The Daily Grind: Do you even like classless MMOs, bro

    
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Let’s talk about classlessness. A few years after World of Warcraft took off, there was a push in the MMO industry to revive earlier progression systems that relied much less on dedicated and hard-delineated classes. Heck, even WoW was tugged in that direction. While few MMORPGs really dropped classes altogether and opted for true old-school skill systems, we definitely got a rash of titles that are a lot more flexible when it comes to character builds and goals, like Guild Wars 2 and Elder Scrolls Online.

I started thinking about these trends a bit a few weeks ago, when a thread on Reddit complaining about MMOs that have no classes (or so many classes that they may as well have a skill system instead). Personally, I pretty much always prefer skill-based MMOs, for all their problems, but developers are going to whisper the word “balance” to settle the argument.

Where do you stand on the issue? Do you even like classless MMOs?

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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Richard de Leon III

I prefer classless systems. I immensely despise the trinity system. I’m not fond of combat systems that force players into roles they prefer not to be just for progression.

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traja

When we talk about min/max builds the less artificial segmentation you have the fewer optimized solutions there are. Instead of builds for Mage, Hunter and Warlock you have one build for ranged dps. I don’t think that this problem can really be solved and personally I prefer class systems for that reason.

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creationguru

I love classless systems and will always feel that its the best way to make a world alive. I want to be able to make the character that I want and how I want and that also would make the world need more todo than just kill mobs/bosses or macro crafts. I want my snooping and stealing and such back. Also when you have classes you are so locked into the gear you can use it gets old. I like when I can select the weapon I want or the armor I like rather than oh you a warrior you only get axes. sigh

It scares me to myself in that in many ways UO was a gold standard in certain ways that I hold all other games up to and they all fall short. SWG was the only game that got close for me.

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Blake

I’m a big fan of classless systems (UO. new World), or games that you let change what you’re doing from day to day (FFXIV, RIFT).

I’m really looking forward to New World right now. You can learn everything on one character. It’ll take a long, long time but it’s doable.

Turing fail
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Turing fail

EVE Online lets players train the skills that match their play styles/game goals. One can ignore the ship-specific bonuses to surprise opponents with unconventional weapons and/or defenses.

I enjoy the flexibility of jumping between different roles/activities with a single character, and owning a fleet of diverse ships.

That being said, EVE online has been described more than once on MOP as a game that one would not be caught dead playing. Perhaps not for the lack of classes, but one never knows.

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Estranged

Classic Secret World was perfect. One character could do it all.

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NeoWolf

I do not mind either per se, but classless potentially has far more scope for freedom of build and uniqueness of character, which I am very much in favor of as I do not like being confined to the holy trinity concept.

I do wish more games would be far more open with progression though as classes can be very confining at times.
If for example, I saw an MMO that had a progression system that was like I don’t know POE for example I’d be over the moon as although the rest of that game doesn’t particularly appeal to me the sheer level of customization within that games progression tree, which is immense is mind blowing.
But I also like skill-based systems very much too, there is something intrinsically appealing about a system that gives you improvement in the skills you use only for me it forces you to play out of your comfort zone at times in order to keep growing your character.

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Brazen Bondar

I prefer the skill tree. I want the flexibility. If I wake up today and want to tank I should be able to do that. Let me DPS tomorrow and heal on Friday. I loved that TSW had that flexibility. But people would still complain…”I don’t know how to build a spec…” How can I get the best __(fill in the blank)?” instead of just experimenting freely. Sometimes people would ask me “Why are you using THOSE two weapons?” My response: I like the way they look! Then I would find a build that would make them effective. I agree with Hikari that many players simply would not bother to learn the system. Even our MOP crew sometimes didn’t (anyone remember that time MJ tried to heal a mob to death?) I like a game that rewards ingenuity and creativity. The class structure doesn’t do that.

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Minimalistway

Where is the classless MMOs? i know Ultima Online, but of most if not all modern MMOs there is no classless one, correct me if i’m worng … most likely i’m!

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Bruno Brito

Archeage is “classless”. Rift has classes but they are extremely versatile because of the soul system. FF14 lets you swap classes but has no character building to speak of.

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Utakata

…some devs of certain games have no class at times. I’m not sure that’s what you mean. :(