Aion Class Interview - The Assassin

Continuing our series on the classes of Aion, Ten Ton Hammer has another great interview for our readers. Check out the burst damage scout known as the Assassin! This lethal attacker combines stealth and speed to deliver deadly blows in a short span of time. The Assassin class must carefully balance the damage it deals with skills that divert the enemy's attention or the entire group can be in jeopardy.

Continuing our series on the classes of Aion, Ten Ton Hammer has another great interview for our readers. Check out the burst damage scout known as the Assassin!

This lethal attacker combines stealth and speed to deliver deadly blows in a short span of time. The Assassin class must carefully balance the damage it deals with skills that divert the enemy's attention or the entire group can be in jeopardy. We asked Associate Producer Lani Blazier a number of questions to help us understand more about this intense class.

Assassins are one of the two Scout subclasses in Aion (the other being the Ranger). How are these two classes different and what kind of player is going to enjoy the Assassin over the Ranger?

The Assassin deals severe damage..

Lani Blazier: The Assassin is a melee DPS class with abilities focused on inflicting severe damage on the enemy within a short amount of time. Players who like to play melee DPS characters will like them. The biggest difference between the Assassin and the Ranger is the way they kill. The Ranger specializes in long-range attacks and can set traps. The Assassin is quick, sneaky, and stealthy. Assassins can cloak (a sort of invisibility) and quietly approach their enemies, aiming for vital spots to inflict maximum damage instantly. This stealthy cloak is the fundamental Assassin combat skill. Some Daevas criticize Assassins for ambushing defenseless enemies, but the Assassin fulfills a necessary function in a Daeva Legion. It fills the role of the silent infiltrator, causing distraction and taking out specific targets quickly and efficiently.

What is the Assassin’s role in a group or raid? Will Assassins be full-on DPS, or will they have usefulness beyond damage output?

LB: In a group, the Assassin acts as the party’s exceptional melee damage dealer. However, when inflicting damage on the enemy, Assassins needs to be sure that they aren’t pulling aggro. To take advantage of their strongest tactical skills, they also want to attack from an enemy’s rear. When a party has no Ranger or other archer, the Assassin can also switch to using a bow and pull monsters.

Assassins can devastate opponents when they use the right skill for a tactical situation. They also have many skills that cause an opponent to fall unconscious temporarily. When party members are in danger, Assassins can use these skills effectively to block monsters.

Some of the important skill chain progressions of Assassins enhance damage against a monster at the expense of generating a lot of threat. It is important to use skills such as Whisper of Pacification to lower an Assassin’s threat. Players will  need to carefully manage their attacks so that they don’t pull focus off the tank. If an Asassin generates too much threat, a monster will aggro on it, and it will need to be healed hard (no matter how high an Assassin’s evasion may be, it isn’t enough to withstand a focused attack.). If that happens, the healer healing the Assassin will generate a lot of healing threat, and then the healer may become its next victim.

From what we’ve seen of Assassins, they often seem to dual wield blades. What other weapons and weapon combinations are available to this class, and will there be a benefit to using one type of weapon over another?

LB: The Assassin is exceptionally skilled with the sword, dagger, and bow. It has numerous attack skills for each specific weapon.

The Assassin is skilled with daggers, swords and bows.

It’s harder to hit with the dagger, but the dagger has a high attack speed, and it crits often. The sword is just the opposite.

At low character levels, it is difficult to raise the Assassin's critical hit rate, so Assassins often use the sword while soloing. As an Assassin’s level increases and its critical hit rate rises, the dagger’s average damage exceeds the sword's, so many Assassins then switch over to using dagger.

One weapon selection variation is to equip a sword and a dagger at the same time to increase the number of attacks that hit. In the end, though, most Assassins will use the best gear they have, and that’s what dictates their weapon use.

Are the Scout subclasses limited to leather armor? Will having the disadvantage of lighter armor than the Warriors make them more difficult to play solo, and will they be reliant upon playing with a meat shield in order to survive in PvE and PvP combat?

LB: As the melee DPS with the highest evasion, the Assassin has fewer armor choices when compared to the Warrior subclasses. That does make soloing more challenging, especially if an Assassin has to engage with groups of opponents rather than one on one. The defense of the kinds of armor that an Assassin can equip is relatively low, so it is crucial for an Assassin to defeat an enemy as quickly as possible. That is why the Assassin skill progression focuses on strengthening the ability to land an attack rather than increasing evasion or defense.

It’s also a good idea to use manastones to increase evasion to minimize damage, but an Assassin should focus as much as possible on raising its ability to hit with an attack and its critical hit rate so that it can defeat an opponent quickly.

Female Assassins can be scantily clad or covered more by their armor.

Looking at screenshots of the Scouts, it seems that the female character’s armor is a bit skimpier than the male’s armor. Aesthetically, this makes sense, but will female characters have the option of adorning themselves in the bulkier armor?

LB: “Aesthetically, this makes sense.” That makes me chuckle. That issue is something that has always bothered me in many games I’ve played. The short answer is that a player does have the ability to equip bulkier armor on female characters. Aion offers a variety of armor choices for the player. We want characters to look like the way that players want their characters to look like, not be driven by game statistics. The game allows you to take two pieces of armor and combine the game statistics of a piece with the look of another piece of armor you want. This way you can achieve a look unique to your character.

There are some constraints, though. The amount of bulk that a piece of armor has is driven by the armor type. Cloth is lighter, while plate gets more bulky and gives more defense.

Assassins are thought of as being the dark, stealthy, and dangerous sort of class that uses shadows and mystery to take advantage of his opponents.  What abilities and tricks does the Aion Assassin have that make this class one you want to look over your shoulder for?

LB: I’d want to stay as far away as possible from their poisoned dagger tips, myself. Seriously, though, the class’s greatest strengths are in its skills that cause brief unconsciousness, Pattern Engraving, and cloaking. In particular, Pattern Engraving is an Assassin’s trademark skill. The more patterns an Assassin can engrave on an enemy, the better ability the Assassin has to land blows and the more hurt it can deal.

Does the Assassin have the ability to maintain some sort of stealth while in flight or is this an ability that they may only use while grounded?

LB: Yes, Assassins can maintain stealth while they are flying. This can be incredibly helpful when infiltrating different enemy areas and hard to reach zones, however players will have to keep a close eye on their stats as stealth flying burns up a lot of “flight fuel”. Bottom line?  When you’re cloaked in the air, attacks need to be timed extremely well.

What special abilities will the Assassin have for aerial combat?

LB: In the Abyss, Assassins are built for speed and freezing their opponents in place. They learn skills that increase their critical hits and their flying speed, power, and accuracy. They also have a ranged skill that immobilizes a target in mid-air. This is a good class to play if you're interested in aerial combat.

The best way to take down an Assassin is to beat him with numbers.

What are the Assassin’s weaknesses that other classes will be able to exploit in order to succeed? Will there be other classes that have a distinct advantage against the Scouts?

LB: An Assassin’s defense is relatively low, but it possesses exceptional evasion skills, and it uses cloaking to engage the enemy from behind. Assassins don’t have any skills to heal themselves, so during solo play they have to rely on bandages and potions to heal. Assassins don't have efficient range attacks, and since their defense is low, they can get into trouble when attacked from both sides. So if your character is a healer, wear an Assassin down. If your character is a tank or highly armored Warrior, don’t let an Assassin get behind your character. If your character is a Ranger or other ranged DPS, attack from range. If you really want to take down an Assassin for sure—attack in a small group.

Not all players enjoy PvP. With the Assassin and other classes, will PvP be a pivotal part of character progression or are PvE players able to gear up and compete without having to participate in PvP?

LB: PvPvE allows players to compete in both PvE and PvP and not be funneled to choosing one over the other in order to succeed. We like to think of it as a reward-based system, not a punishment-based system. I believe players will find PvPvE incredibly engaging, and not what they would normally expect when they hear the word “PvP.” When characters play in the Abyss, Abyss Points are collected from both PvE and PvP. Players can use them to purchase high-end gear and items that are useful in world PvP and in PvE raids.

We want to allow players to play Aion in a game style that they find fun and engaging, and PvPvE is a big part of it.

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