Grand Master Alchemist StateAlchemist2 wrote:
I don't enjoy being told that I can use almost anything on any class, but I can't use everything from my class at once, and if I do want something from another class, I have to give up even more of my class' defining qualities.
Definitely didn't play Blue Mage?
The only challenge to customization is balance, and for FFXIV they have adopted (perhaps unknowingly) an ideal system to promote ability balance-- that is, that equipping abilities is associated with a cost. For example, assume that to equip Light Strike, you wouldn't have enough points left to equip a decent healing ability. This system is perfect for easy balance because it doesn't require complex coding changes-- just a simple value change.
The more I think about it the more I think taking a hint from how Blue Mage was handled would be the best route. Blue Mages equipped their spells with set points just like abilities are equipped in FFXIV; however, spells also gave stat boosts and when combined properly activated passive traits. Take this to the next level.
What is the upside of having a free form system? Customization
, the point is that we should be able to create unique characters that tackle various distinct roles in interesting and unique ways. Classes and roles do not need to be synonymous.
Currently we pick and chose abilities based on the merit of the ability alone, not whether it fits in with the rest of our abilities in form or function. With free roam to pick any ability we chose we will always chose those pinnacle abilities from each class, the ones that really shine. With fundamental mechanical differences in the way certain classes play and the way gear and stats work, what ends up happening is, sure there is a lot of abilities to chose from, but there are only a handful of abilities one should actually set on any given class.
What is the solution then? Provide incentives and bonuses for setting abilities with a particular role in mind.
What does this entail? It's actually rather simple. If we focus on setting healing abilities, give us passive increases to curing potency, cast time, MP, things that will make us a stronger healer. If we focus on defensive abilities give us reduction to damage taken, etc etc. Either completely replace the existing trait system or reconcile the two systems together. And I don't believe these passive traits and tiers need to be reserved for taking specific trinity based paths. Equipping healing spells might reduce one's enmity generation but a passive trait might cancel that and increase enmity generated from heals for those wishing to take a paladin-esque approach. Setting both offensive magic and offensive melee moves might give traits that lend themselves to a mixed approach, generating TP from spell damage etc.
Furthermore, stats need to matter. It is remarkable to me how useless stats were made in an attempt to combat the fact that they gave their players free reign to change their own base stats. All they in fact should have done was increased the amount of stats given by gear so as to largely overshadow a player's personal stats. Instead we have a tiny stat boosts on our gear for stats that are already rather worthless.
What do stats and gear have to do with the suggested trait system? Everything, the idea behind the trait system is to incentivize the player to have a distinct ROLE in mind. Gear should compliment this entirely. The answer is not to make more class specific gear, but to make more ROLE supporting gear. If I choose to wear plate armor as a mage I should see a big drop in my magic potency and a large boost in my defense, if I choose to wear robes on my gladiator I should see much more potent magic at the expense of my physical damage mitigation, etc.
Freedom of stat distribution could be done away with almost entirely, and instead have stats derive primarily from the gear we wear and the abilities we equip. If we choose to equip defensive abilities and plate armor, we should be strong tanks. If we choose to equip healing magic and robes we should be strong healers, regardless of what weapon we wiled. Final Fantasy has a history of interesting hybrid characters. Don't make us don very specific classes, let us chose very specific roles that we may swap through depending on what gear and abilities we have available to us.
I think in the end it would please everyone if implemented properly. People are afraid of homogeneity, for the most part won't most adventurers choose a hybrid lifestyle? Well yes, for general solo and low man adventuring having a variety of abilities at your disposal is often going to be the best approach. There's nothing bad about this though. Choosing light leather armor as a gladiator, and setting some healing and support abilities seems appropriate for adventuring, while donning a thick metal cuirass and focusing on powerful defensive abilities to keep a dragon's attention as my company and I dispatch it .
In this way gear and abilities become about preparing for the situation ahead, as they ought to. "Situational" was a term so fondly associated with gear in FFXI, but gear was swapped on the fly per ability. Let us swap our gear and abilities as we prepare to don a new role for a new battle.
In end game where tiers of potent passive traits would be necessary to perform a role properly one would have to chose a distinct role. Someone sporting a mixture of healing magic, offensive magic and offensive melee moves would not be able to heal and keep up with the damage on a tank during a huge raid where someone setting specifically healing magic and wearing robes would. The first character would either don the role of a jack of all trades "filling in the gaps" character or have to set themselves to more of a specific role for those endgame encounters.
Those who want to take the role of FF's more distinct classes would have their answer as well. If one could actually be a gladiator and wear leather and cloth and set magic in tiers that would make them able to be used potently, one has the look and style of play as a Red Mage. A Marauder mixing Thaumaturgy and Conjury properly could achieve the look and style of play of a Dark Knight. These things seemed possible with the armoury system but it's inherent flaws prevent it. With these adjustments these goals could be achieved and more. Specific hybrid gear could even be created that supports certain amalgamations in both aesthetic and stats. Even more though, is possible, you might suggest "why do I need to level so many skills in order to assemble the class I want to play, why not just make Red Mage a class?" This system allows even greater freedom, wield the bow and focus on healing magic a la Rosa from FFIV, focus on hand to hand weapons and elemental magic a la "Assassin" from FFTA2 etc.
If I see a girl run by with a sword and a buckler and some robes on and then I see her flinging fire balls and striking with her sword it's very obvious to me what her role is, she's a hybrid magic swordsman. If I see a guy fighting a big dragon with a lance wearing plate armor and using defensive moves and parrying attacks I know what his role is, he's focused on two handed tanking.
Let not the weapon we hold define everything that we are. Let everything that we are; our appearance, our abilities, define us.
If our gear and skills defined our roles that would be best.
[quote]I wouldn't even mind if they further removed class distinction so that you don't actually learn abilities from leveling your class, but instead learn abilities through the completion of quests/leves/etc. If this game is just going to copy concepts that have already been done over and over, it's never going to rise beyond a very small niche of players... never even be more successful than FFXI.
Final Fantasy 9/FFTA, let us learn abilities from our weapons. We must equip a burning rod and Fire becomes available, accumulate a certain amount of SP and master that ability. Don't make physical levels less important, make them more important. And put physical level requirements on weapons. A drastic change, but sometimes drastic measures are necessary. It's such a distinctly different route to take than most MMOs I think it would be a breath of fresh air. Training with a specific weapon to unlock a specific ability. Collecting and mastering many abilities. it fits the system very well, and it also allows the player to pursue the specific abilities they want, instead of having to level through many levels of junk just to get one thing they want. Clear out the chaff, it would really make the design team have to consider the merit of an ability, as no ability would really function as "filler" the way they do now. Edited, Feb 20th 2011 11:51pm by RamseySylph