I thought I'd put out this quick post on the class system for people who are just entering beta. Hopefully, this will answer early class mechanics questions.
ArcheAge Class System
The class system in ArcheAge is very diverse. Similar to Rift or Final Fantasy XIV, you select multiple classes that are combined into a single profession. There are 10 base classes to choose from yielding a total of 120 different play styles / professions. Each of the 120 options has a unique class name. However, the skills selected from that trio will differ among players. Of course, there will be cookie cutter builds because we as gamers, sometimes lack originality and go for min/max specs.
You are required to select a class when you create your character. Don’t fret over it too much as even that selection can be changed. It’s merely the skill set and weapons you’ll be using for the first few levels. At some point before level 7, if I recall correctly, I was asked to choose a second class and it progresses from there.
If you have a favorite class or play style from another game, there’s a good chance you can recreate it in some fashion in AA. That said, the differences might not be to your liking. My first attempt at a trio was a WOW type Warlock, GW2 Mesmer or leech healer. I tried the combinations people suggested as the base classes but none of them appealed to me. My experiences in GW2 and Tera have slanted me toward more active combat. I’m not happy standing still, locked in place, in order to cast spells. That’s feels too old school now for my tastes. So you have to experiment until you find what floats your boat.
You can change your class and skill selections by visiting a Skill Manager or resurrection Priestess. The quickest way, is to use the /escape feature to teleport to a priestess. There’s a fee per class swap and to reset the skills if you’re only doing the later.
It can feel expensive in the lower levels. I spent my first 3 gold before level 10 changing out my spec. One problem is the lack of an updated class builder for the NA version of the game. The other is that in game, you can’t see a preview of the skills available each class. I think they need to include the same information initially presented to you during the character creation. This would at least give you an idea of what’s behind button #8.
This is also the NPC you visit if you die. PVE death = lost XP. For a cost, you can recover the XP by interacting with the Priestess. I'll discuss pets in a different post. However, if you happen to get a pet and it dies, you need to visit a Stablehand to have your pet resurrrected. This too has a cost but it's nominal.
Every class can where any type of gear and use all weapons. That’s right, 100% freedom of choice. However, each gear type has certain stats that make more sense for some classes than others and the same goes for weapons. You can heal in cloth and get the stats natural for caster type classes and stack specific healer boosts. Or you can wear all plate, providing more defensive but won’t natively heal as well as a cloth wearer. You could do a combination of plate and cloth, which means forgoing the full set bonuses.
Gear is provided as quest rewards, looted from dungeons, earned with end game tokens or crafted by players. Please note the one that’s missing – mobs. Mobs in DO NOT DROP GEAR or crafting components for that matter. You receive gear sets at the end of quest chains – 3 pcs to the set from this guy, 2 pcs from that gal and a weapon from another one. At the time, you’ll choose between the cloth, leather or plate version.
The freedom of class, armor and weapon selection means the onus is on you to do what makes sense. There are skill sets that require a particular weapon. For example, you can choose Battlerage as a class but if you don’t have a one-handed weapon or shield, you’ll be ass out in your ability to use the skills you just purchased. DOH. I did that after making a dramatic change to my class selection. I went from caster to melee not realizing I didn’t have the weapons needed and not enough money to buy them either!!
NPC purchased weapons are expensive. Crafted weapons are the best in the game so they’re not cheap either. Therefore be sure you have the gear you need before you make 180 changes in your classes. I went 2 days with 1/3 of my skills inaccessible to me.
Multiple Sets and Specs Game
I believe you need multiple sets of gear to be effective in AA. You need your PVE gear, PVP set and there are crafting sets you can obtain. For the first two you most certainly would want to tweak your skills as well. Unfortunately, AA doesn’t provide features to manage any of this. I think we should be able to store 2 class combinations and have a gear swapping mechanic. Remember vanilla WOW? Ugh, the pain of saving your solo PVE build vs. group build if you were a healer or tank. This has already been solved in other games, I’m not very patient when it’s reintroduced in new games.
I’m out crafting, harvesting or questing when a call goes out to do world PVP. Like really???? I have to make it to a Skill Manager or Priestess, change out my skills, making sure to pick the right ones. Fix my shortcuts and change out my gear. NOOOOO!!! Any combination of the above scenario is an unnecessary pain in the ass.
Armor and weapons come quickly and easily in the low levels if you’re doing the PVE content. This is the time to experiment with classes. Your gear is the cheapest it’s going to ever be if you need to buy something. You also haven’t invested in upgrades or enhancement items.
Skills level as you level – XP based. The skill level obtained is retained when you change classes. However, the first time you try a class your skill expertise is at 1. Trying out different classes early is better than deciding later. Not that you can’t wait, you can. But if you do wait until level 50, you will be running around facing higher level mobs or players with level 1 skills. DOH.
What I’m Playing
My current build is what the game considers a Paladin (Battlerage, Vitalism and Defense). I want something a bit closer to the GW2 Guardian or Rift Cleric. They have a Cleric in AA but it didn’t feel like what I was aiming for. It may be because Songcraft is considered broken at the moment and I wasn’t digging Auramancy. The Paladin feels good enough for now and is certainly fun but I might try changing it up again before the alpha ends.