Flinging fire about all willy-nilly usually falls in the realm of wizards and warlocks and other such casting classes. But why should mages have all the fun? With the Chieftain, a big burly Maurader can incorporate even more incendiary skills into his build and truly set the world ablaze. Players who choose this Ascendancy class can go even further than that; by focusing on specific skills, players can actually turn themselves into pretty much a pure spellcaster that lights the world on fire form a distance instead of just causing fire damage upon melee hits.
Wilson shared with us some of the thematic idea behind the Chieftain, a tribal warrior who invokes his gods to give him power. While he looks a bit like a shaman with his bear headdress, the feel of the Chieftain is actually based on Maori/Pacific Island culture. Even the names of the skills are meant to be reminiscent of the language, although Wilson noted that the team was very careful to be respectful of the culture, consulting with an expert in New Zealand on Maori and Pacific Island culture to make sure the team wasn’t inadvertently offensive with the skill names.
Wilson noted that while the other Maruader specializations — the Beserker and the Juggernaut — are pretty self-evident in how they play, the Chieftain is more subtle. “The designers have been tricky with this class, trying to embed lots of cool combinations so that when players read it, their minds go crazy trying to work out all the different things they can do,” he told us. One example he cited was a self-fueling skill combo. He also detailed how one would become a marauding spellcaster: First you buff up your strength with the Tawhoa, Forest’s Strength skill, then you use Iron Will, which causes strength to give bonuses to spell damages. Beyond just skills, Wilson explained that the totems synergize well with the spellcasting focus because the one Chieftain skill makes all totems become decoy totems, not just the specific totem designed to be one. The totems then distract enemies while the player blasts away.
As for the totems themselves, Ascendancy is introducing a new type of totem that is melee-based. The first one was just announced, and Wilson described it as a totem with an ancestral warrior tethered to it inflicting damage on anything that gets close. He added that two more melee totems are in the works, but they may not make it in for the expansion.
Wilson described the challenge of developing PoE now: “We want to make it easy at first glance to work out what to do so new players don’t struggle. But at the same time we want there to be hidden depth that experienced players can say, ‘Oh that’s really cool!’ and go do something non-standard.” The possibilities that the Chieftain presents appears to offer just that. Here’s a breakdown of all the Chieftain’s skills. You can also see each of them in action in the video below. (And for a sneak peek at Ascendancy, be on the look out for an OPTV stream next week to show things off!)
Arohongui, Moon’s Presence: reduces the damage the enemies near your totems do to players while also increasing the physical and fire damage done to them by the player.
Tukohama, War’s Herald: makes totems tougher with armor as well as an immunity to fire damage. Totems can also taunt and then deal damage to nearby enemies when hit.
Tawhoa, Forest’s Strength: is focused more on defensive benefits, increasing the players armor, elemental resistances, and strength. Mana costs are also reduced. (A favorite skill for those using Iron Will to change strength to spell power.)
Ngamahu, Flame’s Advance: gives players the chance to ignite foes and then increases damage dealt to all enemies that are engulfed in flames.
Hinekora, Death’s Fury: penetrates a percentage of fire resistance, adds fire damage when enemies are killed, and allows fire damage to leech life from enemies.
RaMako, Sun’s Light: makes player immune to ignite, grants regeneration, and offers a chance to gain endurance charges.