Ideas on how to enhance the Fighter class, give them more depth and strategy, have been gestating for a long time now. If you are familiar with End of Time, you may remember the Blitz system that were intended to be Fighters' signature ability and how, well, it fell far short of what such a system should be.
After a few weeks of brainstorming and a couple of weeks in the code, I'm happy to announce that the new Fighter system has been implemented and is now live, and that the depth went further than I had even planned on prior.
For those unfamiliar with End of Time (eotmud.com:4000), our class system works on a tiered promotion basis. You start with a selection of 4 base classes (Fighter, Thief, Knight, Mage) and then at level 50 you can "promote" to a more specialized version of the class or continue along a rather neutral path (for Fighters, they can promote to Brawler which focuses more on hand to hand combat and extra attacks, they can promote to Samurai which really focuses on becoming a weapon master type, or continue along the neutral path of Advanced fighter). Then again at level 80 (when the level cap is next raised) they will be able to specialize/promotion once again, for Brawlers they will able to choose between Monk, Berserker, or remain a Brawler, while Samurai can go Ronin, Kensai, remain Samurai, and Advanced Fighters can promote to Master Fighters. With this rewrite, Fighters can still choose to just spam bash or whatever, but there has been several new layers of depth and possibility added.
For base Fighters and all promotions, they have gained "Kamae" which is a system of battle stances that give different bonuses according to the stance used. There is no penalty or drawback for fighting in a stance. Once in a stance, the Fighter may choose to "charge" their kamae via the focus command. During the charging state, the Fighter will cease to attack but gains a bonus to their defense and evasion, and they may exit the charge at any point. At whatever point the charge has been exited, the bonus given to the Fighter will be increased based on the charge. Also at any point during the charging state, the Fighter may use any of their command attack skills (attack, bash, trip, kick, uppercut, stun) for an increased boost in damage based on how long they held the charge. If they remain in the charge until the cap is reached, then the Fighter may choose to return to fighting for the maximum kamae stance boost or if they use an attack skill while still focusing AND with the cap reached, their attack skill has the chance at another secondary effect along with the damage boost. Additionally, if an attack skill has been mastered and the character has the Kamae skill, their attack skills can take advantage of these various secondary states which consist of Wait, Daze, Prone, and Hobbled. For instance, if you meet the conditions and were to kick a dazed character then there would be higher critical hit damage if the kick were a critical, or if you uppercut a dazed opponent then they may be infliced with confuse. I could go into more detail, in the change note on the game I reference the helpfiles, but for the sake of relative brevity, I'll refrain.
The new Kamae system serves as the basis for Blitz and Bushido, which are the promotion class specializations for each… Blitz for Brawler, Bushido for Samurai (with Advanced Fighter getting a limited mixture of both).
With Blitz, the technique is performed by chaining together a series of the Kamae stances' cooldowns in a specific order. If any other cooldowns are present before or during the attempt to perform the technique, then it will fail. Blitz will automatically be learned at level 55 along with the first four Blitz techniques, and at level 70 the remaining four will be learned.
With Bushido, the Kamae charge will be able to be charged past the cap, and during the secondary charge the Samurai will enter into a state of "Zanshin" in which they will not suffer any damage and once the second cap has been reached, a Bushido manuever (based on what stance was being charged) will be performed and the Samurai will instantly take 75% of all damage that was avoided during the Zanshin state. Bushido will automatically be learned at level 55 along with the first five techniques (one for each stance). At level 70 the remaining five will be learned along with the ability to charge past the second cap. At this point, whenever the first cap is reached, there is a brief window where the Samurai may choose to charge a third time which is how the second tier of Bushido manuevers are performed. If the third charge is not taken, then after a few moments the first tier Bushido maneuver will be performed. Again, plenty more detail I could go into, but if anyone is interested in more detail, I would encourage to either ask for more specifics or come into the game and read the helpfiles.
Brawlers have also been given a couple of new skills… focus chi and mushin. Focus Chi works similar to the sabre spells that Knights get in that Brawlers may, when using hand to hand, take advantage of elemental strikes. Mushin activates a mana draining ability that allows the Brawler to take "attacks of opportunity". Both of these, especially in conjunction with the Kamae system, provides Brawlers with more options to strategize, with the focus chi ability allowing them a greater chance to play into the whole elemental aspect of the game which is a heavy aspect of the game, while Mushin will really open up to Brawlers trying to maximize the chance for additional strikes if they choose to skew their battle tactics toward such.
So far, these changes have been well received by both the testers and the few on the live port that have had a chance to experience them. If anyone had played before, these new systems entirely replace the old Blitz system that didn't really work out the way I had hoped.
The two big focuses on these round of changes are summons and the Black Wizard skill list.
To start with summons… -Cooldowns on summons are much, much lower -Summoning Sickness is now much, much shorter and affects the summons much less severe, although repeated stacking of sickness will increase sharply -Summons will now take the hits for the entire group instead of just the caster -Fleeing from someone casting a summon is considerably harder -You may now cast spells while summoning but at double the mana cost; the summons will still tank and count down toward finishing and triggering -Summon HP values are much less spread out now -Summons now take half the damage that the player they are covering would -All summons have had their damage calculations rewritten and should now be considerably more powerful
-Detect Hidden now gives a better chance for preemptive strikes, along with a chance to load all mobs in the encounter but without combat automatically happening. Any attempt to leave the room will trigger combat.
-White Wizards now have access to Detect chaos at level 67
On to Black Wizards… -The Caller skill now has its own innate benefits aside from just the mods, including the already existing quicker casting time, it now also reduces the duration and effect of summoning sickness and eases the additional mana cost while casting another spell during a summon cast. -Summon and Corpse Summon have been entirely removed from their skill list in favor of several new additions: *Level 51 - Casting Fortitude: raises casting cap, eases damage for exceeding *Level 54 - Slow: reduces AGI *Level 55 - Osmose: aborbs mp *level 59 - Weaken: reduces PWR *Level 65 - Quickening: enhances speedcast *Level 72 - Drain: absorbs hp *Level 77 - Petrify: briefly turns enemies to stone Helpfiles have been added for any of these that didn't already have them.
-All of the curses effects were previously only useful vs. PCs, so an additional set of NPC effects have been added. View the helpfile for more info. -Advanced Mages have also lost Summon and Corpse Summon but have gained osmose, quickening, and drain.
The next round of changes planned will mostly effect Thieves, as many of their skills will become much more useful thanks to changes being made in the areas themselves. This will also incorporate smarter mobs overall, which will employ some measure of strategy that can be countered by players doing the same.