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Reader Comments (21)

Posted: Feb 7th 2012 1:13PM (Unverified) said

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*giggle* According to the top image, I assume that 'class balance' refers to keeping yourself upright, when your boobs are larger than your head.

Posted: Feb 7th 2012 6:54PM Unshra said

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@(Unverified) Of course, that's why she has a tail, it all balances out... *nods*
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Posted: Feb 8th 2012 1:03AM Lostinalaska said

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@(Unverified)

I was watching videos on youtube yesterday and found myself somehow watching videos on hidden micky mouse symbols in Disney movies. I log on here today and the top image ...hm they filled mickeys ears out well. :)
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Posted: Feb 7th 2012 1:17PM (Unverified) said

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Class systems are a crutch in MMORPGs too though as it allows the developer to 'balance' things a bit more and allows the player not to make a combination of abilities that is useless or less than optimal to actually play the game. Sandbox games can get away with it more than theme parks since sandbox allows a player to try different types of things to achieve their own goals, whereas the theme parks have goals set forth by the developer. When a theme park has classes or abilities that can be put together that are 'less than optimal' then players spread the word quickly and it becomes rarely used.

Look at DDO and you can see a theme park style game that gave some fairly advanced options that keep many folks from playing combinations that they would like. There are tons of folks that advise new players to take the more common or recommended options because it can be easy to make a character that is very hard to play or has options/abilities that are not optimal for later.

There are very few sandbox games unfortunately and I think a lot of it has to do with the amount of work it takes to make those that work over theme parks that tend to garner more attention because they can focus effort on a line of quests and art.

Posted: Feb 7th 2012 1:24PM DoctorSmart said

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"Modern tabletop design looks at things like classes and levels as being relics in many ways -- elements that made sense as a crutch when the design of RPGs was one step removed from tactical wargames"

I might be out of touch here, but I'm pretty sure most of the popular tabletop systems are class/level based. Pathfinder, D&D, even World of Darkness has some class background, whether it be restrictions on Clan/Tribe/etc. What systems are you talking about?

Posted: Feb 7th 2012 1:42PM Celtar said

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@DoctorSmart

Class-less table top rpgs like Runequest, GURPS are two examples. I know that by 1980 most of the gamers I gamed with in Southern California were tired of the restrictive artifical class based systems. Of course you have Traveller which actually sort of class based due to the fact that your character picked a career path to pursue before starting his adventuring time. That said even that system was more of a skill based class system.

Role-master also fit the skill based class system. Systems that put more focus on skills instead of the class and having the class give you artifical restrictions on what you could or couldn't do.

I played most game systems and ran quite a few of them over the decades, and the best ones always were skill based rpgs.
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Posted: Feb 7th 2012 1:42PM (Unverified) said

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@DoctorSmart WoD is in no way class or level based. Nor is Shadowrun, GURPS or Hero System, just to grab a few titles off my shelf. But yes, Pathfinder and D&D are.

Classes and levels are great for (relatively) quick character design and fitting each character into a niche, but the downsides are so-called cookie cutter builds and inflexibility, though those are related to the very requirements to make sure that a Fighter or Wizard generally mean the same things. Some might wear different kinds of armor or cast different kinds of spells, but fundamentally a fighter is about his weapons and armor and a wizard is about her spells. Merely having restrictions or qualifications in a system doesn't make it class-based.

WoD, Shadowrun and others might have some suggested archetypes (the Brujah brawler, the Glasswalker techie, the Order of Hermes bookworm, Troll street samurai, and so on) but you can mix up those roles and they could very much still be part of those larger organizations as they're divided more along philosophical and political lines (or even genetic) and their actual game roles are left up for the player to decide.
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Posted: Feb 7th 2012 2:30PM (Unverified) said

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@(Unverified)

WoD is actually "class" based by the definition more akin to societal classes, as every clan or tribe has a particular background niche that ends up dividing characters just like a DnD class really. VTM moreso imo because one of its conceits is that vampires generally embrace humans who typify aspects of their clan, and that likewise the embraced become more like the clan due to blood inheritance.

In any case yes its not set in stone and anyone can be a "Drizzt" and make a character that goes against their blood and culture completely but still the "classes" are all there and generally people pick from them much the same as they would pick D&D classes.
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Posted: Feb 7th 2012 7:37PM (Unverified) said

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@DoctorSmart : D&D classes haven't really resembled the original D&D class system (so widely emulated in CRPGs and MMORPGs) since 3rd edition came out in 2000. Now, instead of picking a class at level 1 and gaining levels in that class, each time you gain a level, you choose which class to gain it in.

So you could end up as a level 20 fighter, or a level 4/4/4/4/4 fighter/mage/cleric/thief/paladin, or some such thing.

So while it might be poorly worded to suggest that D&D treats classes and levels as a relic, it certainly doesn't treat them as restrictively as it once did.
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Posted: Feb 8th 2012 8:51AM Bolongo said

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@(Unverified) I see your stance in the Edition Wars is "pretend 4e never happened" ;)
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Posted: Feb 7th 2012 1:59PM potaco said

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Ok, I looked at the alt text this time... and I still can't tell which games the screenshots are from, just snappy little snippets :(

Maybe one day...

Posted: Feb 7th 2012 2:59PM (Unverified) said

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I think allowing the player to customize their class or create a class is important to the MMO genre. For example, the very first thing that a player should chose is what role (Tank, Healer, DPS) they will play then the type of playstyle (Range or Melee) and finally Resource (Mana pool, refresh energy, cooldown system etc...).

Posted: Feb 7th 2012 3:13PM eLdritchZ said

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Classless games tend to produce swordfighting Archer-Mages with Healing Powers who are really adept at Alchemy and Weaponsmithing ;)

f.e. Person A might be really really good at Paintball and Person B might be really really good at Starcraft II... Person C is really good at Quake3, Football and mechanics...

Sure it happens. Person C does exist... but they are the absolute minority... there's a whole lot of people like Person A and Person B out there who are good at ONE thing.. Person C's who excel at a wide variety of things are very, very rare. That's why Classes (or Profesions, Callings, whatever) are more realistic and better than a set of skills that you can pick from at will

Also, simply picking up a sword and wailing it at people lots will not make you a master swordsman so the skill system is flawed anyway

Posted: Feb 7th 2012 3:15PM Vundal said

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FF11 was a pretty awfull game, but damn did they have some awesome class ideas. Puppeter, dancer, bluemage, WOW. so much awesome design. When i look at an MMO, i look at its classes and races first. Itsa HUGE draw for me. Warlocks in wow (vanilla) were scoffed at and only used because of our CC abilities, but i loved the class for being different.

i wish MMO designers would look at FF11 and DAOC as what great classes look like : unique classes that many players would love to have.

Posted: Feb 7th 2012 3:29PM Solaris said

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With the exception of single player games, I pretty much dislike the idea of classes being in MMOs as they tend to be either massively overpowered or broken.

I think more games should look to CCP and EVE, perhaps not so much the RL time training but you pick the skills you want your character to have your character to have.

Perpetuum Online has a similar design as EVE, but there you accumlate a certain amount of points over time that you can spend into whatever.

Posted: Feb 7th 2012 3:33PM syberghost said

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All of the tabletop games that don't use classes and levels have one thing in common: they aren't the top-selling game.

All of the MMORPGs that don't use classes and levels have the same thing in common.

If you ignore those two sentences, Santayana will snicker at you under his breath.

Posted: Feb 7th 2012 4:05PM smartstep said

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Classes are one thing. If done right they may be ok.

Second thing mentioned that is REALLY outdated and bad are levels.
Level segregate players and content by huge distance and is just bad system and unlogical one (40 lvl goblin stronger than 15 lvl dragon).

There are far better systems for character advancement than levels.
Systems that would not effect in waste of all zones except hghest level ones and all big problems that come with levels.

Posted: Feb 7th 2012 4:38PM Shadowstorm said

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The biggest problem I find with classes is that they are too homogenized. Let's contrast 2 popular games for a second: World of Warcraft and Team Fortress 2. Both are "class" based games with each class fulfilling defined roles, but one has frequent balance adjustments and is plagued with nerf cries, the other hasn't touched their classes since the game launched. Why is that? Clear class definition.

In TF2, heavies are slow meaty bullet sponges, medics are mobile bandaid boxes, spies are backstabbing assassins, soldiers are bursty splash-damage types, and so on. No one class can fully replace another. If you have a problem with engineer bases, send in a spy. No questions asked. If you're facing problematic heavies with medics supporting them, get a sniper.

Now contrast this with world of warcraft. At some point in the game, each and every last class has been tweaked in some way to make them "viable" in just about every aspect of their existence. Only problem is that when they do, some other class gets jealous because that class can now do the same thing they can, but better or with certain other benefits or flexibilities in their specs etc. Each of the 10 classes is constantly trampling on each others toes trying to be as valuable as their competitors in exactly the same way as them.

So here's my formula for class balance. Each class gets a job. They are REALLY good at said job at the expense of something else not pertaining to that job, and no one else has a stake in their niche because they have their own.

Posted: Feb 7th 2012 7:48PM Meagen said

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No such thing as a classless MMO. Some MMOs just have only one class.

Posted: Feb 8th 2012 1:04AM Space Cobra said

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@Meagen

I am just going to jump off your sentence, which I agree with.

In early CO, players were afraid of gimping themselves with the choices of skills. I guess like most games, you can respec eventually, but then what tends to happen is that the majority tends to play the same "class" in a skill-based game. (See what I did there?) There are always exceptions and creative ways to do that "skill/balance juggling" but eventually even those are copied by other players in an MMORPG (or Single player version).

Saying that, I still appreciate both Skill-based and class-based games and enjoy them on different levels; especially in a computer-related sense, they are different IMHO, however, I find myself drawn a bit more to classes for my computer-gaming fun for the most part.
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