After talking with Mark Jacobs the other week about the difficulty of balancing Camelot Unchained’s 30 classes, it got my mind thinking of MMOs that don’t merely stop with a half-dozen or so classes in their roster. It seems like having a wide array of class choices used to be in vogue early on in the industry but has since been abandoned for a smaller field of archetypes that are easier to manage.
Me? I love choices, particularly with classes. My interest in a game gets a shot in the arm if I have a lot of prospects for alts — the more, the better. So I started drawing up a list of MMOs with large class rosters and decided to make it into a full-blown column.
For the purpose of today’s list, I’m not counting skill-based MMOs (which could be considered as hosting infinite classes). Also, for games that allow a measure of mix-and-matching between classes, I’m counting only the actual classes or powersets available, not the total number of permutations that could be created by their merging. So which MMO has enough classes to satisfy your appetite?
1. EverQuest II: 25 classes
Yeah, you know this is going to be one crazy list if EverQuest II kicks us off as the smallest class roster present. This fantasy MMO has long been known for its diverse array of classes, including different types of bards (!), the Beastlord, the ever-popular ShadowKnight, and even a Swashbuckler.
2. Lineage 2: 30 classes
One of the difficulties of putting together this list is that not every MMO treats its classes the same way. Lineage 2 claims to have 30 classes across 10 categories, although these include evolutions of the classes, so if you want to cry foul on this entry, it’s your right. Having looked at it, I think that it’s hard to dispute that there certainly are a whole lot of them, which qualifies it for this list in my eyes. And hey, who wouldn’t want to be a Ghost Hunter?
3. Shadowbane: 31 classes
Shadowbane is another strange game to tackle. The common consensus that I saw was that the MMO did have quite a few classes, although it comes down to how lenient you are in your definition of that. For this list, I’m counting the professions that were chosen down the line of a character’s growth, of which there were about 31.
4. MapleStory: 32 classes
From Thunder Breaker to Pirate to Phantom, MapleStory is never short on ideas for classes. Although, looking down its roster, I have to wonder what some of these classes even are. Zero? Mercedes? Did we just start naming classes after whatever our eyes saw that morning on the way to work?
5. Dark Age of Camelot: 45 classes
I’m sure that many of you, when you saw today’s topic, immediately thought of Dark Age of Camelot’s insane class line-up as an obvious candidate. With 45 classes spread across its three factions, players have certainly had a lot of possibilities to keep them occupied over the years. And yes, there’s even an actual Hero class. Seriously.
6. RIFT: 51 classes
Obviously, RIFT does its class system differently than most, offering players the opportunity to mix-and-match three “souls” into a build. Each soul is its own class, however, with an arsenal of skills and talents, so I counted each separately. How those poor devs keep things balanced between them all, I do not know.
7. Ragnarok Online: 53 classes
Ragnarok comes up a lot in discussions over MMOs with many classes, and for good reason. With well over 50 to choose from as you level, there’s certainly no shortage of variety. These classes range from the mundane (Mage) to the intriguing (Biochemist). Taekwon Girl makes me think of a possible new movie franchise.
8. Uncharted Waters Online: 73 classes
Here’s an unexpected entry on this list! I wouldn’t have even thought of Uncharted Waters as a candidate, but after doing some reading up on this game, I’m deeply impressed at its offerings. Players can choose from a menu of jobs in three categories: adventure (25), trading (26), and battle (22). Yes, you can finally live out your life-long dream of becoming a Yarn Dealer!
9. Tree of Savior: 80 classes
Tree of Savior’s massive class selection is a major feature (and talking) point for the game. It works somewhat like other titles on this list, in that players move between classes as their character levels up, absorbing new abilities along the way. There’s also the option to hang back and bolster a class that you particularly like instead of moving on to the next tier, which is an interesting twist.
10. City of Heroes: 82 classes
Everyone who played City of Heroes back in the day certainly knows the delightful anguish of trying to pick power sets for a hero concept. The game had a mind-boggling amount of them, in both primary and secondary roles, and the final tally is somewhere around 82 (and that doesn’t include duplicated power sets shared between archetypes). No wonder this game was famous for feeding players’ altoholic tendencies!
Honorable Mention: Rubies of Eventide
Rubies of Eventide claimed to have over 90 classes in its game, which certainly would put it at the top of this list if true. However, the fact of the matter is that its classes were actually class templates that created builds from the available skill pool. If a player didn’t like any of those templates, he or she was free to create one from scratch. Still, it’s worth mentioning for the work put into organizing all of those templates, don’t you think?