We’ve already seen the updated chain skills, and they’re no longer assassin-specific. Furthermore, it appears no profession ever has more than one per weapon set – presumably because the mechanic doesn’t play well with recharge, and each weapon set only gets one skill with no recharge. Giving the assassin one chain skill on both his main weapon and off-hand weapon would be interesting (but they’re not doing that). Another idea would be to have his first skill always be a chain skill, and instead of being determined solely from his main weapon, have the first skill be from his main weapon, the second from his off-hand weapon, and the third from both, mirroring the lead/off-hand/dual attack progression from Guild Wars. That would make it harder to design the skills, though, and I’m not sure how it’d work with a pistol. Another possibility would be for some skills to have a specific benefit if used immediately after another weapon skill. That could also be an option for assassin traits – grant a boost to a specific attack skill when used after another specific skill (or skills).
Shadow step seems like it could easily stay. A ground-targeted shadow step could be a class feature, or it could remain as a feature in various skills. The warrior has fairly high mobility, and seems good at getting next to his targets; the assassin should be good at getting next to his targets, but also in getting away from them, and have reason to do so sometimes.
Another idea is a new mechanic – I’ll call it focus. You have a bar, similar to adrenaline, that causes more damage when you attack an enemy (or some other benefit, possibly specific to each skill). Unlike adrenaline, it only applies to a single enemy. You gain focus whenever you have an enemy targeted and within line of sight, and faster if you’re not attacking or moving. I think past a certain point you can only gain it when you see the enemy attacking or being attacked – so sitting around and watching an enemy before you engaged gives some benefit, but there’s still more to be gained later. Not sure what uses up focus (besides switching to a new target) – the easiest method would be special skills; I’m concerned that may be too similar to adrenaline’s burst skills. That could be a good opportunity for more chain skills though – say there are three levels of focus that can be reached, and you have a special chain skill; each skill in the chain uses up a level of focus. The usage may be different enough from burst skills to make it feel different – the focus skills would always want to be used to finish off an enemy, if not sooner, since it can’t be carried over to another enemy.
So, those are my rough ideas for the assassin. See any issues with them? Anything you like? Feel free to share your own ideas.