Mirror classes

RazmaelRazmael Administrator, Immortal
edited January 2020 in Aetolia Development
We'd like to take the opportunity to clear up some of the misconceptions we've seen floating around since my little teaser about mirror classes and more officially announce our intention to proceed with this.

I want to have a massive disclaimer that we are very, very early days on this project. Everything you read here is subject to change.

What are mirror classes?
It's a class that's a complete copy of another class on a MECHANICAL level, as near as we can make it. This means the roleplay of the class and how the skills look will be completely different, and more than likely will have little to no relation to the class it was mirrored from.

Obviously there will still be similarities between the classes due to mechanics being in line with each other, for example: Mirror-Templars are going to wield a lot of weapons. Mirror-Shamans will have some sort of territory skill. Mirror-Carnifex will have a pet of some kind and use some form of polearms/hammers. But on a roleplay level, we hope to give each class their own identity.

That said, there may be some MINOR mechanical differences. For example, no amount of lore wrangling we can do will make it acceptable for someone on the Spirit tether to have skills that deal Shadow damage. In that scenario, we would probably just switch it over to Spirit damage instead.

How long has this been planned?
I've seen a lot of people tossing around the idea that this is a kneejerk reaction. That's just not true at all! We started planning draft concepts back in early 2018, and we have been considering/debating whether we should mirror classes for far longer than that. We were meant to announce it in our 2020 preview post that Tiur made, but it somehow slipped between the cracks and I simply saw an opportunity to drop it in that classlead thread.

Are you going to mirror Monk/Syssin?
At this stage, no, these two are not planned. It's something we'll consider again when all the others are done. For now, it's enough they're neutral-tethered.

Where are these classes going? Will there be new guilds?
Absolutely not on new guilds. It's likely that they will be obtainable through a tutor in the home city we decide on for the class, and not overtly tied to a guild as that narrows the scope of the roleplay we can explore with them. That said, there's precedent for a guild to have multiple classes attached to it (hi Illuminai) so we'll see! Still too early to decide on that.

Home cities? What does that mean?
It means we'll most likely tie the class to a city in some way. Anybody on the tether can pick up the class still, of course, but the roleplay ties for that class will be in its home city. It MIGHT be easier for a citizen of the home city to pick the class up (in the same vein it's easier due to home guilds) but we will see yet on this.

This also means we'll be looking at diversifying certain class niches to each of the cities. For example, the terrain classes (Teradrim/Shaman) will more than likely go to Enorian and Spinesreach respectively. Other niches we're looking at diversifying include glyphs/aegis (Ascendril/Sciomancer) and classes with lots of ents to summon (Indorani/Sentinel).

This is both to ensure that certain class playstyles are available to people in each of the four cities and also give room for deeper intertether conflict if it arises (organically, not something we currently plan to push).

Class slots will be expanded?
Yep, of course.

If all classes are mirrored, does this mean we can swap tethers without a loss in lessons?
No, as all the classes are going to be roleplay-distinct from each other, you can't swap your lessons over to them.

Release date? Are you going to release all classes at once?
Way way too early to give any details on a release date. The project is still way too conceptual at this stage.

No, the releases will be staggered. Probably in batches of one class from each side at a time, over a long period of time. This ensures we're (a) not tying up all our resources working on this, and (b) poor Keroc has time to adjust group combat to the introduction of each new mirror and deal with how things are changed up.

Why are you doing this?
There's a few reasons.

1) Tether tribalism. It exists, no use pretending it doesn't. We don't expect mirror classes to solve this, but we do expect it to soften it as the frustration and salt surrounding classleads has been a big contributor.

2) Perceived bias. Keroc can't be biased against a specific side of the game if he's nerfing a class available to everybody.

3) Business. I'll be straight up honest and not be shy about it: it's an opportunity for us to expand our product. You will have all 16 classes available to you no matter what side of the game you're on. This is good for us!

4) The majority of time sunk into new class development is (by far) balancing and coming up with mechanics in the first place. This allows us to add new classes to each side without that extra overhead, and develop more lore opportunities for characters to partake in.

How is mechanic [x] going to work in relation to [y]?
What will the mirror of [class] be?
How do you expect [z] to even work on the other side?

We could spend all day answering questions like this, so I'll cut that short and say it's too early to know and you'll have to wait and see!


  • RazmaelRazmael Administrator, Immortal
    With all that out of the way, what sort of themes would you like to see these mirror classes take up? We have rough concepts in varying stages of complexity (some just a one-liner, others far longer) but we're not fixed to anything at this stage. Maybe you will have an idea we like better than our own!

    Just don't get too attached to an idea, please! This is to let us get a feel for what you guys want, but it's also largely for fun.
  • The only thing that I can see being wonky is having both mirror shaman and teradrim on the same team at the same time and the same with spirit teradrim and shaman. Losing part of your kit to your ally feels pretty bad.

  • I'm a bit concerned because you haven't addressed the balancing nightmare at all. Ultimately Spirit classes are balanced to play along with Spirit classes and the same for Shadow classes, so opening up new combinations will lead to a lot of ridiculous interactions that were never meant to be.
  • Water based Teradrim mirror could be neat, or Ice. No one is going to like this one but Sentinel as a swashbuckler or something with the ents being like deckhands or something.

  • TiurTiur Producer
    We totally know there is a nightmare hiding there. That's why we wouldn't release a bunch all at once and blow up @Keroc .
  • RazmaelRazmael Administrator, Immortal
    edited January 2020
    Czcibor said:

    I'm a bit concerned because you haven't addressed the balancing nightmare at all. Ultimately Spirit classes are balanced to play along with Spirit classes and the same for Shadow classes, so opening up new combinations will lead to a lot of ridiculous interactions that were never meant to be.

    Well, I said we're staggering the releases so we can balance things that come up as we go. We're keenly aware that there's going to be a lot of fine tuning required when it comes to group combat.

    EDIT: darn it, @Tiur ninja'd me...
  • RijettaRijetta Nowhere Important
    I think while this plan will undoubtedly cause hiccups in balance with each initial release, it will overall lead to a less salty, more balanced stage for pk overall. No one will be frothing at the mouth to nerf "the other side" because they have easy access to anything they think is broken or unfair.

    As a comment on the themes, I would really love to see mirror classes themed heavily around cities and gods - in the past and even currently there exists gaps (and, at times, chasms) between guild and city, so having classes themed specifically for a city as opposed to being themed to a guild which is then morphed to the needs of the city will be a great boon to improve the "feel" of a city. 

    Maybe use some to add more subraces? I'm a slut for subraces. 

    And finally, let me just say I'm so excited to be able to have all three Selunic classes at once (:
    A low, sultry voice resounds within the depths of your mind, "I look forward to seeing your descent."
  • edited January 2020
    Asugazio's ideas~!

    -An Omei-based Chaos Indorani (Duiran)
    -I mean...cmon.

    -A Dragon-knight variant of Templar (Spinesreach)
    -All the weapons, but very Dragoon-esque

    -A blood-slave variant of Zealot (Utilising blood over spark - Bloodloch)
    -Manacles with blackened chains, etc.

    -Sparkivist - Spirit Archivist (Enorian)
    -Utilising their duamvi as a tool to create spirit maledictions (mutagens) upon their foes

    Spirit Archivist - BARD CLASS - @Church wins, I DONT WANT SPARKIVIST ANYMORE
    - Unravel = Power Ballad

    Ent class for Spinesreach - Tinkerer
    Little mechanical spiders, snakes, birds.......They exist in game, it also opens up an avenue for another tradeskills (More credit income *wink wink*
  • Okay whoops I guess I'm actually pretty hard for this entire idea so here are my rough concepts:
  • PhoeneciaPhoenecia The Merchant of Esterport Somewhere in Attica
    edited January 2020
    There was a period before tethering where classes that weren't normally available to one side ended up fighting on that side (Teradrim fighting on Spirit, Templar fighting on Shadow) and they ended up synergizing frighteningly well. It's not really unbalanced if everyone has the exact same table spread - just how willing/able people are to pick up multiple classes.

    In regards to theme ideas... 

    Spirit Indorani: Summoner with tarot motifs a la the Persona/Shin Megami Tensei games. I mean. Come on. It's practically begging for it. Or, y'know, go all-in with the CHILDREN'S CARD GAMES like Yugioh. Or maybe instead of pacts with Chaos entities, pacts with powerful fae creatures. 

    Spirit Carnifex: If the focus is going to be on pet-aided combat, well, Paladins had falcons before. Why not go back to that? Or for something unique, bears/lions. Falcons would more easily fit into the breeding aspect.

    Shadow Shaman: I don't know why, but I imagine something like Blighter Druids from D&D. Either that, or something like the White Walkers from Game of Thrones. Or just Shamans harnessing the corruption of Dendara or something to that effect. 

    Shadow Templar: For a weapon master class, Eldritch Knight. As opposed to being aided by powers from the spirit plane, they use some other kind of magic.

    Shadow Sentinels: Contrast the whole nature theme with artificial constructs. Tinkerer, or go more macabre with stitching together creations like Frankenstein.

    Spirit Teradrim: Geomancer/Earthbender if sticking to the use of earth element. But if the focus is on shifting terrain, it could be styled as something else (water currents, to use an example).

    Shadow Luminary: Inquisitor. Not really sure how else to describe it.

    As far as lore tie-in goes, I don't feel like EVERY mirror class ought to explicitly draw from Spirit/Shadow, otherwise it feels way too shoehorned. I'd find it way more believable that mirror classes are 'already existing' things that decide to throw in their lot with whichever city or associate with them, and 'mechanical' similarities are simply coincidental IC or deliberately invoked (splinter factions from the original guilds, etc that eventually diverged into something else entirely).

    I'm actually super excited by the idea of mirror classes because I'm a D&D nerd that loves a lot of variety. 

    I do feel like not being able to swap lessons between opposite tether mirror classes is a bit of a mistake, though. If they're mechanically identical, why shouldn't you be able to have a 1:1 lesson swap? Hell, I'll pay for a one-time use artifact that'll let me do that for a class as opposed to taking a huge lesson loss. 
  • RijettaRijetta Nowhere Important
    If you make bard tether exclusive I'll throw an actual irl tantrum.
    A low, sultry voice resounds within the depths of your mind, "I look forward to seeing your descent."
  • ArbreArbre Arbrelina Jolie Braavos
    If you make bard on the other tether, Arbre's having a quick change of morals.
  • Literally..... everyone in the game wants a Bard class of some kind....
    Let’s do it
  • Just delete the entire game and give everyone bards. Thanks
    Copperhead of the Third Spoke says to you, "Intelligence matrix in moniker Bulrok reveals above average results when compared alongside proximal presence."
  • RijettaRijetta Nowhere Important
    Bulrok said:
    Just delete the entire game and give everyone bards. Thanks
    A low, sultry voice resounds within the depths of your mind, "I look forward to seeing your descent."
  • Bulrok said:

    Just delete the entire game and give everyone bards jesters. Thanks

    (Congregation): Iosyne says, "I made a cup."

    Horkval are a feature...
  • edited January 2020
    Will there be any consideration given to adjusting the base cooldown timer on class switch alongside these changes? Realistically, I think an hour base cooldown is fine and the awesomeness of the polymath artifact still warrants the 750cr price tag if you knock it down to like aggression timer length.

    I'm (sorta) fine if you guys don't think that drastic of a change is needed but I am not the only one who thinks it's wack to be locked into one class a day without the artifact (I realize technically speaking you could be two but don't be silly, please). And even if you did adjust times, I'm still buying polymath anyways, cause it's just so nice.


    RE Lessons and class swaps:

    As a former vampire player who picked up both, Praenomen AND Bloodborn, I only have this to say.


    Whew, with that out of the way:

    We're gaining in this situation all around, already. We get new toys, new flavor, new avenues of RP, new combat strategies. Not introducing a 1:1 lesson swap on mirrored classes sounds like a bummer, but it has been a standard practice already in Aetolia (see my above comment about Prae/Bloodborn. Which I will be throwing out again when you all suffer from terrible moonlight mechanics). We're not losing anything, either, not technically. The situation stays the same, nothing transfers over now, right?
    Copperhead of the Third Spoke says to you, "Intelligence matrix in moniker Bulrok reveals above average results when compared alongside proximal presence."
  • RazmaelRazmael Administrator, Immortal
    Bulrok said:

    Will there be any consideration given to adjusting the base cooldown timer on class switch alongside these changes? Realistically, I think an hour base cooldown is fine and the awesomeness of the polymath artifact still warrants the 750cr price tag if you knock it down to like aggression timer length.

    Honestly it wasn't even really something on our radar until you brought it up, so I'm not sure yet. There's a couple of ways of resetting the cooldown (lesson cost, encephalous crystal) already, but definitely still something we can review.
  • One thing that has me curious is that for years the push was to get rid of mirrored and shared skillsets among the classes that we do have. With the release of the mage revamp we are finally at a place where we don't have classes sharing skillsets anymore. It strikes me that introducing a set of identical in all but flavor and other small differences classes is a step backwards.

    The other thing that makes me curious about this choice is the sheer cost of investing in a class to begin with. To trans a class' skills it costs approximately 830 credits. With the introduction of 12 new classes to the game will any thought be given to reducing that price of investment?

    Do we even have the player-base to support the introduction of 12 new classes to the game? Several classes are already under-represented as it is. I would imagine dropping six new classes on each side of the game would make those classes that aren't seen about even rarer.

  • The reason we pushed so hard for not-shared skillsets was due to balancing reasons for classes that were different but shared skillsets, like Monk/Zealot, Zealot/Luminary, Sciomancer/Ascendril, Praenomen/Bloodborn. Changing a skill in one of those skillsets to effect one class threatened to imbalance another. That is, as best I've understood it, the biggest reason we ever started that change.

    From my understanding now, what happens to Shadow Luminary will also happen to Actual Luminary, since mechanically they are identical, so we won't be running into the same issue as before.
    Copperhead of the Third Spoke says to you, "Intelligence matrix in moniker Bulrok reveals above average results when compared alongside proximal presence."
  • TiurTiur Producer
    edited January 2020
    So, it's not that there's an inherent problem with two skills that do the same thing in two different classes, more that they are the same.

    For instance, the idea here is to say skill X does Y blunt damage, uses Z balance, and gives affliction tacophobia (the worst of afflictions). Mirror classes would have this done by a Carnifex hitting you in the tummy so hard you have indigestion, but a Hypnofex would hit you in the head just right to adjust your phrenology just enough to make you hate tacos. Terrible.

    Completely different, but same in an okay way. 100% better than giving some class on the other side Brutality. If Carnifex gets adjusted, so do Hypnofex. Their skill messages just have completely different lore/rp.

    I'm not going to promise anything, but we are discussing class costs and investment.

    I mean, we could go anywhere. It could be Astonomyfex and they call down a meteor to bop you. Or it's a dreamofex and they adjust your psyche via nightmare invasion to make you fear tacos enough to hit yourself in the face. As long as it does X and Y, while using Z and giving the affliction, it's all fair design.
  • PhoeneciaPhoenecia The Merchant of Esterport Somewhere in Attica
    We already have multiclassing. Some people only have their guild class, others have several classes. This 'under representation' is largely combat-oriented, and the ones that are under represented are usually ones that don't mesh well with team fight tactics.

    To use the untethered classes as an example: Syssin, Monk, and Wayfarer can be used by both tethers, and I've seen a decent number of people on both sides pick them up. Spirit side? Never really see more than one or two people actively using Syssin because its usefulness in teams kind of drops off very quickly. Monk, on the other hand, has seen a fair bit of use Shadow side in the past. 

    Also, class spread tends to be more a measure of how deep your pockets go. Some people will have one or two classes, while others will have several. Guilds are kind of irrelevant as far as classes go - it's really only the ideals or RP you're there for, and a lot of guilds I've seen will have people that are in a different class from what their main guild class is supposed to be the majority of the time. 
  • LinLin Blackbird The Moonglade
    Hell yeah, Spirit-side Teradrim Gang
  • RhyotRhyot Bloodloch
    Plz 2 let have Wytch dolls now @Tiur?? :D

  • There are many positives with this change, but I would like to discuss a negative I see of everyone having access to the same classes and mechanics. It eliminates deviations. Trying new things, finding new combos, unexpected interactions. After everyone is used to it and gets through the initial experiments, for both sides the best tactics and classes will be the same and set in stone. This is the quickest way to kill someone, using these classes, these skills, this kill condition, anything else isn't worthwhile. And when combat gets heated even though I know we'd like to think we wont, I know there will be backlash against players that don't want to fight using those classes and tactics, it already happens in some heated moments.

    Making it all the same, makes the answer the same for everyone. It doesn't become about combat knowledge and experimenting, but having the least lag. I know it's already moving that way, has been for a while, but I just like unique features. Always have. All the same, cookie cutter systems just doesn't seem as fun for me personally. I know the current system has it's own negatives too it, but I honestly think I'll have more fun playing a game with unique abilities to each side then we are all the same. It relies on skill beyond just coding.

    There is appeal for sure in having more classes for both sides, and widening the class archetypes available to both sides, but that doesn't require identical mechanics. While that is definitely easier to release and to balance, it limits play. There will be classes that get 0 play. Only worth playing a few core classes. And while they all have use and could be successful one on one, combat has almost entirely shifted to group combat. And the classes do not have balanced aspects to all be equally effective in groups.
  • AeryxAeryx Docking Nipsy's pay
    Like. I want to comment on this, but I don't want to be overly negative. I will simply say that it is my opinion that making everything in these games samey is a good way to make them less interesting. So for what it's worth, I'm not a fan of this.
    Childhood's over the moment you know you're gonna die.
  • There are untold strategies and combinations still being found all these years later just in interactions between classes on the same tether. There are entire pieces of kits that go unused and unexplored. I don't really think it's a cause for concern, personally.
  • RijettaRijetta Nowhere Important
    We also have a quarterly system to change things, it it gets stale. Counterplay can always be added and tweaked.
    A low, sultry voice resounds within the depths of your mind, "I look forward to seeing your descent."
  • Utilising inherent "cheese" tactics is something that comes with any class, and anyone can do.
    Few people actually understand using the full potential of classes and the kits provided (Myself included)

    To lump all players ability, specifically in combat is silly, as we can clearly see people who utilise the same routes over and over, and those who study their class skills and maximize potential, coding complex systems and routes, that arent available with a push button in the "system of the week" that is being released.

    By no means am I a PKer or a studied combatant, but conceptually its not rocket science to see how amazing opening up those avenues in combat to both side of the games will afford an insight that has only been seen before by playing alts and being unable to invest the full time in a class, that alting/class select arena cant provide.

    So....I am all for the potentials here. We are opening up the floodgates to possibilities.
  • ZailaZaila Pacific Time
    edited January 2020
    People describing that they are concerned that this will make the sides feel more samey has me wondering if I am correctly understanding the mirror-class concept. So, I'm gonna use some made-up classes to demonstrate how I'm understanding the MirrorClass concept is supposed to work, so please critique my understanding!

    Lets pretend Druids are a Spirit-tether class with the basic combat-function of one-hand-wielding an item to use your skills.

    The Druids wield a walking-stick type staff. They control Flora and Fauna in the room. Flora and Fauna do not have to be present for them to work.
    Pretend skills:
    • Overgrowth - Takes Bal: Tapping on the ground makes a bunch of plants grow up, ensnaring your opponents' ankles and reducing their balance recovery. Lasts 10 seconds
    • BirdBarrage - Takes EQ: A special call invokes a bunch of birds in to swirl around and peck at your opponent, doing 500 piercing damage and afflicting with dizziness.
    • Felling - A channel ability that super-charges growth of a tree from seed to a rotted-out-pine. This causes the tree to fall onto whomever you've targetted, dealing a whopping 4K blunt damage and causes blackout.
    A Shadow-Side mirror class for this could be:
    Cultists. They instead wield a Cult Icon. They have more magic-flavored attacks.
    • MistSpray - Takes Bal: Raising your icon to the heavens invokes a special disorienting mind-fog, reducing your opponents balance recovery. Lasts 10 seconds
    • GhostHammer - Takes EQ A special invocation creates a ghostly hammer that swirls around and beats on your opponent - doing 500 piercing damage and afflicting with dizziness.
    • CultBlast - A channel ability that calls upon the CultMagic to build a big ball of energy that will suddenly explode over your target's head. Dealing a whopping 4K blunt damage and causes blackout.
    *edited to fix the eq/bal - I meant them to be the same on the mirrored side, whoops!
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