Before we get started discussing the gameplay of the upcoming Ravager and Tinker classes, it’s important for us to reiterate that we are not taking our eyes off of improving the game as it exists today. Our first and most important priority continues to be improving the new player experience as well as offering more reasons for veteran players to stick around. It just happens that the experts we have involved with a new class are able to work in parallel alongside everyone else to deliver these two classes at roughly the same time.
When we first released Forge, there were two classes already designed that we simply didn’t have time to complete and ship with the game. They fill two key roles that are missing from team play at this time: A “stay in the fight” melee damage dealer (the Ravager), and an area control/area denial archetype (the Tinker). While the Assassin is melee built with damage in mind, its gameplay is intended to work around hit and run or control tactics. The Warden is melee as well, but is designed for team defense rather than offense.
If you haven’t noticed yet (we hope you have!), we do our best to step back from what is expected of an archetype and start with something completely fresh. Our “fire mage”, the Pyromancer, does not have flowing robes. He does not use a staff. He doesn’t have a long flowing beard or ornate jewelry. We didn’t do this just to be different for the sake of being different. We designed the Pyromancer by starting with what he was and what made sense in our perspective of how a universe like the one represented in Forge. We thought someone working with metal melting flames all day would likely be in full, head to toe flame resistant body armor.
The same is true of the Ravager. We didn’t start by mimicking every barbarian or warrior class you’ve seen in any other game. We started with the idea of what this character was all about. We realized they needed to be highly mobile and agile, but with a sturdier frame than an Assassin. They would need plenty of armor, interlocking plates to keep them agile but it couldn’t be metal. It would just be too heavy to match their mobility. We also realized, they wouldn’t carry around a two handed sword. They needed to be almost acrobatic, able to shift around the battlefield with alarming speed. The answer quickly became clear: They’d used a sword and grappling hook as their primary weapons.
The Ravager class is built with all of this in mind. They’re short, approximately the size of the Shaman. They’re stocky. But, they are extremely mobile. They are able to use their grappling hook to move around the map by firing it at a surface and jumping while they have momentum. They’re also able to attach the grappling hook to friends and enemies, either dragging the other player to them or themselves to the other player. By alternating between their two fighting styles, they can shift from an AOE melee character using their chain to a single target character using their sword.
While the Ravager’s damage output is not quite as intense as the Assassin’s, their ability to stay on target and move around the battlefield to continue doing damage is unrivaled. Short of the Pyromancer’s Flame Burst, there is no character in Forge more able to get where they want to go on short notice.
While a group of Forge characters can decide to hold an area and do the job well, no single character is built around that concept. It’s an important one, especially for gametypes that involve the capture of an objective or traveling through a tightly defined route. The Tinker is designed with this role in mind.
The Tinker has a variety of gadgets and traps that they can deploy to help defend or attack an area. While we of course have the traditional concept of a turret as one of these, the Tinker goes well beyond that.
She also can lay down a “Catatrap”. This allows the player to point a trap in a particular direction. When it’s triggered by an enemy (or intentionally triggered by a teammate, which requires an action beyond just stepping on it) it throws the enemy far and high into the air in the direction the trap was set.
The tinker is also able to place a buzz saw trap that, when triggered, let’s loose a wild saw blade that does damage to anything it touches. The blade follows an unpredictable pattern but deals a significant amount of damage when touched.
Other tools include a trigger-able armor booth, a barricade and a malfunctioning backpack. The Tinker will be a favorite for players that enjoy the Engineer style gameplay, but also those that enjoy Tower Defense. Smart use of the Tinker ability set with teammates can lead to some deadly, and hilarious, combinations.
We can’t say with certainty when both classes will arrive. However, we do feel safe telling you that the Ravager is planned for release in April, 2013 and the Tinker should follow shortly afterwards. We hope you’ve enjoyed the class preview.