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What Stories Players Are Allowed To Tell and How They Feel While They Tell Them

LuKe_NuKeS_EmLuKe_NuKeS_Em Member
edited July 2022 in General Discussion

This discussion is about what characters fantasy game players like to play as and some issues moving from theatre of the mind to visual representations and in-game interactions.

Storytelling and fantasy roleplaying as the heroes and heroines of those stories is deeply engrained in nearly every human culture. The way we interact with each other to tell these stories of archetypical characters from our imagination or history has changed with technology: from telling stories around a fire, to tabletop games, and now MMORPGs.

Each medium has advantages and disadvantages to fantasy role playing gamers. Providing visual representations can differ from what a player has in their mind and when it doesn't meet their expectations, they are often disappointed. However, visuals can be beautiful and convenient because everyone can see and talk about the same thing. Tabletop gaming allows players to play any character they can think of, while MMORPGS limit player choice to what is allowed in the game through the Classes (and their subsets of skills and abilities) provided and surrounding game systems.

I like the direction Intrepid Studios is going with the rogue and ranger systems that allow the rogue to find secret doors/extra loot and the ranger to find tracks to nearby events (if I remember correctly). These are great examples of allowing game systems to act as part of a Class "Kit" and help aid in telling the story of the character.

It is important to have mechanics to back up the art and help bring the fantasy to life. Players interact with allies and enemies through their Class Kit that consists of skills and abilities. This is the main way players feel that they are actually playing out the story of the character archetype they chose in character creation. In general, the more granular class and skill options to the players the more complex it is to balance the system. More granular options also allows players to create characters that more closely match their expectations of what they think their class should be, giving them the actions to act how they think their character would act given the circumstances.

I do not like the direction Intrepid Studios is going with the Archetype and Class systems. Skill augments appear to be superficial and more for flavor than mechanical benefit (horizontal progression). I think the system as presented is not granular enough, nor wide enough. Here are some examples:

After analyzing the top 7 most popular MMOs and the most popular Tabletop RPG, I have been trying to figure out all the archetypes that players may want to play as or may be used to seeing. Taking the Fighter (or Warrior) as the example, there are many offshoots that different Fighters focus on and players want skills to mechanically allow them the options to advance their character to suit the specific Fighter story they are going for.

Fighter stories typically seem to focus on one or more of these themes which should be represented as skill trees, abilities, or game systems in some fashion:

1. Rage- To play out the adrenaline fueled Barbarians. Build up the rage and spend it to deal or ignore big damage.

2. Block- To play out the Guardian/Defender. Defend the party with your shield or perhaps a large two-handed weapon.

3. Tactics/Banners/Shouts - To play out a Battlefield Commander/General. I've grouped these together although they act
mechanically different. Typically this involve area-of-effect buffs by planting a banner or having a shout inspire allies.

4. Mount - From a jousting knight to a dragon riding dragoon, many fighters are defined by their ability to fight while mounted.

5. Archery - To play out the Town Guard that just holds a crossbow all day. Some fighters are simply archers at heart and would rather fight with a bow/crossbow.

6. Martial Weapons- To play out the Samurai and similar archetypes who focuses on honing their skill with a specific weapon or to play out a well-rounded fighter a player could invest in more general bonuses.

7. Stance- Recognizable stances help distinguish one fighter from another and can allude to their training and personal fighting style. Mechanically, adopting a stance typically is a short term self buff.

8. Magic - Many fighter fantasies involve dabbling with magic in some way. This is where the Paladin would fall as a Fighter who has dabbled in Holy/Divine magic. All magic schools both arcane and divine should be available for Fighters to pick up skills that light their weapon on fire, speed them up, allow them to heal, etc.

I'm sure this isn't even an exhaustive list, but it is a good start. From what I've read the Fighter in Ashes is a gap-closing burst damage character mechanically. This does fit some fighters, but not all of them, and may more be suited to the Assassin subset of Rouge characters. This is one example why I think the Archetypes and Skill system is not granular enough.

Being good at Mounted Combat is very important to Fighters whose stories feature the mounts more prominently (Knights, Paladins, Dragoons, some Rangers). I don't think I've ever seen a Mounted Combat skill tree that allows a player to strictly focus on that aspect of their story and define their character as being better than others in that area. This is one example why I don't think the Archetypes and Skill system is wide enough.

From listening to Steven talk, it is clear to me that he is very focused on the games social systems and not as much about the player options. Perhaps, this is due to the stage of development. The game systems are important, but a great story and a great story telling tool are not optimal if the player is not playing the character that they want to play. Eventually players will leave when presented with an option to play out a fantasy that more closely aligns with their expectations.

I would urge the developers to think about what makes these Archetypes unique, the wanted variations, and develop more game systems like the Rogue and Ranger extra loot/tracking opportunities. Ensure that skill augments are mechanically expanding to fill popular variations of the traditional classes.

If you made it this far, congratulations! You did it.

What characters do you want to play as that are not typically represented in RPGs?

What skills do you want to be able to use for your favorite Archetype?


  • Options
    ElderElder Member, Leader of Men, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    We haven't seen any of the primary archetype class kits for A2, let alone the four different schools of augmentation that each secondary archetype provides. We just don't know.

    "From listening to Steven talk, it is clear to me that he is very focused on the games social systems and not as much about the player options."

    A social organizations questlines will provide augments and other niche rewards to further your player options.
    Which is the greater folly, summoning the demon or expecting gratitude from it?
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