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Developer Diary : Captain Class Changes in Helm’s Deep


Developer Diary : Captain Class Changes  in Helm’s Deep

By RockX

Hello all! RockX here, and it’s time to talk Captain. Captain was definitely challenging, as I needed to keep in mind all four roles the Captain fills. As such, the main goal was to allow each of the three specializations to fully function in its chosen role while allowing the Captain to buff their allies appropriately. In addition, I wanted to make buffing offer more active and engaging gameplay, rewarding the Captain for using buffs at opportune moments.
Hands of Healing Captains are capable of both healing others and dealing damage at the same time, at the cost of having weaker abilities to heal themselves. Lead the Charge Captains deal heavy burst damage, with the ability to grant multiple Critical Hits in rapid succession. Leader of Men Captains can fully function as tanks, taking less damage while dealing higher damage by using a two-handed weapon. Heralds and Archers have also seen some love, with increased potency. Players will also notice some changes to the Battle-ready and Battle-hardened states, which offer stat bonuses to encourage weaving additional skills in between each step of the chain.

Hands of Healing

The Hands of Healing specialization is very capable of both healing a group and dealing respectable damage at the same time. However, while a Hands of Healing Captain can easily heal his group, he is limited in his ability to heal himself. In addition, many of his healing skills come with an added Morale cost, making the Captain’s morale a vital resource. For example, Gallant Display deals damage to an enemy while healing the rest of the Fellowship. Each use of the skill applies an effect which increases both the potency and costs, and can stack with itself. The skill has a Morale cost, meaning the Captain must weave in additional skills, such as Valiant Strike, to restore their Morale. Hands of Healing Captains may also ‘Reform the Lines!’, sacrificing a portion of their Morale to apply a potent Heal over Time to their Fellowship.

The line offers ways to increase both Physical and Tactical Mastery early within the tree, making it a solid choice for both the Leader of Men and Lead the Charge lines looking for additional damage and healing capability. The traits Arterial Strikes (increased Critical Rating) from Lead the Charge and Steeled Resolve (increased Maximum Morale) are both very beneficial for healing-oriented Captains.

Lead the Charge

A Lead the Charge Captain specializes in delivering heavy burst damage to single targets, using both Physical and Tactical skills to his advantage. Many of the Lead the Charge skills deliver higher Critical Damage, while damage over time effects help to ensure the Captain’s damage persists between spikes. Existing skills such as Time of Need have seen improvements, making the Fellowship’s attacks deal additional Light type damage while granting the Captain a Defeat Event and Battle-ready Event. The Blade-brother’s Call skill allows the Captain to increase both his and his Blade-brother’s damage drastically. When one hits a target, the other receives a stacking Physical Damage increase.

The Lead the Charge line has traits to increase two-handed weapon damage and critical damage within easy reach for Hands of Healing and Leader of Men Captains looking to enhance their damage. They may wish to get Call Them Out (increased Bleed Skill damage) from Leader of Men, while Reversal (increased Physical Mastery when you Critically Hit) from Hands of Healing further accentuates their ability to deal heavy damage with Crits.

Leader of Men

    The Leader of Men Captain focuses on drawing the attention of his foes, using a two-handed weapon and taunts to keep their attention. Leaders of Men survive the assault of their enemies through a combination of self-healing and reducing their damage taken. Strength in Numbers will heal the Captain based on how many Fellowship members are nearby, while Shield of the Dúnedain drastically reduces the damage the Leader of Men (or an ally) takes.
While most of the easily-accessible traits (such as the increased Morale from Steeled Resolve) are defensive in nature, some (such as the Bleed Skill damage boost from Call Them Out) can help increase a Captain’s offense.

Leaders of Men will definitely want to consider getting Skilled Hands from the Hands of Healing line to increase their self-healing capability, while the increased two-handed damage from Impactful Blows will allow the Captain to inflict even more damage while tanking.

Buffs, Buffs, and More Buffs

 The Captain, unlike most other classes, has an over-arching fourth role: the ability to enhance the potency of their allies. One of my primary goals was to really incorporate the ability to buff your allies into each line, while making the act of buffing a more active experience. Each line now focuses into one of three archetypes of buffs previously available. Hands of Healing focuses on enhancing the Healing and Tactical Damage of your allies, Lead the Charge focuses on enhancing the Physical Damage of your allies, and Leader of Men focuses on enhancing the Incoming Healing and Critical Defence of your allies.

While each line focuses on one of the three areas, Captains will still be able to provide smaller benefits to other roles. For example, the Tactics buffs have been completely reworked. The Tactics skills have been removed from the game. Now, Captains may apply a Tactics buff (which depends on their specialization) to their Fellowship when they use Sure Strike. These buffs offer a substantial boost to their primary focus, while having smaller buffs for the other two archetypes. While my original design had the application of the Tactics buff be a random chance, both the private testers and myself felt not being able know ahead of time when the buff would occur wasn’t very exciting. Tactics buffs now trigger when a Captain uses Sure Strike while in a Battle-hardened state, giving the Captain control over when the buff is applied.


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