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.
Starting another Design Breakdown this time with one of the most important classes in the cleric tree yet it used to be in a depiscable state, those are Priests. In case this is your first time on a Design Breakdown topic go to this link for some basic information.
Even with Re:Build the description stays the same and just as before it is rather vague. Priest takes the usual known approach on the class as a support with rehabilitation and several buffs, tho its identity is more directed towards damage mitigation being the official cleric babysitter. Priest used to face two major issues with the old class system being them the inability to be useful due Pardoner having the same buffs provided for longer and not stacking/overwriting and how it demanded full commitment to be effective, both were addressed with the system change.
Priest is a generic term that can be applied to most of religions but for the class we’ll be talking about christian priests, or minister, those are clerics that guide people into salvation by cleansing their souls and granting them god’s grace. As regular people can’t reach god by their own Priests serve as a bridge between the common realm and the divine realm.
Aspersion (B) - Lead
Sprinkle holy water used to be an old practice in some christian rituals, over the time holy water properties were mystified to the point people believed it could harm demons and as such it would work as a repeler. It’s possible to build a link between holy water and physical defense as it would grant protection, even tho magical defense would fit better against supernatural forces.
The concept and execution of Aspersion are simple, it’s a party buff that increases physical defense based on a %. Physical defense is a simple form of damage mitigation that isn’t extremely powerful yet useful at all stages of the game, it’s simple and can be tracked at your stat window. Back in the old system the skill had scaling with SPR which was great for those trying to profit selling buffs but this isn’t possible with automated stat distribution, as such it is more fitting to have the buff completely detached from stat scaling. One major balancing benefit from this change is the fact early game content won’t be as trivial regarding damage taken as it requires a good base equipment to be more effective, tho the skill appears less interesting at this stage, and this applies to leather armor as the one with lowest defensive base values, it will reward those that invest into raw defense and still offers some value for those that don’t. It’s interesting to see how the damage component was removed completely as it wasn’t of much use due catalyst consumption, the major reason for it to be in the first place was due how the class system was organized and Priest was among the first advancement options requiring it some tool to deal damage but nowadays that isn’t needed.
The only leftover “issue” from the old skill design is the lack of floor as it pushes the investment to players as it scales faster, however as Pardoner buff now stacks with Priest instead of competing with it this became less of a burden and Aspersion can stand on its own.
Monstrance (C) - Midground
Likely for the interpretation taken here is to expose enemies under god’s sight as monstrance means ‘to show’, that’s also the name of the sunflare artifact drawn on skill use. Having it to decrease enemy evasion slightly fit the theme but it feels like revealing hidden units is missing from it.
With evasion playing a bigger role in the game the sole approach of evasion reduction can be an interesting on paper but being the only skill component can work against it, in addition not having magic circle reduces the skill value significantly as it has a limited amount of enemies that can be applied to and may be missed. It could be better to reintroduce the magic circle aspect, increasing duration with level, with an additional reveal component, another option is having an invisibility denial debuff scaling with skill level. As a redeeming quality the skill uses % of afflicted enemy on the effect which will be consistently useful regardless of the stat value due how evasion is factored, along that has a, small yet preset, floor in its formula.
Turn Undead (C) - Relief
It may be based on a common media trope as a spell that instantly destroy zombies and skeletons, tho some have this ability only to repel undead. The most accepted theories regarding its origins are related to vampiric beliefs, one being a repulsive reaction of fields near crosses and the other being the ability to rise from grave which lead gravekeepers to bury people facing the ground to prevent any hazard. Turn Undead is a skill that is the game since its release and was part of Paladin tho it, along Exorcise and Magnus Exorcismus, were thematically displaced with Exorcist’s release two years past game launch. For that matter it is more appropriate for it to be in Exorcist as it is the only skill in game with the ability to instantly defeat enemies regardless of the skill damage, yet it is understandable this wasn’t done to protect other Exorcist skills as they could be render useless when a single skill can do the job. As a bonus the class may be related to a common logical conclusion of undeads being destroyed when life force is induced on them, after all Priest is the only cleric that can resurrect/revive allies.
Being a skill that can instantly kill enemies isn’t a joke but it’s hard to rely on it as the success chance isn’t informed at all, this may be due some complex formula used to calculate it but the fact it doesn’t inform which parameters are being used to do it will give it the short stick. As a counterpoint there is a really interesting element in Turn Undead’s design being how it scales both on damage and AAR. Few skills do the latter despite being a great way to apply higher enemy count with more investment, as an average every 2 points on Turn Undead should add one extra enemy to be hit with the possibility of hitting more or less enemies based on their size. When combined with the instant death effect applied to ⅖ of the enemy races, with devil being the most popular race in the game with the ability to be forced on enemies, it will be presented as an interesting choice to be leveled. As a closure point the class nature can be seen as a counterbalance point as it is designed with the few offensive aspects that rely on speed, or multihits, to be used effectively, however as the game allows three classes to be used in conjunction this may be too much power for the class to handle.
Blessing (B) - Midground
Taken from dictionary it is a request by a priest for God to take care of a particular person or a group of people, or God’s act of doing this. With that theme freedom in mind it can fit any sort of buff, in games it’s often taken to the offensive side, as the only violence accepted within christian religion is punishment, but on strict sense it doesn’t connect with the word meaning.
It is possible to see Blessing as a Relief skill considering the skill effect but as Turn Undead is less related to the class theme the best approach is to see it as a Midground. Since Blessing applies extra damage to hits it puts Priest on an awkward position where it has absolute no tools to use the buff effectively on its own, this may be seen as a bad trait but it fits the selfless nature of its theme and identity. With that in mind this also increases the buff value to specific classes and builds that have multi hit and fast attacks as part of their skill set, this niche aspect could disqualify the skill interest but is also responsible to give it a punctual advantage. As a personal issue it isn’t as satisfying to have the skill capped at lvl 10 instead of being a regular skill, especially with Chaplain dissociation and Pardoner parasitic relationship gone.
Resurrection (C) - Complement
The most important event on christian religion was marked by a resurrection and as such Priest carries the only cleric skill that can reanimate the dead. I’d like to point that other classes have themes that can support a skill with the same base concept as well, some even at wizard tree, but as matter of fact Priest has an straight connection to it and that’s what gave it the spot. As a point that can’t be ignored it makes no sense for Resurrection to have the current animation as the skill was changed to cone directional to ally target, there are better options to communicate the effect visually and that should be changed as the other skill with similar effects is also in Priest.
It’s undoubtedly one of the most important mechanics to exist in an MMO but the way it was implemented on release had it to be a major annoyance, this wasn’t due the skill itself but how dead characters would often glitch position making the skill execution a nightmare. Changing it to a target based skill does solve the problem but it also comes with the cost of not being able to resurrect multiple allies, in addition to that the knockback effect the skill had was completely disposed leaving it to focused on this single task. Being an five level skill early in the class isn’t intuitive yet the major issue is how it lacks a floor pushing players to maximize it, the effect itself is great and wouldn’t be harmed if the outcome stayed the same but with a better start. Two quality of life improvements Resurrection could take are the removal of self targeting with it, as you can’t resurrect yourself, and a small 1~2 seconds invincibility post resurrected, the latter in particular can settle the skill to have a proper floor and be available as an option to take midway.
Even then there is a fundamental issue with a reanimation skills which is the inherent fact that the skill has no effect at all if your party doesn’t die, it is the kind of skill players pick in case they need but may seldom use it especially with Revive mitigating death. At the same time spending points on the skill makes it better it also feels like a waste of potential when other skills will be used way more often and is something that can’t be balanced properly, to which the solution may lie in having the skill as a single point or even give it away for free.
Revive (D) - Lead
It goes back to the same thematic link as Resurrection, this time even more tied to the myth as the resurrection was predicted and so it revived.
A well implemented safety net, dying is the worst outcome in a battle and the ability to negate it once every now and then is more than welcome. As before Revive stays with two leveling components in an overscaling effect, for the earlier skill levels the invincibility component is the most important part of the skill as it will prevent the ally to die after the first slide as the Priest will have to heal it afterwards yet this relation reverses later on as the revived ally will be less likely to die as their HP heal is higher.
Ideally only one of those components should be used for the leveling aspect and the other should remain static, additionally with Healing being a real stat it could be implemented in a blend of HP% and healing ratio as this rewards dedicated healers to perform better. Just as before it is odd for it to not be maxed at level 10 as expected for a tier 2 skill, tho Revive is worthy of being tier 3 as denying death is only behind invincibility regarding damage mitigation.
Sacrament (E) - Midground
Resourting to dictionary Sacrament is a christian rite that is believed to have been ordained by Christ and that is held to be a means of divine grace or to be a sign or symbol of a spiritual reality, another interpretation has it as a communion of elements. Being a holy property buff can be quite a stretch on the source but as the term itself can be vague it isn’t as off.
Sacrament is a skill which whole value gravitates towards basic attacks which can be a response to make this mechanic less dull but is also wasted on those that can’t make use of it, the buff itself is handy but isn’t desirable outside particular classes and scout tree as a whole by not interacting with skills. In fact as the only benefit of leveling is enhancing this attack oriented damage it can be easily dismissed or taken only for a single level in order amplify Blessing damage, this in itself is a great interaction but has most of the weight, if not all, outside Sacrament. It could be possible for Sacrament to be an interesting niche skill but the sole fact it competes with Last Rites having a lower value is a significant weakness, even then Chaplain is a dedicated attack based class and can make use of this concept way more effectively.
Perhaps the best way to keep Sacrament is by having it within Blessing either as a natural component or through attribute, the concept itself isn’t bad but being a niche skill with low investment return puts it quite low in priority and interest. If such change is done Last Rites can be adjusted to replacement it in Spell Shop.
Mass Heal (B) - Lead
For this one we can take the RPG approach as a basic element on it, even if some games don’t have Priests to heal it isn’t that uncommon and it can fit under the cleansing aspect of it, tho aiding the ill also falls into some of Priests duties.
There’s not much to say about it aside being effective on what it tries to do and also working as maintenance skill once damage goes through Priest’s protection. Being an AoE instantaneous heal with massive hitbox is the perfect way to implement an undo type of heal as it is likely to get the whole party for massive recovery, it’s even more valuable now that multiple ally heals are less common and those found in other classes are done over time.
That said Mass Heal concept is more fitting for tier 2 as it is still a fairly simple skill as Revive is more game changing for the placement.
The way Resurrection and Revive handle their skill points make them hard candidates to be ignored and not maxed and as much ten mandatory points isn’t much for a class to take freedom of choice the other skills don’t help much by lacking significant floor, on that verge the only true manageable options are Mass Heal and Turn Undead, the first being a major healing skill that has no similar execution in game. Along that the shorter stick falls to Monstrance and Sacrament as they’re both useful at most and uninteresting to play with at worst, ironically the lack of floor does work towards those skills but by being too niche they fall out of radar.
All that said for the first time in Priest history the class can be build freely without overlapping and having Pardoner not as a parasyte class but as a complement, this achievement is what the class always needed to be taken as real option that has value on its own and doesn’t feel like wasting points. The next step is to polish the class skill set to be rounder as cutting off branches and giving all skills a minimum value, however it is important to keep the class simplicity as this is one of its core traits. As a last element to discuss the removal of Stone Skin contributed it to lose some identity value despite being redundant with new Aspersion, still it would be interesting to have a new defensive skill to reinforce the class identity as Re:Build balance kept the same skill count for the offensive part.
Identity - C
Theme - B
Gameplay - C
Skill Distribution - C
Overall - C
And this is how we end Priest update, despite giving it a mediocre score the class even the lowest points are still at a reasonable state to the point it can be played without requiring additional game knowledge. For next week we’ll take Onmyoji as a class with an amazing background that took an uninteresting direction for its potential.