As I talked about in the previous update, I've been working a lot on improving the classes by making their skills more fun and interesting to use.
This week, I've been taking a closer look at the Templar class.
The Average Paladin
The Templar was actually a very solid class, but there was a pretty big problem with it - it was too generic. She was basically your average RPG Paladin, using holy spells to damage, heal, and shield.
While most skills are unique in design, the concept wasn't, and it felt like I was following some template of what an RPG class should be rather than making my own.
So... I removed some skills I found to be boring and started brainstorming what could possibly make her more unique and at the same time more fun to play.
Looking over the existing skills, there was one who sparked an idea; the Thunderstrike skill.
The Templar is all about divine justice and protecting the weak. While "Holy" type skills do that quite well, they don't exactly cover the wrath-of-the-gods bit. But Lightning does. I removed the boring Whirlwind skill (I hadn't even named it properly yet, it was just a circular strike) and added in a skill I named Discharge in its place. Discharge creates several lightning orbs, travelling outwards from the Templar in a random direction, striking with lightning arcs at nearby enemies and objects repeatedly.
Not only is it a lot of fun to use it, but it looks very cool too! I upgraded the visuals of lightning arcs greatly while working on this skill, so it turned out very well.
I also decided to do some visual updates on the Thunderstrike skill, and to shuffle around the skills in the skill tree a bit. Discharge is fun but too much power for level 1, so I put Thunderstrike as a level 1 skill, due to it's simplicity. Now that we have two powerful lightning skills for damage, I was quite satisfied with that. As you only have 3 active skills at a time, there was no point in making three viable lightning damage skills. However, some of the passive skills needed change, and there was one in particular that I never could balance right. Good on paper, too powerful in practice.
What this skill did was to cause the Shield Throw (shield is thrown; bounces between targets) skill to deal a small area damage upon bouncing off a target, and the Blessing (heal skill) to also cause damage while healing. Stacking this effect with Shield Maiden (which makes all shield-based skills deal extra damage) made the Shield Throw a far superior skill, and having a melee oriented class' strongest skill be a ranged one is just bad.
So I created Thundering Retribution instead. What this skill does is to increases the damage of Thunderstrike and Discharge, and at the same time gives the effect of the Chain Lightning weapon enchant, giving all attacks a chance to cause chain lightning.
Simple, but effective!
But Wait, There's More
Satisfied with the new lightning portion of the class, I took a look on some of the holy skills, and found two in particular that needed change or removal.
First up was the Holy Light skill. What it did was to cause all enemies inside an illuminated area to take damage repeatedly for its duration. It didn't look very good, and it was boring a too bland, so I started experimenting with other ideas and finally came up with something cool. First off, I changed the visuals. It had to be more clear where the skill would do damage, so I made it draw a big circle with holy symbols to represent the area of damage. Then there was the random light beams and sparkles going on all over the place - it looked very ugly. The sparkles were removed and the light beams were changed to only draw on top of any targets inside the circle, as if they were specifically targeted and burned with holy light.
But the largest change was how the skill dealt damage.
I decided that just causing damage with intervals was too boring and it was also problematic with fast enemies being able to pass through the area before the next tick, avoiding damage entirely.
So instead any enemies caught in the area of effect will start to spawn Holy Bolts that'll seek out any random target within a clear line of sight and damage that target instead. If there are no targets, it'll damage itself instead, of course. This made the skill much more interesting and potentially much more effective as you'd damage up to two enemies per enemy stuck in the effect.
And finally there was one more skill. It was so bad, it just had to go. What it did was, when used, it would cause all friendly targets who remained stationary to take x% less damage. A hold-your-ground kinda skill.
While useful at times, it certainly wasn't any fun to use, and given that most people will play this game in Singleplayer, it was starting to look rather useless.
Taking inspiration from the recent changes to the Warlock class, I decided to add a very powerful panic/nuke skill. This skill will make a percentage of your damage dealt heal you and all friendly targets for its duration, as well as increasing all your skills by up to 10 ranks. Yes, it temporarily boosts all your skills as many ranks as the skill itself is, and with the max rank being 10 (not counting item/buff bonuses), that's a big increase. Stacking this skill with a set of Legendary quality items (very rare) I managed to get a skill all the way up to rank 29. Pretty sweet, and it really does work well without being too overpowered due to how skills scale. I did, however, give this skill a longer cooldown.
I named this skill Ascension.
The skill currently has no good animation, much like the Warlock transformation skill mentioned in the previous update, but I'm working on a design that will change the whole player sprite and all animations temporarily, making you feel very powerful indeed.
Other than the Templar, I've been adding some more stats & enchants, for example allowing you to extend the durations of buffs and increase the powerful of health and mana pickups.
I'm also planning on adding elemental power and defence stats, but I'm not sure when I'll implement that - might be post EA release, as I have many item and skill system updates planned. I've also been doing a ton of GUI tweaks, general polishing, and bug squashing. With Chapter two in the works, I'm well on my way to EA release.
The next time I'll be taking a look at the Berserker class, among other things.
Stay tuned for more updates!