I don't know why they don't do these releases via Bittorrent? Instead they crash their website for half the day, losing sales and annoying their fans who want to read the play test.
That bitch aside here are my first impressions of the new classes in the playtest:
Arcanist: It is a full arcane caster so its going to be insanely powerful. It is basically a wizard with delayed (sorcerer) casting but more flexible casting options. Seems pretty solid.
Bloodrager: Barbarian with limited arcane (Magus spells) casting and a bloodline. Loses all Rage powers. Seems solid.
Brawler: An improvement over the vanilla Monk but I'm not convinced we have a winner here. A much sturdier melee combatant and less MAD. I'd like to see one in action.
Hunter: Don't care for it. If you wanted a full power animal companion as a ranger you could get it by spending a couple feats. I'm not a fan of Teamwork feats and that your animal companion shares yours seems to be the big draw here. This class loses the ranger's martial prowess and the druid's 9th level spells and gets Teamwork feats? No thanks.
Investigator: The rogue killer. Seriously why would anyone ever play a rogue ever again? You lose a little bit of sneak attack, 2 skills per level, and evasion. You gain alchemy and a ton of cool tricks that come with it, a bunch of neat poison stuff, Inspiration, and Investigator talents which are at least as good if not better than Rogue talents.
Shaman: Cleric like casting (wisdom, prepared, no delay), blends mysteries with hexes. I'm sure there is stuff in there to love. Seems pretty solid.
Skald: Bardbarian. Seems very niche, more of an archetype for bard then a full blown alternate class. The bestow rage power is cool but would really only benefit large groups with lots of melee fighters. Spell Kenning (cast any arcane spell) give this class great versatility - as long as you are not in a rush.
Slayer: The other reason to never play a rogue again. For people that think rogues should be deadly melee opponents this is the class for you. An unlimited use, more flexible but less powerful Favored enemy, slower sneak attack progression, Ranger saves, Ranger BAB, Rogue talents.
Swashbuckler: I can see what this class is trying to be. It is a decent melee combatant that hits easily but doesn't do much damage. It does, however have a ton of tricks at its disposal, cool tricks but most are limited. I like the flavor, but I'm afraid for most campaigns this guy would be an underachiever, but probably really fun to play.
Warpriest: Hmm, a cleric with crappy casting but nicer weapons and armor. Does get lots of bonus feats but doesn't say anything about being able to choose fighter only feats. Would make a strong archer, but I think for melee combat the cleric is the stronger choice.
So that's my initial impression. I have not tried any builds yet or seen any in play. I rather question the existence of some of them but I'm sure they will find people who will love them (maybe even me). They do render the rogue obsolete and put another nail in the monk's coffin (other than some of the strong monk archetypes, I don't know why you would play one anymore).
I am going to try to squeeze the Skald into an upcoming encounter and I see a spot when I could swap in the Bloodrager. The brawler and Slayer are intriguing and I'm sure I can squeeze them in somewhere. Let's see if they can score some kills this weekend (or if any of the replacement PCs use classes from the playtest).
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