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The "multi-class" class system

GPrestigeGPrestige Guelph, ONPosts: 521Member

EDIT - This thread isn't directly about FFXI, it uses FFXI as an example. Basically, it describes best what I mean regarding a multi-class system.

 

After seeing MMOs come and go over time, I have noticed something. People see a new MMO that looks interesting, and end up purchasing it. While leveling, they enjoy themselves quite a bit, and then get to endgame and find themselves bored to tears. Eventually, they either stick it out, roll an alt, or quit.

There is only one game that I know of that attempted the multi-class system, and it was Final Fantasy XI. Yes, I know not everyone liked it because it was a grind, but that isn't what I'm talking about. For those who stuck through the grind, most of them got hooked and it became their major MMO of choice for a long, long time. You would pick a class (called "Jobs" in FFXI), level it up, eventually start grouping, and find yourself in need to level a "subjob".

You would have to go back to square one with this new job, and level once again. The good thing about this game is that there were many different paths to take. Of course, with any MMO, people eventually create a "set" path and everyone follows it, kind of like cookie-cutter talent specs. However, that doesn't mean the option wasn't there. Now take a look at WoW. A very successful game where you were limited to one class per character. There were multiple paths to take to endgame, which allowed people to reroll an alt and potentially not experience the same thing.

Now you take a look at games like RIFT (please don't turn this isn't a RIFT-bashing thread, that isn't what is intended). You generally have one path to take, but you can change your class within an "archetype". No, you don't have to go back to level one to level your new class, but there is some switching here and there. A lot of people LOVED the idea of the multiple classes. Inevitably, you get to endgame and it is basically WoW all over.

In Final Fantasy XI, you got to endgame, and on top of the MASS amount of content available to you at low levels, even more opens up. On top of that, there was an alternate advancement system, which allowed you to continuously "level" once you were at max, or you could simply go back to a level 1 job, and explore all new zones with a new challenge. Basically, FFXI had the perfect recipe for an addicting MMO.

What I am getting at, is that it would seem that people lately flock to new MMOs, get bored, and move on. I don't think there has been a truly mass-addicting MMO since FFXI or WoW (WoW because it was new at the time, built up a strong playerbase, hired more staff, pumped out a ton of content, hooked "casuals", and snowballed from there). People are sick of the WoW model, and want something new. I think it is going to take a brand new MMO releasing with an unimaginable amount of content and a multi-class system where you can change classes on your single character, and have to retrain it (although potentially through a different path). People will get hooked to their character, and not want to leave.

Everyone has different tastes, so of course this wont fly for everyone, but I do think that if MMO developers focused on a class system like this once again, we would finally be able to see new MMOs that can actually hook people for a long time.

 

What do you think it will take in an MMO to be able to successfully hook people in today's market?

 

Sorry for the long-winded post, I have provided a fancy poll and a TLDR at the bottom for those of you who with ADD or simply aren't in the mood to read it... no hard feelings.

 

 

TLDR: MMOs need a multi-class system similar to FFXI's to keep people hooked nowadays, because people are jumping from MMO to MMO unable to find what they really want, and the standard "class" model is boring and overused. Rift came close, but it seems people are getting bored at endgame already, which might say they didn't deviate from the WoW model enough.

 

 

EDIT - Regarding the poll, when I say non-grind MMO I mean something not like FFXI's park your butt in a spot for hours and kill the same mobs over and over and over and over and

-Computer specs no one cares about: check.

-MMOs played no one cares about: check.

-Xfire stats no one cares about: check.

-Signature no one cares about: check.

------------------------------------------------------------
-Narcissism: check.

Comments

  • DeathofsageDeathofsage Winston, PAPosts: 998Member

    Originally posted by GPrestige

    I totally came to this thread to see if it mentioned FFXI.

    After seeing MMOs come and go over time, I have noticed something. People see a new MMO that looks interesting, and end up purchasing it. While leveling, they enjoy themselves quite a bit, and then get to endgame and find themselves bored to tears. Eventually, they either stick it out, roll an alt, or quit.

    There is only one game that I know of that attempted the multi-class system, and it was Final Fantasy XI. Yes, I know not everyone liked it because it was a grind, but that isn't what I'm talking about. For those who stuck through the grind, most of them got hooked and it became their major MMO of choice for a long, long time. You would pick a class (called "Jobs" in FFXI), level it up, eventually start grouping, and find yourself in need to level a "subjob".

    I think it depended on the community you encountered. If you were forced to compete with others for subjob items and solo the advanced job quests, the game could get frustrating. Someone who joined after the first influx of players kind of needed PL help, like any game. If your first job was a melee, you'd also spend a fortune on the items to safely solo the advanced job quests. Many of them had mobs that would one-shot a level 30.

    I was lucky in that by level 30 on my first job, I had encountered an amazing 75 paladin who was willing to help. I had okotes by 37 because he camped with me for two solid days so we could both get a pair. Other players, many many of them, weren't so lucky.

    You would have to go back to square one with this new job, and level once again. The good thing about this game is that there were many different paths to take. Of course, with any MMO, people eventually create a "set" path and everyone follows it, kind of like cookie-cutter talent specs. However, that doesn't mean the option wasn't there. Now take a look at WoW. A very successful game where you were limited to one class per character. There were multiple paths to take to endgame, which allowed people to reroll an alt and potentially not experience the same thing.

    You know, FFXI didn't really suffer from the cookie-cutter bit as badly as Warcraft did. The key reason here is that all your "jobs" shared merits for a total amount of merits. So it was quite often that you'd have a tank that would normally be a healer, so even though she was geared and skilled, she wasn't fully spec'd ideally and it was ok.

    Now you take a look at games like RIFT (please don't turn this isn't a RIFT-bashing thread, that isn't what is intended). You generally have one path to take, but you can change your class within an "archetype". No, you don't have to go back to level one to level your new class, but there is some switching here and there. A lot of people LOVED the idea of the multiple classes. Inevitably, you get to endgame and it is basically WoW all over.

    Of course, starting at 1 in FFXI forced a person to either solo (which started to suck at around 15, or forced them to learn their role--with a few exceptions, like warriors could tank til 37. Good warriors could tank til 60. You knew that the 75 paladin, if he didn't buy his toon, knew how to tank.

    In Final Fantasy XI, you got to endgame, and on top of the MASS amount of content available to you at low levels, even more opens up. On top of that, there was an alternate advancement system, which allowed you to continuously "level" once you were at max, or you could simply go back to a level 1 job, and explore all new zones with a new challenge. Basically, FFXI had the perfect recipe for an addicting MMO.

    I wouldn't praise FFXI for content though. XI only had so much content because the gear never really got so much better. People camped Nidhogg 5 years later because his drops were still good drops, if not always the best. Content and gear that lasts is one thing, doing the same thing after 5 years is another.

    What I am getting at, is that it would seem that people lately flock to new MMOs, get bored, and move on. I don't think there has been a truly mass-addicting MMO since FFXI or WoW (WoW because it was new at the time, built up a strong playerbase, hired more staff, pumped out a ton of content, hooked "casuals", and snowballed from there). People are sick of the WoW model, and want something new. I think it is going to take a brand new MMO releasing with an unimaginable amount of content and a multi-class system where you can change classes on your single character, and have to retrain it (although potentially through a different path). People will get hooked to their character, and not want to leave.

    Everyone has different tastes, so of course this wont fly for everyone, but I do think that if MMO developers focused on a class system like this once again, we would finally be able to see new MMOs that can actually hook people for a long time.

    What do you think it will take in an MMO to be able to successfully hook people in today's market?

    I think a lot of us would have played XIV happily if it took the best, even the grind, that XI had--the grind, level sync so late-joiners could still play with friends--but added better instancing (and dear god, better instancing technology). The devs would also need to interact with the community more.

    My text is bright yellow.

    edit: I wish your poll offered a choice for with grind. The party system worked great as long as you could find a party. Level sync fixed any issues it had.

    Spec'ing properly is a gateway drug.
    12 Million People have been meter spammed in heroics.
    Placing bets Blizzard's "Titan" will be a wow-clone.

  • EvasiaEvasia rotterdamPosts: 2,827Member

    If there is one mmo ive played and quit after 3 months becouse it was so boring and no pvp then it was FFXI terible boring game from beginning not to mention the awefull grind and insanely slow combat and silly console UI click click click lol. Terible game.

    Thats why it never realy was a succes outside japan.

    Games played:AC1-Darktide'99-2000-AC2-Darktide/dawnsong2003-2005,Lineage2-2005-2006 and now Darkfall-2009.....
    In between WoW few months AoC few months and some f2p also all very short few weeks.

  • skeaserskeaser Wichita Falls, TXPosts: 3,847Member Uncommon

    Only if it actually was functional in all combos of classes, not like most games where there are 100s of possibilities but only a dozen or so fuctional builds.

  • GPrestigeGPrestige Guelph, ONPosts: 521Member

    Originally posted by Deathofsage

     

    My text is bright yellow.

    edit: I wish your poll offered a choice for with grind. The party system worked great as long as you could find a party. Level sync fixed any issues it had.

    Thanks for the reply. I understand FFXI's positives and negatives, but honestly what I was hoping for was a discussion about this apart from FFXI. FFXI was simply an example, but I'm more focused on the class system itself. I have been wondering how it would work in a quest-based MMO if you had to go back to 1. They would have to have a hell of a lot of zones with different quests for it to not get stale.

    -Computer specs no one cares about: check.

    -MMOs played no one cares about: check.

    -Xfire stats no one cares about: check.

    -Signature no one cares about: check.

    ------------------------------------------------------------
    -Narcissism: check.

  • DeathofsageDeathofsage Winston, PAPosts: 998Member

    Originally posted by GPrestige

    Originally posted by Deathofsage


     

    My text is bright yellow.

    edit: I wish your poll offered a choice for with grind. The party system worked great as long as you could find a party. Level sync fixed any issues it had.

    Thanks for the reply. I understand FFXI's positives and negatives, but honestly what I was hoping for was a discussion about this apart from FFXI. FFXI was simply an example, but I'm more focused on the class system itself. I have been wondering how it would work in a quest-based MMO if you had to go back to 1. They would have to have a hell of a lot of zones with different quests for it to not get stale.

    Alright, I can see that.

    Really you'd need a levelling path for each job then, maybe magic classes could start together and fork apart by level 10->37. Lots and lots of lore would have to be written but I still think I prefer a party grind system. Players are forced to learn their role. In quest games, you get to cap and if you want to raid, you have to kind of learn instantly if you made the mistake of questing, or rifting instead of grabbing whatever instances you could.

    Spec'ing properly is a gateway drug.
    12 Million People have been meter spammed in heroics.
    Placing bets Blizzard's "Titan" will be a wow-clone.

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,638Member Uncommon

    What is the difference between 'multi-classing' and sub-classing? I'm asking because I don't know, not because I'm saying there isn't one.

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • WolfenprideWolfenpride San''doria, WIPosts: 3,988Member

    I did like XI's multi-class system, and it obviously worked for the game, but if implemented in pretty much any game that has come out since then, it wouldn't work due to the massive shift towards cheap quest-grinding. Switching over to a new class at level 1, having already completed the quests the game has to offer will leave you with nothing new to do.

    I think the game would have to orient itself mostly towards a mob grinding way of advancement, or maybe an open world game like EQ/XI for it to work nicely without players getting fussy. Needless to say, we haven't seen these kind of games in quite awhile.

     

    On a side note, along with XI's class system, I also really enjoyed Istaria's system.

  • GPrestigeGPrestige Guelph, ONPosts: 521Member

    Originally posted by Loktofeit

    What is the difference between 'multi-classing' and sub-classing? I'm asking because I don't know, not because I'm saying there isn't one.

    Multi-class and subclass, at least in FFXI, go hand-in-hand. While you can change classes at any time thanks to the multi-class system, you can also pair different classes and be both at once. For example, again using FFXI you would be say a level 60 Warrior, and your sub class would be half the level of that, so you would be able to use the abilities of the sub class up to 30, allowing for a lot of choice in pairings and potential abilities.

    -Computer specs no one cares about: check.

    -MMOs played no one cares about: check.

    -Xfire stats no one cares about: check.

    -Signature no one cares about: check.

    ------------------------------------------------------------
    -Narcissism: check.

  • DeathofsageDeathofsage Winston, PAPosts: 998Member

    Originally posted by Loktofeit

    What is the difference between 'multi-classing' and sub-classing? I'm asking because I don't know, not because I'm saying there isn't one.

    The OP replied as well but here's an example.

    Warrior was the only class in the game with a taunt for the longest time so it was standard that Paladins and Ninjas subbed Warrior for "Provoke". You nearly had to do this for exp parties. End game, Ninja's subbed Dark Knight because while threat took a bit of time to build, people could hold back a few seconds. Paladins subbed Ninja so they could effectively eva tank like a ninja. Paladins subbed red mage as well for fast cast (quicker casting, quicker cd) of spells, some defensive spells, and great +resistance.

    MP was a commodity in FFXI so healers loved to sub summoner (before sch) because they had a lot of mp and had the trait auto-refresh. /smn didn't really gain any spells that were of a great benefit, but that +1 mp every 3 seconds had a lot of value, especially when stacked with mp-refresh spells like from bards and redmages.

    Later in the game, when they added Scholar, good players subbed it for great MP effeciency talents, like a talent that would dot yourself for a period of time, and then you could fire it later and it would give you 20%~ of your health back as mp, and then reset the dot. The dot was nice because you couldn't be slept (cc'd) while taking any damage.

    Again back to Ninja, late in the game they added Dancer which while constantly mocked for it's combat animations (not very masculine =P) was a melee healer, using a resource that all melee used, "TP", to heal itself and others. Ninjas could sub Dancer for great soloing heals, and because good ninjas took little damage, they could effectively heal, even if they were offensively weaker.

    Melee classes subbed Ninja for dual-wield, samurai for faster TP gain, warrior for Berserk (AP self buff), Warcry (Short party AP buff).

    To be good at your class, you really needed to level all of your subs.

    (I'm not an FF fanboy, but I def am an FFXI fanboy)

    Spec'ing properly is a gateway drug.
    12 Million People have been meter spammed in heroics.
    Placing bets Blizzard's "Titan" will be a wow-clone.

  • VigilianceVigiliance Sacramento, CAPosts: 213Member

    Originally posted by skeaser

    Only if it actually was functional in all combos of classes, not like most games where there are 100s of possibilities but only a dozen or so fuctional builds.

    This, I hated going into an MMO and having all these meaningless choices because inevitably only a few of the choices were worth the investment and the others were just to dick around and didn't really give you all the character customization you thought there would be. You just have 85% of the population running the same "Specs".

  • DeathofsageDeathofsage Winston, PAPosts: 998Member

    Originally posted by Vigiliance

    Originally posted by skeaser

    Only if it actually was functional in all combos of classes, not like most games where there are 100s of possibilities but only a dozen or so fuctional builds.

    This, I hated going into an MMO and having all these meaningless choices because inevitably only a few of the choices were worth the investment and the others were just to dick around and didn't really give you all the character customization you thought there would be. You just have 85% of the population running the same "Specs".

    A lot of classes don't need to be effective as a combo and that's ok.. They were pretty obvious, the ones that wouldn't work and why.. a war/blm would have shit mp, low str (gaining little from /blm) and really no effective spells to cast. You never saw anyone doing war/blm other than to hearth, FFXI didn't have a natural hearthstone item, though you could buy items, or level /blm to 17 for warp.

    BTW, drk which was a warrior/black mage combo also didn't sub /blm because he still favored, by far (a drk never nuked), melee stats.

    The key thing is that the company needs to be honest, and not promise 100s of combos when 100s aren't truly practical.

    Spec'ing properly is a gateway drug.
    12 Million People have been meter spammed in heroics.
    Placing bets Blizzard's "Titan" will be a wow-clone.

  • xcarnifexxcarnifex Dayton, OHPosts: 36Member

    I played on some MUDs that had muliclassing in the game....  I implemented it on a MUD I developed for.  I don't recall every single detail of it, but it had some options and some obvious strengths and weaknesses.

     

    First, the options..   It basically boiled down to two ways of multiclassing.  You could multiclass from the beginning, which meant you needed about 3 times the experience other people needed to level a single class.  In a way it was harder because you had a lot more spells and skills that were pretty weak and you got crap XP per kill, so you had to fight harder things to advance quicker but you had skills that were too weak.

     

    And then you could multiclass by levelling one up to any level above some minimum and flip over to the new class.  I think the minimum level was like 20-30 out of 50.  So you could go all the way to 50, keep your level 50 equipment and start over.  You generally had a much easier time of it, although some items would be anti-class...so they would eq-equip when you picked the second class.  All your armor had to be acceptable to both classes you were in that it didn't specifically say a Priest couldn't wear....... items that were "evil".  I don't recall the details, but it was something that I added because some things just didn't make sense to allow.  But when you multiclassed you were stuck at the maximum skills for your first class determined by when you decided to multi, some people found this useful because they could pick up the skills they wanted...say sneak/hide/backstab/kick/trip on a rogue then multiclass into a cleric.  Since skills were unlocked at certain levels, but improved with each level..you didn't have to train higher level versions of the skills, they just were better because you were higher level.  Although they would be disabled until you reached the "unlock" level again on your multiclass.

     

     

    The strengths of having multiclass in a game where balance is now focused on all the time......it means you can have classes that are weak but useful and you don't feel the need to expand them into something that doesn't fit their role.  It means if you want to have a cleric where he sucks at melee combat and has very few damaging spells, but had a lot of awesome heals and abilities that kept things from attacking him (aura of peace, you cast it and things that were normally aggressive would not be able to attack you due to it).  And people hade to find combos that worked for them personally.  What was awesome about this was, some of the classes had really useful abilities NO ONE knew about because the classes were pretty horrible to play as a single class until certain levels.   So once multiclassing was added, no one played them...and on the MUDs I didn't develop on..I made all the weird combos.  I found some awesome combinations that quickly became popular when I started PVPing people who were "unbeatable" and winning.

     

     

    The weaknesses were that people would get their cookie cutter builds....we didn't have talent trees and stuff that like to vary the classes up on a more individual basis.  If you make multiclassings limit unlimited or close enough to it, people have every skill that matters.  If you have 8 classes and you allow people to multiclass up to 3-5 times....it's hard to keep them on their toes when they have nearly every skill available.  It's also possible to "gimp" your character if you don't think through the armor choices and decisions.  If the game decides your armor choices based on the class you are currently levelling, if you pick a caster first and a melee second......you have armor that gives virtually no mana boosts or other useful things.  So you end up with a multiclass that can barely cast spells due to lack of overall mana.  And vice versa, you end up with a multiclass that has virtually no health or tanking ability if you end up as a mage type class with armor choices. 

     

    Overall I think if you had 15-20 different class choices with well thought out talent trees..  Made people pick 2 classes and they are stuck with them.....I think you could eliminate a lot of the need to balance every last detail of the game.  Which in turn would allow you to keep some uniqueness to the classes....after all in most MMOs anymore playing a caster is the same hum drum, healer is the same, tank is varied a little, ranged classes are pretty much the same, and thieves are varied a bit.  World of Warcraft does an OK job at keeping the classes unique, but they bend constantly to the player bases demands....and slowly the classes would morph into other roles or be a little too good...or much too bad at something you'd think they would excel at.  Personally I enjoy the options the multiclassing gives you, but Rift isn't really a true multiclassing game....it's more like a heavily branched talent tree with a couple of odd branches in each class since you can basically use the same armor no matter what souls you have at least that was my experience with it. 

     

    I find that the more unique your class is, the better the replay value.  And the more "rock, paper, scissors" your game is, the more fun it is to have multiclassing because then it's a throw up of who holds the upperhand when each person holds two components of the three.   Most current MMOs are more "rock, paper, scissors, spock, dynamite, lizard, machine gun, knife, flamethrower, stick, etc."  where the classes are fairly homogenized and it's more dependent on armor than anything else because they have a counter to damn near everything on most classes.

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