The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the best hybrid classes?

    
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I didn’t know hybrid classes were a thing, really, until I picked up classic EverQuest way back in 1999. Most of the roleplaying games I’d played until that point, including pioneering sandbox MMO Ultima Online, were skill-based, and so I more or less picked skills that I liked without worrying about hybrid penalties. (In classic UO, pretty much everyone was a mage, after all!) EQ introduced me to those stock Dungeons and Dragons concepts, however, and the majority of subsequent MMORPGs have clung to classes to make life easy on the designers tasked with balancing player power.

Hybrid penalties or no, a lot of people really still love the idea of being a jack-of-all-trades, of having a variety of skills and playstyles all on one character, and penalizing players for picking non-pure roles has long fallen out of fashion. Skill-based sandboxes, of course, still allow players to pick up swords alongside their shovels, but themeparks like RIFT and Skyforge and Final Fantasy XIV also let you swap around your subclasses so much that pretty much everyone in the game is a hybrid.

I’m still partial to classic Guild Wars’s take on hybrid classes, myself; I loved the perfect combination of one permanent class and a mutable secondary class that you could change around as you liked to suit your mood and your hunting goals of the moment.

Which MMO do you think has the best hybrid classes?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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wanderv15
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wanderv15

Lotro captains, beornings

Radfist
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Radfist

I was a fan of the GW1 system too.

Oleg Chebeneev
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Oleg Chebeneev

WoW no doubt. All WoW’s classes are great

ThompsonClaytonRadcliff
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ThompsonClaytonRadcliff

LOTRO- Captain

Wiexlon
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Wiexlon

Totally agree Moto. My main in DAOC was a friar and I have to say, they really did have a strong hybrid playstyle.

blast tyrant
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blast tyrant

I think I like the idea of a hybrid class more than the reality.  It’s hard to get the balance right when end game for basically every mmo ever requires you to min/max in order to squeeze top level efficiency out of your build.  If you have limited slots for an end game group it almost always plays out better for you to take dedicated builds than one that can do a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  The end result is that hybrids always seem to be in a state of flux from a development standpoint.  Make a healing and tanking hybrid that is too good at both and the metagame forces everyone trying to min max to use it at the expense of more focused classes, make it not good enough and no one wants the hybrid in the group.  Two years down the line and the devs always seem to end up allowing you to build your toon either/or instead of a true ‘can do both’ hybrid.  Given the above, I would contend that true hybrid classes are better suited to sandbox style games that don’t have an ‘endgame’ where you have to focus your build to maximize your output.

blast tyrant
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blast tyrant

fangGWJ I still think the class mechanics for Warhammer Online were some of the best I’ve experienced in an mmo, MJ and Co really did a bang up job there.  Archmage indeed.

milosanx
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milosanx

melissamcdon  “Whatever you learn, that’s what you are”. In love this comment, Open skilling. I’m going to have to add Wurm here. 113 skills, learn which ever you like or all and that’s what you are.

milosanx
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milosanx

Werewolf Finds Dragon Yes have to agree with you here. I’m surprised I had to look this far down the comment to see TSW pop up.

Rustybladez
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Rustybladez

ESO really blurs subclassing – either your weapon of choice is your class or your “profession” of mage, thief, templar, etc.. can’t remember the names – been a long day.  Or you can go the focus on crafting route and have mules get your mats for you.  You only need to level to get more skill points to dump into your craft skills.