We now know:
- Core classes plus alchemist
- Archetypes are core
- Common mechanics/terms across classes
- Class feats
- 3 actions per round (+1 reaction)
- Spells have verbal actions
- Spells have somatic actions
- 10 spell levels
Let’s look at the Magus first, assuming we multi-class between wizard/fighter equally.
At first level, Spell Combat allows casting and attacking in the same full round action. The new action economy enables this ability for any wizard by default: two actions for casting and one for attacking. Also at first level, the magus can use Arcane Pool to enhance his weapon, but a scaling magic weapon, or perhaps a scaling arcane strike feat, could produce the same effect.
Spellstrike at second level is where the magic really happens. I believe they said class feats happen every other level, which means we can have a class feat to unlock Spellstrike that requires you have both wizard *and* fighter classes, instead of (what we think will be) normal class feats that (we assume) require only one class/level. Because you can already cast and attack with three actions, perhaps a special magus “class” feat could let you perform this in two actions; much like the fighter’s charge feat that grants two moves and an attack in two actions. This could also be the gateway feat in a chain that enables/unlocks abilities/arcana later in the Magus class, such as critical strike and dispelling strike.
At third level, the magus starts to get Magus Arcana. Based on the class feat usage, these would simply be more class feats requiring both fighter and wizard levels and perhaps simply the Spellstrike “class” feat. In fact, most of the rest of the class features should fall into this category.
At 10th level, the magus features Fighter Training sorts itself out by actually spending half your class levels on fighter. This brings me to improving the caster level. Archetypes are no longer restricted to classes. This means we should have the leeway to have a “character” archetype with something like the following: A magus (or simply wizard/fighter multi-class) adds his fighter levels (to a max of his wizard level) to his wizard level to determine his caster level. This enables an equal fighter/wizard to have a magus’ “true” caster level.
If we make the assumption that 10 spell levels means that casters get a new spell level every other caster level, then this magus would end up with 5th level spells, only one lower than the 6th level they get now.
For my money, this would make for a perfectly playable Magus class using (what we think are) core mechanics, a couple added “class” features, and an archetype. The best part is, we can quickly and easily apply this concept across a number of hybrid classes. Using barbarian and sorcerer, likely with few other tweaks, could get us the bloodrager. His special class feat would likely be casting while raging, but I can also see a charge action that uses a spell instead of an attack. Barbarian and bard would get the skald, possibly with cast while raging or sing while raging as the unique ability. Cleric and fighter would create the warpriest, and the list goes on.
Yes, we know what classes make up these hybrids, but I wanted to call these out to evoke the thought process of applying variants of this hybrid archetype concept to them to create playable versions with the new core rules. I honestly think that the arcanist will be a simple archetype that appears in the core rules.