Assassin (character class)
The Assassin is a character class common to many role-playing games, often but not always representing the historical Assassin or Ninja. Such characters typically combine combat ability with strong stealth skills, and specialise in defeating an enemy without becoming involved in a protracted melee. Assassins first appeared in many role-playing games including Dungeons & Dragons and its rivals, which influenced later appearances in video games. In many of these, the Assassin class is only available to the player after having advanced in another class, such as the Thief.
- 1 General Abilities
- 2 Stereotypical Assassins
- 3 Examples of Assassins in computer games
- 4 Notes
- 5 See also
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High/Burst/"Critical"/Defense Piercing Damage
One of the factors that make playing the Assassin class a high risk is the way they are engineered to do damage. Assassin classes usually have attacks that cause a high amount of burst damage, which is damage caused in a short amount of time with minimal effort, usually with a single or multiple weaker but consecutive attacks. Some Assassins are accompanied by buffs that greatly strengthens their attack power, making their burst damage even more deadly. However, an Assassin will most likely expend most of, if not all, of its energy/mana pool in their attacks, usually rendering them useless until they regain their fuel. Also, Assassins have a chance of scoring something known as a "critical" hit, commonly known as "critting", which is when an attack made by the Assassin does significantly more damage than normal. In most games, critical hits are scored based on a chance upon hit. The critical hit game mechanic varies from game to game and is usually implemented into every character class, but Assassins are usually given traits and abilities that make them the most likely to score critical hits, furthering their ability to deal out burst damage. Burst damage is regarded as a high risk method of damage dealing by some for the simple fact that it is less efficient than more steady melee classes (such as the Warrior). Also, some games will make several of the Assassin's abilities dependent on its critical hit chance, furthering its riskiness. Finally, in more rarer cases, the Assassin gains the ability to bypass a large portion or even all of the enemy's defensive stat, furthering their damage and even allows them to harm highly damage resistant enemies.
One major factor of the Assassin class is their ability to interrupt the enemy, or forcing the enemy to stop its current action and often rendering the enemy defenseless, or otherwise incapacitating the enemy. For example, in the game Guild Wars, the Assassin class is given a lot of techniques that either interrupt the opponent instantly or knock the opponent down, which is a form of interrupting (often referred to as KD). Usually, the Assassin continues to apply burst damage and degenerative damage while applying a KD when necessary. Also, in the game World of Warcraft, the Rogue class is given the ability to stun (often referred to as stunlocking). This method forces the Rogue to sacrifice its high damage dealing abilities for more sustained ones while being able to keep his/her opponent from ever retaliating. Many players see this as an unbalanced game mechanic, but most games allow the player being interrupted some type of method of retaliation against interrupting. Interrupting is often abbreviated as rupt., int., or inting.
A major stereotype of Assassins is that they are charged with being stealthy, or unseen and unheard. Usually, game mechanics use an Assassin's stealthiness as a form of engagement, allowing the Assassin to engage the target and cause damage before the enemy can realize it. This is often achieved by granting the Assassin abilities that allow them to be invisible or abilities that allow the Assassin to approach the target quickly. One form of this ability is shadowstepping, which is when the Assassin character is allowed to teleport directly to his enemy from a distance away, which is usually used to "shock and awe" his opponent and allows the Assassin to gain the upper hand before the enemy starts to retaliate. Also, the Assassin's stealthiness is used to perform thievery, espionage, or other acts of subterfuge in PvE modes.
Another factor that makes the Assassin class deadly is its ability to do degenerative damage, or damage that slowly depletes the enemy's health without the Assassin striking it. This is most commonly achieved through poisons and bleeding effects. Usually the Assassin will apply a number of these effects at the same time and employ a kiting tactic to allow the effects to kill the enemy while escaping enemy retaliation. Often referred to as degen and dotting (dot = damage over time).
When a character class uses kiting, it means they are employing a method of attack where they are doing damage from a distance while evading the enemy. Rangers and caster classes use this method primarily, but many Assassins do as well. An example would be when an Assassin applies a number of degen effects, then "kites" the opponent by running away or remaining at a distance from the opponent while allowing the degen effects to kill the enemy off. Often, the Assassin may use a ranged weapon to assist this process. Also, many times, an Assassin will have an enemy close to death when the enemy decides to flee combat. This is when the Assassin snares, or uses a technique that slows the movement or immobilizes his opponent. This is done in most games through a crippling effect, in which the Assassin uses a hex, poison, or a deadly attack to the leg, slowing the enemy's movement and allowing the Assassin to catch the target.
Light Armor and Evasion
Since Assassins are high damage dealers, one of their balancing factors is that they are given armor with low protection value. This is another factor of the riskiness of playing the Assassin class. If an Assassin is unable to perform its attacks and strategy correctly, he/she won't last long once the enemy retaliates. Therefore, an Assassin must quickly eliminate its target or risk being in danger of dying. This is a main factor that furthers the perception that the Assassin should be reserved for more experienced players. To compensate for the low armor protection, Assassins are given many evasive abilities and/or extremely fast speed that allow them to escape conflicts or dodge attacks, extending them a lifeline in certain situations, sometimes to the point where they can effectively fulfill the role of a tank. Alternatively, Assassins may rely on allies to make up for their lack of innate defensive abilities.
Concealable weapons are typically weaker than their bulkier-counterparts (such as maces, hammers, two-handed swords, and regular longswords), but swing faster and allow the player to ambush or attack faster. Assassins are likely to be limited to using hidden blades, claws, daggers, and/or shortswords to qualify for most of its abilities, since it would cause a game imbalance otherwise. In some games, throwing knives may be used as projectiles and the Assassin may be able to dual wield such weapons. This fits well with the Assassin's stealthy nature - concealable weapons and the like being small, light and therefore easy to conceal and quick to draw - which is often stated or implied as the in-universe rationale for the Assassin's reliance on such weapons. Weapons like Katanas, on the other hand, are neither small nor concealable, and are typically included in this list only because of their widespread - though historically inaccurate - association with ninja in popular culture.
Player vs. Environment (PvE)
In PvE, Assassins are given the task of causing a high amount of damage to single targets, such as bosses and fortified enemies. They also are given abilities such as lockpicking and alchemy (used to make poisons), which allow them to fill many niches in PvE gameplay. Assassins in game lore are seen commonly as:
- Thieves - Known for picking locks, pickpocketing, disarming traps, forging documents, stealing treasures and the like, Thieves are not always aligned to evil, but seeing how thievery is illegal in most in-game societies, they are perceived as such. They are often dishonest and untrustworthy, although many Thieves have been perceived as sophisticated smooth talkers, often relying on wit and tongue to get them out of situations.
- Rogues - Rogues are a bit more cunning and combat adept than Thieves, Rogues are portrayed as stealthy brawlers and manipulators. Often used for espionage or clandestine operations or other acts required from stealth. Ingame intelligence agencies (For example SI:7 from the game World of Warcraft) often employ Rogues for various missions, but some games feature Rogues as muggers and gang members.
- Assassins - The deadliest of the three, their job is simply to kill whatever they were contracted to kill, often with ruthless efficiency and minimal collateral. In the best situations, Assassins are anti-heroes fulfilling an honorable and necessary role, as they provide swift justice to those who believe they are above the laws of nature and society. In the worst situations, Assassins are soulless killers belonging to a cult or organization of some sort which is predominately evil in nature; their loyalty ultimately lies to whoever is paying them better. However, this can also work vice versa; the Assassin being hired by good and righteousness people and have them eradicate evil. Also, Assassins are known to use "dark" arts that are looked down upon and sometimes incriminated for in the PvE society.
Player vs. Player (PvP)
In PvP, Assassins are engineered to kill targets quickly before the enemy can fight back enough to kill the Assassin. Referred to as the "PvP class" in many games, Assassins are the most widely chosen classes to PvP with, since their uncanny abilities to do a lot of damage quickly gives them a solid edge over their opponents. Assassins often target low armor targets such as Mages, Priests, Shamans, and other caster classes, Dervishes, Rangers, Engineers, and other agile classes, and other Assassins. Other martial classes such as Warriors, Barbarians, and Paladins are likely to be strong enough to absorb the Assassin's barrage and retaliate with strong melee attacks against the Assassin. Many players complain that Assassins are given too much power in most situations and that a properly played Assassin never loses a confrontation. Supporters of Assassins simply state that the Assassin's victims should work better at fighting back against Assassins.
Examples of Assassins in computer games
- Awesomenauts - Leon the Chameleon can remain cloaked indefinitely and be completely invisible to enemies. He can still move and take damage normally. However, upon attacking or using his tongue, his stealth breaks and he must wait 8 seconds before he may cloak again.
- World of Warcraft - Rogues fill the "Assassin" class slot. Rely heavily on stealth, burst damage, poisons, and stunlocking.
- Guild Wars - Assassins are a class that rely heavily on burst damage, degen, interrupting, snaring, and shadowstepping (teleporting). Assassins in Guild Wars however, cannot become invisible (stealth).
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - Assassins are fast moving, agile characters that rely on stealth, alchemic poisons, and kiting to combat their enemies.
- Ragnarok Online -Assassins are the only job class in the game to dual-wield daggers, swords, and one axe with one dagger. They are also the only job class that can use Katars (कटार) (in the game, is considered a two-handed weapon). Their damage, depending on the build, relies heavily on the status points. (Critical Build->Luck, AGI/DEX, Dagger, etc.). In addition, they deal extra damage on the initial attack on the enemy when cloaked.
- Maplestory - Thieves, also commonly denoted as "sins" (referred to one of their second-job advancement), are known for their ability to dish out huge amounts of damage in a short fashion and inflict toxins on their enemies, all while having high avoidability and being extremely mobile. They are one of the most common classes in Maplestory, and are also known to be a primary factor in the ongoing Ksing involved with players.
- Aion: The Tower of Eternity - The Assassin is an offensive class with various acrobatic attack skills that can inflict severe damage on the enemy within a short amount of time. While their defensive capability is relatively low, Assassins possess exceptional evasion skills. They can perform many counterattacks that can stun opponents and, in some cases, leave them open to attacks from behind.
- AdventureQuest - The Flash-based in-browser MMORPG features the Assassin class in a progressive style. One must take on the Rogue class to the maximum, the Scholar class to level 5, and the Ninja class to the maximum in order to achieve the Assassin class.
- Dragon Age: Origins - This game features the Rogue class a base class that can be specialized into a Bard, Duelist, Assassin, Ranger, Shadow, or Legionnaire Scout class.
- Team Fortress - The spy class is able to disguise as the enemy while being able to dispatch enemies with a single knife to the back. Also capable of invisibility, the spy class fills a support role and can be further customized via equipment.