Aion Class Interview - The Sorcerer

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Sorcerers manipulate Aether to control arcane magic capable of reducing an enemy into a smoldering pile of ash. This class wears light armor but packs a nasty punch in combat. This week we got the chance to speak with Aion's Associate Produer, Lani Blazier to learn more about this magic wielding class.

Ten Ton Hammer: The Sorcerer is the one of the two powerful subclasses of the Aion Mage. Can you tell us a bit about the Sorcerer, where its powers are derived from, and what it has to offer potential players?

The sorceress manipulates Aether to wield arcane magic.

Lani: Sorcerers take an academic, almost scientific, approach to magic and manipulating Aether. Through careful study, theyÂ’ve learned some of the natural laws that influence how Aether flows through the world, especially how it interacts with water, fire, wind, and earth. They can alter and manipulate that flow, and thatÂ’s what lets them set the bad guys on fire.

Ten Ton Hammer: . Mages tend to be powerful, often one of the most deadly classes of any game. With great power comes the need for balance. What aspects of balance do Sorcerers have that even out the devastating damage that they wield?

Lani: In South Korea, they describe the Sorcerer as the “sword of glass.” This metaphor evokes the damage a Sorcerer can do (like a sword) and its vulnerability (made of glass). Sorcerers can do a ton of damage so long as they aren’t hit in melee. A Sorcerer is a force to be reckoned with at range, but the closer an opponent gets to a Sorcerer, the more vulnerable the Sorcerer becomes. A Sorcerer can only equip cloth armor and its physical defense and health are extremely low. Its evasion is also low, so in general, a Sorcerer is weak against physical attacks.

In the low levels of Sorcerer, the class doesnÂ’t have many skills that recover mana points (MP), so a Sorcerer may find they spend a lot of time on MP recovery.

Ten Ton Hammer: The Sorcerer, like most Mages, wears lighter armor that makes it a quick kill for foes if it gets too close. Does the Sorcerer have defense against melee combat or will this class need to be focused on keeping enemies at a distance?

The sorceress fights best from a distance and can put approaching enemies to sleep.

Lani:Keeping enemies at a distance is definitely key for this class, but thereÂ’s a lot of tactical crowd control that comes with that. When an enemy begins to close on a Sorcerer, the Sorcerer will want to use an attack skill that decreases the enemyÂ’s movement speed. If multiple opponents are coming at a Sorcerer, or enemies are attacking the Sorcerer from several sides, the smart Sorcerer inflicts sleep or immobilization skills. Even though a SorcererÂ’s defense abilities are weak, as long as a Sorcerer can control the distance between it and its opponent, the Sorcerer calmly proceeds to devastate its enemy.

One tip I have for players new to the Sorcerer class. It is critical for a Sorcerer to understand the cooldown time and the effects of the SorcererÂ’s skills.

Ten Ton Hammer: Can you tell us a bit about the sort of spells that the Sorcerer has? Will Sorcerers focus on direct damage or will they also have a variety of area of effect (AoE) spells or damage over time (DoT) spells, as well?

Lani: The SorcererÂ’s main role is as a damage dealer, specifically as ranged magic dps. Sorcerers have numerous ranged attack skills, including AoE attacks that can attack multiple opponents. The additional role that a Sorcerer has is as a mesmerizer (for crowd control). Mesmerizing skills allow a Sorcerer to take on groups of linked creatures one by one. The Sorcerer is invaluable in difficult party quests or for infiltrating regions that are crawling with groups of monsters because of its mesmerizing skills.

Ten Ton Hammer: One of the concerns of playing a Mage class, such as the Sorcerer, is the fear of boredom in being “the nuker.” Is there more to playing the Sorcerer than just hitting a few high-powered spells repeatedly, such as allowing for crowd control capabilities, buffs, or debuffs? What variety does this class have that will give the player diversity of play and fun level after level?

Movement is key to keeping a sorceress healthy in PvP.

Lani: Having any class become a single-button, one trick pony character that does the same exact thing over and over is something the designers wanted to avoid from the get go. Aion has built-in game mechanics to avoid this tendency in any class:

·         Chain skills provide variety of spell/skill use and tactics. They are only available once you decide to use another skill.

·         You select manastones to socket into your character’s equipment that provide stat bonuses or that trigger other abilities or bonuses. Manastones let a player highlight different strengths in a character or give an item have slightly different abilities or bonuses that allow for variety of play.

·         The Stigma system lets your character collect and use an extended array of powerful skills that your character’s class does not normally have access to.

·         The positional combat system boosts your character’s stats depending on the direction your character is moving during combat.

All of these make for a diverse and customized gaming experience.

High damage sorceress spells use high amounts of Mana, but there are things to help speed regeneration.

Ten Ton Hammer: Movement seems to be a key factor in staying alive in PvP with flight combat in Aion. Are Mages able to cast while on the move, both on the ground and in the air?

Lani: You’re right, movement is important in Aion especially because of the stat bonuses that characters get during use of the positional combat system in melee combat. Sorcerers can perform their melee attack while running, but Sorcerers most often cast spells. Much like a ranger can’t fire an arrow while moving, a Sorcerer needs concentration for spellcasting, and as a result, it can’t move while spellcasting. Sorcerers can fly and cast—they just have to be stationary in flight and not moving.  A Sorcerer can use immobilizing or slowing spells when it is a good distance away from a target so that it has time to throw a couple of spells before a target can close the distance to the Sorcerer. Tangling with a Sorcerer is still quite dangerous, even though it has to stand still for casting.

Ten Ton Hammer: Mana or power is the force that allows Mages to cast their magic but every game is different in how it works. How does the mana system work in Aion? Does it regenerate slowly on its own or will the Mage need to replenish it through meditation or other means? Do bigger damage spells use more mana than smaller spells?

Lani: The basic answer is that mana regenerates slowly on its own. Sorcerers normally take steps to boost their mana regeneration when feasible. Yes, high damage spells consume a high amount of MP. However, plenty of items in the game (potions, consumables, buffs, manastones) help a character to recover MP. Resting your character is also another quick way to regenerate mana. (The default key command to rest is a comma.)

Players who enjoy calculating and managing stats will not regret selecting this class.

The sorceress has many spells at their disposal and several ways to enhance defense against interuptions.

Ten Ton Hammer:  At some time or another, a Mage might find itself face to face in melee combat. What sort of weapons do Mages use, and do they need to worry about casting being interrupted or slower if they are engaging in close combat?

Lani: Sorcerers can use spellbooks and orbs as weapons. A spell always has a chance of being interrupted during combat. Some items in the game (like manastones) help reduce the chance of being interrupted while spellcasting. A Sorcerer has plenty of spells up its sleeve in order to get out of close combat situations. The best part is that most of them have relatively quick casting times. HereÂ’s an example of a Sorcerer close combat attack routine that my character uses: First restrain your enemy, essentially rooting it in place (an instant cast). Then take a Blind Leap (another instant cast that teleports a character 15 meters back) in order to gain some distance. Follow this with Ice Chain (two-second cast), which reduces an opponentÂ’s movement and unlocks the chain skills Frozen Shock or Cold Wave. End with a Frozen Shock or Cold Wave, both of which deliver a devastating knockback.

Ten Ton Hammer: There has been some talk based on the version of Aion that has already been released globally, that the Stigma differences between the factions might make one faction more favorable for the Sorcerer. Will there be faction differences with Stigmas? Will Aion maintain faction differences while still striving for equality in the North American version?

In PvP, players will want to immoilize sorceress' to quickly eliminate them.

Lani: Aion has faction-specific Stigmas. For example, Elyos have access to a Stigma called Seal Explosion of Light I, which deals heavy damage and causes a target to faint, whereas Asmodians have a Stigma called Seal Explosion of Darkness I, which causes damage and returns a percentage of the damage it inflicts as health points (HP). Both have strategic advantages, but I wouldnÂ’t say one Stigma makes a faction more favorable than the other. You have to look at the Stigmas as part of the game mechanics of the game as a whole. Each class has been given a faction-specific Stigma, and when the Stigmas, the classes and their abilities, and the two factions are viewed holistically, I think players will find itÂ’s a very well balanced and thought out system.

Ten Ton Hammer: Being a destructive ranged caster, it seems the Sorcerer will have a distinct advantage in flight in PvP combat. What tactics will other classes want to use against such a powerhouse and what other advantages might the Sorcerer have in PvP?

Lani: Three-dimensional combat requires that a player take into account attacks from any angle, including watching out for those skills that are especially lethal in fast-paced aerial environments like the Abyss. When encountering a Sorcerer, other classes will want to take advantage of character skills that immobilize the Sorcerer, stun, pull down, or otherwise close the gap to melee reach. A Sorcerer isn’t so tough if you can prevent it from using its powerful AoE long-range attacks or its crowd control skills.

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