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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Class based vs freeform skill based

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  twrule

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/15/09
Posts: 1256

8/31/10 11:26:01 PM#21
Originally posted by Shooter-90

Depending on the style, class can be good or bad. One instance being sci-fi or sandbox game where it would be a minimum. 

Fantasy is the only one I can really see where classes really work out very well.

I disagree.  I don't believe it has anything to do with the genre of the IP.  The only real difference I can think of between a skill-based system and a class-based one is that your skills are bundled and chosen for you from character creation with classes while they are not in a skill-based system (and you presumably have access to all the skills in the game with the later system).

All your game's universe needs is a societal structure where people choose to take on certain roles and specializations.  That's pretty much every IP that'll ever be made in which a society with sentient beings is being represented, because it's the nature of human society and it's what we know.

  Cochran1

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/01/06
Posts: 460

"Fish can't sit down cause they got no laps!!"

8/31/10 11:30:58 PM#22

Free-form skill progression could be a great mechanic, but so far from what I've seen has been implemented poorly as of late. Most just choose the easiest skills to level (because the devs gimped this particular skill or it was too complicated to level or use) which makes for a bland pool of player skill.

Of course only a few manage to find a sweet build and then everyone else just copies it, same as they do in class based games. That's no fault of the game design tho and will continue as long a people are creatures of habit.

Either way I'll play and enjoy both styles because I don't really care what the best build of the week is, I pay to play a game the way I want.

vizzledrix Xfire Miniprofile
  Loke666

Elite Member

Joined: 10/29/07
Posts: 16041

8/31/10 11:53:34 PM#23

First of all you only need balance if you have PvP, PvE only games don't need it as long as all skills are somewhat useful. A skill based PvP game is hard but not impossible to make.

And you didn't list the third option, the one most pen and paper use which is a mix. You choose a number of class skills and some common skills or even an off class skill or two. Dungeons and dragons kinda uses that but R.I.F.T.S/Palladium does it better.

I think anyways that the best way to balance this type of game is to rank all skills from 1 to 3. Either you get a certain number of points to buy skills for, like 20 point and can mix all you want, either you can get a few powerful or a lot more less powerful.

Or you get a certain number of each, say 3 of each or more depending on how many skills you have.

And skill based games should have more useful skills than just combat skills, like disarming traps, picking locks, appraising and other stuff that is useful.

The devs then have to balance all 3 skills against others of the same kind but they also have to check so 3 1 skills are about as useful (but preferably a little less since you get better at more things with 3 skills than one). It is a lot easier than balancing all skills against eachother.

An alternative is splitting up the skills in groups, like combat skills, thief skills and so on and balance them against eachother, that works great if you have classes but let them pick certain skills for themselves.

Say that a rogue gets 2 combat skill, 5 thief skills, 1 athletics skill (jump, dodge, stuff like that), 1 merchant skill (appraise, haggle, and similar) and 2 general skills (languages, crafting, everything all classes can have). A warrior gets 5 combat skills, 2 athletics skills, 1  wilderness skill and 3 general.

Then give all classes 1 cross class skill, with a few exceptions that only certain classes can have. It makes thinhs more interesting, maybe this mage actually know how to pick locks since he grew up in the slum or the thief learned how to track since his father took him hunting.

That allows you to customize your own skills and be a little different, but it only works as long as the skills are about as useful as the rest in the same class. If one skill is a lot better than the rest the whole thing falls apart because then you might as well just give it as a class skill instead.

It is still a lot of work to balance out all skills against eachother but it is not that much harder than balancing out classes against eachother if you think about it, even if you have to be careful with combos. I love a system like this, it works well in most pen and paper RPGs and there is no reason it shouldn't work in a MMO as long as you do it right.

Systems like DF where you can have every skill at the same time is just an abomination in my book.

  Loke666

Elite Member

Joined: 10/29/07
Posts: 16041

8/31/10 11:58:04 PM#24
Originally posted by Cochran1

Free-form skill progression could be a great mechanic, but so far from what I've seen has been implemented poorly as of late. Most just choose the easiest skills to level (because the devs gimped this particular skill or it was too complicated to level or use) which makes for a bland pool of player skill.

Of course only a few manage to find a sweet build and then everyone else just copies it, same as they do in class based games. That's no fault of the game design tho and will continue as long a people are creatures of habit.

Either way I'll play and enjoy both styles because I don't really care what the best build of the week is, I pay to play a game the way I want.

Bad balance is something that we see in most MMOs, classes or not and no matter if you can choose skills or if it the old EQ style with set skills. But the balance really only gets important in PvP and when you pick the skills yourself.

The devs need to spend more time on that issue and that goes for most devs includingBlizzard, Guildwars is the only well balanced MMO I played and I played a lot.

  Warmaker

Novice Member

Joined: 5/04/07
Posts: 2233

9/01/10 2:59:14 AM#25

I prefer skillbased / classless character systems.  I like the freedom in character development they give within the constraints of the system itself.  I like the idea of making a skillset that matches MY theme for the character, not somebody else's predetermined builds.  The other fun is coming up with a build that is effective and not "Flavor Of The Month."

As far as balance in a traditional class based system, that is an illusion.  I can't count anymore how many times in different games where a certain class or two were considered overpowered and then nerfed to hell.  Once those were nerfed down, the nerfbat continues to gleefully swing at anything still standing.  The hilarious part is when they nerf the bejeezus out of stuff that the player community considered not needing it to begin with.  Another hilarious part is when devs empower a class where they later need to nerf it to hell a little while later.

"I have only two out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and a constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." (First Lieutenant Clifton B. Cates, US Marine Corps, Soissons, 19 July 1918)

  Cor4x

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/22/05
Posts: 232

9/01/10 9:50:29 AM#26

Something I haven't seen mentioned here, although Loke666 touched on it above, is a segment based skillset similar to that used in Matrix Online and similar to that originally in SWG.

Basically you have a skill tree and a certain number of points to allocate. How you get the skills per tree is not relevant but could be class / level based if you prefer.

The main problem with skill based point allocated games (such as AO) is that you can gimp your character if you are not careful and allocation (such as in AO) was insanely hard. If you like spreadsheets (like me) then you'll do OK in AO.

The problem with skill-use games (such as Darkfall and UO) is that they're rarely balanced (as so mentioned) as to use-time / skill point gain and give rise to macroing and stupid leveling tricks.

The problem with class rigid games (the Everquests & WoW to some extent) is that everyone looks like everyone else.

The problem with class bolt-on AA games (EQ end-game and WoW) is that there is the One Build To Rule Them All for raiding, PVP, and PVE. Generally the best bang for the buck is number-crunched and used. Often these titles do NOT have accurate reporting on exactly what  you spend your points on. Generally resetting points or respecing is difficult and gimping your character is a major source of angst.

The problem with loose class-choice systems (such as CoX) is that you make a few choices from a limited pool set. This allows some customization and you can gimp your character. Same reset issue as above.

The problem with dual-class choice systems (such as Runes of Magic) is that your biggest choice that effects your game is made at character creation. Some class hybrids do not seat well with each other or at all.

All of them are hard to balance.

However, difficulty of balance is proportional to the number of choices a player can make. This is because analysis of various combinations becomes impossible after a certain number of permutations has been reached.

You CAN make most/all powers bland (such as CoX) but this mutes individuality.

As you can see, player choice / character individuality is proportional to difficulty in balance. Also, player choice is directly proportional to the danger-of-gimping of a character by players.

This holds true for PVE. PVP games are radically harder to balance and there will always be One-True-Build for every character-set-choice.

If you nerf stuff, the ability of a player to shift out of a skill/class set will be inversely proportional to the anger generated. A UO style use-skillset or a matrix-style segmented skillset is probably easiest and so responds better to nerfs. In UO, when something got nerfed, everone shifted to the next FoTW. However, there was a time when virtually every UO character followed 1 of maybe 3 builds.

Also, certain styles of games create the advantages of alternate characters or accounts. The fewer choices a player has, the more useful alts or multi-boxing becomes.

  Cor4x

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/22/05
Posts: 232

9/01/10 9:53:05 AM#27

Uh. I forgot EVE.

The problem with endless skill-based games such as EVE (either point/level based or time-based such as EVE) is that new players have no hope of competing with older players.

  TUX426

Inquisitor

Joined: 8/04/09
Posts: 1971

Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.

9/01/10 10:18:15 AM#28

I will take the unbalanced skill based game (original SWG style) ANY day over a "balanced" game where we're all alike or simply pick A B or C.

 

PvP, while hard to balance for developers, is EASIEST to balance in a skill based game as the PvP focused players all tend to gravitate towards the most powerful combinations. While boring to some, that IS "balance" that is achieved by the players while allowing everyone else the freedom to do what they like according to their play style.

 

PvE builds may not be as effective in PvP and some PvP builds may make crappy PvE, support or soloing builds, but it all balances out as long as players have the freedom to change their "skills" as their playstyle changes (not immediately, but a way to drop and gain new skills).

 

Again, the original SWG did this brilliantly IMO. Not being a big PvPer preNGE, I had a very effective asskicking PvE build, but it  made me little more than fodder in PvP...but I LIKED it!

  Telil

Novice Member

Joined: 3/07/09
Posts: 265

9/01/10 10:28:51 AM#29

I love the idea of skill based games!

I just havent came across one that works yet, so i am sliding towards, maybe i do prefer class systems?

Take Darkfall for instance. start a char and try to be diverse and creative......a few months down the line you realise you are a gimp character as you need to be the same as everyone else. Then again i suppose PVP is a different kettle of fish, and also my experience is very limited on skill based games.

If any have any trials idea's that i could try i would be grateful :)

  uncus

Novice Member

Joined: 8/18/04
Posts: 530

9/01/10 10:52:36 AM#30

I read or skimmed this entire thread and nobody has mentioned Ryzom!  Ryzom is totally skill-based and using their stanza system, you can modify how your skills work.  You gain skills as you use them and they don't diminish, so you can't gimp your character.  You would just start using the skills you want to improve.  With 4 base skills [Harvest, Craft, Fight, Magic] that branch as you level them, it is just about the perfect system IMO.  As one poster above points out, like Eve, newer characters will never catch up with vets...so what?  Most 4 yr olds, most middle schoolers, most high schoolers, most new college grads won't make the same income that I do after 15 years on the job.  Age & cunning beat youth and hyperactivity 99% of the time!

If you think you want a totally skill-based game, try Ryzom!

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  Ihmotepp

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 10/28/08
Posts: 14557

9/01/10 10:57:51 AM#31

I like both systems.

I like classes, and you can ad depth with classes that branch out in upper levels.

I like skills.

My favorite skill system is KOTOR. you earn skill points, and you spend them on whatever skills you want.

BUT, there is a penalty if you buy Light Side skills and you are mostly dark side, and vice a versa.

Or a skill system like Fallout. you earn skill points and you can spend them on whatever you like.

BUT to get the very best skills, you need to specialize and pick just a couple of things to spend your points on.

I don't like games where you can just max out everything, and everyone is the same, adn there are no penalties.

  Zyonne

Novice Member

Joined: 5/23/08
Posts: 259

9/01/10 10:59:40 AM#32

I definitely prefer skill based, but that doesn't necessarily mean the game has to be class-less.

My favorite system so far was the original Anarchy Online where you had to choose a class, but all classes could raise all skills (though at different costs, and with different caps depending on class/race). If you wanted to be a martial artist sacrificing hand to hand skill and evades for sub-machine gun skills and tradeskills you could. It would gimp you, compared to choosing a class more suited for such skills of course, but AO did allow for unique builds similar to what a pure freeform skill based game would.

Classes allow for more flavor, unique abilities, and balance. The problem, in my opinion, is the lack of control players have in most MMOs when advancing a character within one class. After all a class-less MMO could be described as an MMO with one class and (usually) a lot of options for character development. Adding classes just means you get to add unique abilities to each class, it doesn't mean you have to take away anything from the one class you started with.  I'd probably prefer a skill based system with optional specialization rather than classes, though, but I haven't seen any MMO do that well.

  User Deleted
9/01/10 11:25:32 AM#33

Basing the class/skills in balance is I think what makes a game feel not so much like a game, rather feels more like a sport where you have to compete, which requires balance. I think that's stupid since whenever a game tries for balance, they sacrifice the fun factor of the game.

 

Balance is only important in PvP and building a game around PvP is really really lame, like many games that we're seeing so far where the end game is PvP - or even during PvE, you are force to PvP in some games.

 

Whether it's a class based or skill based, the game should be built around fun factor, because if the game is built this way, either way it will be fun. What makes a game fun to play is when you see highly exaggerated skills and spells being used in combat hitting for triple or quadruple digits damage.

 

One game comes to mind, Ragnarok Online. In RO, you'll see big numbers and the OPness of the skills and spells. Is it balance? of course not. But the game is based on class and they exaggerated each class that regardless of their imbalance, the game was fun a heck.

 

But I do prefer the skill based when it comes to fun factor because this really makes the character an adverturer rather than a military ranking officer. One first thing comes to mind is Final Fantasy 7. The skill based system in this game is just fun factor all the way around. Regardless of your pre-picked class, you can still summon the Knights of the Round, Quadruple copy it, then grab a pop corn and enjoy the show. The Materia system made a lot of things possible in that game regardless of class.

 

So what limits many MMORPG? It's BALANCE for PvP's sake. And I think that's really sad.

  VirusDancer

Novice Member

Joined: 11/18/04
Posts: 3684

Heroes are about character - not gear.

9/01/10 11:59:12 AM#34

Class vs. Skill is too limited in scope to address what my preferences would be for character progression.  It is basically the chicken and the egg argument there.

Class A provides Skills 1, 2, & 3.

If you have Skills 1, 2, & 3...you can function as Class A (even though Class A does not exist).

One of my favorite character creation processes in a PnP RPG was 1st ed Dark Conspiracy from GDW.  Forgive me if I trample it to pieces, it has been a couple of years since I looked at it.

I believe it followed a similar system as found in other GDW games - that of career terms.  During each term you would either receive a specific set of skills, specified skills + selection, or outright selection.  This offered one of the most realistic and holistic approaches to character creation.

Yes, you would have your "profession" or "role" or "class" from the selections you made - but you were not entirely limited to the core skills of that selection.  It also allowed you, if you had the attributes to do so, you create hybrid characters.  You would not end up as good at certain things by switching career paths as somebody that stuck with it, but it allowed you to operate in more than just one area.

That having been said, the system that would draw my attention most would be something along these lines:

Skill Based with Profession Bonuses!

Create templates for certain professions, that if a person takes certain skills - they get a bonus for having that profession.  Much like in real life, where our skills wane if we do not use them or we pursue other avenues of interest - it would be possible to change a character's profession.  It would not be easy, and one would have to accept that they are not going to be good at everything...yes, I know people are still stuck on the Mage Tank days of UO...lol.

A separate issue that would need to be addressed when discussing any of this would be the fallacy of the Unholy Trinity - Tank, Heals, and DPS.  In so many worlds based on fantasy, this Trinity is the most unrealistic thing.  I prefer the ol' 3+1 from the original D&D days myself.  Though, to be fair - it really is just the "Tank" that is the completely artificial element of that rancid Trinity.  Add in collision, not being able to shoot through things, and friendly fire (for both the shooting through and AoE elements); and "Tank" as blasphemy disappears - we would return more to realistic tanking situations.  Yes, "tanking" exists - "tanks" exist - but "tanks" and "tanking" as currently implemented in a vast majority of games is ridiculous.

I say that because I believe somebody should be able to build a character that offers the ability to "tank" - in the sense that they may do as much damage as the guy or gal standing next to them, but they do it with a certain flair that attracts the mob's attention more.  I think they should be better at moving into position between the enemy and friends, etc.  Aside from mechanics such as health/armor/etc - tanking is more of a playstyle than a game mechanic when all is said and done.

So all in all, at the end of the day - I would prefer a skill based system with "class" (profession) templates.

Hope that makes sense...

edit:  I almost forgot - I am against balance.  It is contrived garbage.  I do not want my heart surgeon doing my taxes nor my accountant doing heart surgery.  But if I'm going to be having heart surgery, I will want the heart surgeon to do the surgery and the accountant to make sure I can pay for everything - both are needed.  Step away from the trees and see the forest...

I miss the MMORPG genre. Will a developer ever make one again?

Explorer: 87%, Killer: 67%, Achiever: 27%, Socializer: 20%

  Cor4x

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/22/05
Posts: 232

9/01/10 12:43:35 PM#35
Originally posted by VirusDancer
edit:  I almost forgot - I am against balance.  It is contrived garbage.  I do not want my heart surgeon doing my taxes nor my accountant doing heart surgery.  But if I'm going to be having heart surgery, I will want the heart surgeon to do the surgery and the accountant to make sure I can pay for everything - both are needed.  Step away from the trees and see the forest...

Well, I can see this and as a player, I'm this way too. The only problem is... I tend to pick the best class!

From a designer's point of view it would be like saying: Lets build 1000 cars, but only 5 won't suck. So 995 cars won't ever get looked at.

To exacerbate the whole "best class" or "best of build" issue is the fact that in group-based games they will generally "Only want X" in a group. EQ2 is sort of like this now. There is a "best" healer and so on. Sometimes they want specific classes for specific tasks, but by and large there will be one "best".

And this is after extensive balance.

As a player, I'm not sure I'd like everyone to be playing the same classes or the same classes in the standard breeds.

Remember: people will chose a "best" no matter what. If you make 10 cinderblocks, identical ones, and set them on a table. People have to chose a cinderblock to represent themselves. They WILL create a choice-based list of those cinderblocks. It just means that more people will pick randomly.

Change even the oddest thing, like tint one of them 10% blue, and the herd will rush to have only 10% blue cinderblocks, not the ordinary gray ones.

Also, remember, the average person begins to shut down with > 3 choices. At 9 choices (if I remember right) most people shut down. I'd guess since the average person can remember 7 pieces of information at a time, 7 choices would be the maximum useful choice ratio without a written list or way to visually cull down choices.

With 7 as a maximum, 3 to 4 choices would be appropriate. People really dislike having 2 choices or no choice.

  Anubisan

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/09/05
Posts: 1822

9/01/10 1:18:25 PM#36

I did not always feel this way, but I definitely prefer the class-based system at this point. The reason is that skill-based systems always end up being extremely exploitable and there always ends up being one alpha-spec that everyone ends up adopting in order to be competitive. You may start with a system that allows great diversity, but you end up with a system where all the competitive players are actually FAR LESS diverse in their builds than you would find in a class-based system.

At least with well defined classes game companies can do extensive balancing and make sure that each class is competitive against the others... or at least has a valued role in groups. A free-form skill system is just too complex and ends up being impossible to balance. Class systems also lead to far fewer exploits since progression happens along a pre-defined path based on experience. The exploits caused by skill systems end up causing huge problems for skill-based games. Unattended skill macroing and other exploits end up doing a lot of harm and, in the end, I just don't think free skill-based systems are worth it as a result.

  Zarcob

Novice Member

Joined: 5/08/03
Posts: 207

9/01/10 1:19:08 PM#37

The systems are designed for entirely different things.  They get compared a lot, but in all honesty what they set out to achieve is as different as an FPS and a Strategy game.

 

Class systems are built with balance in mind, usually for PvE grouping reasons.  They limit a player's flexibility, but they're supposed to limit the player's flexibility.  The system is designed in such a way so that each type of class is dependent on another type of class.  This forced dependency is favored in games with heavy grouping requirements.  It's no coincidence that games which utilize class structures also have a huge amount of raiding content (WoW) or advanced grouping strategies (EQ), where players are required to work cohesively.

 

Skill systems are designed for the exact opposite.  They're built for games where a player needs to operate as a one man army.  A skill system supports soloing over grouping and usually PvP, where all players are expected to carry a set of rather mandatory skills, over PvE, where players are free to become highly specialized to face bosses with a rigid skillset.  Again, it's not a coincidence that games which have a PvP or soloing focus use skill systems.

 

The method that can offer the best of both worlds is actually a hybrid system which has become increasingly popular in the past few years.  WoW uses a class system with talent points that act as a micro-skill system, and Eve uses a skill system with rigid ship designs that create a basic class template.  In WoW, what is normally a rigid priest class is free to solo by specializing their skills into a dps role, and in Eve a character can pick up the biggest gun and the biggest shield generator, but can't operate both on the same ship simultaneously because of what is essentially a class hierarchy.  Where WoW created a Rogue class to implement stealth skills, Eve created stealth skills and limited them to rogue-like ships.

 

Those are the two best methods I've seen used in recent games.  Of course, I haven't really seen Eve's system applied to a fantasy game yet (it's obviously difficult to place limits that don't seem completely contrived and artificial without a ship to rely on) but I assume it could be done.

 

Skill based systems always sound incredibly awesome on paper, but so does Communism.  If your game will focus on strategic, group-based combat, then the only choices are a hybrid system or a traditional class system.  If, instead, you're interested in just giving players lots of freedom to explore and advance on their own, and don't wish to place as much emphasis on group-dependent combat, than skills are the way to go.

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  mmoguy43

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/31/09
Posts: 2260

 
OP  9/01/10 5:21:38 PM#38

I've been taking some notes on the info I've been gathering so far to see if my skill system would be viable and maybe even solve some problems while hopefully not creating more.

 

  • Skill based is prefered by the PvE and works better in that environment
  • Balance is essential in PVP so class based ends u favored by PvPers
  • General balance: don't worry too much about the balance from the begining, just be ready to fix it as soon as possible
  • A third and fourth option is a hybrid system and equipment based system(skills attached to gear)

Skill Based

  • One option is on character creation there needs to be a guided starter profession. One that either gives optional starting skills/equipment or bonus and restrictions to give the player a path to a more specific role.
  • Other option is to allow for redistribution of skills
  • Balance could be better achieved by grouping similar skills and adjusting their relational power.
  • Restrictions do need to be in place so there are no "I have all of these awesomely powerful skills at the same time!" senarios
  • Opportunity to change or modify roles

Progression

  • Leveling by repeatedly using a skill isn't ideal skill based progression for an MMO. There has to be a way to keep it from being automated and exploited.

 

 

  maplestone

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

9/04/10 8:04:04 AM#39
Originally posted by mmoguy43
  • General balance: don't worry too much about the balance from the begining, just be ready to fix it as soon as possible

*small sulk as I realize I have failed to set fire to imaginations with arguments for a theory-based skeleton*

  tupodawg999

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 569

9/05/10 12:08:30 AM#40

Hybrid. If you think about it classes are an expression of game lore. A Shadowknight class says a lot about the game world so you can take it one step backwards and make it all about factions.

 

-- the game world is made up of multiple factions

-- the players are always associated with a game faction

-- players have levels and each level allows one new skill

-- there are no automatic skills, all are chosen from trees

-- each faction has a list of skill you need in order to join

-- each faction has a list of skills they can teach

 

So a player might start as part of the "commoner" faction with the basic offensive and defensive stances and farming as his starting skills and he levels up doing tasks around the village. When they ding they get to choose a skill and a path at the same time. So for example if they were strong they could go to the village sergeant and choose the "club" or "spear" skill and join the village watch. If they had high wisdom they could go the witch, choose basic herbalism and join the witch faction which would be shamanistic. Similarly if they had high intelligence they could do the same with the village herbalist which would start them on either a tradeskill or wizard path.

Say they joined the village militia and levelled up some more doing commoner tasks and militia tasks. The militia might teach light armor, spear, shield and club. The town watch might want light armor and club as prerequisites. The temple guards might want spear, shield and light armor. Say the player levelled up and learned the last three then they could go to the city and join the temple as a guard. Levelling up as part of the temple guard faction provides opportunities to learn most basic warrior skills but also the first steps to becoming a paladin - maybe a "devout" skill that allows them to recieve a buff from their god's altar. After levelling up to have a dozen or so warrior skills and the devout skill they can join the temple sergeant sub-faction where they get access to more advanced warrior skills and another temple skill / spell. At twenty warrior skills and both required temple skills they can join the paladin sub- faction which gives full access to the priest tree alongside side the rest of the warrior tree.

Alternatively they might learn club and light armor and join the town watch. One of the skills you could learn from the town watch might be "shady character" which would allow a switch to the thief guild and be the base skill for the thief tree. The thieves guild would teach a limited selection of warrior skills and the thief tree. Levelling up and selecting the right mixture of thief and warrior skills would open up the assassin sub-faction and skills.

So "classes" would represent all the possible routes through the faction system where a player joins a faction they meet the requirements for then learn the skills which are requirements for other factions etc.

As usual with tree systems it would pay to specialize as the better skills / spells would be higher up the tree but certain hybrids would work well so you could have a 12/36 fighter/mage or a 24/24 fighter/priest or a 12/12/24 fighter/mage/thief.

Most of the skills would be common to all players which should help balancing with some racial and factional specials e.g the priests of a goodie god and an evil snake god might have mostly the same blessings and curses including a basic heal but the goodie god priest gets an upgrade to the heal and a cure poison while the snake god priests get a poison curse and a cure poison.

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