• Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  

Instead of choosing your class in an RPG...

This topic is 4255 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

...You develop your class. Say, you're constantly fighting, over time you'll end up as a warrior. Or if you always steal things, you end up a thief. Maybe you decided to go to some Wizard school to become a Mage... something along those lines. I think this would be more immersive than just selecting a list of classes from the start of the game. (This is some random idea I had and it's not fully developed but hopefully you get what I'm trying to say.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
I think it's an excellent way to go.

By not classifying someone, their possibilities become endless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by makeshiftwings
Might I suggest Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, Fable, Fallout, Ultima Online, EvE Online, and Dungeon Siege?


You forgot Gothic, among others :)

So, the idea isn't new, but it still is a good one. Pre-canned classes are just too limiting imho (in the case of AD&D, it was probably designed that way - to sell more Prestige Class source books [grin]).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The very first D&D game could have done this. They chose classes because it gives the game more depth. Lack of classes also cuts down on replay value.

Another way you could do it is by using races or species. Which would be a more realistic way to limit growth. For example, humans might have a max speed of 5, where elves could grow to 7.

In real life, some people do have these so called D&D like classes too. For example, my class was not a hacker, I was an artist. So I had to spend a lot more time learning to program than most probably did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Kest
In real life, some people do have these so called D&D like classes too. For example, my class was not a hacker, I was an artist. So I had to spend a lot more time learning to program than most probably did.


By D&D convention you multi-classed into programmer. But the class abstraction is not the only way to look at it. A system less limiting than the class-based one (for example, a skill-based system) would have you train your programming skill, with standard "hackers" having the skill higher simply because they started to train it earlier than you did. I think this better reflects how reality is - we wear many hats in real life, but our skills carry over.

One game that really went the right way early on, imho, is DSA (Das Schwarze Auge, a German role-playing system). From what I remember of playing their PC conversions (Blade of Destiny, Star Trail, Shadows over Riva), on "expert mode" they had something like 200 skills in addition to classes and levels, allowing you to extensively customize your career.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by makeshiftwings
Might I suggest Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, Fable, Fallout, Ultima Online, EvE Online, and Dungeon Siege?


AFAIK, one character in 7/8 of those titles has the skill definition of one "class" in Diablo II. Take all the skills in D2 and put them into one class and give the option of definition at that level and then you're got something. Add in actual depth in gameplay and skills more diverse that "shoot a frost arrow" or "shoots a fire arrow" and you're cooking with fire.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think for single player games, absolutely, the more open a skill system is the better it is. However, I think its important that in the game your specific skills and skill combinations are awarded, otherwise I think over-customization can happen where its all customization and no roleplaying. Though, if its over-over-customization that in itself can be very fun...

Some good points in this thread especially about how D&D class systems added depth. In the multiplayer scenario I think the biggest issues are balance and creating different unique identities. Its hard to do either I think when instead of one player you have several thousand. In this case I think the best solution is a multi-leveled system where you have an open-ended skill system, but other systems in character development as well perhaps including classes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am currently designing a skill based system where the cost of the skills increase with the current level of the skill (it take more xp to reach a higher level of the skill). All fairly standard.

However I have broken up the skills into groups. Each groups also has a place where you can spend xp, just like normal skills. The difference with this group level is that as you raise this level it gives a discount on any skill purchaces within that group.

This means that a player can select skill groups to become more proficient in by gettin a discount on the costs of those skills or decide to be a generalist and spend their skill points in only the skills (not the groups to get discounts). his way it encourages the player to specialise, but still allows players to pick up skill where needed or become generalists.

At low levels this discount is not that great and won't make much difference, but as the cost of skills goes up specialization (that is buying levels in the groups) will be an important advantage. So begining players are not discouraged with exploring the abilities of the characters and as they play they discover how they wnat their character to develop and can then work their way towards it. ALso the real hard core Min/Maxers have a much greater set of potential character builds to explore and try out (not ony do you look at what skills to get, but when to get them as well), greatly increaseing replayability.

There is another layer I use (I call it Affinities) which allows the player to gain a discount of the skill groups associated with that affinity. Affinities are more like the traditional classes associated with this type of game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The problem that, time and time again, occurs with this design is that you end up with a character that can do nothing end-game. If you don't specialize yourself in some area of the game, then you end up not being able to use all the cool weaponry, or you can't cast the strongest spells, or you can't sneak up on the high level enemies.

Basically, you've managed to create your own customized, role-playing, character who's no fun to play at all.

The tough part of all this is making it so that there's some advantage to specialization (which is typically inherant anyway, if you need a spell power of 50 to cast a certain spell, someone who specializes will get it earlier than someone who doesn't) while ensuring that someone who decided to do a bit of everything can still play just fine.

Otherwise, it's more fair to the player to force them to pick an archetype.

Oblivion comes to mind as a case-in-point for this issue. While it's a great game, there's not enough stress on how you can weaken/disable your character by picking the wrong skills.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by lightbringer
A system less limiting than the class-based one (for example, a skill-based system) would have you train your programming skill, with standard "hackers" having the skill higher simply because they started to train it earlier than you did.

I think this better reflects how reality is - we wear many hats in real life, but our skills carry over.

Please note that I stated that I probably had to spend more time learning to program to reach the same level as, for example, the genius programmers in the General Programming and Math forums. That means they may not have started before me. There is a real physical difference in my brain that makes creative thinking flow out very naturally, and linear thinking flow out decently with a lot more effort. Even though I enjoy programming more than art or design, I'm just not as good at it. I'm not sure if my maximum programming potential is any lower than anyone else, but my progress toward it is obviously not as efficient as some.

I agree with the seperate skills and abilities system. But in a way, a class doesn't have to mess with that. Just because they are linked to a class, it doesn't mean there are any more restrictions than if not. It's just a name to generalize the strengths of your character. So you could allow the player to adjust his character abilities with a set number of points, or randomize it, or whatever, and then make the class definition automatic.

I'm only fighting in defense of classes because having things like "Thief" and "Knight" in your game is just too damn cool to pass up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Why not base it in real life even more and make the skills actually require skill? Like shooting games require skill in aiming, and depending on the game, teamwork? Real game players build their skill by playing and practicing. And they often have to specialize. How many expert RTS players are also good at shooting games? But it is still possible to become skilled at several types of games, if you are talented and motivated enough.

It seems like most MMO games mainly involve social skill, and maybe skill in tactics, like board games (playing chess doesn't require knowledge of sword fighting). Would it be a good idea to kind of un-abstract these skills and stats into the actual skills of the players? Personally, I would be more interested in a game like that, though I tend to like learning new skills more than other people. Do you think this would be a good idea?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Kest
...There is a real physical difference in my brain that makes creative thinking flow out very naturally, and linear thinking flow out decently with a lot more effort...

Good point. Everyone's innate abilities are different. But I think that's better addressed by ability scores (no weak pun intended). To accomodate your problem. we could expand the "current" model to include analytical, spatial, visual thinking or something :), then have skill training be scaled by some abilities.

On the other hand I think it's a bit strange that you can just multiclass to programmer and after getting ten levels in it be as good as the level 10 gurus over in our programming sections are now, so the class system by itself doesn't account for it any more than the skill system does. Could be explained though if you suddenly went to take programming courses err joined the programmer's guild :D

Quote:

I agree with the seperate skills and abilities system. But in a way, a class doesn't have to mess with that. Just because they are linked to a class, it doesn't mean there are any more restrictions than if not. It's just a name to generalize the strengths of your character.

To me it seems more like a mold to hold you in check, with all those restrictions on alignment, weapons, armor, spells, feat selections, etc...

Quote:
So you could allow the player to adjust his character abilities with a set number of points, or randomize it, or whatever, and then make the class definition automatic.

Dungeon Siege did this quite well I think.

Quote:

I'm only fighting in defense of classes because having things like "Thief" and "Knight" in your game is just too damn cool to pass up.

Everyone loves stereotypes [grin]. I loved the system in Morrowind though where you could name your own class. I always ended up creating some kind of "Adventuring/Lost Heir" class who was a jack-of-all-trades.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Kest
The very first D&D game could have done this. They chose classes because it gives the game more depth. Lack of classes also cuts down on replay value.

Another way you could do it is by using races or species. Which would be a more realistic way to limit growth. For example, humans might have a max speed of 5, where elves could grow to 7.

In real life, some people do have these so called D&D like classes too. For example, my class was not a hacker, I was an artist. So I had to spend a lot more time learning to program than most probably did.



D&D grew from war gameing. You know a tank isn't capable of doing the job of a infantryman...but then again a infantryman is able to do things a tank cannot.

Classes were a game balanceing factor, pure and simple. and in single player party driven RPGs they still make a lot of sense, as they clearly define just what a particular character is good at and usefull for when forming/re-forming dungion invadeing parties and the like.

Of course real life isn't so clear cut...but we are talking games here...games where unrealistic magic and dragons are generaly commonplace. ;)


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
The problem that, time and time again, occurs with this design is that you end up with a character that can do nothing end-game.

Well the game is a team vs team multiplayaer only game so this is not a problem for it. But I do know what you mean.

This problem still can occure with class based games where you can multiclass or have some selection of various skills (like in Neverwinter Nights and even WoW). In WoW the problem is reduced by the fact you have multiple players working together, where as NWN is mainly a single player game (I am talking about the campaign that comes with it not the addidtional adventures made by 3rd parties).

Part of this problem is bad design. If you are using a system where the play can potentially make a bad build, you should account for that in the end game. This could be achieved by looking at certain key abilities of the character (eg in NWN the characers spell levels and Attack roll bonus) and adjusting the end of game Boss to match that. Or you could design the end game, not to be heavily dependant of the certain builds that the character has to make.

The fact of the matter is, if you are going to allow the player more freedom, then you must take into account the fact that you can't rely on the player building the character you, as the designer, wnats them to make and create the end game around it. With a strict Archtye/Class system there are less choices the players have over the final character build, so you can then make certain end game situations that tailor to these Archtypes.

Having a Flexable system does ential more work, but I feel that giving the players more choice is better in the long run.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I loved the way Matrix Online handled "classes". As you leveled up, you could load more abilities into your character. You could get to a hardline (phonebooth), and load and unload abilities you had (by purchase or by crafting) until the number of slots you had available was full. So you were somewhat classed (based on what abilities you had loaded), but you could change the class on the fly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Might I suggest Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, Fable, Fallout, Ultima Online, EvE Online, and Dungeon Siege?
Have yóu ever played them? Oblivion uses classes, and so does morrowind (not sure about the rest). In oblivion you can choose them after you've finished the "tutorial". In morrowind you can choose them if you're of the boat and talk to the old man (forgot his name).

~ Stenny

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is a bit off tangent, but it may lead to some interesting discussion.

Would it be possible to tie in-game attributes to some sort of performance score/test in the real world?

For example, a player could be presented with some sort of IQ test/puzzle, the out come would determine the in-game characters intellect. Or a reaction speed test could determine a characters dexterity/agility, ect...

I'm not really certain its entierly possible, but it would lead to some interesting character development.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've already seen a test like the one you mentioned in Jagged Alliance 2. There you had to chose the voice of your char, the portrait, and fill in a test. Based on the results, the game generated the personality of the player. I (and probably most the other players) ended up with googling for the correct answers to make the character have the abilities I liked. I tend to find auto-generated traits really annoying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by stennyHave yóu ever played them? Oblivion uses classes, and so does morrowind (not sure about the rest). In oblivion you can choose them after you've finished the "tutorial". In morrowind you can choose them if you're of the boat and talk to the old man (forgot his name).


Morrowind (and Oblivion and Daggerfall probably too) does not force you into a class. You can select advanced mode, then customize it completely and name it whatever you want. (After the boat, the tax office offers you to select your class, answer a questionaire, or fill out the form yourself) The core features there are major and minor abilities and skills.

Fallout does not have classes, only abilities, skills, and perks.

Eve Online is completely skill based from what I remember of the beta, with skills training in real-time.

Dungeon Siege determines your "class", which is only a label, based on your skill progression. It has no gameplay effect.

This reminds me of another great game that didn't have traditional class selection, Ultima IX (and possibly previous Ultimas also). That gypsy moral questionaire sequence was pretty cool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by lightbringer
Fallout does not have classes, only abilities, skills, and perks.

Heh. Fallout could have had classes. It's just that everyone was a Warrior.

A non-violent player could usually get by without fighting using dialog, and could thieve now and then. But nearly everyone else in the game was armed with a gun or spear.

The one thing I thought was missing from Fallout was a computerized network to be exploited. I know we're dealing with a post apocalyptic situation, but that would have added a lot to the game for me. I'm still waiting for my new modern day sci-fi samurai/shaman/hacker RPG.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's called Shadowrun ... its just that Microsoft holds the software license on it and the Shadowrun game they are releasing for the PC and the XBOX 360 is basically just Capture the Flag ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Rattrap
It's called Shadowrun ...

If it wasn't for the Sega Genesis console game, I wouldn't even be here talking about game development. It's not the Shadowrun trademark, or the character races, or the story, or the johnsons or runners. It was the dialog, the combat, the hacking, the 'job' missions, and the hiring of thugs. Things that cannot be licensed by Microsoft. The cyberpunk atmosphere. So I'm still waiting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Kest
The very first D&D game could have done this. They chose classes because it gives the game more depth. Lack of classes also cuts down on replay value.[...]
On the other hand, there are game systems like GURPS and HERO that have far more depth yet have no classes. Classes just make things easier - point buy can complicated. The problem with classes is that they limit depth and replay value by preventing you from trying more than a very few combinations. For example, playing a fighter in D&D that can cast a few spells SIGNIFICANTLY reduces your character's power because level X is far better than level X-1, but you have to give up level X in 'fighter' to get level 1 in 'wizard'(which gives a VERY small bonus compared to the huge jump from level X-1 and level X). In a point buy system, you spend 15 of your 100 points on magic stuff and you still have a whopping 75 points to spend on your fighting skills, which means you'll be just slightly worse than a 'pure' fighter at fighting, but you gain flexibility (especially if you pick your spells carefully) and thus you're either proportionally better in some other area or you can fight just as well but have to go about it differently.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Kest
Heh. Fallout could have had classes. It's just that everyone was a Warrior.

It's hard to survive in a post-apocalyptic environment, you know [wink]

There was a bit of a computer network in Fallout 2. Well, not really. There was an opportunity to mess with the Enclave's systems from a number of points in the game, and of course there is that skynet brain ^_^;

But in the meantime, try the original System Shock if you haven't yet. That's got lots of cyberspace.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement