A look at the sly assassin class of Cryptic and Perfect World's D&D MMO
After taking a look at the Guardian Fighter via a run through The CLoak Tower and the Devoted Cleric, the last class on ZAM's whistle stop tour of Neverwinter is the Trickster Rogue.
Fans of the classic Dungeons and Dragons concept of a nimble, elusive and deadly class can rest at ease as Cryptic has created a toolset for the Trickster Rogue that makes it a high damage dealing, lightning quick and ridiculously fun time to be had.
The first Encounter abilities that you acquire as you level up, combine to make for a powerful damage dealer at early levels with a lot of flair that will leave you giggling. Well, it left me giggling but Nightcrawler style "BAMF" moves will do that.
Dazing Strike becomes available in the first training scenario and involves teleporting into mid air above the enemy to land a smack to the head which causes significant damage and leaves the unfortunate recipient feeling seriously blurry for a few seconds.
The appealing animation and smooth responsiveness of the ability is very satisfying.
The next ability, Bait and Switch, places a decoy version of your character and causes you to leap backwards, the first ability other than your Shift roll to hint at the mobility that TRs possess.
As you fall back, your decoy goes to work, tricking the enemy NPCs into attacking it while you flank them and deliver heavy damage (positioning is important to maximize DPS output, as you would expect).
Either move in close and deliver your close range attacks, such as your basic left click Sly Flourish slash, or use that distance to unleash a torrent of ranged attacks with Cloud of Steel with the right mouse button.
Cloud of Steel lets fly with up to 12 charges of throwing daggers, which increase in damage the longer you focus on a single target.
The third of the initial Encounter abilities is Deft Strike. Unleashed with a press of the R key, Deft Strike causes your Trickster Rogue to teleport behind the enemy target and land a heavy attack. This is constantly useful (hence the slightly longer cooldown) as if you are out of Stamina to avoid frontal cone attacks from NPCs just pop Deft Strike and you instantly get out of harm's way and turn the tables on your enemy.
It's even good to use when a ranged NPC is hitting you from a nearby platform that would have taken a while to negotiate otherwise, but hitting Deft Strike landed me right where I needed to be instantaneously on numerous occasions while exploring some of Neverwinter's quest instances.
Bloodbath, the first of your daily abilities (which require a build up of Action Points, shown by the filling D20 on the UI), is enormously fun and powerful. Best used against a crowd of mobs, Bloodbath allows your Rogue to 'port repeatedly between enemies unleashing a flurry of attacks that can wipe out a group at lower levels.
Think the scene at The White House with Nightcrawler in X-Men 2.
The other highly important ability at early levels is Stealth, the signature ability of any Rogue class. At level 10 you attain stealth which is deployed using the TAB key. Stealth has a five second charge which is indicated via the bar to the left of your character with an eye icon.
With the three specialization trees, you can decide what flavor of DPS you want to dish out, but in any case, the Trickster Rogue already feels very solid for any fan of similar classes in other MMOs.
You can watch my first impressions below, but to sum up, I had a lot of fun with my halfling assassin, dealing out damage at an electric pace while spotting and disarming traps and generally having exactly the experience I would want from a Dungeons and Dragons rogue.
Keep an eye out for more of my impressions from the first Neverwinter beta weekend and be sure to follow us on ZAM Official at Twitch.TV for more live gaming content.