Updated Wed, Jun 24, 2009 by Ralsu
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.