Turbine released a new developer diary this week talking about the Champion. Here are some of the highlights and my thoughts.
Forming the Definitions of the Lines
The Berserker Champion, to me, served as the single target specialist. They relied on multi-strike skills to quickly whittle down their opponents. It made sense to build this line further into a single-target, crit based burst class. They may be squishier than the Martial Champion, but their ability to chew through enemies and the bonuses from killing units makes them very strong. For example, Berserkers get a passive that can proc off of their skills that adds a stacking buff that increases the critical chance and critical damage to their next Remorseless Strike Critical Hit. The Berserker could use this to burst an opponent down or they could use all their fervour on killing one enemy and when he dies, the champion is healed and instantly gains full fervour which means they can turn and then deal a huge critical hit to their next opponent to open up combat.
The red line has been a great source of DPS for the Champion. It sounds like they are planning to continue this trend by making the red line much more powerful. That makes this Champion smile.
The Deadly Storm put more of a focus on Area Effect Blade skills. To me, they felt like a whirlwind of destruction that would focus on taking down as many people as they could at once. For example, deadly storm has a passive that says every time they are hit they gain a stack of Born for Combat. At ten stacks, they gain an Area Effect skill that deals heavy damage to all enemies around them. This means the more people that are hitting the champion, the more damage they output through this passive. Combine this with the Area Effect Damage debuff from Horn of Champion, and the Deadly Storm can chew through large amounts of enemies at once.
I have always liked the storm line but I it does seem like the weakest build. I really like the idea of the more enemies you have, the more powerful you become. This could allow you to take on more enemies at a time which is exciting.
Finally the Martial Champion was unique to me because it was a tank who didn’t necessarily care about a shield or mitigating damage, they just wanted to run up to things and soak up damage. So this masochistic nature has been fully realized in the Martial Champion. They have a chance to gain fervour when struck in combat, gain damage and parry when they are crit, and have a legendary skill that makes them more powerful over time.
The martial champion has always been great at taking damage. Many people don’t give him credit but I have been the sole Champion tank on T2 in a 12-man back in the Isen days. I haven’t tired the line sense because it got a little boring but these changes do sound interesting.
When working on the trait set bonuses, it became clear that each of these lines were tied directly to the stance they had before the revamp. While we played around with figuring out a way these stances could still exist for everyone, it felt more and more like a waste of a few skills. The champion didn’t feel like it used the different stances enough and instead they sort of just felt like passives you had to turn on and leave on. So they became passives that the trees would grant a champion. Now there were some things that needed to change with them becoming passives and we have addressed them make them feel more impactful and less penalizing. Some Example of this would be removing the Parry and Evade penalties from Fervour or giving Ardour -% Power Cost for all skills per pip of Fervour they have.
Stances are now passives in each tree. That is a huge change. To make your character really good though, usually you would only have the stance you were deepest into. This could be good but I will have to wait and see.
Hybridization and skill revamp
One thing that was very important to us was to make sure that we constructed our trees in such a way that encouraged hybridization. With the champion, it was a difficult process of deciding which skills should be tied to a tree’s specialization and what should be placed in a tree for others to be able to obtain. In the end, I think we found a nice balance of skills throughout all the trees that act as low hanging fruit for others to grab. For example, if you are a berserker and feel like you are chewing through your power, you can invest into the Martial Champion tree to obtain Second Wind for a big power restore. Need some more healing? Invest further into the Martial Champion tree and grab Dire Need for a bigger heal.
Second Wind also is a good example for how some of the skills are being revamped. When working with Second Wind, the duration of the skill with the cooldown made it feel like my champion had a passive that I had to click every x seconds. So it has not been revamped to consume all fervour on the champion and instantly give the champion power back based on the number of fervour pips consumed. This adds a really fun mechanic for a specialization like the Martial Champion because if you combine Battle Frenzy, Dire Need, and Second Wind; you get this Pips to Power to Health rotation. This allows the Champion tank to manage his resources while tanking which when used right can be very powerful.
This is my favorite part of the whole diary. Why? It shows us that hybridization is viable with the skill tree system. That is something that hasn’t been really confirmed. We haven’t received any good examples until now.
While I am still worried about the changes that are being made to the Champion, I am glad they pointed out hybridization. That is a huge deal and I am glad they seem to really be thinking it out for what the player wants instead of what they think we want. Overall I think there is definitely potential with the Champion changes. I can say now that some of my worries are gone.
What do you think of the changes coming to the Champion?