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Hybrid class thoughts

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I have just played a bunch and I have some thoughts on a few of the hybrid classes. I did not get to the late game with any of them and I had a caber and alchemist houses so I only have feedback on those classes.

First off the game needs a way to let the player use Pure classes. after the 1st 40ish years you are primary getting heroes from the keeps. If you have 3 keeps for the base classes there is no way to get a pure class except by recruitment or to have 2 keeps of the same class. A suggestion is to at marriage have the option to produce children of only regents class. This would last until the regents death and you can choose again when you pick a new regent.

Blastcapper: caber/alchemist: This class feels bad, the lack of stun which is the cabers main focus really hurts them. The lack of knockback makes them very vulnerable to ruptures. The AOE attack they get instead is very situational and does not do that much damage a buff is needed. maybe give them back knockback and move AOE to lv 4 or give the AOE a limited knockback?? Did not get to far up the skill tree because the game is hard now.

Alchemist/Caber (forgot the name): This class also feels bad, it is primary due to the knock back bombs. Maybe I do not have enough practice using them but they don't do much for me most of the time. They do little damage and the removal of free throw makes using them risky because it takes up your whole turn. The 2 melee skill is cool. Maybe buff the bomb to auto stun but do no damage? would make them feel more caberjackish.

Those are the only 2 classes I got to play much with my hunter house did not produce a child in the 25 years they were married.

Also is is just me or is the accuracy down for all of the heroes, it seems like they are missing all the time.

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I disagree with most of this, exept that the characters seem to miss every worst possible time. It practically lost me my firs playthrough :(

Blastcapper: Yes, they feel weaker, but they still have the limited stun capability from charge. I do think they need a buff (Shockwave Slam? Anybody?)EDIT: OH MY GOD THE LOG JAM KNOCKS THINGS BACK NOW but they already have their uses in maps with lots of small enemies like seeds and ruptures. i can imagine them feeling a bit bad in your case, because your playthrough was lacking enforcers, and if you were using Blastcappers you probably had no access to pure caberjacks at that moment, so you were missing that stun (thanks for giving backround on your playthrough). If you have other stunners in the party, mainly enforcers and pure caberjacks, Blastcappers have the room to shine. Their damage does fluctuate quite a bit though, because it seems the hits and the blast use different stats or something...

Brewtalist: I have no idea why you wouldn't like this class. Their biggest drawback is their shorter effective range, but the versatility of the knockback bombs is enormous! The blast itself does less damage, true, but with carefully placed bombs you can knock enemies into walls and each other, and stun 2-3 enemies at once. And yes, the melee skill is pretty cool, and needs a cooler animation to go with it, in my humble opinion. (the melee damage on this guys is unexpectedly strong, maybe even too strong...)

As for pure classes... they get rarer, but they're not impossibly hard to breed. If you really want them, you can recruit more heroes to be partners (with a small sacrifice of research time), you can use the random reward heroes you get or just start another bloodline of the same class. Those are pretty much the options. Pure classes now make up 1/3 of the possible classes, so it's no wonder there are less of them around.

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I disagree with you on the pure classes, in the game you want to the leveling up your bloodline heroes. They give relics and you can marry them between houses to further get advantage or they could be the next regent. The only time you want to recruit more heroes is if you are running out of heroes, as before the XP buff research they start at lv 1 reducing the lv of future generations. A long winded way of saying that you do not want to recruit heroes if possible it sets you back on research and XP.

My problem with this system is that you set up a keep with whatever cabers in my case. Then you build another keep 1st thing, in my play through it was alch. So now I am producing cabers and alch. Now when a regent dies I since I have 2 houses will marry the other one into it since they will most likely be the highest level. So now I have Cabe/alch and Alc/cabber. This will contuinue to happen until I make a 3rd house and prob put a hunter in there to get the full classes. Basically the system seems force you into using hybrid classes and the same ones at that, until your kingdom is stable enough to have 3 keeps then you have more options.

As for the Brewtalist again they seem cool but the knockback never did much for me and if they were a regular alchemist i could throw 2 bombs with the new AOE spread and possibility kill 2-4 pawns in 1 turn. I completed a game of massive chalice and the alchemists were the MVP of my run due to after they get leveled they do a lot of damage and there melee is good. But again if I could have 1 or 2 of them and a few Alchemists then it would be cool but having only brewtalists is not cool.

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I'm at about year 170 of my first playthrough, and overall I don't really care for the hybrids.

My experience re: "pure" classes has been pretty similar - they mostly disappeared after the early game. I'm working with my usual 3 families/5 keeps setup, so the only time I get a pure class is in a borderline-inbreeding scenario. I could recruit heroes to get purebreds, but there's a lot of die-rolling involved in that - you need the right classes, the right sexes, and not-awful Traits or Personalities. And you still don't actually end up USING those new heroes aside from slotting them in as partners, so it seems like a raw deal to halt your research for.

The hybrids themselves have been almost universally underwhelming.

Hunters have been hit hardest. The class was obviously too strong on the first release of the game, but repeated smacks of the nerf bat rendered them arguably worthless in the mid and late game. Their hybrid versions suffer even more - I want a Hunter in my party to (A) be able to scout and (B) deal big spikes of damage to high-threat targets like Bulwarks, Ruptures, or Lapses which are difficult to assault with melee classes. Losing Follow Up means they kinda suck at the latter.

Enforcers: Knock-Back Shot is okay, but mostly I want knockback abilities to stun nearby enemies I wasn't able to finish off in one go, which makes the ranged aspect unhelpful. It's also more difficult to determine 100% which way the enemy is going to be knocked. Point Blank Shot is an okay damage amplifier, but it again is serving a purpose - melee combat - that's totally at odds with what I want a Hunter for. The fact that Hunter damage is generally worse than a Caberjack's also makes this a dubious ability. I keep flashing back to XCOM's Snapshot ability - in a vacuum it seems fine and you'd rather have it than nothing. But any time I'm using Snapshot, I'd have been better off just bringing an Assault unit instead. Same story for Stand Ground and Fortify; this is still primarily an aggressive, ranged unit - defensive melee abilities don't add any value.

Trickshots: Flask Shot seems pretty much terrible. You're getting lower damage than a basic attack for a bigger AOE, but it rare to actually be able to hit multiple units in the first place. Enemies don't tend to cluster until they begin closing in on your party, and needing to center the attack on an enemy means you're restricted beyond what an Alchemist would be. The other abilities likewise seem questionable - the only item I need is a Steady Hander, and Crop Duster just creates a defensive zone for enemies that are about to charge at me.

Alchemists have gotten a lot of love since the game first launched, and rightfully so. Repeated buffs to their flasks have made their limited ammo feel better, but I'm worried it's gone a little too far and made them into monsters. The hybrid melee/ranged nature of the class makes them best suited towards the hybrid system, and their hybrids are arguably just as out of hand.

Boomstrikers honestly don't feel very different from Alchemists. Precision Flasks are only a small change from the 3x3 ones (especially since prior patches used the cross-bomb). Aerodynamic Flasks serve basically the same purpose as Spirit of the Dart Falcon. You get a little bit of variation further up the tree, but honestly I didn't care much for the Alchemist's level 8 abilities to begin with so the only real difference is not having The Acid Solution. And Honed Hearing is almost enough to make me swear off Hunters completely, except that I need a Hunter in order to make a Boomstriker... truly a vicious cycle.

Brewtalists are candidates for best class in the game. Hack'n'Slash is terrifying, especially if you have a relic. Knockback Flasks deal crazy amounts of damage AND stun reliably. Fury and Prime Target are still kinda bleh, but you still have Second Item (Steady Hander + Haste Hooch for life) and Acid Solution. And I haven't gotten to Bladestorm yet, but I'll almost certainly use it more than Bees or Fertilizer.

Caberjacks were fine before, valuable across the whole game as they transition from control units to damage units as they level up. I don't think either hybrid is up to snuff with the original though, so the difficulty in obtaining pure classes is a negative for them. More than anything these guys need a UI upgrade to make lining up Charge better, which is a contributing factor to the loss of Knockback hurting them.

Blastcappers are... okay. Explosive Caber is mostly pointless. Small AOE, centered on an enemy, lower damage than a basic attack most of the time... I'd rather have a reliable stun. Rebound and Fury are both pretty inconsequential skills, so Second Item is decent if not phenomenal. Logjam and Prime Target likewise were not great skills, so Acid Solution is a net upgrade albeit in a kind of boring way. I haven't gotten to Beebound yet, but I guess it seems decent-ish?

Shadowjacks are the class I have the least experience with, but again, the skills they have are not what I want out of a Caberjack. Stealth & Sneak Attack are probably scary but stand at odds with Put It Down. And between the inability to use Veil Armor and the loss of stuns, it strikes me as a messy combination.

***

The overarching theme to me though, is that hybrids are frequently giving up the primary class's core strengths in order to do a cruddy imitation of their secondary class. Some tuning may help mitigate this, but my first impulses are to either scrap hybrids entirely, or to balance them as being strict upgrades to the base classes and lock them away until you've completed some kind of associated research. As is, I don't think they're helping the game's overall health.

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I think I like the hybrids a lot more than some of the people here. I think they add a lot and force you to think differently about how to go into an encounter, which I like.

I've mainly had experience with Shadowjacks, Blastcappers and Brewtalists.

What I will say is that I agree that the Explosive caber as it stands right now is too situational. I rarely find myself wanting to use it, there was only 1 situation in the past 100 years that I found it really useful, and so I had just ended up with caberjacks that couldn't stun so easily. But a stealth Caberjack is immediately appealing to me and the Brewtalist knockback bombs really are a lot of fun to play with, and I imagine this stuff will get more interesting as more of the skills open up.

It's probably true that the hybrids will need a bit of tweaking (which is probably why they released them now instead of later) but I'm having a good time with them so far!

As for that explosive caber... Well, it sort of feels like a directional explosion should knock back, doesn't it?

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The strict upgrade is an interesting idea. Maybe have it work like the psionic training in Xcom, u send your guy away for 5ish years he comes back with a new class and like Xcom another skill tree with the new class skills. That way they would still have all of their original class skills plus the new ones that would need to be leveled up. Maybe have the XP on their new skill tree relative to their level so a lv 10 hero would have a full skill tree.

It would be an early research/building maybe unlocks with the crucible.

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@Selke: I get what you're saying, and I even agree with you in parts, but I believe you're still thinking a bit too rigidly. The playstyle you have really does impact the way you feel about the hybrids. It seems there will be situations where they'll be a burden, but also places where they're a boon.

First I'm going to say, however, that I agree with you about the Hunter hybrids feeling underwhelming. I took a look at my own enforcers and trickshots, and the dexterity on them is just way too low. It may be unintentional, as you've pointed out elsewhere, but for now, It's just bizarre to see them toutuing that much strength/intelligence, when other hybrids have more of a 50/50 spread... oh, it may have something to do with the way they nerfed hunters. Maybe the same lowered scaling has carried over? Either way, their damage is a bit too low, and the Enforcer, while I do like their stun ability, feels a bit strange. I think the trickshot is functional in everything but damage, though.

As much as you diss Fury, let me remind you that it's still going to be picked a lot in the early game in all hybrids, until researching more items makes item slots more viable :) even after that, some will go for the Fury+Prime target fun.

In the Caberjacks, where you see failure, I see opportunity: The base Caberjack is still the best class in the game at being a Caberjack, but that just means you can't play it's hybrids quite the same way. Instead of "Two caberjacks, Two hunters, one Alchemist", the squad needs to be concidered as "Two stunners, One scout, Two AoEs" (or whatever you like). A Shadowjack is not just a caberjack, in the right kind of map it doubles as a scout as well, which means you can take one less hunter, or a hunter with more of a damage-focus. The Sneak attack there is a bonus, much like Log Jam in the base tree, a situationally nice skill. Their true strength is in being able to do the hunter thing in a different way from a regular hunter, which keeps things a bit fresher. Oh course, they still have their knockback attack as well and just as much strength, so the Shadowjack doubles as a CC tool, but loses some of the ability to tank hits.

You observed quite right that the hybrids do give up some of the strength of the main class, but that just means that those weaknesses have to be patched up by other hybrids. This in turn creates more party types, deepens the bloodline management and keeps the party configuration in flux, which makes for new types of choices with every battle. That's good for the game's overall health. The main goal with balancing should therefore be to make all the hybrids feel worthwhile, which I don't think is even that far from the current state.

Hmm... by the way, if the base classes do in fact take more effort and investment in that class to produce, then wouldn't it make sense for them to be a little bit stronger? Just a thought.

[del]

Oh, and does anyone else think Flarrow's become a bit trash tier? (again)[/del]

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I'm personally loving the hybrids, although there are definite balance issues. However, think of the final battle, where [spoilerS] you'll get to fight with a whole bunch of different tactics as your team moves backwards in time! [/spoilerS]

My big concern is with the inability to get back to the pure classes easily. I do wonder if this really ties into play style. I simply don't like having to rely on Recruit heroes and it sounds like Selke has the same view. I'd much rather have an easier time setting up a bunch of houses with less heroes, then fewer houses that I have to maintain a lot of heroes in. And this would let me also have more options in marrying my heroes together. Maybe part of the game is balancing the type of class with the randomness of traits, but I feel like it's supposed to be more focused on careful planning making your choices easier.

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Update: I started over and have some new thoughts. I think the biggest thing that hindered me is the Caber/alchemist the lack of stun really hurts. I love the shadowjack that is a sweet class. The Hunter/Alchemist is also a really cool class long range AOE is sweet. I like the Alchemist/hunter as it brings back the old cross and gives them even more damage.

The Alchemist/caber is better the more I play them but sometimes I am unclear if a bomb will stun maybe make a stun icon like the blast and eye, other than that cool class.

So yea other than the Caber/alchemist the other classes are cool have not tried the Hunter/caber

Caber/Alchemist needs stun it is the main thing that caberjacks do. Either give them knock back, the shadowjacks have it and stealth stun is awesome, or buff the hell out of the AOE caber attack.

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I guess to expand on my earlier thoughts in a meandering kind of way...

What I keep coming back to has been my experience pulling Final Fantasy Tactics out of storage this past summer and looking at it with my Designer Goggles on. I played it to death as a kid - probably 15-20 times through - and it's long been a favorite game. But exploring it again, it's clear that there's a lot less variety between classes than on initial inspection, and there really isn't a coherent structure to it all. On the physical (Squire) side of things, the best classes are, with little competition, the Monk and Ninja. They're both relatively advanced classes, requiring you to cycle through a few jobs to get there. On the magical (Chemist) side, the strongest options are generally the Wizard and the Chemist itself. These are available basically immediately, with utility-oriented classes opening up as you advance.

Already there's some conflict there - one side wants you to tech up so that you can get stronger, whereas the other side wants you to tech up to get different. And then you sprinkle in some classes that are basically junk (Squire, Archer) and some that have cool abilities that you'd rather be using on other jobs (Thief, Calculator, Samurai, etc.). And it all boils down to this core feeling of: yes, you want a bunch of classes to be in your game. But why, and what purpose do these different classes serve? I don't feel like there's a clear message.

I'm getting the same sort of feeling out of the Hybrids we have. The core classes were chosen in part because they had well-defined roles, and the hybrids expressly do not. They exist because it seems like 9 classes should be cooler than 3, and they muddy the waters between where one class ends and the next begins. But having those lines of specialization is largely the point of having a class-based system, so I keep coming back to this point of "What is ultimately the goal of these 6 classes?" If they're intended to be basically as effective as a "pure" class but lack the stark definition of their parent classes, it strikes me as something of a wasted effort to implement them at all.

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I'm getting the same sort of feeling out of the Hybrids we have. The core classes were chosen in part because they had well-defined roles, and the hybrids expressly do not. They exist because it seems like 9 classes should be cooler than 3, and they muddy the waters between where one class ends and the next begins. But having those lines of specialization is largely the point of having a class-based system, so I keep coming back to this point of "What is ultimately the goal of these 6 classes?" If they're intended to be basically as effective as a "pure" class but lack the stark definition of their parent classes, it strikes me as something of a wasted effort to implement them at all.

This. What I found strange was that the classes were named so late into the developement, and they were give such mechanical descriptions. Unlike the main classes, the hybrids were designed from the bottom up, with the mechanical needs of the game coming first, and the class identity being almost an afterthought. With a Caberjack, you can say "This is a Caberjack", and it feels like it hits things with a caber, but with an "Enforcer" or a "Hunter-Caberjack", it feels like it's not clear what it's supposed to be.

Still, I'm sure all the hybrids will find a heart to their tinman selves with a bit of polish. Hell, most of them already feel pretty good.

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I guess to expand on my early thoughts in a meandering kind of way...

What I keep coming back to has been my experience pulling Final Fantasy Tactics out of storage this past summer and looking at it with my Designer Goggles on. I played it to death as a kid - probably 15-20 times through - and it's long been a favorite game. But exploring it again, it's clear that there's a lot less variety between classes than on initial inspection, and there really isn't a coherent structure to it all. On the physical (Squire) side of things, the best classes are, with little competition, the Monk and Ninja. They're both relatively advanced classes, requiring you to cycle through a few jobs to get there. On the magical (Chemist) side, the strongest options are generally the Wizard and the Chemist itself. These are available basically immediately, with utility-oriented classes opening up as you advance.

Already there's some conflict there - one side wants you to tech up so that you can get stronger, whereas the other side wants you to tech up to get different. And then you sprinkle in some classes that are basically junk (Squire, Archer) and some that have cool abilities that you'd rather be using on other jobs (Thief, Calculator, Samurai, etc.). And it all boils down to this core feeling of: yes, you want a bunch of classes to be in your game. But why, and what purpose do these different classes serve? I don't feel like there's a clear message.

I'm getting the same sort of feeling out of the Hybrids we have. The core classes were chosen in part because they had well-defined roles, and the hybrids expressly do not. They exist because it seems like 9 classes should be cooler than 3, and they muddy the waters between where one class ends and the next begins. But having those lines of specialization is largely the point of having a class-based system, so I keep coming back to this point of "What is ultimately the goal of these 6 classes?" If they're intended to be basically as effective as a "pure" class but lack the stark definition of their parent classes, it strikes me as something of a wasted effort to implement them at all.

Speaking purely from a design perspective, you guys seem to be missing the contribution of the strategic layer to hybrid design. Their existence is intimately tied to the marriage/childbirth/class system. Maybe tactically things feel a bit off--but there's a sound overarching reason to have hybrids in the game, which I think people are ignoring. I also think the challenge of using different hybrids with different capabilities from generation to generation is an important part of the game's difficulty curve and cognitive complexity.

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Yeah, add me as another that really loves this patch, it added so much for me. The extra hybrid classes added a ton of discovery, with a huge number of combinations to try and play with. One of the greatest things about this game is watching how my party evolves, in so many other srpg's the composition of your party is either picked for you or you just get locked into using the same over leveled characters. In this game, the random nature of both when people die, and when the next fight will be, often forces me into new and interesting compositions.

I will agree though pure's feel very rare now, which probably has to do with the desire to have one house fore every class. Caberblasts feel weak and Brewalists(sp?) feel very strong, but i think a lot of that is that knocking an enemy into another enemy does a crazy amount of damage considering it also stuns both target. hunters did feel weak late but i still felt like i needed one for scouting most of the time.

anway, if any of the devs are reading this congrats on a great patch.

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Honestly I don't see this as very much different to the start of the beta when everyone loved hunters and hated alchemists, but balance was done and now loads of people really like alchemists. But it wasn't just balance, it was that people got used to them. Most of these I think are going to reveal their charms over time, and possibly with a bit of balance.

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I've been through most of a game now and the hybrids have been ... uneven.

Alchemist hybrids have been mostly good. In particular, boomstrikers (alch/hunter) can do quite a lot of damage from long range with precision flasks, and they don't lose free throw to do it. Overall they seem like almost a straight upgrade from the base class.

Brewtalists are a little bit of a tougher call. Knockback flasks are awesome, yes, but they lose free throw! This hurts a lot until you gain a few levels. However, their melee strike hits SO HARD - only the shadowjack can keep up on single target damage in my experience. I think we can call that a tradeoff - losing free throw definitely hurts, but they get overall better basic flasks and the ability to knock out those pesky Bulwarks right about when you'd start getting hybrids. The AoE strike has the same problem as Logjam - it really feels like I should be able to target it like any other melee strike - move to the full extent of the character's range and THEN attack. The real problem with this class is when you hit level 10. Mad bomber is just completely underwhelming for a melee focused class, especially since they flat-out don't get the buff to the non-existant Free Throw. It feels terrible, and I think something is needed here to make up for it - maybe if you kill a target with their dual strike, you can get a free flask throw, to echo the style of Kill Rush a bit. You wouldn't always want to do so, and you wouldn't be able to do so every turn, but it'd take the sting out of the current situation.

Both caberjack hybrids are interesting. I really, really like Shadowjacks. They remind me of XCOM Assaults, and those were my favorite class. I play very aggressively and go for burst damage and quick kills, sucking up any hero losses that result, and this class is a true gem for me. The alchemist hybrid has lots of AoE power, but there's one real problem with it - Beebound is terrible, and I was really looking forward to this skill! The problem is this - a Pawn hits my caberjack and it spawns bees on him. Then my turn happens and the bees move off the Pawn, meaning nobody who hits my caberjack ever gets stung, and now I have an obstacle tile to deal with besides! The bees need to stay where they are for a turn, and then I'd be ok with it.

Hunter hybrids are, like the hunter, completely underwhelming. I do like Flask shot, however. Knockback shot sounds good on paper, but I'd rather just have follow-up in most cases. It's hard to tell where the enemy will be knocked back, and even if you do get it right and get knockback damage and stun it still won't do as much damage as follow-up. I feel like if the ability is harder to use (you're farther away, so changing angles to get a stun is harder) you should be rewarded for using it correctly. Otherwise, I still feel like hunter is missing something. You just don't have a ton of interesting choices for any version of the Hunter. At least with Trickshots, you get an extra item for a Steady Hander and AoE from a LONG way away, but their base bolts just seem to do pitiful damage - maybe their dex could be bumped up a bit.

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Blastcapper: caber/alchemist: This class feels bad, the lack of stun which is the cabers main focus really hurts them. The lack of knockback makes them very vulnerable to ruptures. The AOE attack they get instead is very situational and does not do that much damage a buff is needed. maybe give them back knockback and move AOE to lv 4 or give the AOE a limited knockback?? Did not get to far up the skill tree because the game is hard now.

Nonsense! Blastcappers are beyond awesome. My Blastcappers constantly kill large groups of critters and with the right equipment also have knockback to their attack.

You can also use a properly aimed charge to stun foes.

Alchemist/Caber (forgot the name): This class also feels bad, it is primary due to the knock back bombs. Maybe I do not have enough practice using them but they don't do much for me most of the time. They do little damage and the removal of free throw makes using them risky because it takes up your whole turn. The 2 melee skill is cool. Maybe buff the bomb to auto stun but do no damage? would make them feel more caberjackish.

This class was my absolute favorite. Brewtalists are beyond badass at close range and are capable of stunning large groups of people.

If you want to talk about useless you could mention the shadow jack and all of the hunter classes.

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Blastcapper: caber/alchemist: This class feels bad, the lack of stun which is the cabers main focus really hurts them. The lack of knockback makes them very vulnerable to ruptures. The AOE attack they get instead is very situational and does not do that much damage a buff is needed. maybe give them back knockback and move AOE to lv 4 or give the AOE a limited knockback?? Did not get to far up the skill tree because the game is hard now.

Nonsense! Blastcappers are beyond awesome. My Blastcappers constantly kill large groups of critters and with the right equipment also have knockback to their attack.

Indeed, at low-level, a Blastcapper is very bad. Their lack of knockbacks is frustrating, since Stuns are essential to prevent any damage (since any damage is near-lethal). Once Blastcappers get to level 4, they start wreaking havoc and multi-kill weaker enemies (making knockbacks less important). I suspect that any level 10 Blastcapper will be a one-man-army, better than most classes, if not the best.

If you want to talk about useless you could mention the shadow jack and all of the hunter classes.

I always thought using Hunters was the "Easy mode", maybe because of my cautious way of playing.

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If you want to talk about useless you could mention the shadow jack and all of the hunter classes.

I always thought using Hunters was the "Easy mode", maybe because of my cautious way of playing.

Depends on the playstyle, really. Veil armor abuse with an all-hunter team is still very much viable (probably, haven't tested), and a way to clear maps without giving the enemy a chance to retaliate. [del]If you're looking at pure damage though, the hunter Hybrids are spouting some suspiciously low Dex-stats, which puts a damper on their damage when they are not using their "Skills" [/del](quotes because Point-blank Shot is just a regular melee-attack[del]) Maybe hunters with good damage are overpowered, I don't know. I haven't tested that. It just means that relicless hunter damage seems low in comparison when paired up with Caberjacks and Alchemist. [/del]As I've said, the impressions here largely depend on playstyle.

EDIT: IN THE LATEGAME!

I just forgot to mention again, that I still think that the hunter damage is really, really good for the first 4-5 levels, so that doesn't really need changing.[del] It's the 7-9 levels when the lack of firepower really starts to sting against those advanced Bulwarks and Ruptures.[/del]

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Okay. I finally played a game all the way to the late game. There's a few things I need to correct myself on:

-You know, I'd never bothered to actually research Blunderbows. Everyone I've seen play had just taken one look at the description and said they were not what they were looking for in a hunter. Enforcers were what really got me interested to try them. Turns out, they're basically the answer to my problems with hunter late-game damage. Sure, they halve your range, but their damage is over 2x that of an average crossbow. Bonkers. They're really good on Enforcers, because a lvl9 point blank shot does 50 damage(!), but are pretty much the right choice for a damaging hunter as well. Scout-hunters and support-trickshots still need their crossbows for range, but Blunderbow is what you need if you want to deal damage with a hunter. So what I'm saying is, that I was talking out of my ass when calling for hunter buffs so vigorously.

Enforcers with crossbows though=still terrible damage.

-I've turned to wholeheartedly supporting limiting relics to one per bloodline. Having two alchemists dealing their +90 double shots is just embarrassingly stupid. (Boomstrikers are My favourite kind of alchemist now, by the way) Even if it means reworking some events, it's better for the game.

-I should have played with the new Flarrow before calling it "trash tier". It has it's nieche, and is compareable to blinding shot.

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Regarding Enforcers

I think tastum got it right, that lining up a good knockback is pretty hard right now, and perhaps should be better rewarded. If that skill did extra damage on a stun I think it might be better? If that skill could be used after a sprint... that might actually be overpowered, but man that would be fun...

Regarding the Muddiness of Hybrid Classes

I actually really like that hybrid classes unfocus your bloodlines, and muddy up the game some. I think that Massive Chalice is different from most tactics games in that I don't think it's actually about carefully manning the battlefield. I think it's about thinking that you're carefully manning the battlefield. It's about the illusion of control, and the feeling of that control slipping away from you, and then you getting away with the win anyway. Or dying horribly.

I don't disagree with anyone's analysis that hybrids suffer for being designed from the bottom up, and maybe lack the design and aesthetic focus that the pure classes have, and still need some polishing. I'm not sure, though, that I want to count those marks against them (in this very specific circumstance).

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I played quite a few hours tonight, got some good time in with Blastcappers, a Shadowjack, and a Boomstriker.

Blastcapper - it's neat how precise they are... and I think I used their flask hit FOR that precision and guaranteed damage far more than I did going for multi-hits (although if something just happens to be standing near a seed or nearly dead enemy, particularly if it's explosive, well!) I'm really curious to see how they'll play out with specialized cabers instead of the default.

Shadowjack - Oh yeah, I love this class. Stealth on a hard-hitting melee is just great. I took a chance and passed up the sneak attack to get Log Jam and I have to say that's a pretty good option; sneaking your way into a cluster of enemies and unleashing the PBAoE is really satisfying.

Boomstriker - It is amazing how much difference that extra range makes (if you have good accuracy to take the longer-range shots). Doing surgical high-damage strikes from halfway across the map, providing artillery support while staying well out of LoS... and if you gain "throw items" you can heal up anyone in a pinch without having to follow them around.

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Fast Reply. I've almost reached 150 yet, but I think that the nearly forced hybridization may be an artifact of .9 (I hope.) which the designers are leaving in place to get feedback from. I thought I remembered hearing the phrase, chance, in relation to hybrids and it may be coming down the pipes. The biggest problem with the nearly forced hybridization is that a squad of hybrids may not be quite as effectively matched together. However, as I mentioned... I think this is probably good, as it add back in some difficulty (especially for those first 100 years of 1-4 level Heroes). But it can be frustrating to try to keep your Hunters pure, and wind up with Enforcers due to hero availability. I'm not sure I want to suggest how to redress it, but a new trait may be the best way to go (Purist: does not hybrid when paired.) although a %chance of 20/80 regent/hybrid might be good as well. I'm not too worried about this though, because it may come down to tweaks - maybe we get an extra hero on recruits to help us keep our classes a bit more pure and reinforce the keeps a little more - and balances.

But from my almost 150 years I have the following class specific thoughts.

Trickshot: I'm avoiding these, based on my first few experiences but I recently had a whole batch come to age and having two on a team isn't always terrible. But I don't like how dependent they are on the aoe for damage, taking them with Cabers becomes a bad idea. Abilities feel like they are not distinct enough from the Hunter or Cadence weapons. I want to have suggestions but mostly I just have negativity.

Blastjacks... the Caber/Alch: I'm having trouble keeping these guys alive. The acid combines with the aoe blast for good damage. That could come in real handy in the post 150+ advanced enemy arc of the game. Definitely feels like a Hybrid, but needs support from other Cabers or Enforcers to get the best positioning possible. Bee armor could be fun. Although they usual feel like under utilized.

Shadowjack: Good. Distinct. Survivors. Make sure to avoid breeding in any movement limitations as it ruins their effectiveness!

Enforcer: Knockback shot. Would be fantastic if the overlay from the barbed bow could be added so that angular shots could more consistently be used for stuns. Veil armor almost feels like a must to make taking the point blank shot more often. This class feels distinct, if a little more situationally effective for damage than the base Hunter. But resiliant like a Caberjack. Fun.

Boomstriker: Fills the role the Alchemist filled on the battle map well. It's distinct in that it's superior to the Hunters, espicially given the Hunters current low damage output. With the aerodynamic flask, you can almost totally ignore the need to take Hunters. Please switch this ability with Boom n'Zoom or smoke to make the class distinct, and bring back the Hunter's priority.

Alch/Caber: I love these guys. Blast knockback feels a little wonky which I like, makes them risker than plain Alchemists to use. That double strike is great. Could be made a touch squishier for balance?

Hunters, and there hybrid classes now have the strangest damage spread imaginable. I think... that's a good thing, the spread of damage seems to be Enforcer < Hunter < Trickshot but the damage (and lack of extra damage tick on knockbacks which stun) for the trickshot's aoe is so much higher it really tends to make the Hybrid classes feel much less reliable, you're more dependent on the ability gamble than ever ... and that gamble can only be taken five times.

Edit: I'm worried the Trick shot and the Broomstick are designed to more of less fill the same roll of long range damage, and their abilities are too strictly given over to ensuring the player have access to this roll.

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-I've turned to wholeheartedly supporting limiting relics to one per bloodline. Having two alchemists dealing their +90 double shots is just embarrassingly stupid. (Boomstrikers are My favourite kind of alchemist now, by the way) Even if it means reworking some events, it's better for the game.

-I should have played with the new Flarrow before calling it "trash tier". It has it's nieche, and is compareable to blinding shot.

I definitely agree with the second point quoted. I'm starting to agree with the first. If nothing else, you shouldn't pick up an extra Relic (unless Event triggered) until your other Relic is maxed out. I also think it'll have a subtle balancing effect of diversifying the bloodline priorities/ratios in Hero select.

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Boomstriker: Fills the role the Alchemist filled on the battle map well. It's distinct in that it's superior to the Hunters, espicially given the Hunters current low damage output. With the aerodynamic flask, you can almost totally ignore the need to take Hunters. Please switch this ability with Boom n'Zoom or smoke to make the class distinct, and bring back the Hunter's priority.

Edit: I'm worried the Trick shot and the Broomstick are designed to more of less fill the same roll of long range damage, and their abilities are too strictly given over to ensuring the player have access to this roll.

+1 on the "Purist" perk idea by the way, That seems pretty cool although I can see how it could get in the way in many situations. The 80/20 class split though... I do not enjoy it. takes away more control from planning your future teams.

I've been waiting on talking about how good boomstrikers are. With Boom n' Zoom ([bUG]:which is still displayed as "Shoot n' Scoot on activation) and free throw, they have the largest effective reach in the game, as an AoE, AND the ability to attack twice per turn AND they can attack over walls AND they don't even have to see their enemy to hit them. Combine that with some nice relics, and the last few battles of the game become housecleaning. They are a blast to play though, so I wouldn't want to see them nerfed too badly either. Having 4 moves and 2 explosions per turn is definetly my idea of a good time.

And yes, boomstrikers are kinda enroaching on hunter's turf, and may actually be superior to them in that regard at the moment. They can't stealth, so they are not as good scouts though, but I'm not certain that that's a big enough disadvantage for them to be consoidered "equal" right now. Then again, there's so many combinations you can have that this really aplies only when boiled down to the mechanincal workings of the classes....

...I'm saying Boomstrikers>Hunters. Mostly.

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I think the perk is the better option. Even an event for a regent and her partner sharing the exact same base class for their hybrid class (no more than 40 years old) both potentially reverting to the same base class feels like a cheat.

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Finally wrapped up my 0.90 playthrough, and I'm still pretty not-enthused about the hybrids. It kinda feels like we had red, orange, and yellow crayons at first, but when we decided to expand the collection, we picked up red-orange, orange-red, orange-yellow, and yellow-orange. They're visibly different and not inherently bad colors, but our overall range hasn't really expanded at all.

Attempting to keep this relatively quick...

(1) Pure classes basically ceased to exist after the early game. This is partly because I used my 3 families/5 keeps model, and inbreeding restrictions put a damper on getting pure Cabers or Alchemists. Hunters never really had a chance, since they only had 1 keep to work with. I never really paid attention to what hybrid was going to be coming out of a keep - dealing with Traits, Personalities, fertility, and relics was plenty.

(2) Hunter hybrids are terrible. I think the base Hunter nerfs were a little much to begin with, but these hybrids are truly the "worst of both worlds" model.

(3) Caberjack hybrids are usable but generally feel worse than base Cabers. Shadowjacks are at least somewhat unique thanks to stealth and the reliable stuns of Knockback, but Blastcappers mostly struck me as "worse Caberjacks who happen to have acid." I used Explosive Caber for its intended purpose maybe twice; I found it more useful as a way to not kill enemies (since it doesn't appear to be able to crit), allowing me to build up other heroes and their relics.

(4) Alchemist hybrids are strong, but not really that interesting. Notably, Brewtalists are murder machines for much of the game, but the lack of Free Throw hurts them a bit in the final battle.

(5) I think one of the things that makes hybrids such a dubious prospect to me is that you get to choose your skills in the first place. The base classes are already somewhat flexible, and I found the hybrids frequently leaning towards the original skills in their trees over the new ones, further failing to distinguish themselves. If hybrids absolutely must be in the game, they might be better served by being "upgrade" classes that you unlock (meaning a Brewtalist is an Alchemist with EXTRA abilities rather than having tradeoffs) or by making skills a fixed progression rather than a tree.

(6) Not inherently hybrid-related, but Fury and Chalk One Up both feel too weak to matter right now; they rarely change how many attacks it takes to kill enemies. I.E. dealing 33 damage is almost exactly the same as dealing 30 damage when the bad guy has 40 HP. Go big! I'm thinking of Chalk One Up along the lines of "+50% damage if you killed an enemy last turn," forcing the Hunter to maintain the pace of the action to keep his buff. Or +100% damage. Or a guaranteed crit. But it needs to be noticeable, especially as a capstone ability.

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I'm almost finished with my first playthrough with the hybrid classes.

I tend to pick the best heroes in Kingdom Management so that my bloodlines becomes awesome. I just cannot abide breeding on anyone who's Asthmatic or Nervous, and those drunkard Revelers are a pain too. Given the scarcity of (good) heroes to pick from the class choice becomes largely incidental. I've had only one game out of six where I had Keeps with all three classes (original three). The pattern is the same: I end up with about two classes that carry me through, and I put my research into making the two classes powerful.

With hybridization the class "choice" has become even more random. Sure, I'd like a particular class to come out of a certain Keep, but not at the cost of horrible personalities and traits. As it is now I just need two classes to win the game. Don't care much which classes, though. But it's gotta be a hard one. One the one side you want to keep heroes a scarce resource, on the other offer the player some choice in the matter. Dunno how you'd solve it, but I'd like just a wee bit more "real choice" when picking regents and partners

So what's my impression? Well, I haven't tried all combinations.

On a general note I like the new classes as their specific skill sets challenge me to think about new strategies. For example I was initially a bit miffed about the brewtalist, but once the power of explosive knockback is realized it becomes a killing machine with nice, tactical features.

On a deeper level the addition of the hybrids didn't manage to quell another worry of mine. Maybe it's just habits, but I still find myself largely opting for the same upgrades. At least with the brewtalist I don't think I ever chose anything but the acid solution, and I still don't see why I'd ever chose anything but the double item upgrade for carrying items. I dunno how devastating this is, though, as even XCOM Enemy Within had it's share of largely unused upgrades. Heck, maybe it's just me sticking to what I know works.

It's just that ideally I think the vision should be to provide some hard choices, and depending on the choices: access to widely different playing styles for that hero (in that regard maybe the logjam AoE will become useful now that those shadow cabers can sneak into the midst of enemies ... never use it today, much rather opt for the rarely used Prime Target).

Random GOOD thoughts: I like the hack'n'slash from brewtalists, I like the knockback flasks, I like that my "cabers" can sometimes carry two items now. I like that different types of alchemists have different AoE shapes. I like having to opt for more acid solutions (there's just something provocative and satisfying about finishing off an enemy with this pathethic after-effect :) ).

Random BAD thoughts: It's hard to build for certain combos, for example it's next to godliness to have two cabers on a team with ramcab cabers and Stand Your Ground ... and have an enemy position itself just between those two guys ... it's like ping pong :). But then you have one blastcaber and he isn't offeren Stand Your Ground. I don't like that there's SO many combinations now, some are bound to suck. Had I been new I'd been overwhelmed with the hybrids - it's a lack of a priori knowledge of just WHAT a certain class is and what it can do (like ... who knows that he WANTS a brewtalist until having actually played one?). WTF bees ... had it on one guy who offed himself on his own bees, and I never saw the insects in that bad lighting.

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WTF bees ... had it on one guy who offed himself on his own bees, and I never saw the insects in that bad lighting.

There could stand to be better floor-level indication of the bee swarm's position, perhaps. Some bees crawling on the ground? A clearer shadow of the swarm?

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I finally got a good chunk of time to sit down with the Hybrid patch. I really love the way it changes the game. It made me build out a lot more because I wanted to have more control over what classes I had, but it also made me adapt to what classes were available at any given time, instead of depending on having the classes I had set up in keeps. I really like it!

My few thoughts on the hybrids:

Trickshot: It's okay. It doesn't feel that distinct. Also (BUG?) the seed's slippery didn't seem to impact it.

Enforcer: Another okay. I really wonder if the hunter class just isn't that interesting to play and this hit the hybrids as well. I assume this is just personal play style.

Boomstriker: Didn't play much different from a regular Alchemist. Especially coming off the previous patch. Of course, my feelings may change once I'm more used to the larger AOE of the standard class. That change hurt . . . I had my first friendly fire deaths from Alchemists this game.

Brewtalist: Awesome? Yes. Overpowered? Probably. Any class that has knockback is dealing way too much damage right not.

Shadowjack: Plays exactly like it feels like it should. However, I have to admit it feels like Stealth should be the lvl 1 ability and knockback the level 2.

Blastcapper: Lots of fun, but also feels overpowered. It's basically an Alchemist attach that can't miss! Also, an overlay to show the AOE of the attack would make it easier to use.

Lots of nits here, but I'm really loving the added dimension of class. It's made me that much more dedicated to setting up more bloodlines.

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I finally got an Enforcer onto my team and... yeah, wow, I think the damage output IS a little too low. Even using the Point Blank Shot, I'm doing a little bit less damage than the far less squishy classes (granted, I'm using the Barbed Bow, which I'm starting to think is the worst choice for an Enforcer), and later in the game it's absolutely suicide to be out in the open, on the front lines with such little HP and Armor. I feel like I need to have one of my other heroes using Prime Target almost every turn just to keep squishy-mc-point-blank from meeting an instant death.

Ability-wise, the Enforcer is usable, if not quite as fun as the Shadowjack.. but then, there are few things as fun as a stealthed log-jam or wrecking someone with a stealth-attack, eh?

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