In other news, it's time for WRUP, where the Massively staff shares information about what we'll be up to over the next couple of days. We top that off with hand-picked opinions about a given topic, in this case whether we like class-based systems or skill-based systems in our MMOs. Then we fire the whole thing in a brick oven, and... well... look, just click past the break and let us know what you'll be doing in the comments. I think I need to re-heat some pizza.
Beau Hindman (@Beau_Hindman): I will be finishing up my visit with Free Realms and moving on to my next Rise and Shiny game. I'll also be finishing up my look at Fortune Online and Wakfu -- two games I was very excited to look at!
I much, much prefer skill-based or sandbox-style gaming. Nowadays, class-based just seems so limiting, and I hate literally being a carbon copy of everyone else. Still, some class-based games do a great job with allowing for variety within the classes or enough difference between classes and a large enough number of classes so that I don't feel so limited. My biggest issue is the constant rehash of the same classes -- it just seems to me that if I were given some of these budgets and talent, the last thing I would do is use the same three or four classes that have been used for years and years.
Brendan Drain (@nyphur): The Massively Mob EVE Online corporation has become the target of another war declaration, so this weekend I'll be monitoring progress in that war and spending yet more time battling the Sansha incursions.
On the class-based vs. classless debate, I have to say both have their own merits. EVE Online's classless system allows players to fulfill multiple roles on a single character. Players can easily specialise in one particular role within around six months, as certain skills will only apply to specific tasks, roles or ships. Additional training time can then be used to cross-train into new roles. I'm actually a big fan of class-based systems, though, as long as each class has its own unique playstyle or gameplay. Far too many MMOs have multiple classes that play almost exactly the same way.
Brianna Royce (@nbrianna): I should probably admit that I probably won't have time to World of Warcraft it up this weekend, especially since my guild has been murmuring excitedly about RIFT lately. I suspect I know where I'll be next week!
I usually prefer skill systems, even with all their balancing drawbacks, because that freedom of creativity is more important to me than raw power. But if, like Beau said, a class-based game has ridiculous amounts of customization or huge numbers of unique classes, I'm much more forgiving.
Eliot Lefebvre: A mix of Final Fantasy XIV and City of Heroes this weekend, albeit with a smattering of offline play. I need to decompress after the past couple of weeks, but the current setup of my time doesn't seem poised to actually allow me that opportunity.
In theory, I love the idea of being able to make my character a unique arrangement of abilities, which would put me in the skill-based camp. But in practice, freeform character systems actually encourage more uniform builds across characters, since players will gravitate to the most powerful combination (or combinations) and eschew everything else. So I prefer class-based systems with a high amount of versatility within a class framework, something that's thankfully quite common these days (Star Trek Online and Final Fantasy XIV both do an excellent job of giving a class framework with an open setup).
Jef Reahard: Earthrise for me, and a bit of Age of Conan and Aion. I prefer skill-based to class-based, but I do love most caster classes, particularly multifaceted ones like Aion's Sorc or Age of Conan's Necro.
Jeremy Stratton (@Jeremy_Stratton): I probably won't be playing a lot of anything this weekend. If I do manage to create some downtime between doing schoolwork, I'll pop into Runes of Magic to see how my guild is doing. I'm not too concerned with class-based or not. Right now the class-less seem to be used more in sandbox MMOs, and I really like sandbox MMOs, but if class abilities fit into the world, it can be a lot of fun.I don't want to be playing in a game world built around floating platforms where I can't jump.
Justin Olivetti (@Sypster): I'll take "Probably playing Lord of the Rings Online" for $800, please. And the answer is "How I got distracted so I auto-ran off the cliff while my character shouted insults to me as she plunged to her death."
Personally, I don't mind classes, but I do expect for there to be a wide variety of customization to adjust for various playstyles and roles. I enjoyed City of Heroes' dual-powerset setup for this reason and really think RIFT is on to something with its soul system.
Karen Bryan (@JayeRnH): I'll be playing a little EverQuest II and probably some Free Realms with the kids. Gotta farm some Valentine's Day t-shirts and teddy bears!
As for the bonus question, I've traditionally played in class-based games, but I don't have a particular bias either way.
Krystalle Voecks (@Krystalle): DC Universe Online and restarting in Zentia since I missed so much during the speed-level-zerg the other day to get to shrimp vs. crab madness. As for class-based vs. classless MMOs, I'm really kind of indifferent. Some games really need those classes to help people figure out what they should be doing. Others? Not so much. I can't imagine set classes in EVE, and I can't imagine non-classes in WoW. I suppose what I'm trying to say, rather inelegantly, is that so long as the class/classless choice fits the concept of the game and is fun to play, I don't really care which it uses. Is it fun? I'll play it.
Larry Everett (@Shaddoe): I will do my usual round of DC Universe Online this weekend, but it seems that Star Wars Galaxies may be calling again. We will see. I have people trying to convince me me to play some RIFT, too
I actually like the design behind DCUO. There is a skill type system for your weapon(s) and a class system for your power set. It makes for interesting combos, but if I were to pick skills vs. classes, I would pick skills because it helps me build a more unique character.
MJ Guthrie: With double XP in Aion finally over (pant, pant), I can finally pop into DCUO for some flying and super crusades without feeling guilty! I will, of course, spend more time in Aion -- I have to help defend what is ours! Also, after spending a morning watching Star Wars Galaxies dance videos this week, I am really missing my dancer...
My preference will always be for class-less systems. To me, making a unique build that is what I want is perfect; cookie-cutter classes are a real turn-off. Since I don't even give a hoot about combat in all games (I think I am still the only SWG dancer who never took a combat profession), I want my abilities to be as customizable as my avatar. This makes for a more personal experience in a game and certainly a more interesting one as I get to know others and their differences as well. Also, exploring non-traditional ways to do things is one of the better parts of games to me.
Patrick Mackey: I'm playing more Champions Online this week as always, and the real strangeness is that I'm not really playing anything else. I'm sort of playing The Last Remnant, but I haven't put much time into it lately. There will be more playing of Rifts (the PnP game) as we do pretty much every week. The world is on the brink of war, and the players are sort of off in the distance, observing. They have seen a few prophecies of some great evils arising, but they're not sure what to do to stop them, yet. A new chapter has started, and they're going to be making their own way in a world torn by war.
As for class-based vs. classless games, I honestly don't care, sort of. In general, this is a biased question because very few people want a class-based system, but when exposed to the freedom of a free-form system they become lost and make poor build choices. I'm OK in any game where skill is a factor. I kind of prefer freeform games, just because I make many fewer poor build decisions in relation to my peers. However, I'm mostly partial to any game that values skill over time, regardless of the character selection.
At the start of every weekend, we catch up with the Massively staff members and ask them, "What are you playing this week?" (Otherwise known as: WRUP!) Join us to see what we're up to in and out of game -- and catch us in the comments to let us know what you're playing, too!