Design wise the Alchemist is the class I’m most proud of right now, just pipping out the Paladin. I don’t want to mess with the balance too much, so I’m focusing on adding a cool new playstyle. The new perk, “Now Hiring”, replaces Craft with a “Recruit” skill… that lets you hire enemies for money!
Yep… if something’s about to kill you, now you can pay it off.
Assuming it’s smart enough, of course, and not too loyal. The perk’s a little complicated! You’ll have to understand the enemies in the game to get good value, because enemies that are able and willing to negotiate won’t always give you a fair price. Smart, dedicated foes will demand more to take up your banner.
If I’m happy with the Alchemist’s balance, the Thief is a different story. I’ve gone over how I feel about it before; I think it’s the most troubled class in 1.15. As such, it’s getting the most in the way of big changes—with two new talents, a new perk and a new gear option, all of which should hopefully give the class more character.
The “Discount” talent (that gave 30% off at Scavengers) is gone. I’ve replaced it with a much cooler gear, “Merchant’s Pack”. With this perk you commit to a Thiefy life of stealing, refusing to pay Scavengers money and nicking stuff for free instead. They’ll get angry every time you do, of course!
Removing Discount makes room for two brand new talents: “Flurry” and “Dagger Mastery”.
Dagger Mastery is available right from level 2, and it boosts all damage with Stealth weapons by 50%. If you take this early you’ll be a very dangerous Thief, so long as you find appropriate weapons. Or maybe it’s something you’d choose situationally, if you find an awesome dagger. Either way, this is a big damage bump and a strong emphasis on Stealth weapons.
If Shadow Mastery is about playing a stealthy backstabbing Thief, its alternative “Flurry” is about getting in people’s faces and cutting them until they fall down. Take Flurry and your critical hits (including backstabs) will cripple your enemies for a while, lowering their Defense. While that enemy’s crippled, further critical hits against it will do double damage. Whether you set up rapid chains of sneak attacks or launch aggressively into melee, Flurry rewards aggressive play with critical damage that can take out bosses in a few hits.
With all of that to revitalise the Thief’s core gameplay, I’m making the new perk a distinct challenge mode. With “Ghost Run”, you get XP for opening chests instead of killing enemies. The challenge is to sneak past enemies to find those chests! There are fewer enemies around, but every time you get into a scuffle and injure one it’ll sound the alarm and bring tougher reinforcements into the level. You’d best leave them alone—unless you can guarantee a quick kill…
The very last Thief tweak is taking advantage of the way items stack now: you’ll get two Scrolls of Find Treasure when you start the game, not just one. Happy treasure hunting, I guess!
That wraps up the class changes. I’ll go over a few general item and rules tweaks on Friday, take a few days to actually test and balance all this stuff, then look at getting it out to you ASAP. 🙂