Post news RSS [Dev Blog] The Death of Classes

Noble's Land will use a true skill based system for character advancement. The more you use a particular skill, the more experience it gets. The higher a skill level is, the more effect it becomes.

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For a long time now I've been conflicted when it comes to the subject of player advancement. Up until now I have been using a class based system. I had intended to have a mix of skill and class progression. With this system you could freely change your class in towns. Classes would limit what weapon and armor type you could use. After a lot of thought, I've decided to change this completely. The main reason I used this system was to make paper-dolling for avatars easier and require less resources and that's just a bad reason to do it. Instead, Noble's Land will use a true skill based system for character advancement. The more you use a particular skill, the more experience it gets. The higher a skill level is, the more effect it becomes.

New Weapon Type, Axes

Now when creating a character, instead of picking your starting class you'll pick a weapon skill to start off with. To put this new system to use, I've programmer-arted a new weapon type, axes. Axes hit slower then swords do but also deal more damage. You can only equip weapons if you've learned that weapon type's skill and have the right amount of experience with it. Although new characters get one weapon type, there will be NPCs around the world that you can do quests for to learn different ones.

With this system, characters have a lot more customization options. Everyone has the ability to be a jack of all trades, the only thing required is time. This way you can also mix and match equipment to create as many custom builds as you can think of. I'm not sure yet how this will effect avatars. For now, avatars will change when you wear a full set of armor, with weapons no longer being included in the decision. Avatars will also be shown holding a sword, even if an axe is currently equipped.

jjc_uk - - 15 comments

Sounds a lot like Dungeon Siege or Ultima Online, which both used a system like this very effectively. It was a particularly good mechanic in Dungeon Siege because there were only a small number of skills to train. It was logical and intuitive without being overwhelming. And, in theory, the amount of customisation in character builds is a really nice feature.

The danger with this approach is that you drown the player with skills and lose a degree of character and cohesion with player builds. It's nice to be able to play a Paladin class, for example, and know from the get-go exactly what sort of skills you're going to get.

You also lose a bit of flexibility in the kinds of weapons you pick up: if you're a sword master and happen to find a really good axe that you'd like to use, you have to do a lot of grinding to level up your axe skill and make it worthwhile. Maybe that's all part of the character development - but it can also be a pain for gameplay.

One solution to that problem is to "link" related weapons, so that using any melee weapon levels up all melee skills by a % of your primary weapon. Ie, 10xp earned with a sword will also grant you 5xp with an axe, mace and spear.

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jfpoliveira12 - - 3,725 comments

In Dungeon siege, youer character class's name depended on your skill levels and character level, wich was also a nice feature. In example: you became a Dark Knight when your Knight character developed his Combat Magic skill exponetially; whilst if he developed his Nature Magic skill, he became a Warden. This could work here I think.

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BesomeGames Author
BesomeGames - - 34 comments

I'll look this system up and see how it works. Thanks for the suggestion, I appreciate it.

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BesomeGames Author
BesomeGames - - 34 comments

Most of the feedback from this post mention Dungeon Siege. I've never heard of it before but I'm going to do some research of it and see the highs and lows of the game. I'm familiar with UO, it's one of the main inspirations behind the project. I always preferred skill progression, it makes sense that the more you do something the better it gets.

I'm a strong believer that less is more. There won't be a high amount of skills just for the sake of having them. I'd rather have less skills and have each be more meaningful.

Nothing is set in stone but I plan on having 99% of the items that come into the game be crafted by a player, and 1% be dropped from rare humanoid or human-eating creatures. Most stores, with the exception of the starting area, wont have stock items. Instead, they will sell what is sold to them from crafters. Those that don't want to craft can instead kill creatures for their spoils which can be sold for gold and used to buy gear. They also have the option of using a different profession to earn money, and buy the gear that way. That way players can pick what gear they get next, instead of relying on a lottery based system to get them. Creatures will drop spoils, some of which are used as raw materials to craft equipment. Each set's weapons will use similar, if not identical, ingredients so it won't be much different crafting whatever you prefer.

I like the idea of "linking" exp gain for different but similar skills. Each character has 4 secondary equipment slots which are for accessories. These are hidden from other players at all times are are used to further customize your build to keep an element of surprise. I'll think about what I can do to give the "linking" ability through the accessories, or maybe as temporary buffs for completing quests. Thanks for the suggestion.

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