Classes will be based on traditional High Fantasy classes that we've all seen in various MMOGs, MUDs, paper & pencil games, and novels.
They also provide a way to group like skills and abilities.
Roles are higher level and part of our approach to ensure each class has a part to play in casual, group, and raid situations. In the past, issues dealing with hybrids vs. specialists, especially in the elder game, have been problematic. Our approach with Vanguard will be to better define core roles and to make sure we have different, interesting classes-- they'll be important in most scenarios, regardless of level, setting, or casual/group/raid areas.
Source: Official FAQ
Classes in Vanguard are based around the idea of Jobs. There are 4 main jobs: Protective Fighter - Tank Offensive Fighter - Melee DPS Healer - Healing Arcane Caster - DPS, some buffing
All of our classes fill a role in the Job system. Each member of a job (e.g., Rogue and Ranger are both offensive Fighters) fulfils their primary job with the same proficiency as any other member of the same job. Since the Protective Fighter's primary job is tanking, all classes that fall into this category tank with more or less the same proficiency. There may be times when the Warrior tanks better than another protective fighter, but as a general rule, in most cases, if you need a tank for your group any of the protective fighters can fill the role.
The next part is very important to understand. I mentioned primary job in the previous paragraph. This is important to note, because while each class must perform his primary job with the same skill as any other member of his job, the secondary roles of the class can and will vary wildly. This allows us a lot of options when making the classes.
The job system does some wonderful things for group creation. No more looking for that one class that you MUST in order to accomplish your plans. Need an offensive fighter? Grab one. Each one will not only perform his role as damage dealer, but he will also bring his own unique factor to the group's synergistic combat dynamic.
Homogenous classes is an easy pitfall to land in, especially when we are trying to avoid the "best class" scenario. Rest assured that we see the pitfall and we are giving it a wide breadth. The job system is pretty transparent. To use the Rogue and the Ranger as examples: They play so differently that you forget that they are filling the same role.
To answer the other questions -
Classes - Choose your class when you begin the game. No branching, no subclasses.
Skills - Each class gets many skills pools and a large amount of points to invest in those pools. As you level skill caps raise and you are given more points to invest, but not enough to max everything. So choose the type of Ranger you want to be by allocating skill points into the pools that will make you the class you want to be.
With adventuring there are four core jobs. In that sense, there is somewhat of a holy quartet. You will ideally want at least one class from each job. Our goal is to make each class in a job distinct in style, abilities, and feel yet still in the majority of cases do the job as well as another class in that job.
Quite a variety, Vanguard features classes which are restricted based upon which race you are, and we have a long list of races to support: Dwarf, Kurashasa, High Elf, Dark Elf, Wood Elf, Gnome, Goblin, Half Elf, Half Giant, Halfling, Kojan Humar, Thestra Human, Qalia Human, Mordebi Human, Orc, Raki, Vulmane, Thestra Barbarian, Qalia Barbarian.
First, it's important to point out that Vanguard is a 'multi-sphere' game, where at any given time your character actually has three classes: adventuring, crafting, and diplomacy. Also our primary goal isn’t to create a perfect, balanced class system.
At character creation, the emphasis will be on choosing your name, race, and gender. This will determine where you start out in the world.
Once you are in the world, for a certain number of levels (to be determined -- not too many, but not too few), you will be able to visit guild masters and change either class in the three spheres in order to get a better feeling for the way they play.
At any time during this process, or at the end, you can commit to each class in each sphere; you will also commit to certain attributes. After that, there's no going back for that character.
Once a class in each sphere is chosen, it's important to note that you do not possess the capabilities of both spheres simultaneously; rather, you choose which sphere you are going to play at various locations and then are committed to that sphere until you return to such a location. Locations will typically be cities, villages, outposts and the like.
You pick your class for each sphere, including diplomacy, when you create your character (and then will have some chance of changing your mind at very low levels).
Source: Aradune Mithara
You will be able to choose another class during the first levels but this is key:
You can't, I don't believe, change your race.
We are NOT ARAC. Class selection will be based on race chosen.
Also, what race you choose determines where you start. If you start in an area where, say, rangers don't start, it is unlikely you will be able to switch to a class that is not supported in that region. – 27 October 2005
Vanguard does NOT use a tree system. Classes are derived from core jobs, but they don't branch. Each class can perform as well as the other at their core job in the vast majority of cases so we avoid the specialist vs. generalist problem, but outside of that they are specifically being designed to feel and play differently. Shamans and clerics and do different things, for example. And then, even when we're talking about those core areas where they do share a job (healing in this case), they go about healing very differently. So far in beta people have liked the different feel we are getting from the classes. This is very important as well, because replayability is very important to us. We want players to have multiple characters. By playing different classes and races, and by starting in different parts of the world, your experience should indeed feel different and be compelling. -27 November 2005
A heavy fighter should be able to tank as well as any other heavy fighter class in most situations, special situations being the exception not the rule (say, a paladin DOES tank better against undead). At the same time, your classes abilities will both feel and work differently so you will need to choose different tactics when tanking, even though you are technically doing the same job. This is so different classes with the same job don't feel or play the same.
Source: Aradune Mithara
All 4 of the protective fighters do their primary role equally well, however it's HOW they perform this role that makes the flavors different. Secondary roles also provide a great deal of flexibility in playstyle for players as do your other non-primary role abilities.
I've said this before.. you guys need to get the EQ model out of your head to a large extent, as we're taking new approaches to the old standards. I think you'll be pleased.
All heavy fighters, given equal gear, buffs, attribute allocation, and race will take a hit equally. The differences are in the way they go about doing their secondary roles, and what they do best.
Ideally.. we want a given heavy fighter type to be situationally preferred, but not preferred in ALL situations.
The heavy fighters all tank equally well. It's how they go about their other activities that really define the class. You will still have reasons for wanting one tank over another given a specific situation, but all of them will take a punch just as well as the others.
One of our challenges giving melee classes a lot of abilities (which are to some degree analagous to caster's spells) is to make them feel different, play different, and look different -- just because you have these options of what to do in combat, etc. should NOT mean that you feel like a caster. This is challenging, but a high priority for us.
"There is no notion of a “pure healer” in Vanguard. All healing classes (Cleric, Shaman, Disciple, Blood Mage) all heal with roughly the same proficiency. Each class then has other aspects of their gameplay that differentiate them from the rest."
Vanguard healers will be cut from a different cloth than most other game's healers. We really wanted the healer's game to be something other than healing bot.
Our combat system allows us to take the focus off of the traditional MMO paradigm of Tanking, Healing, DPS. While each of these is still important, interaction within the group and the player's ability to react to the NPC will play a larger role. We can make things more challenging without increasing NPC hitpoints and damage alone. Games of the past only gave you a few options - Aggro it, Nuke it, Heal us, etc.
This allows us to reduce the focus of healing in combat. It is still needed in combat, but you won't spend all of your time managing the red bars. Instead you will be engaging the NPCs and healing when needed.
Each healer class (Cleric is one of them) will engage in combat differently.
It may be that some people like doing nothing but managing the red bars. If that is the case, then you can still do that, but there will be many things that you could be doing if you chose to.
You will absolutely need a healer in group situations.
I wouldn't want to see us stray too far from what has traditonally worked well in MMOGs and MUDs before that. Healing adds a dimension to combat where you not only have to worry about the mob, but also the well being of your group members (and not just pure healing... rescue, intervene, etc. comes into play).
Where healing has had problems is when it becomes too important, or certain high level healing spells have gotten far too powerful. As most of you know first hand, this leads to a lot of problems (complete heal, etc.). We definitely want to avoid going that far and, as always, will strive for a solid balance. - August 2005
Shamans and clerics and do different things, for example. And then, even when we're talking about those core areas where they do share a job (healing in this case), they go about healing very differently.
Non-travel related teleportation (evacs, CoH, etc.) are class specific, but also mostly spread out across all of the mage classes.
Yes, CoH (Call of the Hero) type spells are in and hopefully more similar spells. Being able to keep your group together is an important goal for us. Also, being able to bring other players in the same dungeon to you to join your group as perhaps some of your group members have to bail as it's getting later is key. At the same time, there are some restrictions as if we go too far with this, this sort of thing can end up being exploitable.
- January 2006
I'm hoping I'm not overstepping my bounds here (and I'm sure Talisker will let me know if I am ), but your spells are going to grow with you in both power and appearance. But it's not going to be just a rank on an existing spell.. You're going to get new spells with new function, new form, and many times new appearance. Where's the excitement of getting a new spell if it looks the same as the last one?
I posted on this a while back..there will be clothing, armor, hats, and other visable gear for casters. There will be some robes, but we certainly aren't stopping there.
The robe seen in these shots is getting changed (there is supposed to be an under layer that fills in the split middle), along with one other bugged set you guys haven't seen yet. Lots of new gear in the works.
As neat as this would be in-game, there are so many technical hurdles that it would be hard to do. Things like; how do you integrate it into the score properly? Do you then need a bard harmony part for each area in the game that has different music in a different key? What if you have 2 bards playing at the same time? Do they play the same line, or do they harmonize? How many levels of this can you support, if there are like half a dozen bards on screen? Nothing has been ruled out yet, and we've had several discussions concerning how to approach bard music in-game. Music duels would be cool though.
I wouldn't worry about comparing our Berserker with that of EQ's, nor is our Berserker just a modified warrior. Make no mistakes.. the Berserker is all about punishing the enemy. Damage is his business.
The best way I can describe our Berserker is an offensive fighter that thrives on taking damage. In fact.. the more damage he takes, the more damage he can dish out. Playing the Berserker will be HARD. You are likely going to die more than other classes while learning how to play. That said.. a well played Berserker is going to be SCARY in their ability to do damage.
The Berserker is not a tank. It is an offensive fighter class that deals MAJOR damage.
One of the ways a Berserker can control their level of rage is to delay heals upon them.. or sometimes even ignore them completely. - October 2005
Hehe.. It WILL be a tough class to play well.. and a poorly played Berserker is going to be dead a lot. - October 2005
"The Blood Mage is still a pretty closely guarded secret. I can say that he will be able to use his own life and the life of enemies to heal and buff his allies. He will be the most arcane flavoured of our healers, so unlike the Shaman, Cleric and Disciple he will be a very poor melee combatant. He will make up for this with powerful direct damage spells."
In addition to healing dutiesThe Cleric is mainly a martial combatant, using specialized attacks and spells that will augment his damage and accuracy. He can also choose to use spells to damage and debuff his opponents.
Sometimes you'll want your cleric in melee, and sometimes he'll be out of mana and need to engage anyway. We're trying not to have situations where one class does only one thing and then disengages, rests, gets bored, etc. when doing that one thing isn't appropriate or impossible because mana or stamina or some such is used up.
"The Disciple, on the other hand, is quite proficient at combat. While he does not deal near the damage of an offensive fighter, he can still make a valuable contribution to the melee damage output of the group. He also excels at the refocusing the attacks of his enemies into debilitating debuff effects. Opponents should be wary of trying to attack a Disciple – it may end up be a horrible mistake."
We know this isn't exactly what you guys are talking about re: druids, but it made us think of the other day when we were testing pilotable ships and messing with wind speed and direction -- it occurred to us how cool it will be to have a druid on board to help you influence the wind to your favor and perhaps even increase its speed via higher level spells... Concepts like this are what we feel distinguish Vanguard from its competitors.
Source: Aradune Mithara
See also: Fansite dedicated to Druids - August 2005
"We're keeping under wraps are the more exotic classes. The exception would be the Psionicist which we did get in and working and enough testing time such that we're very happy with him, so we announced him. Prior to that, though, we knew we wanted Psionics, but we also set a standard for ourselves, that it couldn't be just like magic but called something else (as we've seen in other games) -- the class really needed to feel and operate differently and even employ different tactics."-- May 2005
At this point in time there is no "archer" class in Vanguard. That's not saying that the ranger, or other classes will are not going to be very skilled with a bow or other ranged weapons - but it will not be their sole focus.
The Vanguard Ranger is not a Hybrid of Fighter and Druid. He has incredible martial prowess, coupled with great Ranged attacks. From close or far range he is deadly. While he may live in the wild, he does not commune with nature the way a Druid would. Instead he has gained abilities that allow him to track and to hunt using stealth. The Ranger does gain spells, which allow him to augment his performance, as well as increase his allies' capabilities.
He's a fighter, who lives in and utilizes nature, but is not the tree-hugger many games have turned him into lately. While he has ranged attacks, he is not purely a ranged fighter.
What do you want to focus on as, for example, a ranger. Do you want to be the bowmaster? Or how about the dual wielding damage dealer? Or how about the scout with incredible perception and other abilities/spells that help you determine what lays ahead, or where something went. While Rangers are Rangers, you will be able to specialize to a degree, and certainly focus on one skill or the other, as well as focusing on collecting one type of item over the other (although I'm sure the power gamer will max in it all) -
My initial thoughts for the Rogue were combat based - these are reflected in my interview with Fricka (Safehouse rogue interview). When it came time to actually code rogues all sorts of other goodies were included.
Right now there is not a plan for crafted poisons. If I say that a particular trade is the maker of poisons then all rogues will think they need to be that trade in order to truly excel at their class. Darrin and I have had many discussions about the role of rogue poisons in Vanguard and the last decision made we both believe is the right way to go for now. –
I think it would have been better to say that 'all healers will heal equally well, all things considered, but to different degrees, styles, and flavors depending upon the situation'. That way, you can have a situation where a Shaman is superior to a Cleric, or the Cleric is superior to a Shaman, but you can't say that always or the vast majority of the time, when I'm forming my group, I want a Cleric and only a cleric. That's what we're trying to avoid.
You may want a cleric over a shaman because you know are planning to assault a specific encounter, but in general, when dungeon crawling and the like, you won't be as worried when you look at your group... you'll think you yourself 'ah, good, I have a healer -- we should be good in most situations'. And you still might find yourself in a situation where you had the wrong healer, and then, well, you learned about that part of the dungeon and will be better prepared next time.
Once the Sorcerer has mastered the 4 prime elements he will be able to begin combining them. The 4 base elements you know. The 4 para-elements are:
Magma - Earth and Fire
Mud - Earth and Water
Ice - Water and Air
Smoke - Fire and Air
There are more combinations that are know to exist but the knowledge of them has been lost. Search as they might the Sorcerers have not recovered all that was lost to them. Ancient manuscripts tell of Sorcerer's who could combine more than 2 elements, creating powerful quasi-elements. There is much to be discovered.
The warrior (as well as the other protective fighters) is the meat shield, the tank. He will however have DPS that WILL contribute to the fight when not in a tanking role. If any class is useless unless performing their specific role, then we have failed as designers, and quite honestly, we're not going to fail.
As a warrior for example, I have to keep watch for defensive reactions like my party members needing rescue (don't they always? ), reacting to my attack chains, using tactical maneuvers, taking advantages of NPC weakness or states that open up, and much more. Sometimes you get multiple options and have to then decide which is more important. The decision you make could mean the difference between winning the fight or running back to your corpse instead of the fight taking 2 minutes or 3 minutes.
You will definitely dodge things and parry things in Vanguard. The only adventuring animations I've implemented so far that are representative of final content are for the 2-handed swords. I have A LOT more to do once the motion capture data is fully processed. Even the impact on the target animations aren't done yet.
As far as gameplay goes.. I think if you watch it.. it can look slow.. It's not until you actually PLAY the game that you find out just how short the interval is between actions. Having played a warrior in EQ for 6+ years, I can tell you playing the warrior in Vanguard is ANYTHING but boring.
Lastly, as for the summoner, one of the reasons we're not as focused on that class is that we want summoned creatures, whether transient or persistent, to be available to most if not all classes and so we need to see where a class focused on summoning would fit in.
By defining core roles that each class needs to fit into, so we don't run into the hybrid/specialist problems we've seen in other games. Every class has a primary role it needs to fill and they can fill it very well
Source: Official FAQ
"Hybrids" in Vanguard are not really "Hybrids" -- every class has a primary role it needs to fill and they can fill it very well.
Possibly, but it will be situational. Again, going back to the system of roles, each class needs to serve a purpose in casual, group, and raid scenarios. As stated above, every class has a primary role it needs to fill and they can fill it very well.
So, yes, balance is very important to us, and always has been.
But we're also VERY aware of two important things:
1. you can never achieve true balance (we're just human, balance is somewhat subjective to the playerbase, these games evolve and change (moving target), etc and
2. While fun and relative balance often go hand in hand, if you have a situation where one has to 'win', we will choose fun.
Source: Aradune Mithara
The 'fitting classes into jobs' is much the same. Our primary goal isn’t to create a perfect, balanced class system; indeed, by choosing a class system for Vanguard, we knew going in that no matter what, some players would perceive (right or wrongly -- doesn't matter) that one class was inferior to another. We know there will be complaints like this, and we know that sometimes we won't be able to address those complaints. Likewise, when we do enhance or nerf a class, even if it turns out to be the right decision long term (and lets hope that doesn't happen often, and that we are usually right) that such decisions will piss some people off, no matter what.
Source: Aradune Mithara
Balance is obviously very important. but balance can mean different things. to me, making sure each class is wanted in groups and fun to play it more important than making sure, numbers-wise and running logs, etc. that they are truly balanced from a power standpoint. The latter is important but hard, and also requiring constant maintenance as other changes in the game can affect all of the classes or a subset of them. - 27 October 2005
Source: Aradune Mithara
The idea is that all members of a Job will perform that job with roughly equal proficiency. All Tanks will mitigate roughly the same. All healers will have roughly the same healing power. Each class, within its job is balanced by the tenants of the job.
That is where we stop looking at balance as critically. We have taken great care (and a bunch of time) to ensure that the gameplay is different from tank to tank, from healer to healer. Adding these differences creates classes that may or may not appeal to your playstyle, but functionally is not at a deficit when compared to others. When you are looking for a Tank to fill your group, any tank can perform the duty of damage mitigation, but each will bring a bunch of other things to the table as well. You will probably have favorites, but that prejudice will not be based on tanking ability. There will certainly be times when a Warrior works a little better than a Dread Knight for X encounter, but that is not generally the case.
Honestly, that is the most alluring thing about the job system to me. I want to play a Protective Fighter The choice is mine and has not been dictated to me by the creator of the game. I can choose any of the four and I know that I will always be needed anyplace that loot-carrying mobs hit players.
Heh, this is a fun one. We set off deciding that all classes should be able to solo with roughly the same ability. We are not living in a dream world and we know that this goal will not be attained as perfectly as we might like. Certainly within a job it will be easier to enforce this, but will a Warrior be able to solo as well as a Sorcerer? Probably not. We are trying our best to close the gaps between the classes that has existed in most other games.
Thankfully (for my sanity), Vanguard is focused on PvE, so we are less concerned about this. We will have some things in place to help balance out the traditional pitfalls that a PvE game has in this regard, but we realize that without a completely new game (and years to make it) a Warrior vs. Sorcerer wont always be balanced just right. – 28 October 2005
On this note we are actually intentionally not releasing additional class descriptions and lore pieces regarding specific classes. The class list is still subject to additions, subtractions, and transmogrifications (sp!).
Don't expect specific class lore for some time to come. We would rather keep fairly tight lipped on a lot of this stuff for the moment. There are a few reasons for this.
1. More information to release over time, on the official site and to affiliate websites.
2. Certain elements of the classes are subject to change during beta.
The classes are designed by Talisker, and then implemented by Talisker and myself. By working in this fashion, we are able to keep an overall view and balance amongst the classes so we don't wind up with something completely out of whack.
I think you run into more problems by having things developed in a vaccuum, such as having one dev per class.
Talisker designs the classes. That's his primary focus.
I implement classes. That's my primary focus.
Everything else we do is secondary to making sure adventuring classes are solid and fun to play. I think it's a good system that gives us the big picture on the game instead of an isolated look at a single class. -November 2005
I'm working on the Dread Knight right now as a matter of fact.. so it's coming along soon. I think people will be very happy with the design. I think I'll leave the descriptions and sekret sauce stuff to Talisker since he's the one behind the designs.
As for how they're implemented.. When Talisker finishes the final design specs, then I go to work. As far as which classes come first.. well that's partly what we need to have in game so we don't wind up with 4 tanks and 1 healer, or vice versa, and part scheduling on coding for the specialized needs for the class gameplay.-November 2005
Nothing is set in stone yet, but we're leaning towards dual wielding falling under the expertise of the light fighter, and two handed the heavy fighter, as well as using one handed plus shield. -27 November 2005