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Does Adding Extra Classes Matter To You?

Lewis Burnell Posted:
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This question is largely going to depend on whether or not you enjoy having alternative characters. There was a time when I did and in almost every MMO I’ve played I’d have one of every profession (or class). Altitis was very real in my household and even up to playing Guild Wars 2 I had one of every profession maxed out. It’s only in the last year that I’ve grown tired of keeping my alts up to scratch - the pursuit of gearing them out or keeping on top of their levels is exhausting.

The introduction of two new classes to Black Desert Online - or gender mirrors, with minor changes in how they perform - is no doubt welcomed by many. These aren’t newly designed classes, but sporting new names: Musa and Maehwa (formerly known as Blader and Plum). Both certainly look fun and as the videos of their skills demonstrate, they share enough similarities with subtle tweaks to feel independent of one another (certainly when Awakened).

My issue with their introduction is that it’s “content” I sadly don’t have time for. Alternative characters are prominent in Black Desert Online and the game is fairly generous in encouraging you to have them. For me however, I’ve reached the point in my gaming life where one character is enough and the thought of going through the drudgery of leveling up all over again far too daunting.

There would be a time where I’d relish the thought. Exploring a game world with a fresh pair of eyes can be rewarding and many times doing it I’ve discovered something new. Now however and when I think about the time I’d have to spend doing it, in order to get my alt up to scratch, it leaves me sweating. Obviously for anyone new to Black Desert Online the addition of two new classes is brilliant and even for those of us already playing, it’s great to see players starting out on a new adventure.

To digress, I’ve no doubt Daum and Pearl Abyss intend on adding even more classes in the future and it’s at this point that I do worry. When I look at MMO’s with a large amount of professions they not only attract community division (their profession is stronger than mine!) but balance and priority fixes seem to get fewer and fewer. It’s seems hard enough in any MMO to have developers place classes and the balancing of them at the forefront of development but as the roster gets larger, so do the “issues”.

You only have to visit any MMO forum to see the hysteria surrounding professions. Everyone feels theirs is underpowered, broken or in desperate need of divine intervention. Worse still, everyone feels that everyone else's profession is incredible. Admittedly the reality is somewhere in between but it still doesn’t lighten the load when it comes to firefighting such vocal thoughts.

Once you’ve snapped out of Altitis, you realise just how little attention are given to improving the existing professions and I think, certainly from my perspective, those who suffer (as I once did) only do so because their “main” doesn’t wholly satisfy them as a result of bugs or perceived imbalances. Continuing to add to a class roster only adds to development woes on pleasing its audience. If we look at Guild Wars 2 and the introduction of elite specializations, the game has gone from 8 professions, to 18 in total (also factoring in the revenant). There’s no doubting that some of the elite specializations are great but they’ve instantly undermined and entirely eclipsed their predecessors. You’re now left with 8 core professions still desperately in need of attention, and 10 added extra’s needing the same.

I’m not in any way suggesting Black Desert Online doesn’t need the Musa and Maehwa (they were inevitably already released overseas) but maybe going forward, adding to what we already have - without factoring in classes and their “Awakening” - is probably not the answer. Surely it’s easier and much less time consuming to ensure the existing lineup of classes is the best they can be?

What are your thoughts on adding classes/professions to MMO’s? Should it be a regular thing? Would you rather developers perfect what is already in the game? Let me know. 


Lewis Burnell

Lewis has played MMOs since Ultima Online launched, and written about them for far too long.