The Aethertech class is now out on the Korean test server and I spent the day having a look at it. I'm not the only one either - Vashiro has a twitch TV stream out:
Some short preliminary patch notes have been posted on the official forums and then re-posted on our forum for discussion. Make sure to check them out as they contain some information about the new class, several new instances, and new level 65 skills for existing classes.
For Korea, big-headed characters are now in vogue as the bigger your character is, the better it can be seen in the mech suit and the bigger the mech suit itself will be.
I spent my time with the Aethertech class and made a video of up to level 25.
Overall, the class felt like a mech. It seemed a little heavier even when I jumped and that made it seem tough and like a tank should be. Flight was awesome with the rockets in the back. I liked it better than the wings and it fit better with the mech look. The class appears to be slated as a tank - you gain your first aggro skill at level 10 and buff that up with a shield skill a little later.
The main skills had one common theme - using the big arms to hit things in different ways. The punching felt satisfying and big. At level 10 I had the long wind up big hit skill, a punch that had a secondary to punch with the opposite hand, and a one handed short range rocket shooting skill that you could shoot on the go. The rocket shooting skill seemed most useful for pulling. When I'd reached level 26 these hitting skills had been joined by another skill, which looked like I was doing a double handed swat of something in front of me. It would be amusing if it was a player.
Over the course of the day, I gained a cone-shaped aoe frost skill, a couple of electrical lightning attacks, a short charge to the front (doesn't seem to need a target), and the shield skill. Unfortunately, my large ping to Korea meant that the charge rubberbanded consistently. I caught this in the video - it's possible that the devs aren't considering large ping times yet and so rubberbanding on that skill is particularly bad.
Overall the class wore chain and it was the weapon itself (which looked like a key) that allowed for the mech transformation. The transformation key is a toggle and you can either have the toggle on to be a mech or off to be a human. All of your main skills need the mech to be on unless you go back to the original gunner skills obtained before level 10. The one issue I found with this is that weapon swapping doesn't work with the mech - it just toggles the suit off. Then if you're in combat there's a 9 second cooldown to put the mech back on. This penalty seemed rather stiff for a button that could be accidentally hit. I made sure to put the button as far away from my main keys as I could get it.
Unlike when I first played the Songweaver, the Aethertech felt very gear dependent and for people that like weaving, it seemed like a good class for it. It reminded me more of a Templar than any of the other classes and I have a feeling that it's going to really start to shine at higher levels. It will be interesting to see how it shapes up and where it fits in with the other classes. As a chain wearing class, it seems unlikely to unseat Templars and it's unclear where its dps will sit at maximum level.
Still, it was fun running around as a large character randomly punching things. I only wish I hadn't missed whatever event gave everybody dragon costumes as they looked rather neat when they suiting up in the mech as a dragon.