Overall, we do consider the Iop class to be balanced, both in PvP and PvM at nearly all levels. However, many of this class’s spells are rather redundant and the class is missing significant tactical options that will allow talented players to stand out based on the quality of their tactical planning.
We are not looking to greatly increase the power of the Iop class, our primary goal with these changes is to make the class more interesting to play and to differentiate them from the roles of other classes.
Here’s a list of what we want to achieve with these changes:
- Delete duplicate spells (mostly damage bonus spells)
- Give the class more “punch”
- Better define the Iop’s “Glass Cannon” role of low resistance (and high exposure) offset by significant damage when played correctly.
- Better define the Iop’s “Targeting” role (currently supported by Brokle) to incourage allies to focus their attention on targets chosen by the team’s Iop.
- Better define the Iop’s “Finisher” role (currently supported by Wrath, which becomes more dangerous as the fight reaches its climax).
- Improve how spells are distributed to Iops as they gain levels.
We will include a detailed list of all the adjustments to the Iop class in the 2.8.0 Beta Changelog. We are publishing this devblog to explain our intentions for the class and the general direction without going into exhaustive detail about the changes (which may evolve during the Beta period). All this is to say that this article is not an exhaustive list of Iop modifications.
As many Iop spells have been changed, all Iop spell points will be returned with this update. However, we will not distribute Magical Orbs this update, because we have not made significant changes to the base theme of the class.
Replacing Duplicate Spells
Giving the Iop class several spells that “simply increased damage” can be seen as useful, but these spells have a very limited tactical interest and could stand to be replaced with spells that are much more interesting and impressive. We are retaining only two spells of this type, Power and Divine Sword (which have both been augmented) in order to give a %damage boost and a fixed +damage bonus, respectively. (Please note: spell names are temporary placeholders and may change with the final release of 2.8)
Compulsion: This spell has been replaced with a new spell, Duel. This spell uses undodgable MP removal to take 10 MP from the target (1 turn) and the caster (2 turns). This spell also applies the Gravity state to the target (1 turn) and the caster (2 turns). The spell does damage based on Erosion damage that the target has taken. This spell makes it easier to isolate a target, but requires the caster to make themselves vulnerable at the same time. It also becomes more interesting later in the fight, when the enemy team has taken more Erosion damage.
Bravery Guide: This spell has been replaced with a new spell, Poutch. When the target of this spell receives damage from spells, they will take an additional 20% splash damage in a 1-square cross that also damages those who are standing next to the target. This allows for a tactical bonus when used on enemies who are grouped.
Increase: This spell has been replaced with a new spell, Friction. When a target affected by this spell takes damage from a spell cast on them, they move one square closer to the attacker (if they are lined up). So this spell can be used to draw in enemies who are on the same linear row as the Iop by attacking them with spells. This allows the Iop to have some ability to adjust the placement of enemies and allies.
Mutilation: This spell has been replaced by a new spell, Precipitation. This spell allows augmentation to the target’s AP for 1 turn, but the same amount of AP is removed from the target on the next turn. Using this spell places the target in a state that disallows the use of weapons or Iop’s Wrath for 1 turn. This spell makes it possible for a Iop to significantly increase their firepower for a single turn, with the downside of a reduction in ability for the next turn. This tradeoff may allow the Iop to complete a difficult maneuver or combine some important actions within the same turn.
We have compensated for the reduction in damage augmentation spells by increasing the damage of some Iop offensive spells (including those spells in the Earth and Neutral elements that benefitted from the old version of Mutiliation).
Giving the class an extra "umph"
We wanted the class to be more "dangerous" so that it can have a cyclic power, alternating between turns where the class is very dangerous and turns where it isn't. In combat, an Iop and its opponents should take into account these phases if they want to play effectively! Integrating more significant phases of power in the Iop's game play brings more momentum to the class and encourages players (the Iop as well as its enemies) to vary their strategy during each turn of a fight.
• Sword of Fate: the spell has been changed and it now causes Fire damage at short range, only castable every two turns, but has a bonus damage dealt on the second turn. The spell also causes additional damages based on the eroded HP (HP lost by erosion) of the target. So this is a spell that works in a similar way to Iop's Wrath, but in a different element, with a much lower charging duration (2 turns), and lower damages.
• Power: the spell bonus has been increased, with a shorter duration. The objective is to provide a bonus to damages in a wayto make its casting significant, all the while offering a shorter duration to the spell. The old version of the spell did not provide a damage bonus that made enough of a difference for the Iop enemies to change their strategy when the spell was active. In addition, the spell generally lasted the entire fight and didn't really bring much more power to the Iop during combat.
• The new Precipitation spell also allows for the creation of much more powerful game phases for Iops, by increasing their AP temporarily.
Reinforcing their "Glass Cannon" role:
The different damage increases on offensive spells and the addition of spells like Precipitation, Duel or Sword of Fate (which incite the Iop to expose itself in exchange for a greater offensive potential), contribute to the strengthening of the "Glass Cannon" role (low resistance compensated by significant damage potential) that we want to reinforce for the Iop class.
However, we changed the Vitality spell by reducing its duration and its cooldown so that an Iop who wishes to focus on the damage is more vulnerable, and so that an Iop wanting to protect itself more effectively in combat can do so at the expense of more offensive potential (by having to recast the spell more often).
This is a counterbalance that seems necessary as the offensive potential of the Iop is greatly increased with this update.
Reinforcing their "Focus/Targeter" role:
This role was already present thanks to Brokle, which encouraged allies to focus on the same target when the spell was active. But we want this role to be more pronounced, where an effective team that includes an Iop becomes a team that is organized and that the Iop can take the responsibility of designating priority targets.
New spells such as Poutch and Friction reinforce this role by allowing respectively to increase damages dealt to enemies and to attract targeted enemies for the whole team.
Reinforcing their “Finisher” role:
This role was already partially provided by Iop's Wrath, making a Strength Iop very dangerous at the end of the fight and forcing enemies to take into account the actions of the Iop at the risk of losing a player.
Duel and Sword of Fate reinforce this role by introducing damages that scale with the target's eroded health (permanently lost due to Erosion). The efficiency of these spells increases with the progression of a battle.
Improving the distribution of new spells across levels:
The order of elemental spell acquisition was not optimal, with (among other things) a majority of Earth spells at high level. We also tried to improve the distribution of spell acquisition across levels in order to place the more challenging spells at higher levels.
- Duel is now obtained at level 36.
- Sword of fate is now obtained at level 90.
- Friction is now obtained at level 31.
- Destructive Sword is now obtained at level 9.
- Blow is now obtained at level 17.
- Vitality is now obtained at level 3.
- Concentration is now obtained at level 21.
- Sword of Iop is now obtained at level 80.
These level changes will be applied retroactively, certain spells will therefore be forgotten automatically (and spell points invested returned) if the character does not have the level required for the spell and other spells are learned automatically if the character has the required level to use them.
You will be able to test the changes in the 2.8.0 BETA and we hope they will give a lot more tactical potential to the class, making the Iop play more dynamic, diverse, and a lot more fun and interesting.
Be careful though, as the addition of these new spells and unique effects requires some time to adapt as well as some practice. You'll probably need numerous battles before you can take full advantage of this new potential. As such, we recommend that you consider this important aspect before telling us that the Iop has become much too weak due to these changes!