WARNING - This thread isn’t made for new players or those that seek guidance on how to use said class, please look for proper threads regarding it such as class overviews and build guides. Design Breakdown is a design discussion thread only and has no purpose to help players on practical aspects of the game.
Before get into the discussion itself i want to defend IMC for being so bold as to move classes out of trees altogether, as the goal is to set classes into more path options without power scaling and decrease punishment for certain combinations it looks like a good decision. However no big change comes with no drawback and this is visible from class migration and builds being taken away, both on synergetic value and the fantasy achieved by combining them. That said it wasn’t the only way to reorganize trees and this will be one point to be explored here, additionally the new tree has to be discussed as a new element in the already settled balance of roles and how their basic characteristics have to be fleshed out.
The main topics to address here are the unique value of each tree, how advanced classes are connected to it, which classes were/could be taken out due identity and theme, how shifted classes work on their placement and what these classes may face on their new environment. It may be impossible to restrain some comments that are more appropriated to a full class analysis so they may come back depending on how things go. With these threads i’ll also point out some undiscussed natural synergy and identity overlap within the tree. Don’t forget that the development team is subject to limitations and some ideas may not work due engine, practicality and balance issues. Sometimes it isn’t IMC’s fault.
Archers are in a better spot than Swordsmen being the only other tree that has to deal with considerable weapon restrictions, the difference however is that not only the weapon variety is small but few classes are limited to them. As a counterpoint the unique weapons do cut out most of build choice straight up and they lack follow up dedicated classes to take, this will be addressed on the next class release but will have to be dealt with for at least a couple of months. Mechanically the only thing that matter for the tree is to attack from afar or indirectly, it is the only vital component it needs to accept a new class. On the thematic side the important points in Archer are the same as listed before with the addition of wildlife petting/taming, as usual we will take them one by one.
Range - Having distance between the attacker and the target, this takes both basic distance from point A to point B and the ability to attack indirectly through mechanisms and machinery. As an interesting point the only real distinction from Scout is that their classes use the offhand weapon, a rather thin line to split them in different trees.
Petting/Taming - A rather mystic aspect associated to Archery. Petting is a process of taking a wild animal and conditioning it and breeding those that are milder towards humans, over generations they will end up as a mild kin which will either be taken as cattle or as some sort of assistant. Taming is only about conditioning an animal to stop being hostile and respond to some commands of the tamer and will still be hostile towards strangers, it takes a lot of time and won’t have its effects carried on for the descendents requiring them to be tamed later on.
Unlike other trees there’s no major benefit from grouping Archer classes as these are currently few and don’t have that many common elements to be discussed.
Mergen - The AoE class in the tree, everything it does has some form of magnitude effect and it explores a lot of different ways to deliver it. Ironically this can also be an issue as other classes on the same identity line may not have enough distinction to compete with it since it does the job so well, the only “balancing point” it has is the strict restriction to bow only which isn’t much of a disadvantage,
Ranger - Similar to Mergen but with less magnitude and less direction on an identity, this wasn’t an issue in the Rank-Circle system as a lower rank class but once the two can be taken at the same point it will lose interest. One thing that could improve this relationship is to remove weapon restrictions from it but that won’t change how it needs a new space in the tree, currently the only advantage the class has over Mergen is Steady Aim and Critical Shot (gimmick) as amplifiers.
Fletcher - Low magnitude oriented, aside that the only special trait it that all skills have some sort of effect attached. Fletcher could be more of an interesting class it it used other properties of its theme but that means changing the whole nature of the class (and is a matter of a full discussion), tho that may be worthy considering the identity scope is quite close to Wugushi and Musketeer but those don’t need hand crafted catalysts.
Quarrel Shooter - Protect itself and ensure distance, this is what the class does the best and it the only one in the tree that can do it as effectively. Quarrel Shooter is also a weapon restricted class but as it uses crossbow it has one of the best synergies in Archer, that said it feels off to not have another class that is on the same weapon setting. As a bonus the class does offer a weaponless route, in theory, which increases the base value of it. It’s important to point out Sapper’s proximity with the class identity as they both work with field control and taking distance, however they opposite sides of a same coin which can work both as a defining choice factor and a way to complement each other.
Musketeer - The single target long range class, it has the least magnitude in the tree and does a lot of damage to individual enemies despite that not being supported by the game outside bossing. Being a rifle class it loses at least four options on building on a tree that has few classes by default, that can hindrance its development but may be back up once the new rifle class arrives.
Cannoneer - Also an AoE class, the major difference between it and Mergen is how it makes more use of the AoE stat itself and how it is a slower class by default. Despite that the class is more straightforward on mechanics and that may affect its popularity over the second option, not to say it also has less classes to choose from while it waits for the next cannon addition. It would be interesting to have Cannoneer to explore more the heavy side of crowd busting instead of raw damage, in fact it feels off to have such massive damage skills with rather thin radius.
Hunter - Mostly about decreasing enemy stats and immobilize them, it’s easily the best version of the class so far but it would be better to take one element as primary. As another important element on the class gameplay Hunter needs the player to input commands to make the companion attack, despite being less exciting than having it attacking along this design decision makes the class be more into the fantasy of tag hunting than if acted on its own. One interesting aspect of Hunter is how it makes the companion a side kick and not the primary subject on the class which is only possible when taking the identity on the support side.
Falconer - It used to be a supportish class with focus on magnitude but Re:Build took it to the offensive side, this decision put it in a spot where it shares identity scope with Mergen, Ranger and Cannoneer. Fortunately Falconer also amplifies those classes power which will secure its place in the tree, perhaps being exclusive to them, but that doesn’t change the fact it would benefit itself from a more defined identity, it’s important to mention that magnitude isn’t a core trait of Archer base identity set and it’s been overused at this point. A big issue with the class is how it takes a character slot for the flying companion and that isn’t used anywhere else unlike the ground counterpart.
Pied Piper - A split between enemy control and buffing. Enemy control is the base of the class theme and is an unusual use of music in MMORPGs as they’re mostly associated with stat buffs which is the boring way to implement it, this same convention is what makes the class fall into the gimmicky side when compared with the other half and breaks the gameplay flow. Ideally Pied Piper should be reviewed and pick one side and drop the other, control is the most interesting for its theme but is also a more challenging identity to execute.
Wugushi - Low magnitude damage over time, a simple yet effective identity that needs some small adjustments to reach maximum potential. There are other classes that have a tip into Wugushi role but they only gloss over it without being a threat. Oddly this is a class that could fit perfectly into Scout due thematics as a follow up of field research and weapon development, that said it would impact the tree greatly as the current roster is already small.
Sapper - Terrain control, it does that both for damage and to prevent enemy action. Any magnitude AoE class can have similar value but Sapper excels on keeping the dominance of field for long duration punishing those that dare to enter their territory, that the offensive power is tied to enemy action and not to the player itself. It is a niche type of class and may not work as well since the outcome will always be compared to true AoE offensive classes, on that matter it needs some tweaks to keep the higher ground and have a good payoff for its own gameplay limitations. Thematics wise it is also a valid candidate for Scout’s tree since the class basis is field dominance and use of technology (and both require research and field experience), however Sapper is also an important asset in Archer’s tree as it the gameplay can ensure distance will be kept.
Appraiser - It isn’t clear what the class tries to do and the closest thing to an identity is changing the value of things, this is likely due being adapted into a full class and should receive some changes down the line. Right now the only thing sustaining the class value are the gimmicks and being a valid candidate for the more restricted classes. Despite the tree having few classes already Appraiser is another one that could easily migrate to Scout as is almost pure support and has a matching theme, after all a trained Scout would have a good keen eye for details on closer inspection opposed to Archer’s great sight for long distances.
With the exception of Hackapell the moved classes were incorporated into a new tree, within Scout, to have mechanical consistency as damage is tied to offhand weapon, it won’t force players to invest in two weapons anymore but it also comes with the questioning of the real need of a main hand weapon. Ironically none of these classes have major synergy issues in the tree as using crossbow never stood as a major issue into class compatibility, in fact the these classes have less synergy among themselves than the tree itself.
Hackapell - Taking it out of Archer was one of the best things that could happen to the class despite going to Swordsman instead of Scout. By allowing one handed swords to be equipable in offhand the class broke the weapon conventions in ways players could expect other crazy exceptions for all types of physical classes, in paper that sounds great but it expands the issue with weapon compatibility all over the board. Ironically the Hackapell fighting style was well represented in the Archer tree since their main tactic to dominate enemies by attacking from afar and finish them with swords, this will be completely lost in the new tree despite having a more suitable place for it.
Scout - Always had identity issues and was fated to be changed, since their plan was to take one of them and adapt into a base class this is one of the most fitting.
Rogue - Being the only dagger class in Archer it did suffer a little from compatibility, at some point it was changed to work with Hackapell but that was also the only high rank class it could pick as no other class in the same placement, until the late Pied Piper release, was weapon free. IMC said Rogue wasn’t fitting as a base class since it didn’t had any ranged skill but since Scout was reworked completely that wouldn’t matter at all, the only real benefit from having it as an advanced class is to keep some interesting skills intact and not being that thief-esque from the foundation.
Schwarzer Reiter - A curious case of a class so round and well contained that can work regardless of previous and following classes, the class design was done in such way it doesn’t has room for skill rotation and the few free moments can be taken on with Limacon as an AA modifier. The only synergy issue it had was the riding restrictions and need of double investment as the other classes used the main weapon, still Schwarzer Reiter could work on its own taking buffs as the only complement from outsiders.
Bullet Marker - Similar to the previous case but not as round, as a counterpoint the exclusive stance did lifted up some of the issues it had with double investment as synergy wasn’t really an issue. Ironically Bullet Marker was alone on the pistol compatibility as only few skills can be used mounted and those are the least interesting in the skill set.
At this point it should be clear that the most noticeable issues with the Archer tree is how it is too conservative on class direction, a class with that few classes shouldn’t have to deal with identity overlap and only in the AoE/magnitude category it has four (⅓) which is likely to led to a number battle rather than defining it by identity value. It’s also important to weapon restrictions based on the principles of techniques instead of thematics and open up the build pathing, skills like Jump Shot and Zenith can easily be pulled out with a rifle in the same way Headshot and Snipe are possible with bows and crossbows. That said compatibility isn’t that much of an issue right now but it may be closer to Swordsman once the two new weapon based classes arrive.
Scout will be the last entry on this tree discussion and, depending on Re:Build timing, will be followed by a revamp of the base classes threads in addition to Archer (as it wasn’t covered). Do the usual thing, comment to extend the discussion, like to support the series, etc.
Update - Scout’s tree will be uploaded between jan 18~21th