It's been a long time since I provided any meaningful update about what's going on with the channeler guild. Let's talk about what's happened and why it's been so long.
Meh, Meh, and Meh
The basic response to channeler when we released the preview was "meh". It was a neat idea that didn't deliver in the way that we or the players expected. This is one danger of taking on something so incredibly ambitious. It's why we re-enabled the abjurer guild at that point in time. No creator wants to hear someone say their work is terrible, however, it's also pretty short-sighted to ignore the core audience.
Back to the Drawing Board
I love using drawing boards, or more specifically, Post-It Easel Pads. My family jokes that we re-papered the living room in Channeler wallpaper. I sat on the couch and stared at breakdowns of party combat roles and the channeler secondaries for hours at a time. Work went in fits and starts over the course of two years as I tried to produce a better second and then a third revision. I could tell from the staff's lack of enthusiasm during presentations that I just hadn't struck the right design.
The Fateful Course Change
Wxyz and I have known each other for nearly twenty years. We were chatting it up one night just talking about our careers and life when the bomb got dropped. "I know you've been working on this a lot, and I know it's probably pretty late, but I think Channeler solves nothing about the problem set we've described."
I love that the entire staff works together, and I love it even more than I can count on them to speak up and hold me accountable. Wxyz and I chatted about what we could do to make channeler more interesting and how to actually give them a more unique combat role.
The conversation with Wxyz jolted me out of the creative rut I'd fallen into over the past two years. My creativity turned into a fever and I tore everything about Channeler apart and rebuilt it during any spare moment I could find and well into many nights. I didn't come up for air for just over a week.
The rough draft was completed late on a Friday night and I promptly walked away from it for a week. It's a lot like baking a cake; you have to let it rest after baking before cutting it to serve. It's also beneficial to rediscover a tiny activity known as sleep.
Kereth and I have gone through the primary guild and worked out some of the rough edges. The details are not fully baked yet thus the preview is not landing today. I can, however, talk about the core mechanics that emerged during this overhaul process.
Yes, channelers will channel. The mechanical benefit here stems from building up a pool of energy from each channeled spell. This pool funds the refresh of resistances on a targetted individual. Channeler players will be rewarded for actively working with their team in combat and will be able to sustain resistances plus other (TBD) buffs cast by their party.
The channeler will be able to apply some flat resist spells and, more interestingly, tune a friendly target's elemental resistances. Does your party have cold and fire resistance but needs acid and poison instead? The channeler can make that happen and this effect is useful against any form of granted elemental resistance. The effect is cheaper because it's a swap and will be maintainable through the channeling pool or other means that we will detail in the full preview.
Ofuda and Seals
The channeler has gained a mechanic that utilizes a new component type called ofuda. Anime fans will immediately recognize these tiny strips of cloth or paper inscribed with characters of power. The seal line of spells is specifically designed to add effects to the battle or regen environment.
Active Debuff Synergy
The channeler guild eventually gains the ability to debuff their combat targets through use of attack spells. This means that a channeler in your party will amplify the damage for any existing damage type. Yes, that's right, the channeler will be able to amplify templars, cultists, and psionicists too so that no one gets left out in the cold.
Give Us More Info
I have been actively reviewing the latest channeler designs with the rest of the staff seeking input and polishing up details. The next preview release should happen in a couple weeks after everyone has had their chance to chime in with suggestions or critiques. I will post links to the preview on the blog once I have incorporated all the changes and made sure the channeling pool mechanics are sufficiently firm.
I really hope you all find this version much more enjoyable. The staff have definitely liked it better than the predecessors. I learned a lot in this little adventure and appreciate the ongoing support from all the rest of the staff and, most importantly, your patience as players.
Tune in for more updates in the near future.