Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What kind of class would you design?

I’ve often thought of this subject over the course of my time playing WoW. More so in the past couple years than in the previous two. And especially now. If you were able to create your own character in the game you were playing, what would you create? Since I play WoW I’ll discuss the subject from that point of view.

Generally speaking I like hybrid characters. First and foremost hybrid characters are not what they are generally being spoken of being these days in WoW. Hybrids are archetypes that have disparate abilities, like a ranged or melee damage ability, and a separate healing ability. I do not link the ideal of hybridization to tanking roles, since that is simply a specialized DPS role. Instead, hybridization—at least in my mind—is tied to healing, which means Druids, Shaman, and Paladins are the only hybrid classes in WoW as far as I am concerned. As I said, I am partial to hybrids because I prefer classes that have abilities that strictly limit or remove downtime, and have abilities that enable the character to withstand more of a beating than other classes have. I'm more apt to solo play outside of my raiding, so you can see how a hybrid plays to what I tend to enjoy the most. Generally hybrids are therefore limited in their damage abilities to balance out their healing abilities when compared with pure damage classes. I’m fine with that.

I also like the ideal of being able to pick and choose abilities. The talent trees in WoW work fairly well, but I were to develop my own “class” I would take things a little further. I’d radically redesign the talent trees in WoW and enable a multi-class system whereby any DPS “class” could pick and choose a number of abilities in their class’s talent trees, as well as spent a number of points on abilities from another class. A player could in this way choose to be all offensive—having no defensive or hybrid characteristics; or they could be all defensive, having limited offensive or hybrid characteristics; or they could take a moderate number of offensive and hybrid abilities to suit their play style. The means of having to spend X amount of points in a given tree to get an ability further down the tree could be kept and would serve as a means of control.

Since I’ve been talking about Rogues recently I’ll use that as an example. My class would be something along the Rogue combat build with points in the Priest Discipline or Holy tree. Or with points in the Druid Resto tree. How far down you extend into your primary tree would then become a tradeoff with how many healing abilities you wanted or how powerful you wanted them to be. I’d probably keep the “dual-spec” system as well, so you’d most likely see players running around with Rogue/Priest or Rogue/Druid specs along with Rogue/Warrior or Rogue/Paladin specs. What about Warrior/Priest for non-raiding and Warrior/Paladin for raiding? Obviously all of this would be extremely difficult to balance, but would it be impossible? I don’t think so.