Then, there's the obvious difficulty in judging paragraph length. I mean, I can make a paragraph be a one-liner; that's fine, but I prefer to not overly rely on short paragraphs. The opposite, albeit rarer, is also just as possible. I'm prone to forgetting to break up my paragraphs, and typing in notepad makes that even harder.
Oh and I guess also there's the lack of formatting. If blog posts used bbcode or html manually entered (as in, typing '[b][/b]' or '<b></b>'/'<strong></strong>' for bold), I could manually enter said formatting--but they don't. They use formatting, but whatever formatting it's using, is done behind the scenes. Not manually entered, but automatically applied when you press the appropriate buttons on the text editor thingy.
I imagine that the clever can find a way to manually enter this stuff if they wanted to. Heck, I probably could if I wanted to--but that's effort that my lazy self can't be bothered to do, so most of the time, when I type in notepad, I am going to have a post which lacks formatting.
So there's reasons for me not to, but honestly, if I don't start typing this out some time, I'm probably never going to write my blog about it. Remember a while back, when I stated that I had the idea for an all-mage game featuring ten classes?
It was almost immediately after the post about the 25 classes, and as you might expect, most of these mage classes have a lot in common with the nine mage classes outlined there. But I refined the idea and gave it a new format, as not a game in of itself, per se, but more of a game within a story--the game the story revolves around. In the veins of Sword Art Online, or 1/2 Prince.
The story in question's called CQC Strikers.
Not quite sure where to begin, if I begin with the in-game worldbuilding or out of game worldbuilding.
Uhh...I guess with the out-of-game worldbuilding.
Because the setting, as you might have guessed, features Fulldive technology, it's set in the future, but not by much; I was thinking 2030 as a fairly plausible number for this level of tech I'm mentioning.
We already have augmented reality and virtual reality, but a fulldive reality is, as defined by me, where your body remains stationary in the real world but can move around freely with the same range of motion as your real-world body, directly controlled by you, in a fictional world, more or less--technology we don't quite have yet, but which I imagine is within our scope, albeit technology which in our world may never be seen due to the inherent risks I thought of that I imagine are insurmountable.
Still, for the purposes of the story, the tech exists. Specifically, in the form of the Eye Shield Hypnotic Resonance Cap, known more commonly as the ESHR Cap. (I thought the name appropriate since the parallel was obvious enough.) The ESHR Cap has a lot of things going for it, as the first fully-functioning piece of fulldive equipment available to the mass public.
Containing a built-in internet source (with the capacity to access other external internet sources), it can access the internet from almost anywhere in the world. (I'm not sure I'd benefit from outlining what said internet source is. But I wanted it to be something not reliant on something that could be interfered with, not reliant on something dependent on a specific company, not reliant on something where a single tower/satellite/etc. being down takes it out, etc.)
This connection would most likely be measured in some upload/download speed in the terabyte range; that certainly seems plausible enough.
The ESHR Cap has a built-in power supply, with a 12-hour battery life; it can obviously be plugged in to be charged as well.
The device works by basically placing the user in a hypnotic, almost sleep-like state: their limbs are immobilized, and their senses receive an almost lucid dreaming experience: they can see, feel, taste, touch, hear, and so on and so forth details from the game world, possible through the transmition of coded light signals to the eyes, which the brain then interprets as the desired data.
I'm not quite sure I can explain the mechanism as I envisioned it in my head, but basically, data from the game world is given to the device, which then translates it into signals that the brain will decipher in a specific way, mimicking the desired senses. The brain, for its part, sends back the desired data of the user, which is then translated by the device and sent to the game.
The device does not put the user fully to sleep. They still speak verbally in the real-world--think of this as basically like a headset for gamers right now. They speak into the mic, and it picks it up in-game, and is also audible out of game.
The device doesn't automatically dim the user's senses of the outside world, other than sight. They can sense anywhere from 75-0% of their external environment.
Higher than 50% isn't recommended for immersion, because above that point, external stimulus is too distracting, slightly disorienting, as the user has trouble telling in-game sense from out-of-game senses. Lower than 10% is also considered hazardous, because think of this as noise-cancelling headphones...for the whole body, not just the ears; if you can't hear, feel, smell ANYTHING, there's obvious hazards you could be missing. Still, it's available for those wanting the absolute full immersion.
The device also allows you to leave arms as mobile and not have them included in the hypnotic effect--this is not recommended, as it severely limits in-game mobility, but it allows the user to maintain some degree of interaction with the outside world when need be.
The ESHR Cap comes with a number of safeguards in place to prevent as many as is possible of the detrimental side-effects fulldiving can induce.
The ESHR Cap can be removed at any time safely--users can set AFK for when this happens (their ingame avatar remains stationary and inactive while disconnected for a certain amount of time, before a timeout), or to auto-disconnect, but the results are the same regardless; it can be safely removed at any time, with the only consequences being any in-game penalties for having done so.
The ESHR Cap has a hard time limit built in of 12 hours--if exceeding this limit, it will automatically, on its own, shut down.
The ESHR Cap has multiple vocal commands installed in various ways to allow for shutdowns; if one fails, there's others to take over. If all vocal commands fail, there's even an in-system keyboard to type on and enter commands manually.
If the arms aren't in-game, then the user can manually remove the ESHR Cap without the need of another doing so for them.
The ESHR Cap has built-in diagnostic software that is automatically constantly sent, transmitting its status, readouts, etc., allowing for the triggering of an alarm if anything's wrong.
The ESHR Cap will obviously stop working if power runs out.
All of these allow for the user to have numerous ways to safely ensure they are capable of exiting the game.
The ESHR Cap also comes with external sensors built in, to detect signs of things like fires, earthquakes, flooding, and other lifethreatening conditions--this means if those conditions are found, the device will automatically shut off. It is thus possible to also trick the device by having it detect those sorts of things.
Optionally, the ESHR Cap can have some sensors for the user as well, stuff that you might find at a doctor's office. Oxygen level (or whatever that thing they put over your finger is), electrical impulses or whatever those little dot things they can put on you are, heart rate monitoring, etc. Things that are, 100%, safe (no, sayyyy, X-rays to microwave the brain), and also 100% optional, but give additional methods of measuring the user to ensure that they are safe.
All of this allows for the ESHR Cap to protect the user fairly well, and the number of failsafes means that it's almost foolproof. Granted, there's some inherent risks in fulldiving even then; no system is 100% foolproof. It is thus VERY strongly recommended that fulldivers have a caretaker that can check in on them--someone who can monitor them beyond the realm of the technology, as to step in where technology fails.
It also produces an annoying number of false alarms--yet these precautions are the only way to make fulldive technology be considered safe enough to be used on a daily day-to-day basis. (Most settings featuring fulldive technology don't seem to really cover just how much can go wrong with it--yeah, Sword Art Online featured lethal fulldive tech, but that was the microwave-your-brain type deliberately engineered that way; they don't mention how even the successor technology which they laud as being entirely safe would still have its own hazards that fundamentally CAN'T be addressed).
Multiple things make use of fulldive technology, and the game which is focused on mages is one of the latest ones, a game going by the name of Makija.
Makija, the game the titular CQC Strikers play, is a fairly standard MMO (which I guess is also an RPG in that players have levels).
It is a world which is about the size of our planet. Every class has a teleport spell, so transportation is near-instantaneous; the teleport spell has a limit in range technically speaking, so if someone wants to go further, then they can go to warp gates that are located at various points around the world. You may not be able to teleport from one warp gate to another, but you're probably never out of range of reaching a warp gate with teleport.
In short, travel is basically a non-issue; you can be anywhere you want to be. Communications work the same way as they do in our world...in part because said communications rely on our world, obv. Instantaneous messages which can be text-only, voice-only, video-only, or any combination of those three traits, transmitted to as little as one person or as many as your privileges and method allow.
The world has been programmed to have large swathes of land inhabited by a wide array of monsters, who present one of the main areas of adventuring for players; there's even boss monsters. The game's designed so that it can both be played as a solo player and yet also played to have raids composed of your guild, although solo players need to be of a higher level to tackle 'raid monsters' that guilds can do at lower levels.
Players can also fight against numerous antagonist NPCs. Monsters and said antagonist NPCs respawn frequently, and some are tied to quests which players can pick up from various villages located across the world. A huge feature of the setting, though, is its player versus player combat, which while optional, still drives the backbone of the game--in particular, warfare between guilds, plus duels held, even tournaments and gladiatorial combat between mages.
There are many, many countries filling up the space, along with numerous areas that are uninhabited (albeit not necessarily unclaimed by a country). Countries tend to have complicated politics, both with other countries and with players and with guilds; guilds can actually influence certain countries--even control some! Some countries are, however, immune to this.
Players can obtain citizenship for countries, and guilds can ally with countries.
NPCs are universally programmed to know that they are inside of a game, but yet in spite of that knowledge, to also try and "make the most of their lives", more or less. This means that they'll react like humans would to the antics of players, pretty much.
NPCs are further classified into two types: "stationary" NPCs are static; they can gain quirks over time, but are immortal, can't die, and won't venture far from where they were programmed to be. They have stationary routines where they act certain ways. They can change these ways somewhat, but are there to provide players individuals to interact with reliably and consistently--shop owners, quest givers, dialog-generators, etc.
Think of them as citizens in a game, yet instead of a small number of pre-programmed lines, they always tell the player a unique line and hours later, there's still no repeats and there never will be. But they also won't move, and for a different player--they'll start all the way at the beginning.
Then there's "situational" NPCs; these NPCs are programmed with an initial starting role, but have programmed into them desires to be unique and make the absolute most of their virtual existence. A situational NPC may move to different cities; a situational NPC may die in specific circumstances (namely, if killed by another situational NPC), a situational NPC can have children with other situational NPCs (who are then, themselves, birthed as situational NPCs), they can and are rulers of the countries, they can be companions for a specific player rather than for all players (an NPC who tags along with any player? Stationary. An NPC who tags along with one specific player? Situational).
They are given free reign, and are considered to be almost masters of the game. They still know that their existence hinges on the presence of players and the assistance of their programmers, but they are treated in-game as the only force capable of being seen as a superior to the players.
One of the motivating factors for this is that Makija has no plot--what it has, is a world which evolves in real time. Countries go to war with one another. They fight, they kill, and they can and will hire players to take sides in these conflicts. Countries are born, countries fall, proxy wars are fought, and so on and so forth--handled by these situational NPCs, which essentially acts to give purpose to a game otherwise lacking one beyond the PvP elements.
And for the most part, the game devs give them great freedom. They essentially allow them to do anything, so long as they're not creating technological explosives more powerful than a hand grenade (no making a nuke, that's the job of mages) or technological firearms more advanced than primitive gunpowder weapons (no making a gatling gun, machine gun, or the like; that's the job of mages).
The only other guideline is, as mentioned, to in spite of knowing their own world is virtual, try to live their lives to the fullest within said virtual world.
As it so happens, NPCs can be mages, by the way, so there's often little distinction between a player and an NPC. The game is both the players', and that of the situational NPCs, who share the role of expanding the game, growing it, and making it their own, of creating empires and conquering the world and making names for themselves.
Which brings me to an overlay of things.
Melee combat technically speaking exists--but is impractical. Even the white mage can kill someone twenty times over before they are within melee range. Other classes? Dozens, if not hundreds of times. Even if someone managed to get close enough...this is a setting with magic.
All classes have, in addition to an HP bar, two default shields, which take hits and recharge over time. (Well, so does HP, but shields recharge faster.)
A Mana Shield, the shield most commonly used by classes.
And a Physical Shield.
And by the time you get through the physical shield, that's an additional five times the white mage could kill you, dozens of times other classes could vaporize you from existence.
Heck, even if you manage to bring the shield down--while some weapons can instakill, the default weapon for a mage is the staff, which takes a ridiculous number of hits to be lethal; most weapons take multiple hits to kill. And before they get the chance to deliver the killing blow, the Physical Shield has likely recharged some, meaning even more hits to kill.
Ranged weapons are NPC-exclusive, but run into the same problems, notably limited by their primitive nature. (The 'no machine gun tech' is mostly a precaution--even if it were allowed, it'd probably still not make a difference. The devs are just being careful to make sure it doesn't.)
The game is thus, exactly as implied: focused on mage warfare, magical combat from the various classes. Each class has its strengths and weaknesses.
Now before going further, for some designation purposes:
Point Blank, aka melee range, is designated as any range that's less than 8 feet.
Short Range is anything from 8 feet to 20 yards.
Mid Range is 20 years to the limit of human eyesight.
Long Range is the limit of human eyesight to the limit of the game engine--every player has a HUD of sorts for targeting. Think like in modern aircraft, how they don't get to see an enemy in a dogfight they're shooting missiles at. They're so far away they're nothing but a radar blip, and while sensors show it, while you can see on the screen that they're there, they're so far away that you just have to trust the computer to know it's true.
That's the effect I'm talking about (and half the reason I designed it as a fulldive game).
Now for the classes.
White Mages are, stereotypically, the "support" class, but thanks to their powerful Holy spells and ability to self-target on healing spells, it's fully possible for them to play solo. They have access to every healing spell in the game, numerous buff spells, a few debuff spells, and very powerful Holy magic. They also have a unique quirk to them: they are masters of locking onto a target. Because they need to be able to make the most effective usage of their spells and make them count, they can target from further away and with greater accuracy than most, and can overcome effects that would disrupt other mages.
This in some regards makes them act as a Medic Ubercharge, in that they lock onto someone to heal and buff, from a far enough range as to be away from harm. But it also makes them surprisingly talented snipers, since their target can't get away. There's a slight tradeoff, though, in that their teleport spell has the longest cooldown of any class, mostly so that the white mage can't constantly escape from tough situations.
White Mages are, notably, poor close-range combatants, excelling at long-range to mid-range fights.
Clerics are not quite "combat white mages", but the effect is much the same. They lose the debuff spells, but actually gain buff spells more than the white mage has. They have access to every Holy offensive magic, something not even the white mage has, although they do have less healing magic than the white mage.
Their unique quirk is also the opposite of the white mage; instead of being masters of locking onto a single target, the cleric is both a master of area of effect, and, of on the fly switching targets. This makes them vulnerable to situations where it's difficult to lock onto a target, but incredibly useful for mass-healing or mass-destruction equally.
Clerics tend to excel at mid-range to short-range.
Black Mages are masters of destructive black magic, the opposite of Holy. They dish out the hurt, and they dish it out hard. They have the unique quirk of being able to chain-cast spells, casting a spell and then immediately for free with no cooldown being able to cast that same spell a second time. They are also masters of status ailments and debuff spells, including many spells to disable spellcasting abilities of opponents (including one of the most vital spells to prevent an enemy retreat: disabling teleport). They can also make spells that would normally target only one instead target more than one.
They are able to fight long-range or short-range, but excel at the mid-range.
Blood Mages have a bit of a quirk: they have no mana at all, and every spell they cast is cast from their HP. In return, they have the HP of (HP of other classes) + (1.25 * MP of other classes)...and the HP regeneration of (HP regen of other classes * 2) + (2* MP regeneration of other classes).
So say a normal mage regenerates .5 HP per second and 2 MP per second; the blood mage regenerates 5 HP per second. Their spells focus entirely on the offense, neglecting any semblance of defense whatsoever. They have debuffs and non-self-targeting buffs, but their main draw is how versatile they are.
Blood Mages' real danger is how they are so ridiculously hard to kill while dealing so much damage from any range. They tend to be vulnerable in short-range where enemy DPS outdoes their innate regeneration, making them mostly fight in the mid-range to long-range zones.
Red Mages are much as you'd expect; they are somewhere in the middle of a white mage and a black mage. They have a wide array of healing spells, some Holy spells, some darkness destructive spells, and have every buff spell in the game and rather a number of debuff spells. Though their spells are less numerous in the field (except buffs) compared to the specialists in those fields and also are less effective, the Red Mage can cast them faster and at a lower cost.
This continues the trait you'd expect; the Red Mage is able to respond to almost any situation, but is beat out by specialists for that situation. This makes them a go-to class for solo players and they are actually considered the default class for their ease of use, but in spite of that, that doesn't make them the "n00b" class, trash compared to others; a skilled Red Mage is perfectly capable of beating any opponent and in fact that's the entire reason why many higher-caliber Red Mages chose the class.
They can fight at any range, but tend to excel best at short-range.
Blue Mages are also much as you'd expect. They have a very, very, very small number of natural spells--but can use any ability which has been used on them which they chose to store. To help them survive contact with this, the blue mage even has a couple of unique spells; the 'forced target' spell forces the opponent's next ability to target the blue mage, and the 'slingshot' spell causes the opponent's ability to miss the blue mage, and be returned on the target at double power.
The only limitation is that forced target and slingshot can't stack together. Which, yes, means that slingshot can be used to learn a spell without having had that spell inflicted on them; forced target allows them to learn spells that would normally be self-target-only spells.
In-game, Blue Mages tend to be the opposite of red mages, in that they are considered the most elite class to use; to use them well requires skill, and they are not newb-friendly. They are also one of the few classes to excel at short-range, though they can fight at mid-range just as well. While fighting at long-range is difficult for a blue mage, a blue mage has the unique advantage of not being at a disadvantage because while the blue mage may not be able to hurt their opponent, the opponent won't be able to so much as scratch the blue mage--the only way to hurt a blue mage is to get into the blue mage's preferred combat zone.
Elemancers are much as you might think. White Mages (and clerics) have dominion over Holy. Black Mages have dominion over darkness/destruction. Elemancers have spells of the other six elements: fire, ice, water, energy, earth, and air. This makes them one of the most well-rounded classes, potentially even moreso than the red mage, in sheer versatility of what those elements are capable of doing.
They are capable of fighting at any range, but because their long-range spell repertoire is somewhat limited, they are more mid-range fighters...or even better yet, short-range fighters. In fact, Elemancers are one of the only two classes where entering point blank range can be considered anything other than suicide, because Elemancers control the environment to an extent where they can maneuver up to point blank and then deliver a decisive blow.
Elemancers are the only class to be able to wield a custom-designed weapon, and their weapons have a perk: they deal both physical and magical damage upon contact, and are pretty much instantly lethal when whichever shield is the weaker of physical/magical collapses first. Plus, their spells which are short-range? Can puncture through some level of magical defense, making them the only class capable of dealing direct damage to a mage from a distance while the enemy mage has a physical shield up.
Battle Mages are basically generic mages, using non-elemental attack magic, augmented by buff spells (mostly self-buffs), a few debuff spells, and similar. They are designed to be even more rounded out than red mages, in that they have the capacity to fight at any distance and thrive. Strong self-shielding spells make them tough to kill, good lock-on tracking and good target-switching abilities mean that they are capable of hitting precisely who they want and where, and generally, being all around suited to tanking hits and dishing out lots and lots and lots of hurt.
Conjurers are mages who basically utilize the "hard light" type of "construct": they create whatever they can think of. This can be almost any spell in the game, because those are things which can be "conjured up", but it also applies to being able to create physical objects like, saaaaaay, an actual physical shield to block the incoming attack, nullifying it altogether no matter how powerful it was. Or the inverse, a sword that is then thrown at the enemy, and similarly to Elemancers, deals whichever of physical/magical the enemy has less ability to counter (which is usually physical).
There's a downside to this versatility; conjured spells are more expensive to make than the original spell, and a conjurer is limited in the range at which they can extend their objects before they dissolve. They are thus best at the mid-range or short-range.
Another conjurer tactic? Making actual physical entities to attack; think like an energy dog or something. This is a similar ability to a summoner, only instead of it being an existing thing, it's made up from scratch and thus, has all the benefits/drawbacks of that difference.
Summoners are the standout class for being the one and only class designed for melee combat--
...In one very specific way.
Specifically, summoners can summon any living thing to serve them--swarms of bugs, swarms of bats, murders of crows, flocks of wolves, you name it, the summoner can summon it. They can send these enemies zerg-rush style to engage and overwhelm their opponents' nonexistent physical defenses, because summoners have a ridiculously cheap spell cast; they're not creating anything, so they drain mana at a much slower rate.
You might think these creations get blasted to oblivion by enemy spells, and yes, they do, but the enemy drains mana rapidly in doing so, and the summoner can keep on summoning more--and keep in mind, even if the enemy's mana regeneration is high enough that they're under no risk of running out, the summoned creatures are so numerous that over time they close the gap and dish out the hurt.
That's not the trump card of the summoner class. The real trump card is the fact that summoners can summon things like demons, angels, and eldritch abominations. Doing so is much, much, much more expensive, but these summoned monsters and the like? They have HIGH magical resistance, AND basically instant-death physical attacks, with ridiculously high innate stats (regen, speed, etc.) which allows them to pretty quickly overpower their opponent.
The drawback is a summoner has to choose between one of these two methods, not both; a summoner can summon more than one of these "large" beings, but is generally limited to about half a dozen or less, whereas a summoner can summon dozens if not hundreds of "lesser" beings.
Still, this allows the summoner to create combat companions that act intelligently and can exploit the flaws of the opponent, making them masters of short-range combat.
Those are the ten classes, more or less.
The name of the story, CQC Strikers, comes from a guild founded by our two protagonists and those that then join them...
...In a guild dedicated to close quarter combat, in a game where that is meant to be nonexistent.
The conjurer with the moniker of "Blademaster" utilizes a storm of blades hailing down on the opponent to pretty much instantly kill them due to their vulnerability to physical attacks. While other conjurers could do this, as mentioned, they tend to just go with the route of 'conjuring whatever spell is most convenient to cast', making him fairly unique amongst conjurers for realizing the battle potential of this ability.
The summoner with the moniker of "Dagoness of Death" utilizes a particular perk of the summoner class--she has the creatures she summons possess her. This has a few drawbacks; her mana regeneration is cut to pretty much zilch, and she can't summon any creatures of any type for the duration of her possession, but it has the massive advantage of instilling the creature's traits into her.
General rule of thumb when fighting a summoner is to kill the summoner, not the things summoned--summoners have very little in the way of natural defenses, and mostly rely on their opponent ignoring them in favor of dealing with what they're summoning to survive.
Not so with her; she gains the massive regeneration and pretty much instant kill abilities of those creatures. She also sprouts appropriate limbs; tentacles, wings, tails, etc. and can use the abilities of the creature possessing her. Her moniker comes from the Dagon creature, which is somewhere between dragon and demon; winged, prehensile tail, claws, scaled, fangs, horns, red tint, affiliation with flame, and massive regeneration, speed, and power, allowing her to rip enemy mages to shreds.
The two of them form a guild after a stalemate where he can't kill her, but he can keep her from killing him, the first time either of them have ever met a worthy opponent, and are impressed by the offer to settle it in a well and true, proper, melee duel.
After the guild is formed, they later gain a cleric with the moniker of "Butcherer". He didn't do much groundbreaking. Most clerics when they buff themselves tend to buff their magical attacks, such that when casting their destructive holy magic, it destroys the target altogether. Similarly, most clerics buff their casting speed and the like rather than physical speed.
He just dumped it all into buffing physical attack with the remaining to boost his speed, allowing him to teleport into point blank range and with two hits, kill the opponent--one hit to bring the shield down, a second hit for the kill.
Also an early addition to the guild is the white mage with the moniker of "Liquifier". He utilizes a unique spell of the white mage class: white mages are designed to fight at a distance and while they can fight at a distance, are mostly made to be support. Because of "shoot the medic first", this makes them a target of enemy combatants, who might close the distance fast and start pummeling the mage at close range.
The white mage comes with a response to that: their spell 'repel' causes the advancing opponent to be shot backwards at twice the speed they had been traveling at. Reasonable, right? Except the calculation for how the game engine handles this has a quirk; it calculates the speed of the target of repel as being more or less, "distance between white mage and target five seconds prior to spell cast, compared to distance between white mage and target at time of cast".
The intention of this quirk in the programming was to prevent enemy mages from teleporting in at point blank and rendering the repel spell worthless because they didn't move, they teleported. Except...by not allowing that flaw, that opened the gate for the inverse...the white mage teleporting to point blank distance to cast it.
Repel, accelerating the target to twice the speed they were traveling at headed backwards, has the added effect that when reaching past a certain speed, the air itself will start dealing damage to the target--in addition to the pain from the target colliding with anything mid-flight (itself fairly lethal, even if what they collide with is the ground).
Telerepel at short-range is virtually worthless, but at mid-range, it's pretty much lethal for any mage. Even for those that it isn't lethal for, as soon as the cooldown for teleport passes, the second casting kills them. Long-range is instantly lethal no matter what. But you know what gets even better? The range of the teleport spell is longer than long-distance combat.
You can teleport, using coordinates, further than the range of your HUD. So that means if you know the precise location of your target, and are at the range limit of the teleport spell, cast it to get to point blank distance, then cast repel...
...And that is why he's called liquifier, because he can one-hit KO even a maximum-level boss meant to be tackled by a full raid team. Against something less than that, it has the described effects; the sheer speed is enough to liquify the target before the impact would even kill them.
It does have the drawback of the white mage's longer teleport cooldown, and as mentioned is worthless at close range, but he gets onto the group because he is, technically, going into close quarters for combat--even if only for a fraction of a second, and only once.
The blood mage with the moniker "Bloody Mary" uses a unique spell to the blood mage class: tether. Tether keeps the target and the blood mage casting tether at exactly the same distance from one another as they were at the time tether was cast. Fifty feet can never increase or decrease; it stays at fifty feet until either the target is dead or the blood mage is dead.
She then chains this with teleport to get in at point blank range and cast tether, then wails on her opponent with her sword--the blood mage also has the quirk where their physical attacks--even if the enemy mage's physical shield is up--drain the opponent's health when connecting. So she gains health as her opponent loses it, and the second the physical shield fails, well, the next blow's an instant-kill.
It gets better; the tether spell will allow her to hitch a ride on teleports, meaning that she teleports with the person teleporting, unless doing so would kill her. Her targets can't escape; once she latches on, she steals their HP, bit by bit, until their shield falls and they die. Undeniably close-quarter combat, no matter how one-sided it may be.
And there's nothing that her opponent can do. In this state? She isn't casting any spells. Which means she's not losing HP, and means she naturally has her own HP regen plus the HP she's sapping from her opponent. So even if her opponent wails on her, she gains HP faster than they deplete it.
Another member is the elemancer with the moniker "The Trapper", specializing in exactly what you'd think; using the environment, she lays traps, which keep her opponents from moving and/or deal harm to them, slowly whittling away at them. She pops in, then out, with hit and run tactics, and then she closes the gap for the kill--
Blinding her opponent, creating an opening to give the illusion of false hope, you name it. She leads them on, she deceives them, and then when their guard is down and they can't expect her or can't see her and in general don't know where she is, she delivers the death blow with one of her melee weapons. Also melee-specialized.
Then there's the blue mage with the moniker of "The Beast". Blue mages are meant to store the spells of other classes and maybe, maybe take one or two monster abilities as their own. This guy? He stored exclusively monster abilities, including abilities which transform him into a monster, because some monsters have, normally self-targeting, abilities that they cast on themselves which transform them from one form to a different form.
And he has them, and makes use of them. Blood claws, piercing fangs, what have you. Monstrous attacks that players normally deal with by virtue of monsters being dumb--in the hands of a human player who can augment those monster abilities with each other (being not just one monster but many monsters) not to mention class spells, he dominates in the close-range melee which most monsters use.
He can fight at longer ranges, similarly to some members on this team...but he vastly prefers to fight at the melee distance, making him fit right in with the rest of these crazies.
I'm not sure where most of these join, but I also think that the black mage with the moniker "Decapitator" is probably an earlyish addition to the team. His specialty? He uses the teleport-disabling spell to prevent his opponent from using it, and then chains the casting of teleport--once to go to point blank, a second time when grabbing the enemy.
Normally, teleport takes just the caster. The only two ways around this are the blood mage's tether spell--where the blood mage is carried along with the teleport of the person they are tethered to--and the black mage...who can teleport whoever they are holding with them.
You can guess where this leads.
The black mage specializes in telefrags. Which are, notably, a close quarter combat technique.
Though I have a female battle mage as on the team, I don't have her figured out yet, so the last member I have in my notes is the red mage with the moniker "Madman". He is pretty similar to the cleric, in that he self-buffs, but he focuses purely on speed and magic defense, because he wants to charge, evade, dodge, and if it gets through, tank blows, while he closes the distance, laughing like a madman, and once he gets there, thrashing out, over and over again.
Not very efficient a killer, mind you; he takes multiple melee strikes to kill his opponent, but against anyone outside of the CQC Strikers, he's undefeated because nobody can hit him. Nobody can get that fast, that defensive, without giving up their ability to cast spells. The only reason the red mage can pull this off (and this is also true of the cleric) is giving up on any non-healing spell.
That's about all I had on the subject, but yeah, I really like the story idea for the CQC Strikers, though I'm not quite sure where I'd take it.