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Wizards, Necromancers & Rangers

Guest Writer Posted:
Developer Journals 0

Stephanie explores Wizards, Rangers and Necromancers as the class series continues

Oh, GDC, your crunch time of bizarre 1 PM to 8 AM hours is now long gone and the edges of your memory have been ground down to butter-soft corners.

But what's this on the horizon? What shining mammoth of boothbabes* and flashing lights lurks just around the corner, waiting to punch me in the gut and make change out of my braincells? Why, it's the Electronic Entertainment Expo, of course!

You'll have to forgive me. I've been sculpting and painting terrain for the last week, and I'm a little woozy from lack of sleep and bloodloss. But don't say you weren't warned. You so were.

Um. Right, then. Where was I? Ah -- oh -- hm -- no -- er -- uh -- monkeys? -- mph -- oh! NakedTime!

Yes, in Hero's Journey all players will be given the opportunity to outfit their character in...nothing! And we mean nothing. No cheesy kilt here, no sir! The decision came out of a recent monumental meeting where the designers were all sitting around talking about allowing players to customize their characters, and then someone said, "But what if I want to play a nudist?" And we were all like, "What? That -- that's crazy enough that it just. might. work."

We, the Hero's Journey designers, are totally 100% behind having NakedTime in the game. Right alongside Bighead Mode, Giant 50-foot Chickens, and a working in-game spaceship complete with Newtonian physics system.

Okay...so maybe I'm lying a teensy bit.

But hey, we're going to have classes! Nine, in fact! And did I mention they're dual-class? See the last article if you think I didn't. And did I mention they all get to choose abilities? Awesome abilities that you can customize? Customization: it's almost like it's the guiding star of our design philosophy!

So, without further adieu, allow me to crank up Cake on my iTunes and proceed directly to this journal's classes.

Wizard (Ranged/Ranged)

The wild-eyed finger-waggler in scorched robes. The wandering mystic who smells faintly of salted fish, cloves, and... mystery. The guy who wears robes with more pride than a Scotsman at the Highland Games. Wizards and fantasy go together like peanut butter and chocolate, like angsty hipsters and coffee shops, like otaku and bad hygiene.

Gearknights are to Gearsmiths as Wizards are to the Arcanum. Before the Ilvari showed up and made things complicated, there weren't Wizards in Elanthia -- just a bunch of Human empires that knew magic was out there, but didn't know how to harness it. The Ilvari bridged the gap between mystery and understanding, and things haven't been the same ever since. Would the world of Elanthia be in the state it is now without Wizards? Probably not. Are we better for it? No, but it sure makes the world history writing easier!

The Gearsmith and Arcanum philosophies couldn't be more evident than in their most iconic classes. Wizards do a large number of their deeds from the safety of a distant horizon, in complete opposition to the up-close-and-personal Gearknights. Honestly, though, when I'm setting my enemy's head or nether regions on fire, I don't exactly want to be in spitting range.

Wizards get to control time and space, so look forward to hopping around Elanthia via Wizardly gates. They also get to flavor spells with elemental effects like fire, ice, and chocolate. Er. Stone. I meant stone. There's no chocolate element, honest. Or NakedTime. Really.

Necromancer (Ranged/Support)

The faint perfume of decay, a certain sense of unease, the shambling corpse leaving chunks of skin on your best Persian rug...this can mean only one thing. We've got Necromancers, honey! Get out the best china...or they'll kill us.

Here's the weird thing about Necromancers -- the Arcanum aren't originally responsible for this line of magical pursuit. They're a bizarre mix of Kinnaes Nature-lovin' combined with Arcanum research. You can't tell that from looking at them, of course -- but death's a natural process, or used to be, at least. It's gotten a little unnatural -- some might even say a little unholy -- since the world broke and Necromancers came along.

Necromancers can be found moping around graveyards, writing poetry and clutching stuffed ravens. Our Necromancers are designed to exude a deadly cloud of decay and accompany shambling dead dudes who will rip off their own arm to beat you senseless with, so...pretend you like the poetry.

Oh, and...Corpse Bomb. Sweet mama of all that's unnatural, Corpse Bomb. Just typing it makes me salivate all over my keyboard. I can't wait to see the particle effects for that thing. I expect when it's done, they'll have to buy me a six-pack of new keyboards.

Ranger (Ranged/Melee)

We debated briefly making the Rangers of Elanthia more Viggo Mortenson-like, but truth be told, we like Ollie Queen and the great outdoors too much. We even originally called this group Archer -- until we realized that there's a reason the writers of Green Arrow came up with so many bizarre arrows. It's not too hard to make a few cool arrow tricks. Making an entire class of them is something else.

Just as Wizards and Gearknights correspond to the Arcanum and Gearsmiths (respectively), Rangers are firmly established in Kinnaes lore. Before the Sundering, when the Kinnaes were being hunted, the only way to avoid being picked off by Arcanum assassins was for the Kinnaes to hide themselves in the element they knew best: the hinterlands of Elanthia. They evolved the same philosophy most foundling organizations do -- strike from a distance, and disable the enemy before you get cornered and killed.

Hero's Journey Rangers get a wide variety of bow-shootin' styles. Their abilities include things like arrow flurries, weapon disarms, tracking, and immobilizations. Rangers may also choose to summon a forest buddy to follow them around and gnaw on the bones of their victims. Because, y'know, it gets lonely out there. In the woods.

Well, that's it for this journal. I hope you enjoyed it, and remember: the design's always changing. So if next week we've decided to turn Serenity into our inspiration and replaced the Ranger class with "Space Concubine" and Summon Companion with an "Explosive Incense" ability, then just be comforted in knowing that I did mention spaceships and Newtonian physics.

- Stephanie Shaver, Designer

* Footnote: Yes, I know about the boothbabe ban. Le sigh. And I was so looking forward to seeing Eric Slick in a chainmail bikini. Curse you, E3 decorum!

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Guest Writer