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Thoughts On Roles, Classes, And Diversity


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What are your thoughts on the diversity of roles that any given class can take? Should classes be more linear in their character choices, focusing on a specific role, or should they be more diverse, capable of taking a variety of roles based on choices made?

 

I realize there is already a topic similar to this, but if I remember correctly, the topic is about a year old. So instead of bumping an old topic, I wanted to start anew and open the topic with some ideas of my own in regards to roles, classes, and party dynamics. The point of this topic is to throw around ideas for how classes should be built and what choices are available to players in terms of abilities, traits, and attributes to create builds.

 

> Roles In Strategy RPG's

I think by now, everyone can recognize four basic roles in strategy games. You have your Tanks, which act as the center of attention and absorb incoming damage for your allies, DPS, which inflict the highest damage over time to enemies, Mezzer, which control mobs with status effects (not necessarily mandatory), and Healer, which provides buffs and healing to the party members (mostly to the Tanks).

 

These are the simple ideas behind each role, but they are not even what I see as important roles in a party. Honestly, a party make-up can be further simplified to just DPS and Healer, since the only requirements for a successful party build is a way to deal damage efficiently and a way to avoid damage efficiently. In essence, roles are defined by the threats in a game. If every conflict can be dealt with by simply beating someone up, you don't even need roles, really.

 

Most of the time, classes are built to appeal to a role. In games which allow more lenience in builds, such as pen-and-paper tabletop games, a player determines their role by how they mix and match classes and character choices (traits, abilities, etc.). I think the simplest example that comes to mind is the Druid class in Pathfinder. There are two main builds for Druids; one centered around 'wild-shaping' and one centered around 'spell casting'. In Pathfinder, wild-shaping is simply a set of physical Ability Score modifications and bonus special rules. As such, the wild-shaping Druid must sacrifice their spell-casting potential for better physical attributes. On the other hand, if the Druid wished to be the spell casting variant, they would increase their spell casting attribute to increase the effects of their spells. In one hand, the Druid is a physical damage dealer and more tough than their spellcaster counterpart. In the other, the Druid has more supportive abilities, such as better healing and stronger control effects, than their wild-shaping counterpart. This illustrates an example of greater flexibility in roles as a certain class based on character choices (choosing to be more warrior-like or more spellcaster-like). I will speak later about how this appeals to my own ideas about party roles and parties.

 

Now let's consider the Infinity Engine games and what roles are played in those games, or at least what I've perceived according to my experience.

 

> Roles In IE Games

Infinity Engine games typically split their classes between 'Mages, 'Priests', 'Warriors', and 'Rogues', but when it comes to the actual task of playing through the game, I've identified the following roles for (in my opinion) effective gameplay:

 

The BSF: Also known as the Big Stupid Fighter and the Meat Shield. When it comes down to it, the BSF is the primary source of damage for your party. They have the most HP, the lowest AC (nothing is more terrifying than melee combat supremacy at -10 AC), and the highest melee damage. An archetypal Tanker is not expected to deal that much damage, medium at most, which is why the BSF is not your typical Tanker. They have the highest THAC0, the best weapons, and the highest Strength among your party members. In most cases, the party is simply supporting the BSF, such is the case of the Spellcaster. The BSF is typically a Fighter, Ranger, or Paladin.

 

The Spellcaster: I think many people maintain the idea that the Mage and the Cleric are two different beasts with quite different roles. The Mages are the archetypal blasters, with spells like Magic Missile and Fireball. The Clerics are the archetypal healers and buffers. However, I put them together because, in my experience, they perform a similar role, and that is to support the BSF. The Spellcaster has two goals in a fight; keep the BSF going and make the BSF better at killing. Healing and summoning creatures as distractions are the best methods to keep the BSF going. Buffing and crowd control make the BSF better at killing. In regards to Blaster Casters (Mages with a plethora of direct-damage effects), I don't believe this is the best direction for a Mage, considering the limitations of the Vancian spell system used in IE games. As such, Mage spells with longer durations, including, but not limited to, summoning spells and crowd controls are actually more effective than direct damage. Not to mention the higher chance of team-killing with blast spells like Fireball and Cloudkill, the BSF has to clear out of the way in order to maximize the spell's effect (it's not worth it to damage the enemy if you also damage your allies) and some enemies are highly resistant to certain elemental damage. Therefore, I typically let wands and scrolls do the blasting for me. Why waste slots on blast spells when you can just use a wand? Regardless, most of the time, I let the Utilitarian do the ranged damage. The Spellcaster is typically a Mage, Cleric, or Druid.

 

The Utilitarian: I recall in games having that one rogue to handle traps, lock-picking, conversations (depending on rule set), and scouting. Most of the time, this character had high Dexterity, making them great archers and the designated 'magic arrow hoarder' of the group. When the BSF wasn't hitting, usually the Utilitarian picked up the pace. The Utilitarian was also the primary initiator. They could usually one-shot the first enemy that came barrelling towards the group (although in most of my games, I gave everyone ranged weapons, something I also recommend). Other uses for the Utilitarian included picking off enemy spellcasters and archers (while the BSF busied himself with the melee baddies), using stealth to scout ahead (picking off anyone who strayed alone), and laying waste to enemies who were just too tough for the BSF (while I made my BSF play a game of 'cat and mouse' with the big scary monster). The Utilitarian is typically a Rogue, Bard, or Ranger.

 

I think there are occasions where any of these roles shined and any of these roles utterly failed. Furthermore, I've discovered these roles through my personal experience of playing IE games. If you have different opinions about playstyles, I'd love to hear them, that's what this topic is for. In most games, my party build would consist of 2-3 BSF's, 2-3 Spellcasters, and one Utilitarian.

 

So, assuming that the goal is to break from these roles, how can P:E give classes the choices to mix and match these roles or even create new roles?

 

> Personal Ideas Concerning Roles

When it comes to the relationship between classes and roles, I absolutely hate how stale builds can become. My favorite pasttime has been experimenting with builds to create quirky mechanics for a character. I remember one build in Pathfinder where I mixed a monk and dragon disciple for a 'glass cannon' character. She was essentially a normal monk that could turn into a dragon and inflict a high damage natural attack combo combined with her normal unarmed damage (never found rules saying that I couldn't use kung-fu as a dragon ;P). And I know for sure in D&D 3.5, there was an incredible diversity in builds. A huge variety of build options were provided with the introduction of new feats and new prestige classes in every book. Even though 3.5 characters spiraled out of control sometimes (templates, oh god the templates), they were also highly varied.

 

I think one of my favorite games for creating builds is League Of Legends. I know it's nothing like an IE game (despite also being a strategy role-playing game), but I think there are still lessons to be learned from the system. First of all, it's possible for some of the quirkiest builds in the game to work effectively, regardless of who you play. Some characters synergized really well with certain items and certain team members. Best of all, some characters have lenient roles. For example, one character named Kayle is known for having the flexibility to be built like a DPS or built like a support.

 

I'm not saying P:E should allow players to create quirky character builds that don't make any sense (ala D&D 3.5), but rather options should be provided to allow characters to fulfill a role in their class' "flavor", For example, if you wanted to play a fighter archer, they would be more focused around different types of archery attacks, where as a ranger archer would be focused around utilizing traps and their animal companion with their archery. Regardless, both would be effective as a ranged damage dealer in their own way. I think when designing their classes, Obsidian designers should consider how a particular class could be built and provide options for those builds. No, it's not possible to identify every little role, but it is possible to provide a diversity at the least. Not all paladins have to be divine melee fighters, why can't they inflict their smite with archery? Not all rogues have to be assassins, why can't they be tankers based on evading attacks?

 

In reference to the IE roles discussed earlier, what if I could utilize a Rogue as a BSF? They wouldn't be the typical 'high armor, high melee damage' character, they would be a BSF in the Rogue-fashion, evading attacks and maybe inflicting sneak attack whenever they 'parry'. Or Mages as Utilitarians? If spells were more accessible or provided more utility, mages could fulfill this role as a secondary damage dealer and jack-of-all-trades. It's going to require careful game design, but I think a move towards 'more roles for any class' will provide an interesting experience for people whether they build for effectiveness or just build for fun.

 

> TL;DR

I think P:E should provide more roles (Tanker/DPS/Support) to each class, but those roles should be played different between each class. For example, a Rogue Tanker would be based around evasive maneuvers and sneak attacks 'procing' on successful parries.

Edited by kadelyn.the.dragon
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Yes, I want classes to be very asymmetrical. Yes, I want there to be a great diversity in how to play each class. A fighter should not only be able to tank (though if that's how you want to play him, go ahead) a rogue should be able to pick between being a high DPS character or a debuffer, or a troll, playing target while avoiding many blows.

 

Ultimately, I don't want class differentiation to be limited to combat though. Asymmetrical solutions to quests based on class would be fantastic as well.

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Classes can and will be defined by form rather than function as you mention, but unfortunately this often leads to the different classes feeling samey (if a warrior has their own quasi-magical abilities, then aren't they effectively a mage?). If you aren't forced to specialize within your class among the different roles it can perform (and you can perform all of them with the same character), this is what results. I also think this can happen if every class can potentially perform every role (which results in class amounting to nothing more than a cosmetic re-skinning), so I think that even if most classes should be able to perform multiple roles, no one should never be able to be offensive, defensive, support, or utility; instead, one class should be able to perform two or three of those generalized roles. I think that PE will manage to avoid most of these pitfalls, however. It is worth considering, though, whether we are really just approximating a specialized skill-based system with the kind of tricked out class-based system mentioned here.

Edited by mcmanusaur
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I dislike the idea designing a class with a particular "role" in mind. Too often this results in shoe-horning that class into its preferred role instead of letting the player decide what to do with a character of that class. I much prefer giving the classes class abilities that are universally valuable and setting aside abilities that work better with certain roles as talents/feats. Oh and removing equipment restrictions is nice as well, ensuring a Mage can't be good at melee because the only weapons they are capable of wielding are **** is not good design.

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I used my "stalky stalky" ability and discovered an interesting thing for this topic about roles:

 

"Fighters can't sling fire as part of their normal class Abilities, but they will probably have some optional Talents that allow them to use magic."

http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3506352&userid=0&perpage=40&pagenumber=472

 

I presume it's "soul magic". I hope it's something that doesn't feel and look like a spell, and is along the lines of high level abilities in Baldur's Gate 2: ToB -- cleverly presented self-buffing, war cries etc.

 

 

 

 

 

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Classes can and will be defined by form rather than function as you mention, but unfortunately this often leads to the different classes feeling samey (if a warrior has their own quasi-magical abilities, then aren't they effectively a mage?).

This isn't true for Project Eternity. Each Class will have a role they are good in and other classes can never be as good in this roles if you specialize your character in the role. sources for example:

source

Don't worry; we will support gishes. Just don't expect them to beat fighters or rogues at their own game (i.e., absorbing attacks and doing a ton of single-target damage, respectively).

 

roles of a rogue, paladin, monk and fighter:

Rogues are close-range (mostly melee, but some ranged) weapon-based characters who spike large amounts of damage into individual targets (the most of any class) and are good at rapidly escaping from melee enemies. They can't hold a position against melee enemies like fighters, they can't deal close-range AoE damage to a group like barbarians, they have no support abilities like paladins, and they don't have the wacky status effects and damage absorption of monks.

and something about the role of wizards and efficency of hybrid characters:

 

The goal of wizards in PE is, ultimately, flexibility. If you need/want someone to help the melee dudes, a properly-grimoire'd wizard can do it. If you want to cause a bunch of AoE damage to soften up a pack of scrubs, a properly-grimoire'd wizard can do it. If you want to target a specific defense or a specific damage resistance with a certain type of attack, a properly-grimoire'd wizard can do it. But if you want to go toe-to-toe with an equal-level fighter in melee, you're going to die. If you want to trade damage with an equal-level ranger, you're going to die. Wizards have more potential abilities (i.e., spells) available to them than any other class (casters included), but their access is always limited by their equipped grimoire. Switching grimoires disables spellcasting for a short while so it's really not something you want to do in combat unless you're desperate.

 

A character who has the flexibility to perform their class' main combat "things" at a mildly diminished capacity in exchange for filling another role at 75%-90% capacity -- I don't think that's an unappealing or bad character at all, especially in the context of a party-based game. If a character just flat-out stinks at a given role, even given optional builds, then yeah, there's not much that's appealing about that.

 

I dislike the idea designing a class with a particular "role" in mind. Too often this results in shoe-horning that class into its preferred role instead of letting the player decide what to do with a character of that class. I much prefer giving the classes class abilities that are universally valuable and setting aside abilities that work better with certain roles as talents/feats. Oh and removing equipment restrictions is nice as well, ensuring a Mage can't be good at melee because the only weapons they are capable of wielding are **** is not good design.

I disagree, if all classes can take every role there is no need for a class based system. In my opinion a specialized fighter should always better as tank than a mage.

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@Prom Being able to do something isn't the same as being able to do something well. I don't think that a Wizard should be able to match a Fighter at fighting, but should be able to be able to have some martial combat ability.

 

For the record, I think PE would be better as a classless system.

"To be fair, if I was married to Milla Jovovich, I would also be happy just making movies that show off her butt." - Hurlsnot

"You need to be careful, lest I write another ten page essay on mythology and how it relates to Sailor Moon." - majestic

"I won't say what just in case KaineParker is reading" - Bartimaeus

"Oh no! Is there super secret ending as well? I don’t care." - Wormerine

"Get some poor minorities, that keeps WASPs away easy." - Malcador

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Last we've heard we'll be able to pick a Talent every 3 levels and a class specific Ability every level.

 

Will there be options for class Abilities though? It's every level for 11 classes. If you can pick just between two options it's already 220 Abilities for 10 levels. 

 

Maybe this advancement would be better:

1. Ab/Tal

2. Ab

3. Tal

4. Ab

5. Tal

..

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@Prom Being able to do something isn't the same as being able to do something well. I don't think that a Wizard should be able to match a Fighter at fighting, but should be able to be able to have some martial combat ability.

 

For the record, I think PE would be better as a classless system.

 

Well, classless systems, if I may be hyperbolic and utter some very generalising and sweeping statements that have very little grounding in anything but my personal experiences, are typically better. 

 

Lovely, isn't it, when the clause is around five times as long as the statement itself. 

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I think it's important to look at this through what we know about the game mechanics so far:

 

1.  Combat will feature much easier to overcome attack resolution than D20 systems, and ability to hit enemies through defenses for both spells and melee will not be the main build concern in the class system.   In DnD 3.0/3.5, your ability to build a character that is useful depends almost entirely on reaching BAB and DC targets within your playing environment (and AC/Save targets as well).  Hitting as many of these targets as possible becomes the optimization (or munchkinization) problem to be "solved" in character building, and this is really the only balance factor in splash and multi-class builds.  There are racial/alignment restrictions of course... but the proliferation of PRC options has often aimed to break through these whenever possible.

 

2.  Scaling in D20 as you level is very harsh.  Small gaps at the lower levels become huge gaps.  It's pretty commonly held that things get "silly" in 3.0/3.5 and pathfinder as you round out level 15-20 (and let's not even start on epic levels).  Part of this silliness is definitely the gap between the high end and low end of attack values and defense values.  When you only have a d20 roll to determine success or failure, and characters likely have a greater than 20 difference in their defense you end up in a lot of "you fail unless you roll a 20" or "you are hit unless I roll a 1".  PE is being designed to that numerical advantages and disadvantages are not compounded by leveling.  The middle ground will actually be the middle ground, rather than just another word for failure.

 

3.  From everything we know now, there is no multi-classing in PE.  So it makes perfect sense that classes will have a bit more flexibility as a result of this.

 

This opens up middle ground for the classes.  It's easy to picture a melee wizard mechanically, who may glance more often than a well built fighter, but can somewhat make up for the damage loss by applying some sort of elemental damage buff on hit to his personal weapon, for instance.

 

I think the main thing to keep in mind is that the mechanical structure here is a lot less black and white on what "succeeding at a role" means.  How well you perform will be much more muddied, with wider accepted target range for statistics.

 

Last we've heard we'll be able to pick a Talent every 3 levels and a class specific Ability every level.

 

Will there be options for class Abilities though? It's every level for 11 classes. If you can pick just between two options it's already 220 Abilities for 10 levels. 

 

Maybe this advancement would be better:

1. Ab/Tal

2. Ab

3. Tal

4. Ab

5. Tal

..

 

Abilities have not been presented to us as choices.  The wording has always been "At x level, y class gains the ability to z".  I believe based on this, as well as the sheer number of abilities they would have to create to function in this way points us towards abilities being hard baked.  You pick a class, and you know what your ability toolkit will ultimately look like.

 

I do expect we will see some "secondary or flexible" role abilities.  The ones we have been shown are all very "main understood role" related (and we've been shown these abilities specifically for a reason), but I fully expect some off-spec type abilities thrown in.

 

 

Yes, I want classes to be very asymmetrical. Yes, I want there to be a great diversity in how to play each class. A fighter should not only be able to tank (though if that's how you want to play him, go ahead) a rogue should be able to pick between being a high DPS character or a debuffer, or a troll, playing target while avoiding many blows.

Ultimately, I don't want class differentiation to be limited to combat though. Asymmetrical solutions to quests based on class would be fantastic as well.

 

There will be clear mechanical advantages for focus builds on each of the classes.  Fighters as tanks, rangers/rogues as DPS, etc.  But there will also be a lot of room for variation.  I believe that talent and skill choice will be very important, and it will be interesting to see what type of influence or gating on skills/talents comes from our stats.

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The most important thing in this is knowing where to draw the lines. Not whether or not to.

 

I don't think pegging "DPS" and "Tank" as the kinds of roles we need to use for class-domain boundaries is a very good idea. Are you going to have differences between direct damage amount, support amount, and tanky damage-absorption amount? Yes. But, that's SUCH a simplistic model to use for the totality of a class system.

 

I want a system in which both a Wizard AND a Fighter gain access to multi-target (AOE) attacks, but in which the Wizard's attacks function in one set of ways and produce one set of specifically distinct effects while the Fighter's work in entirely another and produce another range of effects. Obviously some of these will overlap. There's no reason to say "No, a FIGHTER does the stunning, and a WIZARD doesn't stun, EVER!" That's an example of a silly role boundary.

 

A topic that always comes up is the whole "If Wizards get to wear armor and use weapons, they're encroaching on Fighters' turf!" notion. But, I like to look at it this way: Why can't a Wizard specialize in more channeled spells, or spells with longer cast times, and therefore actually benefit from the extra armor? Why should "I get to not die in 3 seconds when stuff hits me" be exclusive to the Fighter? If that's the backbone of the distinction of your Fighter class, isn't it a rather boring class? And why can't the Wizard specialize in melee-to-short-range spells, delivered with a weapon? That's not stealing any Thunder from the Fighter. The Fighter's still much better at handling incoming attacks and delivering outgoing ones. The Wizard was already hurling fireballs and hitting all those people with giant flame-splosions. Why not let him choose whether to tactically deliver those from afar and worry less about being hit, or deliver them from close range and worry MORE about being hit? Wizard lore consistently has them focusing magic through staffs/wands/foci, etc. Why not a weapon? It doesn't mean they magically gain martial prowess and simply deliver elaborate sword attacks equally as well as the Fighter. The Wizard can fire a Magic Missile, and yet no one says "HEY! You're just magically doing what an archer does! NOT COOL!"

 

So, yeah... I'm not very fond of roles, a lot of the time, being defined primarily through mathematical relativity. "You're the Wizard because you deal the most AOE damage and have slightly different animations that look magicky, and you're the Fighter because you have the highest defense and armor capabilities, and deliver the highest direct physical attack numbers, and get the most attacks per round, etc." I think there are much cleverer ways of drawing the boundary lines.

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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@Prom Being able to do something isn't the same as being able to do something well. I don't think that a Wizard should be able to match a Fighter at fighting, but should be able to be able to have some martial combat ability.

For the record, I think PE would be better as a classless system.

 

 

Well, classless systems, if I may be hyperbolic and utter some very generalising and sweeping statements that have very little grounding in anything but my personal experiences, are typically better. 

 

Lovely, isn't it, when the clause is around five times as long as the statement itself.

I've always thought that the longer the clause, the better the statement. I'd also stress that in a luxury product where your enjoyment is determined by your taste, opinion matters the most. Because you can't prove a subjective to be true or false.

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"To be fair, if I was married to Milla Jovovich, I would also be happy just making movies that show off her butt." - Hurlsnot

"You need to be careful, lest I write another ten page essay on mythology and how it relates to Sailor Moon." - majestic

"I won't say what just in case KaineParker is reading" - Bartimaeus

"Oh no! Is there super secret ending as well? I don’t care." - Wormerine

"Get some poor minorities, that keeps WASPs away easy." - Malcador

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In reference to the Josh Sawyer quotes from Prometheus' post above, I think the idea of flexibility presented is going in the wrong direction.

 

Going 50% Fighter and 50% Wizard will not make an effective Fighter/Wizard, it will make a confused character build. For flexibility to work, there has to be fluidity between the mixing of classes. For example, if a Wizard's spells are inhibited by armor, why would they level in a class that prefers Heavy Armor? Perhaps the Talents will clear this up. I recall in IWD2, characters could take points in Armored Arcana to reduce the spell failure chance presented by armor. Talents like that which create a 'bridge' for hybrids would be interesting and fun.

 

I don't like the idea of a class having access to a different role, but never being as good as another class specifically geared for it. This seems like it's actually taking away from the benefits of creating a flexible character. In that case, mixing classes and trying unique builds are rather pointless, considering the effectiveness of a character will be diminished for going outside of their class. I think Mass Effect did hybrids intelligently. Every hybrid class became builds all their own and effectiveness wasn't sacrificed, they simply fulfilled a different role. Think of it this way; why does a gish have to be a weak fighter mixed with a weak spellcaster? Why can't they be effective at fighting and spellcasting, just not have as much access to fighter and spellcaster abilties as characters dedicated to those classes?

 

 

I think the problem is no one really knows what to do with classes. I imagined classes as archetypes commonly found in fantasy universes. You have your Conan The Barbarian and your Gandalf The Grey with options provided by classes. But when someone wants to experiment outside of those archetypes, the class system seems to break too easily. This 'breaking' seems to come from a confusion between a class' role in a party and the archetype they are intended to represent.

 

I know this has been mentioned in another topic, but if hybridizing becomes too convoluted, I think Specializations are the way to go. I know D&D Next is implementing a system where every class can be played in a variety of ways (acrobat rogue, assassin rogue, etc.) and I think P:E designers could learn a lot from this system (despite still being in beta).

 

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Last we've heard we'll be able to pick a Talent every 3 levels and a class specific Ability every level.

 

Will there be options for class Abilities though? It's every level for 11 classes. If you can pick just between two options it's already 220 Abilities for 10 levels. 

 

Maybe this advancement would be better:

1. Ab/Tal

2. Ab

3. Tal

4. Ab

5. Tal

..

 

Abilities have not been presented to us as choices.  The wording has always been "At x level, y class gains the ability to z".  I believe based on this, as well as the sheer number of abilities they would have to create to function in this way points us towards abilities being hard baked.  You pick a class, and you know what your ability toolkit will ultimately look like.

 

 

That would be unfortunate. Basically having a predetermined character, with a couple of selectable Talents thrown in the mix, is not a good thing.

I remember reading that they were experimenting with Talents being available every other level and selectable Abilities (e.g. between 2 options), which would be neat, but can't find the quote. Hallucination maybe.

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Last we've heard we'll be able to pick a Talent every 3 levels and a class specific Ability every level.

 

Will there be options for class Abilities though? It's every level for 11 classes. If you can pick just between two options it's already 220 Abilities for 10 levels. 

 

Maybe this advancement would be better:

1. Ab/Tal

2. Ab

3. Tal

4. Ab

5. Tal

..

 

Abilities have not been presented to us as choices.  The wording has always been "At x level, y class gains the ability to z".  I believe based on this, as well as the sheer number of abilities they would have to create to function in this way points us towards abilities being hard baked.  You pick a class, and you know what your ability toolkit will ultimately look like.

 

 

That would be unfortunate. Basically having a predetermined character, with a couple of selectable Talents thrown in the mix, is not a good thing.

I remember reading that they were experimenting with Talents being available every other level and selectable Abilities (e.g. between 2 options), which would be neat, but can't find the quote. Hallucination maybe.

 

 

I would be interested if you could find the sourcing on that, as I agree with you that *if* they could offer choice between abilities it would be better in terms of depth.

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I would be interested if you could find the sourcing on that, as I agree with you that *if* they could offer choice between abilities it would be better in terms of depth.

 

here:

 

We haven't decided on that yet. I'm designing the class abilities to be pretty complementary to each other so if we wanted to just let players go buck wild with any ol' combination of abilities, it *could* work, but we'll experiment with it to see how it feels.

 

Talents were always intended to be wild cards, so you can take them whenever as long as you meet one of the prerequisites. Prerequisites are designed to be "or"s and many of them will have an option that opens at higher levels. E.g., to take this talent you need to be an Elf or Aedyran or 9th level.

...

Talents are a mix of active, passive, and modal. We've also talked about the player picking from different pools of abilities instead of saying that they have free reign or no choice at all.

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I think they're setting it up pretty well for class distinction. Even two separate class abilities that produce the same effect can already provide this, because there are so many factors to the specific operation of the abilities.

 

Fighter might have a Pommel Strike that deals minor extra damage and stuns, for example. And a Wizard could have a ranged Force Bolt that deals minor extra damage and stuns. The Fighter's is melee only (so there's engagement and all that jazz to worry about), and the Wizard's is ranged (different chances to hit, maybe it has a greater chance of being blocked by a shield? Etc.). The Fighter's targets Deflection, while the Wizard's targets Willpower. And so on.

 

Not that I think the goal shouldn't be as-distinct-as-possible class abilities. But, there's definitely plenty of room in their current design to handle overlaps of things without classes needing to fight over who gets to do what.

 

Side thought: I think it would be awesome if there were projectile spells (for example) that would actually be susceptible to Deflection for their actual to-hit chance (they could be blocked by a shield, etc), then made a second roll against Willpower to determine effect potency. Or, at the very least, target half Deflection and half Willpower or something, in the determination of the miss-graze-hit-crit scale for the attack roll.

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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While a variety of styles of play for the player is obviously a good thing, I get rather uncomfortable when players suggest that Rogues should be able to tank, or Clerics dps. It stems in part from me being a massive Grognard, but it also comes down to 'if everyone is special then no-one is'.

 

In other news, classes being able to perform a variety of roles is something that matters far less when the player controls the whole party, than it does when they command a single character.

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While a variety of styles of play for the player is obviously a good thing, I get rather uncomfortable when players suggest that Rogues should be able to tank, or Clerics dps. It stems in part from me being a massive Grognard, but it also comes down to 'if everyone is special then no-one is'.

 

In other news, classes being able to perform a variety of roles is something that matters far less when the player controls the whole party, than it does when they command a single character.

 

See, the problem with that point of view is we're not playing a full party. We're controlling a full party, but we have a single character as OUR character (unless, of course, we only use Adventurer's Hall companions). This means that not only should we feel that we're not gimping ourselves by choosing some different class for our representation in the world.

 

But it also means that we can choose and build our companions in such a way that we don't have to sacrifice one of our favoured companions for the purpose of a well-balanced party. Alternatively we could build our party around a favourite character, but that is also too restrictive on us as players I think. I feel we should be free to choose our party from the companions we enjoy, not from the classes we need.

 

Because of this, diversity in classes is good. It allows us to play games with companions we enjoy more. 

 

Edit: Broken up for readability. 

Edited by Greensleeve
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While a variety of styles of play for the player is obviously a good thing, I get rather uncomfortable when players suggest that Rogues should be able to tank, or Clerics dps. It stems in part from me being a massive Grognard, but it also comes down to 'if everyone is special then no-one is'.

Does this mean that no Fallout characters are actually S.P.E.C.I.A.L., because they all are? 8)

 

Seriously though, the problem I have with this is: What mandates that the ability to dps, or tank, or heal is the source of a class's specialness?

 

I'd much rather my Wizard be distinct from other classes because he does everything in a super-cool Wizardish manner, and not because he simply gets to deal 90% of the AOE damage in the game, while other classes are kept apart from Wizardry because they deal damage mainly to individual targets, or even don't deal damage at all to any great effect (buff instead, etc.).

 

*shrug*. Just seems like pretty weak class distinction criteria, to me. If you can't give both a Fighter and a Cleric each a single-target, direct-damage ability and still have them feel like two distinct classes, you probably need to rethink your ability designs. But, things like damage, attack range, and area-of-effect are not really the best factors to use to distinguish class roles with. Not that they might not vary a bit, in overall capacity. But, just because a Rogue has the potential to be built for the highest-possible DPS doesn't mean that some other class's potential must be limited to "sucks at dps" just to be not-a-Rogue.

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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I'd much rather my Wizard be distinct from other classes because he does everything in a super-cool Wizardish manner, and not because he simply gets to deal 90% of the AOE damage in the game, while other classes are kept apart from Wizardry because they deal damage mainly to individual targets, or even don't deal damage at all to any great effect (buff instead, etc.)

I want my classes to play differnt and not only have different animations. This means, not all classes can do the same task wtith the same efficiency. e.g. a priest's main task is supporter/stamina healer, you could try to make an attacking priest but he would never do as much damage as a rogue, because he still has the abillity to cast healing/support spells. And you can never make a rogue supporter/stamina healer because he doesn't have healing/support spells/abillites.

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Coming from a GURPS, Fallout, The Elder Scrolls and Arcanum background mostly and having been introduced to D&D much later, I don't like classes much. I don't see the point and my opinion is that if your system only works in a specific setting, then it's usually not a very good system.

What's more, I feel very limited just by the name of a class. If I want to play a swashbuckler, which class do I choose? Fighter? Yeah he's supposed to fight, but... he's not supposed to be a soldier type. Ranger? Well no, the skills fit but I don't want to be a hippie. Rogue? I don't want to rob people or backstab them, I just want to be a cool adventurer dude! Bard? Oh come on, I don't want to be a singing hippie.

 

I think this difference in perspective is quite interesting. Not having been introduced to this type of system first, I feel kind of lost when choosing a class. I have a character in my head and have to force that into a certain class that represents a completely different archetype.

Just something for you D&D players to think about. :)

 

So my natural response to allowing more roles for each class is "hell yeah!". I want classes to be defined by a minimum set of abilities. Fighter: "is trained in many weapons". Rogue: "is light on his feet". Wizard: "can cast spells". Druid: "can cast nature spells".

 

The question is, what is the difference between classes in PE? We know that each class has a certain ability, like fighters being able to force enemies to fight them and monks being able to build up wounds. But will there be more abilities that are unique to certain classes? Will the fighter be the only class with access to the "Coup de Grace" feat, for example? Or will I be able to choose the same feats and talents with my monk, slowly turning him into a sort-of fighter?

 

Oh well. Like I said, I come from a GURPS background. My opinion is that if a class is defined by the talent tree you get, then the better system would be to open up these talent trees for all classes. The core differences of the classes could be the first "talent" from that talent tree - so that the Wizard tree gives you "Ability: Use Grimoires for Spellcasting" at the first node. And instead of saying "At level 3 you get a new class ability" you could say "when reaching tier 3 of a certain class tree, you get a new class ability".

But I realize that this approach is not very popular among fans of the old IE games.

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Coming from a GURPS, Fallout, The Elder Scrolls and Arcanum background mostly and having been introduced to D&D much later, I don't like classes much. I don't see the point and my opinion is that if your system only works in a specific setting, then it's usually not a very good system.

What's more, I feel very limited just by the name of a class. If I want to play a swashbuckler, which class do I choose? Fighter? Yeah he's supposed to fight, but... he's not supposed to be a soldier type. Ranger? Well no, the skills fit but I don't want to be a hippie. Rogue? I don't want to rob people or backstab them, I just want to be a cool adventurer dude! Bard? Oh come on, I don't want to be a singing hippie.

The problem might be your looking for someone to exactly fit the template of "cool adventurer dude" which seems really broad :)

 

I dislike most classless systems because they often only work that way for player characters. NPC's, especially hostiles, still tend to be designed according to archetypes. You rarely stumble upon a party of rogues where the one with silken robes and a lute on his back is actually a brutal offensive fighter and the guy in the heaviest armor is actually a very competent wizard. Even in a class system that's designed around multiclassing like D&D 3E NPC's rarely had a wild assortment of classes, in contrast to the players gaming the hell out of the system.

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Coming from a GURPS, Fallout, The Elder Scrolls and Arcanum background mostly and having been introduced to D&D much later, I don't like classes much. I don't see the point and my opinion is that if your system only works in a specific setting, then it's usually not a very good system.

What's more, I feel very limited just by the name of a class. If I want to play a swashbuckler, which class do I choose? Fighter? Yeah he's supposed to fight, but... he's not supposed to be a soldier type. Ranger? Well no, the skills fit but I don't want to be a hippie. Rogue? I don't want to rob people or backstab them, I just want to be a cool adventurer dude! Bard? Oh come on, I don't want to be a singing hippie.

The problem might be your looking for someone to exactly fit the template of "cool adventurer dude" which seems really broad :)

 

No, you misunderstand me. I could create my character in any of the mentioned classes in a way, but the class always seems to overrule my own idea of what kind of character he is. I want him to be a swashbuckler - but the class says he's a bard, or a fighter. The class dictates how I should think of this character, and I don't like that.

So I was talking about the names in this case. My general problem with classes is, of course, that I want to create a specific character and mostly feel punished when I deviate from the archetype I'm supposed to play.

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In general, I find that DnD class-based systems slightly suffer from having their metaphorical heads too far up the figurative rear ends of their heavy abstractions. For a long time, I have been undecided when it comes to this question, but I think I'm finally coming around to the fact that I prefer classless systems. I'll be able to tolerate classes in PE, but I think it's fair to say that there aren't too many advantages to class-based systems outside of tacticool party-based combat.

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