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Synergy and the Crowfall Archetype System

With the holidays finally behind us, we finally return with some new content. For the recent time off from our regular, Monday/Friday new content schedule, you have my apologies! Thankfully, last Thursday’s news reveal gave us something very juicy to talk about: synergy.

When Stealthed was launched one of our very first posts showcased a specific piece of synergy we picked up on. It was sly, and we almost didn’t want to write about it because others might claim it’s unfair that niche guilds like Obsidian get all the cool synergy pieces just because they are focusing on narrow archetype selection. Synergy in the case of Specialists also allowed us to define, to the best of our ability, what that role is. Specialists have the ability to apply and make use of the debuff called “Exposed”. In theory, all Specialists get the ability to apply this debuff and have their powers enhanced when fighting against targets with that debuff.

In the case of the Duelist, we see that Exposed comes from an ability only usable from within stealth. Interestingly enough, the act of applying the debuff doesn’t bring the Duelist out of stealth. In theory, a group could use this ability multiple times in combat by having a designated “marker” or simply cycling the ultimate power that gives them a combat re-stealth. The real power of Exposed is yet to be revealed, however, because none of the other Specialists are implemented yet. We’ll have to wait and see how powerful this becomes.

Toss Group Composition Rules Out the Window!

The new Templar powers reveal at least to some extent, a synergistic approach to power design for her and the Confessor. Most interesting of all is the Templar’s tie in to the “Sin” debuff which previously only the Confessor could apply. In the preview we see some obvious mentions to Sin worth pointing out:

Holy Warrior is a supercharge ability, similar to Champion’s Ultimate Warrior. Supercharge builds up over time by attacking enemies and getting hit in combat. The amount of supercharge earned increases when fighting against enemies afflicted with Sin. Holy Warrior grants a temporary hit-point buff and some healing. It also causes all the Templar’s attacks to be overloaded to the new “Holy” damage type, which cannot be mitigated by armor.

Devotion is a self-buff, healing both the Templar and nearby allies based on damage dealt. Attacks made by those healed by devotion convicts enemies and afflicts them with Sin. Righteousness is required to activate this ability.

Divine Light is the fourth ability in her tray, a field bathing the area in a purifying light causing some damage to enemies within the area. This ability does not require Righteousness to activate and is governed by a cooldown. But while active, the field drains Righteousness from the Templar over time. On the other hand, the Templar gains Righteousness for each enemy in the field. When the Templar has Righteousness, the field not only heals but also cleanses Sin from both allies and her.

and from the Confessor for your easy reference…

Absolution absolves 3 targets of Sin for 1451-2176 + 181% Weapon Fire Damage, consuming all stacks and increasing damage per stack to a maximum of 4315-6473 + 539 Weapon Damage. If 5 stacks are consumed movement speed is reduced by 50% for 8 seconds.

Condemnation condemns all targets in front of you dealing 138-207 + 17% Weapon Damage multiple times per second. If the targets are under the effect of Sin they take increased damage per stack of Sin to a maximum of 233-350 + 29% Weapon Damage.

Fireball Shoots a fireball towards your reticle that explodes for 368 – 552 + 46% Weapon Damage as Fire Damage.  Applies Sin to anyone damaged.

These two classes’ relationship with Sin has some interesting implications. The first that jumps off the page to me is Specialists are no longer alone in being supported thematically in the game. Roleplayers are the first to benefit from this in my opinion. Confessor/Templar guilds were originally a roleplaying theme holdover from Shadowbane. It seems as if that relationship was not discarded in Crowfall (it’s no coincidence the names of the archetypes were carried over, either). In fact, the Sin synergy adds even more interesting implications to those guilds who might end up stacking these archetypes.

A field of Confessors and Templars applying Sin all over the place is a pretty scary thought, and begs the question of design approach in combat balancing. Typically, most games reward players who diversify their archetype/class approach when designing a guild, raid or party. In almost every modern MMO I can think of, stacking one class is rarely of any tangible benefit (unless some exploit is involved). Mostly this is due to the oft-mentioned “Holy Trinity” of Tank, Healer, DPS.  It typically is to your detriment to stack the same class in a group or guild.

Promotion Implications

Crowfall seems to be discarding this notion of penalizing archetype stacking by use of the Synergy mechanics of both Exposed and Sin. Further making archetype stacking a very possible eventuality is the Promotion system still to be fully revealed. What could this do when taking into account the Sin system?

The Confessor is the only one of the Sin duo partially implemented in the game, and because of that we have access to the names of three of its potential promotions: Doomsayer, Inquisitor, and Sanctifier. Originally the concept was to split up each archetype into three possible promotions. The Confessor was created prior to the announcement that it wasn’t guaranteed that all archetypes would get 3 promotions. It’s possible that some of these options might disappear.

The core of what you should take away, however, is that Promotions are designed to alter the play style of a given archetype. The Confessor at its core might be a DPS-Ranged role, but promoting into Sanctifier might turn it into a Support archetype. Likewise, the Doomsayer might focus entirely on Sin whereas the Inquisitor might focus on fire-related attacks. This is all guesswork, however, but the possible synergy with the Sin mechanic cannot be dismissed.

It’s entirely possible that each of those promotion branches might still make full use of Sin. If that turns out to be the case, it’s not simply two archetypes worth of synergy we are looking at. It could be eight (2x base archetypes + 3 promotions for each). The ability to pull off a themed or highly consolidated archetype selection in Crowfall is utterly unique in the landscape of MMOs and is highly noteworthy as a result. Incentivizing players to stack a narrower selection of Archetypes means we could have very niche, but still viable guilds with all the interesting combat ramifications that come with it.

Wrap-Up

Sin is now the 2nd multi-archetype synergy mechanic introduced into Crowfall. Its begs the question of what’s next for Crowfall? It’s unlikely these choices are to be the only two option for players who like synergy-based combat systems. Yet with only four archetypes remaining to be introduced, it seems unlikely others might really fit without redoing some of the existing already-released archetypes.

What is clear, however, from all of our previous research on the time it takes to manufacture goods for a single archetype, combined with how long it takes to gather for that archetype; is that Crowfall really needed a system which didn’t penalize a guild for using lots of the same archetypes (we are shocked they actually seem to be encouraging it!).

tldr; Crowfall is seemingly cheering guilds on to streamline your guild’s production and crafting needs by stacking the same archetypes (and their children Promotions). It’s doing this by rewarding guilds who make combat-use of the two known Synergy mechanics; Sin and Exposed.  This is big.

The implications of this will be further theorycrafted on in subsequent articles. Stay tuned for more as the Templar gets added into the game.

Scree

Started playing MMORPGs back on AOL in Neverwinter Nights Online around 1996 and has been a passionate advocate for the genre ever since. Currently an admitted Crowfall obsessed-fan; leading a Crowfall-exclusive stealth-first guild Obsidian, managing a web-magazine Stealthed (@stealthedBlog). He is also the project manager of the Malekai Project; a community-driven open-sourced API for sharing Crowfall related content.

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[…] Templar is either incomplete or outright wrong; our analysis includes only the vague descriptions we received during the recent powers reveal (but we wanted to show Sin because of our last article!) […]

January 3, 2017
0

I think you will see a huge increase in the small scale combat. Currently, anything with a horse would be a top tier 2 person group, purely based on healing rather than synergy. With this new AT I can see the confessor’s CC tool kit really coming out.

The holy warrior + absolution burst under CC appears to be very promising for focus DPS.

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