I agree with PJ:s points almost to a tee. The ranger (which I had in mind for my first playthrough is the suckiest kid on the block, hands down). I suspect, however, that wizard isn't very far behind as far as suckiness goes.

 

The ones I had most fun with are in no particular order:

Druid, priest, monk and cipher.

 

I have just two words for Obsidian to consider up until release and those are: "build diversity". :)

*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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I haven't played very much but the barbarian seems pretty weak. In other games it is normally my favourite class but in the beta it dies fast and doesn't do much damage.

 

It might need more base endurance and perhaps some abilities to counter squishiness. Perhaps a passive/once per encounter that allows the bararian to keep on ifghting below 0 endurance, but takes double hp damage?

 

As for damage, the issue to me seems to be accuracy. It is way too important in general, and it seems that the barbarian has really low accuracy. Whats the point in having 18+ might with a heavy hitting two handed weapon if you"re almost always grazing, when a rogue or fighter with high accuracy is critting? Accuracy and grazes/hits/crits need to be given less importance so that a mighty heavy hitter is also viable.

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@IndiraLightfoot Don't knock it 'til you try it. The wizard isn't sucky as much as a bit of a one-trick pony. I blew through the BB pretty effectively with my little disabler-crowd-controller orlan wizard.

 

I'm finding build diversity just fine on most classes too, and incidentally really starting to like the "no FF fringes" I originally objected to. Wizards and druids especially get a lot of benefit out of Int.

 

But anyway, continuing:

 

Barbarian - 1

 

Competent if a little unimaginative. Don't know if we actually need a barbarian on top of the fighter (defensive) and rogue (offensive). Carnage and Frenzy felt a little underwhelming, although that was perhaps due more to the lack of FX because by the numbers Dyrtipix output a lot of damage. The fighter's Knockdown and Defender felt more tactically useful than Wild Sprint or Frenzy. Brute Force made up nicely for the lack of weapon specialization and mastery. My least favorite melee class so far, but not actively problematic. Perhaps Carnage would've worked better had I pumped Int a bit; another problem is that in the current BB there's really only the spider fights where it can be effectively used, as wading into the beetles is suicidal because they hit really hard. 

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On the topic of ranged rogues and fighters, I've been thinking about "non-archetypical" builds for classes lately, and how well they work in the game.

Unless I've misunderstood something, a lot in the base system is very free - anyone can use any weapon, anyone can use any armour class, etc, etc. Even the core characteristics, the ability scores, attributes, is now meant to be usable and useful for all classes to some degree.

But how well does it actually work?

For example, the archetypical Paladin tend to be clad in heavy armour, with a sword and a shield, with relatively high Might and Constitution and low Dexterity.

 

The archetypical ranger, as PrimeJunta himself said, is "the dedicated ranged class". The archetypical ranger runs around with bows or crossbows and have cat-like Dexterity and Perception.

 

But how well does, for example, a melee ranger work? Built with high Might, running into combat with a spear, dressed in medium-or-higher armour?

Or a duelist Paladin sporting medium armour at best, going for a nobleman idea rather than a steel-clad bulwark, rapier instead of greatsword or longsword'n'board? Low Constitution, medium Might at best, high Dexterity and a killer Resolve?

 

Blackpowder Barbarian?

Has anyone toyed around a bit with non-standard builds for classes? Because if the game leaves itself so very open, they should at least be functional in most regards with the options it offers up, or make it very clear how certain classes are meant to be played.

Edited by Luckmann

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A melee ranger would be ghastly, since it's bad even playing to its strengths. 

 

I built a ranged fighter and rogue, and both were highly effective. 

 

A pure blackpowder build isn't really viable, since guns have such slow reload times. They're mighty effective as starting volleys though. So a barbarian who opens up with a pistol, arquebus, or blunderbuss and then switches to melee would work perfectly well.

 

Your duelist paladin should work fine. In fact I think I'll try one next.

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Annnd, the final class.

 

Paladin - 1

 

I liked this "specialist" fighter more than the barbarian. The Exhortations are actually tactically useful, especially to get yourself out of trouble, and the Auras are nice. I made a slightly-against-type paladin, with Noble weapon focus, wielding a mace with no shield (because there wasn't a Fine or better rapier available) and Excellent Leather armor. Zealous Focus and Flames of Devotion. Flames of Devotion didn't appear to work quite as they should. Zealous Focus clearly made fights easier overall although it's hard to pinpoint the exact effect.

 

Picking between a fighter and a paladin is a bit hard actually. Both have a quite a lot of versatility within the class (damage, durability, how good they are at range etc), and both have distinct advantages -- the fighter's all-around good at fighting, whereas the paladin is a subtle "force amplifier" for the entire party. I like exploring the options I have for both.

 

Damage output with this build was very good although it's slightly hard to tell because I goofed up and got knocked out in the dragon egg fight, so I didn't rack up any damage from that one and fell behind BB Rogue.

 

The paladin perhaps suffers from the same problem as the barbarian -- too many melee classes which makes playing any of them rather similar. The rogue is the best differentiated among fighter-rogue-barbarian-paladin; being more fragile and having those special stealth/evasion abilities, they do play materially differently. The others you basically park in the front line and let them do their thing. Perhaps having all those classes as stretch goals was something of a mistake: it would have been possible to build everything the barbarian, rogue, and paladin do into a single fighter class as optional talents, never even mind the ranger.

 

Edit: Zealous Focus seems like a bit of a no-brainer as auras go. To be honest I didn't try the others, but they didn't look all that attractive. Partly this is because armor is kind of broken right now, with enemies that have >10 DR bypass and doing 40-50 damage, having +3 DR feels pretty wimpy. Will revisit once that's sorted out.

Edited by PrimeJunta
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I haven't played very much but the barbarian seems pretty weak. In other games it is normally my favourite class but in the beta it dies fast and doesn't do much damage.

 

It might need more base endurance and perhaps some abilities to counter squishiness. Perhaps a passive/once per encounter that allows the bararian to keep on ifghting below 0 endurance, but takes double hp damage?

 

As for damage, the issue to me seems to be accuracy. It is way too important in general, and it seems that the barbarian has really low accuracy. Whats the point in having 18+ might with a heavy hitting two handed weapon if you"re almost always grazing, when a rogue or fighter with high accuracy is critting? Accuracy and grazes/hits/crits need to be given less importance so that a mighty heavy hitter is also viable.

It might be cool to give him once per encounter ability that makes him immune to damage for 5s once his endurance drops to 0 and after that he drops down like normal unless he is healed before duration runs out.

I would make him more similar to barbarian frenzy from D&D while also giving him some bear's endurance traits of fighting a bit more even when looking mortally wounded

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Okay, I tried making a ranged rogue. It felt like it was deadlier than the ranged fighter, but when looking at the stats they ended up in more or less the same place. Total damage done about 1700, with BB Fighter and BB Rogue both a bit past the 1000 mark. I did one more encounter this time around so the numbers aren't directly comparable.

 

In any case, both ranged fighters and ranged rogues are now viable and fun. That is a significant change (and improvement) from where I'm at.

 

I made a ranged rogue today that was able to dish out 400 damage with a fine hunting bow on a critical sneak attack every single round, given how the rest of my party was set up around him. It was total carnage, so I feel that you might be onto something there when you compare him to the ranged fighter. :p

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A few more notes on the cipher. I tried another one, and the problem really is that some of the invocations don't appear to work. I ended up using the few that I knew did and were effective: the one that paralyzes one target and gets others Stuck, Treasonous Whispers, and Puppet Master. And I think Eyestrike once or twice just to try it. I.e. the invocations need balancing so that they're more or less equally attractive. There's nothing wrong with them in principle though.

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Another note on the barbarian. I tried to make an archetypical carnage barb and play him like the tooltips recommend: if there's a group, wade in and carnage away. Gave him Medreth's old greatsword since he didn't need it anymore.

 

Uh, no.

 

He got roflstomped both by beetles and, later, by spiders. If the intent is that you Wild Sprint into the middle of a group and Carnage away while Frenzying... well, that's not working right now. Not even with a relatively squishy swarm.

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