Obsidian and My.com are back today with another new Skyforge dev diary, this one a lengthy explanation of the game's class system. Skyforge allows class-swapping that will remind players a bit of RIFT: You'll pick a base class and then unlock intermediate and advanced classes as you play, swapping your current played class along the way. Check out the team's full explanation!
Many people have made the observation that the Skyforge class system is non-traditional and unique for an MMORPG. Our decision to design our class system this way was influenced by changes we see in gamers. In recent years we've seen a change in the way people play games, specifically, with the new found popularity of MOBA games. They have fast become the most popular online games and are consistently beating records for participation in various tournaments.
One particular feature that we really like about these types of games is that players are not required to select one specific character for each subsequent game session. At the start of each battle, the gamer can select the class that best suits the battle or simply because they like a certain class. In Skyforge we have kept this feature – players will have constant access to all classes, without the need to progress each class individually!
Remember that when starting a typical MMORPG you are faced with a difficult choice: mage, warrior, archer, thief, and many other classes that look very appealing in their game descriptions. But it becomes even more difficult in class selection when they are further divided by race, so that even if you know you are going to play as a mage you would have to go to the trouble of selecting between an elf mage or a human mage. Let's say that on a whim or after reading through dozens of forum guide pages you select a class and then after spending a month or two developing your character you gradually realize that you do not like it. There could be many reasons for this, but the outcome is the same- you will have to start over and develop a new character.
When you enter the world of Skyforge for the first time you will not have to make this critical and permanent decision. For example, you could chose a Cryomancer, play for half an hour and change your class to a Lightbinder or even a Paladin, if long-range combat is not your thing. There is always the ability to change your class and with time, as you develop your character, more and more classes will become accessible.
In Skyforge classes are divided into several groups depending on access level. Beginners have access to three classes at the start of the game – Lightbinder, Paladin and Cryomancer. Gradually, after completing various adventures and receiving rewards, intermediate and advanced classes, with 5 in each, become accessible. For example, a Berserker is an intermediate class and it will take several days from the start of the game to gain access to it. However, to play as a Gunner you would have to spend several weeks developing your character because it is in the advanced group.
Moreover, as we have already said you can change your class anywhere and at any time as long as you or your group, is not in combat. You do not need to waste time going to a special place in a certain town – you can change class whenever and wherever necessary.
For many players our class system opens new horizons, but those that stick to one role probably ask why is this change necessary if I am just going to play with long range combat classes? The answer to that lies in the fact that there is a large number of classes with one role but each of them have their own unique qualities. Cryomancer and Gunner are both long range combat classes, but they are completely different in terms of style and gameplay. If you like to smash enemies that cross your path without stopping before anyone, a Gunner is an ideal choice. If you prefer positional combat, then a Cryomancer is an excellent candidate due to its crowd control skills. A Lightbinder is not just a DD, but also an excellent support class with additional protection skills. Close combat classes can also differ greatly from each other. For example, a Paladin is a DD oriented towards a single target. However, a Berserker will feel fairly comfortable in combat with a large number of opponents because its skills are more focused on area damage. Players will find their own entertainment here: by progressing this and other classes, they will gradually master a role, perfecting the art of close or long range combat.
You can focus on maxing out your character by playing and developing one type of class, but there is also the option of going further and developing classes which fit other roles in a group. In many MMORPGs you may have come across groups that needed to fill a specific role. "Need Tank Last Slot!". Sound familiar?
In this case several people can wait for hours for a tank to go on an adventure. In Skyforge the risk of not finding the required class is very minimal – in all likelihood you'll have a friend or someone already in the group who has opened and developed the required class. And even if they have not it only takes a few minutes to become a Paladin and open up the first few skills in the Progress Chart. The class switch system is designed so that even when you first switch classes from a class you've developed, the new class you switch to will also be as developed. This is because the main attributes are tied to the character and not the class. We have written about this in more detail in the article on the Ascension Atlas.
Have you ever come across a situation inside a dungeon where the boss stubbornly defeats the entire group and even switching tactics, maximum buffs and using potions do not make any dramatic difference? After trying a few more times, players often leave empty-handed deciding to try the adventure again later.
In Skyforge, changing classes opens up dozens of new strategies in raids or even against regular monsters. If a boss has increased resistance to long distance attacks - you need to switch to Berserker or Paladin and inflict damage close range. There are many examples of this type of strategy, teamwork as well as effective class redistribution that can decide the outcome of a battle.
Tactics are also important in PvP! In addition to the obvious advantage in battles you should not forget about the strategic basis for a class selection. During battle at the Ring of Immortals arena, players need to capture strategic points. If you want to get the enemy out of an occupied area, it is easier to do so with a Gunner and Lightbinder, but to maintain your hold of the point you will need another combination – for example a Berserker and Lightbinder. There are many options; teamwork and player ingenuity will also play an important role. Thus, in Skyforge there cannot be good or bad classes for PvP and victory depends solely on your skill.
When you select a class in the game you will always know that you're not locked into that class. For you can switch to another role and open a new world for yourself by playing for another class. Tactics in PvP and raids, game diversity, development of new builds - all this is possible with the opportunity to change classes at any moment.