Howdy Everyone, Thomas “Blixtev” Blair here! The time has come, as it does every few months to talk about the next class in the production pipeline as it nears the finish line!
Today I am happy to reveal the basic powers kit of… the Cleric!
Whoa, Cleric! What happened to the Assassin?
Yeah, I know, things shifted and that’s going to annoy some of you. When we started the implementation work of the splitting archetypes into races and class, it was very apparent that the animators and engineers would be even more oversubscribed than normal. Not only was there a mountain of existing animations to transfer to the new races, but also a considerable amount of code needed to be touched and written to make the server and client understand what the heck a race and class is.
So I called an audible and pivoted the team to a class that could be built out using existing powers tech. (It also didn’t hurt that we were able to repurpose some powers from the Legionnaire archetype.) I am really happy we are at the point where our powers technology is mature enough that we can make a massive variety of different and cool powers without having to ask for a piece of custom code every time we make a new power! But unfortunately, the Assassin class just doesn’t fit that mold. Some things still take time.
For you Assassin fans: have no fear! As soon as the animators and engineers free up from current tasks we will be able to get the class back in the pipeline and finish the features and animations we need to make it great!
Back to the Cleric!
As with the previous classes, the standard caveats apply: We are still building this class, so things are liable to change. In fact, they are almost guaranteed to change!
Before we start, let’s review some of the development basics we use on Crowfall.
OUR APPROACH: MINIMUM VIABLE POWERS
We have been building each class with what we think would be a ‘minimum viable power’ kit for that class to be useful and fun in combat. This means that the current list isn’t final, and some of the powers might even jump to other class (or be cut entirely!) as we continue development.
We are leaving ourselves room on the powers tray for the player to eventually slot additional combat powers (i.e. the ones that the player will acquire via disciplines, advantages or class promotions).
In other words, don’t freak out about anything at this stage!
Each new power we build often has a set of new (and different) components that would be useful not only in the construction of that particular power, but that would also open up a new area of design discovery. The goal is to build reusable elements that we can repurpose in other powers for other classes. We have really hit full stride with this goal as the Cleric is the first class we have built that required 0 new tech to build.
As part of splitting the archetypes into races and classes we knew it was time to retire the Legionnaire archetype. In the early days of Crowfall we built a Tank and a DPS Archetype first, and needed a Support style character. Since the Centaur was the next character rig we were building, we ended up marrying the concept of a melee healer to that Centaur body. It wasn’t ideal as everyone had in their head that a Centaur should thematically lend itself to being be a great Tank or DPS character, you don’t think of these guys as strict for “support”. This is one of those decisions that you make in early development, hoping that you will have a chance to go back and change it later. (If we were building Crowfall in the traditional game development method, players wouldn’t have ever gotten to see the Legionnaire, he would just be something we mentioned about in retrospectives. “In the early days, the Centaur was a Healer!”)
In this case, we had an opportunity to do exactly that. When evaluating what classes we wanted after breaking the archetypes into races and classes, some things fell away immediately: the “Legionnaire” theme was peeled away as a cultural element (attached to Centaurs, not Clerics) and the squad-leader assumption went with it. We also know many players can struggle with the healing playstyle of the Druid. Based on this we needed was an easy to play, ranged, healing, buffing, along with the sturdiness to take a severe beating. (As they would no doubt be the focus target in any fight.) This led us to a very canonical plate wearing, hammer-and-shield wielding Cleric. Frankly, now that we have him, the class line-up feels better as a result.
There are some elements from the Legionnaire that we wanted to keep. You will find some echoes of the Legionnaire powers in the Clerics kit. (Such as the active group resource restore.)
When designing the powers one of the goals was to give the Cleric some offensive options to a kit full of healing and buffing powers. With all the tech work we did for disciplines we can now grant classes more powers than they can loadout into their power tray by default. This is important because it enabled us to give the Cleric some offensive power options to potentially swap out some of their mostly support-style powers. This makes for some really exciting options based on the needs of your group.
As part of the Cleric implementation we are also balancing the Support classes to have very high amounts of baseline Support Power when compared to the Tanks, DPS’rs or Specialists. This will ensure healing powers activated by a Support class will always heal for much more than heals activated by a Tank, DPS or Specialist. (Unless of course those Tanks, DPS’rs or Specialists take healing disciplines and have Support Power equipment. As will always be the case going forward: Disciplines can change almost anything.)
Enough musings, onto the Cleric!
The Cleric class will be available to the following races: Human, Stoneborn, Half-Giant, Centaur, and Guinecean. (More after launch, you ask? Probably!)
CLERIC POWER RESOURCE
The Cleric uses a very familiar type of resource at this point, Mana! This will round our number of mana users to 3 : Cleric, Confessor and Frostweaver.
IFRAME - SOUL - ULTIMATE POWER
We also tend to call these powers an “Oh Sh..” power, which tend to be long re use and tend to be over the top offensively or defensively. Each class has access to one power of this type.
The Cleric has 2 options for ultimate powers.
- Miracle, which is an instant group Heal with a lingering Critical Hit Chance buff.
- Divine Order is a 15 second buff that converts all Support Power into Attack Power, causes Spirit Hammers to chain to multiple targets. Additionally, every 6 seconds it will also stun the first target hit with a Spirit Hammer. When a Cleric pops this you want to avoid their hammers at all costs!
PASSIVE POWERS AND RETALIATE
Every Crowfall class gets a class-specific Retaliate passive power that can only be used when stunned or knocked down. This power, when activated, will leap the character back to their feet from the stunned or knocked-down state and will then generally deal damage to everyone in the area.
Retaliate powers are treated like a hidden combo, so the player never sees it on their powers bar… the button to activate it only appears when you are stunned or knocked down. The cooldown is lengthy, so you might have to eat a full stun or knockdown in some cases, if crowd control immunity hasn’t kicked in on you yet.
The Cleric’s retaliate power is a leap to their feet that also applies a Barrier buff which absorbs damage for up to 6 seconds, or the barrier’s maximum damage absorption amount is reached.
Also granted to the Cleric is a Passive power Hushed Prayer, which is a permanent reduction to being critically hit from others by 15%.
As a reminder, passive powers are loaded out in the Powers UI, and these powers automatically activate based on do what they are supposed to do without the player really having to do anything! As a baseline each player may load out up to 3 passive powers.
Sprint is technically a passive ability, but we don’t display it on the power bar. If the player is in combat mode, depressing the shift key will increase the speed of the character (currently by 30%) and rapidly drains their stamina bar.
LEFT AND RIGHT CLICK POWERS
The left-click power for the Cleric throws a Spirit Hammer which has a maximum 20m range, which is the main source of damage in the base Cleric kit. The range of this attack can be modified by all distance increasing stats.
The right-click power is Block which reduces all damage, (as all blocks do) however based on the amount of damage of each hit, the Cleric will also restore Health to their entire group. Hits over a certain threshold which we call ‘big hits’, restore an extra amount of Health but drain an additional amount of the Cleric’s mana. While Blocking, this power also drains the Cleric’s mana (instead of normal block stamina) each tick.
THE POWERS BAR
Let’s look at the Cleric’s baseline power bar in detail.
The first power in the powers tray is Hand of the Gods, which uses a ground targeting reticle and will apply a root to all targets in the area.
The next power is Tend Wounds. This power applies a Heal over Time to a friendly target up to 20m away as well as a Heal over Time to the Cleric.
A Holy Symbol can be placed on the ground via a ground target reticle, which will heal friendly players who walk near it. The healing can also chain to other nearby friendly players. The symbol will last 10 seconds or until it has healed a certain amount of times.
Illuminate will restore class specific resources to group members within 50m as well as a short duration Heal over Time to group members. This is really great to use if your group members are struggling with their resource regeneration rates.
Flash of Light will deal a small amount of damage as well as Blind a target up to 20m away.
The next two powers utilize the Toggle Power tech and are very similar to Bard Songs with some tweaks. The basic rules for Auras:
- The always take 2 seconds to activate,
- Aura Powers are active until canceled,
- Will be shut off if the caster is hit with what we consider a ‘Hard Crowd Control’ (Stun, Knockdown), Activating an Aura will cancel any other Aura. (Meaning you can only have 1 active at a time)
Two Clerics would be required to keep a group buffed with both Auras.
- Holy Aura will give the group a buff which increases their maximum Health by 20%.
- Vengeful Aura will give the group a buff which increases their Attack power by 200.
As sad as it was to see the Legionnaire archetype go away, it is cool to see the Cleric class rise from the ashes! The Cleric class will provide an awesome base kit for any player interested in playing a sturdy Support. The Cleric has a great base powers kit, but swap out powers with discipline powers to make even more sturdy, or offensive, or support. Really cool block which heals!
We can’t wait to see the Cleric in action. As always, excited to hear your thoughts and ideas – and see you in game!
Thomas “Blixtev” Blair
Design Lead, ArtCraft Entertainment