The Daily Grind: Are ‘limited’ MMO classes a good idea?

    
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All I remember is that he was African-American.

Ever since its introduction into Final Fantasy XIV, the Blue Mage class has proved divisive among the community as a “limited” class. The thought is that if you give players wildly unbalanced and overpowered magic, then you have to restrict their content to carefully corralled areas in your MMO.

Some folks are cool with this, while others (including me) see limited classes as an unlimited waste of time. Why am I going to invest effort and gaming time to build up a class that I can’t use in 95% of your MMO? It would have to be for alternative rewards or for the fun of the experience, I suppose.

Today, let’s chew over the concept of limited classes. Do they have a purpose and an appeal? Have we seen similar cases in other MMORPGs? And how can they be done better in the future?

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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Kross Vilalobos

As a guy whose favorite class in FF is Blue Mage I was pissed at the lame excuses made to bar BLU from becoming an actual class while insulting our intelligence with more of said excuses. Such as not being true to the original archetype of said class. If that was true most of the classes in the game wouldn’t freaking exist as a full class but limited too. No one wants to play a class who can’t do 97% of the games content with heavy RNG mechanics for its most useful skills. Its a stupid idea imo and a waste of resources that could have been used to make it a actual class. They keep trying to push it and hope it gets better but It won’t. Most people already see it as a waste of time.

WrathOfMogg
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WrathOfMogg

The people who designed BLU should lose their jobs and so should anyone who ever suggests anything like this in an MMO again.

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tiltowait

No, because it shows the incompetence of the game designer, and asking someone to accept a lie is tantamount to an insult to their intelligence.

It’s silly to declare balancing content impossible, because it’s not. You change the stats.

I quit FF because of dumb stuff like this, the designers have utter disdain for their player base, and it shows.

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GreatOogly

I’ll just address your last sentence since they were your opinions, despite being a bit harsh and potentially showcasing a venomous bias.

Making a statement that the designers have utter disdain for their playerbase is wholly exaggerated and is likely backed by negative emotions that aren’t kept in check. Possibly a personal grudge of sorts — but I won’t assume beyond that.

You’re talking about a team whose director personally visits worlds and answers on-the-spot questions that actual players have on a fairly regular basis. That also listens to a lot of feedback or wants, and implements them in game — such as many of the features, QoL, furniture, hairstyles, etc. To give a more specific example, the eating while sitting down that the RPers have been asking for — a frivolous thing that any other developer that had disdain for people wouldn’t even wast dev time for — as well as the myriad of things like adding an RP tag on the character, adding RP systems, hairstyles, fashion and features on houses and rooms and so on and so forth.

Even listening to negative feedback and reacting quickly to it:

The changes they made to the loot system that were almost universally hated were reverted in less than three days. A vast majority of developers would double down and show actual ignorance and disdain, ignoring these comments.

More recently, their quick response to the outrage of players flooding other worlds to help with the fate. Which they fixed within 48 hours.

As well as making their last three Fan Festival streams completely free while their competitors keep on increasing their costs while offering lesser value overall.

You can mention every mistake they make, or every mistake every developer makes all you want. That’s part of the process; though they do a visibly good job at showing that they appreciate about their playerbase. Dumb decisions or not. A few people take things so seriously when something happens they don’t like when not even if they had a team 5x their current size, could they address everything. The only thing I can think to ask is, “where on this doll did the evil developers touch you?” whenever I ponder this, which just shows how ridiculous some people are with their assertions.

Your opinion of certain decisions showing incompetence is borderline fine and I wouldn’t of cared much — after all you could probably cite many different decisions as such, and this topic could be one of them. But saying something, that you have shown no real proof of, like them showing disdain to their players is terrible. Especially when there is so much proof to the contrary. Unless you view something you don’t personally like from a developer as an attack. But what kind of thought process is that?

As a side note, I agree that the notion of a limited class is incredibly dumb. In addition to the notion of being unable to balance it. But over all, they could have just thought it would be a fun thing to do, that wouldn’t take a lot of work. Then did it. It’s a novel concept. Do something fairly unique because you’re able and it won’t take up too much time for other things.

Wow. I mean, I suppose that would mean that doing more than that would be difficult, if it wasn’t planned and you are already filled up on your schedule.

But I guess none of this is possible and that they’re just dumb and have disdain for the players.

Yeah. That’s probably it and definitely, totally probably well thought out and doesn’t require any other information. Also, there’s no possibility that the language barrier could translate things in a way we interpret things differently. Or we couldn’t misunderstand ourselves with our limited knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes.

Because they actually have literal disdain for us. I mean, obviously.

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Kero Kero

Seems like a massive waste of time to me. It can’t participate in a lot of content.

I would rather them invest the time in developing other things that are more meaningful.

It might be cute in some smaller indie games where they use it as either a testing bed to feel out an implementation or as a bonus thing that they made out of resources used in a super early development phase. But even then. No not really.

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PanagiotisLial1

It can be enough for me to avoid or drop a game sometimes

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David Blair

Is Blue Mage the only example of a Limited Class or are there other things out there in other MMOs?

Two simple changes to Blue Mage that would have made it infinitely better:
-Allow it in Endless Dungeons, even just pre-made groups would be fine. Try to solo all those floors!
-Change the scavenger hunt to give you the paragraph of text up front instead of a zone name. In example:

“This technique pelts foes with seedlike aetherial orbs, which then explode to release the soporific within. Scholars believe that similar defense mechanisms were originally developed by treants and other species vulnerable to vilekin in order to prevent their boring of holes and leeching of sap.”

Then you go, “Oh! Treants! I think I remember where those were at.”

Instead of going, “Why the hell is my spellbook a list of zone names? Who wrote this?”

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Zero_1_Zerum

No. It sounds like a complete waste of time, and the money spent on the game.

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Bruno Brito

No.

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Jon Hall

If you are spending your time playing a video game, calling your time spent an ‘investment’ overstates the value of your time.

Do what you want, quit asking other people to validate how you waste your time.

Are limited classes a good idea? Yes. If only because it makes whiney entitled gamers cry.

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Bruno Brito

Uh…what are you talking about?

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Robert Mann

I don’t know for sure, but seems pretty “Don’t feed the trolls” material there.

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Bruno Brito

Yeah. Guy went off the deep end there.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

It maybe fits in a IP where you have stereotypical ‘roles’…but in games where you’re allowed to be whatever you really want (Sandboxes, for example) it makes zero sense.

I didn’t stick around FFXIV long enough to see the implementation of these, as I played every job before the release of these up to previous max…then got to where you’d have to start the long grind to raid gear and left. (That’s MY personal ‘endgame’/time to leave a game…)

But then again, I have a huge problem with anything in games that is intended to ‘limit’ you or your potential…

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

I was thinking on this for a little bit longer, and thought about how I’d seen a ‘limited’ role implemented in a sandbox…in one of the ones I played for a longer period they had implemented priests (Think magic user, but using divinity based on different ‘gods’ to achieve different spell effects…)…but they put in barriers that made it so you couldn’t use it as your ‘main’ because going priest blocked access to certain other game requirements (Like for example, digging was a no-no for a certain god, because they thought it was bad, and if you did it, you would receive disfavor for your god/basically lose power/get thrown off.)…so you’d see people running a ‘main’ and multiple alts for the gods…rather than using it as the devs intended…by having a group of actual people working together and having a specific player decide to go that role for the good of the group. (Forced interdependency)

Just one example of how it doesn’t really work to have limited stuff in games…