After being in some mid to large group fights over the weekend, I've found that the prevailing meta has come to favor ranged characters over melee. Ranged damage, crowd control and mobility/escape are all very powerful right now, with tank and healing options becoming available to ranged characters through disciplines. I've seen this happen a number of times, in a number of different games, where large group fights descend into standoffs between ranged characters. Any luckless melee toons caught in such a battle have a limited role at best, with no hope of pushing into the enemy group.
I've a few suggestions which might help alleviate this problem:
Return the Confessor knock down to a knock up, add a snare effect, and tighten up the area of the attack.
Reduce the dash range of Confessors and Druids to something resembling more of an extended dodge. These dashes currently make these characters faster and more mobile than anyone else in the game, allowing them to pick their targets and engagements with impunity. For melee, this means traveling through a storm of AoE damage and CC, only to get 1 or 2 swings in (if skilled/lucky) before the target blinks away.
Remove the snare effect from Knight blocking and return it's higher damage reduction.
Widen the raycasts on most melee attacks.
Rework a few of the new discipline abilities which give ranged characters too much control/tank. (I'm looking at you Master of Focus)
1.This vid is just to show what a flying Templar looks like. Notice I have no runes on at the time.
2. This one is from some fights we really had no business attempting.
3. And this 1 is some sweet revenge
Edited: This started out in a 3v5 with an exploiting Tark. Got our 4th guy in a little over half way. Was also jumped from behind by 2 more.
What I'm aware they've discussed during interviews a while ago, but some things may have changed since then:
dangerous monsters, NPCs on the map
monsters to increase the threat level of the universe / monsters drop materials & reagents♠ the environment is dangerous, similar to the threat level of The Walking Dead
♠ the threat varies depending of the area and intensifies as the seasons change
♠ deadly monsters in CW that become more lethal as the seasons pass
♠ some monsters spawn in packs and are drawn to noise and activity, like the hordes of walkers in Walking dead
♠ monsters will raise the threat level but not acting like players
♦ some monsters to take multiple players to defeat
♦ monsters drop reagents used to craft armor and weapons
BRIDE OF VALKYN
My early life was uneventful. I dutifully learned all the skills of a young woman of my caste - how to cook, sew, wash, care for the household animals, tend our garden and so forth. A failing in Father’s eyes was my joy in dancing. I would sneak off to watch visiting troupes and then return to my room and mimic the steps. Though of small stature, I was strong and quick and dreamt of the day when I could take the stage myself. I suppose I eventually did - in a way.
When a girl sees eighteen summers unwed in Ferisse, a frenzy grips the diligent parent. My mother having passed into the arms of Gaea at my birth, the burden fell upon Father. A stalwart of the merchant class, his penchant for gambling was matched by ill fortune to the extent that my birthday saw our family one step from the debtor's gaol. And so, to deliver his daughter from a dire fate and redeem our family fortune at one bound, Father presented me one day to Porfilio Dimonte, a wealthy drover of cattle from Urrissa in Zagara - a man more than thrice my years.
"Good master!" cried the grey-beard on sighting me. "Fortune smiles in the twilight of my days!" He gave a gap-toothed smile through his cracked lips as he looked me up and down. "Lithe as a dancer!” he croaked. His wrinkled hands shook with ill-concealed lust as he signed the bridal contract. But to me the clang of coin in the betrothal cup was as the tolling of the last bell.
I cast an importuning look at Father. But to he, duty was not just a bandied word. It was meat and drink and the air one breathes. Its golden cord binds all alike. He had prepared me for my proper role in life. Now it was time for me to repay his labors. And so he handed me over.
You may think our parting cold. Yet he was ever so to me. Knowing nothing else, I did not think it out of place. Later in life I considered why, unlike my siblings, my eyes were the color of the sky. And why no one ever spoke of how my mother had died.
Yet those thoughts were not uppermost in my mind at the moment. A girl does not grow up among brothers without learning rough play. And so, waiting until Father's chariot had passed the furthest ridge, I placed a knee into the nethermost parts of the nearest of Porfilio's guards and bolted.
Here I learned a lesson - do not underestimate the aged. Porfilio, knowing in his heart he was not the most prepossessing of grooms, had anticipated his bird might fly the cage. A shrewd blow of his staff and I was plunged into the dreaming realm of Lyessa.
When I awoke, I found myself lying in well-furnished chambers in the Dimonte mansion. Porfilio’s vassals waited upon me hand and foot. A leech tended the painful lump on my head until the swelling went down. I lacked for nothing except freedom.
If the sound of hammering were not augur enough, through the cracks of my barred window I spied workers constructing a traditional Zagaran bridal platform. I will spare you the details of this shameless custom, but I knew my days as a maiden were numbered unless I could devise an escape before the structure was complete.
Perhaps it was the All-Father himself who planted the seeds of the plan that came to me like a flash in a rainstorm.
One of my mercenary guards was a tall, strapping lad of Harkenia named Hulogu. I had felt his eyes upon me from the first and knew that he was my salvation. Slowly, but with careful intent, I dropped bread crumbs for him to follow. A discarded scarf. A hoisted hemline. A furtive glance.
Soon we were whispering mad plans in the alcove. Whether it was true love that drove him I will never know. But he knelt and pledged his sword to my freedom. We would escape and then ride together to his rustic homeland.
Did I say it was a mad plan? But sometimes the Gods have their ways.
We were discovered, of course. I would like to think it was the untimely neigh of a horse. But more likely Porfilio was on to us from the beginning and, out of spite, chose to let our plot play out to its doom. If so, more is the pity, for the three men slain by my brave Harkenian would still be alive.
The law is the law and their deaths cried for blood. In a blink, the Zagaran bridal platform was converted into a scaffold. There, before the magistrates and a vengeful crowd on market day, they hanged my Harkenian and made me watch. In that moment I realized my cruel folly and felt the first weight of a burden I would carry the rest of my days.
I don’t think Porfilio felt pleasure watching me led in turn to the scaffold. And I held his gaze the whole time, hoping the water of my eyes would melt the hardness of his heart. But I am sure he was already calculating the cost of my replacement.
Lo and behold, as so oft happens in Ferisse, greed and the gleam of gold met in happy coincidence.
For as they slipped the noose around my neck, a tall Stavorian in black robes stepped forth and raised his hand. The beating of drums halted and all turned to listen to his words.
Under Zagaran law the affronted party, even where murder has occurred, may accept penance in coin. And so I watched the Stavorian, who I learned was called Stilicho, hand over a chest of gold to my erstwhile groom. With a nod from the magistrate, the noose was taken off and my hands unbound.
I wasn’t free very long, for in the next moment cuffs of Stavorian iron were clapped around my wrists. I was out of the pot and into the fire, as they say. But at the time I felt great relief, for I was only eighteen and not yet ready to join my mother.
I got my first ride on a pack-pig when the caravan set off next morning for Stilicho’s compound in Taveris, the provincial capital. As they set me in the saddle, one of the women whom I had noticed the day before attending upon Stilicho drew aside her veil and gave me a crocodile smile. That was how I first met Kitaara - the lovely but deadly Numerian who I would learn was behind this turn of fate.
But I get ahead of things. I didn’t find out all at once. At first, I just noticed how strangely everyone treated me. While a captive of Porfilio I was chattel. But now, though still a prisoner, I was treated with deference.
When we stopped at an watering hole in the Zagaran countryside it all became manifest.
Stilicho approached me with four guards at his side. He regarded me quietly, then spoke:
“Little beauty, you’ve given no trouble,” said he. “I will have your shackles removed if you give your word you shall not seek to escape.”
Hiding my puzzlement, I nodded slowly. As the irons were removed, Stilicho and his guards seemed to brace themselves. Then they relaxed when they saw I did nothing.
“One cannot be too careful even with such a slip of a girl,” said Stilicho, smiling. “Knowing her daggers tasted the blood of three men and she without a scratch.”
I remained silent, knowing that any word I uttered would betray my amazement. Then it slowly dawned on me. My Harkanian had killed three men in our failed escape. Somehow they thought this bloody work mine. But how? I was not long finding out.
For as Stilicho and his guards walked away, Kitaara came and knelt beside me. She began to speak. The tale she told would wrest my life from one path and set it upon another, one that I walk to this day.
Stilicho was leader of a guild of Zagaran assassins. Kitaara was his most trusted lieutenant - which gives you an idea of how poor a judge of character he was. Apparently he had come to the position through inheritance rather than talent and his reign had seen a precipitous drop in revenues. Kitaara, being possessed of both daring and enterprise, had decided the time had come to take the title of Master of Asps for herself.
How did I fit into all this? Stilicho’s troupe had been passing through when they stopped to observe my execution. Forming a plan in her mind, Kitaara gave Stilicho to believe the girl with the noose around her neck had killed three men during a daring but ill-fated escape. In his mind, this made me a worthy recruit.
Once bought, I was apt for the second phase of Kitaara’s plan.
“I own you now girl, body and soul,” hissed she. “As I saved your life, so I can take it with a flick of the hand. But do I as command and all will be well.”
"What do you want from me?” I asked warily.
The plan as she explained it seemed simple. I would be trained in the shadowy arts. Then, when the time was ripe, I would be the instrument of Kitaara’s ascension. Once I had accomplished her purpose, she assured me I would be free to go my own way.
I did not believe this last for a moment, but as I had few options I readily agreed. My training would begin once we arrived at Stilicho's compound.
There was a rather large fly in the ointment of all this. Me. I am the least worthy student you can imagine for assassin training. A knee to a man’s jewels is one thing. Cutting a throat is another. The only killing I had done in my life was of a door mouse that had been caught in one of Father’s traps. I felt ill for a week afterwards.
But necessity is a powerful spur. Housed in a sparsely furnished chamber, I had little else to distract me. So I set myself to learn the arts of the assassin with the same zeal I once lavished learning to dance the Tarantella. Kitaara herself was oft my teacher. Soon I could wield stilettos as if they were knitting needles. I learned how to evade, when to leap, the nature of poison and how to find the soft place in the neck where the great fount surges.
I also learned the arts of the courtesan, though I refused demands from Stilicho’s guards to demonstrate my lessons. Kitaara approved of my resistance, not on any moral ground she said, but because an intact courtesan brings twice the price. And unlike a mule, virtue can be resold over and over if one is crafty.
Kitaara insisted on grooming me personally. She said presentation was part of my training. And so we would sit in the baths for hours as she braided my hair and fussed. At times it felt almost sisterly. But Kitaara kept a stern demeanor and I did not dare familiarity. Nor for a moment did I believe she had changed her intent. I think her purpose was to ensure I was just right for Stilicho.
Finally the great day came. Stilicho had been told by Kitaara that I was ready. All that was left was the private initiation which - surprise of surprises - for females was held in the bed chamber of the Master of Asps. Kitaara had arranged for a poisoned blade to be secreted under the carpet. I was to use whatever means necessary to lower Stilicho's guard and dispatch him with the weapon. Kitaara would then grant me my promised freedom.
To say I was nervous would be to say a cat has whiskers. But unlike a cat, I was possessed of only one life and certain I would lose that shortly. Either I failed at my task, whereby Stilicho would flay me. Or I succeeded, and Kitaara would “reward” me no less fatally. Doom seemed so certain that my thoughts bordered on madness. I knew only that I wanted to live.
Stilicho was sitting expectantly on his divan when I entered. His eyes watched hungrily as I slipped off all my clothes. Outside, the slow beat of drums began, the sound wafting with the warm summer breeze through the open window. But when he reached for me, I dodged nimbly aside. I began to dance, throwing into my movements all the ardor of desperation. Slowly, then a bit faster, I twisted and writhed before his amazed eyes as if Cybele had found herself a new priestess. Finally, as the drums raced and pounded, I fell to my knees before him, shining with sweat, tossing my hair and arching my back, arms raised in imploring finale.
The Master of Asps rose from his cushion with a strangled cry. Kitaara, who had been listening impatiently outside, mistook the sound of the little death for the greater. Flinging open the door, she rushed in to gloat. She and Stilicho regarded each other with mutual shock. I was as surprised as anyone, but knew opportunity when I saw it. I leapt aside and reached under the carpet.
"What is the meaning of this?” cried Stilicho with a wild look in my direction.
“Traitress!” hissed Kitaara, coiling as if to leap at me.
“You’ll be wanting this,” said I in answer to both. And with that I tossed the poisoned dagger onto the floor between them.
There was little to choose between Stilicho’s roar and Kitaara’s screech. I covered my ears with both hands as I leapt through the curtains of the open window and onto the patio below. The sounds of desperate struggle came from the room I had just exited. If I was a gambler, I would have bet on Kitaara but I wasn’t staying around to find out. I ducked into the shadows as guards began to stream in from other areas of the compound. Apparently, the signal for the coup had been given in the confusion and fighting was already breaking out between the rival adherents.
My sole intention now was to put as much distance as I could between Stilicho’s compound and myself. I had no idea where I was so I just went off at the run, down alley and avenue under the Zagaran moonlight, without a stitch of clothing or semblance of a plan.
You’ve probably been wondering if the Gods were going to make an appearance in this tale, since I have invoked their hand several times. I hope I haven’t misled - they don’t actually manifest. But I will let you judge for yourself whether what happened next was mere chance.
Dawn was breaking as I reached the center of Taveris. I knew it was the center since before me loomed an enormous temple dedicated to the All-Father. I rushed inside and fell onto the fresh reeds covering the floor, completely exhausted, and lay gasping at the foot of the surprised temple priest.
I am sure a Priest of Valkyn sees his share of strange things, especially in Zagara. Yet I cannot imagine this poor man was ready for the vision of a naked girl running into his temple and casting herself at his feet just as the rooster crowed. To his credit, he recovered quickly. He rushed into a side room, returning shortly to cover me with a blanket and give me a drink of water.
“I am Brother Genesius,” said the priest at length. “Who are you child and from whence come you?”
I began to speak. But before I could get a word out, there came a hubbub from the street. I heard a familiar voice shouting loudly.
Stilicho! He had apparently prevailed over Kitaara and followed my trail. Now he was outside with a gang of his men. I had a fair guess he would not be gentle with me.
What happened next happened faster than the time it takes to say it.
I had not been particularly religious growing up. Like all western Ferissi, I was raised under the teachings of the All-Father. But they say that in extremis - when one is the most afraid, tired and bereft of hope - is when one is most open to His song.
I looked up at the silver symbol of Valkyn hanging down from the Priest’s neck. And then words came off my tongue as if someone else was saying them. As I spoke, I felt a warmth in my limbs and a sense of clarity I had never known before.
“I am Cembrye of Medria. I wish to pledge myself to Valkyn,” I whispered. “Body and soul. To He and no other.”
A look of shock spread across Brother Genesius’s face.
“Child,” he said. “Are you aware what this means?”
As he spoke other members of the temple, priests and laity, were coming out of various side rooms. Looks of surprise spread on their faces as they listened.
“Yes,” I replied. “I would plight my troth to the All-Father. I would become as his bride and serve Him in all ways.”
“And you have not known the touch of man?” Brother Genesius asked delicately.
I shook my head.
As strange smile came over the features of the priest. He squeezed both my hands in his own. For a instant, the symbol of Valkyn seemed to glow.
Just then came a crash as a table toppled over. Stilicho and his men surged into the room. The eyes of the Master of Asps fell upon me. His face turned purple with fury. He drew his sword and stepped forward.
“Stay!” cried Brother Genesius. His voice rang like a clear bell through the vast chamber. He stepped between me and Stilicho, joined by several of his colleagues.
“Step aside monk!” roared Stilicho. “This little slave tried to murder me! I demand my rights!”
“Lies!” I cried desperately.
Stilicho pointed at me. “To the fleshpots with her! She will repay my investment on her back, copper by copper.”
“Your rights are as nothing besides the will of Valkyn,” replied Brother Genesius calmly. “You forget where you are, Master of Asps. This one is now under the protection of the Temple.”
Stilicho reddened but hesitated. An enormous crowd had gathered by now, honest citizens and also members of the many bandit and smuggler families who peopled the towns of that region. This temple was the heart of their religion. Rogues though they were, they would not see it defiled. And the Master of Asps was not a popular man. Indeed, as he looked more closely around, Stilicho could see a number of hated rivals and enemies begin to saunter up.
Stilicho spat on the ground. Then he sheathed his sword and beckoned to his men. In a moment they were gone.
The ceremony took place a week later. Brother Genesius officiated. As with all Valkyn ceremonies, there was a simplicity and beauty to it. And when they were done, I wept tears of relief and happiness.
“Have a care, Sister,” smiled Brother Genesius. We were standing together on the veranda outside my new quarters in the late afternoon.
He pointed at the white ritual paint still spread across my face.
“Your tears will make it streak,” he chided.
He laughed, then became more serious.
“You should not walk this path alone, Bride of Valkyn,” he said. “Stay at the Temple. I will be your guide.”
His words seemed more command than request. His comforting hand, placed at first upon my shoulder, slid to my waist.
I felt unease but nodded.
Brother Genesius smiled warmly.
"Then it is settled!" said he. "You are weary. Rest and we will send word when supper is ready.”
I bowed deeply as he turned and left.
I walked to the edge of the veranda. The rooftops and alleyways of Taveris stretched into the distance. In my mind's eye I saw once more the face of my Harkanian.
I went into my quarters and pulled from under the bed the things I had taken. Taken from the very side of Stilicho as he turned to leave. My training had not been in vain.
Twin daggers of the finest steel. The last light of the setting sun fell upon them in that moment, making them gleam as if dipped in fresh blood.
My hand went to the symbol of Valkyn new-hung about my neck.
I picked up the blades. Taking a deep breath, and one last look at the ordered and clean initiate’s chamber, I gathered my cowl, climbed down the veranda wall and slipped off into the gathering dusk towards Urrissa.