Multiclassing: Panel Info and Thoughts

I just got back from the "Classes of EverQuest Next" panel and I can safely say that it was one of the most impassioned panels I have ever been to. If you missed it you can check it out here:

Cliff Notes:

  • Class determines the your armor/weapons/weapon abilities/character abilities.
  • Each class can use two different weapon types.
  • Each weapon type has a certain pool of abilities associated with them. You may have a maximum of four weapon abilities on your hot bar at once.
  • Your class comes with a set of "character abilities", while certain character abilities like "leap" are associated with the warrior they can be used by any class with a movement slot.
  • In this regard you can effectively "swap out" the offensive/defensive/movement/utility abilities of your class for any other class you have unlocked **Granted that your class has the appropriate character ability slot. You may have a maximum of four character abilities on your hot bar at once.
  • Eight classes should* be available at the start of the game. SPECULATION: Warrior, Wizard, Rogue, Cleric, Druid, Ranger, Shaman, Enchanter.
  • The roughly thirty-two other classes are" found" throughout the game (rewards for questing, adventuring, raiding, looting... etc.)
  • Classes will be continuously added to the game.
  • You can switch at any time (while out of combat). And there won't be a limit  to the number of classes one character can collect (barring faction allegiances... etc.) .
  • "The Holy Trinity" is gone, there will no longer be traditional tank/healer/DPS roles.
  • Everyone is responsible for their own safety.
  • You may advance another class without playing it IE: tier up your rogue while gaining experience on your warrior.

After the design team dropped the BOMB that tanks and healers wouldn't be required for raiding all hell broke loosing during the Q&A. And the VAST majority of questions asked were something to the tune of:

"I play a Tank/Healer, how are you going to incentivize support roles if they aren't required?"

"I play a Tank/Healer in Neverwinter/Guild Wars 2 and I am never picked in favor of DPS. Why will I be picked in EQN?"

"Ambiguous class roles destroy team work, how are you going to combat that?"

To which SOE creative director Jeff Butler replied:

Quote from Jeff Butler

“I think one thing that you’ll see from us and we’ll demonstrate this as we get deeper into combat, is that we have a very detailed and intricate plan for moving around and fighting. The NPCs are capable of executing strategy and tactics and you’ll require your own intricate tactics to overcome them. We are saying that no one specific role or pair of roles is required in unlocking the strategy to defeating an encounter. It’s not to say that we are walking away from roles and it’s certainly not to say we are walking away from responsibility, both personal strategic and tactical responsibility….

Effectively we want every single person playing the game to have fun, I refuse to have my guild fall apart because one member doesn’t want to play anymore and he is our primary healer. This is a responsibility that we created as game developer and we are abandoning it, we are not going to put players through that, we have seen the damage it has caused over the past 15 years and we are moving past it with this design.”


It is abundantly clear that EQ Next is attempting to completely redefine the conventional MMO. Welcome changes like destructible environments and emergent AI are met with controversial changes like multi-classing and micro-transactions.

But despite adopting a class system that could potentially see issues with excessive min-maxing and social impositions on what builds are "viable", it's pretty obvious that the development team's head is in the right place when it comes to keeping defensive and utility roles important. A lot of the devs on the panel were long time tanks and defiantly disn't want to punish players for choosing defensively-oriented classes. I am also extremely excited that the "post launch" classes could take the brunt of the micro-transactions away from things like gear and experience boosts. It's apparent that League of Legend's "new champion ever month" model is going to be mimicked to some extent in EverQuest Next.

And thus my faith is restored in the fact that this game could just be crazy enough to work... provided that the progression system isn't hit too hard by micro-transactions and horizontal progression.

 Written by James Duggan

9

Comments

  • #9 Necronomnicon

    They said no 'forced' or 'required' tanks & healers, I didn't really hear anything that said outright the roles were not possible to build using the class system.  the new system even allows a healer-focused build to add mobility and defensive abilities, so  they wouldn't have to be so firghtened about a paper tank or one that doesn't understand the concept of agro. Just my idea, I plan to try to play a tank myself, and see if being one is possible , and then to build him like a shadowknight if that's possible, maybe with a harm touch or lifetaps if it can be done later on for soloability.

  • #8 Fykkil

    I really hope I'm wrong and I've already said this in another post, but as others have stated it sounds like they are dumbing the game down and taking the deep thinking and strategy that many of us who played EQ (and other MMORPGS) are more than familiar with out of it by removing the Holy Trinity in favor of multi-classing   I kind of see it as how Khalija previously stated where everyone will be "either all running around like chickens with your heads cut off playing Pass the Aggro or decked out in pure DPS gear zerging through everything as fast as you can." 

    I honestly don't see how it can be anything but that when there are no true defined tank or healer roles, because if there are no pure healers then that means heals, in theory, will be a convenience and not a necessity and will probably be used to reduce downtime primarily.  If heals/healers are not a necessity then I don't see how it can be anything but a bunch of people constantly running around trying to dodge attacks to stay alive, or sitting there doing nothing waiting for someone who is doing something to pull “aggro” off of them,  and/or zerging the monster using the “kill it before it kills us strategy”.

    Again this is speculation, but they were adamant about 8 abilities being the max amount of abilities you can have available to use at any given time and never plan on changing that, which screams that this is being done so the game can be played on a PS4 controller.  If that is true then I believe that is a big part of why they are (again speculation) dumbing the game down and taking away the holy trinity, so that it can be played on a console as well.  I, as others have stated, do not think a true MMORPG can be a cross-platform title. 

    Sure something like Diablo or League of Legends could, IMO, work cross-platform and be played on a console, but a true MMORPG, no.  I could never picture a game like EQ, EQ2, DAOC, WoW, Vanguard, etc. working on a video game console controller/interface.  Back in the days when EQ was released PC’s were king, now, sadly, PCs are no longer king and video game consoles have taken over the gaming industry/market.  That being said it makes sense for game developers to want to gear their games toward console gaming or at least try to include it, but again I don’t think anyone trying to make a true MMORPG could/should make it playable on a console system if they really want to stay true to their roots as SOE has said they want to do with this game.

    If you want to make a Multiplayer Online RPG (Not the same as a MMORPG) type game for consoles I have no issues with that, but please don’t take a game bearing the EQ name and dumb it down for console-based play just to make more profit.   Sadly this is how I feel it’s going to go because I see the removal of the holy trinity and the action-based gameplay that has been shown (constantly running around to avoid attacks, etc.) as a way to make this game playable with a console controller without giving an advantage to PC players.

    I’m a huge fan of the Holy Trinity, but I’m open to the idea of multi-classing.  You can’t honestly tell me that there will be 40 unique classes in the game though.  Sure there might be 40 classes all bearing different names, but at the end of the day many of those 40 classes are going to share many of the same qualities/abilities and will in large part be repetitive/overlapping.  Kind of like Dark Age of Camelot where all three realms had different classes, but ultimately all the classes (Tanks, Healers, DPS, Utility, Rogues etc.) were all very similar, with slight differences.  I suppose there could be 40 classes if for say in the case of WoW where you had a priest, but that priest could spec as Holy, Discipline, or Shadow.  If you consider each spec a different "class" you could, in theory, reach 40 unique classes in EQN even though again many of them would share the same basic abilities and only be somewhat different from each other.

    Again I think the whole multi-classing, 8 abilities max, and no healers/tanks necessary thing is just a clever way of them pretending to be innovative when it’s really a means to dumb the game down for console play so that you can run around and hack and slash stuff without having to think too much or be as involved as a tank or healer would have to be and not require a PC with a keyboard and mouse for more complex gameplay.

    They’re trying to do a lot of innovative things like the destructible environment, emergent AI, rally calls, etc and all of those sound really cool if they can implement them successfully.  I don’t see why they felt the need to remove the holy trinity for the sake of multi-classing unless what I have assumed above is true.

    Again this is merely an assumption and I hope I’m wrong.  Don’t take my speculative criticism as negativity.   I’m just as excited as anyone to play this game or any game that bears the Everquest name.   I really hope they aren’t forsaking the Holy Trinity in favor of multi-classing and dumbing the game down simply for the sake of console-based play, but the writing on the wall so far indicates that.

    That being said I am going into this with an open mind and hope this game is what we all want it to be.  Maybe if we’re lucky we’ll be some of the first people to get into beta and can stop speculating and judge for ourselves first-hand.   

    Last edited by Fykkil: 8/6/2013 10:54:10 AM
  • #7 Faustt

    I was super excited til I saw this panel............... :(

    GW2 was fun but only while leveling, the weapon skills etc is a bad move if you ask me. I mean why copy a terrible system? I don't get it. GW2 system was the worst I seen. every class was basically the same. under the layers of animation and skill names. Just boring 

     I think that's the problem these days with MMOs, they feel a need to change, and they do, but this seems like change just for the sake of change, to me, cause I don't see any benefit to this system at all. It's a step backwards while the rest of the game is a step forward. Classes and combat is the most important thing in a game ,I do hope this was just a case of poor communication of their idea.

    Seems SOE always has to screw something up.

    Last edited by Faustt: 8/5/2013 6:53:39 AM
  • #6 Kristov

    Quote from Khalija »

    I can get down with a multi-class system and all that, but I really don't understand why developers are trying to instill that tanking and healing on their own are not fun and that no one wants to do it; that it's impossible to find someone that is willing to do it. That, and DPS can be just as tedious as either of them (hello firebolt spam).

    GW2 is all about the absence of the holy trinity. They touted that you have to rely on yourself for survival and use tactics and strategy to overcome fights. Is that really how it happens? No. In instances you're either all running around like chickens with your heads cut off playing Pass the Aggro or decked out in pure DPS gear zerging through everything as fast as you can.

    Personally, I love healing and tanking and this news just makes me a bit grumbly. (Not that it will stop me from playing, though.)

    Hopefully it'll be more like original Everquest where classes have the abilities necessary to control the flow of combat, and every class feels significantly different.

    If they're just cloning Guild Wars 2 combat, this will keep me from playing more than a week or two.  Combat in Guild Wars 2 was just a cluster and I never want to experience it again.

  • #5 Corsair

    Quote from egtactics »

    Quote from Khalija »

    I can get down with a multi-class system and all that, but I really don't understand why developers are trying to instill that tanking and healing on their own are not fun and that no one wants to do it; that it's impossible to find someone that is willing to do it. That, and DPS can be just as tedious as either of them (hello firebolt spam).

    GW2 is all about the absence of the holy trinity. They touted that you have to rely on yourself for survival and use tactics and strategy to overcome fights. Is that really how it happens? No. In instances you're either all running around like chickens with your heads cut off playing Pass the Aggro or decked out in pure DPS gear zerging through everything as fast as you can.

    Personally, I love healing and tanking and this news just makes me a bit grumbly. (Not that it will stop me from playing, though.)

    Watching the panel videos now.

    I'm not sure how I feel about the Holy Trinity being gone as I've always been a healer in most MMO's. Perhaps some raids will need hybrid tanks/healers which might result in multiclassing really shining. We'll have to see.. This threw me off quite a bit as I hated GW2's model.

    Edit: Why change peoples roles such as tank/healer when people play MMO's a lot for just those specific reasons? /confused

    Probably because they might not work as well in a more action oriented game, which seems to be the latest trend in MMOs in general. Wildstar seems to be trying the classic trinity with action combat and TERA did as well. it will honestly come down to how well they design the combat around the roles they create in game. In WoW likes you have very defined classic trinity roles and sometimes sub-roles based on the fight (dps to target x, disables on y, interact with z) and shades within a role like offtank and tank-healer or party healer. It requires these things, though, to be defined first then designed. Which I don't feel GW2 did but WoW did very well.

    Last edited by Corsair: 8/4/2013 3:17:46 AM
  • #4 ARB

    Quote from Khalija »

    I can get down with a multi-class system and all that, but I really don't understand why developers are trying to instill that tanking and healing on their own are not fun and that no one wants to do it; that it's impossible to find someone that is willing to do it. That, and DPS can be just as tedious as either of them (hello firebolt spam).

    GW2 is all about the absence of the holy trinity. They touted that you have to rely on yourself for survival and use tactics and strategy to overcome fights. Is that really how it happens? No. In instances you're either all running around like chickens with your heads cut off playing Pass the Aggro or decked out in pure DPS gear zerging through everything as fast as you can.

    Personally, I love healing and tanking and this news just makes me a bit grumbly. (Not that it will stop me from playing, though.)

    Developers during development these days play other games together and get rolled by those who play better than them so they keep saying to each other how do we keep this from happening they come to the conclusion that accessibility is the key and dumb the fuck down of any innovation they can come out with just to make an attempt at evening the playing field

    The holy trinity is only the latest casualty

  • #3 Nevsky

     I am a huge supporter and avid fan of the trinity.  In fact, the trinity is one of the things I loved most about the original EverQuest.  As such, this is kind of depressing for me, because my preferred roles tend to be support (tank and healer) type classes.  I was not very fond of GW2's combat system but I'm going to approach this with an open mind and hope SOE can make it work, because this game just exudes potential.

    One thing I find hopeful about this, though: if the combat system as it exists just isn't working, I'm hoping SOE (given the whole "open development" concept they're adopting) will respond to feedback and maybe bring the solid trinity back in if there's enough demand for it and the combat system as it exists currently isn't panning out for them.

    All that said, I'm still crazy excited about this and absolute love the class system.

  • #2 egtactics

    Quote from Khalija »

    I can get down with a multi-class system and all that, but I really don't understand why developers are trying to instill that tanking and healing on their own are not fun and that no one wants to do it; that it's impossible to find someone that is willing to do it. That, and DPS can be just as tedious as either of them (hello firebolt spam).

    GW2 is all about the absence of the holy trinity. They touted that you have to rely on yourself for survival and use tactics and strategy to overcome fights. Is that really how it happens? No. In instances you're either all running around like chickens with your heads cut off playing Pass the Aggro or decked out in pure DPS gear zerging through everything as fast as you can.

    Personally, I love healing and tanking and this news just makes me a bit grumbly. (Not that it will stop me from playing, though.)

    Watching the panel videos now.

    I'm not sure how I feel about the Holy Trinity being gone as I've always been a healer in most MMO's. Perhaps some raids will need hybrid tanks/healers which might result in multiclassing really shining. We'll have to see.. This threw me off quite a bit as I hated GW2's model.

    Edit: Why change peoples roles such as tank/healer when people play MMO's a lot for just those specific reasons? /confused

    Last edited by egtactics: 8/3/2013 8:45:16 PM
  • #1 Khalija

    I can get down with a multi-class system and all that, but I really don't understand why developers are trying to instill that tanking and healing on their own are not fun and that no one wants to do it; that it's impossible to find someone that is willing to do it. That, and DPS can be just as tedious as either of them (hello firebolt spam).

    GW2 is all about the absence of the holy trinity. They touted that you have to rely on yourself for survival and use tactics and strategy to overcome fights. Is that really how it happens? No. In instances you're either all running around like chickens with your heads cut off playing Pass the Aggro or decked out in pure DPS gear zerging through everything as fast as you can.

    Personally, I love healing and tanking and this news just makes me a bit grumbly. (Not that it will stop me from playing, though.)

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