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SumDude

Designing unique character classes

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In order to understand this topic better, one would have had to played World of Warcraft. There are Shamans (Offensive Support) and Paladins(Defensive Support). These classes are unique to the Horde and Alliance respectively(they are factions in the Warcraft Series). If anyone has visitted the World of Warcraft forums, there are many posts about 'nerfing'(Lessening the abilities) the Offensive Support class and 'buffing'(Raising the abilities) the Defensive Support class. Most of the arguements is that the Offensive Support is way too powerful, and the Defensive Support class is way too weak. To get to the point, would implementing such a system (Different Classes for different factions) be beneficial to a video game, or would it be non-beneficial? How would you handle the situation? If one class wants to be more powerful (and there is a lot of support from the player community that wants them to be more powerful, not counting the class players of course), or wants one class to get nerfed (with lots of support from the player community, not counting the class players). Is it better to give in or is it better to use developer judgement? How would one achieve true balance through such a system (is it possible?)?

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? sounds totally standard for diffrnt playrs to have specialisd units ? or is this about play balancing ? whatsa 'video' game anyway.

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Erm, on to more serious topics... It's better to use developer judgement. Certainly take feedback from the playerbase, but humans are fickle creatures. The statistics you can garner from actual gameplay will tell a truer tale than any internet forum.

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Quote:
Original post by SumDude
In order to understand this topic better, one would have had to played World of Warcraft.

There are Shamans (Offensive Support) and Paladins(Defensive Support). These classes are unique to the Horde and Alliance respectively(they are factions in the Warcraft Series). If anyone has visitted the World of Warcraft forums, there are many posts about 'nerfing'(Lessening the abilities) the Offensive Support class and 'buffing'(Raising the abilities) the Defensive Support class.

Most of the arguements is that the Offensive Support is way too powerful, and the Defensive Support class is way too weak.

To get to the point, would implementing such a system (Different Classes for different factions) be beneficial to a video game, or would it be non-beneficial?

How would you handle the situation? If one class wants to be more powerful (and there is a lot of support from the player community that wants them to be more powerful, not counting the class players of course), or wants one class to get nerfed (with lots of support from the player community, not counting the class players). Is it better to give in or is it better to use developer judgement?

How would one achieve true balance through such a system (is it possible?)?


What if we take away the entire class system? Kind of like what Fable does to the RPG system. The player, based on what and how they play, evolve themselves into unique classes. It becomes a better reflection of personality, especially in an MMORPG, plus, it lays the blame of a weak character on the player's choice of action. Well, of course, there has to be ways to sort of undo the process down the line if the player changes their mind, with some penalty of course. And in the end, you still might get your classes, except implicitly within the player population.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Yes, class system's are by large, unbalanced. You have to cram so many different skills into each class and try to make them even. Eventually a cool idea will get in the way of balance, or maybe the designers own bias. By letting people pick and choose their own skills, across the broad range from all classes, you then only have to worry about balancing the individual skills and not the individual skills AND classes they are associated with.

Just look at champions of Norrath: Return to arms. Clerics get a weaker concentration that regenerations slower, costs mana, AND doesn't last long. They don't get bind wound, and they are stuck with blunt weapons. Now they are supposed to be somewhere on the front line. Mages, who stick back and lob spells have access to battlemage (allows them to use any 1-handed weapon) and bind wound (faster hp regeneration). If you want to see grossly imbalanced... everything, then check out return to arms.

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For any game balance issue, you should look at how the current situation plays, and use that to decide whether a given change is necessary, possible or inadvisable. Decisions on necessary and inadvisable changes should be obvious, while possible changes should take player opinion into account.

As far as faction-specific specialists go, they're an obvious way to reinforce the differences between factions. The game balance issues are going to arise in any system where it's possible to distinguish between two player characters (OK, having different names might not be an issue, but choice of colour has definite camouflage implications). Essentially, deeper playtesting requirements are the price you pay for distinct factions.

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