Massively Overthinking: Disentangling MMO classes and races

Last week, a guildie of mine mentioned that he’d been interested in Crowfall until he realized he couldn’t be a gerbil (Guineacean) of the class of his choosing. It was a total coincidence that the Crowfall devs had literally that same week announced they were nuking their race/class-locked archetype system and disentangling races and classes, so I got to tell him his wish had been granted.

I think this pushes the game more solidly into MMORPG territory, so I’m happy to see it: More customization and choice and variety is what I’m all about. But I was going to play it before, too. For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’m presenting the idea of locked vs. unlocked archetypes to our staff to mull over. How important is it to you to be able to play any race/class combo in a game? Is it something you see as critical to MMORPGs? Is archetype-locking more the domain of MOBAs and ARPGs? When do you let it slide to play a fun game?

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): I have mixed feelings about archetype locking. For one, it does help with roleplay immersion if you’re into that. Dark Elf Paladins are “cool” because they’re not the norm, right? But if a game has racials that give bonuses to, say, Dark Elf Dread Knights, that feels like it pigeonholes the race for min-maxers who are also RPers.

What I’m more comfortable with is skill-based systems and making certain skills quest rewards. That way, if you want to be a Dark Elf Paladin, you’ll have to go out and earn that, rather than just being one from the get go. Not only does that help make them a little more rare, but also helps the player build a journey to earn that right. While it’s slightly different, I remember spending about a year on a sword quest in Asheron’s Call, and every time I’d come back to the game, I’d just sit in wonder of it. I have so many stories about getting that sword, in and out of character, and it matched my RP style, even if the stats were garbage. It was mostly for looks, but seeing my black-clad character walking around with a black blade dripping blood sent a message to other players. Customization is cool, but we’re playing in persistent worlds for an experience, not instant gratification, right?

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): I let it slide in some games. For example, I remember the uproar when Marvel Universe Online became Marvel Heroes and the playable toons were no longer going to be customizable. That was the point at which it stopped being a true MMORPG and became an ARPG or MMOARPG. I’m OK with that as long as it’s being honest about what it is. I don’t really think there’d be much benefit to, for example, creating a zillion body type models for every class in Diablo III. It adds a tremendous amount of meshing work for no appreciable gain in a game that isn’t really about that.

MMORPGs, however, are about that. So I expect a full variety of gender, class, bodies, everything options when I’m rolling the character I choose to roleplay. And locking up certain classes and genders or even factions usually earns a side-eye from me – two side-eyes when there’s a weak lore justification made for what is actually a budget reason. There are surely games where I’ve looked the other way on the topic, but there are a few more recent ones (Black Desert comes to mind) where it was too big a turn-off.

So good on Crowfall. To butcher the quote: You had my curiosity, as well as my idle Kickstarter money, but now you have my attention.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): You know, I liked Crowfall’s whole race/class archetype split. I thought it had some distinct character. But I’m much happier to hear that I can make every single class into a centaur because why would you make things other than centaurs? You can play some designated cute race in tons of games. You can’t usually play a centaur.

Frankly, I’m always of the mind that fewer restrictions here is a good thing. I’m usually more forgiving of race restrictions than I am of gender restrictions, which is something that I hit up against hard with Warhammer Online. It endlessly bothered me, for example, that Chaos – the universal, corrupting, inimical force of disorder – would never choose a woman as a champion to wear the ominous black armor because that would just be… too unpredictable? But I’m generally not in favor of having locked classes at all.

Yes, I can totally see the point being made that according to lore, some of these configurations should be rare as heck. But player characters are already supposed to be at least somewhat outside of the norm. Look at Final Fantasy XIV; Ishgard might be the source of all Dragoons, but the story makes it perfectly clear that being a Dragoon isn’t a matter of being an Elezen or a Hyur. All of the major NPC Warriors are Roegadyn, and that’s the source of the job, but there are plenty of non-Roegadyn characters who can learn the same art.

It’s one of those perpetual things that bothers me about World of Warcraft. Yes, I totally understand that Blood Elves are not Druids as a rule, but even in The Burning Crusade it was clear that this was not a law. There was a whole dungeon about fighting Blood Elf Druids. Making them uncommonly seen among NPCs sends the message clearly enough. You can’t convince me that, say, Trolls just can’t grow a Paladin Gland to play the class.

There are a very small number of cases where the lore argument can be made convincingly; I totally will believe that yes, only Night Elves and Blood Elves can be Demon Hunters. But even that should be a limited-time thing. Next expansion, let everyone be Demon Hunters, now they’re established. There! Problem solved.

Crowfall had its reasons for the split, and I understand and respect them. But I also respect the fact that the designers ditched that split as soon as they could. Now, it’s time for me to make an army of horses. Just think of a centaur galloping across the battlefield to heal someone, shouting, “They think we shall fall, but I say neigh!” And then I’ll get kicked off the servers. It’ll be great.

Fight like you want to not lose!

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): Honestly, unlocked archetypes should be the baseline, the bare minimum for the start of character customization. We really need more! MMORPGs have such limited creation options (and I’m not talking visually, although those too) in comparison with many computer and pen-and-paper RPGs. What about picking a background? Perks? Advantages and disadvantages? Roleplaying flavor options?

But back to the question at hand, RPG-ish games that feature locked archetypes are harder (but not impossible) for me to get into and get invested with my character. I am more the type of player who wants to pour a lot of time into molding one character the way I see fit instead of collecting a few dozen pre-built characters to use as disposable tools on the battlefield.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): I really, really, really, really hate when classes are race- or gender-locked. I myself tend to be a bit quirky and not fit a standard mold, so why should I be forced to play a standard mold? There are variations in life, from decisions to mutations to circumstances to desires, that would mold and shape a person/character, so why place arbitrary restrictions on gameplay? It’s very frustrating to me. I like diversity. Why can’t someone have a personal story that’s a bit different than the norm? The only time this practice gets a pass from me is when a game is built on pre-existing lore which has specific things as canon, such as a known IP. I am not especially fond when games create their lore to support gender- or race-locking, but a rich lore is definitely better than “just because is easier to only make armor for a since mesh.” And hopefully doing such is used sparingly, not for every playable race/class.

I am a stickler for agency and choice, both from the perspective of what a player wants to experience in gameplay as well as the life of the character itself. I appreciated how EverQuest II allowed for characters of a race to choose a different life path from what was taught in their home city. Even though some races were locked to a specific alignment when starting the game (and therefore locked into specific classes), players could utilize the betrayal system to pursue a class tied to the other alignment, such as trading life as a necromancer to become a conjuror or switching from a swashbuckler to an assassin. You didn’t necessarily see tons of this in the beginning because the betrayal quest was a doozy, but the option was there for those who didn’t want to fit into a forced mold. If lore dictates that there is a need for a restriction, make a system that will allow for those who really want to be different. It’s OK to make them really work for it! It can be tough to do and have real consequences (like being banished, or kill on sight to your kind, etc.), but it should be possible.

Your turn!

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Code of Conduct | Edit Your Profile | Commenting FAQ | Badge Reclamation | Badge Key

LEAVE A COMMENT

60 Comments on "Massively Overthinking: Disentangling MMO classes and races"

Subscribe to:
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most liked
Reader
Alie Busby

What most miss in this unlock is that there are racial active and passive powers, there are class based active and passive powers AND there are crafted disciplines; Major discs with 3-4 active powers and a passive (or two) that take finding and capturing a rare thrall spirit out in the world, minor discs that give one active ability or passive, or a weapon disc to mix up your build further. Thing is that races and classes always have restrictions and they should, disciplines have restrictions as well, some builds would just have too much combat power whether its DPS burst, CC, or unkillable mitigations. Crowfall will have 300 disciplines, some restricted and some not. Every power and build will have many ways to hard counter but in the end you can only slot so many active and passive powers… the variety of builds is however has grown exponentially in just a few weeks.

Reader
Panzerbjorne

Shame on me for not seeing this early earlier and shame on you @Bree for calling guinea pigs gerbils! The guinecean warriors in crowfall are guinea pigs! I’ve been triggered, heading back to my safe space now.

mosselyn
Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
mosselyn

Really disklike race/gender class locking. In most games, it doesn’t stop me from playing, but I always find it annoying. Like Bree, I found it particularly off-putting in BDO.

miol
Reader
miol

Again, in Crowfall they nuked race/class lock only halfway!
Not every class is for every race an option (only 3-4 classes per race)!

And that’s my gripe! Deciding for a hybrid, you get the problems of both sides! Less destinction for PvP, but also peer pressure to choose the FOTM race-abilities for your favorite class!

CF_Race-and-Class-Combos-1024x576.jpg
Benjamin Northrup
Reader
Benjamin Northrup

Its my general preference for classes to be race/gender locked. In a PVP situation, it makes it much easier to instantly recognize what you are fighting and what you should do to combat that class/race.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

seems to me that goes against the idea of open PvP. Just like squaring off in a bar against a guy… he could be a wuss, or a black belt. You took that risk when you challenged him.
“Don’t start none, won’t be none.”

Reader
peor togs

When I think of good racial flavors, I think of old WOW abilities like Dwarves “Stoneform” or Night Elves “Shadowmeld”. Neither were introducing massive mechanics or 5% stat bonuses that would affect min-maxing, but they did give you something fun and unique that was actually useful.

For example, I remember in Alterac Valley when a group of 3 night elves were guarding a tower. We all shadowmelded [stationary stealth, broken if you move] and guarded the tower with a surprise counter attack. It was just a unique skill that was fun to use but not critical or game-breaking.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Tobasco da Gama

I mean, I’m honestly just pretty cool on the whole idea of classes right now anyway. Or, at least, the pick-it-once-and-keep-it-forever implementation of classes. Even D&D, which everyone else is more or less blatantly stealing from, gave players flexibility in the form of multi-classing and prestige/Paragon classes.

That said, for PvE-oriented MMOs, I do agree that race-locked classes are a bad idea.

For PvP-oriented MMOs like Crowfall, on the other hand, I think the all-in-one class/race archetypes are not only desirable but necessary. With competitive PvP, legibility beats all other considerations. And if you’re not willing, as a game designer, to make that sacrifice, then for the love of God don’t make a competitive PvP game.

Gender locking is almost always stupid, though.

MJ Guthrie
Staff
MJ Guthrie

I disagree. I don’t think PvP should be a one-glance activity. If you pick a fight, you don’t get to know what you are fighting based on the look of the character, be it clothing or race. You just have to deal with it. Want to jump that lone person out there, hoping you can take him? Take the chance, but you don’t get special labels to tip you off. Maybe you get smacked down hard, maybe it is easy pickings But you should have to risk it to find out.

Estranged
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Estranged

Now I see why homogenization has run wild.

Reader
Dread Quixadhal

So, here’s the thing. The idea of races and classes being locked started out in good old pen-and-paper RPG’s. In almost every one, humans were considered the “base” race, and could play any class. As each race was added, it got special inherent bonuses and weaknesses, and thus was more or less suited to various classes.

An ogre thief, for example, requires a good deal of role playing to work in any situation other than an all-ogre campaign. This is because ogres tend to be large, clumsy, not-too-smart, and incredibly strong. Exactly what you do NOT need to be a thief.

When MMORPG’s appeared, first as text games, then as the graphical ones we know, the role playing aspect was diminished in favor of faster paced and more generic combat. This had to be done, since you couldn’t always have a DM to facilitate the player describing the crazy thing he wanted to do, and the DM deciding how likely it was to work.

Since we had to automate things, this meant changing things so all those bizarre combinations would no longer be allowed. If your game is based on mechanics, and a given race/class combo only works with heavy role playing to overcome weak mechanics…. it’s just going to be weak and not fun to play.

Fast forward a decade. Now, developers have removed most of the racial perks so “race” is really mostly a cosmetic thing now. As such, there’s no longer a reason to restrict classes. If an ogre and a halfling can both have the same dexterity, and can both physically fit into the same gameworld spaces, there’s no reason not to allow ogre thieves.

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

To hell with classes and archetypes, I want to theorycraft for hours how to combine various abilities into my own unique build. Its why Im so hyped about Project Ascension server that launches today:

Reader
Melissa McDonald

I agree that race/species and class should be unlocked. these are games, they’re supposed to be Fun first.

Reader
Utakata

I am an equal opportunity Gnome here. So theoretically every race/species and gender a player can roll in a game should be able to access every class available. Though ingame technical limitations seem to stymie this prospect. That’s why you are unlikely to see Dwarf Druids in WoW or Popori Gunners in TERA. That said, game companies should still strive to make as many classes available to all races/species and gender within their games as possible, IMO.

Reader
Castagere Shaikura

I could never play a female and i have tried. If a game locks the class i want to play behind a female gender then i won’t play it. I just feel weird playing a female.

MJ Guthrie
Staff
MJ Guthrie

I agree, but on the opposite end. The only time I am OK playing a male character is in Marvel Heroes because the known hero is a male. And even then it took me a LONG time to try the male ones; I stuck with Storm and Rogue forever. But no, you don’t need to make Beast (a favorite!) into a female just to play her — I will play Beast as Beast. I still am very reluctant to play male champions in MOBAs and other lobby games.

An MMORPG where I am my own character that I make, no can do the male. And so that denies me classes or even races sometimes. That just means I don’t play your game.

Cyclone Jack
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Cyclone Jack

It depends. If the game is based on established lore, then that lore must stay intact. For example, in LOTRO and Warhammer, Dwarves all appear to be male; in Warhammer, all Witch Elves are female; and is Star Wars all Jawa appear genderless. I’m a big fan of lore, and if the lore is well written I don’t mind gender/race/deity/whatever-locked classes where it makes sense.

Additionally, I realize how much extra work it is to have every class available to every race/gender/whatever. Not only are you making more animations, you need to make sure all the armor fits/works for each combination. Blizzard can do this because they are huge, while a smaller studio may have to make compromises.

That said, as a player I do like open systems where you can be whatever you want to be. There are certain combinations that click for players, and those players are more likely to stick around when they have characters they enjoy on that higher level.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

In LOTRO this is canon – female dwarves also have beards.

Cyclone Jack
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Cyclone Jack

Exactly. I do recall people asking for a female choice, even though the two genders would still appear as male in-game; that is to say a bearded Dwarf.

Reader
Denice J. Cook

I’m torn because as a player, it’s nice to be able to be everything on everyone. However, from the dev’s side, it’s a lot more work (even when scaling armor and weapons for every class, race and gender, beyond adjusting all the animations for all of the classes, races and genders themselves). There is also a cool sense of exclusiveness that comes from EQ1’s and DAoC’s “you must roll this race to become this class” era of thinking.

These days, more and more devs and publishers are eschewing the difficult and extremely costly genre of MMORPGs {that only wind up in a glutted market anyway) for smaller, more controllable, scaled-down RPGs and shooters. They don’t want to go broke trying, and there is so much MMORPG competition that players expect the full meat of every game for free or they don’t stick around.

All F2P in MMORPGs really did was push games further into the situation we have now, but that’s a story for another day I guess.

Reader
rafael12104

Meh. Locked or unlocked doesn’t really bother me.

However in some games the locked archetypes give context and therefore are important.

For example, tank classes in SWTOR. For harder group content the trinity is alive and well. As such, it makes no sense for a Smuggler or an Imperial Agent to be the designated tank from a story/immersion perspective. Force users, sure because they have something that gives them the power to withstand a lot of punishment. But Smuggies or Agents tanking? It destroys the continuity established in the SWTOR Universe and reinforced by lore.

I’m not a lore master, nor am I an immersion purist. But the world that is SWTOR does have some presets that make sense. So for SWTOR, yes, locked classes/archetypes are necessary.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Veldan

I just want races to have meaning. If not through unique classes for each race, then through something else. When they are just visual skins for your character, a huge opportunity is wasted to actually make them meaningful.

I’ve always been bothered by how super unrealistic it is that all races perform the same. I don’t RP, but I still care about how realistic the game world is. It makes no sense that an Asura warrior hits as hard as a Charr, or that a Dwarf can sprint as fast as a Human.

An example of how to do this is LotRO PvMP. If you play a Warg, you are locked to one class, but that class is entirely designed for the race. If you play an Orc, you get a choice of 2 classes, but again, both are designed for the Orc. You saw nobody whining about unlocking classes from races, because the classes were fitting for the races, and playing them on a different race would not have made sense (Wargs don’t use magic, giant spiders don’t shoot bows and little Orcs don’t lead the Uruks into battle) I think this is the only game I ever played where I thought to myself “yes, this is how races and classes are done right”.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Nordavind

I agree with most, except:

youtu.be/L4qZrPX60bw

😁

Reader
Patreon Donor
Veldan

Lol I did actually think of that. He’s struggling though :)

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Nordavind

Away with classes all together!

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
Ashfyn Ninegold

Gender locked, I don’t care for. But I’m not too fussy about race-locked. When I think of LOTRO, how can a burglar be anything but a hobbit? How can a Captain of Men be anything but a human? That’s my frame of reference.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

Well, I would say that although there is one famous Burglar in the LOTR world, Thorin & Company already had a contract for the services of that profession, and were used to working among their own kin – I think it’s implicit that there were Dwarf burglars, if not other races too.

Reader
McGuffn

A great question, especially with the news that Overwatch was made in part by using pieces of class art from Blizzard’s Titan MMO and turning it into specific characters.

I don’t know if it adds more to RP, but then I don’t RP. What it does is better fit a player’s style like MJ said, and make people more willing to pick up and stay with a game. Otherwise we’d be stuck with a lot of fairly normal people and standard archetypes like the big slow brute and the nimble gerbil/hamster, and, if we’re lucky, conspicuous deviations from those tropes like the hotshot skateboarding senior citizen.

Paladins i think was also going to do this, but went the other way once players revolted. The negative side of this is that it decreases the “readability” in pvp scenarios, which is i think why Paladins went with locked classes, and contributes to the twitch and esports success of overwatch and many mobas.

Crowfall is a pvp game and i can see why this would be important. But i can also see why they would want to appeal to a bigger base of customers.

And with Diablo, i don’t even really care about changing bodytype, let’s start with just letting us change the character hair.

Reader
vinicitur

For me having classes locked to certain races isn’t that much of a problem usually. But it does depend on the game type. What really bothers me is gender locking. I very rarely roll female characters and if I have to make one for a specific class, I will probably just not play that class at all.

Reader
Sim

I feel there will only be loads of pretty female avatars and gerbils running around now… with the unlocking of races.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Veldan

… which isn’t a bad thing as the alternative is humanized cows and horses

Reader
ket

If I recall my DMG and PHB correctly, good ole DnD gave certain races bonuses to certain stats, that would benefit certain classes; so this sort of thing goes back a long ways. Whether or not this is good design is really more the issue.
Certainly a game will have more ‘character’ to it if it has certain quirks, such as Elves being smart and good at magic, or Orcs being tough and strong.
Ok, now to read the article and the posts :)

Reader
Tiresias

I would actually prefer that MMO races have meaningful choice in and of themselves. I think it’s ridiculous that a tiny Gnome Warrior, a race known for its brilliance and not its strength, uses the same abilities with the same basic level of effectiveness as a hulking Orc Warrior.

In Dungeons and Dragons, your choice of race has consequences, and those consequences make sense. Gnomes do not make good Fighters at all, as their small size prevents them from wielding large weapons and makes them easy to grapple; the race also has the wrong stat bonuses. This isn’t to say that you can’t create one, but you need to be creative in how you set them up and play them.

But this makes sense. Gnomes are not known for their brute strength, instead relying on their wit to win the day. They are fantastic Rogues and Wizards, so a Gnome Warrior might focus on Dexterity over Strength and multi-class into Rogue to become a slippery yet survivable back-line raider.

Imagine if Gnome Warriors in WoW had access to a mix of spells that they use for offense and defense. The Orc Warrior charges into battle, but the Gnome teleports — same effect, but different feel. Or maybe NOT the same effect — perhaps the Gnome can teleport to a location but doesn’t stun the target on arrival like the Orc does.

Alternately, you could dispense with classes altogether and adopt a system similar to The Secret World or the single-player Elder Scrolls games where you can invest skill points into your abilities or actively level up your skills. Your race could give you perks that would make certain endeavors easier than others in the early game, but advanced training and high levels would minimize the impact of those advantages.

There are so many good possibilities here, but it seems that no developer is willing to give it a shot.

Reader
ket

Ahh, now I recall olde school *Basic DnD*, where ‘Elf’ was a race, and a class… Such set ups lend more unique character to the idea of the game world.
Basic DnD, in a lot of ways, was a better game than Advanced.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

multi-class was awesome though.

Reader
dm_jim80

“So, what class are you?”

“Elf.”

“Ah! What do you do?”

“…I, uh…I elf.”

Celestia
Reader
Celestia

The more opportunities I have to make the character my own, the better. I don’t see the appeal in getting a prepackaged character about which I have little to no creation input.

Reader
TheDonDude

I always liked the idea of having mostly unrestricted classes and races, but also having a minor boost for fitting the racial theme in the form of an 5% (or whatever) XP buff.

This neatly solves the issue of nobody wanting to group with half-orc mages since a level 10 mage is a level 10 mage. The orc just had to work a tiny bit longer for it.

PurpleCopper
Reader
PurpleCopper

Race is nothing more than a pile of stats, besides visual differences, race is meaningless.

When was the last time when race actually meant something?

A 3 foot deformed midget is practically on par with an 8 foot tall orc.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Schlag Sweetleaf

.

billybartyvsbundy.gif
Reader
McGuffn

Kind of surprising the big guy didn’t go down even though the other one almost landed that double kick.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Schlag Sweetleaf

It didn’t end well..

Reader
Patreon Donor
Schlag Sweetleaf

Director’s cut

sadsamsobsseeingbundybashbarty.gif
Reader
Utakata

Gnomes should really learn the art of ranged tactics. At least that’s how I deal with 8 foot tall Orcs (or professional wrestlers in this case). <3

Reader
Melissa McDonald

anybody who calls wrestling “fake” completely “misunderestimates” (GW smiles) how physical it is, and how easily they can injure each other with their depictions of simulated violence – which is in itself rather violent. Your gif shows that very explicitly.
Best stuntmen on earth, really.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Schlag Sweetleaf

Agreed at their physical talents.I had the pleasure of watching WWE at what I believe was its apex(mid-late eighties). What I have seen of late(and which South Park parodied so very well) is much too much jibber-jabber and not nearly enough smack down.

Reader
Robert Mann

Fitting, even if I find the male soap opera rather bland.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

as a girl who grew up with two older brothers and a house full of testosterone, I think it just goes with the territory. Female-centric soap opera still centers around most of the same things… alliances and betrayals.

Reader
McGuffn

I don’t know. If my mom wanted me to go play with a kid that watched wrestling I would have declined on account they would have been a bad influence.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

I don’t particularly care about race- and gender-locked classes, as long as there are still enough options for me to create a character I find aesthetically pleasant (which isn’t the same as a beautiful character, mind).

That being said, I’m very much in favor of the suggestions by Andrew (let players build their own class out of skills, with some skills having to be earned in a lore-friendly way) and MJ (let players go on a journey to change their class into something usually not available for their race). Not exactly due to the potential for breaking out of the race lock, though; I just like when characters can change their class.

Reader
Robert Mann

Drop the classes to begin with. Make racial abilities important if you are going to differentiate between them, but not so much in the “If I want to play a magic caster, I need these races, and if I want to play a melee type these races.” No, put some variety into the world. All those little ‘flavor’ racials could be so much more.

Imagine if in ESO, for example, Argonians were truly amphibious. What if they could not just swim a little faster, but a lot faster. What if there were areas to explore that weren’t easy to reach, including hidden grottos that needed underwater swimming, treetop vistas that suited the Bosmer, etc.

Imagine if, instead of saying “I’m a warrior” or “I’m a mage” with little else to it, we went out and practiced learning our abilities. Instead of having one single fireblast skill, what if we had a bunch of magic focused characters who all had their own ideas, one deciding that a longer range was important where another put a focus on a hotter flame that could melt stone and yet another thought that having it cling like oil was the best design? Imagine those choices mattering, and having to be learned through a mixture of practice and gathering information around the game world.

Andrew was very close on this, I think. His ideas would be acceptable to me. I’d still rather not have to deal with classes, but rather with learning and doing. I’d much rather have distinct differences in characters, rather than the strong homogenization we have now… and I feel the best way to do that is to make any type of skill a large investment, and races truly unique.

That’s what I want from an MMO, and even from single player games. Stop making every game easy in all regards. Give us a mixture of easier and harder, give us exploration and choice that matters. Give us actual virtual worlds, rather than just backgrounds for button mashing style combat.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
flying_dutchman

Honestly, the races and classes are so homogenized in most games now it doesn’t really matter. Even if a game has unlocked races and classes it’s not really a choice because both your Half-Giant Fighter and your Gnome fighter will play EXACTLY THE SAME.

Until a game has significant race penalties and bonuses you might as well just mod your UI and make your character look like a rainbow unicorn, because in essence that’s all your “choice” boils down to.

MMO’s have gotten very good at giving players the illusion of choice, while undermining the value of those choices.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Veldan

I very much agree! I hate when all races are just visual skins. Better not to have any races then and spend your development time elsewhere.

Reader
Giannis Papadopoulos

visual skins are equally important :) I more prefer a different visual skin than different race stats/perks.

Reader
fanggwj

I don’t think they completely unlocked classes and races. At first I listened to the part where they said that but then further on in the video there is more cryptic language that i found can be interpreted as races are no longer locked to archetypes but every race cannot be every class. Note in the video they said elkin confessor, and a few other unique combinations but ones that are available if you look at the website. They also have class restrictions on some of the major disciplines. Thankfully it is not all of them and I’d wager those disciplines that are not locked will be very popular. (dryad for heals, naiad for heals, bard for support, banshee, etc.)
That being said I would much rather have what is planned now than the original archetypes. I always love gender bending and body type contrasting: female well armored warriors, gnome or halfling tanks with big shields and itty bitty swords, brutish wizards or summoners, etc.)

Reader
Iridescence

I like when there is an actual difference between fantasy races which makes the choice a tradeoff and more interesting and not just about the way your character looks. This also makes strict race locking un-needed. You really want to play a half orc wizard? Go for it, just don’t complain if your character is a bit sub optimal.

quark1020
Reader
quark1020

I think it becomes a problem when OTHER players complain or otherwise refuse to play with your character because its sub optimal. I remember that being a thing a long time ago in FFXI, with some players not wanting to play with a melee classed Tarutaru or caster Galkans.

Reader
Robert Mann

Aye, but that exists within the games anyway. For example, in ESO where people would balk at running raids with my Sorc Tank back before One Tamriel (after which I, despite liking the freedom aspect of it, have ironically played far less.) I’d run with a group, and we’d tear through the place and rank higher than those groups waiting for their favored tank (inevitably a DK because all the elitists seemed to be all about DK tank and Templar heals regardless of the fact that it was just nonsense *I outperformed both role on different classes regularly.*)

Where you have some point, those players will always find something to be elitist about, and should thus promptly be given the blacklist by everyone who doesn’t think that is acceptable. Sadly, reputation and costs to start over aren’t really a thing anymore either.

Reader
nobleeinherjar

I very rarely see good justification for locking races to classes, though I don’t mind it so much as long as each race has a good stable of classes to choose from. A much bigger complaint for me is gender-locking.
If a developer has the time and resources to offer more race/class combinations, then they should do it. Giving players more ways to make their character is always a good thing. I was semi-interested in Crowfall before, but their decision to divorce race from class has made me even more excited.

Richard de Leon III
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Richard de Leon III

Thats one of the reasons I fell in love with 3rd/5th DnD and pathfinder, no race locked classes(at least with the core books). If i want to be an ogre/minotaur rogue I can be :)

wpDiscuz