Global Chat: Are MMO classes too similar to each other?

    
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Global Chat: Are MMO classes too similar to each other?

Blogger Yeebo Fernbottom has a beef with MMOs, and maybe you can relate. The issue, as the Yeebs sees it, is that in the endless pursuit of class balance, we’ve ended up with a field of boring professions that are too close to each other.

“However I also can’t help but feel like we have lost something that originally attracted to me to MMOs. Different classes used to (and in older MMOs generally still do) have wildly different capabilities. This forced you to approach the game from a completely different perspective when you played different classes.”

Do you agree? Disagree? Chew on that and several other essays from fellow gamers in this edition of Global Chat!

Virtual Bastion: Fallout 76 and ESO —A Novice’s Views, One Year Later

“My most significant takeaway from playing the game in 2019 was that it was very inconsistent. I never knew from one session to the next if I was going to have a great time or an awful time. Experience points trickled out like molasses in winter, enemy scaling was terrible, and the simple act of getting through a single quest was sometimes maddening, especially when high-level hordes ‘accidentally’ entered the match. All these factors still hold somewhat true in Fallout 76 in 2020, but, to Bethesda’s credit, significant improvements have been made.”

Going Commando: SWTOR’s on Steam, but what does it mean?

“This is one of those things that’s simultaneously huge and completely irrelevant, depending on how you look at it. It’s huge because it’s undoubtedly a good thing for the game – launching on Steam is the digital download equivalent of selling your product on Amazon, which is to say that it gets put in front of a huge number of eyeballs that wouldn’t otherwise have known about it. Lots of new players plus more money for the developers are good things in my book!”

Nerdy Bookahs: Jumping into GW2’s Path of Fire again

“For some weird reason, I suddenly felt the urge to play Guild Wars 2 again. Since I am now focusing on the warrior and had only played through the expansion with my mesmer before, all the maps are still locked for her. That is, I don’t have waypoints for them yet and still need to go there. I also don’t think I had seen all the expansion maps with my mesmer, so I am just starting over again with my warrior to see them all in chronological order.”

GamingSF: MMORPGs — just for fun

“I do a lot of meetings and project organisation at work, so for my hobby and freetime to be dominated by scheduled ‘fun’ really isn’t for me. Granted I’ve had regular tabletop RPG games for weeks or months at a time, but that’s not a high-performance gaming situation and the groupsize is much smaller. If I want the large group boss fight experience, I can get my fill from world boss fights, public quests or zone-wide activities in a number of different MMORPGs.”

Leo’s Life: Shadowlands… meh

“Maybe we do end up with the A/B cycle of good/bad expansions.  I hope so more for Blizzard’s sake than my own.  There are a lot of eyes on this expansion, and if the cash cow that is WoW no longer produces, we are all aware that Mr. Kotick is more than willing to take action to solve it.  Way too many people lose in that event.”

Kaylriene: Morally grey stories done right [Shadowlands spoilers]

“However, in what I think is an unintended form, the story of Shadowlands has a great bit of morally gray storytelling I love. To get into it, let’s talk about Bastion and the Kyrian… What really has sold me on it via the beta, however, is the surprising depth of the story, despite how much of that I think is unintentional in a way.”

Every day there are tons of terrific, insightful, and unusual articles posted across the MMO gaming blogosphere — and every day, Justin reads as many as he can. Global Chat is a sampling of noteworthy essays, rants, and guides from the past few weeks of MMO discourse.

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Darkedone02

I think the reason most classes feel quite the same is because of our nature to “borrow” features from others, and integrate it different, hence why most classes may feel like a “warrior” but each mechanic is different. Specialization, Equipment, sword and shield or greatsword? Defensive, Evasive, or Parry Master? Little Magic or No Magic? Technical Flashy Moves or Stances? It’s all based on how you design it as.

Looking down to the road of how we discover classes, it’s more of the prime archetypes of what we enjoy, magic wielding wizards, sniper archers, warriors with the toughest muscles, and the rogues that move like flash of lightning. Sounds familar, right? Then we develop “sub-classes”, and games morrowind developed more. Battle Mages, Assassin’s, Barbarians, Enchanter, etc. In the end we simplied, we try to make diverse but it comes down to balancing issues, then it’s the people that worship the meta and rather play those downright broken classes so they can go though bosses and mobs like a hot knife though butter, instead of playing it as it was design for.

Sadly, this is why things look so familiar, it comes to it’s own issue that people try to either break the holy trinity concept, or try to redesign how we play mmo’s that either comes with minor success, or utter failure. Which is why classes are to this very day, hard to perfect the balance.

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Tee Parsley

‘I’m a Tank! I’m invulnerable!’
‘But you can’t actually hurt me. Why am I attacking you instead of the guy throwing fire at me??’
‘Well I can shout insults in 150 different languages!’
‘Oh….’

Down_To_My_Last_Fudge
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Down_To_My_Last_Fudge

I remember when MMO’s were in their infancy and balancing was not a thing. It did not take long before EQ “balanced” the Druid class and from that point forward my MMO career has been fraught with games that would allow me to get comfortable with a class character and then just nerf the living snot out of it. piss me Off and the next game got my money.

These days it seems a lot more emphasis is on class balance to the point wherein some games it really doesn’t matter what you play. I have always thought that the way to achieve class balance and not kill your game is by building up the weakness’s. It leaves less room for the meta or makes more

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Castagere Shaikura

Just waiting for that MMO where the Devs say screw PVP because it wrecks the classes for PVE. So no PVP in our MMO.

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Chosenxeno .

It’s not the Trinity. It’s the META and it’s unavoidable. The Internet built the MMORPG and the Internet just might kill the MMORPG.

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Stormwaltz

I don’t think the “DPS/Tank/Heal” trinity is the problem. I think Ashfyn is on the right track below, it comes down to mechanics. I remember classes that change how I play the game.

I’m a cautious player who likes to keep health high, but the Brute from City of Villains encouraged you to careen from fight to fight as quickly as possible, to keep your bonuses up. I couldn’t play it like I normally do, I had to play like a rash berserker – that was refreshing and memorable.

For a super-crude example, I think it would be interesting to have a game where:

The melee class is action combat like ESO/NW. Fast movement, dodge/roll, but no blocking.

The armored class is about managing STO-style shields. Your protection has multiple facings that get worn down and penetrated by constant attacks, but regenerates when left alone. Slow movement, no dodging, but the ability to block.

The archer plays like Division 2. You take cover with good firing arcs and snipe across the battlefield.

The mage plays like an RTS. You sit in safe place and astral project to an overhead view over the battlefield. You’re artillery – your buffs and attacks are all AoE with several seconds of warm-up, so you have to think several steps ahead of everyone else.

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NeoWolf

Classes still play too heavily into the holy trinity by design. I prefer the build the way you want to play classes but you only really see those in single player RPGs and a very small number of MMOs

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Paul

My problem with the classless “build what you want” systems is they all get a bit samey and due to the massive amounts of flexibility the “class mechanics” tend to be a bit less in depth. I prefer to decide how I want to play at least partially with the class selection and then get a nicely in depth tweakable / customisable class system with some mechanics unique to that class.

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NeoWolf

You will always get the min maxers going with optomised builds whatever the system. But at least build the way you play allows you to do just that, build your class to suit your own playstyle and not be bound by the trinity.

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Paul

So does picking a class and being able to tweak that class to fit how you want to play that role. All characters being able to do anything has turned most group play into a disorganised free for all with everyone just playing as individuals rather than a group. Pretty sure we’re not going to convince each other though :)

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NeoWolf

Wasn’t trying to convince you anything Paul, simply responding to your reply to my OP is all.
Classes are far too limiting generally for my tastes and far too tied to the Trinity design, which is fine but tired. I like more variation and customisation in my character builds personally and classes don’t really provide that in most games, they tend to represent one thing and one thing only.

Don’t really agree with the notion that building your class to suit your style makes everyone play as individuals however, as that choice is entirely separate of class. Besides no game would allow you to be the master of everything in that way in order to make yourself entirely self sufficient. Class should not be an incentive to group, grouping should be something people choose to do because they want to, not because they have to. That would just be bad design.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

It’s the mechanics. The mechanics of all classes are exactly the same. You just need to find the class whose outfits and combat FX you like best. Main attack, secondary attack, filler. There’s really not much thought in rotation or any need to be creative.

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Robert Mann

Certainly. Other things that made the worlds more interesting have come and gone as well.

I am currently certain that so long as the goal is to ‘appeal to every type of person as broadly as possible’ that this will be the case. You cannot have interesting differences, and still please everyone. Much less once you start looking at systems that go beyond just combat and combat backdrop.

Combat in the open world is tuned for the brainless rusher. Combat in ‘endgame’ has gone from celebrating different builds and wider variety to a handful of boiled down repetitive mechanics. I miss creative fun things, even though they weren’t always balanced well.

As always, I’m waiting on MMOs to embrace the idea of diversity. We don’t need constant rehashes of the same thing… we need some variety that allows healthy populations to thrive where the people get what they want. I’m convinced that the moment MMOs take that viewpoint and run with it we will see a resurgence in the genre.

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Java Jawa

I agree, we’ve entered an era of homogenization for classes in the last 4 to 5 years.

swtor – check

eso – check (all end get builds are nearly a copy and paste)

neverwinter – check

BDO – kinda?

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Darkedone02

I think we need to introduced games similar to path of exiles in mmo’s now, so people do have their freedoms, but then again we have that “balancing” issue.

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Ironwu

I had a little laugh when Warframe was tossed into the pot of ‘class balanced’ games with WoW and SWTOR. :)

If there is one game I have played in the past years that is significantly NOT class balanced, it is Warframe.

One simply cannot effectively play the game by ignoring the capabilities of warframes, weapons, companions, and mods when setting up for a difficult mission. A mission that might be nearly impossible with one warframe loadout might be super simple and easy with a different warframe loadout.

Can you get through a lot of Warframe without learning how to do effective loadouts? Sure. You can also make a hole in a wall by just banging your head against it.

Just my experience in Warframe, thus far. :)

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Robert Mann

Still sad that Warframe failed so hard at making stealth worthwhile, leaving every encounter best served by run and gun tactics. It was a nice idea to have it, but it felt like there was far too little reward for stealth, and far too many missions that didn’t allow for it.