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Class Design

Flyte27Flyte27 Member RarePosts: 4,574

What is good class design?

 

There are a lot of different systems that have been tried.

There is the skill system where you can raise different skills and depending on what skills you pick it kind of defines what class you are.  For instance if you leveled healing/holy magic and melee of some sort you could consider yourself a Paladin.  If you leveled Nature and Archery you could consider yourself a Ranger etc.  The main problem with this system IMO is that you can't make truly unique classes.  Each skill has certain abilities and anyone who works on that skill with receive those abilities.

There is the class system where you can do a lot of different things.  You can do like EQ and have pure/hybrid classes.  The hybrid classes will encompass parts of two or three pure classes.  It sounds like a good idea to have hybrid classes in hindsight, but they end up being a mishmash of two classes.  The other issue is that melee classes are somewhat boring to play (at least in this specific game).  Hence why WoW has tried to give each of it's classes unique abilities.  I also believe that EQs AA system and the vast amount of spells makes things a bit overly complex.

There is the WoW model.  In this model all classes can do a little DPS.  It's not a bad model and it still includes a measure of utility spells.  Each class has it's own unique abilities that come to the table.  I like that it redid all the skills and simplified the system.  The way spells/abilities change in mana consumption and damage/effect when leveling up.  The thing I don't like about what they did compared to the original classes was taking away some of the group roles a bit.  Basically I don't think there is much need for things like CC anymore.  It is mostly tank and spank.  Still it has a lot more variety then most MMOs I've seen come out recently.  Perhaps that's why it continues to be popular.

There is the Final Fantasy model where you can level up multiple classes and combine them together.  This again seems like a nice idea, but you end up with combined classes that crossover eachother.  There really isn't much of a need to give players access to multiple classes at the same time.  It just confuses things IMO and makes them overly complex.

Most modern MMOs try to have a class system with no healer/CC.  The classes are all damage with different flavors.  This is good for PvP balance, but boring for PvE and sandbox environment. 

I like the WoW model, but I believe it needs more diversity/uniqueness in each class.  Perhaps part of the problem is there are too many classes and they overlap one another.  I like a system where each class has unique abilities and something unique to offer in terms of both utility an combat.  For instance perhaps a warrior could offer utility through debuffing enemies, a mage could offer utility through spells like water breathing and levitation, rogues could offer utility like finding traps and picking locks, and a healer could provide protection buffs. 

The ultimate question when making classes is what is fun for the player.  To me the DPS only model is not fun.  Having too many classes may make things less enjoyable by overly complicating things.  Having too many skills can detract from enjoyment.  At the same time making things too simple by making every class be only about DPS is boring IMO.  There should be class quests.  For a Mage it could be a quest sends them to forgotten places to aquire pieces of lost lore.  For a Warrior it might be to find a long lost weapon.  For a rogue it might be to steal something from someone rich and powerful.  For a healer it might be to seek out some long lost place in order to commune with his god and be granted more powerful magic or the ability to progress further. 

So in the end I would like to see in classes unique abilities, less classes, utility, more defined roles in a group, only quests that are important for that class to progress or at least quests that last a long time so they aren't a dime a dozen (quests that take you to far off places and take a while to complete).  I would also like to see more interesting class ideas.  Personally I like the classic warrior, rogue, cleric, mage type classes.  I don't see them much in games any more.  They are the most fun for me.  Having other classes like Druid, Ranger, etc. are also fun, but run the risk of possible overlapping what the others are supposed to do in a group (I don't see those classes much in games today either). 

At any rate those are my ideas.  Share yours if you want.  I'm sure others like different things.

 

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Comments

  • ArtificeVenatusArtificeVenatus Member UncommonPosts: 1,236
     
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon Member EpicPosts: 27,774

    It is not about the system, but the detailed skills design (mechanics, animation, and so on).

    The two best (meaningly i like) examples are D3 and Marvel Heroes.

    D3 has a large number of customization with skills that actual do different stuff (for example, the slow bubble of the wiz can have a stun effect on the surface for one rune, and be able to cast away from the wiz in another). That opens up different gameplay styles.

    Marvel Heroes, on the other hand, follow very much a traditional skill tree design. However, it has MANY classes (40+ now .. since each hero is one class), and all heroes play differently, and many have abilities consistent with the comic books. It is a good "system" because playing a different hero essentially is new content, even when you are killing the same enemies because each hero play differently.

    Note that both games design their classes to be mostly independent of others. You can play solo if you want although there are syneries (for example, the zero-dps builds in D3 for groups) if you want it. There is no required roles in groups, which adds to the flexibility.

     

  • Flyte27Flyte27 Member RarePosts: 4,574
    Originally posted by Enbysra
    Originally posted by Flyte27

    What is good class design?

     

    So in the end I would like to see in classes unique abilities, less classes, utility, more defined roles in a group, only quests that are important for that class to progress or at least quests that last a long time so they aren't a dime a dozen (quests that take you to far off places and take a while to complete).  I would also like to see more interesting class ideas.  Personally I like the classic warrior, rogue, cleric, mage type classes.  I don't see them much in games any more.  They are the most fun for me.  Having other classes like Druid, Ranger, etc. are also fun, but run the risk of possible overlapping what the others are supposed to do in a group (I don't see those classes much in games today either). 

    At any rate those are my ideas.  Share yours if you want.  I'm sure others like different things.

    Class design, from a designing perspective, should specifically not begin with classes at all. Given an MMORPG is one's goal, what is the very foundation of an MMORPG? The answer : The system of options and-or skills to interact with and within a world and-or storyline, of a player through a character (of which is also recognized as an extension from Tabletop RPGs). That system of options and-or skills is the foundation of class design. It is from such a system, that classes can emerge and be refined. This is not likely what the formally educated in the field learn.

     

    The other feature you are asking for, is interdependence. Interdependence involves both the designing of the individual classes' skills, and designing those, while keeping in mind how they would play off of each other. Bluntly, it is design which forces grouping, although it can be done to varying degrees. And yes, "unique class-skill sets per class" will lead to exactly this, which is why you do not see it.

     

    The "quests that mean something" and are beyond the typical "to do list quests", will likely involve a series of "to do list quests" toward what MIGHT MAYBE POSSIBLY POTENTIALLY COULD be a real "quest that means something, sort of" at the end of your trek. The MMORPG Industry is not up to the point of designing classes on the proper foundation, such as I defined above, if I had to guess. Thus, having such as "Skill-Triggered" questing as I am already intending, because it naturally is a set of extended definitions of the skills themselves... You will not see until I am finished with my own MMORPG. It is possible someone could arbitrarily create such quests, but I can assure you those will still not be as good. 

     

    Chances are, you might see Interdependence pop it's head up in the next few years. Otherwise, give me 20 years, I'm working toward it image

    Is it your opinion that classes should not be made based on balance, but instead what is fun to the people creating the game and what fits into their universe and the ideas they have for it?  To me I would like to design a game with that mindset, but in reality you still need to find something useful for each class to do in the game IMO.  Otherwise no one will play it except for the person who originally created it and thought it was a neat idea.  None the less I do think it is very important to make a class that is fun to you and that in tern will lead to developing fun quests that are part revolve around the classes you make and the ideas behind what they are.  For instance a Ranger (in my mind) would be a wanderer who helps lost travelers and tracks down nasty critters.  Knowing this is the idea behind the Ranger there should be quests that would make sense for them.  Other classes could possible help each other with completing said quests if it makes sense.  This is where the conundrum lies because if you are forcing a specific makeup of group then you are not allowing people to play the way they want.  A Ranger may be more accustomed to doing things alone in the woods.  The only time they might group with others is when they are forced together with others out of necessity.  Does this mean there has to be content in the game that makes sense for the Ranger to do solo as well as content that might require grouping?  Should a lot of this be left up to the person playing the game or should it be implemented by the developer?  To me it's a difficult question to answer.  There is no right answer.

  • Flyte27Flyte27 Member RarePosts: 4,574
    Originally posted by nariusseldon

    It is not about the system, but the detailed skills design (mechanics, animation, and so on).

    The two best (meaningly i like) examples are D3 and Marvel Heroes.

    D3 has a large number of customization with skills that actual do different stuff (for example, the slow bubble of the wiz can have a stun effect on the surface for one rune, and be able to cast away from the wiz in another). That opens up different gameplay styles.

    Marvel Heroes, on the other hand, follow very much a traditional skill tree design. However, it has MANY classes (40+ now .. since each hero is one class), and all heroes play differently, and many have abilities consistent with the comic books. It is a good "system" because playing a different hero essentially is new content, even when you are killing the same enemies because each hero play differently.

    Note that both games design their classes to be mostly independent of others. You can play solo if you want although there are syneries (for example, the zero-dps builds in D3 for groups) if you want it. There is no required roles in groups, which adds to the flexibility.

     

    I haven't played Marvel Heroes, but I can't imagine that you could have so many classes and have something truly unique for each of them.  They might have different abilities, but I'm guessing this is kind of the different flavor of DPS type of thing.  They all can get the job done in a different way without needing the other.  I believe that perhaps the design of forcing someone to group in all cases may be wrong.  In fact in a game like Marvel Heroes it is probably not a good idea as Super Heroes generally don't need each others help.  In a high fantasy game needing others for certain dangerous takes might make a lot more sense.  They have such things in games like World of Warcraft, but I don't believe the way they are introduced to the player is conducive to them being immersed in the game.  For instance ding you are level 20 you can now join the queue for Deadmines!  Personally I think there should be dangerous places for people to go alone.  Places that are conducive to one or multiple classes abilities.  That Ranger might be really good at tracking down a dangerous beast, but he might need some help to slay it.  It also may lie within a dangerous orc stronghold where only the foolish would go.  Tracking down the mob would make the Ranger's role feel more immersive and needed.  Just queuing up for a dungeon removes a lot of this type of thing.  Even without the Queuing the outside worlds are usually so safe for players to traverse it doesn't really add anything to the class or game immersion.  You might as well be tralalaling through the park on a sunny day with all immersion you get from traversing the open world in most MMOs these days.

  • Nightbringe1Nightbringe1 Member UncommonPosts: 1,335

    What I would like to see for a class/skill system is a game were characters gained Development Points as they leveled up. Every skill is available to every class, but at different development point costs.

    Skills themselves are interactive and, to a certain degree, interdependent. For example: summoning a fire elemental may require a certain level of investment in both Conjuring and Elemental Fire. The strength of the fire elemental would scale as investment in Conjuring and Elemental Fire increased. Secondary skills required might include Mana Recovery, Mana Pool and Concentration, where concentration determines the number of simultaneous spells that can be maintained. In this system, a wizard could focus on summoning elementals, with all four elements + Conjuring maximized.

    Another wizard could choose a different path, focusing on Mentalism and Essence Manipulation, with a minor focus on Animation, recreating the Enchanter from EQ. Same class, vastly different abilities.

    Other skills would include Plate Armor, Chain Armor, Shields, Taunt, Health, Endurance, Swords, Stealth, Tracking, Runes, Wards, Healing, etc. Many of these skills would be very expensive for our wizard, but always an option if willing to pay the price.

    Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.
    Benjamin Franklin

  • Loke666Loke666 Member EpicPosts: 21,441

    There are really 2 reasons for having classes at all in a MMO:

    1. Balance. Balancing any system where you level up each possible skill induvidually is impossible and it is pretty hard when you allow players to pick skills from a list themselves. There is alway a huge chance that with no classes will close to everyone play one out of 3 standard archetypes because  they get far better.

    There are pen and paper system that have great ways of designing your own class or unique character, like GURPS, Shadowrun and many more but systems like that needs a lot of work to be converted successfully to a MMO.

    2. Simplicity. Many players don't atually like creating their own builds/classes from scratch.

    When you do have classes the most important thing is that each class use it's own mechanics and don't feel like any other class in the game. They also needs to be useful in all the types of content tha game provides, a class that is useless in raids or PvP just ain't good.

    Having similar classes in the same game is bad game design, it is better to have few unique classes with much specialization options. Not all classes needs to be fun to a specific player but when one class or 2 have extremely few high level characters it is time to redesign it.

  • Flyte27Flyte27 Member RarePosts: 4,574
    Originally posted by Nightbringe1

    What I would like to see for a class/skill system is a game were characters gained Development Points as they leveled up. Every skill is available to every class, but at different development point costs.

    Skills themselves are interactive and, to a certain degree, interdependent. For example: summoning a fire elemental may require a certain level of investment in both Conjuring and Elemental Fire. The strength of the fire elemental would scale as investment in Conjuring and Elemental Fire increased. Secondary skills required might include Mana Recovery, Mana Pool and Concentration, where concentration determines the number of simultaneous spells that can be maintained. In this system, a wizard could focus on summoning elementals, with all four elements + Conjuring maximized.

    Another wizard could choose a different path, focusing on Mentalism and Essence Manipulation, with a minor focus on Animation, recreating the Enchanter from EQ. Same class, vastly different abilities.

    Other skills would include Plate Armor, Chain Armor, Shields, Taunt, Health, Endurance, Swords, Stealth, Tracking, Runes, Wards, Healing, etc. Many of these skills would be very expensive for our wizard, but always an option if willing to pay the price.

    That sounds like a good idea.

    It seems to be the consensus that there is no right or wrong in terms of fun classes.  It's what you like in your head and how you want the idea of said class tie to the world you are playing in.  I'm guessing many people who play these games have ideas for classes and what their role would be in said game environment.  The Enchanter was a class that manipulated minds and objects in EQ.  You could take on the illusion of just about anything.  There were quests where you would have to take on the illusion of a certain race in order to sneak into certain opposing factions enchanter guild and buy specific spells that might no be available in yours.  One of the good things about EQ was the world was really conducive to the classes that existed.  There was always a way to take said class and roleplay it in some way.  The game environment was really good for giving each class a place.  Neromancer guilds were almost always in some forsaken place like a maze of sewers filled with monsters, traps, and hidden doorways.  This was very conducive to feeling said class was really an scary outcast shunned by the rest of society.

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon Member EpicPosts: 27,774
    Originally posted by Flyte27

     

    I haven't played Marvel Heroes, but I can't imagine that you could have so many classes and have something truly unique for each of them.  They might have different abilities, but I'm guessing this is kind of the different flavor of DPS type of thing.  They all can get the job done in a different way without needing the other.  I believe that perhaps the design of forcing someone to group in all cases may be wrong.  In fact in a game like Marvel Heroes it is probably not a good idea as Super Heroes generally don't need each others help.  In a high fantasy game needing others for certain dangerous takes might make a lot more sense.  They have such things in games like World of Warcraft, but I don't believe the way they are introduced to the player is conducive to them being immersed in the game.  For instance ding you are level 20 you can now join the queue for Deadmines!  Personally I think there should be dangerous places for people to go alone.  Places that are conducive to one or multiple classes abilities.  That Ranger might be really good at tracking down a dangerous beast, but he might need some help to slay it.  It also may lie within a dangerous orc stronghold where only the foolish would go.  Tracking down the mob would make the Ranger's role feel more immersive and needed.  Just queuing up for a dungeon removes a lot of this type of thing.  Even without the Queuing the outside worlds are usually so safe for players to traverse it doesn't really add anything to the class or game immersion.  You might as well be tralalaling through the park on a sunny day with all immersion you get from traversing the open world in most MMOs these days.

    1) You should try the game to decide if the class are "unique" or not. I don't own all the heroes (since it would be expensive to get all of them) but i have 17 of them and all are unique.

    Examples: Both Thor & Storm uses lightning attacks, but Thor's attack is tied to his hammer (for example, he can throw it out and electrocute enemies on the path of the hammer) and there is a "combo point" system on thor, but not on storm. Hence, they play very differently. Many heores have their own resources, or secondary resources.

    Another example, colossus and wolverines are both melee brawlers but wolverines' skills are based on wounds and bleeding attacks, so again, both feel very differently.

    2) Group syneries are independent of the genre. You can easily put in combo attacks (like those in Marvel Ultimate Alliance, and those in the comic books ... e.g. fast ball special). However, i think it is a design choice to make the game with least amount of interdependence between players because solo-ers are part of the audience. So, colossus actually has the fast-ball special attack but instead of having to work with a wolverine player, wolverine is going to be a pet.

    3) You don't need a world to have dangerous place to go alone. Just have an instance adventure that you need to go find the spooky castle through the woods, or what not. You have the added advantage of having interesting scripting events along the way, and you can time the events so there is little boring walking.

     

     

  • RandaynRandayn Member UncommonPosts: 904

    The "classless" system is great in theory, but horrible in implementation.  The issue is that there is typically one build that trumps them all or such a mixing of the abilities would rmove much of  a difference between each player.  

    Classes are necessary in an RPG and an MMORPG.  I dont want to be a wizard then swap a weapon and be a warrior...I want to be the class I choose.  Unfrotunately, games with weapon swapping to switch classes almost force players into several roles which is very annoying.

    I look at ESO and GW2 as some of the biggest culprits.  I look at PVP and general gaming community as the blame for devs wanting to make games like this.  The general gaming community thinks an MMO should be an action game and that all prior notion of the trinity should be exterminated.  PVP adds to the issue of balance and the easiest way to cure that is by removing classes or allowing most classes to be similar to one another.

    In the end, I think an MMORPG or RPG single player game, should have classes that specialize so that there is a need for all.

    I look at the "skill based" system like this:  You loot a dog biscuit which grants you +4 str, and then loot a pineapple that grants you +4 str....why does it matter which one you get, they offer the same things.  that's how I feel about a classless system.

     

    The real problem though, is that this is starting to become the norm, but I think once the 500 open world PVP games with no leveling just skill based progression go belly up and crumble (they will), devs will realize that they had no idea what MMORPG fans wanted....they were too busy trying to cater to non-MMORPG fans.

    image
  • Flyte27Flyte27 Member RarePosts: 4,574
    Originally posted by Loke666

    There are really 2 reasons for having classes at all in a MMO:

    1. Balance. Balancing any system where you level up each possible skill induvidually is impossible and it is pretty hard when you allow players to pick skills from a list themselves. There is alway a huge chance that with no classes will close to everyone play one out of 3 standard archetypes because  they get far better.

    There are pen and paper system that have great ways of designing your own class or unique character, like GURPS, Shadowrun and many more but systems like that needs a lot of work to be converted successfully to a MMO.

    2. Simplicity. Many players don't atually like creating their own builds/classes from scratch.

    When you do have classes the most important thing is that each class use it's own mechanics and don't feel like any other class in the game. They also needs to be useful in all the types of content tha game provides, a class that is useless in raids or PvP just ain't good.

    Having similar classes in the same game is bad game design, it is better to have few unique classes with much specialization options. Not all classes needs to be fun to a specific player but when one class or 2 have extremely few high level characters it is time to redesign it.

    I understand your logic, but it again begs the question of what is the basis for creating classes?  Should classes be created solely with the mind of group, raid, solo ability or should they be made to be fun in terms of lore, background, and what their role is (store wise) in the game world.  I agree most people don't like creating their own classes.  It can be more daunting then it at first seems once you start trying to create them.  When I start thinking about creating classes I end up trying to make sure every class has a counter and balance.  This is probably a pretty poor way to create a class though as it should be more based on an idea of what their role is in the world then if they are good x or y situation.

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon Member EpicPosts: 27,774
    Originally posted by Randayn

    The "classless" system is great in theory, but horrible in implementation.  The issue is that there is typically one build that trumps them all or such a mixing of the abilities would rmove much of  a difference between each player.  

    Exactly. That is why i like marvel heroes. Many classes that play differently.

    Even a game like D3, which allows for MANY interesting builds, people doing the greater rifts uses no more than 1 or 2 (and their variant) in each class, because of exactly the problem you bring out.

    The only answer is to have multiple classes, otherwise there will be a lot of skills just not being used because choosing something else will be "better" (in raiding, in dungeons, or whatever).

  • Flyte27Flyte27 Member RarePosts: 4,574
    Originally posted by nariusseldon
    Originally posted by Randayn

    The "classless" system is great in theory, but horrible in implementation.  The issue is that there is typically one build that trumps them all or such a mixing of the abilities would rmove much of  a difference between each player.  

    Exactly. That is why i like marvel heroes. Many classes that play differently.

    Even a game like D3, which allows for MANY interesting builds, people doing the greater rifts uses no more than 1 or 2 (and their variant) in each class, because of exactly the problem you bring out.

    The only answer is to have multiple classes, otherwise there will be a lot of skills just not being used because choosing something else will be "better" (in raiding, in dungeons, or whatever).

    I would argue that even Diablo 3 lost something in this regard.  In Diablo 1 and 2 the classes each sort of had a back story and the game was more about playing through the story/enjoying the world.  In Diablo 3 the classes are designed from the start more with combat and repeating dungeons then with the lore and the story IMO.  Perhaps it's why I don't find the classes as interesting even if they had kind of neat abilities.  The game was from the start with the intention of repetition and grinding for loot.  This is an ok concept, but I don't believe one that fantasy games should be based on.  It completely cuts out the core of fantasy games which is the lore, store, and how the classes fit in and most right to the kill, level, and loot.  To me this is part of why games have low retention rates.  The players just don't care about the characters as there is nothing that would make you feel attached to them other then the time you put in to level them and gain more items.

  • RandaynRandayn Member UncommonPosts: 904
    Originally posted by Flyte27
    Originally posted by Loke666

    There are really 2 reasons for having classes at all in a MMO:

    1. Balance. Balancing any system where you level up each possible skill induvidually is impossible and it is pretty hard when you allow players to pick skills from a list themselves. There is alway a huge chance that with no classes will close to everyone play one out of 3 standard archetypes because  they get far better.

    There are pen and paper system that have great ways of designing your own class or unique character, like GURPS, Shadowrun and many more but systems like that needs a lot of work to be converted successfully to a MMO.

    2. Simplicity. Many players don't atually like creating their own builds/classes from scratch.

    When you do have classes the most important thing is that each class use it's own mechanics and don't feel like any other class in the game. They also needs to be useful in all the types of content tha game provides, a class that is useless in raids or PvP just ain't good.

    Having similar classes in the same game is bad game design, it is better to have few unique classes with much specialization options. Not all classes needs to be fun to a specific player but when one class or 2 have extremely few high level characters it is time to redesign it.

    I understand your logic, but it again begs the question of what is the basis for creating classes?  Should classes be created solely with the mind of group, raid, solo ability or should they be made to be fun in terms of lore, background, and what their role is (store wise) in the game world.  I agree most people don't like creating their own classes.  It can be more daunting then it at first seems once you start trying to create them.  When I start thinking about creating classes I end up trying to make sure every class has a counter and balance.  This is probably a pretty poor way to create a class though as it should be more based on an idea of what their role is in the world then if they are good x or y situation.

    I'd say the lore, background part should be more focused on the race you choose to play.  classes are nothing more than a recreation of what already exists in the real world...doctors = healers, tanks = tanks, infantry = soldier/warrior, artillary = archer/huntard and that dude playing table top D&D = mage.  so really there will be minimal backgrounds based on race (once again) for each different type of tank soldier (grunt, shinobi, stormtrooper), but that's all Id expect.

    image
  • Flyte27Flyte27 Member RarePosts: 4,574
    Originally posted by Randayn
    Originally posted by Flyte27
    Originally posted by Loke666

    There are really 2 reasons for having classes at all in a MMO:

    1. Balance. Balancing any system where you level up each possible skill induvidually is impossible and it is pretty hard when you allow players to pick skills from a list themselves. There is alway a huge chance that with no classes will close to everyone play one out of 3 standard archetypes because  they get far better.

    There are pen and paper system that have great ways of designing your own class or unique character, like GURPS, Shadowrun and many more but systems like that needs a lot of work to be converted successfully to a MMO.

    2. Simplicity. Many players don't atually like creating their own builds/classes from scratch.

    When you do have classes the most important thing is that each class use it's own mechanics and don't feel like any other class in the game. They also needs to be useful in all the types of content tha game provides, a class that is useless in raids or PvP just ain't good.

    Having similar classes in the same game is bad game design, it is better to have few unique classes with much specialization options. Not all classes needs to be fun to a specific player but when one class or 2 have extremely few high level characters it is time to redesign it.

    I understand your logic, but it again begs the question of what is the basis for creating classes?  Should classes be created solely with the mind of group, raid, solo ability or should they be made to be fun in terms of lore, background, and what their role is (store wise) in the game world.  I agree most people don't like creating their own classes.  It can be more daunting then it at first seems once you start trying to create them.  When I start thinking about creating classes I end up trying to make sure every class has a counter and balance.  This is probably a pretty poor way to create a class though as it should be more based on an idea of what their role is in the world then if they are good x or y situation.

    I'd say the lore, background part should be more focused on the race you choose to play.  classes are nothing more than a recreation of what already exists in the real world...doctors = healers, tanks = tanks, infantry = soldier/warrior, artillary = archer/huntard and that dude playing table top D&D = mage.  so really there will be minimal backgrounds based on race (once again) for each different type of tank soldier (grunt, shinobi, stormtrooper), but that's all Id expect.

    I would disagree with that.  Race should be tied to the world, but so should the class.  The class defines what type of person your character is.  If you chose to be a Ranger you would likely be spending a lot of time alone in the woods and helping lost travelers.  If you chose to be a Necromancer again it would likely be a life of being solitary as people wouldn't accept your evil ideas in most of the good societies that exist in game.  If you were a Wizard you life would be to strive for knowledge of magic and find lost spells hidden in remote corners of the world.  If you were a fighter you would likely be a mercenary or soldier for hire.  If you were a rogue you would be a thief, treasure hunter, or bandit of some sort.  The point being that each class is heavily tied in with the world that was created in some way.  Each has a different role to play that is described in detail.  Society treats each differently depending on their class and race.  Each acts differently as well depending on their race and class.

  • RandaynRandayn Member UncommonPosts: 904

    I would disagree with that.  Race should be tied to the world, but so should the class.  The class defines what type of person your character is.  If you chose to be a Ranger you would likely be spending a lot of time alone in the woods and helping lost travelers.  If you chose to be a Necromancer again it would likely be a life of being solitary as people wouldn't accept your evil ideas in most of the good societies that exist in game.  If you were a Wizard you life would be to strive for knowledge of magic and find lost spells hidden in remote corners of the world.  If you were a fighter you would likely be a mercenary or soldier for hire.  If you were a rogue you would be a thief, treasure hunter, or bandit of some sort.  The point being that each class is heavily tied in with the world that was created in some way.  Each has a different role to play that is described in detail.  Society treats each differently depending on their class and race.  Each acts differently as well depending on their race and class.

    I concede, that's actually a great way to set things up...and it would definitely tie you closer to your class.

    image
  • aesperusaesperus Member UncommonPosts: 5,135
    Originally posted by Flyte27

    What is good class design?

    **snip**

    At any rate those are my ideas.  Share yours if you want.  I'm sure others like different things.

    To properly answer this question, you must first understand the intent, or the problem your designer is trying to solve.

    In some cases having classes at all is poor design. All design is basically judged around the objective that is trying to be solved. For example, if you want clearly defined roles, and do not want your player base spending too much time getting lost in skills, a class based system is probably the right choice. If you want a game with more freedom, in which roles are not defined, then you probably shouldn't have classes. Or at most, should have a loose class system (perhaps multi-classing, perhaps shared skills, etc.)

    This is such a generalized question that you cannot properly answer it without being more specific. It's like asking 'what is good game design?' or 'what is good art?' or 'what is the best diet?' etc. etc. etc. There are too many contributing factors to discount them all on such a question.

  • JaedorJaedor Member UncommonPosts: 1,173

    I like the class design in today's Rift.

    Four official classes, each with around 10 'souls' or trees of skills. You combine three souls to create a build or spec, and acquire more points as you level up, gradually becoming more powerful. Every class has at least one pet soul, tanking soul, healing soul, etc. A re-spec is cheap, or you can just buy another build slot (you can have up to 20!).


    This means you can make a spellcasting warrior or a tanking mage or a healing rogue. On your cleric, you might have a tanking build, two kinds of healing builds (tank and raid), a single target dps build, an aoe dps build and a high-HP build for soloing group content. Then swap between them on the fly for whatever content you are tackling.


    At the end of the day, the player feels like they have a lot of options and control over how they want to play.

  • Flyte27Flyte27 Member RarePosts: 4,574
    Originally posted by aesperus
    Originally posted by Flyte27

    What is good class design?

    **snip**

    At any rate those are my ideas.  Share yours if you want.  I'm sure others like different things.

    To properly answer this question, you must first understand the intent, or the problem your designer is trying to solve.

    In some cases having classes at all is poor design. All design is basically judged around the objective that is trying to be solved. For example, if you want clearly defined roles, and do not want your player base spending too much time getting lost in skills, a class based system is probably the right choice. If you want a game with more freedom, in which roles are not defined, then you probably shouldn't have classes. Or at most, should have a loose class system (perhaps multi-classing, perhaps shared skills, etc.)

    This is such a generalized question that you cannot properly answer it without being more specific. It's like asking 'what is good game design?' or 'what is good art?' or 'what is the best diet?' etc. etc. etc. There are too many contributing factors to discount them all on such a question.

    Good point though that is why I have been arguing that perhaps developers are heading down the wrong path in terms of how they design the classes.  I am mostly posing this question because I tried to sit down and come up with classes I liked and too much focus ended up being on weather then classes were balanced and not enough on weather the classes had a fun place in the world rich with lore.  I think this is an important piece of the puzzle that is missing.  I don't believe that people who designed D&D originally were sitting around wondering what would be balanced in groups and raids.  They just created the world, created the lore, and did what was fun.  Perhaps this is what we should get back to instead of having games that are mostly about leveling, looting, and balance.  In the early days of fantasy I believe it was more about the story.  Now I believe it is more about the mini games of what class is the strongest or who has the best loot.  Might as well just skip right to that part and forget the actual premise and reason fantasy games were created in the first place.

  • aesperusaesperus Member UncommonPosts: 5,135
    Originally posted by Flyte27
    Originally posted by Randayn
    Originally posted by Flyte27

    I'd say the lore, background part should be more focused on the race you choose to play.  classes are nothing more than a recreation of what already exists in the real world...doctors = healers, tanks = tanks, infantry = soldier/warrior, artillary = archer/huntard and that dude playing table top D&D = mage.  so really there will be minimal backgrounds based on race (once again) for each different type of tank soldier (grunt, shinobi, stormtrooper), but that's all Id expect.

    I would disagree with that.  Race should be tied to the world, but so should the class.  The class defines what type of person your character is.  If you chose to be a Ranger you would likely be spending a lot of time alone in the woods and helping lost travelers.  If you chose to be a Necromancer again it would likely be a life of being solitary as people wouldn't accept your evil ideas in most of the good societies that exist in game.  If you were a Wizard you life would be to strive for knowledge of magic and find lost spells hidden in remote corners of the world.  If you were a fighter you would likely be a mercenary or soldier for hire.  If you were a rogue you would be a thief, treasure hunter, or bandit of some sort.  The point being that each class is heavily tied in with the world that was created in some way.  Each has a different role to play that is described in detail.  Society treats each differently depending on their class and race.  Each acts differently as well depending on their race and class.

    The thing is, this depends 110% on the game being made.

    It's neat to think about lore, and to try and be as accurate to lore as possible. But you also need to think about factors like 'fun', like 'balance', not to mention whether or not certain mechanics will actually work as you want them to.

    With the examples you gave, you're essentially forcing your players into your own stereo-types or prejudices. While it is good to have your classes grounded within your game world, you do not need to do it so rigidly. Having flexibility is a good thing. Many people like rangers, but that does not mean they all want to be hermit loners who befriend squirrels. Perhaps some are merely just hunters, that enjoy tracking down prey and honing their archery & survival skills.

    This applies to any class as well. Look at necromancers. There is more to necromancy than just raising corpses. Depending on what lore you use, it isn't always strictly evil either. Maybe someone is a necromancer who speaks to the dead, and enlists the help of spirits, instead of necessarily binding them against their will, or forcing them into constructs. Such a person would be much more welcome around others, and even the traditionally evil kind would be able to find peers if they wanted. Furthermore it is extremely rare to have people that are pure evil or pure good in a world. There are always underlying motivations, circumstances, and commitments that force people to do things we may deem unsettling.

    Point being, you may have your own mental utopia of how things should be. However, when you are creating a game, you are creating something that will take on a life of its own. Things will not work out 100% as you had planned. The more you try and force people into those idealized roles, the more 'fun' you tend to sap out of your own game.

  • Flyte27Flyte27 Member RarePosts: 4,574
    Originally posted by aesperus
    Originally posted by Flyte27
    Originally posted by Randayn
    Originally posted by Flyte27

    I'd say the lore, background part should be more focused on the race you choose to play.  classes are nothing more than a recreation of what already exists in the real world...doctors = healers, tanks = tanks, infantry = soldier/warrior, artillary = archer/huntard and that dude playing table top D&D = mage.  so really there will be minimal backgrounds based on race (once again) for each different type of tank soldier (grunt, shinobi, stormtrooper), but that's all Id expect.

    I would disagree with that.  Race should be tied to the world, but so should the class.  The class defines what type of person your character is.  If you chose to be a Ranger you would likely be spending a lot of time alone in the woods and helping lost travelers.  If you chose to be a Necromancer again it would likely be a life of being solitary as people wouldn't accept your evil ideas in most of the good societies that exist in game.  If you were a Wizard you life would be to strive for knowledge of magic and find lost spells hidden in remote corners of the world.  If you were a fighter you would likely be a mercenary or soldier for hire.  If you were a rogue you would be a thief, treasure hunter, or bandit of some sort.  The point being that each class is heavily tied in with the world that was created in some way.  Each has a different role to play that is described in detail.  Society treats each differently depending on their class and race.  Each acts differently as well depending on their race and class.

    The thing is, this depends 110% on the game being made.

    It's neat to think about lore, and to try and be as accurate to lore as possible. But you also need to think about factors like 'fun', like 'balance', not to mention whether or not certain mechanics will actually work as you want them to.

    With the examples you gave, you're essentially forcing your players into your own stereo-types or prejudices. While it is good to have your classes grounded within your game world, you do not need to do it so rigidly. Having flexibility is a good thing. Many people like rangers, but that does not mean they all want to be hermit loners who befriend squirrels. Perhaps some are merely just hunters, that enjoy tracking down prey and honing their archery & survival skills.

    This applies to any class as well. Look at necromancers. There is more to necromancy than just raising corpses. Depending on what lore you use, it isn't always strictly evil either. Maybe someone is a necromancer who speaks to the dead, and enlists the help of spirits, instead of necessarily binding them against their will, or forcing them into constructs. Such a person would be much more welcome around others, and even the traditionally evil kind would be able to find peers if they wanted. Furthermore it is extremely rare to have people that are pure evil or pure good in a world. There are always underlying motivations, circumstances, and commitments that force people to do things we may deem unsettling.

    Point being, you may have your own mental utopia of how things should be. However, when you are creating a game, you are creating something that will take on a life of its own. Things will not work out 100% as you had planned. The more you try and force people into those idealized roles, the more 'fun' you tend to sap out of your own game.

    Good points, but I will say that the majority of x class will usually follow x way that most Rangers live.  Sure some might do something different, but likely this would be the rare individual.  Likely individuals you would want to keep unique like drizzt in order to make things more fun and interesting.  If everyone is now able to be drizzt then drizzt has lost his meaning in the world.  This is better reserved for NPCs in most cases IMO.  In modern times I would say most ideas would be accepted by society, but in medieval times there was little in the way of communication and societies were vastly separated.  Good and Evil was fairly resolute in their eyes.  We are also talking about a society where there are deities that are devoted to good and evil.  Something that doesn't exist in the real world at all.  With that in mind it's hard to say that there can be no absolute good and evil in game.  I would consider Necromancers to be evil in any game I played (by general rule).  They would at the very least shunned by most of society (even if they were trying to do good things for some weird reason (usually they would worship some type of evil god as a general rule)). 

  • aesperusaesperus Member UncommonPosts: 5,135
    Originally posted by Flyte27
    Originally posted by aesperus
    Originally posted by Flyte27

    What is good class design?

    **snip**

    At any rate those are my ideas.  Share yours if you want.  I'm sure others like different things.

    To properly answer this question, you must first understand the intent, or the problem your designer is trying to solve.

    In some cases having classes at all is poor design. All design is basically judged around the objective that is trying to be solved. For example, if you want clearly defined roles, and do not want your player base spending too much time getting lost in skills, a class based system is probably the right choice. If you want a game with more freedom, in which roles are not defined, then you probably shouldn't have classes. Or at most, should have a loose class system (perhaps multi-classing, perhaps shared skills, etc.)

    This is such a generalized question that you cannot properly answer it without being more specific. It's like asking 'what is good game design?' or 'what is good art?' or 'what is the best diet?' etc. etc. etc. There are too many contributing factors to discount them all on such a question.

    Good point though that is why I have been arguing that perhaps developers are heading down the wrong path in terms of how they design the classes.  I am mostly posing this question because I tried to sit down and come up with classes I liked and too much focus ended up being on weather then classes were balanced and not enough on weather the classes had a fun place in the world rich with lore.  I think this is an important piece of the puzzle that is missing.  I don't believe that people who designed D&D originally were sitting around wondering what would be balanced in groups and raids.  They just created the world, created the lore, and did what was fun.  Perhaps this is what we should get back to instead of having games that are mostly about leveling, looting, and balance.  In the early days of fantasy I believe it was more about the story.  Now I believe it is more about the mini games of what class is the strongest or who has the best loot.  Might as well just skip right to that part and forget the actual premise and reason fantasy games were created in the first place.

    Originally no, they didn't. However if you notice with each new addition they've been working on fixing those mistakes. Furthermore, the balance of D&D is typically different from that of other games. D&D is based around telling a story w/ friends. As such the balance doesn't really have to be as strict, as long as there aren't things that completely break the story. Problem is, in the older editions of D&D there were abilities that broke the game so to speak. Some DMs don't like their players using certain abilities, or invent rules to prohibit certain things from interfering. To put it simply, there is a sort of 'gentleman's agreement' in many cases.

    This works fine, up to a point, until actual competition & consequence comes into play. As soon as you have other players, strangers, that can dictate how you play (or prevent you from playing how you want to play), balance becomes way more important.

    To put a new perspective on things. If I'm going to be designing classes (i've already determined that my game needs classes, and that it's the right choice to go w/ them), I start by thinking of the type of playstyles I want within a game. What kind of boss fights am I thinking of having, are my classes going to be 100% combat oriented, or do I want them to have other roles within the game world (maybe wizards are needed for enchanting, discovering magical artifacts, etc.). From there I can start to get a rough idea of the types of roles that will be needed. (backline, frontline, support, utilities, damage types) etc. I never like the idea of having a class just to have one. They should always feel like they serve a purpose. Like they have a place, and make sense in the world. Every class should also have tradeoffs. Certain things they excel at, and certain things they don't. Imho, a certain degree of overlap is important. I.E. A ranger (archer) and a wizard, should both be able to handle backline tasks. Not just damage, but some degree of battlefield control. Maybe the archer handles single targets better, while the mage can handle multiple (or visa versa). Or maybe they have more synergetic relationship and they both boost each others combat abilities significantly more than if u were to stick w/ one or the other.

    The main problem w/ class mechanics today, is that combat mechanics (in most games) are far too simplistic to really justify having interesting class mechanics. Nearly everyone is hung up on the holy trinity. Most people are stuck thinking about any form of combat in terms of 'dps, healing, and aggro / tanking'. This severely limits what classes can actually offer to a game. Because unless you want a horribly imbalanced game, everything 'interesting' about a class has to essentially be superficial. If any one class outperforms another by too much, you break your game, or at least the one class. If you start by having game mechanics that involve more than just damage, threat, and healing, you can in-turn have much deeper class design.

    -I.E. you can have different damage types, and bosses that force you to play around those cleverly. Mechanics that need to be avoided or controlled in some way. Weaknesses / loopholes in creature's defenses that can be exploited with certain skill types (maybe you need to make a creature's bones brittle so you can then shatter them and actually hurt it). etc. etc.

    Sorry for the wall of text, but I could probably right a book about this topic if I wanted to.

  • aesperusaesperus Member UncommonPosts: 5,135
    Originally posted by Flyte27
    Originally posted by aesperus

    Good points, but I will say that the majority of x class will usually follow x way that most Rangers live.  Sure some might do something different, but likely this would be the rare individual.  Likely individuals you would want to keep unique like drizzt in order to make things more fun and interesting.  If everyone is now able to be drizzt then drizzt has lost his meaning in the world.  This is better reserved for NPCs in most cases IMO.  In modern times I would say most ideas would be accepted by society, but in medieval times there was little in the way of communication and societies were vastly separated.  Good and Evil was fairly resolute in their eyes.  We are also talking about a society where there are deities that are devoted to good and evil.  Something that doesn't exist in the real world at all.  With that in mind it's hard to say that there can be no absolute good and evil in game.  I would consider Necromancers to be evil in any game I played (by general rule).  They would at the very least shunned by most of society (even if they were trying to do good things for some weird reason (usually they would worship some type of evil god as a general rule)). 

    That should be left up to the player. If you're lore is rich enough, and there is enough class customization (not just in terms of abilities / stats, but in terms of lore / titles / looks / etc.) The player base will sort itself out to some degree. The average rangers will all kind of look like, and hang out in the same areas, while the outliers will look different, and hang out in their own areas.

    But the last thing you want to do, in an MMO, is to force players to NOT interact with others. That's one of the fastest ways to kill a multiplayer game. Remember, at the end of the day, if it's not fun, no one will play it. That said, one of the exceptions to this (that can kind of work, but it's tricky) are command-based classes. Classes that command / guide other players, and help them in some way.

    These classes can be more isolated (either in a command chair, a throne, up in a mage's tower, etc.). Because it does make sense to have some kind of isolated vantage point in which a person can see the battlefield, so they can make informed decisions in real time. However, this is not to say that command-based classes should always be forced into isolation, just that mechanically this makes sense during times of battle / war.

    Most players play these types of games to have fun w/ others. Even if it sounds good lore wise, removing that is pretty much always a bad move.

  • Loke666Loke666 Member EpicPosts: 21,441
    Originally posted by Flyte27

    I understand your logic, but it again begs the question of what is the basis for creating classes?  Should classes be created solely with the mind of group, raid, solo ability or should they be made to be fun in terms of lore, background, and what their role is (store wise) in the game world.  I agree most people don't like creating their own classes.  It can be more daunting then it at first seems once you start trying to create them.  When I start thinking about creating classes I end up trying to make sure every class has a counter and balance.  This is probably a pretty poor way to create a class though as it should be more based on an idea of what their role is in the world then if they are good x or y situation.

    It depends on the game.

    If combat is the most important aspect of the game then you should create your classes around that. First you create a number of very different fighting techniques, then turn them into classes. Each class must work in all parts of the gameor you are doing something wrong.

    If you for an instance can't make your tank classes (in a trinity system) work as well in PvP as in PvE you are making a huge misstake and either you need to rethink the classes, the group mechanics or you should skip the PvP altogether and focus on the stuff that works.

    You can make a rock, scissor paper types of combat if you want but the drawback with that is that it really just work in PvP and if PvE is a big part of the game it is very hard to also get the class balanced there.

    You can really either start with the classes and mechanics and then make the content specifically for them or you could customize classes that works with the content instead but you must consider that they have to work perfect together.

    You can't have classes that never will get invited for raids or dungeons because they only work well for soloing or PvP, then the core of the game is broken and people will need many different characters to be able to do all content.

    Making the lore to fit a class is the easiest part and you should do that after you got the class it's mechanics.

    And don't forget that you need the classes to work together, no matter if you use a trinity group mechanics or something else. The players needs to work together to win hard encounters. Don't make one or a 2 classes a must while the rest of them can easily be changed for eachother or it will be very hard for many players to find a group.

    Personally do I think that if you have playstyles like PvP and hard PvE (like raids and hard dungeons) you will need to make those combat styles more similar to eachothers then they usually are. You mobs needs to react closer to humans in that case if both those playstyles should be equally fun and you want your players to actually play all the content. Usually people play one or the other. And you actually need to put in about the same amount of work in both, just adding PvP servers to a PvE focused game will just mess things up for you (or the other way around).

    That is however just my opinion but any type of content you add to a game should be just as fun and well done as any other content or you are just wasting your games precious resources. Just adding a simple crafting system a single employee spent a month on will not make the gamebetter, it will just add stuff to the game that isn't good.

    It is far better to have fewer but better made types of content in a game just like it is better to have 6 great and fun diverse classes then 20 badly done similar classes.

  • Loke666Loke666 Member EpicPosts: 21,441
    Originally posted by Flyte27
    Originally posted by Randayn

    I'd say the lore, background part should be more focused on the race you choose to play.  classes are nothing more than a recreation of what already exists in the real world...doctors = healers, tanks = tanks, infantry = soldier/warrior, artillary = archer/huntard and that dude playing table top D&D = mage.  so really there will be minimal backgrounds based on race (once again) for each different type of tank soldier (grunt, shinobi, stormtrooper), but that's all Id expect.

    I would disagree with that.  Race should be tied to the world, but so should the class.  The class defines what type of person your character is.  If you chose to be a Ranger you would likely be spending a lot of time alone in the woods and helping lost travelers.  If you chose to be a Necromancer again it would likely be a life of being solitary as people wouldn't accept your evil ideas in most of the good societies that exist in game.  If you were a Wizard you life would be to strive for knowledge of magic and find lost spells hidden in remote corners of the world.  If you were a fighter you would likely be a mercenary or soldier for hire.  If you were a rogue you would be a thief, treasure hunter, or bandit of some sort.  The point being that each class is heavily tied in with the world that was created in some way.  Each has a different role to play that is described in detail.  Society treats each differently depending on their class and race.  Each acts differently as well depending on their race and class.

    It really depnds on the type of game you are making but having lore that specifically talks about your class is good, you are a tiefling thief as example and both of those things should be important for your character. One of the things are something you are born to, the other is usually a choice.

    In some games it is more important then in others though, if you in a pirate game is a gunner that might be less important than someone born with magical abilities that would impact both how the character feel about themselves and how others see them.

    You clas could even impact how the character looks at the world and how the world looks at them in the game. The tavern might become silent the moment that necro walk into it because the patrons fear him while certain people might off your theif certain things because she belongs to the underworld.

    But it all depends on what type of game it is, a sandbox games doesn't need as much class lore since the players there should create more of the lore themselves.

  • Flyte27Flyte27 Member RarePosts: 4,574
    Originally posted by Loke666
    Originally posted by Flyte27
    Originally posted by Randayn

    I'd say the lore, background part should be more focused on the race you choose to play.  classes are nothing more than a recreation of what already exists in the real world...doctors = healers, tanks = tanks, infantry = soldier/warrior, artillary = archer/huntard and that dude playing table top D&D = mage.  so really there will be minimal backgrounds based on race (once again) for each different type of tank soldier (grunt, shinobi, stormtrooper), but that's all Id expect.

    I would disagree with that.  Race should be tied to the world, but so should the class.  The class defines what type of person your character is.  If you chose to be a Ranger you would likely be spending a lot of time alone in the woods and helping lost travelers.  If you chose to be a Necromancer again it would likely be a life of being solitary as people wouldn't accept your evil ideas in most of the good societies that exist in game.  If you were a Wizard you life would be to strive for knowledge of magic and find lost spells hidden in remote corners of the world.  If you were a fighter you would likely be a mercenary or soldier for hire.  If you were a rogue you would be a thief, treasure hunter, or bandit of some sort.  The point being that each class is heavily tied in with the world that was created in some way.  Each has a different role to play that is described in detail.  Society treats each differently depending on their class and race.  Each acts differently as well depending on their race and class.

    It really depnds on the type of game you are making but having lore that specifically talks about your class is good, you are a tiefling thief as example and both of those things should be important for your character. One of the things are something you are born to, the other is usually a choice.

    In some games it is more important then in others though, if you in a pirate game is a gunner that might be less important than someone born with magical abilities that would impact both how the character feel about themselves and how others see them.

    You clas could even impact how the character looks at the world and how the world looks at them in the game. The tavern might become silent the moment that necro walk into it because the patrons fear him while certain people might off your theif certain things because she belongs to the underworld.

    But it all depends on what type of game it is, a sandbox games doesn't need as much class lore since the players there should create more of the lore themselves.

    I'm going to reply to both yours and aesperus's posts together.  As you pointed out you are born with your race, but your class is a choice.  You choose your class based on what role you want to play in game.  When I say role I mean more your place in the game world then are you going to be a tank, dps, healer, etc.  That may be part of your role, but your role is more defined by what your class does in game.  That may be any variety of different things, but likely it is something that will be fairly clearly defined and told to you at the start of the game when you are selected a class to play as.  I also feel that it is important to have these things defined in stone to an extent to give the world more character.  Each race and class will be predefined by what it believes as a whole in the culture.  Without this it has no identity short of healer or human with pointy ears.  Basically you are told what each race and class believes / does primarily at the start of the game and you choose depending on how you want to play.  You don't choose something and then say well I don't like the description of the race, but I like pointy ears so I'm going to choose this and play this way.  IMO that defeats the purpose of making these races and classes in the first place and you are left with just managing a bunch of skills, abilities, and loot like you have in most MMOs now.

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