The Advanced Class Guide Playtest continues to roll along and the design team has been getting some great feedback from the boards. It's been a busy week; we've made changes to the arcanist, launched the playtest survey, and stuffed ourselves on Thanksgiving. This week, we'll take a look at those in detail and cast an eye toward the upcoming revisions.
Late in the day on Wednesday, we released a revised version of the arcanist, swapping out the blood focus class feature for a new mechanic designed to give the class flexibility along with a clearer and better sense of role in the game. The arcanist gained an arcane reservoir that she can draw upon to fuel exploits (special class features that let her tinker with the forces of magic). She can consume her own spell slots to fill up her reservoir and can even learn to siphon such power from magic items and enemy spells. If you have not seen the update, forums right go to the forum post here. We aren't done with this class quite yet, but it's a step in the right direction.
The other big news last week was the launch of the playtest surveys. Each class has its own questionnaire, allowing us the gauge their interest, power, and versatility. The great thing is that you can update the survey as the playtest continues, meaning that we can see how opinions and ideas for each class change as time goes on. This also means it is vital for you to fill out your survey now, so that when you change it later, we can get a sense of whether or not we are heading in the right direction. You can find the surveys right here. Of special note, please base your arcanist survey answers off the original version of the class, not the revised version on the messageboards.
Let's take this chance to share some feedback from the survey. We asked the same eight questions about each of the classes, and we found some interesting trends.
The first two questions are about comparing each class with its two parent base classes. For example, the shaman questions compare the shaman to the oracle and the witch. Most of the classes are falling relatively close to their parents, but there are some outliers. The original version of the arcanist is seen as being more powerful than its parents, but I think the revision will normalize those numbers a bit. On the other hand, people are seeing the skald as being a bit weaker than its parents. The big winner here was the shaman, which most feel is pretty close to the mark as compared to its parent classes.
Next up, we ask whether the theme of the class matches its mechanics. The bloodrager and slayer were the big winners here, while the hunter and the warpriest need some work.
Our fourth question looks at how each class is presented in terms of clarity and ease of use. The slayer once again comes out on top here, along with the investigator. Interestingly, this is the only question in which the shaman gets some poor marks—understandable considering how the spirit and wandering spirit mechanic plays out.
Next, we ask you two questions: one comparing the class in terms of power and balance to the other playtest classes, and another comparing it to all of the other classes in the game. The shaman and skald once again show that they need some work in this department, while the brawler, investigator, shaman, and slayer are all falling closer to the mark.
The seventh question asks whether the class has enough options and versatility. The head of class here is the bloodrager, investigator, and shaman. At the other end, it's clear that the skald and swashbuckler need a few more options added to their frameworks.
Finally, we look to gauge your interest in playing the class. Not surprisingly, the bloodrager, investigator, shaman, and swashbuckler are all pretty high on the list. The hunter, skald, and warpriest are lagging behind, which is key feedback.
What all does this tell us? First off, that some of the classes are getting close to where they need to be. They're not done, and they still need a lot of polish and refinement, but they probably don't need any major revisions. Others need to see some big changes to get them closer to the standard we're striving for. We aren't basing mechanical decisions solely off survey responses, but it will help us understand how our upcoming changes impact the consensus opinion.
And that brings me to my final point: barring any catastrophes, we are hoping to release a revised version of the playtest document sometime in the next week. Once we release that document, we will be calling on folks to update their surveys as soon as they have gotten a chance to read through them and run them out for a test drive. Remember, the surveys and playtest forums will remain open through Tuesday, December 17th.
Thanks again for taking part! We'll see you on the boards.