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Versatility - A major key to success

ZindaihasZindaihas Member UncommonPosts: 3,662

When I think about what it takes to make an MMORPG fun to play, what makes sitting at a computer for hours on end playing an online game and not get bored, one of the first thoughts that comes to mind is variety; the ability to mix things up so you're not doing the same thing over and over.  And this is probably one of the greatest challenges devs have to overcome.  How do you make it multi-dimensional?  And the more dimensions the better.

When I was in college, I took a writing fiction course and our instructor impressed upon us that it was the characters that drove the story.  And basically, there are two types of characters - flat and round.  Flat characters are one-dimensional, they have very little substance; in other words, they're boring.  Round characters, on the other hand, are full of personality, they have multi-faceted personalities; in other words. they're interesting.

An MMORPG, like a story, is a body or work or a form of art.  And as such, its characters need to be round and not flat.  Thinking back on my days of playing EQ, I remember trying to make my own character as "round" or as possible.  That's probably one of the reasons I chose to play a hybrid class (a ranger).  And I tried to get the maximum versatility out of my character.  That's why I would sometimes fight hand-to-hand (most of the time actually). But sometimes I tried to attack at a distance using my trusty bow (mostly on raids) and sometimes I would sit back and cast spells (either to deal damage or to heal group mates).

Even the specialty classes can by multi-dimensional with a little imagination.  I'll never forget this one time fighting in the Dreadlands of Kunark.  We were doing our routine thing, pulling and killing, when our enchanter decided he wanted to mix things up a bit.  So he charmed a Drolvarg and got it to fight for us.  He was the first enchanter I grouped with who did this, and I was in my mid-forties (level wise) at that point.  I thought that was pretty cool.  Up until then I figured enchanters had two primary functions - mezzing and mana regen.  It added another dimension to the enchanter class that I was unaware of.

That's why mining and crafting are so important even though not everyone chooses to do them.

So anyway, I don't know if this an interesting topic or not, and it may have been addressed before, but I thought I'd add my two cents on the subject.

blueturtle13Amathe

Comments

  • AmatheAmathe Member LegendaryPosts: 7,629
    Zindaihas said:

    Thinking back on my days of playing EQ, I remember trying to make my own character as "round" or as possible.  That's probably one of the reasons I chose to play a hybrid class (a ranger).  And I tried to get the maximum versatility out of my character.  
    I can relate to this.

    EQ1, EQ2, SWG, SWTOR, GW, GW2 CoH, CoV, FFXI, WoW, CO, War,TSW and a slew of free trials and beta tests

  • Hawkaya399Hawkaya399 Member UncommonPosts: 599
    edited July 2018
    This topic is important to me. I also played a ranger in early EQ. Actually I played a ranger up to level 85 over many years. I could never stay long with the non-casters because I got bored. I discovered over time I also liked the enchanter. I played a paladin to 65. On p1999--until recently--I was playing a shadowknight.

    The thing I've learned is not everybody is like this. And it's not easy to figure out how it all comes together. The result has been devs catoring to the simplest answers. They're reducing the risks to a minimum--err appealing to common denominators.

    I also like deep character development and skill-based systems. I want to think. Yet most players seem to not. Sid Meier sums it up best to describe most people when he said "Don't give me too many choices. I don't want to make the game to have fun." I don't agree with Sid. But my experience has been most players do. They almost always will say the systems I like are overly and unnecessarily complicated. They make a distinction between complex and complicated. Complex is good. Complicated is bad. Suffice to say I disagree again because what matters to me is whether I'm having fun.

    I can usually forgive a lot of things if a game plays hard. If I die a lot then it usually qualifies. I also like "hands on" interaction. I don't like automatic things.

    Sorry I can't expand more on the versatility thing. I've been jaded by all these years. I've discussed this in other forums. I have to go to work now.
  • blueturtle13blueturtle13 Member LegendaryPosts: 12,696
    Versatility as it is being talked about here (classes) is a tricky thing. A be everything kind of class can be fun to play (and solo) but requires a deep level of policing to make sure it is not OP. 
    I prefer a game have defined role classes then add skills chosen by the player to create a character of your own. I like the way ESO does it. Coming from an AC and not a EQ background I prefer a skill based system over a class system but I do like defined roles. Each person knows their role and has a character suited for that purpose. 

    거북이는 목을 내밀 때 안 움직입니다












  • AlbatroesAlbatroes Member LegendaryPosts: 7,368
    I think what made a game like FFXI so fun for me to play as opposed to say wow in the earlier years was that I had access to every class on a single character, so I had that option to just play whatever I felt like if I had gear for it. Even though games like wow usually have a specialization system, there usually comes a time when things just end up having the same thing with just different visuals, thus usually resulting in the devs taking stuff away from existing classes in order to add a "unique" feel, bolster other specializations, or even just to make a new class (Wow:legion is a prime example of doing all 3 of those things). With this said, I think this is where Rift had the most potential out of most games of its time with regards to a 1:1 ratio game (1 class per character). Essentially there were 4 classes but each had a wide variety in terms of what they did no only compared to other classes but within the structure of the class itself, plus you had the combination system which added future diversity. So, sure the game had 4 classes but what really keeps people engaged is the depth and not the numbers, especially since more games are homogenizing the support role between tanks and healers, leaving just the trinity instead of having more versatility with the cc/support role as a 4th option not just for players but for development as well.
  • svannsvann Member RarePosts: 2,223
    There's only 2 kind of rangers - vertical and horizontal.
  • KajidourdenKajidourden Member EpicPosts: 3,026
    I find that for games that are more old-school that the base class can and should be geared towards doing one thing really well, maybe 2 decently for a hybrid. 

    For everything else there's gear.  This is something modern devs have totally forgotten.  Gear is independent of class and balance.

    You can do all kinds of fun stuff by creating gear sets that for instance make it easier for a warrior to stealth around at the cost of stat penalties to strength and such.  

    Seriously, it's like devs today don't know the difference between a dependent and independent variable and how to utilize them.
  • RhoklawRhoklaw Member LegendaryPosts: 7,412
    Versatility is important if you enjoy soloing. That isn't the focus of Pantheon and while you can solo to some degree, it won't be as beneficial as grouping. As for FFXI, I like the idea they have in place with only having to make one character, but really the only difference between FFXI and WoW is just that, a character versus many ALTs.

    In EQ, you accomplished things easier in a group because the Shaman buffed the group, the Cleric healed the group, the Enchanter increased caster mana regen, the Warrior, Shadowknight or Paladin tanked the mobs and everyone else did damage or assisted in other ways.

    No one was meant to do everything in EQ in order to encourage grouping. You needed a Wizard or Druid for teleportation, a Shaman, Druid or Ranger for SoW, Clerics for best rezzes, Necromancer to get your corpse back or Ranger to find the elusive unique mobs. This is precisely why the community in games like EQ were much more civil, because if you were an asshole, you get blacklisted from groups and that was pretty much your own demise.
    KyleranAmathe

  • blueturtle13blueturtle13 Member LegendaryPosts: 12,696
    Yet there have been and are games that are not like EQ that allow for and promote grouping as well like Asheron’s Call and Project Gorgon. These are more skilled based character growth over class ranked. In my opinion they allow a much more diverse and dynamic community and gameplay experience than a locked class growth system. 

    거북이는 목을 내밀 때 안 움직입니다












  • ZindaihasZindaihas Member UncommonPosts: 3,662
    Rhoklaw said:
    Versatility is important if you enjoy soloing. That isn't the focus of Pantheon and while you can solo to some degree, it won't be as beneficial as grouping. As for FFXI, I like the idea they have in place with only having to make one character, but really the only difference between FFXI and WoW is just that, a character versus many ALTs.

    In EQ, you accomplished things easier in a group because the Shaman buffed the group, the Cleric healed the group, the Enchanter increased caster mana regen, the Warrior, Shadowknight or Paladin tanked the mobs and everyone else did damage or assisted in other ways.

    No one was meant to do everything in EQ in order to encourage grouping. You needed a Wizard or Druid for teleportation, a Shaman, Druid or Ranger for SoW, Clerics for best rezzes, Necromancer to get your corpse back or Ranger to find the elusive unique mobs. This is precisely why the community in games like EQ were much more civil, because if you were an asshole, you get blacklisted from groups and that was pretty much your own demise.


    I thought after I posted this that the subject might be misleading.  What I mean by versatility in this case is not making your character solo-able for most of the game.  In fact, I'm against that.  I'm totally in favor of group oriented games like EQ and what I hope Pantheon will be.

    Rather, what I mean by versatility is being able to bend and stretch your characters to the limit so as to get as much out of them within the confines of their class.  I liked the ranger because he was versatile, but was hardly able to solo at high levels.  He could melee, but not as good as a tank.  He could cast, but not as good as a druid.  So there were sacrifices to his versatility.

    So every class has its limits, but I like the idea of being able to augment your character through various means, mostly through the acquisition of equipment.  Let me give you an example.  In EQ, my ranger could neither increase the speed of his attacks nor slow those of mobs he was fighting.  However, by obtaining my epic weapons I was able to start slowing mobs because one of my swords had that spell as a proc.  And I worked like a dog to complete the Eye-patch of Plunder quest because it was able to cast a haste spell that speeded my attacks.

    That's why I wrote the accompanying thread on potions because I am a big proponent of them temporarily adding to your character's repertoire.

    And to Hawkeye's point about non-casters, I think it's entirely possible to make melee classes well-rounded as well.  As I said, I think a lot of it can be accomplished with magic gear.  Also through secondary skills and even different styles of fighting (for example, offensive posture as opposed to defensive).

    WellspringAmathe

  • Nightbringe1Nightbringe1 Member UncommonPosts: 1,335


    I also like deep character development and skill-based systems. I want to think. Yet most players seem to not. Sid Meier sums it up best to describe most people when he said "Don't give me too many choices. I don't want to make the game to have fun." I don't agree with Sid. But my experience has been most players do. They almost always will say the systems I like are overly and unnecessarily complicated. They make a distinction between complex and complicated. Complex is good. Complicated is bad. Suffice to say I disagree again because what matters to me is whether I'm having fun.
    I love character building in DDO. Building a complex and innovative character and playing it through to completion is always fun.
    Hawkaya399

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

  • MendelMendel Member EpicPosts: 4,229
    Versatility isn't a problem to the game until it reaches the point where the character becomes self-sufficient.  Then, especially for group-based games, it can destroy the game.  A self-sufficient character *may* be able to solo, where all others can't.  A self-sufficient character does not need to interact with others for crafting.  Even if the character is restricted from developing multiple tradeskills, but the player can switch to another character with a different tradeskill to perform the combine.

    Being versatile means the player has a variety of things to do; it doesn't automatically make a character or a player able to function without help.  If you can, you're probably playing a single player game, or a single player game dressed as an MMORPG.  Versatility should never reduce the player's decision to 'All of them'.  That sorta undercuts the importance of making a decision in the first place.



    MadFrenchieKyleranWellspring

    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 37,004
    Zindaihas said:
    Rhoklaw said:
    Versatility is important if you enjoy soloing. That isn't the focus of Pantheon and while you can solo to some degree, it won't be as beneficial as grouping. As for FFXI, I like the idea they have in place with only having to make one character, but really the only difference between FFXI and WoW is just that, a character versus many ALTs.

    In EQ, you accomplished things easier in a group because the Shaman buffed the group, the Cleric healed the group, the Enchanter increased caster mana regen, the Warrior, Shadowknight or Paladin tanked the mobs and everyone else did damage or assisted in other ways.

    No one was meant to do everything in EQ in order to encourage grouping. You needed a Wizard or Druid for teleportation, a Shaman, Druid or Ranger for SoW, Clerics for best rezzes, Necromancer to get your corpse back or Ranger to find the elusive unique mobs. This is precisely why the community in games like EQ were much more civil, because if you were an asshole, you get blacklisted from groups and that was pretty much your own demise.


    I thought after I posted this that the subject might be misleading.  What I mean by versatility in this case is not making your character solo-able for most of the game.  In fact, I'm against that.  I'm totally in favor of group oriented games like EQ and what I hope Pantheon will be.

    Rather, what I mean by versatility is being able to bend and stretch your characters to the limit so as to get as much out of them within the confines of their class.  I liked the ranger because he was versatile, but was hardly able to solo at high levels.  He could melee, but not as good as a tank.  He could cast, but not as good as a druid.  So there were sacrifices to his versatility.

    So every class has its limits, but I like the idea of being able to augment your character through various means, mostly through the acquisition of equipment.  Let me give you an example.  In EQ, my ranger could neither increase the speed of his attacks nor slow those of mobs he was fighting.  However, by obtaining my epic weapons I was able to start slowing mobs because one of my swords had that spell as a proc.  And I worked like a dog to complete the Eye-patch of Plunder quest because it was able to cast a haste spell that speeded my attacks.

    That's why I wrote the accompanying thread on potions because I am a big proponent of them temporarily adding to your character's repertoire.

    And to Hawkeye's point about non-casters, I think it's entirely possible to make melee classes well-rounded as well.  As I said, I think a lot of it can be accomplished with magic gear.  Also through secondary skills and even different styles of fighting (for example, offensive posture as opposed to defensive).

    I loved my DAOC Minstrel for its extreme versatility.  It could stealth and climb keep walls, was the primary speed class, a 2ndary mezzer, had a variety of healing, mana regen songs and you had to learn to "twist like a mother" to play the class well.

    It was great for scouting, quickly running fallen troops back out to the fight, had a couple of nice DDs for quickly catching up to and finishing heavily wounded and fleeing opponents.

    Also had a quick stun for rapid get aways, I often survived most fights while others went down.

    Whilebit was the most versatile class I played in game, its Midgard counterpart was the class I loved the best, especially in PVP.

    It was not unusual for me to be one of the top killers in a fight, which is very uncommon for me.  That class fit me like a glove....

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    Just trying to live long enough to play a new, released MMORPG, playing FO76 at the moment.

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  • ZindaihasZindaihas Member UncommonPosts: 3,662
    Mendel said:
    Versatility isn't a problem to the game until it reaches the point where the character becomes self-sufficient.  Then, especially for group-based games, it can destroy the game.  A self-sufficient character *may* be able to solo, where all others can't.  A self-sufficient character does not need to interact with others for crafting.  Even if the character is restricted from developing multiple tradeskills, but the player can switch to another character with a different tradeskill to perform the combine.

    Being versatile means the player has a variety of things to do; it doesn't automatically make a character or a player able to function without help.  If you can, you're probably playing a single player game, or a single player game dressed as an MMORPG.  Versatility should never reduce the player's decision to 'All of them'.  That sorta undercuts the importance of making a decision in the first place.




    That's a good point.  You could almost look at it as a tug-of-war between players and devs.  It's a player's job to try and make a character as self-sufficient as possible and it's the devs' job to make sure a player can never quite get there.

    The one thing I could never get for my ranger that I wanted most was the ability to stun mobs.  I looked everywhere for an item that would give me that skill, but to no avail.  Perhaps it was by design.

  • Mylan12Mylan12 Member UncommonPosts: 282
    Kyleran said:
    Zindaihas said:
    Rhoklaw said:
    Versatility is important if you enjoy soloing. That isn't the focus of Pantheon and while you can solo to some degree, it won't be as beneficial as grouping. As for FFXI, I like the idea they have in place with only having to make one character, but really the only difference between FFXI and WoW is just that, a character versus many ALTs.

    In EQ, you accomplished things easier in a group because the Shaman buffed the group, the Cleric healed the group, the Enchanter increased caster mana regen, the Warrior, Shadowknight or Paladin tanked the mobs and everyone else did damage or assisted in other ways.

    No one was meant to do everything in EQ in order to encourage grouping. You needed a Wizard or Druid for teleportation, a Shaman, Druid or Ranger for SoW, Clerics for best rezzes, Necromancer to get your corpse back or Ranger to find the elusive unique mobs. This is precisely why the community in games like EQ were much more civil, because if you were an asshole, you get blacklisted from groups and that was pretty much your own demise.


    I thought after I posted this that the subject might be misleading.  What I mean by versatility in this case is not making your character solo-able for most of the game.  In fact, I'm against that.  I'm totally in favor of group oriented games like EQ and what I hope Pantheon will be.

    Rather, what I mean by versatility is being able to bend and stretch your characters to the limit so as to get as much out of them within the confines of their class.  I liked the ranger because he was versatile, but was hardly able to solo at high levels.  He could melee, but not as good as a tank.  He could cast, but not as good as a druid.  So there were sacrifices to his versatility.

    So every class has its limits, but I like the idea of being able to augment your character through various means, mostly through the acquisition of equipment.  Let me give you an example.  In EQ, my ranger could neither increase the speed of his attacks nor slow those of mobs he was fighting.  However, by obtaining my epic weapons I was able to start slowing mobs because one of my swords had that spell as a proc.  And I worked like a dog to complete the Eye-patch of Plunder quest because it was able to cast a haste spell that speeded my attacks.

    That's why I wrote the accompanying thread on potions because I am a big proponent of them temporarily adding to your character's repertoire.

    And to Hawkeye's point about non-casters, I think it's entirely possible to make melee classes well-rounded as well.  As I said, I think a lot of it can be accomplished with magic gear.  Also through secondary skills and even different styles of fighting (for example, offensive posture as opposed to defensive).

    I loved my DAOC Minstrel for its extreme versatility.  It could stealth and climb keep walls, was the primary speed class, a 2ndary mezzer, had a variety of healing, mana regen songs and you had to learn to "twist like a mother" to play the class well.

    It was great for scouting, quickly running fallen troops back out to the fight, had a couple of nice DDs for quickly catching up to and finishing heavily wounded and fleeing opponents.

    Also had a quick stun for rapid get aways, I often survived most fights while others went down.

    Whilebit was the most versatile class I played in game, its Midgard counterpart was the class I loved the best, especially in PVP.

    It was not unusual for me to be one of the top killers in a fight, which is very uncommon for me.  That class fit me like a glove....
    The minstrel was my favorite class in DAoC also as it reminded me of my EQ bard. It was the only character that I did much PvP with in DAoC. Like the bard in EQ, it was sort of a jack of many trades but master of none (except for maybe speed).
  • UngoodUngood Member EpicPosts: 4,809
    I hate to say it, but in games like Panethon, I don't go for unique or special as these kinds of games are way to hard locked into each class needing to be the best at one thing for the party to succeed, as such, I will most likely make a Healer or a Melee, and just follow some established min/max layout.

    Even GW2 fell into this trap after a bit where unless you were doing open world content, you pretty much needed to follow some established build to be viable.
    Egotism is the anesthetic that dullens the pain of stupidity, this is why when I try to beat my head against the stupidity of other people, I only hurt myself.
  • Hawkaya399Hawkaya399 Member UncommonPosts: 599
    edited July 2018
    Zindaihas said:
    Rhoklaw said:
    Versatility is important if you enjoy soloing. That isn't the focus of Pantheon and while you can solo to some degree, it won't be as beneficial as grouping. As for FFXI, I like the idea they have in place with only having to make one character, but really the only difference between FFXI and WoW is just that, a character versus many ALTs.

    In EQ, you accomplished things easier in a group because the Shaman buffed the group, the Cleric healed the group, the Enchanter increased caster mana regen, the Warrior, Shadowknight or Paladin tanked the mobs and everyone else did damage or assisted in other ways.

    No one was meant to do everything in EQ in order to encourage grouping. You needed a Wizard or Druid for teleportation, a Shaman, Druid or Ranger for SoW, Clerics for best rezzes, Necromancer to get your corpse back or Ranger to find the elusive unique mobs. This is precisely why the community in games like EQ were much more civil, because if you were an asshole, you get blacklisted from groups and that was pretty much your own demise.


    I thought after I posted this that the subject might be misleading.  What I mean by versatility in this case is not making your character solo-able for most of the game.  In fact, I'm against that.  I'm totally in favor of group oriented games like EQ and what I hope Pantheon will be.

    Rather, what I mean by versatility is being able to bend and stretch your characters to the limit so as to get as much out of them within the confines of their class.  I liked the ranger because he was versatile, but was hardly able to solo at high levels.  He could melee, but not as good as a tank.  He could cast, but not as good as a druid.  So there were sacrifices to his versatility.

    So every class has its limits, but I like the idea of being able to augment your character through various means, mostly through the acquisition of equipment.  Let me give you an example.  In EQ, my ranger could neither increase the speed of his attacks nor slow those of mobs he was fighting.  However, by obtaining my epic weapons I was able to start slowing mobs because one of my swords had that spell as a proc.  And I worked like a dog to complete the Eye-patch of Plunder quest because it was able to cast a haste spell that speeded my attacks.

    That's why I wrote the accompanying thread on potions because I am a big proponent of them temporarily adding to your character's repertoire.

    And to Hawkeye's point about non-casters, I think it's entirely possible to make melee classes well-rounded as well.  As I said, I think a lot of it can be accomplished with magic gear.  Also through secondary skills and even different styles of fighting (for example, offensive posture as opposed to defensive).


    Rangers COULD solo better than most non-hybrids and non-casters. So the argument he put forward had some merit. Is versatility tied to soloing? A little bit. It's in the word. Being versatile means being able to do many things. One reason--among several--players grouped in EQ was because they couldn't do some things well enough on their own. Eq had primarily 6 (or so) elements in its combat: dps, tanking, buffing/debuffing, healing, crowd control, utility (this is more than most MMO's it seems). Lacking in any of them will encourage a player to group. The combat encounters in EQ were designed around these elements both to give the classes a reason to exist and to control the amount of soloing and grouping.

    But lets  be honest for a moment. EQ didn't give anything away for free. Rangers took a hit to their damage mitigation, hitpoints, spells (they were well behind druids in healing and hot and dot), experience gain (early on) and in other areas. In Kunark, for example, their damage mitigation was further reduced. In groups, rangers were less sought after than the group-dependent classes. And grouping gave the fastest experience and the greatest rewards. Rangers traded some of their grouping power to kill weaker NPCs on their own for less experience. Many would consider this a bad tradeoff. And rangers weren't the best soloers by far. This is unlike strong solo-based MMO's. In them, soloing is nearly equal to grouping, at least until max level. And this is ignoring all of the other differences between early EQ and modern MMO's, like corpse runs, hell levels, death penalty, crowd control, trains, no maps or radar, downtime and so on.

    I don't think versatility is the right word for what you're trying to convey. I think the right word is depth. Depth doesn't have to mean versatility. It could just mean doing a simple backstab requires more focus and training. For example, when I played Quake 2 and attempted to do a difficult jump. At first it was hard to do even the simplest jump (which happens to be a strafe jump). It gets even harder when the environment is less suitable. At its apex, it becomes a circle strafe speed jump in a difficult environment. It's frustratingly hard to master. None of this is about versatility. It's about accomplishing one thing: a jump.

    A  believe this is about having choices in the game. It's not about being able to cheat or do everything. Choices mean tradeoffs. Now I've always preferred skill-based game. Class-based games tend to make me feel like I'm pigeon-holed and railroaded. I like to build things and experiment. Whether it's by mistake or by design, I don't know.

    Here're some jumps in Quake 2 (believe me it's harder than it looks):


    Post edited by Hawkaya399 on
  • Hawkaya399Hawkaya399 Member UncommonPosts: 599
    edited July 2018
    Want to reitterate I'm strongly against having choices which don't have consequences. I'm strongly against giving things away for free. I'm strongly against experience gain increases just for the sake of it--as if gaining levels is more important than how you do it! I'm strong in support of many gameplay choices and deep character development.  Good gameplay is number 1. And sometimes good gameplay is about the experience. Teh experience doesn't always have to be fun to be great. Great stories can have low moments. This is why I support consequences, and yes, some punishment or downtime. A quote comes to mind, "Not all missions have to have a happy ending when the true objective is understanding."

    But we don't all agree what's good gameplay or experience and tha'ts the primary reason we argue, and why there can't be a single best game for everyone. I arrived at this conclusion long ago. Most of the arguments in the forums I've visited lasted far longer than they should have merely because this point is forgotten. Find what makes you happy and spend your time there. Don't dwell on those who disagree. Most of the time it's harmless and  yet we worry about it needlessly.
    Post edited by Hawkaya399 on
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