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Poll: Most cliche RPG classes of today


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#1 Michalson   Members   -  Reputation: 1657

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 02:24 AM

The most central piller of RPGs is the cliche that they must exist in some Lord of the Rings type medieval fantasy world. As a result we see almost the same character types (gameplay wise) in just about any game that calls itself an RPG. This of course goes way back before computer gaming, to the days of D&D with it's penultimate set of 4 cliche classes: Fighter, Cleric, Magic User and Thief. My question is, in 25 years, have the cliche classes changed or been expanded, or are they the same as they where at the dawn of unwashed nerd basement roleplaying. To answer that, I want you to write your opinion of what todays "cliche classes" are. You can nominate a list of oup to 8 classes that you feel best represents the current most overused class archtypes in electronic gaming. Remember that much like the D&D archtypes, you don't need to name every specific class, just the archtypes that make them up (for example in D&D most of the sub-class are supposed to be hybrids of the basic classes - Paladin being a warrior/cleric hybrid for example) You can also site what you think are new or innovative class roles that have been seen in more then one game, or classes from a single game that you think should be seen in others.

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#2 Ravuya   Moderators   -  Reputation: 127

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 05:26 AM

I think the races are more clichéd than the classes, TBH: elves, trolls, orcs, etc.

Shadowrun, while exceptionally cliché in almost every other respect, did at least try to freshen up the magic system by adding several mythological beasts (wendigo, sasquatch, cerberus hounds) and mix several systems of magic together (shamanistic, voodoo, etc).

As for classes, the only decent "new" idea I've seen in modern RPGs is the introduction of the tinkerer/engineer class: Shadowrun has it in the form of the rigger, and I'm sure you could find several steampunk RPGs with tinkerers.

Ignoring fantasy RPGs, I could probably make a statement about several of the modern role-playing war and politics games out there; Defense Minister is a pretty far cry from Thief (no matter what you may think of Stockwell Day).

#3 Michalson   Members   -  Reputation: 1657

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 07:49 AM

Well ok I'll toss in.

The first three haven't changed much from D&D:

The warrior - the strong armor, strong attack melee class.
The healer - the physically weak support class.
The wizard - the physically weak but high range damage class. Often

Then we have a change:

The rogue - the original thief doesn't fit in as well with the combat over roleplaying focus of computer games. As a result the thief has morphed into the rogue class - weaker defense then a warrior, but with high, single target damage. Often has stealth and other abilities to avoid taking damage.

And some new classes:

Crafter - with MMORPG games we've seen the evolution of the new type of roleplaying class. The crafter can collect and modify raw materials into useful game items. I would also include the "tinker" class within this archtype.

Archer - once just another method of attack for the pencil and paper D&D warrior, with realtime combat on the PC the archer becomes a seperate class, usually speciallizing in immobolizing targets and attacking from range. I think most incarnations of an archer can be classified as incarnations of either the rogue archtype (rogue with ranged weapon) or the tamer archtype.

Tamer - with computer AI, the ability arrives for the player to operate an NPC ally, usually in the form of a beast. In many games the tamer and archer class are combined into one.

Buff'er - a twin of the cleric, the buffer uses positive and negative status modifiers. This is made possible by the PC taking over the mundane task of calculating the effects on many buffs during each "turn" of combat (ie. each turn damage must be subtracted for poison effect, etc)

#4 Anon Mike   Members   -  Reputation: 1098

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 09:27 AM

I tend to think not in terms of classes but archetypes. I'm not sure if that is what you're looking for. Essentially the three main archetypes are:

Tank - Fighter/Warrior/ an actual tank, whatever. Good at taking hits and, more importantly, good at staying the focus of enemy agression.
Healer - Cleric/Priest/Doctor/etc. Mostly keeps the tank alive.
DPS - Infinite variations that all boil down to doing lots of damage.

These fit a wide range of games and are relatively unchanged coming down through the years.

There are lots of variations and hybridizations. Tanks and DPS usually run a spectrum ranging from high robustness / low DPS to low robustness / high DPS with each class picking a different point on the curve. On the pure DPS side it can also interesting to talk about ranged vs not (where ranged is defined as "a ranged can hit an unranged but not vice-versa").

The next level archetypical role that is a relatively recent thing IMHO would be the crowd-controller. This can be direct (e.g. the various "mez" or stun effects that literally make an enemy stop attacking for a time) to indirect in various ways (e.g. pullers, kiters, charmers, various means of controlling agro, etc).

#5 NoPancakeMix   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 03:08 PM

Knight (sword and shield)
Elemental type mage (god)
Healer (useless fodder)
Thief (non-killer)
Assassin (stealth killer)
Barbarian/Berserker (REALLY strong but REALLY weak somewhere else)
Necromancer (undead summoner + "dark magic")
Druid (nature based magic)

#6 Iron Chef Carnage   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1840

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 07:39 PM

Tank, Healer, Buffer, Damage Dealer, Crowd Control. With the advent of multiplayer games, that's how it goes now.

One guy (Tank) soaks up the damage, with the help of a friend (Healer) who restores his health and maybe another (Buffer) who improves his resistances. Meanwhile, another team mate (Damage Dealer) who isn't the target of aggression, dedicates himself to wreaking havoc on the enemies, possibly with some help from a friend (Buffer) who can augment his destructive power. A final member of the team (Crowd Control) ensures that the enemies' attention stays where it needs to be.

Whether it's spaceships in EvE or magical Warriors in WoW or a finely tuned party in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, managing damage over time and ensuring that the enemies are properly controlled is how RPGs work today, it seems.

#7 Nypyren   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4826

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 08:48 PM

Quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
Tank, Healer, Buffer, Damage Dealer, Crowd Control. With the advent of multiplayer games, that's how it goes now.

One guy (Tank) soaks up the damage, with the help of a friend (Healer) who restores his health and maybe another (Buffer) who improves his resistances. Meanwhile, another team mate (Damage Dealer) who isn't the target of aggression, dedicates himself to wreaking havoc on the enemies, possibly with some help from a friend (Buffer) who can augment his destructive power. A final member of the team (Crowd Control) ensures that the enemies' attention stays where it needs to be.

Whether it's spaceships in EvE or magical Warriors in WoW or a finely tuned party in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, managing damage over time and ensuring that the enemies are properly controlled is how RPGs work today, it seems.


Don't forget Debuffer (negative non-damage effect on enemy). Necromancers and Warlocks in fantasy settings typically fall into this category. Electronic warfare units are used in technological settings. Debuffer classes are typically given abilities from other archetypes since debuffs alone don't usually kill things.

#8 Iron Chef Carnage   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1840

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 08:54 PM

You're right, I missed that one. Doubly embarassing for me, since I'm a Scorpion and Rook pilot in EvE.

#9 Edtharan   Members   -  Reputation: 606

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 09:08 PM

I would list them as:
Tank (Good staying power, Close combat)
Support (Buffer/Debuffer)
Healer (Medic, etc)
Artillery (long range, high damage low staying power)
Skirmisher (not a lot of staying powre, but lost of damage done quickly)
Crowed Control (Can apply influence over the enemy, not good at damageing them)

#10 Telastyn   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3730

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 02:44 AM

I think that the rules of a game will naturally make certain achetypes common if not optimal. As long as games tend to be much like D&D, their classes will stay near D&D. Computer RPGs have just exacerbated cliche since they pretty much only involve combat.

Generally:

tank: big slow warrior, tamer (normal pets, or necromancy)
support: healer, status addition/removal, aura generators.
damage: mage, non-tank fighters, ranged fighters.
non-combat: thieves in most games.

#11 Ripple in Reality   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 08:25 AM

FF1 had all the nice little niches so did Guild Wars

Fighter-Tough armor shield sword
Healer/buffer- nuff said
Magic slinging guy with a fireball in hand- nuff said
Light fighter- Faster, more damage, less armor
Ranged fighter- This is still a cliche
Necro- Death magic (actually no this is not really a cliche)

#12 Morpheus011   Members   -  Reputation: 309

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 08:42 AM

At this point, every class/race/whatever is derivative and undeniably cliche. The genre is built on specific archetypes, without these commonalities you begin to blur the distinction of the genre. For example, if I have a computer hacker class in an RPG, what differentiates that from a Cyberpunk game?

The cliches as you call them are necessities of defining the genre.

#13 makeshiftwings   Members   -  Reputation: 394

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 09:00 AM

This thread sort of makes me think of this:

RPG's

If you don't like medeival fantasy-based RPG's, then why don't you play one of the hundreds of other games available instead of complaining that medeival fantasy RPG's are far too medieval, fantasy-like, and RPG-ish?

#14 JBourrie   Members   -  Reputation: 1204

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 09:16 AM

Quote:
Original post by Morpheus011The genre is built on specific archetypes, without these commonalities you begin to blur the distinction of the genre. For example, if I have a computer hacker class in an RPG, what differentiates that from a Cyberpunk game?

What keeps it from being a Cyberpunk RPG?

The majority of cliche classes fall into the categories listed above, because nearly every RPG out there is combat-oriented. And those classes have been proven time and time again as being the best selection for combat oriented games.

The cliches start to get broken once you stop considering combat as the "only" option. Then you start to get things like computer hackers and stealth characters. Start to get really creative, you might find a place for a Time Mage or a Wayward Soul.

Time Mage
In combat, the time mage can reverse time if things are going poorly. Outside of combat, the time mage can use time control to manipulate people and situations. For example, the king is about to be assassinated and you have to discover who is going to do it in time to protect him. The time mage can walk in at the moment the assassination happens, see who the killer is, then turn back time and track that man down before it happens.

Wayward Soul
The wayward soul can enter/leave hosts at will, giving the player control of that character. It's life energy drains away if it is not inside a host. He may take control of one of the enemies and use it to fight off the others, or take control of a rat to slip through a pipe and spy on a meeting.


[Edited by - JBourrie on October 30, 2006 3:16:16 PM]

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#15 Just Chris   Members   -  Reputation: 142

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 07:12 PM

The time mage was a very cool concept when it was just new, but I found many video games to fall short of its potential. One role I'd like to see more -a SOUND mage. Play psychological tricks with your enemies with sound beam projections, or make them physically ill...hmm, how would sound come into play in battle? Wish more games can play with the idea of sound more.

#16 Luckless   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1901

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 12:39 AM

Quote:
Original post by Just Chris
The time mage was a very cool concept when it was just new, but I found many video games to fall short of its potential. One role I'd like to see more -a SOUND mage. Play psychological tricks with your enemies with sound beam projections, or make them physically ill...hmm, how would sound come into play in battle? Wish more games can play with the idea of sound more.


We have them already, they're usually called debuffers.

#17 JBourrie   Members   -  Reputation: 1204

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 06:18 AM

Quote:
Original post by Just Chris
The time mage was a very cool concept when it was just new, but I found many video games to fall short of its potential.

That's because the standard "FF-like" Time Mage has spells like "slows down enemies" and "speeds up party members". Once again, focused on battle.

Actual time control, the ability to move backward in time to redo events, has only been done twice to my knowledge (Prince of Persia, Braid) and those games only used them for action/platforming/puzzle sequences. There is alot more room for this class in RPGs*

*Did you see me shudder as I typed that? It burns! It burns!


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#18 The Shadow Nose   Members   -  Reputation: 223

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 12:09 PM

Well, if the topic has started to shift into "The least cliche RPG classes" I can think of a few.

The Tactician from Fire Emblem:
Even though the tactician never makes any moves on the battle field (since its mainly the representation of the player who moves the other units) all the other units take orders from it.

I imagine a 'Tactician' class in an RPG would mainly act as an information gatherer/communications person. Such as getting a radar view of all the enemies on the field, analysing the oponents to find weaknesse, make predictions on battle conditions (tell when the weather is about to change, predict what the enemies next move might be, listen for friendly units that may be passing by).

Plus communicate with fellow players when they are away from the group.

And in out-of combat situations the Tactician would work to plan routes to the next town, what goods and services towns are known to carry and such... basically help out by getting the information to other characters. Would probably do really poorly if forced to fight an enemy but is really good at knowing how to exploit weaknesses in the enemy and ordering others.



The merchants

Another class that might not do well in combat, but should be pretty good at out-of combat support like getting supplies for the team and selling the loot they gather for a profit. In Nethack, the shopkeepers tend to carry powerful wands to attack with and can call the Keystone Kops to take out shoplifters.

I imagine a merchant character would carry more items than normal characters, would buy and sell to other NPCs to get money for the group, carry and guard supplies to avoid weighing down the fighters, identify items and perform some healing and repair services according to their abilities.

Plus potentially having some good persuasion skills to deal with potential enemies. (like bribing guards, conning opponents out of their money, treating enemies to a drink laced with a sleeping drug, or possibly buying their weapons off them and then letting their allies attack the weaponless enemy)



Musician

(sort of a take on the Sound Mage mentioned)

A chacter whose music can encourage others and aid in healing, restoration and growth... but mainly outside of combat (seriously, when arrows and swords are flashing around who wants to listen to music?)

helps enhance the restorative properties of medicine and food and spells (so while a 'mealtime music' is playing characters receive 10% more resorative effect from the food and enjoy it more... could get a musician a job in a restaurant to play for customers. similar songs could help patients recover from injuries or plants, pets, monsters to grow stronger).

Other songs might make monsters less hostile, charm monsters (charm snakes or make rats follow the musician in a line), deter monsters (chase away birds from an area), or make monsters turn agressive (incite parannahs into a feeding frenzy so they attack eachother before the party enters the water... or make birds the players enemies).


Basically a musician (as opposed to a standard bard) uses music to enhance the effects of things you already use or to manipulate how the monsters in the evironment act. If they are used in 'combat' then it is from far away or before the first blow is struck. Basically another support class that helps people both inside and out of combat.

Plus they could add a little bit of environment if the musician could change the background music playing at the time... Hmmm wonder what a game would be like if you could go into a spooky graveyard and stard playing country bluegrass to mess with the ghosts?




Anyway, those are a few ideas.

#19 ezacharyk   Members   -  Reputation: 131

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 11:55 AM

Quote:
Original post by Just Chris
The time mage was a very cool concept when it was just new, but I found many video games to fall short of its potential. One role I'd like to see more -a SOUND mage. Play psychological tricks with your enemies with sound beam projections, or make them physically ill...hmm, how would sound come into play in battle? Wish more games can play with the idea of sound more.


This has some great potential, when it comes to tactics. The military already uses sound to drive enemies out of their minds. A sound mage can cause destractions that can be exploited by other characters.

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#20 Michalson   Members   -  Reputation: 1657

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 12:07 PM

Technically the sound mage has been around for a while to some degree, usually as the "bard" class (i.e. D&D, EverQuest, Ragnarok Online)




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