The Daily Grind: Should more MMOs offer class swapping?

    
54

I’m sure that a number of you are trying out Crowfall’s beta and experiencing its special design of allowing players to jump into and out of different “vessels” — or classes — much in the same way that online FPS titles might allow for player choice.

Class swapping is certainly one way to extend player interest and options in an MMO, especially if you want to focus on a single character’s progression instead of encouraging a legion of alts. Final Fantasy XIV features this prominently, but such a design is not very widespread in the MMO space.

What do you think? Should more MMOs offer class swapping? Would that benefit or hinder these games?

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!
Advertisement

No posts to display

54
LEAVE A COMMENT

Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
angrakhan

I’m torn on this one. On one hand I get the fact after you’ve put in all the time to get to end game especially if there’s a bunch of faction grind in your game of choice it really sucks to have to dump all that and start over just to try another class. However, on the other side of the coin I find that being able to get to end game and just swap classes by definition reduces replayability. I love firing up an alt and going though the ‘newbie madness’ phase where you’re getting a level and new abilities and gear upgrades multiple times an hour. It’s fun and exciting as opposed to staring down that week-long faction grind to get that item that is going to make you 1% stronger maybe. On the other hand it gives you tired head after you’ve done all those faction grinds to think about doing them AGAIN.

That’s a lot of words to say ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

EmberStar
Reader
EmberStar

My only real experience with “class swapping” is Warframe. Where every single ‘Warframe’ is essentially a separate class, and you’re free to switch to any other one you own between missions. Personally, I bounce from ‘frame to ‘frame more or less on a whim, or if I know that one is just *really awesome* at a certain kind of mission. But I’ve seen posts on the forums from people who have a ‘main’ Warframe, or are new and only own one, or just only want to *play* as one.

I can say that based on my limited understanding of it, I do *not* care for the system I’ve seen described in Final Fantasy 14. I like making characters. Part of that is sometimes choosing a role for them that fits whatever personality I imagine for them. (I don’t actively RP, but I tend to make… well, RP-ready characters, I guess.) And FF14 is (by my understanding) set up to pretty seriously discourage owning more than one character.

Reader
Axetwin .

Not just class swapping, but duel classing as well. I feel duel classing is an idea that hasn’t been explored NEARLY as well as it should’ve been by now.

T h e n o n y m o u s
Reader
T h e n o n y m o u s

Dual*.

Any game with PVP and classes technically has “duel” classing lol.

Reader
Axetwin .

About 10 minutes after I posted that I suddenly started to think “did I say duel, or dual?”. But I wasn’t in a position to check and fix by that point.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

I think it depends on what you mean by class swapping? If you mean should everyone be able to just switch class on the fly a la say PSO 2 NG or the like then I’d say probably not.
If you mean should people should be able to get a token to switch class like they do race, gender or server as in a service option, then that I’d be all for.

Otherwise I’d just say make an alt, its what they are for ;)

Reader
Axetwin .

Leveling a fresh character is an extremely antiquated mechanic. FF14 handles this perfectly because there’s more options than just “swap on the fly” or “buy a class swap item from the cash shop”. When NOT in combat or a dungeon, you can swap to a different class.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

Class swapping on the fly, I am no fan of at all, it makes class choices meaningless. I don’t want generic personally, generic is lazy.
Alts are not antiquated they are pointful and sensible ways to play other classes.

Don’t forget this genre is MMO-RPG, these aren’t shooters your class is not gear, you don’t just swap it out on the fly its a choice and one that should matter.

But then I do not really understand or share the mentality of just ONE character, or those who play just one character to begin with, because I am all about the alts and immersion :)

Choices should matter in character creation too otherwise everything is generic and meaningless.

As I say if someone makes a class choice and its doesn’t gel, I’m all for the buy a token to class swap option, but just being able to be any class at any time…bleurgh.. generic horror and not for my tastes.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

it makes class choices meaningless.

Exactly why I love it.

In a game I never, ever, want to be permanently bound by my choices; instead, I want to explore as much of the game as possible with the least amount of backtracking and replaying content I already did. Anything that allows me to experience different choices — including character creation choices like class — without the boring part of making another useless alt is welcome to me.

(BTW, it only makes the class choice at character creation meaningless. The choice of which class you will use to tackle each specific bit of content remains as meaningful as ever.)

Edit: and for the record, the less alts I make, the happier I am with the game. I really dislike making alts.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

I get the freedom appeal of it, although I think that could probably be achieved better in a classless system to begin with rather than class hopping in a class system.

In a classless system you wouldn’t need to rely on class swapping to get what you want, you would simply build your character to suit your tastes as you play.

MMO’s are very much stuck in the class and holy trinity mentality still.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

In a classless system you wouldn’t need to rely on class swapping to get what you want, you would simply build your character to suit your tastes as you play.

Nope, that wouldn’t work at all for me. Because what I want is to be able to constantly change how my character plays, exploring all play styles according to my whims. In fact, having easy access to unlimited (and non-monetized) respecs is one of my usual requirements to play any MMO.

In other words, what I want is to never, ever, be bound by my previous choices when it comes to how I develop my characters. In fact, I very much prefer to not even be given any character development choice than to be bound by them.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

That sounds like my absolute worst nightmare hehe, but each to their own Schmidt, if that works for you dude, have at it ;)

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

I guess much of it has to do with our approaches to alts.

You seem to love alts; I loathe them. As I often say, the less alts I have to make in order to experience everything the game has to offer — including all the potential play styles afforded by character builds — the happier I am. Heck, I even prefer when games don’t have factions (or alternatively allow faction switching) so I don’t have to make alternate faction alts.

Also, the value we assign to having choices not only matter, but be binding. For me, having choices be binding has no positive side at all, but instead just (big) negatives, as I love to vary my playstyle as much as possible. I love when I can start a day playing my character as a defensive sword-and-board type, change it to an offensive two-handed sword build, switch to bows, play a bit with a glass-cannon type caster, and dabble as a spellsword before logging out for the day. It isn’t even about which is more effective; I often choose the least effective for the content on purpose just to have more fun. In essence, I like nearly every play style (apart from pure DPS in a group setting), and very much prefer to spend time with as many of them as possible every time I play. I’m the kind of player who goes with “random” in fighting games.

Another big reason I love being able to change how my character plays at will is because it makes far easier for groups of friends to be able to tackle group content without having to kick out anyone or bring strangers with the “right” role, as it mostly throws party composition requirements out of the window.

Being locked to how I previously built my character goes against all of that. It’s limiting and frustrating, really saps my enjoyment of the game and could even make me unwilling to play group content in that game. Which is ironic in that one of the reasons for locking players to their previous choices is to make players socialize more (by forcing them to seek others that complement their own choices), but for me it instead leads to socializing less (due to doing less group content, both because I get bored if I don’t change roles and because I hate depending on others for things the game artificially prevents me from doing).

Reader
Don Marcus

The only two MMO that I’ve played that does class swapping is Rift and FFXIV. So lets address your concerns from the point of view of that game.

There’s nothing generic about a character that has multiple “jobs”. It’s like saying a human is generic because he is a doctor during the day, a carpenter on the weekend, and some nights he is a race car driver. He’s the same person with many talents. Any other human can do the same job combination, but they won’t look the same or behave the same.

Your class is actually gear. When you do gardening, you get out gloves and a shovel. When you go skiing, you get your skis and goggles. It should be natural to play a game where you are capable of multiple talents. A rogue who is quick and stealthy can’t also learn to shoot a bow and tame pets? The MMO Rift does this well. A “leather wearing character” can switch between a healer, rogue, magic user, and tank. Bring the PLAYER not the class, right.

Just one character can be bothersome, but who said you can only create one character in FFXIV or Rift? You were lied to.

Choices do matter. It’s an RPG afterall. You choose factions. You choose what tools you want to bring to a fight. You just have more CHOICES in FFXIV than you do in other MMOs that force you to play one role per character. I prefer more meaningful choices, not fewer.

Encouraging developers to restrict everyone’s choices because you like fewer choices is less than ideal for the health of an MMO or any game for that matter. The more options a developer can handle with their budget, the more options should be available is what I say. A bigger playerbase should be welcome in any MMO, not smaller.

Nobody’s opinions are terrible. There are plenty of restrictive MMOs out there for you to play. Lets see more unrestricted MMOs come out in the future!

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

]There’s nothing generic about a character that has multiple “jobs”. It’s like saying a human is generic because he is a doctor during the day, a carpenter on the weekend, and some nights he is a race car driver. He’s the same person with many talents. Any other human can do the same job combination, but they won’t look the same or behave the same

The trouble with your example is that class swapping isn’t limited to a job and maybe a secondary job it is access to ALL jobs. No such individual exists who has and can do ALL things, it’s a ludicrous and lazy notion.
I get how that may appeal to those who only want one character, but for everyone else that’s just generic as I said.

Your class is actually gear. When you do gardening, you get out gloves and a shovel. When you go skiing, you get your skis and goggles. It should be natural to play a game where you are capable of multiple talents. A rogue who is quick and stealthy can’t also learn to shoot a bow and tame pets? The MMO Rift does this well. A “leather wearing character” can switch between a healer, rogue, magic user, and tank. Bring the PLAYER not the class, right.

No it really isn’t your gear, when you go gardening putting on gloves and picking up a shovel doesn’t mean you know how to garden, or indeed know anything about gardening at all any more than putting on ski’s means you know how to ski.
Your class is a skill set, and in most games represents to some degree your background and origins its not something you are supposed to swap out as easily as changing your socks.

Even a so called Jack of All trades only has rudimentary skills in a number of areas and isn’t master of any. But with class swapping suddenly everyone is anything and everything in its entirety on the fly.. that does not appeal to me at all. Again that’s my preference, you are free to prefer whatever you like :)

Just one character can be bothersome, but who said you can only create one character in FFXIV or Rift? You were lied to.

Not me, so not entirely sure of the relevance of this statement. Indeed have my characters is as previously noted my own preference :)

]Choices do matter. It’s an RPG afterall. You choose factions. You choose what tools you want to bring to a fight. You just have more CHOICES in FFXIV than you do in other MMOs that force you to play one role per character. I prefer more meaningful choices, not fewer.

That implies by not having class swapping your choices are in fact diminished, however they are not. If you want a different class you have another character of the other class and the problem is solved. The trouble is, is that some people apparently want to have their cake and eat it by having everything handed to them in one singular character and hat has as previously noted zero appeal to me, it just makes character generic and lacking in-depth and for me at least ruins the immersion.

Encouraging developers to restrict everyone’s choices because you like fewer choices is less than ideal for the health of an MMO or any game for that matter. The more options a developer can handle with their budget, the more options should be available is what I say. A bigger playerbase should be welcome in any MMO, not smaller.

??? Don’t believe I at ANY point encouraged ANYONE let alone Developers to restrict anything so this is a nonsense statement. I simply stated my reasons for not being a fan of class swapping as an individual. If you are fearful that developers seeing someone’s opinion against class swapping will sway them, well not a lot I can do about that for you as I am entitled to give my opinion.

Nobody’s opinions are terrible. There are plenty of restrictive MMOs out there for you to play. Lets see more unrestricted MMOs come out in the future!

I would approach unrestricted in a FAR different way that class swapping personally. That approach as also previously noted works far better in a classless set up. As then there is no swapping, just building your character to suit your tastes and playstyle simply by play, not by anything restrictive as a class or the holy trinity MMOs love to begin with.

Reader
Bryan Cole

FFXI style though is what I would prefer. I enjoy FFXIV, but FFXI gives a lot more customizability for a character and broadens your choices where as FFXIV kind of just locks you into one playstyle without any fun builds per job which takes a bit away from the game imho.

The other issue is race. I want to have a character of each race and more often then not, one of each gender, giving me 2 characters per race. This is where the system for class swapping doesn’t really work for me. Not sure how to get around this issue either.

Reader
Don Marcus

I’ve thought about this in the past. What makes the most sense is to restrict the jobs and traits you can choose for each race. Make race and appearance the only choice you make during character creation. Afterall it really doesn’t make sense for a loli to wield a tiny version of a claymore and do the same damage that a Roegadyn can do. So minor restrictions on class choice per race. But its still FAR more fun than 1 class per character.

As for gender, there isn’t any sensible restriction to put on that.

Reader
Danny Smith

I’d say it depends on the game. Like not just XIV but final fantasy in general uses a job system in some way to allow a smaller character roster while still allowing for a large variety of party set ups. In XIV this means your character is your account basically. Which means in game you have a name and a face and all your interactions are -unless you have alts for some crazy reason- the same. I can and have run into npcs recently who i havent seen in multiple expansions that recognise my character and i get a little bit of extra dialogue because i never changed characters. I changed jobs instead. Same character but different classes when the mood strikes or suits the content i’m doing. But each job is also set in stone.
Now imagine they tried to do that in WoW. Setting aside modern wow being structured more like a looter than rpg which means alts and the relevelling to the treadmill is considered by the designers a significant part of the sub farming design how do you deal with multiple specs on top of that? and what if you want to go down a path like aldor or scryer for example?

I think it works if the devs intent your one character to be your constant avatar. Not so much if you are intended to keep a stable of them. I mean thinking on the inventory messes alone. Yeesh.

Reader
styopa

I thought I’d dislike it but it turned out to be one of the things I liked about FF14 for sure.
No more rep grind on the same content for different characters? Yes, please.

Reader
Utakata

Yeah…I swap classes all the time when I login into a another toon. >.>

Reader
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
Schlag Sweetleaf

.

conan the lutenistarian.jpg
Reader
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
Schlag Sweetleaf

Conan the Bard-barian?

Reader
SmiteDoctor

.

bfdf45a88e7e80699ec9db60a7712743.jpg
Reader
Hirku Two

Better than Cats:

Reader
Jim Nefferland

This isnt how Crowfall works at all. You still have alts/distinct characters in Crowfall, up to 6 of them that are distinct classes and promotions. Its just stupid easy to get any new character up to soft level cap of 30 making it easy to run multiple alts and log in the class your guild needs for a specific activity. You are NOT class swapping a single character.