The Hybrid multiclass system, to be released in next year's Player's Handbook 3, is probably the most ambitious addition to 4E rules to date. A while ago, we saw an early playtest of the rules, which was very, very promising, even if it had a few significant glitches. Yesterday, a second iteration was released, addressing most concerns. These are the most important improvements:
- Classes from PHB2 have been added, so every currently released class is now supported.
- Hybrid class stats now have fractional hit points, so that hybrid characters no longer have lower total HP than normal. This was more of an annoyance than a real balance issue, but it's good to see it fixed, nevertheless.
- The Hybrid Talent feat, arguably the most broken item in the previous version, has been overhauled. Rather than granting access to any class feature (a pretty nebulous concept, to start with), Hybrid Talent now allows to choose from a list of features specified in each hybrid class description. The strongest, more synergistic of these features are only available in weaker hybrid versions, to prevent obsoleting single-class characters. Still, some very powerful, maybe broken options remain, such as the Avenger's Armor of Faith, and Fighter Weapon Talents.
- Armor proficiencies, another weak point of the early rules, can now be picked as a Hybrid Talent option. This is a huge cost, but definitely worth it for hybrid defenders, at least until their level is high enough to have spare feats for both conventional armor proficiency and a different Hybrid Talent.
- Paragon Hybrid multiclass is a new option replacing the character's Paragon Path. Basically, this allows to get a second Hybrid Talent and new powers from either of their classes.
My overall evaluation is very, very positive. This material is good enough to be published as is, and it can still get even better before reaching print. If you have a subscription to DDI, be sure to try it out in a couple of weeks, when they release it for Character Builder. And, if you are not a subscriber but are intrigued by the idea, this is the kind of stuff that could actually be worth paying 10+ bucks to get a year early. It's that good.