View Full Version : Assassin Class - Beta Test & Discussion

02-02-2012, 10:49 AM
I've been working on the Assassin these past few days, and I think I finally managed to catch her "feeling" in spite of IT mechanics having no such thing as stored and released charges.

But being that I never actually played one, took that opportunity to weave in my concept of an int melee class, and had to cater to some of IT's other differences, I am sure that there is plenty of room for improvement.

In any case I think she is about ready for some beta testing.

If you have time this weekend, some experience with TQ chars (especially in higher difficulties) and some gear in your vault, send me a PM and I will send you a test version as soon as it's done.


02-10-2012, 10:58 AM
Alright, let me use this thread to address things the testers found, and answer some questions in advance that players might have about this rather unusual class.

As said above, she is meant to be viable as an intelligent melee fighter, which is reflected in some of her skills, as well as the expected gear which consist of int bonuses, +x damage stuff, dex armor and the newly included dex swords.

Charged Skills

As in D2, the Martial Arts consist of charged skills and finishing moves. Except that there is no such system in TQ, so I paired them into attacks that charge a % bonus to a damage type and finishers that inflict it.
E.g., "Claws of Thunder" attacks add lightning damage, and charge an electric burn bonus. The "Dragon Claw" finisher then dishes out lots of electric burn (in a fraction of a second).

Q: Why do the charges dissipate so fast?
A: Since the finisher does not "use up" the charge, it is deliberate that this happens when not attacking with the corresponding skill. In fact, the individual levels dissipate more quickly the higher you can charge, so it never lasts more than 2-3 seconds. That way one cannot simply charge all elements at once, and high attack speed (in the later game) becomes an important factor in increasing the overall efficiency.

Q: I can use finishers on their own and still get multiple hits. Is the charging worth it?
A: Early on, when a lot of the damage still comes your weapon and strength, the difference my not be as large. Later, you get up to four times the damage when charging first. You decide. ;)

Q: What if I already have burn damages on my weapons?
A: Those are increased by the charging aura. Albeit not game-breakingly, since most of those burns take long and the skill requires you to hit fast. Besides, such weapons are rare, and relics like Prometheus all do flat damage in D2I.
% boosts to the finisher damages, too, are usually overshadowed by the high charged %. Flat +x boosts and int are best.

Q: Why do "Dragon Flight" and "Dragon Talon" finishers come without an AoE? Especially Flight seems weak.
A: As with many skills, a comparative lack in damage usually indicates other strengths. The Talon (freezing finish combo) is designed to take a single strong target out of combat, while the Flight (generally useful teleport attack) is best to assassinate back-row mages. Both are best combined with an AoE finisher.
Dragon Flight uses bleeding which is of course situational (@jaelrin: Blood Vixens are resistant.) but also most commonly found and easily boosted.

Tankiness / Survival

While the weapon-blocking Assassin can be surprisingly durable when choosing "Fade" (resistance aura) over speed or poison, she is not a tank. Her melee tactics should rely on quick controlled strikes and disables / crowd control (Shock Web against ranged, Cloak of Shadows, Psi Hammer, Venom) combined with leeching (Cobra/Phoenix) and decent DA from high dex and her innate mastery boost.
I realize that some of those skills were missing in the first test version, but now she should have all she needs.

Q: Leeching, poison, bleeding and mind effects are ineffective against non-living things. Should she not have some ability to compensate?
A: No. Her area of expertise are the living, which is one striking difference to the Paladin. Every class has some weakness they need to compensate with gear, and this is hers.

Q: How can I ever wear decent armor when not training strength?
A: Assassins have an inherent bonus towards wearing dexterity-based medium armors, which need almost no strength. Though mage uniques can be great too, even in melee.

Stat Distribution

Q: Won't I be wasting my potential for physical melee damage when not training strength?
A: Mostly, yes. On the other hand, you will be using that potential to add even greater damage to your elemental melee skills. And with physical weapon damage being less important, you can do fine even with lighter/weaker swords as long as they are fast.
That being said, I did just add several dex-based MI swords to all 12 acts. Also, the classic strength build is still a possibility with Tiger/Cobra strike and their finishers.

Q: I still feel like I could use better OA/DA. Fixed Batrachos greaves are lame!
A: You do have skills that significantly reduce enemy DA (Fire Blast, Cloak of Shadows), and Blade Mastery boosts OA (now more than before). Other skills make them miss you. Also, the innate % boost makes it really worthwhile to look for both of those stats on gear.

Other Skills

Q: Isn't "Fire Blast" rather weak in higher difficulties?
A: Being a Tier 1 skill with no higher synergies, its damage is technically impossible to scale over all 12 acts, even though it is int-based and % boostable. So while the damage does already start on the high end (Satyrs go BOOM), it will naturally fall behind.
That is why I added an effect which gets stronger as the game progresses: 50% reduction to a burning enemy's DA! So what the skill loses in damage, it gains in utility.

Q: Why does "Psi Hammer" not gain any damage with levels?
A: It does. While its base damage and stun stay the same, the MASSIVE racial multipliers against sentient beings increase both of those, and the entire "Mind Blast" synergy as well.

New Skills (predicted)

Q: I heard the Shadow uses all kinds of skills. Why does it only do melee attacks?
A: It has no mana for them before becoming a Master, unless it gets some from gear.

Q: What's the deal with the blade skills? They seem kinda weak.
A: Their main selling point is that they grow independent of stats, and carry any extra effects from your skills and gear. "Blade Fury" excessively so, with up to 4 hits per cast. Think knife thrower without the need for -cooldown.

Finally, the numers of "Blade Shield" may look weak for the cost. But keep in mind that all retaliation damages, getting no boosts from anything, receive huge difficulty multipliers in D2I. So they are actually useful now, and "Blade Shield" is the prime example.

Male assassin making an effort to look badass.

I hope this sheds some light on how to play/test this rather capable class. Thanks again to everyone who is helping me improve it. :happy:
All others, I hopy you enjoyed the "preview". You can look forward to playing the finished version in the coming 1.3 update.

02-10-2012, 05:13 PM
With Cloak of Shadows survivability is quite decent now, but you need to be careful, due to big radius it's possible to pull distant monsters.

Blade Sentinel combined with Venom is also good for crowd control.

Constructs and some undead are still a problem (especially those automatoi in Olympus), but for them I use Charge Centries, and try to destroy them while they're focused on traps.

Still don't see a real use for Psychic Hammer, even with all bonuses it barely scratches monsters. Maybe give it a cooldown, like 10-15 seconds, and increase stun duration to 1,5-3 seconds?

A little off-topic: what is "Wound damage"? It's not described in help. Found it on a ring with Minion Lord's prefix.

03-12-2012, 04:09 PM
Hi Violos, I was wondering if it's ok for my assassin to be so low on gear at level 12...I still haven't found any MI weapons or anything like that...not even with my Lvl 33 Barb...is there a problem with drop rates, or is it a bug or smth, because I'm quite bad on gear:(

03-12-2012, 04:47 PM
Is this in the latest version?

The dex weapons are only dropped by a few specific enemies. The first ones you get are carried by Dark Huntress Assassins.

OTOH you should have no problems holding some OK swords at level 12. Actually, as soon as you get a few points into Fists Of Fire, you could get by on broken knives for the rest of the act.

03-15-2012, 06:38 PM
Yes it was on the latest version.

OK, it's good to know.

Actually it's not the weapons that I'm worried about...my assassin sure does some descent damage, but the more serious problem is armor...I'm only carrying some first level mage armor, the only good thing I found so far is the Bandit's Hood:D

03-16-2012, 07:46 AM
Well the drop rate is certainly not to blame. To compensate for the higher difficuty, all Monsters with gear do have 50-100% increased chances for MIs and Uniques on some of their items.

As for armor, the Assassin inherently gets a -25% discount on dex requirements. So if you are playing int/dex based, you should get yourself some dex armors (Gorgons, Tigermen etc.).

03-16-2012, 09:19 AM
A toast to your dedication, Violos! :D

I mean the Assassin seems such a difficult class to implement into a mod.

Can't wait to wreak havoc with Death Sentries and my Shadow Master!

I wish you good luck!

03-17-2012, 04:02 PM

No need to wait though - this has already met with success, and implemented (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_dFJZby4Ck&list=UUwSbYNSb54A8cARxkV6_fVw&index=2&feature=plcp) since version 1.3.
Since 1.4 she even sounds good slicing things.