Thursday, December 31, 2009

Classic Class Design Doc

This character class design doc is for a traditional MMO RPG (WoW, FFXI, Lineage II, Ragnarok I/II, ect) set in a medieval Asian fantasy world. A war has started where Earth is the target of both Heaven and Hell. Hell wants to take over the Earth and Heaven wants to “help” a little too aggressively. The vast kingdom the players are a part of (modeled after China circa 1900) has decided they don’t want help from any divine powers. This was inspired by the climate that leads to the “Boxer Rebellion” in history. The game is entirely PvE. Each class is FANTASTIC at what they do (To the point that other classes are not even second rate). This design doc is more of a mash-up of class concepts and mechanics I have always wanted to see in a game of this sort. (See “Design Notes” for more on this.)

General Notes:
It should be noted that when one gets a skill they get it in the order listed on their skill lists no matter what skill they choose.

Every time it completes a mission it gets stronger (no exp)
1 Completed mission means 1 move of 1 piece.
You get the skill you end your movement on.
After you move- your “opponent” (AI) moves.

Skill Chart
If you try to kill a piece or the “opponent” tries to kill yours you must complete a “Political Mission” before you can do any other missions.
Success in a political mission means you kill your opponent’s piece (regardless if they where attacking you or you where attacking them). If you fail you loose your piece.
If you loose your king (placed in checkmate) then the board re-sets. (However you retain your skills)
Once you checkmate (or kill all the other pieces) you advance to the next board and receive a new skill. (Called a Reward Skill)

This represents your climb in power from a son of a low ranking noble house to a full-on lord. Your pieces are subjects, lackeys, minions, allies, and other such politically useful people. Your opponent controls his own. The chess board represents the political intrigue of your attempt to gain the station of the person above you and his/her attempts to keep you down. Missions are formatted in this sense:
Action: “Black Bishop attacks” “White Knight.”
“A bishop with close personal ties to [Lord Lionheart] has been covertly ordered to defame…”
“…your faithful confidant and Guardian”
“You must convince this [Bishop] to change his mind before it’s too late!”

A Noble is a support class, though it does not directly impact statistics in combat. They can detect powerful “Spirit” enemies who are very challenging but give higher than their challenge in loot and experience. (A normal mob has a 1:1 challenge rating to loot drop/exp gain while a Spirit enemy has a 2:1 or 2 exp for every 1 challenge rating) They get progressively better at detecting them. They gain the ability to tack them an eventually even summon them. (It should also be noted that all boss mob are spirit enemies.

Nobles also gain after battle boosts to a party. If the noble survives the party gains additional EXP and higher gold drops. Eventually the Nobles can even duplicate items dropped from an enemy! Combat wise they are average- no truly excelling any area. They can provide a suitable amount of damage, though not more than a Guardian. They can take a fair amount of damage, though not more than any other classes.

For the purposes of comparing levels/level requirements for gear the game would have to record the number of moves the Noble has made. That divided by 4 (for the 4 “ranks”) would be their assumed level. This may take some tweaking in play testing but it would be somewhere around there. (4 missions = 1 level? Sound about right)

-Imperial Bounty: The amount of gold gained from a mob killed is multiplied by 1.5 if the Noble survives combat.

-Imperial Scrutiny: The amount of EXP gained from a mob killed is multiplied by 1.5 if the Noble survives combat.

-Majestic Persona: Attacking a Noble reduces threat on the Noble. Only one persona may be active at a time.

-Regal Persona: Attacking a Noble stacks damage reduction on the Noble for each attack. This has a cap and each iteration attack has a short timer. Only one persona may be active at a time.

-Imposing Persona: Attacking a Noble causes .25% of the damage to be dealt back to the attacker. Only one persona may be active at a time.

-Imperial Vault: One item dropped from an enemy can be duplicated. Once an item has been duplicated it may not be duplicated again by another Noble.

Reward Skills
-Detect Spirit: You can view spirits if you physically find them. Once you hit them, they become able to be targeted by everyone else.

-Track Spirit: You can view the location of spirits on your mini-map.

-Sense: You can view the location of spirits on your world map or area map.

-Summon Spirit: You automatically summon the nearest spirit to you (within a given range).

Design Notes:
I ALWAYS wanted to see a class that has no intrinsic value while in combat but you want to bring along anyway! They basically NEED to have other people (Guardians normally) with them or the missions are VERY hard. Without EXP gain it forces them to rely on others to help them progress (like a politician!). I also loved the idea of a chess game to progress. It just makes it all the more fun, adding another aspect the hinder/expedite the leveling process. It reflects the political intrigue aspect. Another little interesting bit is that you can go after skills rather than focus on the missions- but no one will want you (no spirit detection). It’s a trade off.

A guardian has a standard exp progression system with a level cap of 64. Once you fill up your exp bar once (by killing enemies and completing missions) you can select one square adjacent to one you previously inhabited and gain the benefit from that square.

Skill Chart
When you select a square you gain a large bonus in that area. (+12 attack for example compared to if +12 was the normal gain) Squares adjacent to that skill gain a smaller bonus (+6 in our example) and squares adjacent to those gain a small bonus (+3 if our scale was accurate). This makes Guardians immensely powerful, particularly in melee. It should be noted here that skills and weapon proficiencies are not boosted by this.

This represents your martial training. You might be focused on learning how to use a sword better but you also happen to get stronger by the physical demands of the training.

Guardians are melee specialists geared to the hardcore gamer demographic. They are a progression based class (rather than an option based class) and attack in a linear one target fashion. The are vastly stronger than other classes in melee, however they are reliant on other classes for support. This game does not support PvP (except duels between Guardians) so this class is a requirement for combat in general. A combat that consists ONLY of guardians however will generally fail.

-Focus Fire: You mark a target for the entire party. Any allies attacking that target gain a bonus to damage. You can use this to designate additional targets as well (with icons) but only the “focus fire” icon gets a damage boost.

-Guard: You automatically take hits for a target within several inches of you. Your defensive stat is dropped. You auto-follow your charge like glue.

-March: All allies within a radius auto-follow you until you stop moving. You all gain a significant movement-speed increase. An ally can cancel the effect at will.
-Duel: You can only see your selected target and a small area around him and yourself. However all damage is multiplied times two and damage you take from your opponent is reduced significantly. You auto-follow the target at increased movement speed. This lasts until the target is dead or out of range (as defined by the skill, probably about 20 feet to avoid kiting the Guardian)

-Shock: You stun an opponent for a brief second. (Canceling active channels, ect)

-Battle Cry: You loose control of your character and attack the nearest target (or whoever builds threat on you as you are AI controlled). Your HP is replaced by a “Rage” bar that continuously drains. Dealing damage or taking damage replenishes this bar. Healing “damages” your Rage bar. When it drains to zero your HP bar comes back, at the same level as it was before you started your rage. Rage bar size is equivalent in scale to your HP bar.

Design Notes:
With Guardian I wanted an indisputable king of all melee. Like if you saw one running at you, the only thought in your brain is “Jesus Christ I’m fucked”. Fighting it would just be stupid. I also wanted to highlight the progression/option concept. Basically they gain a SHIT TON of stat progression that makes them statistically unbelievably strong. However, they don’t have options. They attack in a linear, one target fashion. They just kinda beat on you and laugh about it. They don’t have effects, they don’t have multi target, and they don’t have crazy alternatives to their standard pattern- they just beat things REALLY hard until they stop moving.

I incorporated a few really fun skills I toyed with in a few design concepts prior to this. The “Duel” skill was inspired by Ragnarok’s “Taekwon Boy/Girl” skill concept where they could permanently limit their sight range but gain a higher attack stat (Called “Solar, Lunar and Stellar Shadow”). I didn’t like the way they did it so I tweaked it to my liking. Wouldn’t it be fun to beat on someone then suddenly get the living crap kicked out of you by a foe unseen only to realize its some stupid ranged enemy like 5 feet away? It’s a trade off.

The “Battle Cry” skill was actually an entire class concept when I challenged myself to re-design the standard “Bezerker” concept. It morphed into a temporary invincibility based on combat prowess. Running from target to target in hopes of keeping that rage bar going would be a major part of their concept!

“Shock”, “Focus Fire”, and “Guard” where pulled directly from my experience end game raiding in a few games. “Shock” is the required “interrupt” which every class that is raid worthy seems to have and “Focus Fire” is an organizational skill that makes targeting a single target actually worth something. “Guard” basically makes you a tank and allows you to party with members who generate a lot of threat.

The Gang class has a standard exp progression system with a level cap of 8. Gaining a level requires 8 times the amount of EXP as normal (example: Guardian) Once you fill up your exp bar once (by killing enemies and completing missions) you progress one level.

Skill Chart
You play as 8 individuals in a gang. Every time you gain a level every one of those characters level up. They gain the next skill vertically above them. The gang class has a unique “?” icon. This allows you to customize your gang members. (For example- if you make one or two defensive/HP primarily they can serve as your gangs tank when playing alone)

This represents your gang’s continuous improvement, though informal. You will never reach the mythic level of a Guardian’s martial prowess with an individual gang member’s skill- however you CAN collectively drop one if you work together!

Gangs are for the RTS fans. They are strategic and difficult to play- but offer some of the highest rewards. Unlike the Guardian who is hell-bent on linear one on one attacks, Gangs can deal with large volumes of enemies with ease and have little problem dispatching large foes when they work together. One has to be smart when playing a gang- it’s a downward spiral if you mess up! (Loosing 1 makes you weaker and more likely to loose another!) Gangs come with “Orders” that replace their distinct lack of skills. Only 1 order can be active at a time. (They have 5 orders + 1 skill per member) Gang members can select the same skill. (Some times it’s beneficial to do so)

In order to control this class the player can cycle through the view of the units. It can issue orders from any unit. When not directly control they utilized predefined AI modes. (Attack, Flee, Stay, Patrol)

Equipment needs to be bought in eights and everyone gets equipped with the same thing. In this respect equipping them with rare items is not a viable strategy until you have enough for everyone. It also makes equipping them rather pricy. It should be noted here that their collective level satisfies level requirements for gear. (So a level 8 Gang would count as a level 64 character if level requirements are added in the game)

-Wolf-Pack Tactics: All gang members attack the same target. Damage is multiplied by .5x the number of gang members attacking it. (So if 4 are hitting it then each gang members gets x2 damage. With all 8 they get x4 each!)

-Scramble: All gang members run off in a large circle, attempting to kite an enemy or just disperse the field of battle.

-Line Fighting: The gang stands shoulder to shoulder attacking anyone who comes close or attempts to pass the line. This has increased threat generation.

-Protect: The gang takes up a defensive perimeter on a target attacking anyone who comes close. This has increased threat generation. They can target a gang member.

-Trap: This gang member sets a small trap that will damage and slow a target.

-Instigate: This gang member has increased threat generation. (Able to be toggled on/off)

-First Aid: This gang member can resurrect a gang member at 10% HP after 20 seconds of healing.

-Sharp: This gang member detects invisible/cloaked enemies in a small radius around them.

-Vicious: This gang member gains a temporary damage buff equal to the % of the targets remaining HP it deals on its next attack.

-Scout: This gang member has +20% movement speed. If “Protected” the entire group gets this.

-Shady: This gang member can move invisibly at 25% of its normal movement speed.

-Leader: This gang member gives a +2% damage buff to all gang members in a small aura for each gang member (including itself) within the aura. (So with 3 gang members including itself they would all gain a +6% damage buff. With all 8 that’s +16%.)

-Sticky Fingers: This gang member causes 10% more money to drop from enemies and raises the % drop chance for items.

Design Notes:
O man how fun! I ALWAYS wanted to play like 10 characters in an MMO where everyone else has 1 character! Imagine the chaos that would cause! Mobs can be in swarms so why can’t we? The gang class kinda serves as a “tank”. I always thought it was poor design to make a game where one poor s.o.b takes ALL the hits from a demi god while the other 49 people in a group sit there and wale on it. That person must be some sort of FANTASTIC masochist to want to get stabbed repeatedly only to have that slashed liver repaired magically… or maybe it’s just an addiction to magic healing? Anyway, I thought that the “fodder” would be the perfect replacement for that. Sure the big dumb brute you’re fighting guts a handful of peons before it goes down! It makes it all the more epic! This was also kinda inspired by playing a little DOTA (or HON if hip to that sort of thing…) when you suddenly got to control a few units with illusions (or certain characters).

The Shaper gains 1 exp for every kill of a “General” of equivalent level or lower.

Skill Chart
Nothing unique- every time a Shaper kills a general (after a series of 1-4 set up missions depending on how hard the boss is) they gain a level. The missions force it to kill enemies’ equivalent in challenge to that required of other classes (using Guardian’s progression as a measuring stick).

The Shaper advanced by absorbing demonic/angelic souls to further boost its divine power. They want to use the power against themselves. They progress through missions, up the chain of command to stronger and stronger angels and demons in order the satisfy their requirements for power. They have a sort of “story” they develop.

The Shaper has the ability to change its spell as its main ability. It is useful in ANY situation. It is an option based class that shuns progression in favor of situational superiority. (In contrast to the progression of the Guardian)

The different effects of the spell are hot-keyed to keyboard locations. Pressing shift allows a Shaper to change their spell on the fly. (Example: Shift + 1 [Fire] + A [AOE] + C [Channeled] then releasing Shift would cast a sustained area of effect fire spell) Casting the same spell again will cast the last spell cast. A Shaper can save several predefined spells as skills.

-Magic Bolt: Damage equal to Magic stat x2. Normal a magic damage single target spell with a 1 second cast time then fire. There is a 10 sec Cooldown between casts.

-Elemental Manipulation: This ability gives the Shaper the ability to add an element on its spell. (Fire, Water, Ice, Wind, Earth, Poison, Lightning, Physical, Knockback, Healing, Drain, Magic)

-Spell Slot #1: This allows the Shaper to save one of their spells for later. (Allow a saved spell)

-Shape Manipulation: This ability allows the Shaper to define a spell’s range. It can be the standard direct damage on a single target (no repercussions), an aura focused on you that hits all enemies in about a 3 foot circle (damage/number of enemies it hits). The spell can be cast AOE but the damage is divided by the number of enemies it hits. The final option is to cast it “Melee” where the spells effect is added to your physical attack.

-Spell Slot #2: This allows the Shaper to save one of their spells for later. (Allow a saved spell)
-Style Manipulation: This ability allows the Shaper to define the style the spell is cast in. The spell can be sustained as a channeled spell for 5 seconds but the damage is divided by 5. It can be instant cast to be cast while the duration of the cooldown is still active. (However it procs the cooldown) Damage is reduced by the % left on the cooldown. (90% is left, but it deals 90% less damage!) This makes is “spamable” but very low damage. The final method of casting is to charge the spell. A spell can be held in charge, multiplying the damage time the number of seconds held. (Up to 15 seconds)

-Spell Slot #3: This allows the Shaper to save one of their spells for later. (Allow a saved spell)

-Spell Seal: This adds the “Sealed” spell style to the Style Manipulations a Shaper can cast. The Shaper can cast a spell into an invisible seal on the ground. It triggers when its boundaries are violated by something it can effect. It can’t be cast “Melee” and focuses on the center of the seal for the “Aura” shape. A shaper can have 3 of these active at once.

*It should be noted that when the description lists “damage” as being reduced or increased it similarly reduces or boosts for “effects” if the damage would be substitute for an effect.

Design Notes
Total option whore. Progression is for pussies. While they have very high magic stat (24 squares on the grid out of 64) their real strength comes in that stupid number of combinations they can dish out with their Spell. I feel like adding like 10 different things to each to make them a truly vast number of options but then I thought better of it and figured I would start to get sloppy if I forced it and add something that would be inherently broken. I don’t like having redundant classes, but this own is the yin the Guardian’s yang so I decided to add it. The fill different roles, though not entirely different ones; the Shaper is more of a crowd controller while the Guardian is more focused on dropping the big mobs and taking a beating. The shaper also has the ability to heal, something that it uniquely possesses. At first I wanted to add some sort of “high-low” damage range but then I figured that would kill the careful planning it required.

I left some spots on the Shaper's skill board to represent its dedication to options over progression. You literally have to ignore your skills to get the progression of the melee stats (or come back for them later) because the majority of the skills are in the center column while the defense and attack are located on the right and left sides of the board.

Stylistically I imagined them to be able to go after either the angels or the demons. They could gain a slightly more “angelic” or “demonic” appearance depending on the route they take.

1 comment:

  1. Key

    Noble Skill Chart

    Guardian Skill Chart

    Example Guardian Skill Gain

    Gang Skill Chart

    Shaper Skill Chart