Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Dead Classes

While the Lieutenant, Assassin, and Dreadnought were the basis for the original version of the Document way back in 2009, it quickly became apparent that any number of additional classes could be thrown into the mix.  The Aegis, Medic, and Bladeslinger quickly emerged, followed by Archers and Zealots, which were originally called Martyrs.  Before the lineup that is now in place was finalized, though, several classes came and went. Follow the jump to see what didn't make the cut and why.

Before the Crusader was conceived, the Butcher was in place as the melee-purist class.  They sported a whopping 4 speed slots, but could only fill them with either the Klaw hatchet or the Stonewall dagger.  They had only 2 hits, but could throw up to 3 of their speed weapons during the round with a Trait called Sever, which instantly incapacitated enemy players.  This looks incredibly powerful on paper, but throwing those weapons with any accuracy or range is no picnic, and frivolous use of the ability could leave the Butcher with virtually no offensive or defensive potential early in a round.   They could also dual-wield their melee weapons and were forbidden from refilling their slots with any discarded speed weapons.  In the end they worked pretty much exactly as planned, but there were issues with the class that didn't have much to do with balance.

The Butcher was eventually dropped because, in the end, their abilities mirrored those of the Zealot- an incredibly focused role with low hits, meager (if any) ranged potential, and the ability to instantly eliminate opponents.  The nature of the Zealot's Divine Wind ability also helped solidify the decision to eliminate the Butcher, as it injects more drama, tension, and excitement into a round than throwing melee weapons ever could.  Players interested in an exclusively melee experience were also unlikely to find what they were looking for in the Butcher, as the class (again, like the Zealot) wasn't robust enough to get in the middle of the fight and have a chance of surviving.  For a brief time, the Butcher underwent some tweaking in an attempt to keep it in the lineup, including nerfing the Sever ability and increasing the class' hits, but the idea for the Crusader came along and proved a much better fit. 

The Phoenix really only came into existence because I felt a desire to find a way to make a class with just 1 hit work.  They sported only 1 light slot, and couldn't use any kind of clips.  Their bread and butter came from a devastating ability that never got its own name.  Instead of being incapacitated when suffering their hit, they instead began a fifteen-count.  During the count they were completely invulnerable and could move and fight freely, doing as much damage as they could before the count completed.  Once the count was over, they instantly became incapacitated and couldn't be Revived by Medics.  The Phoenix was implemented before melee rules were ever a part of the Document, but had they survived they most certainly would not have had a melee slot to use.   

The Phoenix was cut because there were just too many situations in which its ability could become broken.  If the Phoenix managed to survive deep into a round, the opposing team was all but doomed.  If both teams had a Phoenix, a round could end with both of them dropping dead at the end of their count.   Their mere presence on a team roster alters the strategy of the entire opposing force, a level of influence no single class should have.  Regardless of the circumstance, the only viable defense against a Phoenix was to simply run away.  In a word, that's just lame.  Combine all that with the poor reason for the class being conceived in the first place and the decision to remove them eventually became a no-brainer.

This class was exciting when the idea first came to me, but never left the planning phase.  They were to be the only class other than the Dreadnought to bring a heavy weapon to the battlefield at the start of play, but there were limits.  The Engineer would not have been able to use the heavy weapon normally, but could instead deploy it alongside a portable piece of cover that they could tote about and set up in the play space wherever they wanted.  Once deployed, any player on either team could use the heavy weapon associated with the portable cover without being considered to have equipped it, though the weapon could only be fired from the location of the cover and could never be moved  from its area of protection.  The Engineer would likely have had 2 or 3 hits, with assault, light, and deflection slots.  They wouldn't have the ability to carry clips, making their assault weapon good for getting out of tight spots but difficult to rely on constantly, particularly considering the need to haul the cover around.  The heavy weapon would come with the ability that provided the portable cover and so wouldn't have its own slot. 

The Engineer was dropped for one major reason: In order for the portable cover element- the lynchpin of the class- to be truly portable and useful, it would have to be collapsible in some way.  This means the Engineer outright required players to construct a fairly complex piece of equipment on their own just to use the class at all.  There were also some detailed rules considerations that were never resolved.  Should the Engineer be able to bring a supplemental ammo supply for the heavy weapon into play?  Should other players be able to freely reload the heavy weapon?  Can the cover be broken down and moved once deployed?   Exactly how big should the cover be?  As exciting as the idea for the class was, it was a mess before it ever got off the ground.

While not included in the final list, the Tank is actually a fully developed class, but one that only ever had very specific applications.  The tank had 7 hits, an unlimited number of ranged weapon slots and absolutely no ammo restrictions.  Aside from a single deflection slot, the Tank could walk into battle with literally anything they could carry.  They also took only 4 hits from a headshot instead of being incapacitated, and could only take other hits in the normal way if shots or strikes contacted their torso.  This limb invulnerability wasn't thematic, just another way to make them extremely difficult to kill.  Tanks had similar movement restrictions to the Dreadnought, but they were more severe, as they could never move faster than walking speed.  Tanks were designed to be something of a "boss" enemy, appropriate for use on teams with intentionally lower numbers, or whose incapacitation would serve as an instant win condition within special game types.

The Tank was cut from the official lineup simply because it required so much materiel to be effective (which detracts drastically from all the other players' choices) and because it doesn't fit into what may be considered the standard model of Document play.

I'm still sort of tossing this class around in my head, but its entirely untested and just a little wonky, so I haven't been too concerned with getting it locked down.  The Cyborg's most developed iteration has 4 hits and 4 light weapon slots.  They are highly mutable, and before play they would be able to combine 2 light slots into an assault slot, or 3 into a heavy slot.  Unfilled light slots could also be converted into "armor" before play begins, granting invulnerability to a limb of their choice for each light slot assigned in this way.  These limbs would be marked with a bandana or some such object to make it easier to identify the Cyborg's protected area's during play.  Their significant strengths were to be balanced by an inability to dual wield under any circumstance, and a relatively strict set of ammo restrictions (as, thematically, they aren't as likely to wear clothes or other accessories, or some sort of similar contrivance).

They Cyborg isn't included because, if anything, it could still be considered to be under development. 

1 comment:

  1. Wonderfully interesting; I feel like the Phoenix bares an eerie resemblance to some old, over powered card in Magic... --It's one of those classes that you'd just have to play with every once in a while... :)