Frame of Mind

As I talked about in my last post, characters can learn any ability they want, provided they can find the NPC that teaches it (or learn it on their own). I don't want it to feel like characters are on the rails with class paths like in a lot of other games, but I also want it to feel like when you are playing as a Sage, it feels like playing a Sage and not a Warlock or Druid or Berserker just with a different name.

The character's "Frame of Mind" (What I'm calling it at the moment) is the class that a character considers him or her self to be at any given moment. Players can change their character's Frame of Mind at any point they wish to any class they wish, regardless of whether they have any abilities which belong to that class. Each Frame of Mind gives bonuses and penalties to every ability. I'll give an example.

The Assassin class is a third tier class. It requires the character to take three separate classes (Rogue, Fighter, and Mystic). Each of these three separate classes have their own completely separate feels to them. The Mystic is the spiritual class which relies on training the mind and soul through meditation. They are able to perform psychic abilities. The Rogue however is entirely different, relying on thievery, stealth, and staying out of combat. The Fighter relies on various hand to hand techniques in battle.

The Assassin class is meant to be a silent and deadly killing machine. They have the spiritual focus and martial arts skills of the Martialist (The Fighter/Mystic second tier hybrid) and the deadly dagger talents and stealth of the Slayer (The Fighter/Rogue second tier hybrid). They do not have thievery skills on par with the Rogue or the magical and psychic abilities of the Mystic. This is the purpose of the Frame of Mind. It gives bonuses to the Martial Arts, Daggers, Focus, and Stealth skills of these previous classes while giving penalties to the constituent class abilities which are not meant to be a part of the class.

The player will be able to switch their Frame of Mind at any time, but the switching time is fairly long (30 seconds-1 minute) and interruptible by any attack or ability made against them. If they are interrupted while switching, then they revert to a default No Frame state where abilities have no bonuses or penalties.

At the moment, this seems like the best system I've been able to come up with to make a system where players are almost completely unhindered by class decisions while still retaining the feel of playing different classes. The best part about it is that it is expandable. Expansions to the game, whether through expansion packs or just content updates allow for new Frames of Mind and their associated bonuses to be added. Classes which already have specific class combinations can share those combinations with new Frames of Mind which give bonuses and penalties to different sets of abilities for an entirely new class feel.

Of course, until I am able to learn programming and actually build a workable and playable model, I won't know if this is all an actual good idea or just a complete load of shit.

I am also considering having the magnitude of the bonuses and penalties be dependent on how many levels the player has attained in each class, up to a certain point.

In case you were wondering, this is the total class flow I've come up with so far. There are still some more ideas I want to work into here, and a great deal more combinations, but at the moment each class has a pure tier 3 class path, three tier two class paths (except Communer and Mystic which have 4), and a hybrid tier 3 class path (except Rogue, which is only a supporting class path, and a tier three class which only requires two paths). I still have more ideas for additional paths, as well as tier 4 paths which require training in 4 basic classes and their combinations to reach.

Eventually, I hope to have the class paths lead to a godhood status (which would be on par with 4 or 5 times as hard to achieve as Jedi was in Star Wars Galaxies, before they told everyone how to do it). Not that very many, if any would ever reach it, it's just nice to know the option is there.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 11/02/2009 09:05:00 PM


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