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.
Among all trees Wizard always had the best synergy with the only small dissonance in unit based classes being using SPR to deal and endure damage. There wasn’t any build path that didn’t worked due the tree itself, in fact the only inviability in it was a matter of other game elements’ design that had it less likely to work out but still be usable. With that in mind the Re:Build didn’t changed how the tree works but rather expanded the combination diversity.
The only common element seen in the tree is magic damage and elemental control, exceptions to that are Chronomancer, as the only true support, and updated Alchemist, as a wild card inclined to support. As themes goes the defining factors are connection with the occult and/or forces of nature and it is interesting to get into the details of it.
Occultism - Draw power from demons, spirits and other supernatural forces, this often comes with a change in the relationship of power with the entity, such as subjugation, as it takes power from or offer something in exchange for it. It’s important to point out that the occult works on closed spheres and doesn’t focus on the self improvement or to bring peace of spirit.
Nature Control - The ability to bend natural elements to the user will and expand their capabilities, this is often associated with the primordial aristotelic elements but can also incorporate physics as they are a later step in this same study field. Time, space and energy can all fall into this category.
A mixed division is more fitting for Wizard as the tree deals with different aspects that aren’t completely related, summoning is a rather mechanical aspect to take on but elemental influence is more into the thematic side. Thus the groups will follow a different criteria in order to discuss some interesting points in the tree.
Pure Elemental Group
In order for elements to be a deal the game has to present scenarios where element management is relevant and classes to master each one of them (currently lacking earth) as well, as that doesn’t happen they end up as simple bonuses and penalties instead of active strategic aspects of the game even if for solo play only. Ironically with the new class system it isn’t possible to balance out elements by taking bits of several classes as specialization is forced, that said a route with only pure elemental classes will offer more power on a trivial aspect and have players incapable of full/balanced elemental control if they so desire.
Pyromancer - All about damage over time and magnitude, the damage isn’t instantaneous as most classes do but rather something that has to be build up and requires enemy positioning to shine. It’s one of the few classes with a stone solid direction, even tho it can be improved, and may have the deserved place in the new environment…
Shadowmancer - A class that lacks direction or can’t promote itself enough to make it visible, there’s too much going on to know where it wants to go taking defense, magnitude, burst damage, delayed damage and utility. It’s likely for it to stay relevant for the strong defensive skills and the overall versatility it can be outperformed by any other classes that has a round skill set.
Warlock - The major attractive in the class is the minefield aspect of spirit but this unique feature isn’t as explored, it proved that it is important to the class as it performed poorly when the spawn limit was capped at 5 but even with the value double it is likely to hurt the class on the long run. In terms of property magic it is possible that Warlock overperforms Shadowmancer, it has longer cooldowns but the class can also use other’s skills through Invocation to deal damage which may drag it along heavy AoE builds.
Taoist - In theory Taoist is a zone based class reworked into a lightning property wizard of same mechanical nature, it kept some of the utility it had before but still needs to be more directed towards a goal. The external synergy of Upper Level may be enough to promote the class along the unique playstyle, this will need to be reviewed once the patch kicks in.
Psychokino - Moving enemies is what it does and it uses all directions it can, due the damage over time and control nature it has it will always clash with Pyromancer and Cryomancer which is something to be aware of. Ideally this should be addressed as quick as possible since the power level of those classes is, in theory, equal, in fact it may be outcasted by Cryomancer if the control aspect isn’t enough (despite being irrelevant if all enemies die).
Featherfoot - Likely to be a melee wizard as the sustain element helps it to not die when doing so, that said it is a really odd and unique addition to the tree but would be more interesting if it had more varieties on the front. One element that was diminished on Re:Build was the exclusivity over heal in the Wizard tree, as Alchemist gained potion skills it can heal in party, be more efficient and do it instantaneously at the cost of less offensive power. Featherfoot is a niche type of class that may be harmed by that (along Linker absence), unlikely to be picked due the the melee elements but possible over the sustain skills.
Mult Elemental Group
Composed of classes that have at least three elements and none of them is present in half or more of the skill set. Ironically they can’t develop elements as strategic choice either since they don’t own enough skills to have promote diversity, not to mention few skills play out as the same.
Elementalist - Having an identity as a dissonant amalgamation seldom works but this can be an exception due the base theme (will be explained in an individual analysis), a player that wants diversity on how attacks are performed can reach out for Elementalist. The special mechanics it has can be enough to keep it relevant but it may need a little push on that side to reach its peak. As a bonus the class can also exploit elemental properties through Elemental Essence despite that skill being a terrible addition.
Onmyoji - Being short, AoE damage with huge magnitude. There’s no single wizard class with that much reach in the game and those that seek won’t have trouble when looking for a class, even then the class theme has more potential than it uses (at least for the context). However the thematic side of Onmyoji is right at the edge as a blend of wizardry with religion. The onmyodo is an occultist practice that was born from elements of buddhism, shintoism and taoism, they doesn’t have followers or a distinct belief system in the strict sense but are seeked to deal with supernatural events. One of the tasks Onmyoji would be in charged of is to purge demons and evil spirits which led the term to be often translated as exorcist, they also possessed the power to make these creatures into servants which is why it can exist in this grey area. If the class were moved to Cleric it would offer elemental magic damage that the tree lacks so much and it’s reasonable as all skills have catalysts, there are more possibilities to be explored in it that are enough for a full analysis.
Rune Caster - The base class design was always gimmicky and lacked identity, adapting it to the new system didn’t fixed those issues but rather made it less interesting. For the effort required to unlock the class and the generic elemental skills it has it doesn’t seem like it will be that popular nor helpful, oddly enough Rune Caster has a buff to reduce incoming damage while casting but the action itself was made easier through rod attributes and going for both is counter productive. Using the source as the bridge the theme can also fall into religion since runes have power from gods and higher beings as part norse mythology (comparable to Druid), as it uses catalysts it can be a great fit into Cleric while mildly breaking the tree rules.
When changing summons to take only SPR summoners where complete with a pure stat distribution, they had all the damage, defense and reliability with no drawback. This was later addressed by using CON as the minion HP scaling and own the caster defense as minion’s, which goes back to the previous INT and SPR iteration it had on release but in an unhealthier state as the player gets a lot of HP accompanied with unlimited casting capability. As a matter of balance the initial scaling was the most fitting with the only issue being how weak summons were by taking only one stat and how they had a huge cost of SP to maintain itself but neither are an issue when stats are distributed automatically, in Re:Build it is possible to revert the scaling to fit Wizard’s needs and adjust minion power in proportion to the game difficulty. That said having INT oriented classes in the build can work as an incentive to be less focused on summons itself and explore alternative builds that mix traditional offensive with minion classes, there’s won’t be another chance as good as this to settle it for good and it’s a shame they let it slide.
Another point to address in summoning as a whole is how player agency is taken, by default any minion based class will go against the agency principle as they take the spotlight and do the hard work. This kind of mechanics is great for players to abuse by killing enemies AFK or even botting and both happened in the past, it can be helpful for those that have high latency but has to keep in mind how the power is balanced compared to real active classes. Despite that each of these classes tries to address the agency issue in different ways which for a more compelling gameplay.
Sorcerer - Elite summoner, it focus on having less units and focus its power on a single minion. It is the least active class from the group and the only features that change it switch the game controls so heavily that other skills can’t be used at all, with Bokor addition the tree Sorcerer playstyle will have more support as minions don’t require other skills to work and Necromancer can be the last class on the build. Regardless, Sorcerer discussion deserves its own dedicated analysis.
Necromancer - The traditional summoning class, it can build a small army by picking from different types of minions and have them to do all the work. Agency is addressed through a debuff that amplifies minion damage, it isn’t the ideal way to take it but it’s good enough to promote action within it. It’s interesting to that Necromancer has a special synergy with channel and casting skills as those mechanics restrain the user action to apply an effect, this matches perfectly the automated nature of skeletons and is a good way to fill the class downtime without stopping the damage.
Bokor - On agency behalf this is the best class to incorporate minions into an active gameplay, Bokor minions are expendable and as such have the weakest stats on the board but the point of the class is use them through other skills instead of having them mindlessly killing enemies. As the other quantity based class this is a needed distinction in order to keep them relevant when players can’t pick both. Speaking of agency Bokor is a better contender to take on magic circles oriented classes as it can lure enemies while dealing damage with Bwa Kayiman as other summoners would remain still, not to mention it has Hexing as a valuable debuff for the tree.
With three of the group classes expelled this group lost a lot of power and relies on the shorter end of the tree. The name is quite self explanatory and they either deal with improving ally power or disabling and debuffing enemies, that said they can deal damage but that isn’t the main focus.
Chronomancer - Controlling the speed, most of what Chronomancer does is to speed up favorable processes and slow down threats. That said the skillset is dull and too situational to be useful, it needs both some polish on skills and a revision on how the class will deliver the identity. With the band aid changes taken before Re:Build patch the class will be relevant enough to be an option but still fail as a full class and that can’t be addressed without a proper rework. To put it in simple terms one of the best aspects of Chronomancer is the control capability which Cryomancer does it better and in more quantity while Psychokino is as effective and deals damage.
Alchemist - Expand item functionality and its power, this class was neglected for a long time and is back being the only completely reliable healer in the tree. There’s still quite some work to be done in it but for now it got a basic skill set that is useful. Regarding its thematics the class doesn’t need to be in Wizard tree anymore, back in the game release no other tree compatible with the class theme but this isn’t the case nowadays. Alchemy is taken as a occultistic practice but over time it was refined and branched into chemistry as a real science, the major elements of the class theme are described as pharmacy and chemical reactions which doesn’t isn’t linked to magic. Besides pharmacy and chemistry the other part of the class theme lies in herbalism (used on other games) which requires knowledge on plants, Scout is a good setup for this as its theme works with recon and intel being both important elements on the class path. It makes sense to have some branch of Scout to take samples from their field expeditions and develop chemicals to use as remedy or weapons, in fact this allows it to have the skill set expanded in unfitting directions for the current tree. The only reason to point this option is due absence of magic in the class, if Alchemist had more skills that are tied to wizardry and/or the occult it wouldn’t be possible to do such transition but as far it goes all it does is brewing and minor transmutation (which is as magical as Enchanter’s). On the mechanical side it would take healing outside Wizard tree, still available through Featherfoot, and complement the support branches of Scout as it seems to be a big attractive in it.
Cryomancer* - All about locking enemies out of action in their current position, the class does it so well that it is enough to be picked without questioning. The only competition on that regard is in Psychokino as is also a heavy control class that has consistent damage along, however it has the lower stick when taking duration into the equation.
Sage - Not a proper support class but it also doesn’t fit on any other category, along that it doesn’t communicate any identity in particular which can be an issue. The best traits of Sage are the portal mechanics and the gimmicks on duplication and magic circle enlargement, any other effect can be delivered by other class more efficiently. On pure thematics it could be possible to merge it with Chronomancer as space and time are the same thing and that solves two problems on a single blow but so far no class was removed (or merged) after the official release, additionally that wouldn’t work on the identity side. The performance of Sage is completely unpredictable as it is on the gimmicky side of classes and that doesn’t benefit it on Re:Build, not only that but most of the class value was tied on how it could complement Linker and Thaumaturge as they lacked offensive skills but that won’t be the case anymore. There are some interesting uses for the class but that is unlikely to push it in the same tier as any other offensive class, in fact it wouldn’t be surprising to have this class forgotten completely until it gets a heavy rework.
All classes in this category were moved to Scout as they acted only on the support side of magic use, this time they did made quite some impact on the thematic loss which has to be heavily adapted to work in the new tree. The major issue with these changes is how the arcane type magic won’t be part of the Wizard tree anymore, it is an unusual theme zone explored in wizardry as mages that explore the special properties of magic as in a metaphysical plane or how magic is processed. Arcane magic is one of the most mysterious as it can affect how reality works and it will be restricted (slightly) to Sage and Chronomancer killing the high wizardry fantasy from the tree, the only option that completes a build to be arcanic-esque is Psychokino as it can fit the scope but is only psychokinetic power. Linker was a major class in this line and Thaumaturge could also be interpreted as part of it (especially with skills like Reversis and Transpose), even Enchanter that has elemental connections was part of this group with Agility, Empowering and scroll crafting. All that said this is a minor loss in the grand scale of what those classes provided for the whole tree, however any player that feel like playing a wizard that isn’t tied to elements nor summons won’t have that many options to fulfill their fantasy which was supposed to be an aspect the game excels at.
Thaumaturge - Changing size of elements is an unusual feature for games to work with and this why it was part of the Wizard class, however as all swelled and shrunk elements are living beings it could be done by using chemicals, instead of arcane magic, which is something aligned with Scout’s theme. Thaumaturge needs a new costume to get it less magician like and some tweaks on the skill set.
Enchanter - Likely to be the worst offender despite being plausible for an outsider in the magical field, the issue is how the class is still tied to elements on the execution side when these should be provided as small power ups (enchantments) and the way the theme is executed it feels like adding some physical properties of a given element without applying the element itself. The only way to fix the thematic dissonance of it is to either change all skills to incorporate elements (even if only on the visual level - icon, particles, name, etc) or remove them completely, lightning is playing a major role on Scout but none of the classes has a theme that really supports it.
Linker - In Re:Build Linker will keep the same skills but the essential magic is replaced my mere chains which will regardless of explanation won’t have the same impact, along that the costume has to be reworked to fit the new tree. As a side note (as some can perceive it that way) Linker’s lesser magic is fitting for the Enchanter theme and could be taken in to have a more neutral skill (losing elemental enchants) set that is still wizardish but that would present identity issues if not addressed correctly.
There’s few alarming cases in this tree and most of the classes can survive with a band aid if they don’t hit the mark, synergy isn’t an issue and is likely never to be one which is what ensures the tree stay reasonable for a long time. It’s the only tree that can get out with a simple polishment on certain classes skills and perhaps replace some of them.
The next in the block is Archer before we conclude it with Scout, according to the Re:Build launch predictions the last segment of the tree discussion will be released in the same week as the patch. On one side this means it can resume operations but it will stay on hiatus in order to update the previous entries, hopefully it won’t take that long. Please participate in the discussion or drop a like to show your appreciation for the series.