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Class based Story Progression As Entire Game

EdeusEdeus Stamford, CTPosts: 506Member

Has an MMO ever had class based progression?  That is to say: has an MMO ever taken what talents and skills you use in your class and applied it to the storyline you are following in the game?

We've all played race specific progression for the first 1-10 levels of most fantasy games, but what about class?!

For example, the mage archetype will start off very generic, with a generic story, and slowly move into this or that play-style and talent tree, which also has it's own story.  (ie fire and earth mages having their own story arch, compared with mages who choose to be healers and support).  Or the mage could travel the world fighting avatars to learn new summons.  The warrior archetype would have the same thing, with eastern sword forms taking the warrior to the far east, and axe forms taking him to the woods with the savages, etc. etc. 

The characters, constantly traversing the world on their own stories, criss crossing the continent, will be a great chance for grouping and levelling (this implies few instances). 

Each MMO has a few class-specific quests.  FFXI even had whole story arcs for each class at level 50-60.  But what about a class based story as the entire game!? 

What do you all think of this?

EDIT to differentiate: SWTOR had class based story, but it was too generic, all the talent trees of an operative had the same story, and even shared them with the sniper.  I'm talking about each talent tree having a story! Each talent point it's own quest! Each talent block its own quest to unlock!

 

Further developments:

To answer Badspock and Maplestone and others: A system would have to be developed where there is a maximum number of active skill/talent points active at a time, but you can combine and crisscross into any tree as long as you've unlocked those skills/talents.

For example: 100 points max at any one time, each "tree" has only only 50-60 points you could spend before you get the mega-ability. The questline would then have a few more climactic quests and story-arcs for you to use the mega-ability (would also require groups to down the boss) and reward you with something...Then you could (and should) start questing for another tree to max out.

In order for this to work, each character would need to be able to play and unlock every talent tree in the game. This way, you can truly mix and match things. Allowing for assassins with huge + damage from the warrior tree, allowing every mage class to use healing spells, etc. etc. The community (as always) will sort out the most optimal builds. Character X could be a skillevel 60 fire mage, skillevel 24 support, skillevel 45 sword warrior. "Builds" can be saved a large amount of times to promote experimenting and diversity and people playing as more than one class.

The nature of the end-tree talent quests would promote group play through difficulty as well as necessity. (ie. we should all help the holy cleric get his final ability!) Content itself getting hard quickly would also promote group play.

 

Also, overworld story arcs would also be in game. So if each talent tree had 60+5 quests, and there are 25 talent trees + a couple hundred overworld story arc quests... should be a good amount of stuff to do (keeping kill x number of things/gather y number of things to a minimum, or atleeast disguise them well enough... ) 

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Comments

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member

    Star Wars: The Old Republic did this.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • waynejr2waynejr2 West Toluca Lake, CAPosts: 4,479Member Uncommon

    OP amazing.  You took the idea that some games have of class based quests/story and did something special.  Rather than just part of your leveling experience you changed it up to all of the leveling experience.  It's almost like you invented pi.  You should be running blizzard.

  • EdeusEdeus Stamford, CTPosts: 506Member
    Originally posted by lizardbones

    Star Wars: The Old Republic did this.

    No, it merely had a scripted story based on your class, and there were essentially only 8 plots in the whole game. 

    A concealment operative, a medicine operative, and lethality operative all had the same story + shared it with the snipers.  I'm talking about each talent tree having a story!  Each talent point it's own quest!  Each talent block its own quest to unlock! 

     

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    Taru-Gallante-Blood elf-Elysean-Kelari-Crime Fighting-Imperial Agent

  • Mister_ReMister_Re Detroit, MIPosts: 142Member
    I wouldn't make it the story of the game, but I would have it more like a path. ie Skyrim where you have the different guild storylines (theives companions magic school dark brotherhood and vamps) this way you can still have a grand scheme for people to "follow" and encourage exploration for whatever path one choses.
  • NadiaNadia Canonsburg, PAPosts: 11,866Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Edeus  I'm talking about each talent tree having a story!  Each talent point it's own quest!  Each talent block its own quest to unlock! 

    WOW Druids did this at a minor level - as druid got new abilities (cure poison) and new animal forms

    but it was later changed to just give the abilities to the player

     

    Guild Wars 1 (yes i know, not a mmo) also did alot of this in Prophecies, with class questing to unlock skills

  • ReallyNow10ReallyNow10 Pile It High Town, LAPosts: 2,010Member Common

    OP, why must you follow a "story"?  Why cannot your character just be a free-will inhabitant of a game world?

  • EdeusEdeus Stamford, CTPosts: 506Member
    Originally posted by ReallyNow10

    OP, why must you follow a "story"?  Why cannot your character just be a free-will inhabitant of a game world?

    Don't you make your own "story" in open game worlds?  Wouldn't building your class from nothing, unlocking each skill and talent yourself, be a free-will game? 

    What I'm describing isn't necessarily a theme park, or even a themepark/open world discussion :P 

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  • EdeusEdeus Stamford, CTPosts: 506Member
    Originally posted by Nadia
    Originally posted by Edeus  I'm talking about each talent tree having a story!  Each talent point it's own quest!  Each talent block its own quest to unlock! 

    WOW Druids did this at a minor level - as druid got new abilities (cure poison) and new animal forms

    but it was later changed to just give the abilities to the player

     

    Guild Wars 1 (yes i know, not a mmo) also did alot of this in Prophecies, with class questing to unlock skills

    Yeah, that was great 4-5 years ago!  but we've seen nothing to evolve it since then, except for the hollow SWTOR...

    image

    Taru-Gallante-Blood elf-Elysean-Kelari-Crime Fighting-Imperial Agent

  • ReallyNow10ReallyNow10 Pile It High Town, LAPosts: 2,010Member Common
    Originally posted by Edeus
    Originally posted by ReallyNow10

    OP, why must you follow a "story"?  Why cannot your character just be a free-will inhabitant of a game world?

    Don't you make your own "story" in open game worlds?  Wouldn't building your class from nothing, unlocking each skill and talent yourself, be a free-will game? 

    What I'm describing isn't necessarily a theme park, or even a themepark/open world discussion :P 

    Pre-written storyline events, even unlockable by attaining class skills, have always felt canned and forced to me.  For example, if unlocking some high level paladin skill propels you into a cutscene where you get a quest, that just feels fake to me.  I'd rather the interactive drama be non-instanced, visible to all, and real.

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member
    Originally posted by Edeus
    Originally posted by lizardbones

    Star Wars: The Old Republic did this.

    No, it merely had a scripted story based on your class, and there were essentially only 8 plots in the whole game. 

    A concealment operative, a medicine operative, and lethality operative all had the same story + shared it with the snipers.  I'm talking about each talent tree having a story!  Each talent point it's own quest!  Each talent block its own quest to unlock! 

     

    WOW did a little of this for the shaman class. You have to go quest for your totems.

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member
    Originally posted by ReallyNow10

    OP, why must you follow a "story"?  Why cannot your character just be a free-will inhabitant of a game world?

    To add some spice to the gameplay?

    Stories in RPGs are not exactly new, you know.

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member
    Originally posted by Edeus

    For example, the mage archetype will start off very generic, with a generic story, and slowly move into this or that play-style and talent tree, which also has it's own story. 

    I wanted to focus on this sentence because it's where the idea runs into trouble.  Every time you make a faction/race/class/specialization-specific split in the story arc, you are spreading developer time more thinly.   If you have 4 mage specializations, that means each of them gets only 1/4 of the developer time alotted to the stories of mages - which in turn is only a fraction of the time alotted to all the class-specific stories.  Yes, it adds distinctiveness, but your stories very quickly become butter spread across too much bread.

    Now, if you had some way of automating story creation - so that developers weren't hand-crafting each quest but rather focused their effort on creating a story algorithm that would spit out quests on demand that were *influenced* by your faction/race/class/specialization, then I think you would have something.

  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member

    Tying each point of advancement in a talent tree of some sort to a unique, individual quest to that specific point that was thematically correct would be a cool idea.

    I mean, typical themepark MMO has 1000 quests, between all your character classes, 1000 points in a talent tree set up... would sure give a good amount of replayability.

    It'd be complex and probably have to use a lot of phasing/instancing, but it'd be cool for replayability and really connecting your character to the world and YOUR characters story.

    As long as it's not "I killed 10 rats using fire spells, turned in the quest, and got a talent point for +1 fire spell damage."

     

  • DisdenaDisdena Troy, NYPosts: 1,093Member
    Originally posted by maplestone
    Originally posted by Edeus

    For example, the mage archetype will start off very generic, with a generic story, and slowly move into this or that play-style and talent tree, which also has it's own story. 

    I wanted to focus on this sentence because it's where the idea runs into trouble.  Every time you make a faction/race/class/specialization-specific split in the story arc, you are spreading developer time more thinly.   If you have 4 mage specializations, that means each of them gets only 1/4 of the developer time alotted to the stories of mages - which in turn is only a fraction of the time alotted to all the class-specific stories.  Yes, it adds distinctiveness, but your stories very quickly become butter spread across too much bread.

    One solution would be to go way back to the MUD days and allow people to reincarnate as a new class after reaching max level. In this way, you only need as much content overall (across all classes and specializations) as you would for a regular MMO, because each player has the potential to eventually play through all of that content.

    image
  • ReallyNow10ReallyNow10 Pile It High Town, LAPosts: 2,010Member Common
    Originally posted by nariusseldon
    Originally posted by ReallyNow10

    OP, why must you follow a "story"?  Why cannot your character just be a free-will inhabitant of a game world?

    To add some spice to the gameplay?

    Stories in RPGs are not exactly new, you know.

    To some players, players like myself, forced storylines feel limiting and canned.  There is much more spice in gameplay when player actions have some direct or indirect impact upon other players.  Not talking PVP, but say someone aggroed a monster to the newbie zone (hopefully not intentionally) or a player built trade town emerges in the middle of some vast plains zone, or just interactions (good and bad) that lead to cooperation or rivalry.  The RP in these games is us.  The Massively in these games is us.

  • EdeusEdeus Stamford, CTPosts: 506Member
    Originally posted by BadSpock

    Tying each point of advancement in a talent tree of some sort to a unique, individual quest to that specific point that was thematically correct would be a cool idea.

    I mean, typical themepark MMO has 1000 quests, between all your character classes, 1000 points in a talent tree set up... would sure give a good amount of replayability.

    It'd be complex and probably have to use a lot of phasing/instancing, but it'd be cool for replayability and really connecting your character to the world and YOUR characters story.

    As long as it's not "I killed 10 rats using fire spells, turned in the quest, and got a talent point for +1 fire spell damage."

     

    Yes! someone who gets it!

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    Taru-Gallante-Blood elf-Elysean-Kelari-Crime Fighting-Imperial Agent

  • EdeusEdeus Stamford, CTPosts: 506Member
    Originally posted by maplestone
    Originally posted by Edeus

    For example, the mage archetype will start off very generic, with a generic story, and slowly move into this or that play-style and talent tree, which also has it's own story. 

    I wanted to focus on this sentence because it's where the idea runs into trouble.  Every time you make a faction/race/class/specialization-specific split in the story arc, you are spreading developer time more thinly.   If you have 4 mage specializations, that means each of them gets only 1/4 of the developer time alotted to the stories of mages - which in turn is only a fraction of the time alotted to all the class-specific stories.  Yes, it adds distinctiveness, but your stories very quickly become butter spread across too much bread.

    Now, if you had some way of automating story creation - so that developers weren't hand-crafting each quest but rather focused their effort on creating a story algorithm that would spit out quests on demand that were *influenced* by your faction/race/class/specialization, then I think you would have something.

    I'm not so sure about the technicalities of it.  It would be insteresting if it ever happened, regardless of how the development team managed to pull it off.

    image

    Taru-Gallante-Blood elf-Elysean-Kelari-Crime Fighting-Imperial Agent

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member
    Originally posted by Disdena

    One solution would be to go way back to the MUD days and allow people to reincarnate as a new class after reaching max level. In this way, you only need as much content overall (across all classes and specializations) as you would for a regular MMO, because each player has the potential to eventually play through all of that content.

    This is certainly possible - it's essentially equivilent to replacing vertical progression (like levels) with horizontal progression (like reputations) where progress through one story arc is not directly giving you an advantage progressing through another parallel story arc.

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by Edeus
    Originally posted by lizardbones Star Wars: The Old Republic did this.
    No, it merely had a scripted story based on your class, and there were essentially only 8 plots in the whole game. 

    A concealment operative, a medicine operative, and lethality operative all had the same story + shared it with the snipers.  I'm talking about each talent tree having a story!  Each talent point it's own quest!  Each talent block its own quest to unlock! 

     




    If you completely ditched the use of experience, it could certainly work. You have to avoid the extremes of players who end up getting to the next plateau in the game without enough experience, or with too much experience. Which shouldn't be an issue since that sounds like that's the point.

    How do you handle the player's choices in what they are doing? Would the players be choosing their next points via some sort of path, or would each talent tree only have a single path?

    Later in the game, how do you deal with players who realize they hate the talents they've chosen?

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member
    Originally posted by Edeus

    I'm not so sure about the technicalities of it.  It would be insteresting if it ever happened, regardless of how the development team managed to pull it off.

    Technically it's not that different from the quest text just putting in $character_name or $race variables ("Welcome Maplestone, it''s nice to see a human out here.").  You just keep expanding it beyond the quest text to the actual objectives. 

    For example, a quest where an earth mage needs to hunt in the mountains to capture an earth elementals would be replaced with a quest where a fire mage needs to hunt on the lavaflow to capture a fire elementals

    The next iteration might add randomness.  Instead of a fire elemental, it might be any fire-based creature of the appropriate level that spawns in the same region as the quest-giver.  Instead of "because they're evil", pick from a variety of different motivations, deconstructing the typical MMO plotline into a formula that can generate random story arcs out of a map, creature list, item list and motives/relationships.

  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member
    Originally posted by Edeus
    Originally posted by BadSpock

    Tying each point of advancement in a talent tree of some sort to a unique, individual quest to that specific point that was thematically correct would be a cool idea.

    I mean, typical themepark MMO has 1000 quests, between all your character classes, 1000 points in a talent tree set up... would sure give a good amount of replayability.

    It'd be complex and probably have to use a lot of phasing/instancing, but it'd be cool for replayability and really connecting your character to the world and YOUR characters story.

    As long as it's not "I killed 10 rats using fire spells, turned in the quest, and got a talent point for +1 fire spell damage."

    Yes! someone who gets it!

    Like a 6 talent point spell, 5 "passives" + 1 active ability.... 6 part quest chain.

    Final boss battle/instance etc. for the final quest.

    It'd be cool if it was an open system where you say had 3 trees with... 45 points each, 31 points to reach the "epic" ability, and you could go back through and do all the quests for the 135 points to be able to mix/max and create whatever build you wanted.

    The only real issue I see is cross-class talents/quests... how do you make them unique and engaging enough for 1 class and you'd have to share some content with other classes and to be able to group with people from different classes you'd have to have the same objectives but for different reasons/different back story etc.

    Have some issues to work out, but IMO much more interesting than your typical quest hub "this is the story of the zone, this is the story of the quest hub, this is the story of the expansion/big baddy" crap we are used to.

    But at the same time, your typical AAA themepark says they have 1000s of quests, 135 per class with 8 classes is only 1080 quests total...

    With maybe... 30-40% shared for instanced group content or PvP or just shared content for more spontaneous open world grouping... probably get away with 650-750 GOOD quests.

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member
    Originally posted by ReallyNow10
    Originally posted by nariusseldon
    Originally posted by ReallyNow10

    OP, why must you follow a "story"?  Why cannot your character just be a free-will inhabitant of a game world?

    To add some spice to the gameplay?

    Stories in RPGs are not exactly new, you know.

    To some players, players like myself, forced storylines feel limiting and canned.  There is much more spice in gameplay when player actions have some direct or indirect impact upon other players.  Not talking PVP, but say someone aggroed a monster to the newbie zone (hopefully not intentionally) or a player built trade town emerges in the middle of some vast plains zone, or just interactions (good and bad) that lead to cooperation or rivalry.  The RP in these games is us.  The Massively in these games is us.

    "someone aggroed a monster to the newbie zone" .. something deemed as a problem (in EQ) and fixed (in WOW and almost every other MMO).

    "player built trade town emerges in the middle of some vast plains zone" ... don't see this happening. Why would you need a trade town when everyone is using a AH?

    "The RP in these games is us" ... most players don't RP.

    " The Massively in these games is us." ... most interaction is not massive. 5-man dungeon, or even 25 man raid is not massive. You don't need 1000 players to have a 25 man raid .. you need .. 25.

    And while YOU don't like canned storyline, obviously some other players like. There is no reason not for them to exist.

     

     

  • ConnoisseurConnoisseur Null, CAPosts: 273Member

    GW2 and SWTOR both do this.

  • General-ZodGeneral-Zod Zod, CAPosts: 743Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by BadSpock

    Tying each point of advancement in a talent tree of some sort to a unique, individual quest to that specific point that was thematically correct would be a cool idea.I mean, typical themepark MMO has 1000 quests, between all your character classes, 1000 points in a talent tree set up... would sure give a good amount of replayability.It'd be complex and probably have to use a lot of phasing/instancing, but it'd be cool for replayability and really connecting your character to the world and YOUR characters story.As long as it's not "I killed 10 rats using fire spells, turned in the quest, and got a talent point for +1 fire spell damage." 

    I agree... that would be cool

    My question, why would devs waste their time making this an MMO? It would work out better as a single player game with muiltiplayer options

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  • EdeusEdeus Stamford, CTPosts: 506Member

    To answer Badspock and Maplestone and others: A system would have to be developed where there is a maximum number of active skill/talent points active at a time, but you can combine and crisscross into any tree as long as you've unlocked those skills/talents.

    For example: 100 points max at any one time, each "tree" has only only 50-60 points you could spend before you get the mega-ability.  The questline would then have a few more climactic quests and story-arcs for you to use the mega-ability (would also require groups to down the boss) and reward you with something...Then you could (and should) start questing for another tree to max out. 

    In order for this to work, each character would need to be able to play and unlock every talent tree in the game.  This way, you can truly mix and match things.  Allowing for assassins with huge + damage from the warrior tree, allowing every mage class to use healing spells, etc. etc.  The community (as always) will sort out the most optimal builds.  Character X could be a skillevel 60 fire mage, skillevel 24 support, skillevel 45 sword warrior.  "Builds" can be saved a large amount of times to promote experimenting and diversity and people playing as more than one class.

    The nature of the end-tree talent quests would promote group play through difficulty as well as necessity.  (ie. we should all help the holy cleric get his final ability!)  Content inteself getting hard quickly would also promote group play. 

     

    Also, overworld story arcs would also be in game.  So if each talent tree had 60+5 quests, and there are 25 talent trees + a couple hundred overworld story arc quests... should be a good amount of stuff to do (keeping kill x number of things/gather y number of things to a minimum, or atleeast disguise them well enough... )

    image

    Taru-Gallante-Blood elf-Elysean-Kelari-Crime Fighting-Imperial Agent

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