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Jiia

Switching between character classes

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I guess you could say I'm creating a medieval fighting game. The game is an RPG, but it's more action oriented than story telling. However, the skill system will be detailed like story telling RPGs. When characters gain skills in fighting categories, they gain new attack or defensive moves for that category. This is seperate from increasing stats such as strength or speed, which alter the effectiveness of the moves. All characters start out as novices. Novices can only use a limited number of weapons. A short sword, a small bow, short staffs, knives, hatchets, or unarmed. The weapons are what dictate your fighting category. Each weapon type is directly linked to combat moves and combat skills. After a character masters a weapon (gains at least half of it's full potential), they can upgrade to a new class. Mastering short swords allows characters to upgrade to a swordsman, where mastering unarmed allows the character to upgrade to a fighter. Once a character upgrade's their class, they will have the ability to use new weapons. A swordsman can start using dual short swords or a long sword. A fighter would have the ability to switch to other fighting styles. An axeman could use battle axes or throwing axes. Each weapon would offer a different set of directions. Some upgraded classes can upgrade to even higher classes. This is where my concern comes in. I want to avoid allowing the player to switch between classes. I want an upgrade-only system. I don't want to allow a swordsman to switch to an archer or fighter. Simular to how some RPGs allow you to choose a class at the beginning of a game, and you're stuck with it (Diablo). Except here, you have to earn the title first. So how do I do this? Do I prevent a fighter from using swords? Or are they allowed to use short swords and are just stuck at novice skill? A character who upgrades to an axeman is throwing away any potential they may have to use long swords, but could still use and completely master short swords? If you need more game-type information, Morrowind and Gothic are good examples of what I'm trying to create. I want the player to feel like they are really changing their character, and not simply wearing a different pair of pants. I want their choices to be major direction changes in their gameplay experience. Any opinions or suggestions?

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I'm not really sure what you're trying to do with this, but I'll try to make suggestions with what I've got.

As I understand it, the biggest difference between the classes is what weapons are available to you. Focussing on one type of weapon not only improves your skill with that weapon, it also gives you access to more advanced, similar weapons?

I'll point out briefly that this isn't horribly realistic, but I won't dwell on it. Skill with a short sword wouldn't necessarily lead to skill with a long sword, as depending on the types o sword in question the fighting styles can be very different. For example, transitioning from a short thrusting sword like a gladius to a traditional slashing longsword (or from a machete-like butterfly sword to a long, thrusting rapier). Also, there's no real reason why a person who has trained to use a longsword can't also learn to throw an axe, or why a martial artist couldn't use a bow. In reality, a person can specialize in one weapon or one type of weapon and master it, practice with a variety of weapons for a broader skill set with less depth, or any combination of the two.

You site Morrowind as an example of what you're trying to accomplish. Well, in Morrowind class has nothing to do with what weapons you're able to learn to use. I could play a Monk and train my butt off with a claymore if I wanted to. What Morrowind does to encourage people to stick to their class skills is make it easier to improve them than to improve non-class skills (class skills improve faster, and improving class skills leads to bigger stat increases)

That's an idea you may want to keep in mind. Perhaps when a player masters a weapon they are given the option of choosing a class to complement it (i.e. Swordsman), and form that point on, sword-based skills are easier to improve as the character has chosen to devote their energies on further master the weapon. Skills in weapons other than swords could still be learned, but at a penalty. Specializations/Classes could only be chosen once, and the character would be stuck with them. Also, players could either choose to not have a class, and go the Jack-Of-All-Weapons route, with neither bonuses or penalties to thier learning, or there could be a non-speacialist class for such characters.

Another idea to go with this would be special skills or abilities that would only be available to higher-level members of a class, to serve as incentive to pick a class and stick with it. This would mean that people who chose to not specialize could pay a price for their flexibility, although you might find for balance that not having one specialized high-level skill is penalty enough, at which point it would be better to give the non-specialist players *something*, like an "Improvised Weapon" skill or automatic novice level knowledge of all weapons.


Just some thoughts, hope they help

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Original post by fearghaill
As I understand it, the biggest difference between the classes is what weapons are available to you. Focussing on one type of weapon not only improves your skill with that weapon, it also gives you access to more advanced, similar weapons?

There are other differences in the classes, but mostly bonus type differences. This means there are no loss of actions for other classes. The reason I focused on fighting is because you actually learn new moves.

Quote:
Original post by fearghaill
Skill with a short sword wouldn't necessarily lead to skill with a long sword, as depending on the types o sword in question the fighting styles can be very different. For example, transitioning from a short thrusting sword like a gladius to a traditional slashing longsword (or from a machete-like butterfly sword to a long, thrusting rapier). Also, there's no real reason why a person who has trained to use a longsword can't also learn to throw an axe, or why a martial artist couldn't use a bow.

Skills with short swords actually wouldn't lead to skills with long swords. The swordsman class would just make the long-sword fighting style available. Along with several other sword styles. Mastering long-swords may lead to a Knight class, which would allow learning Knight-related fighting styles. Each upgrade would focus your strengths more and reduce your options.

Quote:
Original post by fearghaill
You site Morrowind as an example of what you're trying to accomplish. Well, in Morrowind class has nothing to do with what weapons you're able to learn to use. I could play a Monk and train my butt off with a claymore if I wanted to. What Morrowind does to encourage people to stick to their class skills is make it easier to improve them than to improve non-class skills (class skills improve faster, and improving class skills leads to bigger stat increases)

Well, I meant Morrowind was a good example of the rest of the game. I didn't explain very much about anything except the class and skill system, so I used those two games to fill the gaps. The setting and invironment will be simular to Morrowind.

Quote:
Original post by fearghaill
That's an idea you may want to keep in mind. Perhaps when a player masters a weapon they are given the option of choosing a class to complement it (i.e. Swordsman), and form that point on, sword-based skills are easier to improve as the character has chosen to devote their energies on further master the weapon.

I like the idea of not restricting the player's choice of weapons. But at the same time, I want class choices to be a serious change.

Most D&D type games use classes. Weapon types are one of the top reasons they are seperated. A wizard really sucks with swords and unarmed fighting, where a barbarian could never cast a spell or shoot a bow. What I want to do is no different, except that the player gets to experience the beginnings of all classes when they start. Like dating before you get married.

So you generally don't think this is a good idea? Any other opinions? Or anyone have an idea how I could make this more reasonable?

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Original post by Jiia

Most D&D type games use classes. Weapon types are one of the top reasons they are seperated. A wizard really sucks with swords and unarmed fighting, where a barbarian could never cast a spell or shoot a bow. What I want to do is no different, except that the player gets to experience the beginnings of all classes when they start.



Sorry I haven't read most of your post, but I just thought of a good way implement character classes ie. the player starts off able to do most things but then levels up. What you could do is show the player what it is like to be a warrior, an archer, and a mage ie. cast spells. Then get them to select their skills. Ie. Wizard +3 magic casting but loses a point in Weapons and Heavy Armour. Or instead of having them lose these points (which the player would think annoying "why is the game punishing me before I've started"? and a hard decision) you could just give them the choice of putting one or more points into warrior, ranger, or ninja classes. Ie. Gain Extra skill with sword + skill y + stat z

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Original post by Jiia
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Original post by fearghaill
Skill with a short sword wouldn't necessarily lead to skill with a long sword, as depending on the types o sword in question the fighting styles can be very different. For example, transitioning from a short thrusting sword like a gladius to a traditional slashing longsword (or from a machete-like butterfly sword to a long, thrusting rapier). Also, there's no real reason why a person who has trained to use a longsword can't also learn to throw an axe, or why a martial artist couldn't use a bow.

Skills with short swords actually wouldn't lead to skills with long swords. The swordsman class would just make the long-sword fighting style available. Along with several other sword styles. Mastering long-swords may lead to a Knight class, which would allow learning Knight-related fighting styles. Each upgrade would focus your strengths more and reduce your options.

My main problem with this part is I can think of no good reason why a person would need to master the short sword to be able to learn how to use a long sword. It might help, but I don't understand how it could be necessary.

Quote:
Original post by Jiia
Quote:
Original post by fearghaill
That's an idea you may want to keep in mind. Perhaps when a player masters a weapon they are given the option of choosing a class to complement it (i.e. Swordsman), and form that point on, sword-based skills are easier to improve as the character has chosen to devote their energies on further master the weapon.

I like the idea of not restricting the player's choice of weapons. But at the same time, I want class choices to be a serious change.

Most D&D type games use classes. Weapon types are one of the top reasons they are seperated. A wizard really sucks with swords and unarmed fighting, where a barbarian could never cast a spell or shoot a bow. What I want to do is no different, except that the player gets to experience the beginnings of all classes when they start. Like dating before you get married.

D&D (well, 3rd edition on, anyways) doesn't specifically limit what weapons a class can use, it just makes certain classes work harder to learn to use the weapons than others. For example, a brand-new wizard has no idea how to use a long sword, but if the player wants to use a feat to do so, the wizard can learn to use long swords, along with other weapons common to fighters. They'll still suck at fighting because their attack bonus is crap, but they'll be no worse with a long sword than with a dagger or staff. This is similar to my suggestion, in which a non-swordsman *could* learn to use a longsword, it'd just be harder for them than it would be for a swordsman, especially if they'd specialized in another weapon.

I'm trying to preserve your idea of picking one class, or one progression of classes (novice->swordsman->knight, for example) as much as possible with my suggestion. One way to make it work would be for each class to have certain requirements, and for the more advanced classes to require certain skill levels and abilities that can only be obtained by members of a specific lower-lever class. For example, to become a swordsman a player would have to master the shortsword (or any sword, if you want the base classes to be more flexible). Then, if that person wanted to become a Knight, they would have to master the long sword, and learn certain abilities, at least one of which is only available to swordsmen.

One idea to allow novices to learn any weapon (which is more realistic), while giving them incentive to stick with "simpler" weapons like short sword early on would be to impose penalties on novices trying to learn more difficult weapons like longswords, and possibly limiting how good they can get with such weapons. That way, a novice who trained with short sword because it was easier to use could eventually learn enough to become a swordsman, at which point the penalty for learning to use longswords could be removed, and the maximum skill level could be increased or gotten rid of entirely. Meanwhile, Novice #2, who really wanted to use a longsword would have a hard time with it, but could eventually get good enough to become a swordsman, at which point things would get easier for him. Neither Novice-Turned-Swordsman #1 or Novice-Turned-Swordsman #2 would have an easier time than Novice #3 at learning how to use a longbow however, as it would still be considered a "difficult" weapon for their class.

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Original post by Jiia

So you generally don't think this is a good idea? Any other opinions? Or anyone have an idea how I could make this more reasonable?


I don't see anything wrong with the idea, I'm just offereing suggestions on how I think you could polish it up a little. That is what this forum's for, right?

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How about using orders or guilds? Each order has an assigned class. When a novice joins an order, he takes an oath. That oath prevent him from using weapons not assigned with his class. For example, when a novice joins the fighters order to become a fighter(monk), he must take the oath: "I shall not use any weapon, steel or wood, ranged or melee" or something like that.

If a player breaks his oath, he gets kicked out of his order. The order gives services like teaching moves and rising weapon skills above a certain level, so the player will have to think twice before he breaks his oath.

The advancement in the orders will be weapon skill based, and only on certain level, order trainers will teach you a new weapon/style. So in order to learn longsword, you must reach to a certain rank in the swordsmans order, and to achive that, you must reach to a certain level with shortswords.

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Quote:
Original post by fearghaill
My main problem with this part is I can think of no good reason why a person would need to master the short sword to be able to learn how to use a long sword. It might help, but I don't understand how it could be necessary.

Well, mastering the short sword isn't what allows long sword use. It's the swordsman class. I know both are basically the same deal, since you're allowed to upgrade to swordsman by mastering the short sword. It also wouldn't make sense that a short bow needs mastered before using a long bow, or hatchets before axes, even though they are very simular weapons. So that's not the point [wink]

Quote:
Original post by fearghaill
D&D (well, 3rd edition on, anyways) doesn't specifically limit what weapons a class can use, it just makes certain classes work harder to learn to use the weapons than others. For example, a brand-new wizard has no idea how to use a long sword, but if the player wants to use a feat to do so, the wizard can learn to use long swords, along with other weapons common to fighters. They'll still suck at fighting because their attack bonus is crap, but they'll be no worse with a long sword than with a dagger or staff. This is similar to my suggestion, in which a non-swordsman *could* learn to use a longsword, it'd just be harder for them than it would be for a swordsman, especially if they'd specialized in another weapon.

I'm not a D&D player, so I was guessing. I was actually referring to old-school RPGs, and video games derived from D&D. The old Final Fantasys, Eye of the Beholder, etc.

I don't really see the need to be realistic here. Giving characters who upgrade classes bonuses is just as unrealistic as limiting weapons. In real life, there are no classes. You have a job or hobby, but you only get better with practice. Upgrading your job doesn't make it easier to master the activity you perform there.

In most games, you simply cannot equip a weapon if your strength is not up to it. In real life, you could wield the weapon with half of the needed strength, you just wouldn't be very effective with it. You might have a really hard time swinging it around as well, but you could still kill things with it. So why do all of these games impose the limit? What does it bring to the game?

Quote:
Original post by fearghaill
Quote:
Original post by Jiia
So you generally don't think this is a good idea? Any other opinions? Or anyone have an idea how I could make this more reasonable?

I don't see anything wrong with the idea, I'm just offereing suggestions on how I think you could polish it up a little. That is what this forum's for, right?

Of course. I totally appreciate your advice. It's exactly why I'm here. If I sound like I have this all planned out, I don't. I'm totally open to ideas. My game was originally not going to even have classes. I'm not trying to find an excuse to impliment classes, I'm trying to find a way to limit combat styles.

Quote:
Original post by someboddy
How about using orders or guilds? Each order has an assigned class. When a novice joins an order, he takes an oath. That oath prevent him from using weapons not assigned with his class. For example, when a novice joins the fighters order to become a fighter(monk), he must take the oath: "I shall not use any weapon, steel or wood, ranged or melee" or something like that.

This is a pretty cool idea. I just wish I could get the same effect without having to join a group. The player will feel more like a wanderer and outsider in this game. There may be clans and such, but I don't want the player to feel very tied to them.

Thanks again [smile]

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Well, one way you could do it is to make it so that you have to continue using something to maintain a level in it. The higher level you were, the faster your skill would drop if you didn't maintain it correctly.

This way, someone who is really high level in swords and starts practicing something else will quickly start losing levels in swords, but the lower their sword skill gets, the less it starts decreasing.

If you designed it with this in mind, you could calculate the amount of time it would take to upgrade the staves to correspond to the amount of time it would take to lose your skill in swords.

This would allow a more realistic balancing act, I think. Someone could have skill in all areas, but none of the areas are going to ever get past something like "master".

It's somewhat like what happens in real life. If I stop programming for a long period of time in a language, it takes me a bit of time to get back into the flow of it, to remember all of the functions and what not. I haven't forgotten HOW to program, just the details of the specific language.

Similarly, someone who uses swords a lot and then stops to practice magic might lose the muscle development in their body needed to correctly wield the sword. They might remember how to do it but just be physically unable to.

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When i read your idea i can't seem to help but think of Ragnarok Online.

The players character evolves along a branching job tree, so if the player becomes a mage, he can then become a sage or a wizard, and from there, a professor/warlock, etc. One way to balance it is to lock the player in a specific direction once he chooses a class, so if he's a mage he can't become a fighter, and can only become higher mage classes. If he decides to persist in trying to be a fighter when he's a mage, he'll only end up screwing himself since he wouldn't be investing in his strengths.

What you could do is set periodic limits on how high the skills can be raised. So a novice could raise all his skills upto say, level 10. To raise them any higher he would have to choose a class, then the skills can be raised upto 20, and so forth and so on for each progressive level. If the player Really wanted to, he could make a warrior mage (and such a class may exist), though it would require careful balancing of his magic/fighting skills to be effective, but this also adds some diversity as well. For added zip, you could make other non-class skills harder to increase or cap them at a certain level, so for a Mage, strength would be pretty hard to raise compared to willpower or intelligence.

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