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ArcheAge Archeage - Classes, Abilities, and Passives

Posted by g0m0rrah Wednesday September 24 2014 at 1:45PM
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(Let’s start off by saying that I am going to look past the many bugs and glitches, including the fact that I still have characters that haven’t received founder items.)

                     [Classes, Active Abilities, and Passives]

                ArcheAge caught my attention with its pick a tree class system.  I always loved the idea of a system like this.  I like the idea of mixing and matching classes to suit a play style or theme.  Currently I have a skull knight, dreambreaker, and a shadow knight of varying levels.  This is not to say that I don’t see problems with this style of class building because I do, especially with ArcheAge.

                I love the idea of using passives to influence how my character performs in battle.  I get tired of the standard MMO method of having 30+ abilities which usually 5+ of which are buffs that last 30 minutes to an hour.  Passives just seem to make much more sense to me, performing the task of cleaning up the hot bars which simply intrude on my immersion by blocking off a large section of the screen.  The problem is balancing the tradeoff of taking a passive over an active.   Actives almost always deal damage while also possibly applying some effect which can either stun, slow, silence, or other random thing.  So the question is does a 15% chance to block for 3 seconds after blocking out weight an active which deals damage and stuns for 1-2 seconds.

                I do enjoy the fact that I actually have to think about what ability or passive will be more effective.  The problem lies with statisticians who will determine which combo is more effective which causes a chain reaction of flavor of the month builds amongst the player base.  There are obvious dead ends like a passive which increase agro generations in a game primarily focused on PvP.  Yes there are uses for a passive like this but in basically every PvP engagement having this passive is a liability.  Another odd passive is the 4% cast time reduction in Witchcraft.  Out of 12 witchcraft abilities 8 of them are instant cast and Earthen Grip can be made instant cast by taking a passive and honestly, is 4% decreased casting time really worth losing an active for even when using the sorcery skillset?

                In my opinion, if you create an MMO with so many ability combinations you are obligated to focus a majority of your time fleshing out these combinations in such a way that they are ALL viable.  I am not saying that they should all be equivalent.  I am simply saying that they should ALL have a purpose.  Spell combo’s should be a priority and some sort of fluidity should exist between them all.  I could get lost in creating characters and combining skill sets, it’s just fun to me.  This leads me to Songcraft and how I expected it to play.  I expected to twist songs like a paladin twisting chants in DAoC.  I see a lot of combo skill sets that would be fun to play with this type of set up.  Sadly, songs break when a non-song ability is used leaving Songcraft with little to no synergy with other skillsets.

                It doesn’t seem to me that much thought went into the Songcraft skillset.  I would have had some skillset combos sing, some play instruments and some shout.  Just off the top of my head that’s three different visual/audial themes for Songcraft skillset combinations.  If you are not going to go that far atleast make a set of visual/audial effects for a primary offensive ability like Critical Discord.  Hearing the same exact sound every time I used Critical Discord got annoying fast.

                When just focusing on Classes and Skillsets I don’t really believe that enough effort was placed upon making them useful and viable while making them thematically different from each other.  When you combine any random skillset, abilities stay the same visually and I believe that this is a perfect area where an MMO could have pushed the theme/roleplaying envelope.  Yes this would take time but imagine if some, not every, but if some skillset combinations of Witchcraft changed the visuals and sounds of Earthen Grip.  I believe that ArcheAge would have a lot more visual appeal as well as appealing to those that like to roleplay.  Simply having the title ' Shadow Knight " isnt enough...