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News & Features Discussion  » General: IMGDC Roundtable Blog: Skill vs. Class

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  Stradden

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

 
OP  4/18/07 8:55:57 AM#1

When Managing Editor Jon Wood attended the recent Indie MMO Developers Conference, he attended a roundtable discussion on the question of Class Systems vs. Skill Systems. Today, in this blog article, Wood looks at the discussion and discussion from other conferences, asking for your opinions to continue the debate.

While I was at the Indie MMO Game Developers Conference, I attended a round table discussion about the age-old debate: Skill System vs. Class System. Ok, so this might not be an age-old debate, but recently, it seems as though every time developers get together, whether they be what Josh Williams called "mainline" devs or indie devs, the question of Class vs. Skill is one that is continually examined and re-examined. Below, you will find my thoughts on the matter, informed by what I heard in this roundtable and in others.

Each time that I hear this debate, it is being debated by developers, and I think that it's time that it was had by the players. I am hoping that this will spark a debate in our own community so please feel free to comment on this article and expand on it. Do I think that we will decide which is better? Probably not, but everyone has an opinion. Share yours.

Read the whole article here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

  User Deleted
4/18/07 9:13:49 AM#2
Skill > Class.
  BadSpock

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 7733

Logic be damned!

4/18/07 9:25:18 AM#3

I believe you summed up the basic pros/cons and main attributes of skill and class based advancement systems very well.

We've all seen throughout the history of the games we've played that both can be good/bad for a game. In SWG, the extreme end of a skill based system, we saw how flexible and involving a skill based system could be, and that rocked. But, we saw how imbalanced it became, as players switched nearly weekly/monthly to the next new "uber" template, the most overpowered balance of skills/professions of the current patch. And in reference to the quest vs. open-world debate, SWG was idealy set up for the open-world environment it had, however, the grind became very, very prevalent.

Then we see WoW, the extreme end of a class based system. You choose your class in the beginning, and that's it. They very wisely put in three talent trees for advancement, to give players some option, and with many classes, turn a single archetype into a completely different "feeling" for that class. Like protection warrior vs. fury warrior, or holy priest vs. shadow priest. Almost as if two very different classes. They created the quest system as we know it today, leading players from adventure to adventure, however once reaching the end of the line, the grind became prevalent yet again.

I think one of the best systems I have yet seen in a game is that of Final Fantasy XI. Well, at least parts of it.

It was class based, with the option to pick a sub-class, you created a vast number of possibilities. Also, the most amazing thing about it was that you could switch classes at any time. Job switching. Awsome idea. It was kind of like a skill system, in that your character stayed the same level, and you had a seperate level for your jobs. Switch to a new job, your character is still level 20 or whatever, but your job level goes back down to one. This way, a really dedicated player could in theory level up every single job, and switch between them as needed. That's be awsome.

So I really think that the best solution is a hybrid system. Something that doesn't lock you into one role forever, gives you the opportunity to change, expand, adapt, yet, based on a more rigid structure for better balance/tuning content.

Now Playing: Destiny

  osamar

Novice Member

Joined: 4/12/07
Posts: 55

4/18/07 9:39:34 AM#4

At first I thought that it depends on the game. For example I see a medieval-fantastic game more suited for classes, like "WoW". But is see "Fallen Earth" a game more suited for skills.

But for me the best solution is a skill system with classes/sub-classes/races that give bonus/malus to skills. Counting sub-claasses something similar to D20 prestige class, gained by special quests and/or faction.

PD. Please excuse my english.

 

  Jetrpg

Novice Member

Joined: 4/22/06
Posts: 2392

4/18/07 9:41:28 AM#5
Originally posted by Mrbloodworth
Skill > Class.


What skill based game have you played... ?

Eve is a 100% skill based game, SWG was not. Nor was FFXI.

There are very few pure skill based games out there, and for good reason too.

Personally i think every game out there should have ..... BOTH . OMGZ what ?

SWG had a combination of class and skill, so did FFXI , and many others. DAOC did , you had your base class then you trained your ability points into various different skills.

I prefer this type of system more becuase while it does lock a character into certain range of abilities, it also differs game plan and add diversity.   In EvE flyign my drake i fly somethign that looks 95% what others usign drake do. Sure i can pick a myrmi but i am 85% like others, etc. You could say thats not bad .. well that could be true but when i look at my play time in SWG, i see that my TKM was nothing like my comabt medic. See limitatiosn can also make a game better. Lets look at doac , if i could just skill anything then well i sould be able to wear high abs armor whield a 2 handed sword and cast super power pure caster magic and everyoen would do thsi .... why not. Now instead look at a real use of what i am talkign about DDO, in ddo everythign is skill base minus hp and mana. as a caster you can wear heavy armor , etc. However, limitations come into play , your going to outright fail/fizzle many of your spells.  The game is class base but your abilities are skill base. Certain class get skills automaticly becuase of their class, but everythign you do is based on skills. This is how characters should be a combination of both, and i rather prefer more open or effect skill system then DDO has ... it has been crafted to make classes stronger at doign what they already do good.

It remains that in all daoc, swg, FFXI, and DDO palyers have more diversity than in pure skill games. So skill is not greater than class , and class is not greater than skill , becuase you should have both. And the combinations should create diversity and abilities, play style, and experince.

"Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one ..." - Thomas Paine

  soponyai

Novice Member

Joined: 6/18/06
Posts: 132

"Only a fool trusts his life to a weapon."

4/18/07 9:41:31 AM#6
Yeah, I agree with the hybrid thing. Matrix Online has something like that as well.

  Hexxeity

Novice Member

Joined: 2/21/07
Posts: 850

4/18/07 9:42:46 AM#7
This article is overly simplistic, misleading, and clearly biased.

First, it sets up a false dichotomy.  There is no law of game design that states you must choose class- or skill-based, and that no other system is possible.  I personally feel it would be a lot healthier for developers to think outside this particular box.

Also, the description of class-based systems is far from complete.  There was absolutely no mention of character customization within a class-based system.  The article makes it sound as if every member of a class is exactly the same.  In a lot of games, this couldn't be further from the truth.  In WoW (which I use as an example because most players are familiar with it), a Shadow Priest differs significantly from a Holy Priest.  While both can fulfill the basic duties of a priest, the gameplay for each is a very different experience.

The article is misleading -- actually, it's outright false -- in saying that members of a certain class can never learn skills inherent in another class.  Take City of Heroes for example.  Healing is normally the purview of Defenders and Controllers, yet any character from any archetype can take a decent healing power (and even learn to rez) by selecting it as a Pool power.  Likewise a Controller, typically weak on offense, can take fighting Pool powers to round himself out.  (I know because I've done it, and it's a lot of fun.)  You cannot completely disregard your class's intended function, but you can definitely make your character differ from the norm.

Ultimately, pure skill-based systems and pure class-based systems are both far too limiting.  As with so many things in life, moderation is key.  A well-designed hybrid is probably the best way to go -- something where a character's overall strengths and weaknesses are directed by a class-like framework, but where the player is free to sacrifice some of that focus in order to make up for some of the class's deficiencies that annoy him.

Right now, CoH and D&D are my favorite systems.  Both are ultimately class-based, yet both allow the player a lot of customization without some of the horrible drawbacks of the skill-based model.
  NeoSpud

Novice Member

Joined: 8/12/04
Posts: 28

4/18/07 9:48:01 AM#8
The points you raise about the skill based system, where you could simply continue to learn different things, didn't bring up the possibility of having a maximum amount of abilities that you could learn.  If you choose to learn Writing 3, would you be forced to 'forget' Speaking 3?  If so eventually you still max out your character.

If you do actually max out your character and want to fill out a different role, you will have to either re-create your first character or make a new one.

In a class based system if you want to fill a different role, you make a new character as well.

With this simplified example, they are similar.

I think to capture the idea of a skill based system you would probably need to not put a cap on player advancement.  Allow characters to learn everything without the cost of forgetting anything.

To help with the development of a linear style of play, you could base 'level' advancement on how far up a fighting line of skills you advanced.  If you want to learn how to hunt and some survival skills, you wouldn't advance through the style of leveling in the game.  If you chose to learn a ranged style along side a melee style at an even pace, you would 'level up' two times slower.  If you were focusing on a single line of skills such as healing, you would be effective at healing as far as you had advanced it, leveling up faster, but you would not be as well rounded or able to fill in other roles.  If you went back to learn other things however, you would now be a max level healer and the earlier content where you advance low level skills wouldn't necessarily be well balanced.

It sounds to me like sill based is extremely hard to implement.  Someone one (not me) is going to have to figure out how to deal with these types of issues.  If there's a game out there that still uses a skill based system that works very well, i'd love to try it.  Let me know!
  0over0

Novice Member

Joined: 3/08/04
Posts: 499

I'm just here for the cookies.

4/18/07 9:51:36 AM#9

I'm a big fan of the skill-based systems (which also, by the way, have precedent in pen-and-paper RPGs such as the old Traveller system or Champions). To me, a class system always leads ultimately to boredom because you are capped in the development of your class. A skill-based system (including hybrids) allow for much more freedom as you are never really capped at the end. As Jon pointed out, archery skills totally completed? Then work on fishing, or trapping, or swords, or whatever you think might complement your archery or maybe take your character in a whole new direction.

Generally speaking, for new players, a class system is naturally much easier to get a handle on--after all, other than choosing the initial class, there's really not many choices after that. A skill system is much more convoluted and I've found, in a skill system, that much of the forum discussions and questions revolve around what "package" of skills to work on because there's a great deal more depth to advancement. I think those discussions are very healthy for a game and a game community--and are certainly better than "nerf that class because they can do something I can't" discussions.

Also, in terms of playing a role in a game, the skills system is, once again, superior. In a class system, players simply fill a preset role. One fighter is much the same as another. Yes, there are some definite differences in playing ability, but they will all have essentially the same tools at their disposal. In a skills system, you have to get to know not only how someone plays, but who they really are--a melee fighter who likes to heal? A ranged support person who can tank? It makes the game much more dynamic socially and tactically.

In a skills system, there is also the possibility of putting in "useless" skills that are for noncombat/nontradeskilling. A good example of this were the entertainers in SWG. They really were the glue between different communities and gave a whole new group of people a place to play in an MMO.

In the end, I will always prefer a pure skills system (though that's only one criteria in a good game)--but I will settle for a hybrid, which is what we've mostly seen in MMOs. Many like to mention SWG as a skills system, but it was really a hybrid system--the main thing being that you could take part of a class instead of automatically being stuck with the whole thing. The only pure skills games I can think of at the moment would be EVE Online (and most of the game balancing in EVE takes place through ships--which are essentially the character's interface with the game universe) and Saga of Ryzom (maybe Asheron's Call as well? Not sure on that one).

I would love to see more pure skill systems in MMOs, but, alas, as was pointed out, balancing them is a bear and developers/producers seem to want to take the easy way out most of the time.

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  0over0

Novice Member

Joined: 3/08/04
Posts: 499

I'm just here for the cookies.

4/18/07 9:55:11 AM#10
Originally posted by Hexxeity
This article is overly simplistic, misleading, and clearly biased.

First, it sets up a false dichotomy.  There is no law of game design that states you must choose class- or skill-based, and that no other system is possible.  I personally feel it would be a lot healthier for developers to think outside this particular box.

Also, the description of class-based systems is far from complete.  There was absolutely no mention of character customization within a class-based system.  The article makes it sound as if every member of a class is exactly the same.  In a lot of games, this couldn't be further from the truth.  In WoW (which I use as an example because most players are familiar with it), a Shadow Priest differs significantly from a Holy Priest.  While both can fulfill the basic duties of a priest, the gameplay for each is a very different experience.

The article is misleading -- actually, it's outright false -- in saying that members of a certain class can never learn skills inherent in another class.  Take City of Heroes for example.  Healing is normally the purview of Defenders and Controllers, yet any character from any archetype can take a decent healing power (and even learn to rez) by selecting it as a Pool power.  Likewise a Controller, typically weak on offense, can take fighting Pool powers to round himself out.  (I know because I've done it, and it's a lot of fun.)  You cannot completely disregard your class's intended function, but you can definitely make your character differ from the norm.

Ultimately, pure skill-based systems and pure class-based systems are both far too limiting.  As with so many things in life, moderation is key.  A well-designed hybrid is probably the best way to go -- something where a character's overall strengths and weaknesses are directed by a class-like framework, but where the player is free to sacrifice some of that focus in order to make up for some of the class's deficiencies that annoy him.

Right now, CoH and D&D are my favorite systems.  Both are ultimately class-based, yet both allow the player a lot of customization without some of the horrible drawbacks of the skill-based model.

You should go back and actually read the article--you might see some familiar examples in there.

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  NeoSpud

Novice Member

Joined: 8/12/04
Posts: 28

4/18/07 9:59:41 AM#11
Originally posted by Hexxeity
First, it sets up a false dichotomy.  There is no law of game design that states you must choose class- or skill-based, and that no other system is possible.  I personally feel it would be a lot healthier for developers to think outside this particular box.

You brought up some good points but why don't you start first?  Give us an example of a system that doesn't choose either?

Also you fail to mention that even if you play one type of priest in WoW, you are still a priest.  You can't pick up a shield and start tanking.
Yes you have the option of how you want to play your priest, but all you can effectively do is switch between a few pre-defined sub-classes. And in CoX, if you take up a pool power, you will -never- be as good at healing as if you chose a healing class.  The same goes with fighting pool powers.  Those games aren't skill based, and are far from it.

This article isn't clearly biased, or outright false.  It simply has gone to show that people think their opinion is closer to fact than it actually is.  You had me there though, i was actually curious to see what other interesting ideas you may have come up with.
  angus858

Novice Member

Joined: 11/17/04
Posts: 354

4/18/07 10:07:29 AM#12
I've played games from both ends of the spectrum and some with a blend. My personal preference is always for skill based games. My favorite thing about the old SWG was that I could go out and do whatever I found to be fun and my character would get better at just those things. I didn't need to choose a class because I unconsiously created a unique class that fit my personality. It evolved over time and didn't require me to make any conscious attempt to "level" or "skill up" or "grind" I just played and became the product of my actions. My final template of skills wasn't even one of the iconic professions but a combination of three that I never found in another player. It was also not at all what I expected to be at the start of the game. A class would have locked me out of what I ultimately enjoyed doing most.
  fansede

Novice Member

Joined: 6/23/03
Posts: 957

Pain is fear leaving the body..

4/18/07 10:14:37 AM#13

It is very attractive to the player for a game to be purely skill based.  As far as being close to reality, that is a stretch. Yea I could write a few opinion articles, but does my skill go up to an expert level of credibility in a few weeks? In real life, people take courses and write many pieces that may take years to get recognized by credible publishers, etc.  So would it be for that lvl 1 adventurer picking up a rusty sword. Spamming the attack button thousands of times to see "Your Sword Skill is 2! Your Sword skill is 3! Your Sowrd skill is 4!" so that in a matter of a few hours, maybe a gaming period of the sun rising and setting a few times and you are considered a Sword Master. My point here is that skill based systems can be abused.

Then you get to the uber adventurer - one that has supposedly have master level skills in everything. Why the need for others? When you can melee for the max damage, heal thyself, range, detect and disarm traps and go stealth (or <insert escape skill here>).

Like others have said before me, if a hybrid system of character development could be created, it would be refreshing to play.

Offer an adventuring profession - meaning a player who simply is taking a skill based path of advancement. This player has access to all of the "Pool skills" (to steal a concept from City of Heroes/Villians). The player is also given skill points to put in what he desires. The adventurer advances like any other and gains skill points to be applied to various skills he/she wants.

Enter the specialist. Players who like roles can do so. The advantages of this system is the power pool available is more specialized. A Healer can heal more efficiently than an advanturer with healing skill, even if they both have 100 points in "Heal Other". The healer perhaps takes less mana, faster casting and is interrupted less often than an adventurer. The Swordsman has access to combination manuevers and perhaps critical hits vs. the adventurer with the same Short sword skill of 122. Note the adventurer can still hit whatever the Swordsman can, and his dps is comparable, but the design of the game should lean in favor of a Swordsman when it comes to one on one in sword skill. Meaning an adventurer takes longer to take down a foe vs. a Swordsman when the adventurer is using a sword.

So why be an adventuer at all? As usual, it is freedom. The swordsman cannot take skills like stealth, healing, hammer, etc. The adventurer is more versatile.

(sorry got cut off )

 

  Hexxeity

Novice Member

Joined: 2/21/07
Posts: 850

4/18/07 10:18:35 AM#14
Originally posted by NeoSpud
Originally posted by Hexxeity
First, it sets up a false dichotomy.  There is no law of game design that states you must choose class- or skill-based, and that no other system is possible.  I personally feel it would be a lot healthier for developers to think outside this particular box.

You brought up some good points but why don't you start first?  Give us an example of a system that doesn't choose either?

Also you fail to mention that even if you play one type of priest in WoW, you are still a priest.  You can't pick up a shield and start tanking.
Yes you have the option of how you want to play your priest, but all you can effectively do is switch between a few pre-defined sub-classes. And in CoX, if you take up a pool power, you will -never- be as good at healing as if you chose a healing class.  The same goes with fighting pool powers.  Those games aren't skill based, and are far from it.

This article isn't clearly biased, or outright false.  It simply has gone to show that people think their opinion is closer to fact than it actually is.  You had me there though, i was actually curious to see what other interesting ideas you may have come up with.
Any game can probably be put into one of these two categories if your mindset predetermines that you do so, so obviously it would be useless for me to come up with an example.  Further, I said it would be healthier to get away from that mindset; I did not say that any developer had managed to do so.

Where did I ever make the claim that a priest could (or should be able to) tank?  I merely pointed out that there was a possibility for more variety within each class than the article admits.  And WoW is definitely at the low-variety end of the spectrum.  As has been pointed out, other class-based games do an even better job of it.

Likewise, I never said power pools allow you to change your class's basic function.  In fact, I explicitly said pool powers do not allow that.  But they do allow you to pick up skills that your class is otherwise unable to use, thus contradicting one of the major drawbacks of a class-based system as described in the article.

I certainly never claimed those games were skill-based.  Why would you even suggest I had?  Perhaps you didn't realize my second paragraph ended when it did, and that I moved on to other ideas.
  Rhaycen

Novice Member

Joined: 3/09/05
Posts: 24

4/18/07 10:20:22 AM#15
I've played MMO's with both skill and class systems, there are merits to both systems. In a class system people become more reliable on each other which greatly improves the socialization within the game. My experience with a skill based system is that everyone ends up being a Healer-Tank-Crafter (if there are enough skill points to go around for this). In a class system, there are people that are specialized in Healing, Tanking or Artillery (Mages, Commando's, Soldiers, depending on the game).

Personally I've always been a fan of the system in Anarchy Online which seems to be a combination of the two. You pick a class, but each class comes with a selection of  "ideal" skills that allows a great deal of customization. Though in my opinion AO did limit people too much in their selection of skills.

I believe that classes help give some focus to a character, it helps a lot for both the player themselves and other players if there is some clarity in what a character does best. But skills add customization to a game that prevents what I experience in a game like WoW everyday, that just about every character of every class is a near copy of each other with very little variation. Yes, there is the Holy and the Shadow Priest ... but with a handful of classes even with 3 distinct trees for each class there is a very limited amount of path's to choose.

The best way is more then likely something halfway both systems.
  BadSpock

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 7733

Logic be damned!

4/18/07 10:41:50 AM#16

So far it seems most of us agree that a hybrid system is the way to go.

From what I remember from old SWG is that you had to pick a starter profession. Novice professions I think they were called. Even in SWG you had a cap on the number of points you had to put towards professions. I think it was 250.

So what would be the "ideal" system?

In my opinion, take a SWG like skill/class hybrid, also give players a static "level" that goes up by completing quests, getting experience, etc. Yet the skills/profession trees go up from use, and can be trained/untrained. That way, you can balance content based off of player's overall level. Also, give the skill/profession trees a level for reaching a certain point, like in SWG you had different tiers on the trees, add up the combat trees you have to come up with some sort of overall combat level, just for balancing purposes. That way, no matter what combat profession you have (if any) you can figure that people around the same combat level should be about the same in capabilities.

This way, you character level can be like 20, but you just changed to a new profession/skill set up, so your overall combat level is about 15. Use a conning system like SWG had, where mobs/npcs that conned at your level would end up being like combat level 17-18 or so.

In terms of group play, you'll actually have to *gasp* talk to the people you group with to see what they are capable of. Or, using a LFG tool like Wow has, you can list your primary "role" you'd like to fill in a group. Back to a SWG reference, you have a TKM and Combat Medic you probably want to list your primary roles for groups as tank and healer respectively.

As for non-combat professions/skills, there should be a max number that a player who chooses to level a combat role can still aquire. For instnace, you completely combat specced out, but you can have say one gathering and one crafting profession. If you choose to make crafting/gathering your character primary focus, you can have 2-3 gathering and 2-3 crafting professions. But, doing that, you leave yourself very little to no "room" for combat professions.

However, everyone should be able to use "basic" weapons/amor. For purely self defense, even with no skills or abilities, let full crafters/gatherers still be able to level up some basic weapon/armor skill for self defense. They'll never be soloing high level content and PVP champions of course, but, they won't be JUST cannonfodder on the battlefield. Give combat professions 1-2 non combat skills, give crafters 1-2 combat skills. Neither able to reach the "max" for those skills, but still have them. Of course, it's a skill based system (kind of) so to level these out-of-character skills you get, you'll have to use them.

As for "social skills" I think these need to come back. I enjoyed hanging out in Cantina's/medic's offices at first, but they got tedius. Then came the Doctor buff craze, which sucked. I don't think players should HAVE to spend time doing these social type skills, however, there should be an advantage to doing so. Not a MUST HAVE buff or must have healing fixes, but perhaps something that's truely just a social thing. Make cantina's/taverns the only place to go to look for Group members, or make all trade/crafting take place in a certain district to truely create the environment/social atmosphere of a bazaar.

Just my thoughts.

 

 

Now Playing: Destiny

  xaldraxius

Novice Member

Joined: 10/07/05
Posts: 1287

4/18/07 11:16:20 AM#17
I personaly think that the ideal of the skill based system was and is Asheron's Call. I love the way the stats are set up, the individual skills that you can specialize in and the wide variety of skills you can choose from. The things I would modify about the skill system would be: Less skill points: Characters should not be able to do everything. Specialization in a certain feild, ie; Melee, ranged, healing or casting; should be encouraged, and rewarded but not required. More dramitic effect from certain skills. If I specialize in Magic Resistance for instance I should be able to resist at least half if not 3/4 of incomming spells at my level. Same for dodging, blocking or parrying. Sometimes the best offence really is a good defense. But offset this with the fact that specializing in a defensive skill will make it so that you can't specialize in an offensive skill. This encourages different character builds for different situations so that you can create a well ballanced party.
  Ravensong

Novice Member

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 92

4/18/07 11:42:11 AM#18

Give me a system like SWG had before it was regurgitated into the NGE.  This was my first MMO and I Ioved the ability to have a very hyrbrid profession.  They further capped it with a set amount of skill points you could spend so that way no one could master every single profession (at one time) in the game and be the ultimate killing, healing and craftng machine.  I hear people talking about balance and I have heard so many discussions before regarding the way SWG was setup and the imbalance that was present.  I suppose this must have been with regards to PvP as I never noticed a problem with the templates that I used.  I am not much of a PvP player and had a blast with my entertainers, crafters and doctor.

For me, its not a matter of who is right and who is wrong when it comes to choosing either a skill based or class based system.  Its all about personal preference.  I prefer the ability to do what ever I want and if I get bored with that then switch to something else.  I think that SWG made the game in such a way that you could only use a set amount of skill points to train in whatever you wanted and also limited you to one account per server so that they could get more money out of the players.  I of course wanted to do so much and liked some of the templates that I came up with and did not want to delete all of one characters skills just to try something new so that forced me to purchase another paid account.  By the time it was all said and done, there were 9 accounts in my house.

I just wish there were more MMO's out that would allow you to train in what you wanted and then if you got tired of those skills to drop them and learn something new.

  JK-Kanosi

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/15/06
Posts: 1359

4/18/07 11:47:46 AM#19

So we have the skill-based system, the class based, and the hybrid which wasn't mentioned. A hybrid based system incorporates the xp/level and class system, but doesn't walk you down a pre-set skill path. You could choose x. y. or z skill when you level and each skill has their own strengths and weaknesses. SWG CU version was a Profession/skill-based/level hybrid. Dark Age of Camelot has a class/level/tri-skill system, where you have 3 skill lines you can choose to put points into as you level up. Each skill line has their own strengths and weaknesses.

Now on to the debate. I feel that a class/level based system is fine as long as they have a class for each playstyle. People like skill-based systems, because they can create whatever character they want. If you have premade templates (classes) that incorporate every possible combonation of fighter/healer/caster/rogue/crowd control as classes, then you take away the need for a skill -based system, because a person can just choose whichever template they prefer. However, a skill-based system allows you to alter your template any time you want, making it to where you don't ever need more than one character. Developers that create a class based system with a class for every particular template out there, will have to allow the player a way to switch classes without re-rolling a new character. SWG has done this by allowing Profession respec NPC's. I would prefer that devs take a quest-line approach, rather than a currency based approach. If you were to organize all of the classes into their own schools (ie. Magic Academy for all Classes whose strength is magic) you would be able to create a quest-line for each school that a player can do that will change them from say a Fighter to a Mage.

Developers should also create main quest lines based on what class you are. Because there would be so many classes, this would be kind of hard. That's where the School system works good. All classes of the same school have the same quest-line. Each schools quest-line would be intwined with each other. This allows for you to re-roll a character in a different school and experience a different view of the quest line. These quests should be Epic in nature, not Fed Ex/Kill/Collect quests. Developers can achieve this by spacing out the school based quests every 5 levels, which end in a spectacular climax at max level. As for how to level up...some people like to grind, some like to dungeon crawl, some like to PvP, and some like to quest. There should be ways to level up for each of those types of people that are equal to each other. Quests shouldn't yeild more xp than grinding, PvP, and etc. and visa versa. A PvPer should be able to PvP to max level without ever having to quest if he doesn't want to. Rewards for participating in PvP should have perks that benefit PvPer and the same goes for PvEers. Quest rewards should not be any better than other rewards, because then people are forced to do the quests for the best gear. The school-based quests should have their own special rewards, because they are special Epic quests. But they should scale in difficulty based on how many people are in your group as should the xp. That way a person could solo the quests or do them with a group and the quest would not be less challenging or less xp.

Other things that a class based system can do is allow players to create player ran cities and make sure you include crafting and social classes. The economy should encompass player crafted goods. Lootables should not be more powerful and should only be sellable to NPC's. This allows for some of that sandbox feel that some players need.

Once a developing team does this, the skill-based system will only have a few differences. One is that you advance by using a skill instead of xp. Two is that the world is open, because there wouldn't be zones for each level, since there wouldn't be a level system.

Developers could also use the Hybrid Class/Skill system to add more complexity to character building. Doing this would allow developers to create fewer classes, which in essense is just combining similar classes into one, but allowing the player to choose which skill path he wants to take.

A lot of these ideas have been tried, but not all of the ideas at once. Just something to think about.

MMORPG's w/ Max level characters: DAoC, SWG, & WoW

Currently Playing: WAR
Preferred Playstyle: Roleplay/adventurous, in a sandbox game.

  BadSpock

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 7733

Logic be damned!

4/18/07 12:40:21 PM#20

I say give people XP for PVP kills, more for higher levels and less for lower levels, more for accomplishing PVP objectives, less for losing a battle etc. So people can really level a character from min to max doing only PVP if they so choose. Or, they can supliment some of the quest/grind time with PVP so they still advance their character.

Why has this never been done before?

The first game to do this will be VERY popular with the PVP crowd, as long as the PVP is balanced/fair. Award the most XP for killing players right around your level to encourage fair competition. Split PVP experience between players who participate in the kill to discourage ganking and encourage group play/tactics.

Have PVP kills drop some random token/badge which can be collected and traded in for better equipment as you level, much like quests reward gear / money for completing them, award money/gear for turning in PVP tokens/badges. Give more tokens/badges for accomplishing PVP objectives. Diminish XP gains off of killing the same player over and over to reduce likelyhood of camping.

Everything that's already in place in a good PVP game, just add experience gains for doing it. Do that, and create quests for accomplishing things in PVP like WoW did. Except, a whole heck of a lot more of them, and repeatable for more XP. Balance it out so that average quester/grinder/PVPer will all gain around the same XP / gear/ money per hour played.

Sorry a little off topic, but something one of you said reminded me to go on a rant about this lol. Read my previous posts in this thread for my "on topic" responses lol. my bad

Now Playing: Destiny

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