Hope everyone has had or is having a happy holiday. I have the heebee-jeebees... I got bite marks last weekend, and subsiquently hid in my bathtub for sleeping the past week. I have finally caught a little vermin in a ziplock bag. Hopefully now the Landlord will hire exterminators like I asked a week ago. Damn this ancient apartment building, it was only a matter of time before a neighbour's bedbugs made it to me.
Anyway. I'd like to revisit my "soft class" form of classless character building... with VISUAL AIDES.
As I mentioned about a month ago, the starter race I have in mind lets you choose between 9 divisions for your character's mana/energy. These are in a sense "classes" and are relevant to the lore of the stories I've been slowly working on. This initial choice pushes someone toward either melee (physical energy) or caster (mana) as a dominant form. I'm going focus more on the caster-types but I may deal with the melee ideas again on my next post.
Depending on what additional races are added for people to unlock/earn most would fall somewhere on this same scale... with some limitations that the main race does not have, and some perks that likewise are absent from the starter race. This makes the additional races jsut "perks" and not something any given player needs to acquire for alts.
For each bar of mana that a character has, they can assign an element to it... this doesn't limit the mana in that bar for use toward spells of that element but it does affect the types of spells that can be cast overall. Meaning that for "class" one who only has one bar of mana, they can only spec one element... and as such can only use very low cost and low level spells for that element. These would be like warriors who can do a basic weapons buff on their main weapon, or who may have an inate resistance to that given magic type.
The opposite extreme is type nine, who can either stack many of the same element and thus access higher level spells of that type, or can diversify and thus have a more versatile set of options even though they may not be able to cast the highest grade spell of all those elements. Depending how many you need though, they may be able to "max out" an element and still have some extra room for side elements. That would need number crunching. I think you'd need to have at least 5 of a given element in order to use their highest ranking spell... since type 5 and higher are seen as the more "caster" types and also so that even type 9 cannot max out more than one element.
Example elements I'm weighing in on are: Air, Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, Light, and Dark, as well as two which are "class" specific due to lore elements. One of those special elements is tied to type 4, and one is tied to types 8 and 9, which I'll not bother getting into the details of at this time.
I've also considered having a cast done using one element cause a cool down on a player's spells from the element that is weak to the first element. So: casting a FIRE spell causes a short cool down on all your WOOD element spells. This may be an interesting mechanic to make casting a more mentally challenging role. I sometimes worry that casters are too OP the way I have them planned. Even if they DO get winded easily by running around using up their green physical energy bar.
If used I'd say Light and Dark mutually cause one another cool downs, representing Yang and Yin respectively, so the caster has trouble switching aspects too quickly. Loosely I'd say the main elements would arrange thus: Water>Fire>Wood>Earth>Air>Water
The two restricted elements, unnamed, would not cause cool downs... as they're elementally neutral. Light/Dark would not interfere with the 5 main elements either... in many instances they blend for combination spells: Wood+Dark making poison effects, for example. I think if dual element spells are made with conflicting elements they would register as the second element in the sequence...
"Root bind" would be wood+earth but register as "earth" and affect air spells.
"Sandstorm" would be earth+air but register as "air" thus causing a cool down on water spells.
Both these examples would require the caster to have both the needed elements slotted, though.
I can see how certain combinations of elements would be favoured over others... PvP casters would likely focus on Fire and Earth... the first for high damage spells, the second for resilliance. They may throw in Light for flash heals and holy damage... and those three elements do not interfere with one another to cause additional cool downs. Alternatively, healer-types would probably most often combine Water for mana regeneration boosts, Wood and Light for healing, with light also giving some offensive spells... again none of those three interfere with each other and would esstentially re-create the trinity's healer class.
Certainly seems like a plausible way of dealing with casters. Rather free form... and allows people to build their characters either to simulate known classes they've played and enjoyed, or to forge something entirely new for themselves.