The Arcane and You: A Mage Guide to Superiority
***Author's Note: There is still much mystery surrounding the AoC Mage class and all other classes. As such, the following article talks about what little is known and speculation on what could be. Expect changes as development continues and more solidified content.***
Table of Contents
Introduction: Why Mages?
Wait What is a Mage Again?
Mage Spell Categories
Current Mage Spells
Introduction: Why Mages?
When I first started playing MMORPGs over 12 years ago an image seared into my memory that I have never forgotten. It was a cinematic opening for a new game and within the trailer there sat a figure upon high. A fearsome spectacle, the powerful mage stood on the ramparts of a tall tower, collected the power of magic into his hands and hurled massive balls of flame down at his enemies before flash freezing the entire location he stood upon. As he gathers more magic in his hands for another demonstration of raw strength, he looks menacingly into the camera….at the viewer, as if taunting you to challenge his supremacy. Little did I know at the time, as my awestruck mind soaked in the scene, that I was about to start down a path that has now forged me into a lifelong magic wielder. Sure I dabble in other classes, but the mage class always pulls me back into its loving, and superior embrace. In this following article we will be discussing several topics to help new and veteran players become familiar with AoCs greatest magic class….ok sure I’m a bit bias.
So what is a mage exactly? For starters we will be covering what a mage is, the types of mage spells, the known mage abilities, their base function and then potential secondary uses in combat. After we have grasped the basics, we will delve into the archetype classes and speculate on how we think they will alter the primary mage class abilities. Finally we will talk about what kind of spell augmentations we would like to see in the future (that will be a group discussion so be ready to respond)!
Wait What is a Mage Again?
Well every fantasy game develops mages slightly different but AoC is pretty close to the archetype. As a mage, your class is designed around grand knowledge and intellect of the arcane and elemental arts. You call upon your knowledge and tap into a special magic energy known as mana. Mana is ethereal, something that non-magic users cannot obtain or grasp. Using these two in tandem you can conjure some of the most powerful abilities known to the sentient races.
Spells are very powerful abilities giving mages advantages over their foes, but as a trade off, mages are typically weaker in melee combat and have a smaller health pool, and rather than fighting with brute force, remove themselves from the melee and attack from a distance. Half the battle for a mage could simply be maneuvering their foe, always keeping them afar.
As a mage casts spells he uses up his mana supply. When the mana runs out the mage will be unable to cast any more spells till it returns. At this point a mage can be very vulnerable, so make sure you are careful when casting spells. Mana will slowly regenerate over time as the mage rests and does not cast spells, typically this regeneration rate improves outside of combat. Sometimes mages will be able to augment their mana supply (making it bigger enabling them to cast more spells) or increase the regeneration rate allowing them to cast more frequently.
A unique adaptation to this in AoC is the use of another resource called focus. Focus is a resource that all classes have, and builds up as you use one of your base mechanic spells (for mages it’s your auto attack ability called spell book combo). As you use your base attack (an filler ability that does not rely on mana) you will build up focus. When you have enough focus you can unleash an ultimate ability called Quake. This ability will not cost mana, rather focus and is independent of mana.
Spells you say? Tell me more about the types of spells…
Mage Spell Categories
Spell categories can be broken down in many ways, and I am sure some people will have different labeling structures. The one I will be using today is very simple. The category of spells in a mages arsenal can be broken down into three main categories: Offensive spells, Utility spells, Defensive spells. A single spell could involve only one of these categories, or all three.
Offensive spells for mages are exactly what you would think, casting spells that offensively strike and damage or cause harm to their enemies. This could be something as simple as a fireball that does a one time hit of direct damage, or it could be a spell that you apply to the target doing damage every so often with additional effects.
Defensive spells help protect the mage and his allies and are heavily intertwined with utility spells. A defensive spell could create a barrier around the mage reducing damage he takes, or stun an approaching enemy.
Utility spells offer unique effects that can buff the mage offensively or defensively (maybe boost his damage, create a defensive barrier, increase his cast speed or mana regeneration) or they could be used to help out an ally (increase an allies resistance to magics, portal an ally away from danger). Many players call long lasting utility spells buffs, because you are buffering their damage, abilities or defenses. Additionally, utility spells can be cast on enemies to reduce their combat effectiveness (perform an area of effect (AoE) rooting them to the ground so they cannot get close to attack).
Let’s get an example of each:
Offensive: You see an enemy and cast a fireball hitting the enemy for fire damage.
Defensive: An enemy is attacking you, so you conjure a barrier of magic to block attacks.
Utility: You group is stuck in an instance and you cast a spell called detect magic that removes an illusion allowing your group to proceed.
Offensive/defensive: You are being attacked by a warrior, you cast black hole to pull them backward (defensive) and do damage (offensive) to them as they get a massive wedge from the gravitational pull, ouch!
Offensive/utility: You cast a quake that does damage to your foes and also disables them for a short period of time.
Defensive/utility: Your good friend is getting munched on by a wolf, so you teleport them into the Mage’s Private Sanctum to save their life (and their arm) all the while forcing the wolf to change targets.
Offensive/Defensive/Utility: Ok, someone rudely started to siege your guild castle, you’re peeved now. In a fit of superiority that only mage can summon you call down a meteor storm upon your enemies. They take offensive damage as they burn under its heat and your fiery wrath, for a short time they stumble around unable to attack (defensive) and finally since they are already smoldering they have increased susceptibility to more of your fiery rage (utility). **Disclaimer** I made that spell up I have no idea if one like this will exist (Please Intrepid???) But you all have to admit it would be pretty cool.
**Note** Some abilities are very powerful, as as such they will have a cool down period where your mage will be unable to use that ability again. Typically the more powerful spells have a longer cool down period.
Current Mage Spells
Great! So our knowledge of how a mage plays is starting to come together, lets go ahead and look at some spells we will be using. Keep in mind, these spells are in their infancy, and may change as AoC develops. New ones will appear and old ones may be augmented or completely removed! Even now some spells have tool tips attached to their icons and others do not. I will update the guide as we get more information.
Above we have a list of mage spells under the currently used Icons, let’s take a closer look shall we?
Spellbook Combo: This ability is the mages “filler” ability that you will use between different special attacks. It fires magic missiles at the target in several vollies. To use this ability you will need to have a spell book equipped. It does not have a cool down, or cost mana, and you use it to build focus. It will be interesting to see how frequently a mage will be casting this ability, it may heavily depend on what spells you choose to equip on your bar. If you have a lot of long cool down abilities you may find yourself using spellbook combo frequently. The damage from this ability may be augmented by how powerful of a spellbook you are carrying. This also may be a good spell to cast while on the move. If you are not using a spellbook other weapon combos will fulfill the same roll.
Implosion: The bread and butter fire based spell for mages. This ability casts a fiery ball at your opponent bursting on them for fire damage. It can be leveled up in rank 3 times. The base spell its one target, rank two applies a damage over time effect (DoT), and the final version allows it cause an area of effect, doing damage to people around the initial cast target (this turns the spell into an Area of Effect or AoE spell). Currently we do not know how hard it will be to obtain higher levels of spells, but it is easy to see that this one will pack quite a punch at level three by allowing it to be used in AoE situations.
Ice Prison: Imprison your enemy target in ice, effectively rendering them useless as they are stuck in place and also unable to use any abilities, level two adds damage as they are frozen and level three roots them into place after its duration is over. This is not a spell you will use whenever, it a utility spell at heart, and will be used situationally for maximum effect. A good example is to use this spell just as an enemy is about to power up, or cast a powerful spell; use this as a counter-spell. You could also use this to help a friend in need when they are being cut up by an enemy. What we don’t know at this point is how long the imprison and root effect will last or if doing extra damage to the target will cause the ice block and root effect to break early. If it does, make sure you target someone else while that one pesky player freezes in their own personal ice age.
Arch Lightning: A strong offensive ability that casts a path of lighting in front of you zapping all foes in its path. First thing to note with this spell is it looks like it will be directional. In other words, the path it follows on the ground will depend on which direction your character is facing, so pay attention! As the spell grows in power it adds a DoT at level two and will be able to jump to enemies outside of its path when it reaches level three. This seems like it will be the ultimate AoE spell, good for add spawns in boss fights or clumped up enemies in castle sieges.
Casting this spell will place a field of energy around the mage mitigating incoming damage. Note the word mitigating, this most likely means some damage will bleed through the shield, but it will reduce it by a fair margin. This is a powerful spell with a high cost. In return for improved defenses you will consume large quantities of mana to deflect damage.
I suspect this spell mana use will have two parts. First, it will cost mana to leave on, or initial mana to cast. Secondly it will consume large portions of mana to deflect, at a given ratio (ex. 10 dmg costs 50 mana, 5 mana per damage). In addition Steven stated that it will cost more the longer the shield is kept in place making me think this may be a toggle on/off spell. Currently only one rank is known, but we can speculate that later ranks will improve the dmg/consumption ratio and maybe increase shield duration or reduce base depletion rate.
After Image: Utility/Damage Spell allowing the mage to create copies to confuse the enemy. When the casting the spell you will gain momentary invulnerability. I think what this means, is that as you are splitting into copies your character will be immune to incoming negative effects. In other words if you see a nasty attack on its way in, use After Image to immune the attack as it’s about to land. Another great option would be to use it if you see an incoming enemy utility spell such as a stun or root effect. This is going to be a “skill” based spell that relies on the users reaction speed to increase its effectiveness.
The base spell also grants evasion. At this point evasion could be for both magic and physical attacks, increasing the chances your opponents abilities miss, (I suspect this will be melee specific). Leveling up this spell to rank two will increase your evasion effect (maybe increase percentage or time, probably percent), and the final rank up will actually provide a damage boost to the mages spells after casting adding the damage portion to its effect, granting this spells an offensive ability as well.
Quake: The mage current Cou De Gra spell, a culmination of your focus spender that is build with your Spellbook Combo. Quake looks to be a damage/utility/defense spell, initially starting off as damage only. As the spell hits rank 2 it will apply the utility/defensive knock down effect and the final rank reduces its focus cost and cool down.
I think it’s worth noting that this spell still has a cool down despite being a focus spender. This leads me to believe there will be multiple focus spenders that you may rotate through. Despite being able to use this spell defensively, I feel like it will be mostly used as an offensive burst lock down. In other words you would chain or combo this into some other devastating spells. An example is to use your offensive damage spells such as implosion and arch lighting, then when the target is weak and trying to use a defensive you attack with quake to interrupt their ability and finish them off before they can respond.
Also note that the spell, despite being an attack with an earth graphic, is still an arcane spell (or so it appears, it could be a wording thing). This may mean that if someone has arcane and not earth resistance it could reduce spell effectiveness. Not all elements are known but we do have spells in the following trees: Frost, Fire, Arcane, Lighting, Earth.
Mage Detection: Mage Detection is another spell that has had its abilities demonstrated. At the Pax events if you were lucky enough to get to play the trial run of AoC there was a section in the gameplay where the mage used the detection spell to reveal a hidden cave opening. Mage detection goes back to the roots of RPGs (and D&D), it brings utility to the table that otherwise is left behind, something that if used in the right settings will bring about great rewards for those who are involved. It offers a hidden bonus to having a mage in your group with you. This spell may be needed for secret questlines or even in major dungeons in order for your merry band to progress. I for one know I will be using this spell frequently when I find secluded locations, just to make sure I’m not missing a pile of treasure or a cleverly disguised trap door.
So this spell can be used as an oh crap button to run away, or strategically used to replenish the mana of an ally. Maybe your cleric is running out of mana (OOM) and needs more in order to keep your tank alive. Or maybe you are casting like a madman, using all your resources, and wish to keep the pain train alive. Other thoughts on this spell: Will it actually teleport the player? As in there screen point of view changes and then returns? Or will a bubble just form around them. Another question is whether or not MPS will remove threat generated by the player when fighting a player vs environment (PvE) mob.
The first is for PvE, wiping the threat the player has created, on say a boss, will allow them to continue attacking without drawing the targets attention. Here is what I think that last part means. The second part has the ring of a player vs player (PvP) purpose. If an enemy player is targeting you with his attacks and you take the portal he will automatically deselect you, thereby losing his current attack and forcing him to reselect you again. If this is how the spell will work, than it can be another spell we want to store away in the skill category, how you use it could drastically alter game play.
Most likely this spell will affect an enemy only once, in other words if an enemy is within the spell they will be knocked down or if they move into its AoE they will be knocked down, but if a player moves in and out of the effect it will most likely not affect them a second time. It will best serve its purpose for large groups. Maybe the big bad boss spawns a host of minions who are charging you, or maybe the enemy guild is charging through your portcullis and you need to slow them down, Ice Sheet is your spell!
However we cannot forget that the root effect only grabs two of the targets in the AoE, and most likely at random. Therefore, this spell could be used 1v1 or 1v2 to slow down select opponents as well.
This may be very useful in situations where you are trying to group up enemies to allow you and your allies a perfect AoE nuke situation.
Ok, so we now know what a mage is and the current repertoire of spells, so let's talk about another huge functionality that will be specific to AoC- Archetypes! Above is a table of the current base classes in AoC which you will see stretched across the top and down the left hand side. When you first create a character you will be picking one of the main 8 base classes: Fighter, Tank, Rogue, Ranger, Mage, Summoner, Cleric, Bard. These classes all have unique abilities and play styles that allow them to fulfill different roles in AoC.
Here is where it gets interesting. As you play you will be able to pick a subclass, and this subclass will augment the abilities you already have. The subclasses you pick isn't a specialization within you class, (say for mages in other games you can specialize in a specific element) rather, you will pick another base class as your secondary. Sound confusing? Maybe a little at first.
When you pick a second base class, or your subclass, it will not unlock those classes abilities, instead you will power up or augment your current abilities with characteristics of the second class you choose. An example is you are a mage who picks the tank as your subclass you now become a Spellstone. As an added bonus now your forcefield is stronger, and you get increased HP (this is simply a made up example).
When you pick that second class it changes your characters overall class name to one of the ones show in the class list. So 8 base classes and then 8 choices for subclasses equates to a total of 64 options! Very little information is known about cross over effects for classes as of now (some classes don’t even have any of their base abilities revealed), but as time continues we will know more about each class and the unique perks that will be offered.
As a mage you will have the option of the 8 following classes: Battle Mage, Spellstone, Shadow Caster, Spellhunter, Archwizard, Warlock, Acolyte and Sorcerer. Let’s talk about each briefly and potential augmentations.
Battle Mage (Mage/Fighter): Not much is known about the fighter class, but we do know that they are intended to have high mobility and maneuverability on the battlefield. Fighters are the up in your face melee of AoC. A good guess at for a potential augmentation that would make sense is increasing mage maneuverability, maybe a reduced cooldown on blink.
Spellstone (Mage/Tank): Tanks are the damage meat shield of AoC, they are there to protect the squishies (like us mages). Tanks have unique abilities to reduce damage taken for themselves and others. I used them in my subclass example above, and I think it is highly likely that a Spellstone will have augmented defensive spells increasing their potency.
Shadow Caster (Mage/Rogue): Rogues are the classic sneaky melee class in RPGs, the only known ability right now is stealth. Rogues prefer to attack their targets from the shadows. As a Shadow Caster it would be cool to see something to do with short term invisibility, maybe after you cast blink you go invisible for several seconds.
Spell Hunter (Mage/Ranger): Rangers are one of the few classes so far that have a large selection of known abilities, just like our mage class. Rangers attack from afar with projectiles and use cunning traps to ensnare their foes. A Spell Hunter may have increased ensnare durations on their spells such as tentacles. Another neat idea would be for a mage to gain a sprint ability post blink.
Archwizard(Mage/Mage): If you are like me and enjoy the raw power brought by mages, it’s time to double down! Archwizards are the most powerful mages and we can expect them to have increased spell damage and effects to their spells. Instead of adding unique bonuses we just get stronger versions of our current toolkit.
Warlock (Mage/Summoner): A Summoner is a minion based spec using their power to bend other beings to their will. Although we do not have a minion ability yet for mages we may see one in the future. A warlock will most definitely have a pet, and the differences could be that a warlock's pet is permanent and has a greater list of pet abilities.
Acolyte (Mage/Cleric): Clerics are AoC main healers, they also offer utility buffs. An Acolyte may have heals as well, casting Mage’s Private Sanctum may now also heal your target in addition to given them mana (and we could see an increase in mana return).
Sorcerer(Mage/Bard): Bards will be a heavy utility/support class. They will have real time and casted buffs that help out party members. A sorcerer may also buff the party with castable spells, or maybe they will be the debuff mage spec (targeting enemies with baddie spells)? Casting Ice Sheet now also slows the target for x seconds? There is potential!
There is a vast amount of possibilities for different Archetypes, even of my endless babbling! Let me know in the comments below what you think will be, or what you would like to see, as future abilities for the mage class and subclasses! Thanks for reading everyone!
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