Help me feel less pessimistic about the overly ambitious class system

leonerdoleonerdo Member, Settler
I'm seriously starting to worry that the 64-class system and all the augment choices will be the downfall of this game. (28 potential augments for every ability?) There's no way to balance all of those choices. It's gonna take a ton of work just to design all of the augments to be unique, and to make vfx for all of them. Plus, there won't be any concept of "class kits" with elegantly designed interactions, since every build is essentially made piece-meal out of independent abilities/augments. If they don't back down on those ambitious goals, then I fully expect 90% of the abilities, to be bland, imbalanced, or janky af. And we'll just end up with 20 meta builds anyways.

Am I wrong? Please tell me why I'm wrong.
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Comments

  • grisugrisu Member
    edited May 15
    You are wrong because your primary class is your classkit and your secondary class is lots of fluff.

    E.g. from Steven:
    For example; A fighter has a skill called “Rush”, that allows him to rush towards a target and upon reaching the target, deals x damage with a chance to knock the target down. If that fighter were to choose Mage as his secondary archetype (Spellsword), he would gain access to certain augments that he could apply to his primary skill tree. Let’s use his Rush skill as an example; As a Spellsword, he could choose to apply a teleportation augment to the Rush skill, which would allow the skill to now teleport you to the target, eliminating the charge time on the skill.

    It's fluff and minor changes, not mind altering class swaps.

    Edit: I would still be on the fence tho, there is alot there that can still fuck around with balance and interactions that might have unintended side effects. Their scope is huge and there are several red flags that just don't sit well with their overarching goal.
    I can be a life fulfilling dream. Grisu
    I can be a life devouring nightmare. Zekece#1819
  • Balrog21Balrog21 Member
    Rift suffered from this....they could have fixed it but decided to NOT listen to the player base, and on top of that they went and added more classes....ughh....
    I do hope Intrepid takes the time during a and b to look at the numbers and balance it the best they can. Otherwise they are going to have a lot of classes that will never get played or only used as a mule.
  • unknownsystemerrorunknownsystemerror Member, Phoenix Initiative, Royalty
    Here is some cuteness to help with your feelings.
    Feelbetter.gif
    south-park-rabble-rabble-rabbl-53b58d315aa49.jpg
  • No way to know until someone tries.
  • So long as most of the augments give a situational bonus, and not a statistical one, it will be much closer to balanced. For example, changing an abilities damage type, or changing some action of the ability. Like the commonly used charge example. Is teleporting to your target instead of charging there better? It's definately different, and could give you an edge against abilities similar to the tank wall we've seen, but it could also get you trapped behind enemy lines as it were, if you aren't careful.
  • George BlackGeorge Black Member
    edited May 16
    I share your concern.
    However, I can make peace with maybe 8-15 classes being viable, as long as all weapons are viable for competitive PvP and PvE.

    It would be terrible if you like spears or dual wield for example, and find out that only two handed and one hand/shield is viable.

    If I play Dreadnaught or Weapons Master doesnt concern me as much as being able to use dual wield and fight like a warrior (as opposed to assassin).

    I would like the option to choose from full fighter, tanky fighter, fighter that can use a but of magic, but if the options were more limited, realistically, it wouldn't be a deal breaker.

    Forced into playing only two handed if I wanted to play as a warrior, would be a deal breaker.
  • blurblur Member, Founder
    edited May 16
    This will probably make you feel less optimistic, LOL, but Star Wars Galaxies original set-up was that you had a bunch of professions and could be, say, a rifleman who loved to dance or a bounty hunter who was also a politician, or a Bio-Engineer who was also a Teras Kasi Master, etc, etc. And the result was two things... 1) They had to dumb the game down to very specific, generic classes to regain control of it all but, 2) People - like myself - remember those early days SO WARMLY because the original system was absolutely amazing and fun.

    My takeaway being, if Intrepid can go anywhere near balancing the class choices, and retain it as the system for the long term, people will look on Ashes with similar warmth and affection for doing something memorable.
  • leonerdoleonerdo Member, Settler
    edited May 16
    @grisu and @Ventharien re: the Teleport Rush that I have heard about too many times already.

    I suppose that example helps a little, since it is relatively harmless and still pretty cool.

    But it's only one example, and I'm not sure how well it holds up against Intrepid's direction for secondary classes. Supposedly they will let you shift your role/function a little bit (not entirely), and I'm not sure it's possible to do that with only "fluff" additions or utility tweaks. Rather you would need to make significant tradeoffs between damage/defense/mobility/sustain/etc on your abilities, so that you can perform a significantly different role.

    For example, if I understand things correctly, when I take the Cleric secondary, it will let me add a small but significant amount of healing to my kit, so I can perform somewhat as an off-healer. It's not just going to add shiny lights and a small amount of Holy damage to my attacks.

    And I still don't think they can come up with 4 unique ways to do that for every ability. Really how many different ways can you add shiny particle effects and healing/support/holy damage to a Fighter's weapon swings? Maybe I'm just not creative enough to imagine it.
  • noaaninoaani Member
    leonerdo wrote: »
    I'm seriously starting to worry that the 64-class system and all the augment choices will be the downfall of this game.
    Not going to lie, but I feel the same.

    The only way I see it working with Intrepids stated goal in mind (or at least my take on their stated goal) is if they drop the notion of balancing each of the 27 augments for each ability. That is a foolish path to attempt balance - and would result in a bland class system that gets a LOT of criticism for claiming to have 64 classes but in truth only has 8.

    Rather, they need look at the game as having 72 classes, and balance them all against each other (64 base classes, plus one more class for each primary class using social organisation augments, making 72 classes).

    What they need to do is assign each class a score for each of; melee defense, magical defense, ranged attack, melee attack, offensive buffing, defensive buffing, offensive debuffing, defensive debuffing, healing and CC. The 8 classes using social organization augments would need to be somewhat middle of the road in all aspects - this keeps things somewhat balanced while allowing players to make minor tweaks to their over all ability in various areas.

    Once you have assigned these roles to each class, you then need only balance three augments for each ability, the three from your subclass choice. What this means is that instead of having to balance 27 augments against each other for every ability, you would only need to balance 9 sets of 3 augments (same total number, less balancing). As long as the end result of each class is able to fulfill the role assigned to that class - and those roles should all be balanced against the other roles - then you have a system that is somewhat balanced.

    I'm not saying this is an easy task at all - in fact I will say that even doing it this way it is a massive undertaking. What I am saying is that it really isn't that big of a deal if a Tank² charge is a really powerful ability but a tank/rangers charge is less powerful.

    What matters is that the two classes are over all balanced with each other.
  • CaerylCaeryl Member
    As long as there isn’t something that is the go-to in more than half the possible combat scenarios, then let it be balance via chaos. This beats that beat those beats them beats this. Cyclical balancing is generally the most “fun” kind
  • Wandering MistWandering Mist Member, Founder
    Caeryl wrote: »
    As long as there isn’t something that is the go-to in more than half the possible combat scenarios, then let it be balance via chaos. This beats that beat those beats them beats this. Cyclical balancing is generally the most “fun” kind

    Yes, cyclical balance is the idea situation, but even that can get out of control if you have too many variables in play (League of Legends and Pokemon are perfect examples of this). What makes this even more confusing is that Intrepid have gone on record multiple times saying that they will be balancing the game around group play, NOT individual classes:
    "There will be match ups in 1v1s where one class will be superior to another; and that application should be a rock-paper-scissors dynamic. We want there to be counter-play between the different classes... Instead it's going to be a group focused balance, where as long as you have the diversity of classes present, that's going to be an equal level playing field. It's going to be very dependent on skill and strategy" - Steven Sherif

    I think what Steven means here is that as long as you have all 8 primary classes present, there will be an even balance. The thing is, this will very rarely happen in the actual game, in either PvP or PvE. If they truly decide to stick with the "group balance" direction, then the majority of fights will naturally be unbalanced even if there are equal numbers of players on both sides.
  • grisugrisu Member
    The cleric itself is advertised as a class that heals your allies by damaging you enemies. Probably not all skills obviously but it literally showcases what it would do as an augment.
    You hit with the sword and get healed for it. So yeah it literally will be just a shiny sword that gives you strike 10 hp back or something.

    They said it times and times again your abilities come from your primary, your 2ndary is just customization to steer you class in a different direction by Enhancing your primary abilities.

    If you want to make more of it than it is, that's on you then. A blink is not extra vfx it already exist as a mage blink. I'm sure they will be economical with those spell effects and reuse it where it fits. Proccing an interrupt on a 2ndary tank augment isn't crazy either. Doing a poison proc that hempers healing from a 2ndary rogue isn't crazy either.
    It's a total of 64 classes but it's still 8 time a rogue to 4 physical classes and 4 magical ones. There will be lots of overlapping effects.
    I can be a life fulfilling dream. Grisu
    I can be a life devouring nightmare. Zekece#1819
  • CaerylCaeryl Member
    Caeryl wrote: »
    As long as there isn’t something that is the go-to in more than half the possible combat scenarios, then let it be balance via chaos. This beats that beat those beats them beats this. Cyclical balancing is generally the most “fun” kind

    Yes, cyclical balance is the idea situation, but even that can get out of control if you have too many variables in play (League of Legends and Pokemon are perfect examples of this). What makes this even more confusing is that Intrepid have gone on record multiple times saying that they will be balancing the game around group play, NOT individual classes:
    "There will be match ups in 1v1s where one class will be superior to another; and that application should be a rock-paper-scissors dynamic. We want there to be counter-play between the different classes... Instead it's going to be a group focused balance, where as long as you have the diversity of classes present, that's going to be an equal level playing field. It's going to be very dependent on skill and strategy" - Steven Sherif

    I think what Steven means here is that as long as you have all 8 primary classes present, there will be an even balance. The thing is, this will very rarely happen in the actual game, in either PvP or PvE. If they truly decide to stick with the "group balance" direction, then the majority of fights will naturally be unbalanced even if there are equal numbers of players on both sides.

    Not balancing for 1v1s means every class is able to be unique. Obviously if you run around as a healer and get attacked by a rogue or burst-mage, you probably lose because you kit isn’t geared to handle high-burst. On the other hand, if you get attacked by a fighter, you can likely out heal the more moderate sustained damage while laying on damage of your own. If you encounter a tank, you both mostly waste your time. If you encounter a sustain dps mage, you’d have a rough time, but probably winnable depending on player skill.

    Balancing for groups means your tank is equipped to lock down the rogues and burst mages that might pop your healers or equally squishy dps. It means your ranged dps are equipped to pressure a backline healer to disrupt their ability to keep healing on the tank and their group. It means the sustained damage fighters are equipped to disrupt a tanks ability to lock down your squishies.

    It also means they’ll have to look into the synergies and weakness a one-role group should have. Should all stacked heals grant 100% of their healing, 50%? Should you be able to stack HoTs from different augments of the same skill? Should buffs refresh the first, refresh the highest, should they stack from each source? How long should a group be able to cc lock a target? Should debuffs on a target stack, refresh?

    These are going to be the biggest concerns when balancing. 1v1s will never be balanced unless there are no classes, no gear, no roles, etc.
  • wolfwood82wolfwood82 Member
    edited May 17
    leonerdo wrote: »
    I'm seriously starting to worry that the 64-class system and all the augment choices will be the downfall of this game. (28 potential augments for every ability?) There's no way to balance all of those choices. It's gonna take a ton of work just to design all of the augments to be unique, and to make vfx for all of them. Plus, there won't be any concept of "class kits" with elegantly designed interactions, since every build is essentially made piece-meal out of independent abilities/augments. If they don't back down on those ambitious goals, then I fully expect 90% of the abilities, to be bland, imbalanced, or janky af. And we'll just end up with 20 meta builds anyways.

    Am I wrong? Please tell me why I'm wrong.

    I'm not really all that concerned myself.

    Other games have explored abilities that change through player choices. ESO abilities can grow and advance to one of 2 options, for example. Augments seem to just be an extension to THAT style of character progression.

    Rogue augments might increase critical damage for abilities, grant bonus damage for your position (backstab), bonus damage/effects when hitting a stunned or CC'ed target, or adding additional effects like bleed, debuffs, disruption, or stun.

    Mage augments might add effects based on the element used, teleporting/daze/stamina drain for electrical abilities, DOT for fire, etc.

    Basically, I suspect every ability is going to have a core purpose. Damage Opener, Damage Closer, CC, Buff, Debuff, Heal, etc. Augments will be geared towards the abilities in question from the class they come from. All aspects from your core class will likely be super... moderate, and very strictly follow class themes. So your primary class won't be at full efficacy by itself, you'll need the secondary (even if you just double up on your primary) in order to realize your full potential.

    Damage Opener for a Rogue is typically a high burst positional or situational damage, like droping out of stealth with an assassination. Add that to a Fighter opener like Charge and you get a higher crit chance when charging an enemy.

    Rogue utility will likely be centered around stealth aspects, breaking CC, disruption, etc. A Fighter might have a utility stance that, with a Rogue augment, gives him stealth when not moving or something, or allows him to drop hate against him (for a DPS focused fighter that doesn't want to pull from tank).

    I suspect the augments are going to be fairly basic, and represent additions to a main class based on what kind of elements the secondary class uses.

    Keep in mind, you get augments for religion, race, and social things as well. However, I suspect these augments will likely be blanket augments that just apply to your character and don't overtly affect each ability. Similar to the ability to train up your race and stuff in ESO.
  • Yeah ESO is probably not too bad a similar idea. Especially with the ability to change your secondary class giving it some flexibility.
  • RavudhaRavudha Member
    edited May 17
    leonerdo wrote: »
    28 potential augments for every ability?

    Where's the 28 figure coming from?

    EDIT: nvm, 7 secondary classes x minimum 4 augments.
  • CaerylCaeryl Member
    Ventharien wrote: »
    Yeah ESO is probably not too bad a similar idea. Especially with the ability to change your secondary class giving it some flexibility.

    ESO is a very bad game to pull any ideas of class balance from. Their classes are little more than recolors, with most ability choices being completely unrelated to class selection. (36 morphs from class vs 60 weapon skill line morphs and 46 guild skill line morphs)

    The last thing I want is the spreadsheet style balancing that’s going on in ESO. Classes should feel unique and distinctly different from each other. If going from one class to another is only a matter of vfx and if I stand in melee or not, I don’t consider that a successful class-based game.
  • Ventharien wrote: »
    Yeah ESO is probably not too bad a similar idea. Especially with the ability to change your secondary class giving it some flexibility.

    ESO is the example of a promise to have numerous unique builds, but in reality there is only one meta build per class.
  • noaaninoaani Member
    edited May 18
    Yeah, ESO is a bad choice for a game to compy in terms of class design.
  • flameh0tflameh0t Member, Braver of Worlds
    leonerdo wrote: »
    I'm seriously starting to worry that the 64-class system and all the augment choices will be the downfall of this game. (28 potential augments for every ability?) There's no way to balance all of those choices. It's gonna take a ton of work just to design all of the augments to be unique, and to make vfx for all of them. Plus, there won't be any concept of "class kits" with elegantly designed interactions, since every build is essentially made piece-meal out of independent abilities/augments. If they don't back down on those ambitious goals, then I fully expect 90% of the abilities, to be bland, imbalanced, or janky af. And we'll just end up with 20 meta builds anyways.

    Am I wrong? Please tell me why I'm wrong.

    I think it will be okay. It just looks more complicated than it is. The way I perceive it, to keep it simple..

    Example (totally made up, for understanding purposes)
    Tank class
    Skill, activate - Defend shield wall.
    Base skill - Raises shield to block 50% incoming dmg.

    Then depending on what your secondary arch type is, it may be augmented with fighter and becomes

    Tank class
    Skill, activate - Defend shield wall.
    Base skill - Raises shield to block 50% incoming dmg. Aug, adds reflect 5% dmg to attacker

    Or if you choose Tank/tank

    Tank class
    Skill, activate - Defend shield wall.
    Base skill - Raises shield to block 50% incoming dmg. Aug, increases dmg blocked by 15%

    So the way I read it is that it's just like a little tickle flavour.. Your pie will ways be a pie, you just have to pick the flavouring.. or your sandwich will always be a sandwich, you just pick the contents.. or your pizza will always be a pizza, you just have to pick the toppings.

    But then again, I could be totally wrong. :)
  • perseus01perseus01 Member
    From what I'm projecting, the game will be more complex than originally thought.
    If you watched the last video, Steven was hinting at trap locating inside a dungeon, so you can tell the D18 dice be there boih.
    Now that's saying there some genius being dropped down there and this game gonna blow my mind....
    yah dig?
  • flameh0tflameh0t Member, Braver of Worlds
    perseus01 wrote: »
    From what I'm projecting, the game will be more complex than originally thought.
    If you watched the last video, Steven was hinting at trap locating inside a dungeon, so you can tell the D18 dice be there boih.
    Now that's saying there some genius being dropped down there and this game gonna blow my mind....
    yah dig?

    Haha yeah, the Rogue has a "Spyglass" skill for trap detection, and mage has "Mages Detection light" some glowy orb that reveals magically hidden passages and explosive traps. Should be minttttt. Love finding hidden stuff haha
  • IshkaIshka Member
    The way I see AOC's class system is like woodworking, at first it will be rough & unbalanced. But the more time passes, the better it will become and eventually it will reach a level where everything comes into place. It will asks months of works from Intrepid after release to make it half decent and years to polish since the players will make it evolve.

    Maybe a way to reduce this time for Intrepid to somehow choose carefully very skillful players in their classes during alpha/betas. And directly work with intrepid to try potential builds in advance and find potential overpowered builds/abilities before the regular players tumble upon it.

    Some classes will be godlike from the very start and other will be low-tier until some dude randomly find the ultimate build that everyone ends up using and "break the meta".

    But still, seeing how you can build your character and how it can change drastically the way you play. This a chance to make exotic builds and have a lot of fun at the same time.

    In the end, I expect the class system to be mediocre at best at the release, but with time it can only be better. I think as players we will have the chance to send feedbacks to Intrepid and potentially being heard as long as it makes sense. But the class system is definitely not the game's downfall but a Gem that needs care and polishing to shine.
  • leonerdoleonerdo Member, Settler
    Thanks everyone for your responses. The system feels a bit more manageable now.

    I think I was getting a little ahead of myself, thinking of augments more like Diablo 3 runes which change the skills drastically. The reality will be more tame than that, and hopefully lead to more constrained but rigorous class designs.

    It will still be a wild system with lots of choices and probably a lot of imbalance, but I knew that from the start. And of course, it will require a lot of ongoing work the combat team at Intrepid. But I know it's possible to deal with those difficulties with enough careful attention (and a quick trigger finger on the nerf gun).

    I have hope that they'll manage to strike a good balance between letting us personalize our character to fit our style, making cool stuff for everyone, and keeping overall power and flexibility within reason.
  • Balrog21Balrog21 Member
    @leonerdo yeah, I have faith in them, I just hope they listen to their player base during alpha and beta.
    This for me is my last great hope for the genre.
  • arodicusarodicus Member, Phoenix Initiative, Hero of the People
    I don’t know if it will be as grand as you are imagining for the augments. The base skill is going to be the same. While it may add a different vfx based on what the augment does at the end of the day there are only a set number of skills per class. Especially with you think of the level cap being lv 50.

    As for multiple metas steven has said before he doesn’t want the classes to be cookie cutter and of course while there may be 1 or 3 builds that are marginally better than others the game is going to depend on skill and talent. It will be possible for someone to solo an enemy meant for a group of 5-8 people with luck skill and determination

    On the pvp front it was said before that the plans are to be mostly Rock Paper Scissors. PvP is expected to be on a grand scale so less balancing should need to take place. Not to say it won’t happen since there will be constant monitoring and plenty of feedback.
  • I just personally see the Augments as bringing any given class closer to a hybrid between two classes. There will be a LOT of manual tweaks done to allow this, every class combination might require a detailed walk through, but it's not even close to an impossible task.

    Easiest method might be to focus on unique roles for each of the 8 classes, as someone else mentioned elsewhere, and than allow hybrids to be more or less equally efficient at BOTH roles as a straight archetype class, but allowing the pure classes (mage/mage, etc.) excel even further than the hybrids.

    So if a Tank controls the battlefield, than a Tank/Tank would be far superior to a Mage/Tank, but a Mage/Tank would be as good as a Tank/Mage or a Rogue/Tank. With the only difference being how they control that battlefield. A Mage/Tank might use spells that control enemies as well as damage them, for example.

    I don't know. This system sounds fun, and might offer endless possibilities to explore. Or it might just allow the players to pick 3 they like and screw the rest, though that seems to be a thing Steven absolutely won't allow.

    I choose to have faith in Steven though, I like his attitude about this game, and his moral compass seems to be pretty strong and aimed in the right direction. It also sounds like he remains open minded enough to allow better decisions to be made when the ideas are offered.
  • mrsynthmrsynth Member
    Considering that IS stated that classes will be balanced for group content and not solo content, i don't see how a solo class balance would happen.
    That is the intended design, for classes to have weaknesses both statistical and situational due to their nature, but both to only an extent.
  • CaerylCaeryl Member
    mrsynth wrote: »
    Considering that IS stated that classes will be balanced for group content and not solo content, i don't see how a solo class balance would happen.
    That is the intended design, for classes to have weaknesses both statistical and situational due to their nature, but both to only an extent.

    In solo content I do expect any class to be capable of completing it, at varying speeds and with varying approaches.

    A tank approaching a solo quest intends to “outlive” rather than “kill”. More defensive.

    A dps would approach a solo quest intending to “kill” rather than “outlive”. More offensive.

    A healer imo approaches it as “outsustain and kill”. Mostly even mix of offense and depend.

    To be clear in Ashes I expect ”solo content” to mean the early open world quests, racial quests, and social group quests. But at a point, not requiring at least two-role groups, or high amounts of skill from a solo player, would feel like a detriment for a game that wants to push the importance of alliances.
  • I'm not sure if any of you are roleplayers, but Steven comes from playing Pathfinder and Dungeons and Dragons.
    In those system you could create a level 1 character that basically become a god.
    Pathfinder also has an enormous amount of theory crafting, aided by math and rules as written, leaving no room for interpretation.
    I believe this is why Steven is against meters and also doesn't like cookie cutter builds. He knows there are several types of players who enjoy NOT picking the most efficient build.

    You can go your way on a cooperative game like Pathfinder/DnD, but it's a LOT harder to do this on a mmo, where everyone could be judging your DPS and "not pulling your weight".
    The thing about meters is that: they limit your selection. There is no way to justify "I want this build" in terms of most efficient thing ever.

    I really hope we can chose our skills the way we feel, trying what fits our playstyle and our party/raid, without being just one toon printed from the same mold, next to each other, spamming the exactly same rotation.
    Being actually know for our gameplay
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