The Berserker set a very high bar of fun with meaty, impactful blows mixed with a certain brutal grace. Pirouetting through the air or between enemies on the ground. Was it even going to be possible for another class to live up to this?
Early indications? Possibly not. You see, I’d toyed around with the other two Warrior subclasses — Warlord (think a tank/guardian type, with a gunlance) and Destroyer (giiiiiant hammer) before I’d settled on Berserker in the testing facility.
The Warlord felt a bit clunky. I could see the potential, but as you might imagine wielding a giant shield with an even larger gunlance, this guy wasn’t going anywhere in a hurry. Destroyer seemed to be in a similar boat, but I’d seen some video hinting at a few acrobatically inclined skills later down the line.
But I couldn’t test any of the tripod-system modifiers or skills above level 10. A fact that had slipped my mind in the 15-20 hours of play that followed.
We’ll return to this later.
Magician leads the way into Arcana, Summoner or Bard. Summoner and Bard were both classes I was keen to try, so it was next on my list to try.
I… was pretty quickly disappointed. There were highlights to be sure. Summoning a water elemental right in front of me which spat a torrent of water, pushing enemies back and creating some space was pretty nifty.
But the spells for the most part felt a bit finicky and underpowered compared to the brute strength of the Berserker I was used to.
I played it through to the testing chamber and quite enjoyed the Magician’s introductory story. Funnily enough, The Arcana — i.e., the one I initially had no real interest in — seemed like it might be the most fun to me. It was a highly mobile assassin-mage feeling class. You threw cards like a magical Gambit and had a lot of options for casting on the go.
I didn’t lock in a choice though. Not yet. And as it turns out, that was probably for the best.1 Early impressions are deceiving, as I’ve since found out.
Indiana Jones meets Steampunk is the best way to describe the introductory story for the Gunner. Annnd I loved it. The class itself (in base form) is incredibly nimble too, which I am discovering much to my surprise is a trait I value in this sort of ARPG/Brawler hybrid game.
Now, the ‘base form’ qualifier was important. The Gunner is a class of extremes you see. If you go Blaster you get a transforming heavy weapon that can fire anything from… well, fire through to homing missiles. But it’s heavy. And it shows. No hoppity-skippity dash moves for you. Get caught letting loose when a boss turns its ire to the ground you stand on — you might be about to have a bad day.
Devil Hunter and Hawkeye though can both move around very well. Hawkeye can even go invisible for short periods of time. Hawkeye is like your more typical bow Ranger, albeit with a pretty serious tech upgrade. Devil Hunter uses a range of guns from dual pistol, to shotgun to sniper rifle. And you can cycle between them and their unique skill bars.
Even with just the level 10 skills and no tripod-modifiers, I was having a blast with this set. And as with the Magician, the class I thought I would like the least — Blaster — was the one I enjoyed the most. The lack of mobility didn’t worry me despite finding I’m like it more generally.
What about the Fighter?
I did actually start the Fighter’s storyline as well! But I haven’t finished it yet. The fighter can become one of four classes: Battle Master, Infighter, Soul Master or Lancer. I kinda wanna play all of them.
I’ll talk more about the Fighter later, but starting out it feels very much like a Diablo 3 style Monk, and the story line sees you trying to work through demonic possession of a rival house. There is a lot of martial arts throughout as well, and the environments (as you can see above) look fantastic.
I’ll leave this one here though in order to wrap this up.
What I Learnt Today
You know the old saying, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover?’
The same sort of applies here. I really should have known this from my own experience with the Berserker. While I already enjoyed the ‘base’ level 10 experience of it, it really started to shine with access to the Tripod system and ranking skills up to work in new and interesting ways.
But as I mentioned way back near the beginning of the post — I hadn’t really consciously connected that to the experience I was having with the starter classes. And I might’ve missed this entirely for longer if I hadn’t rolled a Warlord to play alongside a friend who joined me today.
The Warlord gets a number of skill options at rank 1 of the tripod system which *hugely* change how it plays. I went from stationary as a rock to charging about the battlefield very quickly, adding a dash to the start of a number of base abilities. Although for the main attack this meant sacrificing the other option at Tier 1 of turning from a straight-line attack into a 360 degree sweep.
I ended up swapping back and forth between that one a bit actually, depending on where I was and what I was doing. Open world content seemed to go better with the wide AoE attack. In dungeons I really wanted that forward dash with only the cone attack in order to help better position out of boss attacks.
When I started to throw in a leap ability, and the power to call thunder from the Heaven’s like Thor himself… Just… Wow.
So what I learned is that I really need to go back and revisit the Magician classes with this in mind. I suspect that their abilities will similarly grow without too much effort!