Since the dawn of Dark Age of Camelot there have been endless changes to game mechanics, items, classes, and more. Most of these changes have been gradual adjustments over the course of several patches, especially in the case of class adjustments. For the past year or so, we've been going through each archetype and making not-so-gradual adjustments as needed and dubbing the process 'class reviews'. These class reviews have addressed issues brought to our attention via player feedback, messageboards, Team Lead feedback, and Team Lead reports.
When it came time to look at Archers, one theme from all of those sources resounded with us: Archers have no real reason to train in their single class-defining ability, bows. The archery revamp is meant to address that issue and to modernize archers in general, bringing them up to the same level as newer classes in the game, and older classes which have been adjusted recently. Unfortunately, the 'old' archery system didn't allow for much versatility or adjustment internally. We had visions of fire and acid arrows, and versatile shots that would fit into any number of RvR and PvE scenarios, so we turned to our spells system to supplement the new archery line.
Admittedly, with any change, it's a good idea to remove certain things in order to make way for improvements. It's our opinion that archers should be most successful in a ranged battle, and so the new changes reflect that theory. This doesn't mean that archers will be ineffective in close-range combat. It only means that certain abilities that made them too powerful in those situations (for example, Physical Defense) have been removed to make way for more range-friendly abilities. We want to share with you a list of abilities that will no longer be available to archers, before we share what we plan to add.
What's being removed and why:
- Elevation bonus: This bonus benefited archers who would camp in high level keeps and towers, granting them the ability to shoot enemies from places where the attack could rarely be returned by anyone, including another archer.
- Ability to nock an arrow and release when the target comes into range: This was removed by design (as part of the need to simplify and streamline the mechanics, both for ease of use and for future adjustments). Due to player feedback, we have been discussing putting nocking back in. It may be impossible to do so without bringing back all of the problems inherent to the old system, but we have heard your feedback, and we are doing our best. It may be that some of the need for nocking will be addressed by other elements of the new system still to come, so please stay tuned.
- Unrealistic melee advantages: Before, Archery could be effective with almost no points put in to it. 35 bow was roughly the same as 50 bow, allowing an archer to put all their points in to melee abilities, and beat tanks and assassins in melee at very high rates. The Physical defense RA allowed archers to achieve better armor ratings than some tanks, making them incredibly difficult to kill. This was reevaluated as an unfair advantage. The new system allows for a more archer-oriented skillset while allowing archers to choose melee as a secondary tactic.
In order to address the archery system as a whole, these things needed to be addressed. In the interest of game balance, we could not let these things stay as they were while adding the new system. This system focuses on Archery and ranged combat, while providing a unique line for each realm's archer class and a melee option as a secondary skill to specialize in.
What we heard you ask for:
- More reliability: Archery damage has a large variance, and as a result it is difficult to know how much damage would be dealt at any given time.
- More Enticement to spec in Bow (Archery): The number one complaint about archer classes is that there is little reason to specialize past 35 in bow because there is little gain from it. There was very little flavor to the line, and it has no real fun, unique abilities.
- 250 quickness cap on draw time: Archers are only able to reduce draw times by a small percentage due to this cap.
- Miss rates: Archery has high miss rates and block rates, and is mitigated by many things including bladeturn, brittle guards, shield block, evade, etc.
- Hunters do not autotrain bow.
- Scout buffs: Scouts do not have a buff line, they are the only archer without self buffs.
- Arrow types: Poison, fire, acid, cold arrows, more choice in damage types and damage functionality.
What's new in 1.88:
- Damage: There's very little variance in archery damage now, players know exactly how much they'll hit for on a particular target, every single time.
- Archery spec: Archery now presents a reason to spec all the way to 50. Effectiveness is directly related to spec, and a high bow spec will be very effective.
- Quick cap: The 250 quickness cap is gone. Draw times are based on dexterity now, which has no cap.
- Block and miss rates: Block and miss rates continue to be adjusted, and we encourage feedback in this area.
- Autotraining: Hunters will now autotrain bow.
- Buffs for Scouts: Scouts now have a buff line which is identical across all three archer classes.
- Variety in bow spec: Archers now have 12 different types of shots, arrows in 7 different damage types, arrows for keep siege and for standoffs.
- Arrows can no longer be evaded.
- Critical Shots: Even though the requirement was added that Critical Shots must be fired from stealth, all other requirements have been removed. Before, a Critical shot couldn't be landed on a target who was in combat, OR on a moving target. Now, changing this so that the ONLY requirement for landing a critical shot is that the archer must be stealthed has made the shot much more reliable. Not only that, but it now bypasses all defenses including bladeturn, block, intercept and brittle guards.
- Bladeturn: Bypassing bladeturn at any spec, with the proper shot. Before, you had to spec high archery to receive this ability, now you can receive it at any spec level using power or crit shot.
- Trueshot: Trueshot is now available through the archery spec ability long shot. There is no need to spend Realm Ability points to get extra range.
- Volley: Volley is now much easier to use. An archer is only required to stand still for the initial release of a clump of arrows, which will all rain down at once on the targeted area. The number of targets hit by volley increases with higher spec.
- Annoyances from the old system are removed. An archer will no longer have a chance to unstealth while drawing a shot, and he can also no longer fumble a shot.