[Elite Spec Suggestion] Legacy of the Assassin: Powers of Shadow and Steel — Guild Wars 2 Forums
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[Elite Spec Suggestion] Legacy of the Assassin: Powers of Shadow and Steel

hatsamu.4327hatsamu.4327 Member ✭✭
edited December 31, 2019 in Thief

This is my refreshed idea for how a thief elite spec patterned after the Guild Wars Assassin might look. To fit it within the context of GW2 and the existing thief specs we already have, I've focused on some specific playstyles of the old class: the frontline fighter and the shadowform tank. I've also added on the theme a bit, reflecting a possible evolution of the class throughout time and giving it more of a niche, by expanding the concept of the Assassin's hexes into a thief class that's more comfortable using magic offensively. I'm not really sure if this disqualifies this spec from still being called the Assassin, plus players of assassins in other games might get the wrong idea about the spec, but I've tried to carry the spirit of the original profession over.

This spec features a playstyle echoing the Assassin's attack chains and gains durability through barrier and other forms of damage mitigation. Offensively, it gains more mid-range and area skills. This spec has options to debilitate enemies or support allies. It's also been inspired by Anet's recent trend of adding traits that can alter specific weapon skill slots, which I use here to upgrade what is normally the Dual Wield skill slot.The trade-off is a new (different) resource restriction, less front-loaded burst, and compared to Deadeye: less focus on single target damage and advantage from stealth.


Spending Resource: Attack Chains

Initiative splits in half into 6 initiative, and 6 introspection. Introspection regenerates independently of initiative but the rate is unchanged. Weapon skills 4 and 5 now cost introspection instead of initiative. Traits in core specializations that modify initiative are unchanged but are still useful for weapon skills 2 and 3. Lore-wise, the assassins were described as being dedicated to balance, so here introspection is the yin to initiative's yang. Even though the spec encourages varied skill use, since one pool can regenerate while the other is being used, downtime between chains shouldn't be too long.

The new addition to the UI tracks the attack chain, which is progressed by alternating initiative-spending skills (weapon skills 2 or 3) with introspection-spending skills (weapon skills 4 or 5) and Dual Attack skills (new flip-over for weapon skill 3, see below). Only successful strikes build attack chains and spending the same type of resource twice in a row will break them. The state of the current chain is displayed using symbols like the slash/crosses of the old attack chain, as three stages corresponding to the number of attacks used in the chain. Skills will still be able to be used outside of chains, though using the same type of skill multiple times in a row will be more limited due to constrained resources. As the spec tree is fully trained, weapon skills gain additional bonuses when used in attack chains.

Example tooltip of an introspection skill following an initiative skill. Gives direction by stating whether the skill will start, build, or break the current attack chain.

Dual Attacks

When the attack chain reaches Stage 2, skills in weapon slot 3 flip into a resource-free Dual Attack. This affects both Dual Wield skills and weapon skill 3 on individual and 2-H weapons, so attack chains work with any weapon on land or in water. Similar to what ANet did for Deadeye's stealth attacks, Dual Attacks can be based off the existing Dual Wield/weapon 3 skills but deal increased damage and could have additional effects. Flavor-wise, like how Weavers combine elements into their Dual Attacks, these skills are created through both initiative and introspection and represent the infusion of magic into physical attacks.


Profession Mechanic F1 and F3: Assassin Arts

Since attack chains just encourage the use of existing skills in a different way, this is the new addition to the class mechanic. Part of it was described above as the attack chain symbol, which is actually its own F3 button. While Steal still exists at zero chain, activating F3 during a chain expends the current attack chain to alter F1 into an Assassin Art, and depending on the stage of the chain and sequence of weapon skills, 1 of 5 different Assassin Arts can be created. These skills share Steal's traits but can have different properties such as range, movement, max targets, activation time, and possibly cooldown.

image = Art 1: [Shadowless Step] - Clear conditions and dash out doing a small amount of damage and a blind. Can control movement with directional input (like dodge) resulting in different animations, e.g. jump backwards projecting a blade, a cutting dash forwards, etc.

image = Art 2: [Flying Blade Storm ] - Project 3 summoned blades forward into the target that pierces directly in front and behind. (Strongest single target burst of the Assassin Arts.)

image = Art 3: [All Directions Assault] - In a blur of motion, evade attacks and deal damage in an area around your target. (For AOE burst, and unlike Rev's sword 3, doesn't get stronger against single targets.)

image = Art 4: [Seal of Deadly Corruption] - Conjure a circle of magic centered around the target creating an area that immobilizes with the first pulse and remains for a short time doing damage. (Total damage over time should exceed the burstier Assassin Arts.)

image = Art 5: [Way of the Master] - Self-buff that blocks during the animation and adds extra strikes to your next few attacks.

Thematically, since weapon skill 4 and 5 are usually more control or defensive oriented, attack chains starting with introspection skills result in more defensive Assassin Arts with lower single target damage. I didn't want to step on Daredevil's toes by giving too many evades, so each defensive art does something different. (Blind+positioning, evade, or block.)


Weapon: Offhand Sword

Visually, dual swords are a pretty good match for the old Assassins' daggers since they didn't hold them in reverse like GW2 Thief does. Also, both previous specs gained 2-handers and having to only add two new skills for an offhand balances out the addition of all the new Dual Attack and Assassin Art skills.

  • Skill 4: [Wind Cutter] - Send a ranged slash towards a single target, dealing damage and chill. Costs 4 introspection.
  • Skill 5: [Flashing Blade] - Whirling cut that blocks during the cutting motion. Leaves a short-lasting field of damage that could possibly destroy projectiles. Smoke Field. Whirl Finisher. Costs 6 introspection. (Like pistol 5 this is both a field and finisher that can combo with itself, but has a shorter duration than Black Powder.)

  • S/S Dual Wield: [Blades of Steel] - Multi-hit strike with both swords. Could be represented by afterimages striking with you, to decrease time stuck in animation.
  • D/S Dual Wield: [Dragon Flash] - Cutting dash that damages in a narrow path, somewhat like a shorter range warrior GS3. Leap finisher.
  • P/S Dual Wield: [Heaven and Hell] - Long-range shot with charge time. If attacked during the charge, block and counter with short-range sword cleaves and pistol shot.


Utilities: Phantasms

Inspired by the Guild Wars description of the Assassin being " nowhere and everywhere all at once." Shadowy phantasms look visually different from Mesmer phantasms of course, but will also differ by not leaving behind clones when their effect ends. A few of the phantasms with longer animations also have flip-over skills that act as a pseudo-shatter, ending the skill early in exchange for immediate and alternate effects. If the phantasm was manually shattered but would have applied boons upon ending, the duration of the boons transferred to the player scales with the length of time the phantasm was alive.

  • Heal: [Shadow Defense] - Form a barrier in front of you for an initial heal and block attacks for 2s. Conjure a phantasm for up to 3 blocked hits, attacking your target and healing you when each phantasm ends. 30s recharge.

    • Flip Skill:[Shadow Barrier] - End the skill early and grant yourself barrier.
  • Utility 1: [Flying Blade] - Summon a blade of shadow to attack a target. 3 ammo, 15s count recharge.

  • Utility 2: [Dark Prison] - Summon a shadow form that creates an area to slow foes and transfer conditions on allies to itself. Lasts 3 sec and knocks back foes upon ending. Dark Field. 35s recharge.

    • Flip Skill:[Dark Negation] - Pulls foes into its area and grants resistance to yourself.
  • Utility 3: [Shadow Substitute] - Break stun and summon a shadow form to attack your target. Grants stability in an area when it ends. 45s recharge.

    • Flip Skill:[Shadow Shift] - Take your phantasm's place by shadowstepping to your target and grant stability to yourself.
  • Utility 4: [Black Lotus Dance] - Summon a nearby shadow to deal damage in an area and grant retaliation when it ends. 30s recharge.

    • Flip Skill:[Black Lotus Bomb] - Shatter the phantasm for area damage and grant retaliation to yourself.
  • Elite: [Falling Star Strike] - Visually inspired by GW1's Wastrel's Collapse (but much bigger) and the old Assassin icon, the elite sends three conjured shadow blades crashing down from the heavens, impaling your target and nearby foes in the area. Could be telegraphed with a magic circle on the ground being drawn, and an AOE daze when the circle completes before the actual impact. 90s recharge.


Traits

Adept

image[Way of the Assassin] - You have balanced both mind and body by learning the old ways of the Assassin, splitting part of your initiative into introspection. Build attack chains using varied weapon skills for bonus effects and spend attack chains to alter Steal into Assassin Arts. Gain access to Dual Attacks and phantasms.

image[Unseen Fury] - Blinding a foe causes your attacks to be temporarily unblockable. Has ICD.
image[Shadow Sanctuary] -Allies gain a portion of the barrier you grant yourself. Gain increased healing power when granting barrier.
image[Both Sides of the Blade] - Gain 1 introspection after spending initiative. Gain 1 initiative after spending introspection.

Master

image[Balanced Technique] - Start chain skills add an extra strike of damage to your next build chain skill. Build chain skills cause your next Dual Attack to grant barrier.

image[Void Release] - Off-hand sword skills gain increased range. When hitting movement-impaired foes, Balanced Technique's extra strike damages in an area.
image[Shadow Form] - Reduce incoming strike damage while you have barrier.
image[Mind of No Mind] - Phantasms give full attack chain bonuses to your next Dual Attack.

Grandmaster

image[Deadly Focus] - Assassin Arts additionally grant boons. Art 1: swiftness. Art 2: fury. Art 3: quickness. Art 4: might. Art 5: alacrity.

image[Assault Enchantments] - Seal of Deadly Corruption now additionally corrupts boons.
image[Way of Perfection] - Way of the Master changes to Way of Perfection, which now lifesteals. Assassin Arts grant their benefits to nearby allies. (Includes the boons granted by the grandmaster minor, allowing this spec to focus on an particular Assassin Art to upkeep quickness OR alacrity but unlikely both.)
image[Assassin's Promise] - Creating an Assassin's Art grants Assassin's Promise. (60 sec ICD) Assassin's Promise resets the cooldown of Steal.

_
*Edit 7/23/19: Switched some traits around. Changed the second adept minor trait to give healing power instead. I still like the idea of boon duration for this spec but I didn't catch that Deadeye and Acrobatics already have traits that give concentration. Healing power would be a first for the thief and would work well for the barriers and lifesteal.

*Edit 12/31/19: There was a change to the forums that messed up the image formatting and I couldn't let it go. Took the opportunity to make some changes: Flipped interaction of F1 and F3 to create a tradeoff between Assassin Arts and Steal. Changed attack chains to build off of resource type because it's more intuitive and allows a greater variety of skill combos to access the Dual Attack. Changed Art 1 to condi-clear more than just movement-impairs. Strengthened the Phantasm theme of the utilities a bit by introducing flip-over "shatters." Renamed/moved some traits around to allow some variety between potential healing and tank builds. Clarified images/wording.

Comments

  • derd.6413derd.6413 Member ✭✭✭✭

    why can't assasin arts not just replace stolen skills?

    a bigger issue i see is that the cooldowns while short on thief might still mess up the chains and with some skills the initiative cost is just too high for this. something else is that most combo's currently in game uses the off-hand skills first followed by main-hand skills. it's a neat idea but i don't see it work with the way weapon skills are balanced and work on thief

    i don't think the phantasms are necessary for the utility skills.

    I Have No friends, so I Must pug

  • Alatar.7364Alatar.7364 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 16, 2019

    Can't begin to describe how much I love the amount of work and detail you put in to this.

    I just think that 6 ini is way way too low compared to ini cost of the weapon skills on all sets, but honestly I didn't quite understand some parts of it, especially the part about how to get Assassins Art and Attack chains, but that's almost 100% cuz I began reading it while tired AF so I probably couldn't give it a proper thought.

    Generally speaking I like the idea, at least I think I do.

    ~ I Aear cân ven na mar

  • hatsamu.4327hatsamu.4327 Member ✭✭
    edited June 17, 2019

    @derd.6413 said:

    More of a "meta" reason, admittedly. After Deadeye, it would make 2 specs in a row that can't make use of the stolen skills the devs have been adding, and there are some that would work great for a support build.

    I'm still thinking about the resource costs as well, if the class would feel fun to play. There would be downtime between chains, but those can be filled by utility skills, mechanic skills, autos, and positioning. This is my totally unscientific theorycrafting though:

    Considering the worst case scenario with the most expensive (on-land) and non-channeled skills: the total cost would be 4 ini + 6 int. With my mediocre connection and without quickness, even when using skills with no activation time or <1s, using 3 weapon skills back-to-back takes roughly 3s (little bit under). After considering positioning/movement and animation times, I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that after a full chain, 2 ini and 1 int will have regenerated. It also takes me about 2s for a full auto-attack chain, which would be enough to fill the rest of my initiative and give enough introspection for a cheaper skill. 2 auto-attack chains should be enough for full resource in both pools. This downtime gets shorter considering you might mix in cheaper skills or skills with a channel time. On the other hand, if you're fed up with auto-attacks, I guess you could also say it gets worse under quickness. . .

    Regarding the breaking up of current combos, I was hoping that bonuses within attack chains would be enough to value these new skill combos, at least within this spec. That's mainly a game of numbers, at least when considering damage. The resource crunch gets worse when considering the utility of weapon skills, like needing to hold something back to react to another player. I was hoping that one of my Master traits, which allows the utility skills to create shortened attack chains, would give players this leeway.

    I don't think any spec comes with utilities that are necessary since they're supposed to give some choice. But besides theming, something enemy-targeted works best for my [Mind of No Mind] trait and they're versatile skills that can affect single-target or areas, and can damage enemies or support allies.

    @Alatar.7364 said:

    I still tend to word vomit and I already see where I could have written things more clearly, so it's not just you. But thanks for the kind words! Derd mentioned the same thing about the resource costs, so it's definitely a hurdle for this concept, but I tried to explain how it seems to work out in my head.

  • derd.6413derd.6413 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @hatsamu.4327 said:

    @derd.6413 said:

    I don't think any spec comes with utilities that are necessary since they're supposed to give some choice. But besides theming, something enemy-targeted works best for my [Mind of No Mind] trait and they're versatile skills that can affect single-target or areas, and can damage enemies or support allies.

    i think there are better options for that then phantasms.

    I Have No friends, so I Must pug

  • DarkEmiLupus.2876DarkEmiLupus.2876 Member ✭✭✭

    I like nearly everything about this suggestion. Maybe more ini/resource than only 6 of each. Iniciative pool must be increased by default without any trait.

  • hatsamu.4327hatsamu.4327 Member ✭✭

    @derd.6413 said:

    Sure, there's other options. Mantras and meditations could probably both fit thematically. Maybe even glyphs that change based on attack chain stage. I was considering spirit weapons at one point and going for something like Shen from League but the source magic felt too holy. However I feel the phantasms can evoke a very popular part of the ninja assassin trope in a way I don't feel other skills could match.

    They can depict shadow clones created with the thief's specialty shadow magic or can represent speed clones created by the thief's superior agility. Also there's no in-game example yet but nothing about "phantasms" says they have to take the shape of the caster, unlike "clones." They're unnaturally colored and see-though, and not fooling anyone. That means they can also portray the summoned blades part of my theme which, as seen in the gif I posted, the old Assassin showed a tiny bit of capacity for!

    As utility skills though, I think I'd like to push them a bit further to play up the AOE capabilities of the spec. When elite specs borrow utility types from bother classes they tend to expand them into new directions anyways. Maybe phantasms can leave paths using the tech Scourges received, or meet up at the Assassin's location for a tandem AOE effect using the recall tech the devs say took so long to perfect for Soulbeast.

    Thanks for the feedback. I'm not sure what attack chain downtime would feel good for everyone else without being oppressively bursty, but I guess it would also depend on the damage values of the bonus strike + Dual Attack. There's also that adept major trait that basically increases the resource regen rate.

    More initiative would allow more liberal use of weapon skills 2 and 3, but the limiting resource of attack chains is the introspection pool. Good news is I think the UI works even with increased initiative.

    I've also been thinking about splitting the F3 from Steal and having it pull double duty as both a "create skill" and "use skill" button, sorta like the new Berserk button. This would give back more flexibility in using Steal, but it might also simultaneously be too big a buff and make the spec more finicky to play.

  • derd.6413derd.6413 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @hatsamu.4327 said:

    @derd.6413 said:

    Sure, there's other options. Mantras and meditations could probably both fit thematically. Maybe even glyphs that change based on attack chain stage. I was considering spirit weapons at one point and going for something like Shen from League but the source magic felt too holy.

    just change their astetic to be dark shadow weapons. you can totally do that

    However I feel the phantasms can evoke a very popular part of the ninja assassin trope in a way I don't feel other skills could match.

    They can depict shadow clones created with the thief's specialty shadow magic or can represent speed clones created by the thief's superior agility. Also there's no in-game example yet but nothing about "phantasms" says they have to take the shape of the caster, unlike "clones." They're unnaturally colored and see-though, and not fooling anyone. That means they can also portray the summoned blades part of my theme which, as seen in the gif I posted, the old Assassin showed a tiny bit of capacity for!

    As utility skills though, I think I'd like to push them a bit further to play up the AOE capabilities of the spec. When elite specs borrow utility types from bother classes they tend to expand them into new directions anyways. Maybe phantasms can leave paths using the tech Scourges received, or meet up at the Assassin's location for a tandem AOE effect using the recall tech the devs say took so long to perfect for Soulbeast.

    also i was more talking about how the summons from renegade or a original skilll type would be a better fit then phantasms (since the skills you've described don't sound like phantasms, they're just summons)

    I Have No friends, so I Must pug

  • Jack Redline.5379Jack Redline.5379 Member ✭✭✭✭

    NO
    Just NO
    Dear god just NO
    You are making a Guardian/Mesmer/Revenant ouf of A THIEF
    WHY everyone in this game wants Thief to be a mage of some kind? Dont you have EVERY SGINLE OTHER spec in this game already infused and induced and screwed up with magic and its uses?
    This E-spec has no mobility built in it btw so you are going to be lets be generous 17,5k healthpool Assassing swinging arms around in more or less same spot. Absolutelly vulnerable to any dmg coming at you.
    All ppl will need to do is interput your casts. Dude that isnt that hard.
    You will get stacked with tornment for days facing another thief and your ini/intro split will completely ruin any sort of burst Thief has ever had
    How are you going to burst down an enemy with s #2 if it costs 3 ini? You gonna be able to do it 2 times at best. DB costs 4 ini Unload 6 ini shadowstep 4 ini sb 4 ini. How are you going to be able to do anything with this?
    Those fancy boons and evade frames and blinds (loled much here) wont save you from dmg coming to you.
    I mean dude you did try and you worked a lot on this I see. BUT THIS WILL NOT HELP THIEF
    This will at best give us one more useless elite like DE was and ppl will be forced to play old Elites or Core in a whole new game enviroment with new elite specs which will basically mean Theives dont even need to play this game anymore since all other classes will be already able to do all we do and more and better more and plus
    This Elite is simply bad.
    JUST NO

  • foste.3098foste.3098 Member ✭✭✭
    edited June 22, 2019

    What other trait lines is this suppose to combo with? Both daredevil and dead eye have clear synergy with acrobatics and shadow arts, but this is just an all around trait line, i guess since you get steal 2.0 and split initiative trickery would be the go to synergy line but that is kinda boring.

    Even so it is a good idea and flavor wise it fits within thief, but i don't know if the initiative/introspection skill chain requirements will work out. This is because depending on the weapon set you simply do not use skills 4&5 or 2&3 that much.
    For example on d/d you barely ever use heart seeker during the actual fight save for the last 3 seconds before your target is about to be downed and on d/p you use it for stealth some distance away to reduce the risk of interruption from the enemy meaning hs doesn't hit anything (i am assuming you need to hit for it to progress the chain), and heart seeker hasn't got enough utility on it to be used for no reason other than to progress the ini/intros chain (I don't count steal in to hs as a regular use of heart seeker since that is a 20 sec cd combo, and the chain system would essentially make you want to use all of your weapon skills as much as possible to get to the dual attack).
    Thief weapon sets are generally balanced such that the main skills you use is the auto attack and 1 initiative skill to actually do damage and the rest are more 'utility weapon skills'. This would not flow well with the chain system since it would make you want to use weapon skills in situations in which they are not effective at all in order to get to the dual attack.

    What if instead of the dual attack chain being progressed by using weapon skills in a certain order it is progressed by attacking with initiative skills in certain ways? For example in order to get to off-had state you need to hit your opponent from the sides, to go from off-hand to dual you need to hit from the back and then your skill 3 flips over?
    This is much more simple and would require the player to use his skills to set up the chain rather than using them in any particular order; and to make it more interesting there could be a timer in place before the current chain resets, something short like 2 sec which would force the thief to make decisions and play fast (the timer would refresh when you progress the chain).
    Now all of this would mean that there would be no initiative splitting, but instead the elite mechanic could be a replacement of steal with a version of assassin art f1 skill you proposed which would change depending on what part of the chain it is used in (this would also mean each elite spec has its own steal type).
    So for example if used in a lead attack chain the f1 is a dash of x range that dazes the target and gives you the stolen skill if it connects; but when you progress the chain to off-hand it flips to a different off-hand assassin art 'steal' and now f1 is a dash that deals aoe damage to and around your target and knocks every one struck down. Basically it could work like warriors adrenaline skills in that the dual chain f1 is more powerful than the off-hand f1 which is more powerful than the lead attack f1 which is more powerful than the base no chain f1. The main distinction from daredevil's and dead eye's steals will be that the assassin art 'steal' is an actual attack and the fact that you in essence have more than 1 f1 skill.

    I feel bad for even thinking of suggesting anything else since you put so much effort in to this, i mean who even makes sketches to better demonstrate the idea for a new spec?!?! what an absolute mad lad :)

  • hatsamu.4327hatsamu.4327 Member ✭✭
    edited June 23, 2019

    @derd.6413 said:

    You know, I totally forgot about those. They have a skill type of Legendary Renegade, which would be weird to use on other classes, but I guess they're basically also spirit skills from Ranger.

    Main thing is I'm not trying to make an improved thief. For that, core specs need buffs/changes. Elites are supposed to give new playstyles to classes. Whether that's true? Ehhh maybe not really, but I think that's a problem of balance and not concept. It'd be healthier for the game overall if elites could coexist with core because they're different and not stronger. Here, I wanted to think about a potential spec that's not so shoehorned into hit-and-run instashot gameplay. Because we already have specs that can focus on that and because that's not what the GW1 Assassin was. (At least not all of the builds.) The chains created a sort of rhythm to gameplay.

    Maybe you missed the part where the flipped Dual Attacks are free? A full chain starting with S2 will cost just that 3 ini: Offhand attacks won't touch the ini pool anymore because they use the other resource and Dual Attacks are 0. Getting the feel right for combo gameplay like this I think depends heavily on getting the damage values of the final attack right, so it feels good to land. Off-hand hits also get a damage boost in the adept minor trait btw, something that works like the extra strike from Soulbeast elite. That would have to be balanced right to feel like an actual worthwhile (but not super strong) attack.

    Part of the departure from core thief is I'm hoping this spec isn't as squishy. Even without choosing the support traits this spec gets barrier by default. It would greatly depend on the quantity which is just imaginary at this point, but barrier is a counter to consistent damage like condis. You're also right that maybe this spec could use more stability, but otherwise I don't see the problem with a spec having weaknesses. You have to consider how it would feel to play against as well and there's wiggle room here to balance so it's not "I can't even complete a single chain before I'm dead" or "I'm absolutely unstoppable."

    @foste.3098 said:

    It would depend on which direction you want to go within the spec. Top traits are aggressive, mid traits are support/tank (I was thinking of the boon/heal thief here with Acro in particular) and bottom traits are general selfish improvements to use attack chains and assassin arts more often for offense or defense. Since the main meat of damage comes from Dual Attack, which are based off the existing skills which can be condi or power, I was trying to avoid painting the spec as a clear condi or power spec like Berserker used to be. Maybe the fourth assassin art and some utilities could apply more condis to express that better.

    Please don't feel bad, it's an open forum and they're just doodles, lol. And yeah you're right, we don't use weapon skills like that. . . currently, because the damage/effects aren't worth it otherwise. With this spec I was imagining a "but what if they were and we could" scenario, using skills we don't normally use.

    Interesting suggestions! About the positioning I feel it would be very difficult to pull off versus another player or even some npcs that auto-track you.