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Old 01-07-2004, 11:10 PM   #61
Mierza
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Oh! Sorry. I didn't mean to imply that class system vs non-class system = rp vs hack and slash, it was just an example. (Gotta cut me some slack, was sleepy time here in Aussieland lol)

The point I was trying to make was to examine who your player base is intended to be -because that generally affects the skill system, and skill systems in return have an affect on choosing "Class" or "No Class".

Alot of my earlier statements back having a class system that works great for RP.

Hmm.. See as I see it, games that evolve around RP are evolving around story. In my opinion, numbers and mathematics -can- detract from story, depending how the system works. And I've always maintained this opinion.

I've yet to see a mud that doesn't have some sort of a point system. -There was one game that I played that was merely an environment for characters to RP in, there were hardly even many items.. save for some vehicles. However, during character generation, there were 'stats' -This game is a classless game where a player can select skills. Each skill is worth a pre-determined amount of skill points, and it all adds up to a number that is equal amongst all new players -for the sake of fairness.

Infact, the only 'stat' less gaming that I know of, are PBeM's and even a few chatroom/irc free form games.

But this doesn't mean that excellent RP games can't have stats and still be successful without detracting from the story. -It just depends on the system you use.

And on another note if your theory is correct and people who only want to truly RP desire only the emote command, then they might as well just play in a chatroom. After all simple things such as 'go north' 'eat food' 'wear armor' -repetitive words- definately don't seem like a story telling feature.

So then why are RP mud's so popular? Because players do know ultimately that they are playing a game, and game's aren't 100% realistic. Why? Because they aren't real -they just try to immitate. And thus, the player begins to accept things like having classes, having to handle stats, having to do repetitive commands. -However, as a game developer, you CAN raise the story telling quality of your game by keeping stats and mathematics under control -use them where they are needed.

It is my point of view that RP Muds are about storys, as I have mentioned earlier. Therefor the most important thing to be offered, is the story telling -wether Staff members host quests, or leave it up to the player to create their own -everything a player does, creates a story. But I won't go into that any further unless needed, because it's another topic.

Eh.. okay. I'll try explain this more simply:

People often write story's that explain how the gaming world got to it's current state. But this isn't the game story, it's the background.

They'll often make a really cool gaming system, and then just make up a story to explain why the gaming system is how it is. But this isn't a well thoughtout story designed to hook the player, it's just there to explain things, and it's often full of loop holes because of that reason.

Both of these things, people assume are good enough for RPers, but the thing is that RPers are mostly interested in the story they are actively involved in, which is why a changing IC world is a must.

With that said, and back in relation to classes, I still strongly believe that you should choose your game system according to the players you are going to be entertaining.

If you want to entertain RPers, then make sure you have everything available to them that allows them to participate in RP events and stories -build your stat and skill systems according to their needs.

If you want to entertain more casual Rpers interested more in levelling and gaining skills and killing bad guys, then devise the gaming system that works best to entertain their needs.

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All this classless stuff makes me sick to my stomach, I've played classless muds and they had no roleplaying whatsoever, at least my definition of it, I like to see beautiful areas and a great code to go with it, no colors, definitely permadeath, have to have descriptions for your characters,
You've obviously never played that Masquerade game, themed around Albuquerque, NM. -Maybe it's more what you're looking for:

Characters need to be authorised with a bio -and they have generally high standards. They are classless, yet they have skills, talents, and knowledges that a character must select prior to being authorised. It is also very well balanced. There are no colors, it is permadeath, character descriptions are required before approval, and above all -players are only there to RP. Those that don't want to be there to RP won't get through the character generation, and if they do it is highly unlikely that they'll have much fun.. since other than moving and driving, there are few other commands than those similar to emote.

For those interested in hosting a classless, RP only game, I definately suggest researching further into their system.
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Old 01-08-2004, 07:55 AM   #62
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Well, I am sure they do exist. I am not searching for a mud at this time since I have work to do on my own, but I already will admit classless can be good if it is done right. Same goes for class-based, I am just stuck on the class-based system because of my experiences most likely.

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Old 01-08-2004, 09:41 AM   #63
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The important thing to keep in mind is that it's not as black and white as "class-based" and "classless" - there is plenty of middle ground. On one extreme you've got the full-on cookie-cutter class system, whereby everyone picks a class which completely defines their present and future abilities. At the other extreme, you've got the classless system whereby everyone is exactly the same, which ends up being more like a single-class mud. But I think most people would agree that the preferable solution lies somewhere in between.

There are plenty of pen&paper roleplaying games which take the extremes - with RPGs like D&D at one end, and ones like RuneQuest at the other - so I don't think you can realistically draw any direct connection between the quality of roleplaying and the type of class system used.

But what I find more interesting are the RPG systems which take a middle ground. The Rolemaster system, for example, provides an interesting take - hundreds of classes, each of which can learn any skill, but at varying costs. Thus (for example) a wizard could become deadly with a sword, but would pay several times what a warrior would. Equally a barbarian could learn spells, but at such an extreme cost it generally just wouldn't be worthwhile (except for perhaps a little dabbling on the side). This allows players to customise as much as they like, but tends to pushes each character in a certain direction.

Another system that I find quite interesting is that used by Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, in which players can change profession as often as they wish - as long as they have the appropriate requirements. Anyone can become a wizard, but they'll have to spend time as an apprentice first, and learn all the skills needed.

Then you've got systems like Talislanta, whereby anyone can learn anything they like, but which your chosen archtype defines your initial skillset - ie, what you've learned up until the point you begin play. As it's so time consuming to learn entirely new skillsets, it's really just not worthwhile for people to completely change their style of character.

Of course there are also some systems in which "class" doesn't mean "profession", and in which such classification becomes important. In World of Darkness muds you're going to want things like vampires and werewolves, and these creatures should have clearly separated powers. That doesn't mean that every werewolf has to be the same, but equally it doesn't make much sense if they can potentially learn how to transform into a bat.
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Old 01-08-2004, 01:35 PM   #64
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I love it when you post KaVir...it just seems like you take your time, reflect...and then say only what you mean instead of just spouting off some ramble of a point.  You are precisely correct in the "middle ground" theory.  And I have to say that 3rd Edition D&D (powered by the d20 system) is actually closer to Rolemaster system now because you can choose a class but still learn many "cross-class" skills (at a great cost as you mentioned).  So that is actually the case in D&D now too.

I think the most ideal system is to stay away from classes or "archtypes", because the very definition of those are to classify something.  To say "ok here is what you can and can't do".  I don't think anyone would ever really want that sort of limitation.  And while KaVir is right about class or classless system not dictating RP styles...think about this:
How would you have any time to RP if you wanted to gain all sorts of different skills and such in your typical class system?  You wouldn't have time to!!  You would be too busy powerleveling your character in order to get all of these skills, or in order to multiclass or remort or whatever the goal of that particular class-based system is.  So I think it does affect RP to a degree.

I still lean towards a more classless system.  One where you can have the freedom to choose, but one that also presents a balanced look at it.  Skill atrophy balances the equation.  I also like what White Wolf has done in their VTM system (as KaVir also mentioned)...but their system really revolves more around superhuman abilities and things that apply to the vampiric species...as opposed to skills that relate to everyday life of the average mortal.  I think if you offer the ability for anyone to be anything at any time (with proper RP of course), then you open up variety to your players.  Anyway, I won't repeat what I have said over and over so I will end now
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Old 01-08-2004, 10:25 PM   #65
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I have to say the only times I have really enjoyed a classless system (note: there were still some predefined/limiting race based skills/abils) was when the number of skills were limited.

A characters skills determined suitability for a profession.

1 Skill point was enough to learn a skill, but if you wanted to learn it beyond an amature level you had to spend a lot of time and points), you could improve a skill by use, but only up to a point (not strictly true, it did continue to improve, but at a rate of about 1/1000th of a pct per succesful increase), if you wanted to go up to the next bracket for that skill it would cost 5 skp, and then 10 to go to expert, then 20 to master, and so on... A character got 15skp to start and 1 per level. it was possible to be skilled in alot of things, but like the saying "Jack of all trades, master of none", and it worked, there were soldiers (swordsmen, spearmen, cavalry, pathfinders), craftsmen (carpenters, weaponsmiths, armoursmiths, blacksmiths, jewelers, chefs),  joat's (Jack of all.... - who tended to be fairly useless except as bagage handlers), even a couple of sage type chars (extensive language skills), healers

Just an example I guess
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Old 01-10-2004, 09:34 PM   #66
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I've never had anything to do with the Administration of a MU* of any kind, so this idea is completely based on my experience as a player, and a occassional builder/coder for my own enjoyment. However, in my mind the best system would be one that is basically classless at the code level, but effectively class based at the playing level.

By this I mean, that the administration of skills/classes should fall to player organizations and not just to code. The general skills would be accessible to everyone and anyone can gain any skill that they like. However, in order to do this they need to find someone IC to teach the skill to them. There would be no NPC teachers, at least not for specialized skills, and gaining a skill, and increasing it past certain levels would both require learning from a Human instructor (An action that would be ideally combined with Instruction RP.)

Instead of gaining skillpts, or XP, or something like that, players who were sufficiently skilled in a particular /skillset/ would receive a certain number of teaching points/time period (perhaps including a dependence on a teaching skill level as well). They could then teach another player for a certain number of Teaching points based on their evaluation of the effectiveness of the RP.

The specialized skills would then be placed in the hands of Player Organizations and the dissemination of those skills would be determined by the decisions of those organizations. This would lead to a great divergance of the availability of skills, that isn't available in other systems. For instance:

-A Metalworkers guild may exist, but mostly for trade purposes. The learning of Metalworking skills would likely involve paying the guild to set you up with a Master Smith, to be apprenticed to.

-A Religious Order may have access to healing abilities and magic. They may decide to freely teach the some initial healing abilities for free or a small donation of time or money to charity, but keep back the higher level skills out of fear that they will be misused.

-A group of reclusive magic users may refuse to teach anyone their secrets. Even forcing those who wish to join their circle to spend several years in apprenticeship before being taught even the most basic of magical abilities.

While not exactly class-based, this would help keep things a lot more IC than just having NPC teachers scattered about the realms, who you can spend some skillpoints at to suddenly gain a new skill completely unrelated to anything you've done before.

There are obviously lots of issues with this system, as there would be with any system. But I think it would allow for a lot of good RP opportunities. It would also help give the skill setup a feeling of authenticity and realism, and allow players to effect the evolution of the world on a larger level.

Some of the big problems that I foresee with a system like this are:

1)It would require a fairly large playerbase to sustain itself without a lot of Admin involvement in teaching and the like, Especially if a lot of skills are available

2)Like any automated system it is suseptible to those who refuse to play according to the rules (ie. teaching without IC reason and/or without RP'ing the actual lesson.

3)The system could rapidly devolve into a simple classless system over time, or quite rapidly if groups decide not to protect the value of their skills. Keeping the number of teaching points that individuals can get to a low value may help protect against this.

4) Not really a problem, but an issue. Permadeath would be necessary for the system to work. The guilds have to have the ability to dissuade those who leave the guild from teaching protected skills to people who shouldn't have them. If killing the person only temporarily sets them back, then control of the skills could very easily be lost.
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Old 05-21-2004, 07:10 PM   #67
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I believe that most of this revolves around two things:
1.What kind of MU* you'll have,
2.How many players you're actually counting on having... Although this last is near impossible to determine, an idea of the number of players you'd like to have is ok too. Like, for example, if it's an RP MU*, it isn't going to be very fun without at least 10 or 15 people(depending on the size of your MUD) at all times..and if it's both, I'm not really sure, depends on the players style. Hack'n'slash doesn't revolve around that many players unless you're leaning towards group runs and stuff like that. I like the classless system, but to an extent. Like you could just create as a "neutral" character, with only basic classes, then sort of "evolve" whichever way you want after playing a while. But, of course, you'd have to have alot of choices to keep people for more than a few weeks... Also, the IC teachers is a good idea, but it could destroy a MUD without enough players to sustain it. This is all my opinion so ignore or listen to as you like . One more thing, I usually stick around MUD's that are constantly changing and improving. If it doesn't change, it'll eventually become stale and kinda like those imitation MUD's that are basically prefabricated .Oh, yeah, also(heh ), have friendly staff members...no grouches or people who are just there for no reason except torturing and taunting people...

Anyway, hope your mud is successful.
P.S: let me know the address when it's done, I'd like to see what you make of all of this *points towards the 7 pages of debate*
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Old 05-25-2004, 10:49 AM   #68
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Question

I've always found that classed systems are better, not only do they foster a more communal feeling which is good for introducing newbies to the realms as a whole, but they also allow for specific goals without over-wealming people with too many choices.

A few classless systems I've experienced give such a multitude of options that it's extremely difficult to make a choice what to focus on, and you are likely to regret it later thinking 'I wish I'd done that instead'.

Ultimately classed systems offer more structure and a firmer foundation, and prevent newbies from being overwealmed with choices whilst still giving enough to be interesting.

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Old 05-26-2004, 05:51 AM   #69
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I've often wondered how a classless, level-less skill-based system would go. My idea was this:

A player chooses to learn a skill - e.g. Magery. This gives them the basic ability to learn magic, and would probably be given to them by a mage master or school of some kind. You could put a requirement into the master/school itself rather than inherent in the magery skills themselves which would stop or limit people joining up with every type of school.

Just by joining a magery school doesn't stop you from trying out the topiary school or becoming a warrior - it just gives you an ability to learn how to wield the items in that class (spells in magery, weapon handling and fighting styles as a warrior, and shears and fertaliser use for topiary, presumably).

Then your skill is based on how much you use given items within that school. For example (in magery again), you might have health, flame, mana, transport and ice based spells. These would be broken down into various types of spells in each spell class. Using a particular heal spell would increase your proficiency in that spell, but also affect *any* heal spell by a lesser amount, and *any* magic type to an even lesser amount. E.g. Say using a heal increases your proficiency in that spell by 2% (for a successful heal). It might also increase your procifiency in Healing class (thereby increasing any spells in that class to a degree) by 0.05%, and increase your proficiency in Magery (hence all your mage spells) by 0.01%. This would be weighted against a players inherint abilities - so that a player with a higher "intelligence" ability would learn faster (by a balanced percentage based on their attribute distribution) than a player with a higher "strength".

Players would still therefore need start out choosing certain attributes for their character - a roll of the dice, or a fixed pool which can be assigned to various attributes - health, intelligence, strength, magic resisitance, dexterity, etc.

It would mean that if a player started out with all the attributes of a warrior (classically high strength, dexterity but less intelligence, magic) but decided late in play to become a scholar, he would probably have to work harder to increase his skill in that school, as his base attributes make it harder to progress in areas that rely on them.

I think this would lead to a game that leads to more concentration on the skills that one is good at, and less of a game (especially later at higher skills) where most players end up having fairly similar stengths and weaknesses, regardless of their class. In a class based system a high level mage has lots of mana and heal spells and some powerful fighting spells, which is kind of like the warrior classes armour and weapon handling. In a classless system, a good warrior could still increase his magic resistance by learning magery and use magic resist spells over and over - they wouldn't inherently get good at healing or fire spells, though those levels would very slowly increase too. It could even end up broadening the diversity of character types - people can get exceptionally good in one skill but still remain terrible in another skill, and related skills slightly affect each other. People would have to rely on their individual skills rather than the skills given to them by levelling or inherent in a class.
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Old 07-06-2004, 11:48 PM   #70
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I think that classed systems are definitely the best in most muds just because of the structure that they add. The one exception that I see to this is in RP muds. Classes and levels are things that don't actually exist in real life. You get skills because you learn them, not because you're a level 50 fighter so you get such and such a skill and it should be the same in an RP mud. I'm not saying that RP muds can't be done with classes, its just that in general they are much better when done without them.
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Old 08-05-2004, 07:10 PM   #71
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I find that overall, classless systems are much more realistic than those that have classes, because it's simply more logical. For example, I'm a fairly strong guy, and according to the majority of class-based muds I've played that wouldn't make me so good at things that require a lot of intelligence i.e. magic....But I'm also in full IB in my school, and believe you me, that's not for average people, heck maybe not even above average(I don't want to boast, but it's true).

Classless systems allow for a more customizable<?> character, and that makes more sense. After all, I can decide to be a magician/thug, or a battlemage..blahblahblah, without actually belonging to a class.





As for the rp thing, class based systems rely more on code, which may somehow limit the importance given to rp. Classless systems are much more adaptable, but I've noticed that in certain forms of combat a certain class has an advantage over another, and that shouldn't be.




Bottom line is, class systems rely more on code, more importance is given to the class rather than the individual, which limits a character's individuality. i mean why can't there be strong mages, or highly intelligent warriors. Classless systems are all about the individual, you can be decent at everything, good at something and bad at another, you can be one of the best swordmen in the land AND a powerful mage......Class systems are too restricting, and that just messes with rp.


I'll add more later.
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Old 08-05-2004, 08:37 PM   #72
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I find that overall, classless systems are much more realistic than those that have classes, because it's simply more logical.
That's an over-generalisation. There is nothing more or less realistic about class-based systems as a concept, only about specific implementations.
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Old 08-05-2004, 09:06 PM   #73
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Bottom line is, class systems rely more on code, more importance is given to the class rather than the individual, which limits a character's individuality. i mean why can't there be strong mages, or highly intelligent warriors. Classless systems are all about the individual, you can be decent at everything, good at something and bad at another, you can be one of the best swordmen in the land AND a powerful mage......Class systems are too restricting, and that just messes with rp.
I would have to disagree with this, while I prefer classless systems, it is only when they are limited, and there is no rule that says a class based system has to limit stats (for example you could have a bright yet weak warrior, he'd suck in melee combat using a broadsword with a style that relies on brute strength. H*LL you could even use it as a background for better RP, he joind the guard because his father made him do it, he is more suited to being a clergyman/mage/clerk, but he he is - actually come to think of it, we had a guy like this in my platoon *ponder*).

Classless systems can be really lame if there is no limit to what can be learnt. It takes time and effort to be a master smith/swordsman/mage/dancer/... and I fell a game supposedly based around RP should reflect this. I agree there should be no impediment to trying to do all of these, but you've surely heard the phrase "Jack of all trades, master of none", it should be possible to be a mediocre ballet warrior smith mage, but to master them all (with all the study/practice that would/should be required...) is a bit of a stretch.
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Old 08-05-2004, 09:44 PM   #74
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ASIDE: Isn't it funny how whenever discussions of this volatile topic come up, "classless" is always the more popular choice, yet the most popular and successful games on the market have classes.

I think it was one of the SWG developers who said: "It is pointless to try and create a completely classless game. The players will just end up creating their own."

Unless I misunderstood KaVir's points here, I agree with him that the real question is one of implementation.

Class based systems can be extremely flexible and allow enormous customization. This is particularly true if people are allowed to respec skills or change their class.

Similarly, classless systems can end up having so few "viable" builds that the game ends up having very few options. If everyone ends up having pretty much the same skills, trained up to pretty much the same degree, then you really haven't provided people with much customization.

It all comes down to the implementation. That is far more important than whether or not you have classes. Both types of systems can have extensive customization if designed well. Both can be extremely limiting and restrictive if designed poorly.
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Old 08-06-2004, 08:56 AM   #75
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ASIDE: Isn't it funny how whenever discussions of this volatile topic come up, "classless" is always the more popular choice, yet the most popular and successful games on the market have classes.
I don't think that alone is necessarily a viable argument - after all, there are plenty of highly popular roleplaying systems which don't use classes. I suspect it's more a case of classless systems being more difficult to balance; many players would prefer the ability to train whatever skills they like, but most implementations out there don't do a few good job.

Also worth noting is the point I made back on page 7 - that there are many implementations that fall somewhere in between traditional class-based and true classless, and IMO neither extreme is a particularly good solution.

Having said that, traditional class-based systems do have one strong advantage as far as muds are concerned - they force players into choosing specific strengths and weaknesses. This allows certain challenges to be designed in such a way that no single player can take them on alone. The only real advantage of pure classless is that of balance, although that would work well for a pure PK mud assuming other forms of customisation were available.

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I think it was one of the SWG developers who said: "It is pointless to try and create a completely classless game. The players will just end up creating their own."
But surely that is the very purpose of a classless system? To allow players to create whatever "class" they wish to have, rather than being confined to one of the classes defined by the developers?

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Unless I misunderstood KaVir's points here, I agree with him that the real question is one of implementation.
My comment was made more in regards to the "realistic/logical" argument. There is nothing inherently unrealistic or illogical about classes as such, only about specific implementations. For example I cannot see any logical excuse for why a warrior cannot learn thief skills. But I would not consider it illogical to prevent mages and clerics from learning each others spells, assuming a valid storyline reason was given such as "deities don't allow their clerics to study or use non-holy magic".
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Old 08-17-2004, 06:52 AM   #76
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It seems to me that, while players on a whole (at least by this poll) prefer classless systems, class-based ones are easier to get to grips with, and thus end up the more popular games by retaining their newbie population.

Is it worth discussing the types of classing systems other games use to compromise between these two extremes?

Two games with interesting class systems that spring to mind for me are Star Wars Galaxies, and Heroes of Might and Magic IV.

In SWG, players choose a starting class, and a number of "skill points". Then, from their experiences, they may allocate these skill points towards either mastery of a class, or indeed use them to start a parallel progression in another class.

HoMM4 isn't a mud, but is a game that has the player control a number of classable characters. Each character starts off with a base class, and can advance in that each time they gain a level, or may advance in any of several other classes. Once a character specialises in two classes, his overall class changes, giving him a new set of bonuses. For example, a character specialising in both Chaos Magic and Tactics becomes a "Pyromancer", gaining a 50% reduction in personal damage from fire-based effects.

Any other interesting systems out there?
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Old 08-21-2004, 12:17 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by (Kastagaar @ Aug. 17 2004,06:52)
It seems to me that, while players on a whole (at least by this poll) prefer classless systems, class-based ones are easier to get to grips with, and thus end up the more popular games by retaining their newbie population.
Don't you think it is far more likely that class based systems are more popular because that is what "players on a whole" prefer?

A poll on a site like this is not very valuable at all for analyzing any sort of trend. The group answering the poll is self-selected, which makes any results inherently worthless.

Personally, I like both class based and classless systems. It all depends upon the implementation.

Also, I think the distinction you make is simply taking one aspect of preference and treating it as something unrelated. If one type of system is "easier to get to grips with" that is a major reason why people would prefer it.
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Old 08-21-2004, 04:00 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by (Threshold @ Aug. 21 2004,18:17)
Quote:
Originally Posted by (Kastagaar @ Aug. 17 2004,06:52)
It seems to me that, while players on a whole (at least by this poll) prefer classless systems, class-based ones are easier to get to grips with, and thus end up the more popular games by retaining their newbie population.
Don't you think it is far more likely that class based systems are more popular because that is what "players on a whole" prefer?
Post hoc. Many of the more popular muds have classes, but there's nothing to suggest that those classes are the reason for the mud's popularity.

Equally, many of the least popular muds have classes, but there's nothing to suggest that those classes are the reason for their lack of popularity.

A muds popularity is the combination of many different factors. Were you to remove classes from your mud and replace them with an alternative (yet equally well-balanced) approach to character creation, I suspect you wouldn't notice much overall difference in playerbase.
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Old 08-23-2004, 05:03 AM   #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Threshold @ Aug. 21 2004,18:17)
Don't you think it is far more likely that class based systems are more popular because that is what "players on a whole" prefer?
I did say "at least by this poll". Perhaps it would have read better if I'd written "experienced players on a whole..." since that is more indicative of the types of people that voted on the topic.
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Old 08-30-2004, 02:34 PM   #80
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First of all, one thing I don't like about class-based systems is that many of them have, level 1: you get so-and-so skill, level 3: you get so-and-so skill. Everybody from each class is like a clone and there fellow members of their class isn't much variety. Now, there are many class-based muds that break away from this and allow plenty of variety and I believe that in most muds a classed-based system that allows for variety is the best way to go. The one exception is with RP oriented muds. I think these are best with classless systems. Why do I think this classless is good for RP muds and not for H&S? Well, one of the problems with classless systems is that people choose the "best" skills and everybody ends up still being a clone. In a good RP-based mud, people don't do this, they pick skills based on the way they want to RP for the most part and so this isn't really a problem. Also, RPIs tent to be more realistic and classes aren't really that realistic. Classed based systems confine characters to imaginary confines that don't exist in the real world. Why do I have to be either a thief or a warrior or..., why not something else?
Even worse is a RP mud that is class based with levels and xp. I don't even want to got there as it just makes no sense in an RP environment. I have to say Armageddon has one of the best done class-based systems I've seen in an RPI and this is because it allows for more specialization and variety and more realism. Even so, I think it would be better if classes were removed.
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