MMORPG: New paths are one of the things players have been dying for to truly differentiate their characters in the game. How will these new paths help accomplish this?
Grant Allen: Paragon Paths add new powers and feats for players to unlock, and having different options means it’s less likely that a fellow player will be using the exact same skill setup as you are.
MMORPG: Will each class receive one new path, or multiples?
Grant Allen: Currently, each class is receiving one additional Paragon choice.
MMORPG: How will paths affect each class? Will they drastically change the way they’re played, alter roles, or a mix of both?
Grant Allen: A Paragon choice is tied to an At-Will, an Encounter, and a Daily Power, in addition to three class features and three feats. In general, each Paragon Path is built around a theme or play style that a player might be interested in having more options for. Since Neverwinter focuses on manageable power use during hectic fights, it’s not always possible to slot every possible power you want. Due to this, the impact a Paragon path will have on a class is largely up to the player.
MMORPG: Will players be able to freely switch between Paragon Paths?
Grant Allen: Since Paragon Paths determine which skills you can unlock, it requires a character respec to change your Path. We’ll be letting players respec once for free to account for the new Paragon Paths with Shadowmantle.
MMORPG: What sort of path will open up for the Great Weapon Fighter? Will it allow him to use a different kind of weapon?
Grant Allen: The Great Weapon Fighters gain access to the Guardian Fighter’s previous Paragon, the Iron Vanguard. This adds some extra control to help you tank a bit better. Powers such as Front Line Surge let you knock down multiple targets, and Threating Rush is an easy way to Mark targets to make tanking a bit easier.
MMORPG: How about the Guardian Fighter?
Grant Allen: On the flipside, Guardians gain access to the Great Weapons previous Paragon, the Sword Master, which unlocks some more offensive options. Class Features such as Steel Blitz can increase your damage against multiple targets, and Weapon Master’s Strike will make Cleave that much more effective.
MMORPG: Will the Trickster Rogue’s Path focus on something aside from stealth? Can you give us some details?
Grant Allen: Most of the Trickster Rogue is already built for killing things, so the Whisperknife path focuses a bit more on utility. These come primarily in the form of additional ranged attacks and gap closers. The new encounter power is particularly utility heavy, and so may wind up a tad tricky to use since it has so much to offer. It’s a ranged attack that causes the target to deal less damage to you and your allies, and can be re-activated to break CC, and teleport to the earlier target dealing damage to nearby enemies. From Stealth the follow-up teleports to the target and stuns them with a direct attack.
MMORPG: How about the Cleric? What kind of tricks will he be receiving?
Grant Allen: The Anointed Champion path is very buff focused, but more importantly gives Clerics some extra tools for last moment saves. Their new encounter power Exaltation is a heal as well as a Defense and Power buff, but when used with Divine Power it makes you and your target briefly immune to damage. The Blessing of Battle At-Will is a on the slower side, but hits a bit harder and also blesses nearby allies with additional defense.
MMORPG: The Control Wizard’s will focus on flame (Master of Flame), can you shed some light on the skills it will highlight?
Grant Allen: The Master of Flame path is about setting targets on fire, and does this primarily through a Smolder mechanic where a lot of the powers add or interact with the Smolder effect. Scorching Burst, the At-Will power, lets you quickly add Smolder to an enemy, or you can charge it up to affect enemies near the target as well. The encounter power, Fanning the Flame, sets a target on fire, and they take additional damage for every target nearby who is smoldering. The Spell Mastery version of this power makes it more convenient to burn that target down by also applying Smolder to surrounding targets.
MMORPG: And lastly, can you give us any information on the Ranger’s two paths?
Grant Allen: The Ranger will initially be launching with the Storm Warder Path, which is a very area effect driven move set with a wind and lightning motif. One of the cooler spells is the Split the Sky ranged encounter, which creates a large storm cloud that zaps enemies when they attack.
MMORPG: What’s the main driving goal behind the new paths? Are you worried at all about how they’ll balance alongside the existing paths? In PVP or PVE?
Grant Allen: The main goal of the new Paths is to add a bit more variety to a player’s build options, though ultimately the goal is for players to have fun. Regarding balance, adding more powers is always a balance concern and doubly so when theres a choice on what you get. Some paths may feel a bit better for PvP than others, we don’t want there to be a feeling that you need to respec your character any time you choose to PvP. It’s something we’ll certainly be keeping on eye on.