Tag Archives: class

The Starter Code Dilemma

Humans are inquisitive beings.  We tend to question things, and that’s a quality that I’m quite proud of.  Personally, I like to know how things work.  It’s not enough that something fulfills its purpose at the moment.

The reason I bring this up is kind of complicated.  For Graphics Programming, my professor gave us DirectX 11 starter code because it would have taken too long to develop the core framework and teach it at the same time.  When he first told us this, I was elated.  Setup is often tedious, especially for lower level stuff like this.  For the first few assignments, I had no problems.  Drawing geometry was easy.  The shaders worked well.  Texturing was a breeze.  It didn’t hit me until recently that this code might have to be the basis for my team’s game.

And herein lies the issue: I don’t really know how it works.  Because of this, I lack control.  I have a solution though, and this may be the start of something very wise.  I’m going to do it all from scratch using a few online tutorials, but I’ll be modding the code as I go with my team’s game in mind.  This way, I’ll avoid the issue of blindly copy-pasting and I’ll end up with something that I understand.  It will take time, but doesn’t everything?  It’s better than being ignorant.

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MMORPGs: Class is in Session

Point. Click. Wait. Does this seem familiar? This formula seems to pop up everywhere in the world of MMORPGs. I know this because I have played many MMORPGs. Now, don’t confuse this article as some sort of boredom-fueled rant about how the genre needs a revolution. I’m not going to yell at you in caps lock about how there are too many generic MMORPGs, too many three-kingdoms based MMORPGs, or too many games in the genre in general. I simply want to talk about one thing: potential.

When you play one of these games, you generally must choose from a variety of jobs or classes for your character. What are you really choosing? In many cases, your choice represents a series of armor sets. There are usually a dedicated set of skills for each class. Sometimes certain quests are only given to certain classes. After these distinctions, the differences become quite superficial. This system is easy to develop for. The classes all play in the same general fashion (click, spam hotkey sequence, repeat). This makes it easy for developers to create new content. The problem is that no matter how interesting the content may be, the gameplay is still the same between classes. Why create such an arbitrary choice? I don’t think the issue is that there aren’t unique classes, the tools are all here already. Developers can take the common MMORPG classes and make them truly interesting and different from each other.

Does it even matter?

Now, zoom out for a bit. Broaden the scope of your mind to include all genres. When I say warrior, what genre do you think of? I tend to think of the action genre, and I think about games like God of War. Kratos is a warrior, I would never doubt that. Warriors in games tend to care about certain things and handle problems in ways specific to them. Kratos would be a horrible Black Mage. Mages have different cares and concerns, and they certainly have different methods of dispatching foes.

These two could never switch games.

If we can agree on this, then why do the classes play so similarly in MMORPGs? Pointing and clicking works well for using magic, but if I’m a warrior, I want to attack multiple targets fluidly. It makes more sense for a warrior in an MMORPG to play like a warrior play in an enjoyable action game. What about summoners? It seems like they would be better off with the controls of an RTS. It simply makes more logical sense that way.

MMORPGs are virtual worlds. Character classes can easily become virtual lifestyles. So, what about professions? Do warriors care about herbalism? Maybe not, but I’m sure they have knowledge of weapon crafting and maintenance. Perhaps a rogue can tell you if that mushroom you’re about to eat will kill you or not.

I'd eat that.

Obviously this is a hard system to implement. It’s almost like creating multiple games. Developers would have to test new content individually for each class. Even so, this explanation is very extreme. Nothing stops a developer from taking a few extra steps to make the classes actually play differently. It would certainly open up the genre to a new audience. Players would choose a class based on how they want their character to live and move, not a set of numbers and animations.

Maybe playing a priest will finally become interesting….





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