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Reader Comments (74)

Posted: Feb 10th 2011 8:16AM Faryon said

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I think I prefer properly executed classless systems because I feel they provide more freedom to move my character in the direction I want.

Posted: Feb 10th 2011 3:26PM DancingCow said

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@Tempes Magus

In theory I do, but in practice I definitely don't.

I absolutely prefer classless games but CO has never really been that.

Until recently, relationships between specific statistics and powers meant that certain power combinations were clearly optimal - i.e. the system pre-defined optimal builds.

And to an extent that is still there with different passives boosting different damage types and only for specific roles.

What's worse is optimal builds often involve strange combinations of powers. Eg. if you want to boost magic damage in avenger (i.e. damage) role then your only option is Shadow Form. But what if my character isn't all shadowy and dark?

And many players complain about eg. magic auras and circles. They're potentially useful in many builds - but do magic circles fit all characters?

Then there's the obvious problem with tiers. Many - though not all - T1 powers are useless. So even though there's this supposedly big pool of powers to choose from, in reality there are a lot of powers which players NEVER use.

Fire is probably the best example. For damage it's Pyre, Fireball + accelerant, Conflagration and maybe Fire Snake. That's THE build. All of the other powers are window dressing.

The proposed system for The Secret World is what I like.

Completely open system but players can only ever equip a limited number (seven) of active skills at a time and a limited number of passive skill boosters (seven).
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Posted: Feb 10th 2011 8:19AM Niann said

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Rift's class system is one of the best so far, unless you go for a class system similar to UO (RIP) or Darkfall.
I wonder which one would work best for the regular mmo player, not the hardcore, theorycrafter kind of player.

Posted: Feb 10th 2011 1:33PM Trojan said

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@Niann Yeah I think Rift is excellent in how they do their classes. There are only 4 "classes" but basically by mixing and matching 3 of 8 different souls you can really customize how your class plays. For instance, if you pick the Rogue class, you can pick souls that make you more of a ranged dps class, more of a stealthy dps melee class, or even a buffer/debuffer/healer type (or a combination of those things). And to make it even more flexible, you can switch between 4 different roles (basically each role is a set of 3 souls that you've picked) at any time, meaning that you can switch from ranged dps to support to melee dps when you need to. That's brilliant IMO.
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Posted: Feb 10th 2011 8:20AM Shadanwolf said

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Classless/Sandbox system is what I would prefer

Posted: Feb 10th 2011 11:35AM Saker said

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@Shadanwolf

Absolutely!
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Posted: Feb 10th 2011 8:26AM Casumarzu said

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Prefer Classless but with some restrictions. I don't like the do-it-all approach of Darkfall as an example.

Posted: Feb 10th 2011 8:34AM Greyhame said

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Depends on the game. If there's a reason for the different classes that fits the story, then it works, but otherwise if just kind of feels tacked on.

If the game works better where you can be anything, you just learn skills, then that works as well. There could be some restrictions added to it, but that depends.

Posted: Feb 10th 2011 8:34AM Vegetta said

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UO had a great balance of what your character could do. Classes just seem so limiting. I kind of like RIfts class system but there benefits of it really don't come out until later levels where you have more points to apply. Eve has a great character system but the problem with it for me was that there was really no sense of a character since you basically just had a headshot. I haven't tried incarna - doubt if I will TBH as the ship combat is pretty boring.

Posted: Feb 10th 2011 8:38AM ChromeBallz said

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A hybrid like the Elder Scrolls system is a good middle ground, but well, no one seems to pick up on it.

EVE Online is pretty good, if needing a lot of patience.

Secret World might be promising.


Classless really is the way to go though. You can still be a mage if you want to wield a sword and shield once in a while, but in a class system, you can never be a warrior when you're a mage. It's very limiting and to some degree takes away a lot of immersion when your super intelligent mage doesn't even know how to pick up a spear.

Posted: Feb 10th 2011 8:40AM Rimeshade said

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I prefer a job system a la Final Fantasy 5 or Phantasy Star Universe where your job (essentially class) level is independent of your character level and you can switch out in cities etc so you can make one character then level all the jobs they have and they won't be gimped as the equipped job modifies their stats to be effective for that job.

Of course PSU made it too grindy level jobs, I would probably award job xp for performing abilities of that job, doing job quests and maybe set an option to transfer up to 70% of earned XP to job XP or somesuch.

Posted: Feb 10th 2011 8:48AM Thorqemada said

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Classless, be it skills or classes some people allway get after the fotm ability.
But in a classless system i can care for my own fun and let the pvpers sort them out themself.
No need to hurt other peoples gameplay for balancing issues...

Posted: Feb 10th 2011 8:55AM Xilmar said

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It's one or the other, with no grey area.

Class systems should be either rigid and focused, or they should be free.

A rigid class system is very good. it's actually what RPGs have been based on since before the PC. Warrior, rogue, wizard and some hybrid healer, these 4 classes have been the foundation of any classic MMORPG. and the reason behind that is that they work. each has a tiny bit of everything, but only one area (maybe 2 with a hybrid, but that should be really stretching it) in which that class is the best.

you choose a class...you know from the beginning that it's made for a certain gameplay style, and you either like it or you don't (and reroll). it's brilliant really

on the other hand this might be too strict for some, especially those used with blizzard's "everyone does everything" choice...if that's the case, the only real option is a system where everything's open. everyone can have a go at everything, but you can't actually get to the point where you can do everything well.

kinda talking about a class system like in EVE, where you start with a tiny bit of skills and you're free to train whatever profession you want, from whatever faction you want, with whatever weapons you want and so on. ok, not talking about the "over time" skill advancement or anything like that, just saying that that's really the only other solution to the 30 year old classic system warrior-wizard-healer. and to a lot of people that total freedom is very welcomed.

it can be weird for a lot of people when in a game your class influences your starting point and almost nothing else. there are so many people which have bad standings with their own faction...that might sound weird, but it's what you get when you're the one in charge of your character and it's class and role

Posted: Feb 10th 2011 9:09AM Rodj Blake said

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I prefer classless systems. After all, why shouldn't my wizard be able to use a bow, or my knight learn how to pick a lock?

Posted: Feb 10th 2011 9:21AM TheNexxuvas said

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@Rodj Blake

Take a look at Asheron's Call's system, you basically have that right there. Only problem is, it is very easy to gimp yourself, so over the many years, players have developed pretty good template standards. Yes, your sword fighter can cast life and creature spells, or perhaps pick up items spells to buff your own weapons and travel with the portal spells.
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Posted: Feb 10th 2011 9:14AM Silverangel said

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I like class-based. I don't think its are homogenized at all--actually the contrary. Classed systems allow the devs to hard-wire depth, complexity, and uniqueness into a class (LotRO) that cannot be found in classless systems due to balancing issues.

Posted: Feb 10th 2011 2:46PM Silverangel said

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@Tempes Magus Some players like complication for the sake of complications. Others do not. A classed system can offer different brands. Artificial? It's all artificial. You can simplify all classes to like 3 skills if you want. There are lots of ways to make ranged magic users different and interesting. It sounds like you are arguing mainly from a standpoint of WoW and don't know anything about LotRO, which I cited as an example that argues against most of your points.
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Posted: Feb 10th 2011 9:26AM Meagen said

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Classless systems are great in *theory*, but in practice, there's always a few particular builds that are so much better than all the others that it's almost like a class system where you have to figure out yourself (through trial and error, or reading guides) what the classes are.

Posted: Feb 10th 2011 9:32AM Aganazer said

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@Meagen

Agreed!

Most classless systems don't favor a jack of all trades build so you end up specializing in a particular area which may as well be a class. Some of the better class systems such as those in Rift and DDO are actually more flexible than most classless systems.

I bet that its possible to create an awesome classless system that deals with its faults, but I haven't seen one yet.
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Posted: Feb 10th 2011 9:48AM Ohhlaawd said

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@Meagen

My only experience with a classless system was UO. PvP builds were almost identical when I was playing. During the period I was most active everyone was either a Dexxer (some sort of melee skill, anatomy, resist) or a Mage (magery, eval, resist, meditation). UO has diversified the playstyles a little by adding stuff like Chivalry, Ninjitsu, and all kinds of weird stuff, but the "core" of any build is essentially the same as it was 7-8 years ago.

This made PvP more homogenized than WoW could ever dream of, but strangely it worked. There was no excuse for losing, no one could complain about X overpowering Y because everyone was essentially using X.
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