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BadSpock's Logical Conclusions.

My random thoughts about MMORPGs. A bit of critique, suggestion, debate, and insanity. Enjoy.

Author: BadSpock

Class balance or unique classes? Both?

Posted by BadSpock Thursday October 25 2007 at 1:06PM
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SpiritOfGame recently posted a link to

a Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning impressions piece from hands-on play time.

One bit of the article impressed me the most, enough to right an entire blog about.

"One thing to note, as it will cause endless debate among overly knowledgable fanboys forever and ever -- the classes on the side of Order, and of Chaos, are not merely parallels of each other. Will this cause imbalance? Of course it will; no game is every perfectly balanced. Most MMOs, however, attempt to resolve this issue by making one side's "rogues" almost identical to the other side's "assassins", if you follow my meaning. WAR does not appear to even be considering this approach. Acolytes and shaman are not now, nor will they ever be, merely parallels of one another. The spells aren't basically the same, just with different names. They are different. We felt this added a lot to the game, and for this bold stand on class differences, we applaud the EA Mythic developers."

What do ya'll think of that?

Each race has one class from each of the four archetypes - Tank, Ranged DPS, Melee DPS, and Support.

What is interesting, is that this preview from Wandering Goblin seems to suggest that the differences between the classes of the same archetype are vast and profound.

The Black Orc (Tank) will not just have "orc themed" versions of the same abilities as the High Elf Swordmaster (Tank.)

It is indeed an interesting approach to class balance. I'm sure all classes of the same archetype will have some similarities, but often the most defining characteristics are not what makes two things the same, but what makes them different.

Personally, I think it's an absolutely marvelous idea.

In World of Warcraft, the current "standard" of MMORPG gaming, all Rogues are simply Rogues. Same abilties, same equipment, same talent trees... etc. Only thing that makes them different are the racial abilities, which generally speaking add very little distinciton between an Undead Rogue and a Dwarf Rogue for example.

Some games go farther as to assign different names to the same class depending on race. One race may have Assassins while the other has Scoundrals. But are they any different?

It sounds to me from reading this article that EA Mythic has gone a few steps beyond to make each class of each archetype unique and interesting. Obviously, this may cause balance issues for Mythic.  One race's Melee DPS archetype could end up more powerful then another, as some racial specific ability could be unbalanced.

I never played DAOC sadly, so for those that have, do you trust Mythic to delivery a balanced class system?

I just found the whole concept very, very intriguing. What do you think? Is this a smart move? Or for the sake of easier balancing, should all classes of the same archetype be the same?