In the last few articles that I've written about The Chronicles of Spellborn, I've talked a lot about things like sound and art style. Both of these subjects are important, and any first-class game needs to be on the ball in terms of these departments, but still, in terms of excitement, nothing compares to talking gameplay.
In this article, you can expect to hear a little something about what you can expect in making and progressing your character. We're talking about races and classes this time around, and, as is the case with most things in The Chronicles of Spellborn, it isn't all what you'd necessarily expect from a fantast MMO.
In many fantasy-based MMORPGs, players are faced with a broad selection of character races. At the very least, you usually get the basics: Human, Elf, Dwarf and some kind of Halfling-type race.
The Chronicles of Spellborn offers only two races. Both of these races were once servitors and slaves to the "Eight Demons" (the bad guys who ruled over the world before it broke into small shards). Now that the Eight Demons aren't such a direct threat, each race is coming to their own.
The first race, is the most obvious: Humans. Humans in The Chronicles of Spellborn are described as versatile and resilient, hard working and great thinking. It was their uprising against a race called the Vhelgar that caused the world to be torn asunder.
The second race is a race totally unique to the Spellborn universe. They look similar to their Human counterparts, but the most glaring difference is in the legs of the Daevi. They are jointed more like an animal than a human. Here's what the developers had to say about the Daevi:
"The Daevi, like the humans, were a servitor race, created to oversee the humans and act as lawgivers during the rule of the Eight Demons. Although being different from Humans in many ways, the Davei found themselves subject to the same treatment by the Vhelgar rulers. Later, an unofficial alliance was formed between the two races, turning yet another race against the Vhelgar and their iron rule... Born as a hybrid race, the Daevi bloodline consists of human and demon blood. This mixture is the main reason for their differences in appearance. The most telltale difference between Humans and Daevi are their legs and feet. Where Humans have a knee and a heel, Daevi walk on their toes and use their heel as a second knee. Their feet are extremely large and angled differently, which makes it impossible for them to wear boots or sandals. Instead, they protect their knees and shins with a different kind of armor."
Obviously, the folks at Spellborn are taking a few risks in their racial department. First, they are only offering two races in a fantasy MMORPG, which, as discussed earlier, is unusual. Second, they have created a different and unique race that no one has heard of before. While this could cause problems for players who would prefer the familiar pointed ears of an elf, or round belly of a Dwarf, it is also indicative of the Spellborn desire to turn the classic fantasy MMO on its ear and create something different and innovative.
Classes are another staple of the MMO world, and as such, The Chronicles of Spellborn will be handling them a little bit differently. Instead of directly choosing your class from the beginning, and being pigeon-holed into that class until the end of your career, in Spellborn, you start your game experience with an Archetype.
There are three different Archetypes in TCoS, and they conform pretty well to MMO norms. You've got your Warriors, your Rogues, and your Spell Casters. It isn't until you've been out in the world adventuring for a while that you will come across a series of quests that will ultimately lead to your class.
Each of the three Archetypes that we mentioned above has three full-blown classes associated with them. As a result, it's probably best to go through them one by one:
Within the classes for the Warrior Archetype, there is actually quite a bit of diversity. Still, while each class has its own charms and abilities, whatever you choose, you're still a damage-dealing melee machine.
The Blood Warrior: The Blood Warrior is a fighting machine, but also has the ability to "create a blood link between themselves and either a friend or foe". In terms of a friend, this ability allows the Blood Warrior to buff and guard the friend. In an enemy, the Blood Warrior gets increased damage by "redirect[ing] incoming damage to an enemy".
The Wrathguard: Wrathguards are the soulful of the Warrior classes. Soulful in that they are possessed by "ancestral spirits" whose knowledge gives them knowledge of all weapons, the ability to buff their groups or even possess their enemies.
The Fury Hammer: The Fury Hammer is really the tank of the operation. When something called a Fury hammer comes at you, you might want to get out of the way. Fury hammers are damage dealing machines that use not only their weapons, but their hands and feet as well.
Spell Casting Classes
The magic classes in The Chronicles of Spellborn are again, different but linked. Each of the classes has its own abilities and strengths as they manipulate the arcane to their will.
The Void Seer: The Void Seer's role is as a buffer /debuffer, and serves that role for the entire group. She can also use her powers to "cancel" enemy protection magic. Obviously, they're incredibly useful in a group.
The Rune Mage: Rune Mages are the big damage-dealing casters. They are able to not only cast damaging offensive spells, but can also cause area-of-effect spells. Being called a "Rune Mage", symbols (runes) play a large role in their magic. He can manipulate these in a number of ways, including the placement of magical tattoos.
The Ancestral Mage: Ancestral Mages are probably the closest thing that Spellborn has to a classical Necromancer... But don't let that color your opinion of them. Ancestral Mages manipulate the souls of the dead and tend to summon others to fight for them. They make use of spells and pets to gain an advantage over their foes.
The Trickster: On top of the regular rogue stuff: using agility and tricks to make their way through combat, Tricksters are lovers of gizmos and gadgets that can be used to deal damage to their enemies.
The Deathhand: The Deathhand, while having maybe the coolest of the class names, also makes use of outside tools in her combat. Instead of widgets and gadgets like her trickster counterpart, the Deathhand uses more dastardly means like poisons and potions. Think of them as the rogue-like alchemist.
The Skinshifter: The Skinshifter might very well be my personal favorite class. While The Deathhand and The Trickster rely on gadgets and poisons to hurt their enemies, the Skinshifter relies of stealth and illusion. He is able to take the form of other people and things in the world and uses this to his best advantage.
Obviously, the folks at The Chronicles of Spellborn have put a lot of thought into the characters that their players will inhabit. Still, race and class are only the beginning. Next week, we will be examining the interesting and complex Attribute system that the game makes use of, and the ways that these attributes might effect your class and race selections.