Class Rebalance: Thieves

Welcome to our fourth class rebalance dev blog, addressing our plans for one of the most popular classes, Thieves. Before diving into Thieves, we have a section dedicated to addressing the months of silence and sharing our vision as of late. Afterward, like with previous class rebalance dev blogs, we will go over our class rebalance goals, general analysis, and details about Thieves, and then look into each branch. # Addressing the Silence It has been quite some time since we last published a new blog, seven months to be exact. So, first of all, we would like to apologize for not releasing this update sooner and keeping you all in the dark. We initially expected to release development blogs every month or so. However, since the beginning of 2021, most of the time was spent on bug fixing and improving our server code, Sequoia - which we now feel extremely comfortable with going forward. As a result, while still happening in the background, planning features have not been a priority, to a point where it felt unnatural to move away from the development of the source to focus on discussing them and writing development blogs. Now, rest assured, progress is being made behind the scenes in various fields: client and server development, feature planning, website rewrite, etc. We are not taking the approach of competing with any other server/project. We do things our way, and we believe in our process, as long as it may take. We also appreciate the thousands who are still with us until now, with over 3,700 members on our discord! # Short Reminder Since Selene is being built from the ground up, every skill needs to be coded into the game. This could potentially be a tedious task. However, it allows us to redesign classes and code them differently in the first place. This enables us to solve unbalanced classes in pre-big-bang servers better, having more freedom in design. This means each skill across every class is being looked into and changed to create an engaging experience that makes the class unique. # Thieves Overview Thieves have always been a significant force in the game, as one of the most popular and loved classes, and it is easy to see why - with their high damage and mobility, making them very appealing for players. One of the leading principles for designing this class was keeping the core ideas behind the two branches while attempting to enhance the gameplay aspect and introduce new mechanics on top of the existing ones. Each branch is quite different, too, one being melee and the other ranged, and each one required a very different approach in design. # Stats As mentioned in previous class rebalance dev blogs, each class is redesigned with five parameters in mind: * Single target damage - The amount of damage one can cause to a single target. * Multi-target damage - The amount of damage one can cause to multiple targets within close and long-range. * Tank - The ability to protect yourself and the party members from incoming damage. * Support - The ability to strengthen other party members, weaken enemies, or provide valuable tools for the party. * Mobility - The ability to move to a specific location within the same map or on a different map. With those attributes in mind, we have created the following table where each class ranks in the different categories. ![Thieves stat table]( **Class Rebalance Table: Thieves** Do note, a class with two stars in one stat does not double in value over a class with one star. It merely indicates that one star is slightly weaker, or the two stars are marginally stronger. Take a moment to go over each of the fields of the classes. It will give you a good idea of what each one of them does. As the table suggests, the two classes aren't too different in each of the attributes. However, what differs between them is the vastly different playstyle and inner-class situational strengths/weaknesses. # Rogue (1st advancement) This is the first advancement we introduce where players will not max all of their skills before advancing. The reason is apparent, the two job branches use a different weapon during their 1st advancement ("Sindits" will be addressed later in this blog) - and we wanted to provide them with meaningful skills that will still be relevant down the road after advancing. While claw Rogues still get the same arsenal of skills, we have changed the number of mastery points in different skills. Lucky Seven is still the main DPS Assassins are expected to use for a long time until reaching 4th advancement, along with Keen Eyes to extend their range. As for dagger Rogues, we have introduced a new mechanic that will remain fundamental for the class throughout their entire journey, the Backstab. This basic form of the skill allows the Rogue to gain increased damage when hitting mobs from behind. However, as the player progresses, there are additional benefits to triggering backstab, which creates an exciting playstyle where Shadowers are encouraged to utilize their mobility to backstab their opponents. We determine whether a mob is facing left or right by tracking their movement direction. That means static mobs do not face any direction and will thus not be affected by Backstab. ### Sindits The changes mentioned above will likely result in fewer people choosing to go the hybrid way "Sindit". We wanted to discourage this path because it is inherited from a fundamental design issue. Bandits were not fun/strong enough for players to enjoy until they reached later levels. We believe that our changes will make the class much more enjoyable for players to play, and thus, this route is something we've decided to get rid of. # Night Lord Considered one of the most played classes, Night Lords have always focused on two elements they do exceptionally well: single target damage and mobility. In contrast, the other parameters such as multi-target, tanking, and support are extremely weak compared to other classes. As part of our work, we have decided to keep these traits while enhancing the overall gameplay experience and shifting it from the current, boring, "hold one button" playstyle synonymous with Night Lords. One of the main goals we aim for is unbinding the dependency between Night Lords and Sharp Eyes, which is more or less a requirement as it stands. Thus, at 2nd advancement, Critical Throw has been nerfed significantly, both in success rate and damage. Additionally, for Assassins, we have removed Endure as it is useless and introduced "Shadow Dash" as a substitute for Drain. Shadow Dash makes the character quickly dash backward while throwing a single star that heals for a portion of the damage dealt; it acts as an escape and a self-heal. Since we are looking to increase the base movement speed of characters in the game, Haste's buff has been nerfed, so it is no longer a min to max speed buff. For Hermits (3rd advancement), we removed skills that did not match our idea for Night Lords, such as Meso UP and Shadow Meso. Instead, we introduced a new self-buff that allows Hermits to use a certain amount of mesos per attack to output bonus damage against targets. We have also buffed Avenger and made multiple changes to Shadow Web, which now has a 100% success rate and works against bosses but comes with a cooldown. This change further enhances the Hermit's ability to battle mobile bosses and gives them an edge over other classes. Night Lords have received many changes to existing skills and a few new mechanics that make them more than a "hold one button" class. To clear some space for the new mechanics, we removed insignificant skills like Taunt and Ninja Ambush. The first skill we introduced allows Night Lords to have better control over their Shadow Partner by flipping the direction in which it attacks. This means Night Lords can now toggle that skill to attack both sides simultaneously rather than dealing increased damage on one side. The second mechanic we introduced is one of our favorite ideas so far, and it is called "Mark of the Shuriken." Periodically, one of the enemies in the Night Lord's vicinity is cursed with a mark. Upon hitting that target, the Night Lord gains tremendous attack speed for a few seconds. The last skill we introduced is a passive that increases the Night Lord's attack and range. ![Mark of the Shuriken]( **Mark of the Shuriken** We have also added various changes to existing skills. For example, Shadow Shifter now has a 100% success rate but comes with a cooldown that decreases as you level the skill up. Shadow Stars now consume more stars but last for longer, and Triple Throw's base damage has been increased to cover for the nerf to Critical Throw. We hope these changes will make Night Lords more of an independent class that performs well by itself rather than relying on any other class to reach its intended potential. # Shadower Unlike Night Lords, Shadowers are a lot less popular, and our first and foremost goal is to make them viable stat-wise and fun for players to pick. We believe there is a lot of hidden potential in their concept, so we decided to utilize multiple ideas brought up and rebuild an entirely new experience for players to enjoy. This means one thing: significant changes. With that goal in mind, we have decided to give Shadowers a lot of mobility, but in a way that would fit their fast, melee playstyle and allow them to use it to trigger Backstab. Similar to Assassins, we removed two skills from Bandit's skill tree. Endure has been removed along with Steal. We are aware that Steal has been a fundamental part of Bandit's ability to progress through their 2nd advancement, and it is part of our balance plan. Instead, Chakra has been reworked and moved from 3rd advancement to 2nd. Chakra is now a self-buff that sacrifices a large amount of MP to grant the player life steal for a period, allowing Bandits to save up on potions. Additionally, Bandits get a new skill enabling them to jump twice before touching the ground. This is part of the mobility changes that will make this class unique and allow players to maneuver smaller distances and trigger Backstab more often freely. This is a new mechanic that we are introducing. The player can control the direction of the second jump via the arrow keys. Chief Bandits have introduced significant changes, completely changing what one would expect - and neutralizing what we consider a bad design decision. First and most importantly, Meso Explosion has been removed entirely. We reached a broad consensus among the team in our discussions that this skill promotes what we consider to be a terrible player experience. While it is unique to the class, we believe that we would be better off without it. However, to keep some of the concepts behind the skill, we have decided to introduce an alternative skill called "Explosive Coins." Simply put, it is an automatic version of Meso Explosion that causes mobs to drop extra mesos that, shortly after, explodes automatically, dealing damage to all nearby enemies. We have also removed Pickpocket (it is now part of Explosive Coins), and as mentioned before, Chakra has been moved to 2nd advancement. On top of Explosive Coins, we have also introduced a skill called "Vendetta," which allows the player to deal significantly increased damage when attacking out of Dark Sight with a cooldown. This skill also integrates with Backstab - as each time the player triggers Backstab, the cooldown is reduced. Also, we added enhancement to jumping in the form of a Triple Jump, which allows the player to jump three times before touching the ground. One of the most commonly asked requests for Chief Bandits has been fulfilled; Assaulter no longer requires a target to be in range and has its number of frames reduced, making it feel much better than before. The 4th advancement also has an extensive list of exciting changes; all made to fit with the theme we have been pushing for up until now. We are once again introducing another custom mechanic unique to Shadowers called "Living Shadow," which will be a core part of their playstyle. Living Shadow allows the player to leave a shadow behind in a target location for a certain period. Upon reactivating the skill, that player switches positions with the shadow - this switch can be done multiple times before expiring. It opens various potential advantages Shadowers can utilize and makes them one of the most mobile classes in Selene. We have also added a new attack which is likely to be Shadower's bread and butter single target attack, called "Precision Blades." Think Savage Blow on steroids that also ignores a portion of the target's defense. Assassinate now acts as a "finisher" skill and has received several changes: it no longer requires Dark Sight, has a cooldown (reduced if the target dies from the final hit), and deals increased damage against wounded targets. ![Precision blades]( **Precision Blades** Like Night lords, Taunt and Ninja Ambush have been removed, and Shadow Shifter now has a 100% success rate with a cooldown. Smoke Shell now counts for attacks made from Dark Sight (triggering Vendetta) and has a reduced cooldown which can be further reduced each time the player triggers Backstab. Shadower's Instinct is another new passive skill that permanently increases both attack and defense while also allowing Shadowers to ignore a portion of the target's defense when utilizing Backstab. The way we see it, these changes will make Shadowers an exciting class that remains unique, but in a much better way than before. # Conclusion After a long time with no new blogs, Thieves are finally revealed, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts. Our goal was to make each of the classes mobile to fit their playstyle while promoting a fun experience for our players. Night Lords remain the go-to class for players who are seeking a safe and stable damage output option. At the same time, Shadowers require the player to utilize many different mechanics and skills to damage mobs effectively. As always, if you have any questions, suggestions, thoughts, or anything else, make sure to join [Selene's Discord]( and share them with us.