Developer Diary : Champion Class Changes in Helm’s Deep
Developer Diary : Champion Class Changes in Helm’s Deep
When tapped to work on the Champion, it was important to me that the main functionality not change drastically, but instead work into the trees in a meaningful way. As it existed before the revamp, each line had a specific purpose, some more focused or successful than others, but each had a distinct goal and way of going about things. So when it came time to define each line, it just made sense from the start.
Forming the Definitions of the Lines
The Berserker Champion, to me, served as the single target specialist. They relied on multi-strike skills to quickly whittle down their opponents. It made sense to build this line further into a single-target, crit based burst class. They may be squishier than the Martial Champion, but their ability to chew through enemies and the bonuses from killing units makes them very strong. For example, Berserkers get a passive that can proc off of their skills that adds a stacking buff that increases the critical chance and critical damage to their next Remorseless Strike Critical Hit. The Berserker could use this to burst an opponent down or they could use all their fervour on killing one enemy and when he dies, the champion is healed and instantly gains full fervour which means they can turn and then deal a huge critical hit to their next opponent to open up combat.
The Deadly Storm put more of a focus on Area Effect Blade skills. To me, they felt like a whirlwind of destruction that would focus on taking down as many people as they could at once. For example, deadly storm has a passive that says every time they are hit they gain a stack of Born for Combat. At ten stacks, they gain an Area Effect skill that deals heavy damage to all enemies around them. This means the more people that are hitting the champion, the more damage they output through this passive. Combine this with the Area Effect Damage debuff from Horn of Champion, and the Deadly Storm can chew through large amounts of enemies at once.
Finally the Martial Champion was unique to me because it was a tank who didn’t necessarily care about a shield or mitigating damage, they just wanted to run up to things and soak up damage. So this masochistic nature has been fully realized in the Martial Champion. They have a chance to gain fervour when struck in combat, gain damage and parry when they are crit, and have a legendary skill that makes them more powerful over time.
Dual-Wield vs. Two-Hand
One curve ball that was encountered was the handling of two-handed versus dual wield playstyles. When the revamp process was first started, the class designers debated about whether the deadly storm or berserker line should be focused on their weapon rather than the single target versus AoE difference. In the end, it seemed rather unfair to link one of these lines to a weapon. Legendary weapons take time to develop into the weapon you want and to say you couldn’t play a certain way because you didn’t have a good two-hander felt wrong. We decided to put some two-hand or off hand boosts in the trees, but these are only supplementary if it fits your playstyle and always have options to take instead of them if you don’t want them.
When working on the trait set bonuses, it became clear that each of these lines were tied directly to the stance they had before the revamp. While we played around with figuring out a way these stances could still exist for everyone, it felt more and more like a waste of a few skills. The champion didn’t feel like it used the different stances enough and instead they sort of just felt like passives you had to turn on and leave on. So they became passives that the trees would grant a champion. Now there were some things that needed to change with them becoming passives and we have addressed them make them feel more impactful and less penalizing. Some Example of this would be removing the Parry and Evade penalties from Fervour or giving Ardour -% Power Cost for all skills per pip of Fervour they have.
Hybridization and skill revamp
One thing that was very important to us was to make sure that we constructed our trees in such a way that encouraged hybridization. With the champion, it was a difficult process of deciding which skills should be tied to a tree’s specialization and what should be placed in a tree for others to be able to obtain. In the end, I think we found a nice balance of skills throughout all the trees that act as low hanging fruit for others to grab. For example, if you are a berserker and feel like you are chewing through your power, you can invest into the Martial Champion tree to obtain Second Wind for a big power restore. Need some more healing? Invest further into the Martial Champion tree and grab Dire Need for a bigger heal.
Second Wind also is a good example for how some of the skills are being revamped. When working with Second Wind, the duration of the skill with the cooldown made it feel like my champion had a passive that I had to click every x seconds. So it has not been revamped to consume all fervour on the champion and instantly give the champion power back based on the number of fervour pips consumed. This adds a really fun mechanic for a specialization like the Martial Champion because if you combine Battle Frenzy, Dire Need, and Second Wind; you get this Pips to Power to Health rotation. This allows the Champion tank to manage his resources while tanking which when used right can be very powerful.
Overall I hope you all very much enjoy the changes to the Champion. It’s been a long road to fully realizing how the Champ fits into the new system and will be awesome to see it make its debut soon.