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Design the perfect class system

GPrestigeGPrestige Guelph, ONPosts: 521Member

I have played a majority of the MMOs released within the last 10 years. When it comes down to it, if you don't enjoy the class system in an MMO, you probably won't enjoy the game at all - therefore it is a pretty important part of MMO gaming.

 

For me, the class system found in games like FFXI and RIFT tend to be the most appealing to me. For some reason, however, they are not very common. The reason I like FFXI's class system the most, is because you only need one character ever. You make a name for yourself over time, because you (and others) are not switching between alts. While I enjoyed the classes offered in MMOs like WoW, the system itself was somewhat of a let down. Yet, this tends to be the most common form of class system.

For me, having every class available on one character is by far the best option. I, like many others, suffer from "altitis", and have an incredibly hard time sticking with one character.

If I were to make my own class system though, I would expand upon FFXI's with elements from RIFT's. Take what your character has mastered in their main class, and allow elements of that class to be present in every other class played (with a limit, of course). It would have to be done well, so every class didn't end up blending into one obscure all-powerful class.

 

Hopefully others have some ideas, as I'd like to see what you can come up with.

-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.

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-Narcissism: check.

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Comments

  • Ghost12Ghost12 Boston, MAPosts: 684Member

    You want the perfect class system?

    Easy.

    Make it classless. Skill based. The end.

  • GPrestigeGPrestige Guelph, ONPosts: 521Member
    Originally posted by Ghost12

    You want the perfect class system?

    Easy.

    Make it classless. Skill based. The end.

    So, just remove classes and add a dash of skill? My God, why didn't I think of that?

    -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.

  • DauzqulDauzqul Detroit, MIPosts: 1,402Member Uncommon

    My dream class system:

     

    A pool of 500-1000 detailed abilities, skills, weapon / armor certifications, crafting, and traits. You can choose 25-50 of 'em. When you choose a single skill or ability, you are able to use it right away. However, much experience with that skill is required to use it to its full potential.

  • PyndaPynda Posts: 738Member Uncommon

    The best class system in my opinion is not to have a class system at all. But to have a skill based system. However I'd say the most important factor in either scheme is to have it well tested before release, and then to leave it alone after that. I'm just sick to death of devs these days changing almost week to week the way my character plays (nerfing or buffing).


    Now either devs have become incompetent and cowardly wimps in recent years, or more likely in my mind, this constant tinkering has become some kind of industry wide scam to pump up their own self importance. And to string along their employment for as long as possible.

  • Ghost12Ghost12 Boston, MAPosts: 684Member
    Originally posted by GPrestige
    Originally posted by Ghost12

    You want the perfect class system?

    Easy.

    Make it classless. Skill based. The end.

    So, just remove classes and add a dash of skill? My God, why didn't I think of that?

     

    I suspect you're being sarcastic. Let me break it down:

     

    You will never ever create the perfect class system. It doesn't exist. No matter how you try, there will always be balance issues.

     

    In a skill-based MMO, players do not have restrictions on what they can and cannot do. They will build builds around what the skills are given in the game.

    For example, I used to play Asheron's Call. AC was and still is light years ahead of what anything, ANYTHING has come out. In Asheron's Call, there were 3 different skill types that you selected at the start of the game:

    Specialized skills. These skills are skills that progress the fastest and are easiest to level up. You can have a small amount (like 4) selected at the start of the game.

    Trained skills. They dont move as fast as specialized, but not as slow as untrained skills. Once again, a limited amount is selected at the beggining of the game.

    Untrained skills. The rest of the skills that were not selected progressed the slowest.

     

    The beauty of a skill based MMO is that everyone is different. You dont have to deal with the un-holy trinity. Everyone makes the character the way THEY like it, not the way the developer TELLS them how to play. You dont have a bunch of clones running around able to do the exact same thing.

    The other plus side of a skill based MMO is that generally its easier to balance skills than classes. If a skill is underpowered, technically EVERYONE is affected since they all have that skill (or the potential to use that skill).

    Another plus is that it takes away the focus of the gear grind (a little). In a standard class themepark MMO, the only thing that really defines your character from anothers is the gear youre wearing. In a skill based, its more complicated than that. Its sad and somewhat pathetic - that the only thing that defines your character is gear. Thus, a classless system also helps reduce

    + Elitism

    + Elimination from LFG's (You're not a priest or a paladin - get out!)

    + The need for a rigid, "second job" guild system

    + Ironically, more casual play (or hardcore, the player chooses)

     

  • syntax42syntax42 Columbus, OHPosts: 1,305Member Uncommon

    A purely skill-based system might as well be a console game, if we are both talking about the same definition of "skill".  I am thinking you mean reaction time, reflexes, and button combos.  If your definition of "skill-based" is actually based on the abilities on your hotbar (i.e. Guild Wars or TSW), make a clearer distinction next time.

     

    A MMORPG has roles and classes so people can roleplay.  Without classes, defining someone's role becomes a lot more challenging.

     

    I was thinking about designing a RPG once.  You would gain a point to spend at every level.  That point could be spent towards one "focus" of your choosing.  The focuses would be fairly traditional, like armed comat, healing magic, offensive magic, and ranged weaponry, to name a few.  Your class would then be defined by your allocation of points.  Putting all of your points in armed combat would make you a "Warrior" while putting some in healing magic and some in armed combat would make you a "Paladin" or "Templar" depending on the distribution of points.  The titles would be mostly cosmetic, but the combinations would have to produce a viable character no matter how you spread or focused your points.

  • xDayxxDayx St Charles, MOPosts: 712Member

    I agree. Classes are lame. Skil-based with a skill point cap or some kind of point degradation.

  • stormannnnstormannnn Benton, ARPosts: 31Member

    The best way to do a class system? Ultima Online, nuff said. Don't worry about specific classes and instead compare a character's potential to the potential of a person actually living in that time period. One person could learn anything therefore one character should be able to learn any skill. The only way to alleviate the 'elitist gamer takeover' from happening is the concept of 'use it or you lose it' so that skills deteriorate when you don't use them. Or specific skills could be opposite each other so that once you use, say, necromancy your healing skills go down or something to that effect.

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

    I agree the system in FFXI was great, not just in that you could switch classes with the same character, but that you could make very interesting multiclass combinations. Istaria had a similar setup if I recall right. Ryzoms was also a good skill based system.

    My only issue with skill based systems is it can lead to generic master of all trades builds. Ryzom made this a difficult thing to achieve by making the weight of armor apply heavy penalties to casting/harvesting/crafting, and making spells like the best heals target only other players, not yourself.

    A skill based system with a similar approach would be fantastic I think.

  • PurutzilPurutzil East Stroudsburg, PAPosts: 2,924Member Uncommon

    To me its basically the perfect class system = a large variety of classes or possible class variation possability. Limited classes is lame to me and I really like having a large selection. Sure claim balance but even with limited class selection balance will always be an issue. Just having it balanced out in a way they all have weaknesses and its good. FFXI mentioned was a good game in terms of making flexability while also making a large amount of classes. Rift does a great job as well giving many classes to play in one 'role' or character. Combining lots of classes with flexability can do a great job in making an interesting game.

  • Ghost12Ghost12 Boston, MAPosts: 684Member
    Originally posted by Purutzil

    To me its basically the perfect class system = a large variety of classes or possible class variation possability. Limited classes is lame to me and I really like having a large selection. Sure claim balance but even with limited class selection balance will always be an issue. Just having it balanced out in a way they all have weaknesses and its good. FFXI mentioned was a good game in terms of making flexability while also making a large amount of classes. Rift does a great job as well giving many classes to play in one 'role' or character. Combining lots of classes with flexability can do a great job in making an interesting game.

     

    If I can't choose a classless system, then a large variety of classes is the way to go. DAOC nailed it, the game had over 30 classes. Sure, there were balance issues, but it comes with the territory with any class based game. Plus, at the end of the day we were having a blast and didnt really care.

  • stormannnnstormannnn Benton, ARPosts: 31Member
    Originally posted by syntax42

    A purely skill-based system might as well be a console game, if we are both talking about the same definition of "skill".  I am thinking you mean reaction time, reflexes, and button combos.  If your definition of "skill-based" is actually based on the abilities on your hotbar (i.e. Guild Wars or TSW), make a clearer distinction next time.

     

    A MMORPG has roles and classes so people can roleplay.  Without classes, defining someone's role becomes a lot more challenging.

     

    I was thinking about designing a RPG once.  You would gain a point to spend at every level.  That point could be spent towards one "focus" of your choosing.  The focuses would be fairly traditional, like armed comat, healing magic, offensive magic, and ranged weaponry, to name a few.  Your class would then be defined by your allocation of points.  Putting all of your points in armed combat would make you a "Warrior" while putting some in healing magic and some in armed combat would make you a "Paladin" or "Templar" depending on the distribution of points.  The titles would be mostly cosmetic, but the combinations would have to produce a viable character no matter how you spread or focused your points.

    The thing that literally less than 1% of all people in the entire world see is that when you're playing a game that mimics real life, you're not only going to have the fun aspects of life such as socializing and advancement, you're going to have to negative aspects as well. Like training. Being alone. Needing help. Therefore worrying about a system like this being 'like a console game' is a bit asenine in itself because yes, to some degree, when you're roleplaying, you will be playing solo. It is a game and the object is to have fun. If living a second life isn't fun (the ups and downs) then maybe you should reconsider playing a RPG

  • MetanolMetanol TamperePosts: 247Member Uncommon

    Well, while there are wonderful classless skill-based systems, I must say that my favourite is still D&D 3.5e, or Pathfinder... It worked just fine in Neverwinter Nights series, though I would honestly prefer Temple of Elemental Evil -like combat, with turn-based combat and all that. For an RPG that is, even an MMO.

    For a class-based system, I almost demand multiclassing! The freedom what comes with it is amazing. Rift adapted it quite well to an typical MMO, with the soul trees being quite interesting for a while even.

    However! If we throw the whole d20 combat out, then I'll gladly take Mount&Blade -like class/combat system. With skill points put here and there and very manual combat.

    We?re all dead, just say it.

  • jazz.bejazz.be Sint-NiklaasPosts: 820Member Uncommon

    3 healer classes with significant different healing gamestyle

    4-5-6-7 dps classes

    3 tank classes

    Everyone starts with a dps class of choice and as you progress you can choose an additional class of another role, the timing depends from a seperate xp counter or something.

    You'll end up with 3 of your favorite classes of each role in one character. Let's say all classes benefit while progressing, but the rate is increased for the class you're actually playing. Be it in xp, levels or points to spend for abilities, that's just a detail right now.

     

    Main point is:

    Simple system, no complex classless AP point system or something similar

    Several roles in one character

    Still takes time to progress each class (no gifts here)

    Interesting combo variations

     

    Well, just a thought

  • ZuvielifyZuvielify Fremont, CAPosts: 168Member

    I really like Diablo 3's system (and I only played through once). I would like to see something similar implemented in a real MMOG; probably with some tweaks. 

     

    I like the idea of classes. By creating classes, you can create a theme for that type. IMO, skill-based tends to make the game too similar. TSW is trying to do the skill thing, but what I saw is different skin on the same spell. Either you are charging or discharging. 

     

    With the D3 rune style system, each class gets the same abilities, but each player can choose how that ability behaves. 

     

  • L0C0ManL0C0Man Puerto OrdazPosts: 1,065Member Uncommon

    For me, the perfect class system (or at least the best one I've played) is GW1.

    Basically, only 10 active skills at any given time, you can change them at anytime in towns. You pick your main class and then during the game you can pick a secondary class (so you could be a warrior monk or a necromancer assassin and so on). You have a basic set of skills for both classes, and you can buy any extra skill you want from a skills vendor (any time you buy a skill the price goes up, plus you need a skill point you earn trough different ways during the game, one of them is that once you reach level cap, anytime you "level" you get a skill point).

    So far sounds rather basic. Things get more interesting because not every skill vendor has every skill, and actually some of the more interesting skills are sold by a single vendor in a town way off the path the main storyline takes you trough so you have an incentive to explore. Then there are the elite skills. These are (usually) much better or more useful than regular skills, but you can only have one equipped in your hotbar at anytime. The catch is, you don't buy these skills, instead you buy a skill called "capture signet", and equip it on your bar, then you have to hunt for a miniboss somewhere in the world, defeat it, and then use the signet of capture on its corpse to capture one skill of that miniboss, usually the elite, but you can also capture any other skill he might have, but only one for each signet of capture you have equipped, and now you have that skill unlocked to use anytime you want. Each mini-boss has a colored aura depending on its class (red = warrior, green = necromancer, white = monk and so on) and each has a different elite skill, so if you want a specific one you have to look for the specific mini-boss that has it and kill it, and do it while using one skill less than you'd normally use in your hotbar (signet of capture takes one skill).

    Also, when I said that the skills are more interesting it's usually because there are lots of skills that have up and downsides. For example, anyone can equip a resurrection skill, but it has a casting time and resurrects with lower HP and energy. Paragons can equip a skill that resurrects someone with full hp and energy on instant cast... the catch, if that person dies again within 30 seconds, you die as well.

    What can men do against such reckless hate?

  • QuirhidQuirhid TamperePosts: 5,969Member Common

    Look at all the pro-classless posters trying to derail the thread...

     

    Anyway, I quite likde the system D&D 3.5 had. The way classes and levels work in that game is really quite rare from what I've seen still. GW1 also had an awesome system too, but that was mainly because of the combat mechanics and superb skill design. Real-time team-based Magic the Gathering that was. I love building my own deck.

    EDIT:

    If I had to combine the two... Maybe building the character from different classes like in D&D and with each level you unlock abilities/skill associated with the class. Add to that some universal attributes (raised alongside character level) which affect the modifiers of those abilities/skills.

    With some sensible limitations to multiclassing naturally.

    I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  • rdrakkenrdrakken Gotham, FLPosts: 426Member
    Originally posted by GPrestige

    I have played a majority of the MMOs released within the last 10 years. When it comes down to it, if you don't enjoy the class system in an MMO, you probably won't enjoy the game at all - therefore it is a pretty important part of MMO gaming.

    Simple.

    None.

    You apprently missed Asherons Call...I feel sorry for you...actually I feel sorry for me more because I know what its like not to be handcuffed by small minded game makers.

  • Ghost12Ghost12 Boston, MAPosts: 684Member
    Originally posted by Quirhid

    Look at all the pro-classless posters trying to derail the thread...

     

    Anyway, I quite likde the system D&D 3.5 had. The way classes and levels work in that game is really quite rare from what I've seen still. GW1 also had an awesome system too, but that was mainly because of the combat mechanics and superb skill design. Real-time team-based Magic the Gathering that was. I love building my own deck.

    EDIT:

    If I had to combine the two... Maybe building the character from different classes like in D&D and with each level you unlock abilities/skill associated with the class. Add to that some universal attributes (raised alongside character level) which affect the modifiers of those abilities/skills.

    With some sensible limitations to multiclassing naturally.

    Derail the thread? Do you not know that a "classless" system is, in itself, a class system?

    Come on. Even if you arent a fan, be reasonable. Then again, thats asking for alot on these forums.

  • TheocritusTheocritus Gary, INPosts: 3,739Member Uncommon

            The best class system I played was in a game called Rubies of Eventide......IT offered over a hundred different classes, but you could also pick and choose skills from other classes (a warrior could choose bard skills for example).......The beauty of it was that it would cost you alot more skill points to pick skills from other classes than your own so you had to seelect carefully.......Unfortunately the combat system in the game was awful, but the class system was right on the money.

  • aesperusaesperus Hamshire, NVPosts: 5,128Member Uncommon

    Damn, sandboxers are really jumping all over this one. Saying 'simple, have no classes!' is really copping out of the thread entirely. There is a topic you know, and it's not about not having classes! Ooo double negatives.

    Back to the topic at hand:

    I don't think there is any 1 right answer to this. I think it really comes down to what game is being made. For example, I loved FFXI's class system, but if I saw that in WoW I would've hated it. Certain designs make more sense for certain games. That said;

    I would like to see more games that offer more flexibility amongst class. I kinda like how GW1 dealt w/ this. Every class had their own unique style, but were versatile to a point where their role in a group very much overlapped. I also like rift's take on this, giving each class multiple roles that you can mix & match, however I still would've liked to see a more main class / sub class approach.

    I also want to see more games designing systems that support inter class - combos. I.E. FFXI's renkai system, or GW2's class combo system. It's just a ton of fun and really cool to see people's skills combining to create something new. It also helps people want to coordinate and play together, which is something a lot of MMOs lack.

    I'd also like to see more games adopting GW1's skill system, in that it's not based around 'damage, bigger damage, finisher!' and there's a lot more variety and diversity amongst the skills. Different types of damage, situational skills, skills with lots of synergy between classes, etc. Having the ability to change them out as needed is also a very nice feature.

    - In short, the more customization the better, as long as classes still maintain their feel & identity. This is a problem classless games face, where a lot of players start to seem somewhat monotonous. With a class system there's a real sense of 'hell ya, I'm a badass warrior' or 'watch out, i'm a mage weaving distruction', etc. I think they should hold onto that.

     

  • GTwanderGTwander San Diego, CAPosts: 6,035Member

    Bringing back an oldie of mine;

    http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/257121/Classes-based-on-what-you-do.html

    It's very long (warning).

    For TL;DR types, it basically makes all classes based around a "role" in society, or your favorite playstyle, inspired by Face of Mankind. So you'd have a warrior character that has access to combat-quests, tradesmen that can give and recieve quests to get/make items and resources, policier castes that hunt PKers and enact investigations, etc.

    All combat is universal; melee is the name of the game, ranged via bow/arrows is useful but will not help you in a pinch, magic is arguably non-existant but there is a place for priests and such. Preference in combat doesn't determine a class whatsoever.

    Writer / Musician / Game Designer

    Now Playing: Skyrim, Wurm Online, Tropico 4
    Waiting On: GW2, TSW, Archeage, The Rapture

  • QuirhidQuirhid TamperePosts: 5,969Member Common
    Originally posted by Ghost12
    Originally posted by Quirhid

    Look at all the pro-classless posters trying to derail the thread...

    Derail the thread? Do you not know that a "classless" system is, in itself, a class system?

    Come on. Even if you arent a fan, be reasonable. Then again, thats asking for alot on these forums.

    Sure, classless systems have classes. Sure tell that to them. All they do is allow the player more chances to go wrong. And if done badly, there's only a handful of useful builds leading to the dreaded "tank-mage syndrome".

    I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  • NildenNilden null, NBPosts: 1,284Member Uncommon

    Ultima Online.

    http://www.uoguide.com/Skills

    Using a rogue, fighter, mage, cleric or offshoot class system belongs in AD&D and Gauntlet.

    You could make talent trees for each skill.

    If not UO at least do something as good as..

    http://na.cityofheroes.com/en/game_info/welcome_to_city_of_heroes/creating_a_hero.php

    In fact if UO and City of Heroes had babies that would be grand.

    How to post links.

    "classification of games into MMOs is not by rational reasoning" - nariusseldon
    Love Minecraft. And check out my Youtube channel OhCanadaGamer

  • AdamantineAdamantine NowherePosts: 3,514Member

    My idea of the "perfect" class system is simple:

    Stats - choose them once and leave them there. Body and mind stats are chosen separately. Assigning stats is NOT a test if you know what your class needs according to stats. The only thing that trades body for mind stats and the other way around are classes and subclasses !

    Feats - passive and active abilities. Many are automatically learned from reaching new levels with a certain class, more rarely race. Others can be learned during this levelup. For example, a Mage can learn a limited number of spells from a much larger pool.

    Skills - Numbers that can go up to reflect better mastery of this ability. These are universal, i.e. everybody can learn all skills. How much skills you can learn depend upon intelligence, how much you have to pay for learning skills depend upon the stats of that ability. For example a Mage can start learning swordfight easily, but because of their low body stats, will have a hard time to ever reach higher levels with that.

    Race - Each race has unique models and animations to them. Subraces also exist, but optically only differ in textures. Races work pretty much like "lesser classes", i.e. like modifications of the class in question. Subraces add further refinement.

    Class - Fixed, levelbased. I dislike skillbased systems because they dont lead to much variance. There are also subclasses. All classes are either mind focussed (like Mage, Priest) or body focussed (like Warrior, Paladin) or general (like Rogue, Bard). Class abilities are then ordered in such a way that all mind, body or both categories of stats play an important part in their useage, thus making it impossible for players to create a "screwed up character".

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