Massively Overthinking: The classes MMORPGs never do

    
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SWTOR

No one wants to play Uncle Owen, a certain MMORPG exec famously said — except, you know, for all the people who really, really do. Including me!

Massively OP Patron Duane has a juicy question in keeping with that theme this week:

“What are some class/job/profession archetypes that you have never seen in an MMO that you would like to see? You can include include combat, crafting, gathering, or any other professions you like!”

I posed Duane’s question to the Massively OP writers this week — feel free to add to our list in the comments!

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): I don’t think we’ve had a professional scrapper or pawn broker, have we? We can act that way, yeah, but games rarely give XP rewards for figuring out how to bring a bunch of junk materials and gear back to town to sell to your fellow players, we just get gold. Maybe it’s easier to imagine in games with highly restrictive pack spaces or used a weight system for items and that’s not fun for a lot of players, but I still believe balancing it properly could change that.

Tavern keep would be cool too. With all the survival games we’ve been getting, I’m surprised we haven’t had a modern one made where stressed out office workers can choose to get a drink to reduce their anxiety stat with some liquid courage.

We’ve had housing, but where’s the landlord class? It’s been proposed as a way of playing with housing, but what if we want to start out as a janitor for the local space-hotel and work our way up to manager?

And shoot, where’s the cult leader class? Get everyone to join your guild and worship the Rusted Troll Sword you seriously pulled out of a golden giant’t bone declaring you’re the chosen one, gaining power as more and more people pledge allegiance to you. I guess monarchs in Asheron’s Call who organized their followers just so kind of got to do this, but it’d be fun to splice that with some of Age of Wushu’s player-as-boss-mob mechanics enforce this while the player is offline.

asherons

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): This is a hard question because the MMORPG field really is so wide that almost everything has been done at least once, even if not well, from making money as a writer in The Sims Online to being a literal beggar and trash collector in Ultima Online and actor in Star Wars Galaxies. I’d love to see innkeepers, taxi drivers, and smugglers that really smuggle! And I’m with Andrew in wishing more games picked up on AC1’s monarchy and leadership design to reward player leaders and mentors.

Long ago when I was running around SWG with a smuggler title on selling spice, someone told me I was way too cute to be a drug dealer and should consider getting a badass scar or something. Drug dealers are not something games often do!

We also rarely see games attempt to implement true academics. I had high hopes for WildStar’s Scientist path, but the path system just didn’t pan out.

Off to the side here — I’d love to see a game use a magic system (and the ensuring magic classes) of the Recluce saga. Ghosts and spirits also don’t get used enough in magicians’ arsenals — everyone’s so obsessed with skeletons and demons, but dang Guild Wars’ Ritualist was so incredibly creative.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): I would really, really love to see a magic class that doesn’t just spit out fireballs as if it were an elemental vending machine. A magic class that maybe takes a cue from some of the better fantasy novels out there by adhering to a new system, perhaps one in which using magic isn’t a given but is a difficult task. Would you play a character that could access magic on occasion — for a cost? I just might if it’s done right!

Or how about a newspaper journalist who could gather submitted player stories, publish discovered maps of the world, and keep tabs on all of the fun events going on in the game?

This. They're this.

Matt Daniel (@Matt_DanielMVOP): As far as combat-centric roles are concerned, I still mourn the apparent loss of dedicated support classes. I’m the kind of player who enjoys nothing more than being that one guy whose sole job it is to support my friends, but these days it seems like if you want to be that one guy, your only choice is to play a healer. Don’t get me wrong, I love healing, too, but sometimes it would be nice to play a support role that isn’t relegated to simply playing whack-a-mole with HP bars. I loved EverQuest’s Bard and Enchanter; neither one is a DPS powerhouse or a dedicated healbot, and they’re definitely not gonna stand on the front lines with the tanks, but their smorgasbords of buffs, debuffs, and crowd-control spells made them valuable additions to any party. I’m not one of those folks who conducts dark rituals to bring about the demise of the holy trinity, but I’d still love to see more modern MMOs incorporate classes that don’t fall directly within the trinity’s domain.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): To be honest, I want to see Innkeeper! That’s totally what I want to be, and I keep trying to make it work in games, but I often have to fight mechanics to make it work. Dual-classes Barkeep/Innkeeper! That is my dream class. Of course, I will have many skills in Spy Master and Black Market Mogul, but those will be hidden skills. Oh, and we need a Crime Lord, for heads of any “family business” type organizations.

Someone, make these happen!

Your turn!