Rampant Speculation: The Unknown Classes

We all know WildStar is already classy as f***, but the extent of how far the games class choices goes is still incomplete.  Two unannounced classes still remain shrouded in mystery to the fans, and Carbine has been pretty tight-lipped about what they are.  While we have no idea what the last two classes will be, that won’t stop us from coming up with our idea of the gaps left in WildStar’s current class list.

While generating this week’s Rampant Speculation, I was one wall full of papers and yarn from looking like John Nash in A Beautiful Mind.  That said, I think my temporary state of madness has paid off, as I derived what I feel is a pretty solid theory behind how the last two classes will play.  Let’s walk through the process and see how I arrived at my conclusion.

What We Know

Carbine has already shown us a preview of four of the six class choices in WildStar: Warrior, Esper, Spellslinger and Stalker. You can read our previews of the Warrior and Spellslinger right here at Mission:Nexus for more information.  We also know it has been stated that each class will be able to fill two roles from the “holy trinity” (Tank, Healer, DPS) to keep variety available to players.  Here are the current classes as an example:

  • Warrior: Melee DPS or Tank
  • Stalker: Melee DPS or Tank
  • Esper: Ranged DPS or Healer
  • Spellslinger: Ranged DPS or Healer

That means we have two possible combinations that don’t currently appear in our class choices:

  • ?????? – Ranged DPS or Tank
  • ?????? – Melee DPS or Healer

For the purposes of discussion, we’ll refer to our Ranged DPS/Tank combination as the “Ranged Tank” and our Melee DPS/Healer as our “Melee Healer”.  Don’t get confused, as we still expect their non-DPS role to be filled in the traditional sense. For instance, our Ranged Tank will be up close and personal when tanking, but will be ranged when doing DPS.  Likewise, we figure our Melee Healer will hang back out of the fray if they’re mending allies.

Both of these combinations are entirely possible, as we’ve seen in other games.  In SWTOR, Powertechs/Vanguards filled the ranged tank role and Operatives/Scoundrels fought up close in DPS but hung back to heal.  Maybe we’re already way off base, but if we want to keep variety across all the classes, these are the two combinations we’d need to have total coverage.

Examining Itemization

So the roles inspection gave us a hint at what the two remaining classes will be doing in the game, but how can we learn more about them?  Well, to start, we can apply the same principle we used on roles to identify which armor types are underrepresented.  The following chart displays the three armor types, as well as the classes that will use them.  We’ve applied our method to determine which armor types the two unannounced classes might be wearing.

Armor-Type

We know the Stalker and Warrior will start  in one type of armor, but upgrade to the next highest type throughout their leveling process.  Perhaps this points to a design decision around itemization.  Stay with us here, but let’s look at an example using Medium Armor as the basis.  We know that Warriors and Stalkers can both fill the Melee DPS role.  If another class, our proposed Melee Healer, can also wear Medium Armor, then three different classes can directly benefit from any medium armor that drops with stats geared toward Melee DPS players.  If the Melee Healer is in a healing role, that Light Armor used by our Spellslingers and Espers could also be beneficial to this potential class.

Our Ranged Tank could take a similar approach.  From the announced classes, only the Warrior can use Heavy Armor.  That’s a lot of artist and item design time invested for just one class.  In order to keep things manageable on the developer side of things, we expect Ranged Tank to wear Heavy armor.  When it comes time to DPS, the Ranged Tank can utilize Medium Armor to help fill out their kit without focusing heavily on one specific armor type.

It’s Starting To Come Together

What about stats?  Currently, Technology is the primary tanking attribute for Warriors and Stalkers, and Wisdom is the stat for our two known healers.  We need to share some aspects across classes to keep itemization in check, but we also don’t want gear competition so fierce that it results in hurt feelings between players.  With this in mind, our guess is that the two remaining classes will use existing stats they share with other classes, but in a different role.

Here’s an example:  Let’s assume for a moment that our proposed Ranged Tank uses some form of kick-ass technological marvel of a weapon to smite their foes from a distance when DPSing.  That means that Technology becomes their “go to” statistic when filling DPS. So when a baddie drops that Heavy Armor overflowing with Technology, it becomes attractive to more than just the Warrior.  Also, the Stalker no longer gets automatic dibs on the Medium Armor gear that has Technology. Seems like a good fit to us.  So what is the Ranged Tank’s primary DPS attribute?  Right now, Warriors have a monopoly on Strength.  They are also the only current class that can wear Heavy Armor.  Given the need to withstand enemy punishment, we predict Strength becoming the Tank Primary Attribute for Ranged Tanks.

Let’s take a look at our Melee Healer using the same strategy.  Right now, Espers are the only class that use Magic as a Primary Attribute.  Are Espers really so cool that they deserve a stat all to themselves?  I’m guessing the guys who balance the game would disagree.  That means our Melee Healer needs to use Magic somehow, and our money is on Magic as their healing stat.  That leaves us with every current stat (Magic, Wisdom, Dexterity, Strength and Technology) being utilized by two classes.  Enough to keep competition for gear in place, but without having too many players chasing after the same drop.  It doesn’t get more balanced than that.

Whoa, slow down.  We still need to know what the DPS stat is for the Melee Healer.  Because Math, you see, we need to have one stat that has three classes using it.  Using the information we’ve derive until this point, we think the Melee Healer will use Dexterity as the DPS stat.  We know it will show up on both Light and Medium armor due to the Stalkers and Spellslingers, and Dexterity as a melee stat makes sense.

So that brings us to the ultimate question: we know the roles, we know the armor types, we know the stats, but what will the classes actually be?  Here are our best guesses given what we know of MMOs past and present:

Ranged Tank: The Pet Class

Most of the popular MMOs in the past decade have utilized a “pet class,” or class that tames or summons a pet that assists them in battle.  With all manner of wildlife and beasts to be found on Nexus, it would be an absolute shame if the only meaningful interaction we could have with them is eviscerating them to see what kind of loot they have inside.  With the ability to have a faithful, or at least subservient companion to help tank or damage your foes (or potentially heal you), this class could be very different than the others we’ve seen so far.  Plus, this finally gives those WoW Hunters that always wanted to melee despite logic a chance to experience that if they choose to tank.  Here’s what our guess is to how the class page will read:

Role: Ranged DPS, Tank
Armor Weight: Medium Armor (Upgrades to Heavy)
Primary Attribute: Technology (DPS), Strength (Tank)

Melee Healer

Like Operatives/Scoundrels in SWTOR or Monks in WoW, this class would be back out of the fray when it came time to heal, but bob and weave around the enemy to dish out the hurt when it was time to lay down the DPS.  We’ll even go out on a limb (this is Rampant Speculation after all) and say this class will have the ability to stealth.  Since Magic is a primary attribute, we suspect this class will already have an air of mysticism about them.  Following that train of thought, we see the class as providing all number of supporting buffs and potentially having a spell that allows them to mask the party (group stealth for the unimaginative).  So how does this one break down?

Role: Melee DPS, Healer
Armor Weight: Light Armor (Upgrades to Medium)
Primary Attribute: Magic (Healing), Dexterity (DPS)

wdstr_screens_032
 Are We Right?

We’d like to think we’re always spot-on, but while we’re likely missing a couple of things, there’s merit in our predictions.  While WildStar is pushing the genre forward, it knows its roots and what players have come to expect from an MMO.  Our class ideas might be too routine for Carbine, and we wouldn’t be surprised to find some new twists in the two classes they reveal. However, we have applied some logic and reasoning to what we already know to (hopefully) derive a little more of what we don’t.

We’re really interested in hearing what the community thinks the last two classes will be.  Leave us a comment with your ideas, or feel free to tell us why we’re totally off-base.  If you’d rather hit us up on Twitter, follow and tweet us: @MissionNexus.

Written by: Datix

1 Response to "Rampant Speculation: The Unknown Classes"

  1. Krissy says:

    what about a tank or healer class (think Paladin or Druid)?

Leave a Reply