Wishful Thinking: New Caster Hero Class
If you had the opportunity to give a presentation to Blizzard Devs to propose the next Hero Class, what would your presentation say? If you blog, make a post about it and link it in the comments. The following is my process for coming up with my idea for the next Hero Class: The Dream Sage.
In order for a new class to still be considered a Hero Class, we need to follow the precedents already put in place by the Death Knight class. The first thing I needed to figure out was “where does this class fit in lore-wise?” For Death Knights, it was as simple as “This expansion is about the king of all Death Knights, we can have Death Knights.”
A new Hero Class would also likely be applicable to all races, so I knew I would need to find something that has a connection to both factions.
Death Knights also, initially, had the ability to be either a Tank or a DPS within each of their three talent trees. In Cataclysm, this was changed to make one tree designated specifically for tanking, and the other two for unique styles of DPS. I had to assume that Blizzard would want to apply the current Death Knight talent model to any new Hero Class, as opposed to their original concept. Because Death Knights had already given us a Tank hero, and a melee DPS hero, I was also working under the assumption that a new Hero Class would give us a Healer/Ranged hero. The question remained “Since healers are casters, would the ranged DPS necessarily have to be a caster as well?’
For the first Hero Class, players had to have a character that was level 55 in order to create a Death Knight. This Death Knight would start out as level 55. Presumably, Blizzard would want to enforce a similar requirement for creating any subsequent Hero Class character. I couldn’t find any information on exactly how Blizzard came to the number “55”.The only thing I could think of was that if you start at level 55, you’d be high enough level to start questing in Outlands. Perhaps a new Hero Class would start at 65, and allow players to start out in Northrend? Lore-wise this doesn’t make a great deal of sense to me, but then again neither does Death Knights running off to Outland For sure, just like with Death Knights, players should be restricted to one per realm.
There definitely has been a great deal of speculation about the next World of Warcraft expansion, and I’m going to just work from the assumption that it will be based around the Emerald Dream. If this is the case, there are some definite things that will be included without fail. The biggest one I can think of is the Green Dragonflight. The GDF is quite possibly the faction most closely associated with the Emerald Dream, just as the Scourge was associated with the Lich King. As such, the Hero Class would likely be involved in the fight against the Emerald Nightmare.
As the Nightmare affects people in the waking world of Azeroth, the starting zone for new Dream Sages could be within the Nightmare itself. Players could go through a set of quests, like Death Knights do, that provide the back story while teaching them the basics of the Class playstyle. Perhaps Lucan Foxblood, assisted by the teachings of Hamuul Runetotem or possibly directly assisted by Hamuul Runetotem, could be a key player in giving the Dream Sages the ability to venture back and forth between the Waking and Unwaking. I think it would be quite appropriate for Dream Sages to have an ability that takes them into the Emerald Dream to train new spells, similar to Death Knights and Ebon Hold. It might even involve, instead of a Death Gate, just casting a spell and leaving their body behind as if they are Unwaking and not actually moving their corporeal body to the Dream.
As for unique mounts, considering that there are currently no Green Drake mounts in the game, this could be their unique mount. If nothing else, it could be their unique flying mount. As for a unique ground mount, maybe an Emerald Tiger of sorts, possibly something like a shadow-form-looking tiger, that is green in coloring.
Since there are three basic states that are involved in the Emerald Dream concept, these align perfectly with the three trees model for World of Warcraft talents. The Dream tree could be devoted to healing purposes. This goes right along with the culture and ethics of the Green Dragonflight. Dream spec healers could have spells that center around preventing damage, similar in a way to Discipline Priests. Nightmare could be the caster DPS tree. Nightmare spec could be designed around doing damage via mental or psychological distress. Considering that in real life, there have been cases of psychosomatic illness and even death, why not in World of Warcraft? The most difficult tree, for me at least, to conceptualize is the Waking tree. The best thing that I could come up with, since I knew from the outset that I wanted two unique ranged DPS trees, was a tree that did physical damage via things that were “dreamed up” so to speak. Sadly, this would bear a striking resemblance to the way Green Lantern fights. What isn’t sad, is how cool it would be when it’s not based on having a super powered ring sent by some aliens. A Dream Sage specced into the Waking tree could conjure up an arsenal of things to use as projectile weapons.
As for a unique resource system, this was the most difficult part. How does one make a resource system that feels different from every other class?
An idea that I tossed around with a guildy of mine (aka Rades of www.orcisharmyknife.com) was to have a triangular meter that moves towards the direction of whatever tree you are favoring. Once you get to the point end of a specific tree, you gain the ability to enter an enhanced state based on the tree. This enhanced state would allow you access to improved existing abilities, or perhaps make combinations of abilities possible. For example, maybe the Nightmare tree has an ability called “Draw Spirit” that is an AoE stun that heals the caster based on the damage it does. A Dream spec player could move their resources to the Dream corner of the triangle, and then when they use “Draw Spirit” it instead is a heal to all friendly player it hits and gives them a HoT or a speed buff. There’s definitely a lot of potential there.
My other idea was to have a meter that is linear and is either depleted or filled based on what spells you use. This would be a tricky one to configure, as it has the potential to resemble the Holy Power resource for Paladins, Soul Shard resource for Warlocks, or even the Eclipse meter for Balance Druids. The concept would be that once you’ve got your resources ready, you can activate abilities that are specific to your talent tree. This would be like the system that the Conclave of Wind uses in Throne of the Four Winds where once their resource is full they use a special ability that is much stronger than their normal abilities.
In general I’m picturing a class that is built around the concept of pacifism, similar to the Green Dragonflight. Even when they do have to fight, it leaves the victims or survivors wondering if it was all just a dream or if it really happened. Translucent spears that pierce a chest but leave no wounds on the fallen opponent. Corruptions of natural forces fly in a volley leaving only dead Earth in their path. A maze of hedges grow around an attacker leaving them lost in their own despair. The damage has been done, or has it?
Only after creating the full-fleshed out concept for the Hero Class did I begin thinking of names. Dragon Knights? No, we have enough knights. Dream Guides? Like… with maps and binoculars? Dream Scholars? Isn’t playing WoW nerdy enough? Dream Sages? Yeah, “masters of the Unwaking world with the ability to manipulate the Dreams and the Nightmares of their foes” sounds pretty WoW-ish to me.
What do you think? What would you like to see in a new Hero Class?
Thanks for reading!
Special thanks goes out to Rades of www.orcisharmyknife.com for helping me make reasonable lore connections and brainstorming this mammoth concept of an idea.