Archetypes are class variants with alternate class features. They offer a different way of playing an existing class. The first archetypes were introduced in Update 56.
Give up something in exchange for something else
Archetype characters give up some class features in order to pick up something else. Where applicable, this typically includes the following:
- Class feats
- Enhancement trees (lose one, gain a different one)
- Modified spell list (if class can cast spells)
- Different alignment restriction (if one applies to the original class)
|Update 58||Acolyte of the Skin||Warlock||Fire and Evil DPS with extra defense|
|Update 58||Blightcaster||Druid||Celebrate the cycle of death & decay|
|Update 56||Dark Apostate||Cleric||Negative energy, evil magic using, Undead-shrouded necromancer|
|Update 58||Dark Hunter||Ranger||Assassination, sneaking, hunting, trap making and finding, scavenging, throwing weapons|
|Update 56||Sacred Fist||Paladin||Handwraps-using Paladin that combines ki with holy energies|
|Update 56||Stormsinger||Bard||Sonic, Cold, and Electric storm-based spellcasting|
- Character creation
When taking the first level of a class on the character creation screen, you can select an archetype version of the class. For example, you'd pick Cleric, and then a side window appears with Cleric (default) selected. Under that (unselected) will be Dark Apostate. If you choose Dark Apostate, you'll start the game as one.
When multiclassing into a Archetype, you'll talk to that class' trainer, and you'll be asked if you would like to multiclass into the base class or any available Archetypes. If no Archetypes are available, or if you're ineligible for them (because you're already that Archetype or that base class), then you'll just skip right to the leveling up part you're familiar with.
- Iconic heroes
Since both Iconics and Archetypes must be picked at character creation, and Iconics force you to start as a certain non-archetype class, you cannot start an Iconic character as an Archetype. You can multiclass them into it later so long as that level wasn't in the class the archetype is based on (so no Stormsinger Tiefling Scoundrels, Sacred Fist Bladeforged Paladins, Dark Apostate Morninglords or Dark Hunter Aasimar Scourges.)
- How others see you
- On the Who screen, you are identified as a member of your underlying class, not the archetype.
- When selecting another player or viewing your own character sheet, Archetypes will be displayed in the class breakdown. So you'll see (for example): Dark Apostate 18, Monk 2. Since those Monk levels are just regular ol' monk, no Archetype is displayed. But since those Cleric levels are an Archetype, that Archetype's name is displayed.
- You may swap into a Archetype during a Lesser Reincarnation and during the Epic Reincarnation re-leveling process.
- You won't need a +X Heart to swap levels during that LR - swapping into a Archetype during a LR won't count towards class swap totals and doesn't require class swaps to perform (assuming, this is, that you already had levels in the related class - a level 20 Monk cannot become a Stormsinger Bard without a class change, for example.)
You can multiclass as normal. A character with an archetype class cannot multiclass with a different archetype of the same class. For example, a Stormsinger bard cannot multiclass into plain bard.
You are rewarded a distinct past life feat for playing an archetype class (stacking 3 times).
For the purposes of the Completionist feat, you can play any archetype of a class. I.e., when your character does not have a cleric past life, you can either play as the plain cleric or the Dark Apostate, both should qualify.
Here's some insight into why the devs introduced archetypes (list quoted from production letter, hence the first-person tone):
- Making new classes is hard - both technically and design-wise. There are only so many D&D classes in the books and the ones that are left retread old ground considerably. We'd never be able to make Class 16 without significant overlap with existing character options, something that feels bad from a design perspective and worse from a player perspective. Tons of great design space is locked up already and we needed a way to go back and fill in our gaps.
- Technically speaking, this is a lot better than making new classes for a lot of reasons due to how DDO's engine functions. There's a ton of work to get a new class up on the LFM panel, for example, that with Archetypes we simply do not need to do. It prevents our UI from becoming bloated in a variety of places. It also prevents player information overload - rather than having 30 classes, sticking to our current 15 means they're still easily recognizable at a glance UI-wise.
- This allows us to revisit design space that our existing classes touch upon and give it the love it deserves. If an existing class sorta-supports an archetype, this is a way for us to build that idea out and give it support in a way that doesn't mess with existing builds and archetypes.
- Archetypes are easier for us to build than regular classes which means we can release more of them more frequently. It also means that we can do weirder things with them - if our ideas don't pan out, design-wise, we're not wasting years of work on a risky idea that doesn't land. We can take more risks, which feels great for us and will likely turn out some insane and unbelievable results.
- Archetypes give us a great way to schedule revamps and retooling of existing class features. We have historically had a hard time pinning revamps down to a set schedule, but this gives us a great way to order and organize our class initiatives. For example, (and we're going into this later down in this post), Dark Apostate releases alongside a revamp of Divine Disciple. If we're building a Archetype, that's a great time to shore up other parts of the class we're building on - since it all fits together into one cohesive whole.
- Archetypes are an experiment to see if they resonate better with the players than new Universal Trees do. Universal trees are a struggle to design because they need to appeal universally across many builds - and these are the exact opposite. We want to build narrow, flavorful, high-impact and interesting options that players can choose from, compared to Universal Trees that everyone can access on top of an existing class split. This definitely isn't to say that we won't ever make more Universal Trees, but for right now we're trying this new direction to see if it lands better.