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Reader Comments (9)

Posted: Mar 17th 2008 3:20PM Scopique said

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Didn't EQ2 defer specialization until higher levels? Didn't they can that because it was pissing people off?

Yes, MMOs should move away from classes, IMO, because it's only lead to pigeon-holeing players into very spcific roles. Granted, a lot of people like this: they can choose what class they want based on the way they play. Actually, scratch that; they get to pick a class based on the type of JOB they want, because classes are nothing but jobs in most (if not all) MMOs. Just as your boss gives you work based on your "expertise" and expects you to single-mindedly apply your skillset to the problem, modern class-based MMOs expect that plasyers of each class will want to rigidly adhere to their role.

The problem is that there's not a lot to DO beyond one's "role" as dictated by the mechanics of the game (and the juvenile fantasies of anyone who's ever cursed someone for not "knowing how to play his/her class"). Instead, we get lame-ass crafting systems, faction grinds and loot whoring in an effort to make players feel that they have some kind of a "choice" in how they play the game.

I'd personally rather see the old UO system make a come-back. No classes, just skills which increased through use, or atrophied through disuse. No XP, no levels, no expectations. Players could specialize a small set of skills, gaining proficiency through use, or they could be all over the board, knowing a little bit about a lot.

Posted: Mar 17th 2008 3:56PM zrex said

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Reading more about Age of Conan, there will be basics skills that can be developed in the class stages from 5-20. Skills such as stealth and climbing can be trained by any class, this allows for people to find that niche of personality that a lot of players yearn for.

For example, the stealth skill can be learned by anyone, of course those who choose the Rogue path are going to be the best at that ability. But for those that want to have a Priest of Mitra who can kinda sneak away in the shadows very unsuccessfully they can have that.

The progression that AoC is providing will help characters get more attached to their hero. Having a chance to be the bones of the future machine of death is something that I am looking forward to, something to reflect on "So that is how I got to this point."

Posted: Mar 17th 2008 4:02PM (Unverified) said

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I think to have a really good class system in an MMORPG you gotta go one of two ways:

1. Lots of rigid classes. DAoC and Warhammer for example do this. Classes are set pretty much to their role and intended abilities but there's a ton of classes (Warhammer has 12 per side 24 total). Sure many are mirrors of each other but just the small differences are enough to make you feel unique as your class (something that's very important). Plus with so many classes there's always a class that's a good fit or another class that seems interesting to try.

2. Lots of customization and more free form classes. UO, Shadowbane, and several others take this route. Allowing you to make much more important choices in your character development . This allowed you to really feel attached to your unique character and adds a ton of depth to the game.

Both systems have their merits and each will fit in one type of game or the other but I hate some of the more simplistic character setups. The 9 classes in WoW seem incredibly restricting and makes me feel like just another member of the crowd rather than unique.

As for the 'tiered' leveling approach where you zero in on a set class I think it's pretty pointless. Generally players know what they want to be from the start of the game and/or are capable of making that choice right away. So all the tier choices does is restrict their ability to be the class they want to be right at the start.

The only game that this payed off at all in from my experience was Shadowbane. The only reason it worked in SB was because you had the same classes available to 2 archetypes (mage-assassin or rogue-assassin for example) which at least put some stock into your initial choice as it affected the final character.

Posted: Mar 17th 2008 4:02PM Pagan said

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You choose your race and your class during the character creation process. I think this article is based on early game design that has since been changed.

Posted: Mar 17th 2008 6:56PM (Unverified) said

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I agree with Scopique. I played Asheron's Call for years, which was very similar the UO progression with the exception of levels still existing, but only existing as giving you occasional skill points to buy more skills.

Anyone in AC could do anything, even if they wern't trained it in, with the exception of certain crafting and magics. Non trained skills were just determined by your stats (for example sword would be Str + Coordination/2). Xp earned by leveling up just got spent on a skill (for example it would cost 3,212 XP to raise sword by 1 point if it was trained or specialized).

The old classless ideas need to be brought back.

Posted: Mar 17th 2008 4:12PM (Unverified) said

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I definitely prefer more organic class systems. Mixing and matching skill boxes in SWG was a thoroughly rewarding experience and I think I would similarly enjoy UO's skill system, though I have no experience with it.

I don't mind having archetypal classes to image yourself after, i.e. "I want to be a flame throwing mage". But, there should be a way for me to define my own role within a group, to choose what utility my character would bring to the fight besides damage.

DnD's and FFXI's multiclassing are on the right lines. Guild Wars' dual classing is even better, allowing you to pull your limited abilities from 2 separate pools. Talent trees (a la WoW) are nice when classes are set in stone, but they aren't really character customisation so much as a requirement to be effective at whatever part of the game you wish to play.

Yeah, that archetype system didn't work for EQ2 at all. If you already knew what class you wanted to end up as it was a satisfying way to progress through the game, once, and only once.

The system fell flat on it's face when players made "wrong" decisions. It essentially made you play for hours longer than necessary before you found out whether you enjoyed playing your chosen class. Then it was incredibly boring to level yet another "weak mage" back to that decision point to pick another class. I believe this is why Tabula Rasa implemented clones and I sincerely hope that AoC has an equivalent option for those of us with alt-itis.

Posted: Mar 17th 2008 5:17PM (Unverified) said

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as Mark said, the information on AoC given in this post is wrong! The develop into your class system is deprecated - now you choose class right at the beginning, at characther creation.

Posted: Mar 17th 2008 5:53PM (Unverified) said

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Thanks for the correction guys!
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Posted: Mar 18th 2008 8:32AM (Unverified) said

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Yeah, still - all examples you gave were kinda NOT successful. Most gamers are idiot, and the rest REQUIRE idiots so they can be the core players (either by helping or pwn1ng them).

And a class system with predefined path is JUST what idiotic gamers need.

Moreover, (and I won't mind if that gets my comment deleted) noobish girl gamers (that's almost ALL girl gamers) WONT EVAH play something as hard as a skill-based mmorpg. They hate being weaker even more than teenage guys do. Really, guy gamers want to play with girls \ - something possible in wow, lotro and other similar grindfests, 'coz there are girls over there. About 1/3 of my wow-playing friends are girls. I don't play that timesink, ('coz i'm too hardcore yeah baby), but for hellofa lot of guy gamers "THERE BE GIRLZ!" is a good advertisement. Think about it.

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