Aion Class Interview - The Spiritmaster
Along with powerful magic and debilitating debuffs, Aion's Spiritmaster summons elemental spirits to do his bidding. Calling upon earth, air, fire, and water this mage destroys his enemies and assists his allies with a awe inspiring skill that will undoubtedly please any player bold enough to play this class.
Aion Associate Producer Lani Blazier is back to talk with Ten Ton Hammer about another fabulous Aion class. In this interview we get the details on the mage pet class, the Spiritmaster. Find out how these elemental masters wield their magic and how they fare against the creatures of the world and against players in PvP!
Ten Ton Hammer: The mage subclasses of AionSorcerer and Spiritmasterharness the power of the elements in two different ways. Can you explain some of the lore behind the Spiritmaster and how Spiritmasters come to command the elements?
Spiritmasters wield the power of the elemental spirits.
At first glance, Sorcerers and Spiritmasters actually do have some similarities. Both subclasses serve Kaisinel, Lord of Illusion (if Elyos), or Lumiel, Lady of Wisdom (if Asmodian). The big difference between a Spiritmaster and a Sorcerer is the relationship between either of them with the elements. A Sorcerer is fundamentally a scholar. A Spiritmaster is an artist. Spiritmasters have an instinctive rapport with wind, fire, water, and earth. They can coax fearsome elemental spirits into existence with the power of their charisma and their will, then send them hurtling toward their enemies. A Sorcerer could tell you what formula invokes the power of fire, but a Spiritmaster would just snap his fingers and order his Flame Spirit to attack. If you asked him how he did it, though, hed just shrug.
While Spiritmasters receive training and gradually learn more about commanding the elements, their training is more individual one-to-one mentoring and involves a lot of self-discovery (to say nothing of some harsh self-testing). Sorcerers, on the other hand, gain power through more traditional instruction and research.
Ten Ton Hammer: For any pet class, the pet is a huge part of the look and feel of the class. It seems that Spiritmasters can conjure various elementals to do their bidding. Do these pets grow with the character or are they replaced by bigger, badder pets as a character gains in levels?
We call Spiritmaster pets spirits. The spirits a Spiritmaster can summon grow in power as the character gains levels. Specifically, characters obtain new skills that allow them to summon larger and more powerful versions of the spirits as they level up. During Aion beta, a Spiritmaster has skills to summon one of four spirits at a time: earth, air, fire, or water (at level 10). Upon Aions release, characters will also be able to summon an additional fifth kind of spirit that is specific to a characters race.
Ten Ton Hammer: Are the pets something that you cast and they stay with you until you dismiss them, or does the Spiritmaster cast a pet for each battle?
Spirits persist, rather than being short-term and useful for only one fight. Once your character summons a spirit, it stays with your character until it dies, the spirit dies, you log out, or your character crosses into a new zone. The spirit is relatively cheap and fast to summon, so as a Spiritmaster, you will want your character to have a spirit by its side at all times.
Ten Ton Hammer: How reliant is the Spiritmaster on its pets? Do these elementals simply aid in battle or will this class be heavily dependent upon its pet for damage and support?
This pet class is just as powerful solo as they are in a group.
Spiritmasters are strong at solo play, and Spiritmasters are all about their spirits. They want to have a spirit with them whenever possible, but part of the tactical play of a Spiritmaster is selecting the right spirit to summon to master the kind of monsters you are facing. Spiritmasters change spirits depending what they are about to engage with. A Spiritmaster is fairly dependent on its spirits for damage and support.
Ten Ton Hammer: Can you explain each of the types of pets and what they will do for their Spiritmaster? Does each pet have a clear role?
Currently in the Aion beta, Spiritmasters can summon four kinds of spirits, each based on one of the core elements: earth, wind, fire, and water. At Aions release, we will introduce a fifth spirit. This new spirit is specific to a characters race. Asmodian Spiritmasters will be able to summon a spirit that is a combination of the elements of fire and earth, and Elyos Spiritmasters will be able to summon a spirit that is a combination of wind and water.
Each spirit has different abilities. It can be challenging at times to recognize which element would be best to call on, and it is a mark of a players experience in the class to become skilled at this decision. Using the right spirit at the right time can be the difference between winning or losing a battle.
Fire spirits specialize in melee combat. Earth spirits are the masters of defense, making them good for tanking. Water spirits focus on ranged magical damage. Wind spirits have magical melee abilities.
Ten Ton Hammer: There are a few MMOGs that unfortunately allow pet class characters to exploit the use of pets (for instance, by going AFK and having the pet do all the work for the player). Will this be a problem in Aion, and how can this exploit be guarded against?
Useful debuffs and extra item drops makes this class a favorite.
Every class has challenges as to balance. We treat the Spiritmaster no different in striving to make all classes balanced, and we also work to make sure that Spiritmasters have an equal ability to solo and to be effective in a group. To calm your fears that Spiritmasters could reap experience points while going away from keyboard, you should know that spirits have many skills that a player must actively initiate, such as attacks, heals, or buffs. They cannot just make their spirits into automagic experience harvesters.
Ten Ton Hammer: Because pet classes tend to play like a mini-duo, they often end up being the class choice of soloers and are sometimes left out of forming groups. How useful are Spiritmasters included in a group, and what is their role?
In a group, a Spiritmaster weakens and wears away at monsters using the selective use of its spirits and various debuffs. Its abilities allow high burst dps classes like the Assassin and the Sorcerer to take down monsters quicker. A Spiritmaster in a group uses skills like Magic Blocking to dispel or reflect a targets buffs. Spiritmasters also possess skills that raise a targets item drop rate, making raids much more productive and efficient. Doesnt every group want more and better loot?
Ten Ton Hammer: How does flight work with a pet in tow? Does the pet go with the Spiritmaster or is it bound to the ground?
A spirit does not follow a character into the sky when the character goes on the wing. Think of a spirit as a person on the ground. The Spiritmaster in flight (using its wings) and its spirit have both the benefits and challenges in this situation of being both on the ground (the spirit) and in the air (the Spiritmaster) simultaneously.
Well chosen Stigmas can make the Spiritmaster a PvP contender.
Ten Ton Hammer: Mages tend to be light on defense and hit points, which make them easy targets in PvP. How do Spiritmasters fare amongst peers in PvP combat, and what will they have in their arsenal to make them a class to be reckoned with?
The ability to debuff and weaken should throw some fear into an opponent. Spiritmasters also have the huge advantage of essentially being in two places at once. A Spiritmaster can take to the skies while leaving its spirit below to cover it from the ground. A Spiritmasters water spirit has a command ability unique within the game. It crashes a flying opponent from the air, causing the opponent to fall immediately to the ground. That trick seems something that would be great to take advantage of in PvP.
Ten Ton Hammer: Will the Spiritmaster be better off in the protection of a group for PvP, or will a Spiritmaster be completely capable of defending itself in a one-on-one battle without the comfort of a group?
Any class is safer in the protection of a group. The Spiritmaster, as a subclass of the Mage, does have a challenge because it has a lower HP pool. Spiritmasters will want to take advantage of the many Stigma stones, consumables, and skills that speed up HP/MP recovery. On the other hand, a Spiritmaster also has a built-in group as part of its class, since a Spiritmaster can summon a spirit to bring down the hurt with multiple attacks, making a one-on-one battle seem like a two-on-one battle.
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