Sentinel Preview, part 2

ValdusValdus Member, Immortal Posts: 230 Immortal
edited October 2013 in Aetolia Development
Hello everyone!

As part of our promised weekend shinies, today I'd like to bring you a brief glimpse at the revamped Sentinel class. I know it's been anticipated anxiously for months now; the timeline on these changes has not quite been up to the standards we'd like, but in the months leading up to the final skill sets, we've seen numerous changes to both our combat code behind the scenes, and our ranged code in particular, to help us ensure that this implementation is something cleaner and more usable than past releases. We anticipate that the Sentinel skills will be available within the next week or two for the liaison arena to test, and beyond that, we are exploring options and ideas for 'beta testing' the class. Time will tell what we'll do there.

Anyway, onward to the changes!

One of the major problems that Sentinels have suffered from in the past is a loss of versatility and adapatability that we felt was a necessary cornerstone for the class' niche. Though Dhuriv removed numerous bottleneck abilities and concentrated the Sentinel offense into a hybrid affliction and damage role, overall the effect was lackluster and cornered Sentinels into a role where too many factors affected their viability. In particular, quickfoot and darts presented a situation where their affliction rate dramatically varied, making individual effects difficult to balance. Combined with their massive, unfocused affliction spread, the class was in particular need of refinement.

To this end, we're happy to talk about the new Sentinel skills. The first, Dhuriv, saw the fewest changes, given how many options the skill and concept had already provided. We know people have lamented the loss of quickfoot, so the first thing you'll notice is that dhuriv is noticeably faster. It does not quite reach the threshold that other classes may have in direct affliction speed, but there is a wide spread of options designed to complement their other skills. In particular, Overlay has been removed, and several of the abilities that saw very little practical use have been redesigned to accomodate some of the more necessary afflictions from that ability.

You possess the following abilities in Dhuriv:
Collect              Collect a staff of your choice.
Assemble             Turn your staff into a deadly dhurive.
Combo                Refine your timing.
Resting              Regain your energy through meditation.
Nimble               Stay on your feet better.
Coat                 Apply deadly venoms to your dhurive.
Flexibility          Escape entangling messes.
Riposte              Strike again if they parry.

You can use the following initial attacks:
Slash                Cut into your foe with your blade.
Blind                Obscure their vision with a bleeding wound.
Twirl                Confuse your foe with swift motions.
Strike               A forceful stunning attack.
Reave                Strip their defenses away.
Trip                 Tangle their legs up.
Crosscut             Slice into the veins of your enemy.
Ambush               Charge your foe from nearby.
Weaken               Exhaust your foe's agility.
Slam                 Batter their head with the side of your blade.

You can follow up your first blow with these attacks:
Stab                 A quicker second jab.
Slice                Induce heavy bleeding with your blow.
Thrust               A deep thrust with massive damage.
Disarm               Disarm your enemy.
Heartbreaker         Pierce your opponent's heart.
Slit                 Make them breath- and speechless.
Throatcrush          Smash their throat into uselessness.
Gouge                A deep strike to the head.
Whirl                Spin your blade for a delayed strike.

You can use the following single attacks:
Flourish             An unbalanced strike against a foe.
Pierce               Target their legs and make one useless.
Sever                Severely damage an arm.
Spinecut             Sever their spine.
Impale               Bury your blade in your opponent.
Dualraze             Remove an opponent's protective auras.
Gorge                Strike your opponent in the belly.


  • ValdusValdus Member, Immortal Posts: 230 Immortal
    Woodlore has been redesigned from the ground up, and the traps abilities have been split into a second skill that I will discuss shortly. Furthering their role as guardians of the forests, Sentinels have received numerous new abilities to interact with the environment and one another. Some of these enhancements include incorporating messages and directions only other Sentinels can read, setting up campfires and campsites to lend bonuses themselves and allies, and interacting with the trees themselves. Of course, Sentinels would not be the class they are without an animal entourage to back them up, and you'll find that they now have 12 different companions to call upon - though they can only use up to four at once. Individually, these minions are a bit tougher and have a greater effect on combat, including some affliction contribution; others can even e used as mounts with individual properties and abilities that Sentinels may have missed.

    You possess the following abilities in Woodlore:
    Hide                 Conceal yourself in the shadows.
    Signal               Call across an area to your kin with the voice of the wild.
    Climbing             Clamber up into the trees with ease.
    Hardiness            Your time in the wilderness has hardened both spirit and body.
    Barkskin             Make your skin tough like bark.
    Coagulation          Use your knowledge of healing to reduce bleeding.
    Wildmark             Leave your mark in the depths of the wild.
    Conceal              Naught but a wisp of shadow from the wood.
    Foreststriding       Walk the woodland with the stride of the rangers.
    Calling              Summon up to two companions to aid you in your hunt.
    Refresh              Rouse your wearied body with a surge of strength.
    Tent                 Protect yourself from the elements.
    Campfire             Build a campfire to soothe the body and soul.
    Fitness              Controlling your breathing.
    Entourage            Lead up to three companions at a time.
    Mount                Great beasts will bear your weight in the hunt.
    Grasping             Bind yourself to a tree to prevent movement.
    Thornspray           Attack your enemies with a flurry of flying thorns.
    Lifesap              Leech from the spilled blood of others.
    Instinct             The forest is your domain and your senses are heightened within.
    Rejuvenate           Return life to blighted land.
    Vitality             An adrenaline rush to heal your body.
    Campsite             Expand your hunting ground into a fortified campsite.
    Track                Order a loyal companion to track down your prey.
    Camouflage           Hide your companions from the watchful gaze of others.
    Opportunity          The watchful hunter strikes at the first sign of weakness.
    Company              Surround yourself with forestal allies.

    You may summon the following companions:
    Badger               A vicious predator that will drain your enemies of blood.
    Weasel               Call a weasel to your aid, capable of shredding defenses.
    Nightingale          A beautiful bird that will protect you and your companions.
    Raven                Throw your foes off balance with the raven's swoop.
    Bear                 Call upon a forest bear to block all passage.
    Raccoon              A crafty beast that will pull curatives from your foe's hand.
    Elk                  The mighty elk will leap over any obstacle.
    Gyrfalcon            Summon an enormous gyrfalcon to rip your foes to pieces.
    Raloth               Charge into battle upon a sturdy raloth and trample all in your path.
    Crocodile            Summon a powerful crocodile to tear their body apart.
    Icewyrm              The legendary icewyrm will freeze your enemies in place.
    Cockatrice           A mythical beast inspiring insanity in your foes.

  • ValdusValdus Member, Immortal Posts: 230 Immortal
    edited October 2013
    Finally, Tracking is the tactical skill of the Sentinels - in this, we've expanded upon their ability to use traps, and introduced the concept of using a hunter's crossbow in their pursuit. In addition to possessing a myriad of abilities to deliver their powerful bolts, the Sentinel may distill plant matter to form organic resins, which will stick in their foe on hit. By stacking these resins, the Sentinel can prepare a burst of afflictions (and, of course, fire) by igniting the resin. This skill allows the Sentinel to adapt to any situation - between traps and bolts, a skilled Sentinel will be able to keep their affliction pressue and control up in situations where other classes would have to chase or ambush. We look forward to seeing what contribution this skill makes to group combat in particular, where the spirit side may have seen some limited options in their ranged pursuits. This skills' successes (and downfalls) will be watched very closely so that can we can assess its impact and what direction to take both this and similar skills down the road.

    You possess the following abilities in Tracking:
    Crossbows            Use the hunter's weapon of choice to destroy your prey.
    Quivers              Quickly retrieve resin-coated bolts from your quiver.
    Shoot                Mark your target and strike them with a bolt.
    Envenom              Rapidly apply venoms to uncoated bolts.
    Quickshot            A rapid, though clumsy shot at close range.
    Scent                Seek out the scents of those nearby.
    Fireshot             Ignite resins on a distant target.
    Heavyshot            A dense bolt can knock enemies off of their feet.
    Precision            Dexterity and reflexes allow pinpoint precision.
    Gauntlets            Mount your weapon on a gauntlet for ease of use.
    Powershot            Strike a target with a stunning blow from an adjacent location.
    Masking              Cloak your scent with a mixture of herbs.
    Eagleeye             Snipe your enemies from distant treetops.
    Sweepshot            Enact retribution on those who would knock you to the ground.
    Preysense            Quickly discern the location of those bearing your mark.
    Dropshot             Descend from the treetops upon an unlucky foe.
    Alacrity             Master your weapon and barrage your foe rapidly.

    You can use the following resin abilities:

    Resins               Prepare pitch by distilling plantlife and inks.
    Combust              Instantly ignite resins in your presence.
    Pyrolum              A simple resin that releases toxic fumes when burnt.
    Harimel              A slow-burning resin that sticks to the skin.
    Glauxe               An adhesive resin that becomes more toxic as temperatures rise.
    Badulem              An unpredictable resin that mimics venoms.
    Trientia             A thin resin that ignites at a moment's notice.
    Lysirine             A resin with a pleasant and sleep-inducing aroma.
    Corsin               A heavy resin that barely burns, but hardens rapidly.

    You can use the following trap abilities:
    Traps                Discern the presence of traps in your location.
    Disarming            Quickly take traps apart for later use.
    Noose                Catch your prey in an entangling trap.
    Launcher             An unlucky step will send your foe flying.
    Incendiary           An explosive trap that ignites resins.
    Clothesline          A razor sharp wire that slices your foes to pieces.
    Spikes               Rows of spikes leave unlucky foes in agony.
    Darts                Pierce your foe with twin poisonous darts.
    Smokescreen          Take cover beneath smoke when your foe arrives.
    Catapault            Send your victim flying across the area.
  • IllinianIllinian Member Posts: 9
    Can't wait to see it in action, looks like a lot of really useful changes for the Sentinels!
  • IvolnIvoln Azvosh RakarMember Posts: 111 Immortal
    These guys did a bang-up job with the new skills, and I can't wait to see how the thematic changes influence Sentinel roleplaying. My favorite skill is Signal!
  • ValdusValdus Member, Immortal Posts: 230 Immortal
    edited October 2013
    Ivoln cups His hands around His and lets forth a series of birdcalls.
    A chirping birdsong drifts through the area.
    You recognize a signal hidden within the birdsong:
    Caw, caw, caw!
  • DaskalosDaskalos Credit Whore Extraordinare Rolling amongst piles of credits.Member Posts: 1,516 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Will it be possible to understand birdsongs while in other classes even if you have it, akin to the way lycan speak works?



    Message #17059 Sent By: Oleis           Received On: 1/03/2014/17:24
    "If it makes you feel better, just checking your artifact list threatens to crash my mudlet."

  • AngweAngwe I'm the dog that ate yr birthday cake Bedford, VAMember Posts: 978 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The loss of overlays makes me very nervous. I just hope that the Dhuriv abilities supplementing our loss of affliction capability aren't bogged down by the regrettable tendency to make them always target a limb. Much worse, always target the same limbs as several of the other skills, making fighting a Sentinel simply a matter of 'shield until they're in room, parry head until x and then parry torso, rinse repeat'.
  • XiuhcoatlXiuhcoatl Member Posts: 248 ✭✭✭
    Now is there anyway to mix the mighty cockatrice with the fabled goblin, perhaps into a superior cockgoblin? All the mighty powers of the cockatrice with the fabled sword wielding abilities of the goblin? 
  • JensenJensen Corruption's Butcher Member Posts: 1,821 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Angwe said:
    The loss of overlays makes me very nervous. I just hope that the Dhuriv abilities supplementing our loss of affliction capability aren't bogged down by the regrettable tendency to make them always target a limb. Much worse, always target the same limbs as several of the other skills, making fighting a Sentinel simply a matter of 'shield until they're in room, parry head until x and then parry torso, rinse repeat'.

    It looks like with the new skills and especially the new ents that you won't need one trick pony a throat crush in order to get ahead. Instead it looks like you have multiple avenues to mix tactics depending on who you're fighting. Also the skills finally reflect the duiran ranger aspect. Looks pretty interesting from my stand point
  • IrruelIrruel Member Posts: 670 ✭✭✭✭
    Looks interesting. I'd like to reiterate Angwe's caution about the limb targeting bit, with an additional concern though.

    Dhuriv affs delivered by special moves rather than venom, all seem to be on a longer balance than if a venom were used. In the case of something like destroyed throat, this is understandable, but if the affliction is intended to be used in an attrition way, i.e. supplementing the usual venom stacks, then this is a crippling thing.

    The other thing is, without fully understanding the woodlore and tracking skills, it is difficult to say whether dhuriv is "enough" or not, but while a large number of overlay affs were unnecessary, many were pivotal. I'm going to list a few just in case:

    1. Impatience: dealing with focus
    2. Hypochondria: a better kelp stack
    3. Ginseng stack: an entirely different unfocusable herb stack
    4. Epilepsy: an OP aff, but supplementing the goldenseal stack on top of impatience
    5. Indifference: better than anorexia, more accessible than destroyed-throat.
    6. Ash stack: situationally helpful to protect confusion when going for spinecut

    I'm not saying that losing all of that is a bad thing, or that tracking/woodlore cannot or will not make up for it. Having those affs is at least in part responsible for dhuriv needing to be slowed down, and this is my point:

    I'd really rather not see dhuriv sped up again in the future, if it is discovered that they just can't quite kill people. So please, when the day comes, if dhuriv is found lacking please consider adding an aff or two back in rather than increasing the speed of slash/stab?

  • HaernHaern Member Posts: 969 Immortal
    ABs are subject to change. (I'm currently making them look nicer)
  • JensenJensen Corruption's Butcher Member Posts: 1,821 ✭✭✭✭✭
    It sounds like the ents do limb damage now, would be interesting to see how that pairs with dhuriv limb attacks, also if slice speed is back up near quick foot that makes bleeding back on the table. Only allowing 3 ents but making them stronger was a really cool way to vary the tactics and allow variation against different strategies/situations.
  • SeirSeir Seein' All the Things Getting high off your emotionMember Posts: 992 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2013
    Huh. Sentinels can leave messages on the ground now, eh? Welp, I know which messages I'm leaving everywhere:

  • TozToz Member Posts: 2,494 ✭✭✭✭✭
    'Try jumping'

    Arbre-Today at 7:27 PM

    You're a vindictive lil unicorn

    Lartus-Today at 7:16 PM

    oh wait, toz is famous

    Karhast-Today at 7:01 PM

    You're a singularity of unicorns awfulness Toz
  • IvolnIvoln Azvosh RakarMember Posts: 111 Immortal
    Thank god you can't actually leave them on the ground. Rather, think of it as an area-wide (and much more obvious) version of Syssin Signing. It's basically a concealed YELL.
  • AngweAngwe I'm the dog that ate yr birthday cake Bedford, VAMember Posts: 978 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Will the stun from Powershot be long enough to capitalize off of in 1v1 situations?

    Also, despite my dour questioning and doubting, I'm still every bit as


    as y'all surely expected me to be.
  • FerrikFerrik Member Posts: 189 ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2013
    Valdus said:
    Crocodile            Summon a powerful crocodile to tear their body apart.
    Oh why HELLO there!

    Excuse me, just passing through, don't mind me.

    ( Seems like Ferrik will be making more friends! :D )

    Edit - Also:
    Valdus said:
    Ivoln cups His hands around His <Ohello missing something> and lets forth a series of birdcalls.
    A chirping birdsong drifts through the area.
    You recognize a signal hidden within the birdsong:
    Caw, caw, caw!
    So Sentinels will now be Hunger Games contestants? o.O
  • MoireanMoirean Chairmander PortlandMember Posts: 5,612 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Haha I was thinking the EXACT same thing.
  • IrruelIrruel Member Posts: 670 ✭✭✭✭
    That's my (new) excuse for not rejoining >.>
  • ValdusValdus Member, Immortal Posts: 230 Immortal
    Overlays really did need to be removed, and a lot of the interpretations here have pretty much hinted at the reason why. Giving a class access to virtually every stackable herb affliction through a single offensive route (in this case, slash/stab), leaves remarkably little room for any other options or routes, because for an affliction class, it's always going to come down to speed and ease of delivery. With overlay in its current incarnation, there's no way we can flesh out dhuriv, because the fastest option can already deliver nearly every essential affliction. Same goes for entities, who couldn't have any real impact on combat without pushing Sentinels over the edge. And for ease of use with traps - darts trap was already a nightmare to deal with for the same reason.

    We've tried to preserve the most vital afflictions from overlay (most of what @Irruel listed in his post is there, in fact), and for the gaps that are remaining, hopefully we'll identify and address those before liaisons are finished and the class is set for release. There are a few abilities that aren't really explained well here, but I'll just give this tidbit: beyond their passive effects, many of the pets also have active effects that will help bridge the gap. The 'Opportunity' ability will highlight this when your pets spot chances to do special attacks, and the Dhuriv 'Flourish' ability allows you to deliver a targeted venom attack off equilibrium - its role is likely easy to postulate.

    Sentinels have more than one unique way of talking to other Sentinels. For now, you're required to be in the class for that to function, but it's something we're willing to consider changing down the road.

    Powershot shares a lot of similarities with the old axe throw and stun functionality. I'm really keen on letting players experiment with these situational/placement options and see what sticks, and what needs to be tweaked to find a good spot.

    Entities do not do limb damage, and dhuriv's limb damage capabilities have not really been improved on. There are a LOT of limb damage classes in the game, and frankly I don't think Sentinels will need it on top of everything else they'll be able to do - it's enough to hinder someone by raining bolts on them and tripping up traps, without also holding them down with endless breaks. That isn't to say there isn't a good use for what limb damage they do have, but it's certainly not a pivotal role for the class.

    However, because of what I just said, if targeted attacks for afflictions really run into problems with smart parrying, we're much more keen to find ways around that without having to worry about the implications of a powerful limb offense.

    Those of you who loathe new afflictions will be happy to know that there is only one new affliction that Sentinels will have in their possession, and it's a tough one to pull off at that - with certain resin combinations, Sentinels can melt the skin off of your body when the flames get too hot. Not having skin is pretty bad news for salves.
  • DamonicusDamonicus Member Posts: 616 ✭✭✭✭
    I love the new skills and was a bit concerned overall. But, those concerns washed away after reading more about the class. Hopefully this will become the standard for all classes. I've been saying since I was a sentinel we needed a way to block, now that they can. They can also do the sneaky hunter attack and trap the room, leave and just crossbow away while the ents play with their enemy.  The different avenues of possible combat make it quite appealing to at least role an alt. :)

  • ValdusValdus Member, Immortal Posts: 230 Immortal
    edited October 2013
    As an addendum since I've picked up a few questions of confusion from within the game:

    A) Darts trap is no longer the same functionality. Every trap is now a one-off or short term periodic effect that does not persist if the opponent moves; the new darts trap will only be firing a few darts before expiring.

    B) Most resins will not expire unless the target scrubs it off in the presence of water or through a similar means. We will likely look at making these aggressive actions (if they aren't already) to prevent someone from barricading themselves in a lake and endlessly scrubbing.

    C) The ranged offensive options will not be potent enough to take down a competent opponent by itself. The threat of resins, traps wherever you turn, and a highly manueverable forestal with a bladed staff in hand is meant to be the real danger.

    D) Timing, setting, setup, and capitalizing on curing orders will be the game Sentinels are playing. Again, without revealing specifics, even without (old) darts Sentinels will reach the highest affliction-per-second rate in the game - if done properly, and only within certain windows of opportunity. If you expect to be able to hammer on a macro or two, even with affliction tracking, you're probably not going to get very far. It's going to be about knowing how to use all of your tools at the right time to the right effect, and knowing how your opponent will respond.
  • SeirSeir Seein' All the Things Getting high off your emotionMember Posts: 992 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2013
    Well, a lot of my fears have been alleviated. Has the mechanics behind traps been changed at all? One of the problems currently is that which most "room-based" offenses face in people that just refuse to come and face you because of your passives in the room, thus they negate your advantage in you having to go to them.

    Case in point: Someone who will go unmentioned refused to come and fight me when I was in Sentinel in the Hunting Grounds because I had darts up, so they just ran around.
  • ValdusValdus Member, Immortal Posts: 230 Immortal
    edited October 2013
    Well, if they don't want to come into your room for fear of hitting traps, you can just convince them with a few crossbow bolts in the face. If they're still playing hard to get, tracking Combust is a free action to get your resins burning without losing any momentum when you charge into the room.
  • MoireanMoirean Chairmander PortlandMember Posts: 5,612 ✭✭✭✭✭
    To add on to that, if someone has good curing or is tanky, they can often just IGNORE the traps. Ents are similar and the entire thing is very tricky to balance - they are either OP against middling fighters, or basically pointless against top-tier people. It sounds like more active effects will help with this - are traps still going to be based on room entry/exit, and if so will Sents get a better way to force moment? Ideally, something that requires a setup, so it can't just be an OP option for team fights, but is ideal to use once you have someone mildly behind so you can get traps working as well. Alternatively, let the Sentinel choose when the trap activates, I guess? At least with older Sentinels, without a way to force people into traps or control activation, you had to build the offense around the trap itself as an opener leading your attacks (with the initial offense focused on moving a target), versus an option to augment what you currently have been building up.
  • ValdusValdus Member, Immortal Posts: 230 Immortal
    edited October 2013
    A lot of those questions are going to come down to how players choose to use the skills, and what we see in testing. What we're starting with is a pretty good kit of abilities and options, and we have some ideas for how players will use them, but a lot of the creative application of abilities requires the work of someone not involved in design or testing. In other words, we're going to need fresh eyes and clear minds to really see the impact of the individual skills.

    As a brief explanation of our intent at least for traps, they'll serve a number of purposes depending on what your opponent does (or what you anticipate they'll do). Darts can supply a good opener for an affliction route, especially if you've already stacked relevant resins, and allow you to lock down an opponent rapidly with the right circumstances. If you're expecting someone to run from you a lot, smart use of hindering darts, resin effects that reduce celerity, and things such as the noose trap can make escaping really difficult. Alternatively, you can start a ranged offense with the expectation that someone will try to leave your line of site or environment, and set up nooses/catapaults in advance to restrict their escape routes.

    The resins offer some synergy with traps, especially darts - for instance, a full stack of lysirine resin combined with an incendiary trap and delphinium darts could have your opponent sleeping like a baby (a hypersomniac baby, at that) when you do close in with dhuriv in hand. And if your positioning is right, it's even a great opportunity to deliver death from above with a well-placed dropshot. There are a LOT of possibilities, and we can't wait until players prove (as they have many times before) that there are a plethora of tricks and tactics that we can't come up with just from our theorycrafting.
  • IrruelIrruel Member Posts: 670 ✭✭✭✭
    As recent as a month ago, I would have been very, very skeptical, but I've been learning with the shaman class how the mechanic does not need to be based around a slow attrition, stealing time from the target by gradually stacking afflictions until a final bridger-->finisher is available.

    Setting up bursts of affs or damage, achieving the goal and then forgetting about those affs (which are no longer important once they've served their purpose) really is a fun way to fight, and it does work as a mechanic. It isn't reliant on incredibly complex combat logic - you can in fact manual it entirely though I still prefer to semi it because I'm too far out of practice at reading through spam.

    Additionally, and this is something @moirean has been banging on about since the days of Varian, skills which can only be used once in a while, whether because they're on a long cooldown like the new teradrim skill or because they're precharged like naturaltide in primality, are a great idea. They require an active, strategical choice to be made, and if you make it at the right moment they can win the fight.

    So I'm quite chuffed to see that you've included both concepts to some degree in the sentinels. Obviously the class will still require more affliction tracking than the shamans do, but between resins, flourish, traps and this 'opportunity' ability you mentioned, there will be plenty of choices to make that are not simply:
     'mode pvp;wt I'm off to make a coffee, back in 5'

    @valdus Question: have you done away with the charge-drag mechanic, thinking you have the class at the point where the bandaid can finally be throw in the rubbish, or is it still in there somewhere?
  • ValdusValdus Member, Immortal Posts: 230 Immortal
    Charge/drag is a thing of the past. Since we don't have to consider Sentinel top affliction rate to be "whatever they can do in darts", it's not necessary for a Sentinel to pull someone in. You'll be plenty capable of securing a kill outside of them.
  • IshinIshin Retired Lurker VirginiaMember Posts: 1,765 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Looks neat!! I'm very much a fan of class individuality and I think this will make the Sentinels far different than any other class.
    Tell me and I forget, teach me and
    I remember, involve me and I
    -Benjamin Franklin
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