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MMORPG.com Staff Blog

The staff of MMORPG.com gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

Author: staffblog

Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

News Class Ideas

Posted by garrett Monday November 30 2009 at 7:13PM
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As I am working away tonight at MMORPG.com, I started to think about class design in games and how we have stuck with the same format since pretty much First Edition D&D. Tank, Healer, DPS, Caster, Ranged, and maybe Hybrid can now directly describe almost every class in class based MMOs. I wanted to ask why this format has not changed in almost 30 years?

We have seen the basic class format remain in fantasy gaming for almost two generations now, with no real changes on the horizon. Will we be forced into this format for an eternity? 

I am not talking about games like Ultima, Fallen Earth, or Earthrise here. I am specifically talking about games that work on a class system. My question is, does a party have any other needs besides aggro management, damage, healing, or buffs?

I am not sure what the answer is here. I look back on Dark Age of Camelot and think about all the classes that game offered. Though each one fell into this archtype it was the way the classes were presented that made them cool. I had a Berserker, he had one major ability, to go Berserk...yet somehow the class was fun and kept me playing for a long time. Perhaps presenting players with a variety outside the box will get them interested in something else.

WoW is centered around the raid mentality which means everyone must fill one of the roles. Other MMOs both before and after have followed suit and now remain in the same format.

I would love to see an MMO adopt a system similar to AD&D 3.5. Where players can both multi-class and have some side classes that can take to make their character into exactly what they want. From what we saw at E3, Trion's Heroes of Tellara looks to follow a model like this one. It will be interesting to see how they can set things up.

AD&D got much more fun when they gave players alternatives to their core classes. Perhaps MMOs can take another note from the old school book and follow suit.

Hyanmen writes:

Like, uhh, having a main class and then subclass to go along with it, which wouldn't be as strong as the main class but offer abilities and spells that you wouldn't get otherwise?

Multiclassing sounds interesting but it might make the characters a bit broken, if both classes are just as strong? Would there be any idea to single-class in that kind of game?

Mon Nov 30 2009 7:39PM Report
Astrialla writes:

Such a catch 22 this class thing.  If you stay with the basic format of quests/grinding/instances/raids as the primary means of leveling and participating in endgame content, then you'll need balanced classes. 

Or - if that does not work for ya you change the value system of the game as a whole - by that I mean that advancement occurs when things are killed - and then you could make different classes.  

Change the QGIR structure of the game and classes open up.  Class the value system or what advances people through the game and classes open up.  Fun.

Tue Dec 01 2009 1:53AM Report
StuBidasoe writes:

Having alternative class roles is great in theory or even for solo play but won't work in raids that demand minmaxing.  If your core class is healing and you dps while healing it will be viewed by most players as wasting mana (or whatever mechanic feeds your class) on dps. 

I agree with a lot of what you're saying.  I'd love to see class utility brought back to PvE.  Sadly I don't see it happening as long as minmaxing continues to be the flavor of most raiding.

Tue Dec 01 2009 12:18PM Report
pojung writes:

A typo in the title? Not to sound petty but that's really all I could think about while reading. =(

That being said, and not to be a Negative Nancy, but this topic I feel has been ripped to shreds in plenty of threads on these very forums.

Tue Dec 01 2009 3:46PM Report
TJKazmark writes:

 In regards to fantasy class archetypes, I think the reason it hasn't changed is due to it being a stable core reference. We need to be able to put a class in a recognizable role.

 That being said, however, and this refers to your Beserker comment, the way a class is presented is extremely important. Sure, you may be a dps alongside other dps classes, but the way a class plays will determine which one you choose. Coming up with innovative ways to flesh out a class in one of the archetypes, I feel, is the challenge being faced.

Wed Dec 02 2009 9:39AM Report
jdram14 writes:

MMORPGs are a consumer-driven industry. This means that developers get paid for their work, which is fantastic, but it also has its fair share of pitfalls.

One of such pitfalls is that nine times out of ten, innovation is not profitable.

Without getting too deep into game mechanics and theory, let’s just consider this situation. Suppose a developer created a class system that was entirely different, even contradictory to the Holy Trinity or similar class systems. The first thing to recognize is that players scream for innovation to “mix things up.” The second thing to recognize is that players don’t actually know what they want.

Given the situation, players can react one of three ways. They can either:

A) Take an innovative system and mould it forcefully into the classic class system. People tend to go with what they know, so this is the most likely thing to happen first.

B) If option A fails, will adapt to the new system and learn to use it. Happiness ensues.

C) If option B fails – that is, players are unsatisfied with the system – they will cry and complain because their melee class doesn’t tank well, or their caster class can’t DPS for biscuits. The players abandon the game and return to the world they are comfortable with.

Unfortunately, players are a stubborn sort of people, so the little change over the past 30 years isn’t very surprising. I won’t say that things can’t change, but it will certainly happen in baby steps.

Take Aion for example. Generally, people hate Gladiators, claiming DPS is better dished out through a caster class. From the reaction I saw in-game, it seems people have warmed up to Gladiators just a tad. This makes me happy, because I like playing the melee DPS class. That’s how I rolled in GW because I enjoyed it. Of course, I was persecuted for it. PUGs wanted a tank, and when the warrior wasn’t decked out for absorbing as much damage as possible, the flaming began.

But like I said, it’s not that things can’t change, they just have to happen slowly enough to prevent our frog-like players from noticing the rising temperature in the boiling pot.

Thu Dec 03 2009 3:27AM Report
Trucidation writes:

MUDs have managed multiclassing, and some of them even do a pretty good job of it. The problem I see is designers who don't bother to learn from past games, as well as laziness in design (e.g. palette-swapping versions of the same monster) which should have been ditched when we left the 8-bit era.

Thu Dec 03 2009 6:52AM Report
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Fri Jan 08 2010 12:27AM Report
chinalimit writes:

I seldom play games but I like CS. The class need to be planned and designed for different students

Fri Feb 05 2010 12:44AM Report
chinalimit writes:

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Fri Feb 05 2010 12:47AM Report

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