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MMORPG class design
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 12:56 pm    Post subject: MMORPG class design Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Any particular games y'all think did it particularly well and is worth looking at? Is there much overlap between tabletop and video game class design? Too much? Sometimes it feels like all fantasy RPG's are going with tank/dps/healing because D&D kind of did (even though D&D2/3 healing was not in the middle of battle.
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nockermensch
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Mabinogi used to be somewhat interesting, in that it was a skill based MMORPG. There were three groups of combat skills: melee / ranged / magic, but you could train whatever skill you wanted.

Melee was how most monsters fought, and used a kind of RPS system of skills:

Normal attack > Smash (a power attack like skill) > Defense > Normal Attack

Two other skills completed this scheme: Counter (returns damage from smash / normal attack) and Windmill (whirlwind attack that loses against block, wins against counter and trades favorably with normal / smash). Because Windmill was somehow the "best" skill it also took some of your hp when you used it, and was an absolute bitch to train. Also, counter and windmill required you stayed in place, so people could just step back and shoot you.

Ranged was used by some monsters and characters that trained on these skills. It was basically a safe way to destroy melee people from distance, but it had an aiming mechanic that took time to fully load (you could fire instantly, with about 0% of chance to hit, or wait like 2-3 sec for a 90% chance of hit), giving meleers some time to close in. Arrows, in addition to causing damage you cared about also wounded you. Wounds were HP loss that you can't fix with hp potions. Still, groups of archers could and would destroy everything in PVP.

Magic was used by few monsters and characters that trained on these skills. Kind of like Ranged, except that instead an aiming mechanic magic took mana and time to cast, with mana recharge being slow as fuck, and mana potions absent from NPC shops. Also, you needed a wand to deal consistent damage with magic and use "meditation", the mana recharging skill that you needed to have so consistent mana use became just "very boring" instead of "unplayably boring".

Finally, to make that melee RPS feel count, you had to look for visual clues for which skill the monster / other player was going to use. There was an unreliable skill you could train that would sometimes show what monsters were thinking, but didn't work against other players, so PVP was for a while really based on player skill (also, on ping, fuck me). Oh, and HP were generally on the low side for everybody, with most fights being over after 2-5 attacks landed. This included most non-storyline end boss monsters too.

Then, sometime like 3-4 years ago they introduced a fuckton of other methods of combat, made all skills work with cooldowns (did I mention that all skills before were at will, limited only by their .5sec - 2sec charging times and by your slow recharging mana or faster-recharging stamina?) and raised the HP of the monsters so that combat started to resemble the clickspam fest of other, more popular MMOs.
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Did Mabinogi emphasize team vs team combat? As the system you described seems focused on fighting against one opponent at a time.
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nockermensch
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OgreBattle wrote:
Did Mabinogi emphasize team vs team combat? As the system you described seems focused on fighting against one opponent at a time.

The basic combat was totally intended to be 1 vs 1. A big part of determining how hard monsters were was to look at how many of them could aggro you at once. "easy" monsters were (and I think they still are) single aggro, so if you entered a dungeon room with a bunch of goblins, one of them would notice and attack you while the others just stared. Dual aggro monsters were harder, specially because Mabinogi liked to make archers like this. So lots of fun (in the dwarf fortress sense) could be had by having two goblin archers notice you at once, then run in opposite directions and basically stunlock you to death (be hit by one arrow, go into flinch animation, take ANOTHER arrow..., etc).

Multi-aggro monsters were supposed to be dealt with by parties or only very hardcore players. A somewhat infamous example was Black Ship Rats, which were ... rats, not much stronger than the garden variety, except that all them took notice and attacked you immediately, just spamming normal attacks. A skilled solo player could take down an ogre (which was a hardcore monster in old Mabi), but would be swamped and killed by thos damn rats.
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Koumei
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2016 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Rift (no relation to Palladium (TM) RIFTS (TM), there was even a lawsuit by Kev, because of course there was) has a system that probably favours system mastery and being a smartarse. As such, I like it. You just choose one of 4? base classes, but there are so many parts within that to play with that you're practically fine-tuning your character to be a Steve.

Your class determines your basic statline, what proficiencies you have, and what skill trees are available for you. There are around 5-6 skill trees per class (before buying premium ones or whatever, and since I last played there might be more), and you can have three of them "active", with points assigned to them, at a time.

To start with you do the normal thing, where your skill tree has a bunch of things that can each have up to 5 ranks (or whatever) put in them, and they just do things like add +X% per rank to _____. And the more ranks you put in, the more of these talents are unlocked.

But each time you put a point in a talent from a tree, that tree gains a "level", and that provides you some stat bonuses (like the tree itself providing a BAB and Saves). It doesn't matter how you spend the points, you're getting the same "enforce a basic level-appropriate competency".

And then, there's ALSO a bar that fills up as you put levels into the skill tree, and that unlocks your activated abilities. So basically, you flat-out GET abilities and most of your statline, you can't fuck that up like you can in many "put points in talents" systems, but you can also have a bit of customisation to the bonuses for specific things.

The big thing is just how you want to split it between your three trees (and which three trees you want). And seeing as respeccing is free, and you can even save multiple load-outs and swap between them, you really do have room to play around. They also provide a bunch of "If you're not too sure, tell it to just follow this pre-selected upgrade path" options, many of which were designed by top players.

I think that game really does a great job of handling classes and levelling.
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MGuy
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

For the time I was playing it, I enjoyed Guild Wars 2. All the classes could (at least as were advertised) pick up any of the regular 3 roles in MMOs (Healer/Tank/DPS). You could spec a class to be able to do any of them by taking advantage of different ability and equipment sets.

I only played 2 classes myself (that is the Necromancer and the mesmer) and had a good time with it. I was actually able to solo a dungeon (called a Fractal) and a few monsters meant for a group by myself. It took a long ass time (seriously an hour to do the Fractal) and I had to exploit how fighting underwater worked but I did it. Since I didn't participate much in PvP I'm not sure how things looked there (mostly because my PC can't handle the strain). This was before I even reached the level cap. Actually going into a dungeon with a group (the few times I did it) was fun too. I liked the two classes I tried and my gf at the time reported that she enjoyed being an Elementalist and Ranger. The only problem I remember running into was that I could get all the things necessary to play the style that I wanted to play in well before the level cap. I believe I'd had all the skills I wanted to by level 56 and everything I got after that was stuff I really didn't use most of the time. I haven't played in a while (as I stopped playing well before Heart of Thorns was released) so I am not 100% sure if they added a bunch of stuff.

You get points to put towards different abilities by leveling up. There are Traits and Skills. You get skills from your class and from your weapon. The weapon skills become unlocked just by using the weapon a bunch and the skills you get from leveling up but also from doing little challenges scattered around the map. I haven't tried but I'd say that you could get enough points to get all your skills if you did all the little challenges. Trait Points you can only get by leveling and the traits give you boosts that support certain abilities. I was primarily a minionmancer so I picked up as many traits as I could that made my minions better all around. On top of all that I believe you could redo your points at anytime. I went into being a sort of Off-Tank/DPS Necromancer but I could've been a healer, straight tank, or DPS depending on what abilities I decided to pick up.
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So in lots of MMORPG's you keep on getting new activated abilities as you level up. Towards the endgame this can lead to over a dozen abilities to actively use.

How do different games handle this? In Guild Wars you simply have a limited number of slots to equip.
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Chamomile
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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

WoW and its derivatives just give you an ability bar worthy of the space shuttle, about five or six moves of which are actually helpful at your level. Maybe there's a handful of extra moves that are situationally useful. In the end, the number of abilities you actually use is not much bigger than a Guild Wars ability bar, you just also have twenty other abilities that you're not using and won't be using because you can't possibly keep them all in your head at the same time, so of course you stick to whatever's the generally most efficient combo and only change it up if you have to.
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2016 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

WoW has streamlined a lot but even at its messiest you always did end up chunking things down into manageable groups due to your build and stance/form if not level.

For example, back when I was a raider Rogues were melee dps, Fox only, Final Destination. However, even within a seemingly one tricky pony class you'd find that different rogues would ignore different abilities because with talent and equipment investment some would grow to be outright superior. For example, if you played a Combat spec'd rogue, your talents gave you incentive to have Sinister Strike on your bar and Armor Penetration bonuses on your equipment. Whereas if you were an Assassination rogue you were really just shooting yourself in the foot if you ever used Sinister Strike instead of Mutilate and stacked Armor Penetration instead of Haste and Expertise. As such there was simply no point in cluttering my default action bar with options that had been rendered traps by my build.
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2016 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OgreBattle wrote:
So in lots of MMORPG's you keep on getting new activated abilities as you level up. Towards the endgame this can lead to over a dozen abilities to actively use.

How do different games handle this? In Guild Wars you simply have a limited number of slots to equip.


In Boobie BumsScarlet Blade, you basically have three or four hotbars of 10 slots each (numeric keys), and I forget how you scroll through. But you probably only use four actual abilities and fill the rest with expendable items and such. But it's a bad game, so I don't suggest actually using it as an example.

Neverwinter Online does what it sounds like Guild Wars does: you have the following:
-Left Click: an at-will power
-Right Click: an at-will power
-Q: an encounter power
-E: an encounter power
-R: an encounter power
-1: a daily power
-2: a daily power
-Tab: varies from class to class but essentially revolves around modifying encounter powers - the Wizard uses this as "another encounter power, with a special buff", the Rogue enters Stealth mode (which boosts encounter powers more than at-wills), the Paladin taunts or something (and a lot of their encounter powers do special things to taunted enemies), the Cleric enters Divinity mode where encounter powers work differently.
-Shift: varies from class to class, but is basically a defensive or movement thing: the Cleric performs a silly slide that is faster than normal and provides damage resistance (and yes, they use this when running about the map just to move faster, sliding around with a shiny glowing effect), Wizards teleport a short distance, Paladins hold their shield up to create a defensive bubble, Rogues do an army roll, and Warlocks do a sort of hover-flight thing.

That's it for your class-based abilities. Your other abilities cannot be used until you swap them in out-of-combat. There are other keys for items (3 is "Activate Artifact", 4-6 are "Use hotbar item" (potions), 7 is "Climb on horse/giant crab/basket held aloft by gas spores").
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Ikeren
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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Let's see, I've played two MMORPG's extensively.

D&D Online. You get a 10 slot bar with 10 pages, and you can show as many of those pages as you want, and can hotkey secondary bars (standard one is number keys, but you can then make other bars shift+number keys, ctrl+ number keys, etc). You put all your normal use stuff on your main bar, and then clickies and buffs and specialty use stuff on secondary bars.

I mostly played a cleric, so main bar was heals, then a couple bars of buffs, then a couple bars of clickies, a bar of rarely used attack spells, etc.

The class system was D&D, with feats and ability scores. The main addition was talents, which were minor specializations and divided into trees, making for prestige classes (Clerics; Radiant Servant tree had talents for bonus heals, expend turns for heals, and extra damage or destroy from turn undead; Warpriest had bonus damage, use turns for buffs, etc).

It seemed to work reasonably well. There wasn't too much "Oh god, we need X" to get through mission, except sometimes Rogue/Artificer for traps, and sometimes Cleric for heals (later druid, but I don't know how much they got through). I played mostly clerics, so I saw mostly the rogue issue.

You totally had the ability to build a character that was worthless by fucking up your build, and I am fine with that.

________________________________________________________

Everquest 1 had 16 classes. You adjusted basic stats, but by the end they didn't matter. Then you had levels, with each class gaining their spells as they levelled. At high levels you got Alternative Advancement, which were the levels after levels got maxed, and you bought them in order from most important to least important, where things like +10% heals or -20% manacost were super important, and things like +2 strength were not.

You couldn't ruin a character, you just had to get everything. The game was level and gear based.

Classes were divided into Tanks (Warrior, Paladin, Shadowknight), Healers (Cleric, Druid, Shaman), Crowd Control (Enchanter, Bard), and DPS (Necromancer, Wizard, Mage, Ranger, Beastlord, Rogue, Monk, Berserker).

You had a 8+ unit spell bar on your screen, plus hotkey bars which had 10 items and could be expanded so multiple (4) bars showed in a similar-ish way to DND Online.

You often got into situations of "We can't do this without a healer" (usually cleric), or sometimes crowd control (usually enchanter), or sometimes slower (Shaman-Enchanter-Beastlord-Bard, in order of effectiveness). I played a cleric though, so it effected me little.

I didn't really have a problem with the class systems of either game, and still play both casually, here and there. The bigger problem with those games was a penchant for producing grinds.
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maglag
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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Phantasy Star Online 2 basically goes "fuck that noise, everybody's a DPS". What changes is the kinda DPS/gameplay you're using to get shit done, and every class has some kind of dodge roll/jump to avoid enemy attacks, plus healing items are relatively cheap and can quickly patch you up assuming you're not being pounded down at the moment. The 7 base classes are:

Hunter-Toughest dude that wields big two-handed weapons for big melee damage. Can block besides dodging, and can do so pretty well plus stuff like extra damage after successfully blocking. Can't do much at range and basically no mobility powers however.

Ranger-Rifle and missile launcher specialist, can lay traps and add debuff effects to shots.

Force- Sci-fi caster. Can charge their spells techs for a couple seconds for massive damage boosts (uncharged spells deal pitiful damage), but if you're hit while charging you lose the spell tech. Can use staves that just pump up your magic greatly or talis which allow you to throw magic cards that'll stay in place and channel magic techs at range (a lot of great techs inflict damage just around you normally). Instead of dodge-roll/jump can make short teleports with lots of invincibility frames to stay alive. Can also throw area heals and a couple buffs but their durations are pretty short so rarely worth it, so you're usually better off just nuking.

Braver- Sci-fi samurai, uses katanas and bullet bows for a melee-ranged hybrid. Can get bonus damage for hitting enemy weak points and good timing of your attacks.


Bouncer-Melee/caster hybrid, can dual-wield swords that produce magic copies to throw at your enemy or MAGIC JET BOOTS that allow you to double-triple jump for great mobility. Bunch of exotic mechanics where you quickly recharge PP and can constantly throw elemental-based attacks.

Pokemon Trainer Summoner-Most recent class, gets a bunch of pets that need to be trained/fed and can only keep one out at a time. Pet takes weapon slot while out but you can still use the rare support abilities if you have them.

Challenger-Can use every kind of weapon and technique, but no skill tree, only available on a special quest mode where you start at level 1 with no gear and need to scavenge for items in the run.

Then there's 3 special classes that demand special quests to unlock:

Fighter-Gets nice things, specializes in dual wielding light weapons. Sacrifices defense and weaker blocking when compared to the hunter but even better damage close and personal, plus actual mobility photon arts. Iconic abilities are Idiot Brave Stance (extra damage when attacking enemy up front, less from the rear) and Coward Wise Stance (extra damage when attacking enemy from the back, less if attacking from the front).

Gunner- Specializes in dual-wielding twin guns for DAKKADAKKADAKKA! Lots of weak shots, can build up combos on enemies that your allies can join in.

Techer-Melee/magic hybrid, the closest to a support class in the game as it gets bonus to the sole healing tech, Resta, and the only two buffing techs, Shifta and Deband. However the main selling point of the Techer is being able to equip wands that cause elemental explosions when they hit enemies in melee

You can freely change classes at any time (although new classes start at level 1 and they all keep exp separately, however leveling new classes is easier because you'll have a bunch of higher level gear to make the low-level quests a breeze). You can also eventually keep one of your leveled classes as a subclass buffing stats and allowing you to access both of their skill trees and abilities (although most abilities demand a specific kind of weapon to use, and you can't automatically equip your subclass weapon).


For abilities, you get a bar with 10 abilities, and then each weapon can have up to four abilities keyed to it. As a reminder, most abilities demand to have a specific kind of weapon equiped. There's no auto-attack, so one of those buttons needs to be spent on it. On the other hand basic attacks recharge PP that are needed to use your other attacks.
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Dang, PSO2 sounds like an ideal online RPG to me. I had played the beta years ago and liked how using a gun encouraged manual aiming. Neverwinter also seems quite similar to it.

In general I like games where you have a block/dodge button.


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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OgreBattle wrote:
Dang, PSO2 sounds like an ideal online RPG to me. I had played the beta years ago and liked how using a gun encouraged manual aiming. Neverwinter also seems quite similar to it.

In general I like games where you have a block/dodge button.


I fully recommend PSO2, they've been adding new content on a regular basis, now there's even a casino and other cool new stuff. Except SEGA refuses to release an official english version and will hunt down and shut down any accounts trying to connect from outside Asia. Because they hate money or something.

There's however a bunch of fans that provide an english patch+proxy with auto-updates.

Also PSO2 works on a freemium mode where you need to spend real money for stuff like respecing your skills and interacting in player trade/shops. At least they'll give everybody a free skill respec ticket everytime an official patch changes stuff.

Still pretty good gameplay+graphics and I particularly enjoy how they enphasize speed over everything else. Defeating the enemies is rarely hard per se, but to get the best rewards you need to do it fast while not dying. There's even some kind of story and memorable NPCs! (Lisa is awesome, she's a combat android that was programmed to get orgasms from shooting stuff dead or something, at least her safety protocols for not shooting civilians/PCs are holding up.)

Also it's amusing how you can get rewarded multiple times for killing the same enemy. (NPC 1 says he hates darkers, NPC 2 says he wants darker butts to make darker hamburguers, NPC 3 says he wants darker combat data)
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Judging__Eagle
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 6:51 am    Post subject: Re: MMORPG class design Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OgreBattle wrote:
Any particular games y'all think did it particularly well and is worth looking at? Is there much overlap between tabletop and video game class design? Too much? Sometimes it feels like all fantasy RPG's are going with tank/dps/healing because D&D kind of did (even though D&D2/3 healing was not in the middle of battle.


Since EQ, WoW and GW have been covered; I might add what I can recall about Ragnarok Online that relates to this. Since I don't have an actual answer written out, and its been maybe 4-5+ years since I last played RO; I'm going to type as I recall and edit or not later.

Overall, RO is a game where a player's system mastery is super important. Equipment is pretty flat in terms of what you want to use at the end game; so itemization becomes more a matter of player knowledge & choice than what dropped last from a raid boss (compared with EQ, WoW, etc.).

The game's hotkeys are normally F1-F9; but with /Battlemode, the three rows of letters on the keyboard give a player 27 hotkeys that Skills; Equipment switches; and consumable items can be made available. Yes, I have played characters that did need at least 27 hotkeys to perform their best. The biggest downfall of /battlemode is chatting relies on being able to toggle the option (unless you're smart; and rewrote one of the "Catch Phrase &/or Emote" hoykeys to /bm or /battlemode).

A poor player can muddle along with their unthought of build and equipment; while a masterful player will have players who have been on the server longer than themselves begging them "hao u do so mich dmg to me?"[1] in whispers after a team PvP match; make a player eat their words about how "my hunter always kills Knights in duels"[2]; or watch an enemy player panic and flee in terror when proper use of hot-keyed equipment totally removes what they thought was an Ace-in-the-hole for them[3].

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However, only against other skilled players does the resolution of an encounter become more "rock, paper, scissors" where certain builds beat others; and lose to others (e.g. Vitality knights < Agi/Vit Hybrids < Str/Dex < Vitality knights).

At lower levels, having a balanced party composition isn't that important; as the games consumables system makes it viable to carry healing supplies into a dungeon, grind until supplies are done, then head back to town to restock. Sitting down to heal can be done, but even on a swordsman I found it to be more wasteful than chewing through a stack of food.

The fact that there is a "merchant" PC class means that selling loot; and buying NPC supplies/items; can add some efficiency to player earning and leveling speed.

The tank/heal/DPS dynamic is more visible in higher difficulty play; a group will TPK if they don't have heals and DPS; while tanks are only really notably useful in the hardest dungeons of the game.

In group pvp and guild siege hours (aka "War of Emperium"/WoE); a mixed composition of party members is important; and guilds that hold castles will recruit specific characters the guild is in short supply of in order to survive the defense of their currently held (and usually highly profitable) castle.

Personally; I think its the fact that you cannot "have it all" in terms of most characters skill points and available skills (you always have less pts than you have total skills to max out) means that the game is inherently trying to guide players towards skill tree optimization. Although, with the amount of skill planners that have been around for ages; it's not like that's a real challenge.

Truthfully; I can't really comment about how RO is now because more tiers of classes have been added since I last played; and I have no idea how the 3rd tier job class skills work; or interact with the 2nd and 1st job class skills of any of the classes.

Initial notes:
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2016 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I played RO for a bit killing grasshoppers, didn't know the leveling class system got that in depth


----
There any MMORPG's where 'noncombat' abilities are used in parties to overcome challenges?

Like "hack this computer to open this door", "I diplomance this dude out of the way", "I repair the thing".


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2016 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OgreBattle wrote:
There any MMORPG's where 'noncombat' abilities are used in parties to overcome challenges?

Like "hack this computer to open this door", "I diplomance this dude out of the way", "I repair the thing".


SWTOR has a small number of scenarios in Flashpoint instances where crafting skills are used to hack terminals/activate force relics/break down walls that allow you to bypass some modest number of mobs.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2016 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OgreBattle wrote:
There any MMORPG's where 'noncombat' abilities are used in parties to overcome challenges?

Like "hack this computer to open this door", "I diplomance this dude out of the way", "I repair the thing".


Not enough, but that's widespread across games. A game with diplomatic options has that feature mentioned in commentary because if its relative scarcity.
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Going over how disappointing FFXIV's summoners are, what are the ways different MMO's handle pet classes and giving them commands?
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AndreiChekov
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2016 3:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OgreBattle wrote:
Going over how disappointing FFXIV's summoners are, what are the ways different MMO's handle pet classes and giving them commands?


DDO has a pet class as the druid, and you can hire ai things to help you. They just give you another control bar with clicky command things.

Generally they are self controlling, but each of them have a few key commands you can give them like attack/use thing, or do nothing, wait here... Works pretty well if you are willing to take the time to think a little.

I have seen people walk their pets through traps just because they couldn't be bothered to hit the wait here button.
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Raphael diSanto
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Newbie here, hope no one minds if I jump in.

I've played quite a large number of MMOs, starting with Velious-era EQ through to Wildstar. My current addiction is SWTOR.

Ikeren's review of EQ was pretty spot on. I main'd a Warrior in that for years, and I thought it was a pretty excellent translation of an old school RPG experience, ported to a computer.

For me, the defining characteristic of RPGs is the separation of player skill vs character skill. EQ's Warrior had that down to a science, in that in vanilla, you only had 3 or 4 actual attacks and they were on cooldowns. It wasn't really how fast you could press the buttons (unless you played a Bard), or how good your twitch skills were in terms of "don't stand in stupid") Most of the time was spent either jockeying for position or just watching your guy swing his sword. It was classic D&D ("I attack the orc") but the computer did the dice rolls for you.

Last time I played 5th Ed D&D, I was playing a ranger, and I spent most of my time in combat just saying "I shoot guy X" and then rolling dice. Contrast that with playing a ranged DPS character in something like SWTOR where I don't just shoot guy X. I have a full on ability rotation that I have to memorize -

This power comes after this power which comes after this power, which comes after this power unless this other power has come off cooldown in which case I have to use that one instead, followed by its follow up and then I can get back on track with the rotation, unless something else happened, and then we get back to the rotation if I can remember where I was in it, and while I'm at it, I'll learn to juggle standing on my head while taking a bath.

That's not how tabletop has ever worked for me, and so in my brain, it's not how RPGs should work.

That said, not all MMOs are class-based. Some MMOs have tried to change it up. Champions Online launched with a nominal nod towards the holy trinity, but it wasn't necessary in order to actually play the game and defeat the group-based content. CO, as befits a properly customizable superhero game allows you to pick and choose powers from a number of disciplines. The more you take from a single discipline, you get access to the higher tier powers in that discipline, but it's not required.

For group content, CO groups often used wolf-pack tactics, rather than tank-and-spank, and for me, it made the game far more fun and engaging.

In the context of the thread title, CO didn't really have classes. Not the same way that it's precursor, City of Heroes did, and definitely not in the way that DCUO did.

SWG is another MMO that I played that was classless. It was actually the first MMO I played that was classless. Like CO, there were dependencies and prerequisites for the higher tier abilities, but there were no actual class restrictions. SWG called each "area" of focus a Profession. You could take some levels in brawling, some in sniping, some in entertaining/dancing (yes, SWG had 100% non-combat Professions).

While both games had (and in CO's case still has) a loyal niche fanbase, they also both got slammed by the holy trinity crowd for being too open and not well-defined enough. People want nice neat roles to fill, so they don't have to think too much - but that's a rant for a different day, perhaps....

Personally, I've always thought classes were one of the more unrealistic and immersion breaking abstractions that tabletops gave us (It's why I've always loved Shadowrun as a system). Just because I'm a mage, I don't know how to pick a sword up and swing it around? Haven't they ever heard of Glamdring? LOL

It simplifies matters, certainly, but it's pretty damn immersion breaking to think that the bad guy's going to focus on the guy with the most armor just because he has a taunt button.

Another non-class-based MMO was The Secret World. Annoyingly klunky combat mechanics aside, TSW's skill circle system thing was actually kinda neat to play with. TSW also featured a ton of non-combat puzzle missions that didn't require any fighting (or at least minimal fighting) in order to complete.

Most of the other MMOs that I've played that have had classes have really just followed the trinity formula, with additional flavor for originality points. Perhaps I should say quaternity.

EQ's was a quaternity - Tank, Healer, DPS, Controller.

Many MMOs today, in favor of more 'action orientated' combat eschew the Controller role, because it slows the pace of the game down, and just hit what we now know as the Trinity.

Vanguard, for instance, had some interesting ideas on the Healer role, with the Blood Mage and Disciple (A monk who heals his teammates by actually hitting the bad guy? Genius!), but really, it was still Trinity. The classes were even grouped in boxes on the chargen screen for those people who couldn't figure out who did what.

For Pets, most MMOs do what AndreiChekov has outlined - You just get a bar with commands. At minimum, attack, stay, disengage, etc. Sometimes, there'll be more, dependent upon the type of pet.

SWTOR, of course, is a game designed to be played entirely with a companion - BioWare don't make games without companions anymore. At launch, each companion had two roles; their primary role and a damaging role. You switched between them with a toggle. They had 8 abilities each, and those abilities were strongly tailored towards the primary role. DPS companions simply had two different DPS modes.

As you levelled, your companions would also level, unlocking their new abilities as you unlocked yours. At launch, each class got 5 companions, each filling a (potentially) different role: Ranged tank, melee tank, ranged DPS, melee DPS, Healer.

(aside: TOR is one of the biggest culprits for Chamomile's aforementioned ability bloat. Each class has at least 20 abilities, ranging from a dizzying number of damaging abilities to a bunch of defensive oh-shit buttons. The more challenging content does require you to use them all, at the appropriate times, so you better have one of those mice with the billion thumb buttons, or a really good spatial memory and fast fingers)

Recently, BioWare switched up the companion system so that (almost) all companions are now homogenous in terms of powers. All companions now have a toggle that allows the player to put them into one of the three trinity roles, and their abilities fully switch when you do so. They also reduced the number of abilities each companion gets, down to 5.

For example, in Tank mode, companions have: Distance closer, single taunt, area taunt, area pull and something else I don't remember. They may all be called different things depending on the companion, but essentially they all do the same thing.

This, also, got a lot of complaints from players who somehow felt that they were removing individuality from companions, even though really, all ranged DPS companions were the same, all melee tank companions were the same, etc etc. Personally, I liked the change. It means that you can now run with the companion you want to run with, regardless of class.

The camps were pretty predictably split between BioWare fans who play BioWare games for the NPC interactions, and MMO gamers who don't care about the story and just want to optimize the numbers. Narrativists vs Gamists, if you want to get all Bartle about it. It's an old battle, neh?

Overall, I think class-based systems, while much more restrictive and unrealistic, are orders of magnitude simpler for gameplay designers to balance and manage, whereas open power point-buy systems give designers a headache because players come up with synergies and combinations that are inherently broken that the designers didn't think about.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'm fond of how Eve Online's roles work. You've got:

DPS: You can't kill anything without shooting it. A good DPS is also your "Tank", since it's all PvP, there are no mechanics like "aggro", so DPS ships use their utility slots to make themselves harder to take down.

Tackle: Either a fast ship to run somebody down and catch them, or a tough ship with range bonuses to prevent them from running away. If the person you want to kill isn't tackled, they're likely to just warp out when things start looking grim (and for a smart person, that moment is "when enemies warp in"). You can still shoot people with a tackling ship, and in fact this is the "role" for 1v1 fittings.

Logistics: Since tackle and DPS are hard-pressed to fill their utility slots with tackle and defense modules, you can bring these guys as a force multiplier. Mainly healers, logi can also bring things like sensor (range) boosters, weapon tracking (damage) enhancers, and capacitor (mana) refillers. The good stuff takes up your weapon slots, so these guys can't actually shoot anyone themselves.

EWAR: Electronic Warfare, for when fighting fair is just too boring. Enemy is outranges you? Bring some sensor dampeners and force them to fight closer. They've got more guns? Weapon Tracking Disruptors will make them unable to hit your ships reliably. Just want to piss them off? ECM will make them unable to TARGET things, so they're basically crowd-controlled. You CAN shoot people with an EWAR ship, but EWAR modules use a LOT of capacitor, so you don't want to use any by firing guns.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

PvP games like EVE, by definition, can't really work the Trinity, because you can't really make another player attack your tank. Players don't follow aggro rules.

Some systems in Trinity games try to force the issue by debuffing an aggro'd enemy so they do less damage if they're not hitting the tank, but at the end of the day, a person's aggro list isn't based in hard cold math the way a mob's is.
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Zaranthan
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Well, that's one of the reasons I like it. Your Tank IS the DPS guy with the heavy armor. Then you need the Logi and Ewar to help him do his job, and the encounter becomes interesting as each side tries to apply guns to the other side's backup while keeping their own out of range.
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Judging__Eagle
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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Raphael diSanto wrote:
PvP games like EVE, by definition, can't really work the Trinity, because you can't really make another player attack your tank. Players don't follow aggro rules.



No, but they do follow rules that are related to winning.

In RO's War of Emperium for example, the defending force isn't targetting area-spawned Paladins & Knights because they figuratively 'drawing aggro', dealing damage or "are tanks". They're targetting them b/c both can stop the AoE Freeze effects that defending Spellcasters are chain-casting via their "Provoke" ability (which also lowers defenses; and ironically enough is literally a taunt), as well as having a class-based ranged attack that deals their melee damage.

Further, RO Paladins have a group-tanking power where they can "link" to other party members and make themselves the recipients of any damage their "links" take. This makes Paladins a highly important target for attackers; even if they aren't attacking defenders. While it make "seem" that "one guy takes a lot of people's damage" is a bad idea, it's actually a lot more practical. Specifically b/c it allows healing characters to target only a single person (and healing being spammable in RO, having a single target soak all damage is really practical).

Finally, people will often want to attack Knights before other party members, solely b/c a knight is the biggest threat a WoE castle may face. Castles can often fall due to failing to quickly kill knights than any other class (due to their higher HP*Vitality modifier; as well as their swordsman skill for doubling effects from consumed healing items). At least twice I've been the only damage dealer for my guild who survived and was able to break the Emperium to capture a castle on official servers (one I had to duel an "Asura" monk who didn't have the Str to kill a PvP geared knight, only potion chugging got me through it; the other I was gunning for attack speed to beat out a swarm of competing rivals for the same castle); and countless other times have either myself, or an other knight, been the last person in an attack who was tanking an entire guild while grinding down an Emp.
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