A signature part of the Esper are its minions; phantasmal illusions that can be used to cripple enemies. They’re not permanent or player-controlled, but will usually attack the nearest thing for a brief period before they despawn. On the healing side are mirages – small sanctuaries that a player can dive into and pick up some healing magic. Projected Spirit even briefly transforms the Esper into a rainbow deer, leaving a strip of healing in its wake as it leaps across the ground.
As either a damage dealer or healer, the Esper is focused on stationary casting, sacrificing some mobility for increased potency, and being generally unsuitable for kiting. It’s possible to use the Limited Action Set to focus on keeping nimble, but you’ll likely have to drop some major nukes or big heals as a result. And, as a light armor wearing class, you’ll want to keep your distance from the action in most cases.
The Esper uses a mixture of builder and finisher abilities, so named because they either create or consume Psi Points, the class’s primary resource. It means that the class has some ramp-up time, with builders accumulating Psi Points to be used by a devastating finisher. In order to play effectively you’ll need to have both ability types at your disposal, as Psi Points are capped at 5.
Every class has an innate ability, and the Esper’s is ideal for those situations where you’re getting crowded by melee. Spectral Form makes you invulnerable for 5 seconds, recharging those precious Psi Points so that you can unleash a smackdown from a safe distance.
With all those toys in the Esper’s toolbox, you’re probably wondering what an optimal loadout would look like. According to Carbine, that’s probably unlikely, with players instead building a selection of Action Sets to cater for a range of circumstances.
As you’d expect, an Esper can resurrect other characters out of combat. Then again, so can every other class. The only thing missing is a combat resurrection, which is currently not planned. Death needn’t be a huge handicap though, as players in the open world can choose to wake where they are instead of back at a graveyard. There’s a small in-game charge, and it can only be used once every 30 minutes, but it makes those stinging moments of stupidity a little less painful. Alas, this feature isn’t in PvP arenas, battlegrounds or warplots.
We also saw a demonstration of PvP, with the Warrior and Esper class designers dueling it out. It was a close match that demonstrated the tactical power of shields, and how it’s possible to hang on for some time by stepping back and letting them recharge. Carbine also shared some of their ability design philosophy, choosing to eliminate pure buff or debuff abilities in favour of augmenting active combat ones instead.
Besides the dungeon tour and Esper-specific goodness, a number of other details cropped up during the livestream. Armor dyes are in the game, available from vendors, loot and tradeskills. And, for those social players that like to take a breather now and again, it’s possible to sit on chairs.
The spellcasting goodness is continuing next week with the Spellslinger, a pistol-toting warp-weaver that mixes skill shots with teleportation. If you’re not completely sold on the Esper, the magical gunslinger might be just what you’re after. As with previous weeks, Carbine’s planning a livestream and Reddit AMA to answer all your burning questions. I’ll be back next week to bring you all the details.
Gareth Harmer / Gareth Harmer has been blasting and fireballing his way through MMOs for over ten years. When he's not exploring an online world, he can usually be found enthusiastically dissecting and debating them. Follow him on Twitter at @Gazimoff.