Choose your own adventure! Back in the days when I used to drink Hi-C Ecto Cooler juice boxes and read Goosebumps books, I always enjoyed the parts where the story would ask me to make a choice. Do I skip to page forty eight and head into the woods, or do I go to page seventy two and pick up the phone to call for help? The announcement of Advanced Classes in The Old Republic delivers the same question to players; which path will you choose?
This new class system allows players to choose a sub specialization for their main archetype. The community site used the Sith Warrior as its example class while shedding first light on this system. Basically, classes are broken down into new distinct archetypes, much like Age of Conan's original spec system. Players have the ability to choose one of possibly multiple paths, (two are only displayed as examples in the original article) to better suit their play style. In regards to the Sith Warrior, one skill tree could be a tank archetype, focusing on having the player in the thick of battle, swinging his light saber into the nearest skull. Players could also take a different route and put points into another tree that grants them abilities to maneuver around the battle, striking enemies while they are most vulnerable. From the information currently presented to us, we see that this system will most likely provide players with their main class abilities; then two sub trees for focused point allocation. The third tree displayed in their example is called the Shared Skill Set.
The Shared Skill Set are, as you probably already guessed, the core abilities that your main class already uses. This skill set is used mainly to boost your inherent class abilities. All skill allocation points that your class gains while leveling can be used universally for each skill tree, much most mainstream MMOs to date. This doesn't seem like earth shattering news to me, however it is good to see some fleshing out of the skill systems.
The basic rundown of this whole article is this; players will be able to choose their main class, then select a sub archetype depending on how they want to play said class. I relate this to Age of Conan, being that while playing my Barbarian, I had the choice of putting points into either Reaver or Berserker sub specializations as well as a general skills tree. This system gives Bioware and Lucas Arts minus points for originality, but also plus points because I think it's a solid system that remains the backbone of many major MMOs.
With E3 coming early next month, I'm bribing Garrett to perform covert missions, (or at least Q&A sessions) to obtain information from the developers on this one. Hopefully he can mind trick people into giving away some goodies that we will be able to share with all ye faithful. What do you all think of this system; were you hoping for something better or does this fit the bill? How do you feel this will impact combat as a whole; do you think it provides the game with more versatility or do you now feel pigeonholed?