What is it Edit
The classless system is a solution to a problem for roleplayers wishing to take their characters profession in any direction they choose. It provides the player a chance to make mistakes and recover from them without having to destroy their character and create a new one.
How does it work Edit
These are achieved through progression paths in the game that allows the player study under a master and achieve a Game:Title which serves as a way of defining your character and his achievements.
What are the problems Edit
Since the invention of classless systems the biggest problem for online games have been the Classes_TankMage. Tank mages are basically the highest defense and the highest damage possible for your character. This becomes even more problematic when coupled with every single class in the game creating the ultimate overpowered character.
Why is that a problem?
Social Concerns Edit
When a player is able to create an overpowered character they are able to beat a signficant proportion of content without the aid of a group. This ruins the appeal of online games and encourages players to take down chunks of content and take all the loot, rewards for themselves.
In a generic Player VS Player character environment a TankMage is the preferred choice for any player. Why? Players naturally want to beat their opponents and the TankMage gives them the highest chance of achieving this.
This became a notorious problem with the launch of Ultima Online which saw the rampant destruction of all new players entering the game at the hands of TankMages resulting in lower subscription retention for EA.
Having tank mages in PVP forces all other players to make a tank mage leaving everyone in game pretty much the same.
One solution to this was to enable confirm based PVP (dueling) or safe havens and clearly defined PVP areas where you could be attacked at will.
If you want to beat all the content with the minimum of effort then the Tank Mage would be the class combination of choice. Having significantly more HP and damage than any other class combination in game is a sure fire way to beat everything in your path.
It is also terribly difficult for designers to balance content to allow a challenge to all players of any class combination if you are always specing your game to the Tank Mage. Again this is another route to forcing players to have to make a Tank Mage.
The Class System Edit
A solution to the Tank Mage problem became the Class System. No longer could players become a tank and a mage and beat every piece of content and annihilate every player in their path. However this system is not without problems.
The return of the Overpowered Class Edit
No online game has (or probably will ever) achieve perfect balance of classes. Certain classes are naturally always under review by developers to ensure they have equal positive and negative points about them. In the long run the wisdom of groups resulted in the game communities finding items, statistic combinations and other ways to spec their character into become the class-system TankMage. This results in a manner of DPS classes becoming tanks and inevitably Tanks out DPSing DPS classes.
Because of this, every patch, MMORPGs are continuously having to tweak classes and unleash the 'nerf bat'.
This becomes a problem. Players do not like to have their time wasted, having their abilities reduced makes the players feel that the time invested has been all for nothing and it was taken away on a whim by the Nerf bat. Players can take this very personally and are often found complaining on support boards and leaving in huge droves.
Due to PC power always on the rise it inevitably becomes possible for players to operate multiple characters at once. They can't have a TankMage in a single character but they can box a healer damage and tank class. Once again returning to the problem of anti-social play and inevitably trivial content (which results in bordom/subscription cancellation).
Botting and Boxing however can also be seen as a positive thing for subscription based games where 3 subscriptions are better than one. This works particularly well for Everquest 1 which has a very large number of boxed characters.
Our Solution Edit
Players will always find a way to brake the rules you have in place. This is one certainty and you can be sure that if you say you won't beat our content for 6 months someone will stay up for 4 whole days with no toilet brakes and make sure they prove you wrong.
This is a certainty. Stop trying to fight it.
What does the player want Edit
Let's look at this from a players perspective. They are logging into the game to enjoy themselves. They want to have fun. They want the freedom that they might not find in the real world and that's the great thing about Virtual Reality. TankMages can have a great time exerting their hard worked power on the game world and you should facilitate for that entertainment they seek.
Get rid of the PVP problem Edit
Simply allowing the Opt-In system for PVP takes away the immediate problem of new players being Ganked continuously by TankMages. If a TankMage wants to fight another TankMage let them, then the battle turns into a gear war.
Scaling Content Edit
Scaling/Autogenerated content is a fantastic way to create a challenge for a player who is of whatever skill/title combination. It also works around the problem of no-more-content.
Build for and support the TankMage Edit
If players are wanting to be a TankMage then why spend your time preventing them from doing so. It seems a little anti-entertainment to spend your time locking players into a system they are not coming home from a hard days work to have to suffer through.
Make a Tank Mage Title and give them custom content specifically made for the TankMage. Players are going to make some form of this type of character anyway you can be assured of that.
Everyone once in a while wants to play the great and powerful hero and fantasy games are probably one of the main places a player will go to seek this. Sure we're not saying it won't take a long time to get here but if they want to speed this process up by seriously dedicating themselves for it then go ahead and enjoy yourself.
Klaker and other large content Edit
Planned GARGANTUAN npc content (in the vain of Shadow of Collosus) can be a great amount of fun for Overpowered classes to enjoy. This can also double serve as Raid content for groups of standard players.
I can't state how many times i've seen people shout or seen movies about players who have beaten some 'Epic' npc solo through a the strangest ways of making use of the game world. People should be proud of these achievements and not shunned or be nerfed.
Socialisers and Explorers Edit
A game like Solinia Online is built specifically to cater to roleplayers. These are a generally very friendly community of socialisers and explorers. They want to meet with each other, run alot of player events and get involved with the lore. You won't find many Killers in this block but without doubt you will always find a few achievers.
Infact most MMORPG gamers are non-hardcore. Hardcore only attributes 10% of the population and studies (such as Measuring the Bartle Quotient) show that
Explorers = 30% Socialisers = 25% Killers = 22% Achievers = 22%
And that's from a non-roleplay only game!
It's time to stop being so achiever focused and looking at what players really define as fun. The answer is simple and it's why they most aren't playing single player games for an eternity.
To quote the excellent book Developing Online Games by Jessica Mulligan and Bridgette Patrovsky
'It's the Socialization, Stupid!
In the end, an online game is really just a mechanism to allow players to socialize in a context. In the industry, we are fond of saying, "They come for the game and stay for the socialization." There is more than a little truth to that statement. Past a certain point in a player's "career" in a game, being with friends and associates online is more important than the game itself, or at least equally important. If both elements aren't present, the player really has no reason to stick around.
This has manifested itself in the form of guilds and teams that stay together for years and sometimes move from game to game as whole entities if they find a game offering better tools for socialization and togetherness that enhance the bonds players form. Many designers go wrong by assuming that the gameplay will always be the primary reason for being there and pay more attention to adding content than to refining tools for establishing and maintaining social bonds.'
How it works in Solinia Online Edit
Character customisation is one of the clear ways to make your character unique and we implement the adventuring, political and tradeskill systems using the Titles system.
Titles work by taking on a profession with your avatar. Depending on how you roleplay your character this may be a conscious choice or a natural one depending on how your character is playing out.
Instead of a Push system like most online RPGs where you are forced to pick a class at the start of the game or a cookie-cutter combination (similar to the classless Ultima Online system) players instead must Pull their character Titles.
A title is essentially a reward and like any other game a reward takes time. Essentially you could consider this a form of grinding with focus on roleplaying. Instead of making an experience bar go forwards you are instead involved in progression quests which eventually lead to the title which you can show next to your name and reap the benefits of from npcs as well as the abilities you have earned along the way.
Your first title Edit
The first title is awarded to you after a series of quests that begin on the Trial Island (also known as Dessai). This title is essentially the Explorer Title that involves you progressing through a storyline that rewards you for interacting with npcs, exploring new places and performing several tasks on the island.
Although serving as a mini tutorial to major game mechanics like movement, the player UI and interacting with the world it also teaches you the method of Title pulling. Which is essentially initiating your first Class Progression quest.
Further Character Development Edit
On completion of the final part of the Explorer Title on Dessai you will pickup the main story arc quest and set sail to foreign lands which introduces you to the four core methods of achieving Titles.
- Social Play
After a basic introduction to npcs and title trainers in your new home you will be required to interact with players and begin your first roleplay experience, documenting details on your character and submitting them to the local registration office earning the Citizen Title.
From there the player is free to choose their own destiny and roleplay the character as they see fit. Will they follow a progression path by one of the title trainers or will they continue with the socialising tools and perhaps even run their own events?
That is the choice of the player, something we feel that all players have earned after their hard day at work in the real world. After all, we're entertainment!