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Somehow I don't like the attitude in this thread, especially when it comes to monks and barbarians being a subclass of the fighter. With the same reasoning, there is no real need for any classes except the 4 base classes.

Cipher? Some kind of mage.

Chanter? Support mage.

Druid? Some kind of nature cleric.

Paladin? From the description given, he's just some charismatic fighter.

Ranger? Thief or fighter, choose yourself.

 

I believe classes should only describe mechanics and not what they represent as characters - just as obsidian stated, purpose ready but not limited to that purpose. NPCs in the game shouldn't reflect my class either, only what I do in the game should be important to them. After all, its just some artificial tag given to your character.

 

In my Ideal game, every class would have a unique set of abilities which only belong to that class and automatically imrpoves with level. The monk would be fast and magic resistant, for example. The fighter has bonuses on equipment. Mages have spells. You get the idea.

Then, what makes your character unique is the feats you choose to complement those abilities. Those would have prerequisites tied to your statistics or your lvls in your class (so for some melee feat, you have to be a lvl x fighter or a lvl x+2 ranger or ... and so one.) or other feats and be chosen on lvl up.

Those feats would be accesible for everyone given the prerequistes are met, but certain characters can access them earlier than others and they would constitute the most part of character creation.

 

So what does this system achieve?

 

- Your character is defined by the archtype you choose (unique class bonus) as well as the theme you will give him through feats

- Classes act merely as templates and are seperate from what you want to play. They overlap without that being a bad thing.

 

Therefore, if you want to play a certain character, several classes become viable.

You want to play a samurai, for example and you could go with fighter, ranger, monk or paladin as the base class.

You could teach the character swordfighting and roleplay him as a samurai, but all of those 4 samurais are stil distinct to play, given the class abilities feel unique enough.

 

The difference compared to DnD 3.X is that this system removes more class abilities and makes them available as feats for everyone to take, while the remaining class abilities are fleshed out more and non-combat abilities are a distinct progression independent of class. Especially, mages don't get the ability to emulate every other class as they do in DnD with their various spells for every purpose.

Edited by Doppelschwert
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Another thing about class diversity I would like to bring up is that they really should be less about what the player wants and more about what the world has to offer.

 

I realize many people want, say, a shaolin monk or a samurai or a ninja, but guess what, just like there were none in ancient Rome, there could be none in any kind of a fantasy setting. Moreover, they are more likely to be absent than present. If the devs stuff them into the setting just to be there for them Japanese fighter films or anime lovers, it looks nothing but lame and artificial. Even if they try to justify it somehow.

 

A side effect of such fanservice cramming as large overlap between classes. You have a fighter, a slightly different fighter a.k.a. monk, another slightly different fighter a.k.a. barbarian, and yet another different fighter a.k.a. paladin. All the difference here (talking DnD, not PE, obviously) is that paladin can cast some pretty lame spells, and the other two make up for gear restriction with special abilities, which does not bring anything to the table in terms of gameplay.

 

Now, as much as I hate mumorpegers (mostly because I envy those people who can play them hours straight for years and years), there is one thing a good MMORPG nails: classes have to be dynamic and gameplay should feel different for each class. Not so much in single player RPGs, granted, but this rule should hold for them too. Otherwise why would you even waste your time to make other classes apart from the three basic ones?

 

I can understand bringing, say, seven classes to the table with three being core ones (fighter, mage, rogue), another three are combinations (figher/mage, rogue/mage, etc) and the last one sort of a jack of all trades. This kind of approach doesn't bring much to roleplay experience, since the difference is all in mechanics, but at least at makes a good deal of sense.

 

In PE I can see how ciphers are different from mages with all their psyonics stuff. Not sure I can say the same for chanters, since mages and priests are generally the same if you take away heals. Heck, I can even see how paladins could work out better as members of a militant order (which was redundant in DnD, where a humble cleric of Ilmater could sport a war hammer and full plate). But monks? And worst of all barbarians?..

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I'd like to clarify, to those worried about some of the statements regarding certain "classes" really being sub-classes, that no one here (unless I'm mistaken) is suggesting that we simply do away with Barbarians and Monks and Paladins. I know I certainly wasn't. I think all that's been suggested, so far, is that their existence does not constitute an entirely separate class boundary, and, therefore, they should probably really be a sub-class in some form or fashion.

 

I'm not even saying "Do not, under ANY circumstances, let someone pick 'Barbarian' at character creation!". That would be where the lore and your character's backstory and customization come into play more so than class mechanics, though. You would still be a specialization of a warrior, really. *Epiphany*... I guess what I just realized I'm trying to say is that, logistically, "Warrior" should be the only fighter-type class to pick, and you'd then specialize your character as you go, OR, you should simply have all the sub-classes available for choosing at the beginning and no plain ole' "Warrior."

 

UNLESS you've designed the classes to be so distinct as to have a Barbarian, Monk, Paladin, and Warrior play COMPLETELY differently (rather than being distinguishable by a few stat-equation differences and a handful of feats and abilities, as well as their aesthetics), there's no point in offering BOTH a vanilla Warrior, who can access abilities and attributes across the spectrum of specializations AND each of these specializations (who, adversely, have access to a majority of standard Warrior abilities and traits.) It's redundant. It'd be like having a Mage, then having a Lightning Mage, then having a Fire Mage, then an Ice Mage, then an Earth Mage, then a Spirit Mage, then an Illusion Mage. But, using that example, in the DnD ruleset, you can specialize in a school of magic (which then gives you both some added bonuses as well as some few restrictions to balance it out), which makes a LOT more sense from a design standpoint.

 

If you HAVE somehow designed the specializations to have drastically different gameplay mechanics from the standard class archetype, then, by all means, offer all of them as choices. As I stated before, I'm not directly criticizing the as-yet announced class listing from Project Eternity. I'm merely discussing what we've seen implemented in games thus far.

 

Also, while it's good to have class roles overlap a bit, it is never prudent to have this overlap founded on the idea of elimination boundaries and restrictions. You don't want to run into the thought that "Man, it's really fun to cast all kinds of awesome spells. You know, Warriors should really get to do most of the stuff Mages do." No, no they shouldn't. Should they be allowed to use some magic? Sure. I'm fine with that. But it should make sense and be designed in a reasonable manner that still supports the fact that Warriors are NOT Mages.

 

To spend time making the classes distinctive, then turn around and intentionally blur those distinctions is counter-productive, and produces that "why should I even choose one class as opposed to another?" attitude. Kind of like in our favorite reference game, Skyrim. Every single Dovahkin could get all the shouts, no matter what path you took through the skills, and all the shouts pretty much did everything that all the spells did. Not quite everything, but pretty close to it... So, my choice to be a Mage really didn't matter. And choices that don't matter are no choices at all.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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In PE I can see how ciphers are different from mages with all their psyonics stuff. Not sure I can say the same for chanters, since mages and priests are generally the same if you take away heals. Heck, I can even see how paladins could work out better as members of a militant order (which was redundant in DnD, where a humble cleric of Ilmater could sport a war hammer and full plate). But monks? And worst of all barbarians?..

 

Monks are an anti-magic class in DnD 3.5. They are designed to be competent against mages. The fighter is not - in fact, mages are propably the best class to counter fighters. Barbarians are some kind of anti-thief class in DnD 3.5 which relies on short bursts of extra combat prowess.

Gameplay wise, they are classes which are able to counter the core classes. I rather have an monk in the party that pummels the enemy mage instad of having a tedious spell fight between mages. Those special abilities should also change the way you play them compared to the fighter class, if you're playing them right. There is nothing redundant about them.

Imitating these concepts alone would be enough to justify existance in PE mechanic wise.

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Another thing about class diversity I would like to bring up is that they really should be less about what the player wants and more about what the world has to offer.

 

I realize many people want, say, a shaolin monk or a samurai or a ninja, but guess what, just like there were none in ancient Rome, there could be none in any kind of a fantasy setting. Moreover, they are more likely to be absent than present. If the devs stuff them into the setting just to be there for them Japanese fighter films or anime lovers, it looks nothing but lame and artificial. Even if they try to justify it somehow.

 

A side effect of such fanservice cramming as large overlap between classes. You have a fighter, a slightly different fighter a.k.a. monk, another slightly different fighter a.k.a. barbarian, and yet another different fighter a.k.a. paladin. All the difference here (talking DnD, not PE, obviously) is that paladin can cast some pretty lame spells, and the other two make up for gear restriction with special abilities, which does not bring anything to the table in terms of gameplay.

 

Now, as much as I hate mumorpegers (mostly because I envy those people who can play them hours straight for years and years), there is one thing a good MMORPG nails: classes have to be dynamic and gameplay should feel different for each class. Not so much in single player RPGs, granted, but this rule should hold for them too. Otherwise why would you even waste your time to make other classes apart from the three basic ones?

 

I can understand bringing, say, seven classes to the table with three being core ones (fighter, mage, rogue), another three are combinations (figher/mage, rogue/mage, etc) and the last one sort of a jack of all trades. This kind of approach doesn't bring much to roleplay experience, since the difference is all in mechanics, but at least at makes a good deal of sense.

 

In PE I can see how ciphers are different from mages with all their psyonics stuff. Not sure I can say the same for chanters, since mages and priests are generally the same if you take away heals. Heck, I can even see how paladins could work out better as members of a militant order (which was redundant in DnD, where a humble cleric of Ilmater could sport a war hammer and full plate). But monks? And worst of all barbarians?..

 

I'm grossly over-simplifying here, but from the known information, we do know or suspect the following:

 

Rangers - Ranged weapon specialists

Paladins - Martial Cheerleaders

Wizards - Will be storing their prepared spells in tomes to use instead of the other way around.

Priests - Narrowly focused battle-casters with a penchant for buffs and guns

Druids - ???

Fighters - Jack of all Trades for weapons -- not as effective as a specialist when dealing with a situation that caters to the specialist, but better at things overall.

Rogues - Hit and run shadowy assassins

Barbarian - Raging warrior that can mitigate stamina damage taken while raging

Ciphers - Soul puppeteers and mind mages. Think Enchanter/Psion, only more so.

Chanters - Bards that don't have to concentrate on singing/playing to do so, but are limited to one AE buff at a time.

Monk - ???

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Somehow I don't like the attitude in this thread, especially when it comes to monks and barbarians being a subclass of the fighter. With the same reasoning, there is no real need for any classes except the 4 base classes.

Cipher? Some kind of mage.

Chanter? Support mage.

Druid? Some kind of nature cleric.

Paladin? From the description given, he's just some charismatic fighter.

Ranger? Thief or fighter, choose yourself.

 

I believe classes should only describe mechanics and not what they represent as characters - just as obsidian stated, purpose ready but not limited to that purpose. NPCs in the game shouldn't reflect my class either, only what I do in the game should be important to them. After all, its just some artificial tag given to your character.

 

In my Ideal game, every class would have a unique set of abilities which only belong to that class and automatically imrpoves with level. The monk would be fast and magic resistant, for example. The fighter has bonuses on equipment. Mages have spells. You get the idea.

Then, what makes your character unique is the feats you choose to complement those abilities. Those would have prerequisites tied to your statistics or your lvls in your class (so for some melee feat, you have to be a lvl x fighter or a lvl x+2 ranger or ... and so one.) or other feats and be chosen on lvl up.

Those feats would be accesible for everyone given the prerequistes are met, but certain characters can access them earlier than others and they would constitute the most part of character creation.

 

So what does this system achieve?

 

- Your character is defined by the archtype you choose (unique class bonus) as well as the theme you will give him through feats

- Classes act merely as templates and are seperate from what you want to play. They overlap without that being a bad thing.

 

Therefore, if you want to play a certain character, several classes become viable.

You want to play a samurai, for example and you could go with fighter, ranger, monk or paladin as the base class.

You could teach the character swordfighting and roleplay him as a samurai, but all of those 4 samurais are stil distinct to play, given the class abilities feel unique enough.

 

The difference compared to DnD 3.X is that this system removes more class abilities and makes them available as feats for everyone to take, while the remaining class abilities are fleshed out more and non-combat abilities are a distinct progression independent of class. Especially, mages don't get the ability to emulate every other class as they do in DnD with their various spells for every purpose.

 

It wasn't my intention to have an "attitude" towards certain classes. My main point was that I wanted people's perspective on how we define the term classes and whether we can apply this definition in distinguishing between the classes given (from fighter to monk to wizard to cipher) by applying mechanics that follow this definition. That's all. The main idea tha tI've gotten back that seems to make the most sense is that classes are defined by special abilities. If that is the case, then magic casting is a special ability as is whatever a fighter does and whatever a monk does. Because many people define the "special abilities" as what distinguish classes, then we should apply this definition not only to the core-four, but also the rest of the players. Unless we say the core-four have one set of definitions and the rest of the classes are a "core-four plus special abilities" subset.

 

Does that make sense?

My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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I'd like to clarify, to those worried about some of the statements regarding certain "classes" really being sub-classes, that no one here (unless I'm mistaken) is suggesting that we simply do away with Barbarians and Monks and Paladins. I know I certainly wasn't. I think all that's been suggested, so far, is that their existence does not constitute an entirely separate class boundary, and, therefore, they should probably really be a sub-class in some form or fashion.

 

I'm not even saying "Do not, under ANY circumstances, let someone pick 'Barbarian' at character creation!". That would be where the lore and your character's backstory and customization come into play more so than class mechanics, though. You would still be a specialization of a warrior, really. *Epiphany*... I guess what I just realized I'm trying to say is that, logistically, "Warrior" should be the only fighter-type class to pick, and you'd then specialize your character as you go, OR, you should simply have all the sub-classes available for choosing at the beginning and no plain ole' "Warrior."

 

UNLESS you've designed the classes to be so distinct as to have a Barbarian, Monk, Paladin, and Warrior play COMPLETELY differently (rather than being distinguishable by a few stat-equation differences and a handful of feats and abilities, as well as their aesthetics), there's no point in offering BOTH a vanilla Warrior, who can access abilities and attributes across the spectrum of specializations AND each of these specializations (who, adversely, have access to a majority of standard Warrior abilities and traits.) It's redundant. It'd be like having a Mage, then having a Lightning Mage, then having a Fire Mage, then an Ice Mage, then an Earth Mage, then a Spirit Mage, then an Illusion Mage. But, using that example, in the DnD ruleset, you can specialize in a school of magic (which then gives you both some added bonuses as well as some few restrictions to balance it out), which makes a LOT more sense from a design standpoint.

 

If you HAVE somehow designed the specializations to have drastically different gameplay mechanics from the standard class archetype, then, by all means, offer all of them as choices. As I stated before, I'm not directly criticizing the as-yet announced class listing from Project Eternity. I'm merely discussing what we've seen implemented in games thus far.

 

Also, while it's good to have class roles overlap a bit, it is never prudent to have this overlap founded on the idea of elimination boundaries and restrictions. You don't want to run into the thought that "Man, it's really fun to cast all kinds of awesome spells. You know, Warriors should really get to do most of the stuff Mages do." No, no they shouldn't. Should they be allowed to use some magic? Sure. I'm fine with that. But it should make sense and be designed in a reasonable manner that still supports the fact that Warriors are NOT Mages.

 

To spend time making the classes distinctive, then turn around and intentionally blur those distinctions is counter-productive, and produces that "why should I even choose one class as opposed to another?" attitude. Kind of like in our favorite reference game, Skyrim. Every single Dovahkin could get all the shouts, no matter what path you took through the skills, and all the shouts pretty much did everything that all the spells did. Not quite everything, but pretty close to it... So, my choice to be a Mage really didn't matter. And choices that don't matter are no choices at all.

 

This is exactly my intention when starting this thread.

My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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It wasn't my intention to have an "attitude" towards certain classes. My main point was that I wanted people's perspective on how we define the term classes and whether we can apply this definition in distinguishing between the classes given (from fighter to monk to wizard to cipher) by applying mechanics that follow this definition. That's all. The main idea tha tI've gotten back that seems to make the most sense is that classes are defined by special abilities. If that is the case, then magic casting is a special ability as is whatever a fighter does and whatever a monk does. Because many people define the "special abilities" as what distinguish classes, then we should apply this definition not only to the core-four, but also the rest of the players. Unless we say the core-four have one set of definitions and the rest of the classes are a "core-four plus special abilities" subset.

 

Does that make sense?

 

Yeah, that makes sense. I propably sounded more aggressive than intended to be, I have no offense taken in this thread :)

Although the disregard for the monk worries me....

I'm with the answers you received so far, just as my previous post implies. I'd even go as far as not wanting NPCs to refer to me of being my class, as that hinders roleplaying. Rather, they should be refering to my equipment and/or appearance / the reputation I build up. So I think the actual role you are roleplaying and the class you have should be seperate things which can coincide if you want but don't have to. So you can roleplay your fighter as a rogue, although mechanically he is a fighter. Why?

Because when you choose to roleplay some character which doesn't fit any of the classes directly, you can choose one which is pretty similar, twist in a way to fit your character through means of customisation (feats, etc) and have fun. Thats not possible when everyone is referring to you as mr. introverted wizard because of your class, when you're really running around in armor, enhancing your sword with magic and are a melee magician.

 

I liked that in the Order of the Stick where samurais where portrayed as a dualclass paladin/monk, because the abilities fitted the concept the most.

And its another reason why non-combat skills should be seperate from combat skills.

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See I don't take that example of the mages as that great an example, or more precisely if you bunched up all the elemental mages into an evoker class, the difference between the playstyle of a mage who does nothing but throw fireballs and lightning and a dedicated illusionist is arguably potentially bigger than between rogue and fighter, so there is no fundemental reason why they *shouldn't* be separate classes. The problem is more that the vanilla wizard is loitering around linking the two together and being the equivalent of a swiss army knife in comparrison. Arguably, it'd actually be more interesting if the way mages were designed forced you to specialize, and if you did want to learn a bit of magic from outside your specialisation you'd have to dedicate some learning to it.

 

The issue of keeping classes distinct is a tricky one but not impossible, and I think the 3rd Edition of D&D manages it fairly well through automatically gained abilities. As I covered earlier, there is definitly variety within the fighting classes, but I think the problem we are having here is not that the secondary fighting classes are too niche, but that the core fighting class is too nebulous mechanic wise - of all the classes it it by far the most non-descript and perhaps refining that focus a little would equal it out against the other classes.

 

The fighter as in 3rd Edition is basically the man on the front line defined by composing their own combat style from feats of equivalent, he is the self made warrior while paladin, monk and barbarian particularly achieve their respective nuance of roles by focusing on learning a specific set of (automatically acquired) techniques and bonuses. This is where are are looking at the problem of "well if fighters are the basic fighting class, why don't you branch out from there?".

 

So this is why fighters get all those bonus feats in 3rd Edition, as a counterbalance to the lack of any external linearity to their training that the others have the luxury of having. But perhaps that is a little too broad because it does encourage the concept of building a class which literally overlaps the remit of every single class apart from wizard, including the "core 4" rogue and cleric. So, if we were literally just overhauling 3rd edition (which we aren't but as we don't know what we ARE doing lets do this for now) perhaps have those bonus feats only usable in more limited ways - in weapon focus, in armour use (I now see the logic of taking away plate as a default skill from everyone but paladins in 4th, its forcing the fighter to make more decisions than coasting knowing he can do anything). Perhaps change the ways weapon proficiencies are aquired at character creation - every class gets their own default set (paladins and clerics the weapons of their order/faith, wizards get nothing, monks only light dexterity based things etc) but the fighter, the self made warrior, gets to choose what set they start with. You could even apply the same principle to armour - the fighter gets to specialise in a specific armour in a way the other classes have to spend their own free points to learn. The fighter, at say 5th level, you get to choose whether you want to focus on chainmail or whatever. Make the fighter about being one with their equipment in a way that doesn't come naturally to the other classes. Sure they can try to take a bit of ground from the barbarian or ranger if they want with their own "free feats", but at the end of the day, they aren't about rage, or about holy smiting or turning their body into a weapon, they are about how to use a sword or shield of armour really really well.

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Rather than try to make other classes like ranger, druid, monk, chanter etc some form of sub-set of a core class why not give them enough different mechanics and abilities to assure they are NOT a sub-set and have every one of the classes in the game stand on their own as a viable class?

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Nomadic Wayfarer of the Obsidian Order


 

Not all those that wander are lost...

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^That's the goal. But how to do this is the problem.

 

Not over exaggerating their sameness or dismissing their differences (like everything else on the internet is either over exaggerated or dismissed as trivial) might be a good place to start... :lol:

 

Seeing what Obsidain actually plans for them (4 due next week) might be another... 8)

Nomadic Wayfarer of the Obsidian Order


 

Not all those that wander are lost...

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Here's how I would do it.

 

Classes are "broad umbrellas". Inside a given class contained are "specialization umbrellas" which contain a collection of active skills and feats.

 

At character generation, you can pick 5 active skils from ANY of these specialization umbrellas. You can pick 8 passive skills.

 

Monk example:

 

-Monks start out with specific starting attribute bonuses.

-Monks start out with a special combat feat that no other class gets.

-Monks start out with a special robe that gives them a unique early game benefit.

 

These three traits define a pure Monk class at the beginning of the game. They help to give identity to the class, making them seem special, even if the difference between an early game monk and rogue might be largely superficial.

 

Here are the roles you can potentially pick as a monk:

 

Unarmed Fighter

Staff Fighter

Throwing Fighter (throwing weapons)

Block-based Tank

Light-armor Tank

Dodge Tank

Buff Spells

Debuff Spells

Utility - Persuasion/Diplomacy

 

You also have access to off-class specialization umbrellas at character generation and can purchase them for some bonus cost to your character. But after you've generated your character, you can only pick passive and active skills from these feat/active umbrellas. Umbrellas are mostly interchangeable between classes (the "unarmed" specialization might contain one or two unique monk active/passive skills though, similarly other speicalizations might have a few class-restricted areas, but should be relatively uncommon).

 

The monk class is "special" because it has the easiest access to picking these active and passive abilities. It is ALSO special because there SHOULD be ways that these specializations interact with each other. For instance specializing in staffs SHOULD have some feats which give you bonus buff/debuff duration while using a staff, or a bonus to blocking while wielding a staff. The block specialization might have a passive which lets you get a critical strike counter attack after blocking an attack, and if Staves have increased critical damage multiplier passives - suddenly there's a synergy between specializing in staves and blocking while playing a monk.

 

Feats/passives should be broad, inviting synergy, experimentation and exploitation. Exploitation shouldn't be a bad word here, when you're exploiting a mechanic, you're coming up with a strategy. Feats/passive skills should be designed such that classes can take advantage of them to create functional combinations. Active skills should enable varied builds, though I don't want to go into deep specifics here, active skills should also be an integral way to define your character's role, feats/passives further specializing them.

 

If I learned anything from playing WOW for a year, it's that having TOO MANY ACTIVE SKILLS IS A BAD THING. It really hurts specialization and just overall makes things confusing. A class should have a limited number of active skills so that players know what to focus on. There should be a wide array of active skills to choose from -- a decently sized pool of active skills - but you should not be able to have a majority of them. For instance, an attack-based active skill... like "Slam" lets say (a skill that can be used while unarmed or with a staff, let's say) should be picked if you want to knock your opponents away from you with an attack. And an active attack skill like "Furious Blow" (a skill that interrupts a spell being cast, let's say) should be picked if you want to have a way to deal with spellcasters that chant powerful spells for a time. Both of these skills should have some overlap (they both deal decent damage) both of these spells should be special (they do more than damage; they have unique effects) and both of these spells could be exploited in different ways (maybe unarmed passive feat gives you a bonus to your knockback distance, maybe a staff feat/passive lets you do physical damage if you knockback targets into their allies) to create a highly specialized role in a party. But the point is, you probably SHOULD NOT have both skills, because maybe you can only have 8 or 9 active skills at max, and there are other support/defensive skills you need more than another attack/utility skill.

 

So um, to try and summarize my points:

-Classes are broad strokes, they overlap in many ways with each other and are flexible

-Classes can specialize and can do so to a point so that at level 15, my Monk differs from your Monk AS WELL as differs from any given Rogue; it should be rare that two Monks play exactly the same and fill the same role

-Classes are not locked into particular roles and can have some freedom

-Classes ARE RESTRICTED; they cannot do "anything or everything" - or if they can, it must be at the cost of giving up something valuable

-Classes ARE NOT RESTRICTED; A Monk could play very similar to a Druid (both could be staff fighters, perhaps if they share the same staff feats) but a Monk should have access to some different staff active skills compared to a Druid, or at least, different feats/passives to influence how staves are used in combat (this could be done perhaps, if Druid spell specialization interacts with staves in a unique way)

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If using my method you would have about 80~ Weapon Abilities (Not Weapon+Class Abilities, but Weapon only, that are the same for each Class but a Fighter would be best with Sword & Board, and could even have Class Abilities that are directly tied to the Sword & Board) and you'd have about 160 Spell Abilities to distribute between the classes.

 

I think all classes should have only a few abilities, but these should be both unique to the class and easily diversifiable (is that even a word?).

 

For example, fighters should have two defensive (skill-based, which can give bonuses to light and medium armor, parrying, dodging and counterattacking; and endurance-based, which helps reducing criticals, regaining stamina, shrugging off critical effects and the like) and two offensive (fast, which gives bonuses to attack speed and critical chance; and strong, which gives armor penetration and damage bonuses) figthing styles which each give different bonuses, and some 5-ish active abilities, which do different things depending on which fighting styles have you upgraded and how. This way, there is no need for too many animations, but the same skill with the same animation can accomplish quite different things, depending on your build.

"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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Are they distinguished by the skills they can have?

By their combat styles?

Philosophies or personalities of these characters?

I think all of these things will help to define a class, but it is more than that. Some people have already mentioned soul energy in this context, and I'm inclined to agree it will have great role in defining a class. I believe that in the P:E world someone might start as a class because it's there vocation, it matches there philosophies or it is in line with there combat style - but over time there soul will react to the class choice and tune into it. This further attenuates their focus; honing in their abilities, philosophy and personality because of how imprintable souls are through lifestyle choices. In this way, there is a metaphysical aspect that distinguishes classes from each other - a new axis that hasn't really been covered in games before. I think in P:E classes will boil down like this, or at least something along these lines.

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I think the key thing to think about when talking about classes is the idea of creating an artificial need for teamwork.

 

Classes unrealistically limit what a player can do. Have you ever wondered why your Dex 18 figher never learns to sneak without multiclassing? It should be a relatively easy thing to do. Yet, in the system of the game sneak is not made available to the fighter and as a result the fighter must rely on the rogue for scouting. The limit is artificial and valuable.

 

A good way to think about it is chess pieces. The knight and the bishop and the rook are different classes with different abilities. When used together they create interesting strategies. The queen would be a "broken overpowered" class in this analogy. The pawns and king, "underpowered".

 

Based on that premise, a well designed class system creates a set of archetypes that synergize well. That is to say that a party composed of a fighter, mage, rogue and cleric in a well designed class system is more fun to play because of how the strengths and weaknesses of the classes interplay with the challenges of the game.

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I love games with lots of classes and pen & paper as well as CRPGS have taken alot of approaches. Someone has already mentioned the Elder Scrolls Approach. One way is to have a lot of skills and allow some classes to advance more (or quicker) in some skills than others (Elder Scrolls, Later Might & Magic games). Another approach is that each class has a few trademark abilities which let it fill a specific role. Often, however, there are multiple classes that can fulfill the same role. For example in early D&D games, the Fighter, Ranger, Barbarian, and Paladin pretty much did the same thing, but with slight variation. In the older Might and Magic Games the Ninja and Thief did the same thing, but one was better at disarming traps and opening locks ans the other better at fighting- A game with lots of classes should allow lots of different possiblities that are equally effective.

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I think that the limited active skills idea is a pretty good one. I'm going to reference Guild Wars 2's skill system as a good example. I realize it's an MMO, and P:E is a cRPG, but, I'm simply pointing out that, within the context of a given RPG sub-genre, I think the fewer-yet-more-significant-skills thing really works quite well.

 

In Guild Wars 2, your combat skills are derived directly from your weapon. You basically get 5 weapon skills. That's it. Period. No more, ever. What do you imagine the initial reaction to this news was? "OMG, that's ridiculous! All the PREVIOUS MMOs have had like 50 skills! I need more than that! Automatically not even interested in it, u_u".

 

Yup. But, that's simply all the skills you have access to with a single weapon. So, a different weapon gives you a different 5. And each class has access to about 4-6 different weapons. AND, each class except for the Elementalist (reasoning in a moment) gets 2 "weapon sets" that can be swapped between in-combat. So, that gives you 10 weapon skills within the confines of a single bout of combat (though only 5 at once between each 15-second weapon-swap cooldown.) Outside of combat, you can happily swap to any other weapons you wish. The reason Elementalists don't get to swap weapons is because they possess attunements (Earth, Fire, Water, Air), each providing a different set of 5 skills for the same weapon. Outside of that, you get 1 healing skill (class/race-based pool of options) for which generally do much more than heal, and heal in very different manners), 3 utility skills (also class/race-based pool of options), and an elite skill (once again, class/race-based pool... you see the pattern.)

 

The weapon skills are all completely different for each class. A Thief with a dagger and an Elementalist with a dagger play COMPLETELY DIFFERENTLY! And this is one of the biggest positive things about this skill system. The thief does entirely shady, stealthy, stabbity things with the dagger. He doesn't just do slightly differently-animated things that do differing amounts of damage. He actually uses the dagger as a dexterous, stealthy Thief would. One skill quickly rolls 180-degrees around the target, then delivers a backstab. One ability allows you to shadowstep to your target and attack (no backstab, just standard attack). However, the location from which you shadowstepped is now marked, and can be shadowstepped BACK to within 10-or-so seconds of the first use of the skill. Therefore, it can be strategically used (in the context of GW2's active, fast-paced combat system.)

 

Meanwhile, the Elementalist doesn't simply throw a few fireballs AND have a dagger in his hand, with which he runs about trying to poke a few things that have 100 health for 3 damage whilst possessing absolutely no combat skills whatsoever outside of his magic. He uses the dagger as you would expect a phenomenally powerful master-of-the-elements would. When attuned to fire, your standard attack is called something like "Dragon's claw," wherein your dagger slashes produce 3 slicing blades of fire in direction of the swing, spreading a bit as they go. It's a rather short-ranged attack, as the dagger is a very close-quarters weapon. So, even though the Elementalist doesn't actually strike people WITH the dagger, he uses his magic through it with the same mentality. If you're fighting a single foe, you can keep yourself at very close range, where the spread of the "claws" is minimal, striking the foe with all three for maximum damage. Or, if you're fighting several foes, you can maintain your distance a bit, striking at them when the "claws" are most spread.

 

Another fire ability (we'll just stick with fire, for simplicity) allows you to dash about 15 feet in the direction you choose, leaving a burning trail in your wake and a small, bursting flame nova (that sets enemies ablaze) at your destination. Within the context of the system, this can be used so many different ways. A) The trail causes a fire-combo to any projectile-based attacks that travel through it (including those from other people, naturally, as it is Massively Multiplayer for a reason). B) This dash can either close distance or expand distance from you to your target, OR dodge incoming targeted attacks, all based on which direction you choose to dash and the timing of the skill. C) The fireburst at the end of the attack causes the "burning" status, increasing the damage from other fire-based attacks while it lasts, AND can strike multiple foes.

 

These are very, very simple abilities in an active combat system, but they not only add great amounts of depth and strategy to MMO combat, but also emphasize class distinction.

 

I'm not suggesting "Hey, Project Eternity should have Guild Wars 2's combat system!". Haha. Again, it was a very wise choice, I think, within the context of THAT game. But it is the thinking behind that idea, for that game, that I think is most important. They took their classes, and they said "What is this class going to be about?". Then, they made mechanics for each class, and made those mechanics an INTEGRAL part of basically everything that class does. You can still specialize within the classes, and there is some overlap, but they still FEEL distinctly different.

 

So, I'm not trying to make any point, really, beyond the fact that making classes too similar, or making the differences simple math (i.e. "This class gets more damage reduction, this class deals more DPS, this class has a higher dodge, etc.") is always going to produce a more lackluster class system than one in which the classes are distinctive.

 

I have no problem whatsoever with Monks being their own class, so long as they aren't Warriors who happen to get about 2 different core abilities and also happen to just use their hands to basically do all the same stuff Warriors do with not-their-hands. And, as I've said before, IF you offer Monks and Paladins and such as their own classes in your class system, then there really probably shouldn't be a standard "Warrior" choice unless it's completely different from the others.

 

Take a car and compare it to a truck, or a van. They've all got 4 wheels and an engine and doors and seating, and cargo space. All that's really different is the math. The equation's the same. Now throw a motorcycle out there. That's pretty different. Different frame, different mechanical design, moves differently. Sure, it still uses an engine to drive wheels to roll it forward, but there's your overlap. Maybe the motorcyle is a Rogue. Maybe the Mage is a helicopter. But, you can't simply make them all different styles of cars, and give one an awesome sound system, and one big mud tires, and one a really fast engine.

 

Classes need to behave in inherently different manners. Just like guns need to in first-person shooters... Just like levels need to in puzzle games. Just like characters need to in fighting games.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Interestingly, the classes chosen to be played first thus far by ~180 people has barbarian, monk, and priest as the least played. This might mean something. It might not.

My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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I think it'll only mean something pertinent once we know the full details of the class mechanics the developers decide to implement, as everyone's working off of what they think of when they hear the classes' names. It's kinda like betting at this point, heh. It is interesting, though.

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Interestingly, the classes chosen to be played first thus far by ~180 people has barbarian, monk, and priest as the least played. This might mean something. It might not.

 

Might mean there's more info on other classes but I suspect it relates more to what people consider their usual first class to play in almost any RPG since we really know next to nothing about how any of them will work or what they may be facing or who will be able to do the talking for the party or any details about companions and whether they will be universally available or some may only work with certain factions and thus perhaps NOT be available if you choose option C or D or all of the above.

 

Remind me again why we are even asking this question when we know none of the stuff that might allow for an intelligent decision? :no:

Nomadic Wayfarer of the Obsidian Order


 

Not all those that wander are lost...

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^ For ships and giggles. Seriously though, it's meant to be a reminder that some of these classes really need a fresh rethinking.

 

Also ciphers are doing quite well in the polls. I don't remember any IE game having that. I find that interesting. It seems that players are more likely to play interesting classes than boring, old, thoughtless rehashes.

Edited by Hormalakh

My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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^ For ships and giggles. Seriously though, it's meant to be a reminder that some of these classes really need a fresh rethinking.

 

Also ciphers are doing quite well in the polls. I don't remember any IE game having that. I find that interesting. It seems that players are more likely to play interesting classes than boring, old, thoughtless rehashes.

 

I'm pretty sure some people pick Cipher as an option because they want to see how Obsidian handles a class that is potentially similiar to a psionic-based class.

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