What Will You Be? Class Play Styles
My last Aion article looked at what starter weapons players would have access to while leveling and it provided a little information on how the different classes played. This article goes further into detail on the general play style for each class. Hopefully it will help players decide on which class or classes they wish to try out once they have access to the game. The Aion website information guide has descriptions of each class, but after reading them and comparing them to my in game experiences, I feel that their guide inflates the grandeur of a class more than giving much detail.
Aion follows the four fantasy archetypes: warrior, rogue, mage, and priest. The warrior tanks, the rogue deals up close damage, the mage deals ranged magical damage, and the priest heals people. Those are the broad descriptors that can be used to define each class. Thankfully that is not all there is to each one. Aion uses a rigid format for their classes (there are some options in the form of “Stigmas” that offer new abilities), not granting the same large amount of personal customization that say WoW gives to its players for each class, but that is because it is not necessary. Instead, each class is already given a varied amount of tools and it is up to the player to choose how they will use them. Almost every class has access to a minor healing ability for example.
The four starter classes later grow into their mature form, letting the player choose between eight new options: Templar, Gladiator, Assassin, Ranger, Sorcerer, Spirit master, Cleric and Chanter. Enough introduction, here is how the different classes tend to play.
Templars are the best tanks in the game. If you decide to play a Templar then you will be tanking things at some point, there is not much of an option when you are the best there is. A Templar cannot pull off the same damage as the DPS classes, but they can hold their own and so should not be left out of a group if there is already a Templar in it. They have the standard tanking abilities for an MMO that uses a threat system: Taunts, a lot of attacks that deal increased threat, and passive abilities that increase threat from damage. My personal favorite tanking/CC ability though is one called Divine Grasp: your target and all enemies within 20 yards of your target are dragged towards you with spirit like ropes. If you play WoW, it is the same as a Death Knights’ Death Grip, except it grabs everyone instead of just one person. When wishing to deal damage they will equip a two handed sword, but the real essence of a Templar involves using a shield.
Defensively, Templars are well covered. They can cast a damage absorb shield on themselves, enter a defensive stance which limits their offense but increases their block chance, and then also use their shield for a variety of stuns. They have one major healing ability which not only heals them for 25% of their health, but also increases their maximum health by 50% for 3 minutes. They can also use stigma slots for more self heals if they desire them.
Crowd control is limited at the lower levels, but near end game Templars actually come out with a good amount. There is the Divine Grasp which I already mentioned, as well as all the shield stuns. They have two different CC immunities they can use, but both are on relatively long cool downs. Switching weapons to a two hander gives access to yet another stun, and Templars can stigma slot for a ranged stun as well. Combining either of the CC immunity abilities with their movement speed increase ability means that Templars can be extremely mobile for short amounts of time. Of course, they still pay for all this with their lower damage output.
Gladiators are the other option warriors can choose. They can also tank a little, but their defensive abilities are not as strong as the Templars. Gladiators are meant to emulate the ideal fighter. They have access to every physical damage weapon in the game, though their biggest strength is the polearm. They are a real DPS class, but can be brought for off tanking at the higher levels of play. While leveling, as long as they equip a shield and know what they are doing, Gladiators work just fine for main tanking as well. They maintain a couple self healing abilities, but not as many or as powerful as the Templar.
Offensively, Gladiators shine in both single target and multi target situations. A number of their abilities end up dealing area of effect damage. Unlike Templars who walk around with a lot of stuns to use when they wish, Gladiators tend to focus on snares. A ranged snare, an AoE snare that also deals damage, and many single target snares are all available. The Gladiator is also one of the best classes at debuffing a target to increase the physical damage they take, lowering both the defensive and evasion rates of their targets.
They share the same sprint ability that Templars have, but not the snare removals, so they are easier to lock down with crowd control. Fighting a Gladiator head on in melee combat will be daunting though due to the way knockdowns work in Aion. Dealing enough damage with a single weapon can knock a target to the ground, essentially the same thing as a stun except completely random, and Gladiators are the class that deals the most two handed weapon damage in the game. Gladiators and Templars alike are important to siege battles, as they gain abilities which let them deal massive amounts of structural damage which other classes do not have access to.
Assassins are the stealthy creatures in Aion, and while they may not like it, stealth has a timer on it. When stealth is activated, you have 30 seconds to move around at a reduced rate, with a cool down on the ability of 1 minute. Stealth can be used to take other players and creatures by surprise, but it is not what the class revolves around. There are not any abilities in the game that actually require stealth either. At least half the classes can activate stealth detection abilities, so a stealth attack requires a lot more than just moving around in stealth mode. The Assassin class is designed around quick single target burst damage, small stuns used both defensively and offensively, and a little bit of hard crowd control.
Assassins are the best melee class at closing distances with a ranged player. They have two abilities which allow them to instantly teleport towards a target, as well as a toggle mode which lets them move faster than anyone else at the cost of a constant drain to their mana. Some of their abilities are positional, so this increased mobility is important to dealing the most damage possible. Players with a high lag rate may want to stay away from playing this class, since positional abilities will go off whether or not you are at your opponents back, it will just deal almost no damage if you are not behind them. The best way to combat any latency issue will be stuns of course.
They use a rune system, carving magical designs into the bodies of their targets and then making them explode for damage or status effects. They can also add poison to their weapons for a random chance at increased damage. Assassins are really all about the critical damage, their abilities allowing them to hit some of the highest burst damage numbers in the game. Surprisingly, while Assassins have such great mobility, they lack snare breaks and the ability to snare their targets themselves. So while they can move rapidly and stun their targets, they are easily trapped into crowd control.