Posted in General

Why not make class changing a part of your MMO character’s journey?

Until 1999, I was trained to be an IT professional, went on to youth ministry, then senior ministry, while also taking up writing on the side. job changes are part of my life’s journey. Growing as a person sometimes means undertaking new skills and professions (or adding on to the ones you have!).

Yet this is not often mirrored in MMORPGs. Your character, born at the age of 25, is assigned a class that will forever stick to him, her, or it. There may be growth and development within that class, but that’s all that character will ever be.

To me, this feels limiting for characters and frustrating as a player. We invest hundreds and hundreds of hours into characters, and that means we may get kind of sick and tired of that class — but not the character. MMO studios want you to reroll if you get bored of classes, to encourage more time investment. But it really doesn’t need to be this way.

Dungeons and Dragons Online has an underrated character development system that allows you to multi-class and reroll that same character if you so choose. FFXIV, of course, allows your one character to collect all of the game’s classes and freely swap between them at any time. Realm of the Mad God encourages new class picks for each of your run-throughs while maintaining a character’s progression. And less generous MMO developers may sell class changes in their store, although this isn’t as common.

Class collection and swapping is something I wish far more MMOs allowed. It’s artificially limiting for a game to tell me that my Archer must always be an Archer because of… reasons. The Archer can’t decide one day, hey, I want to be a magician.

But really, why not? Why not bake class changes into the game in the form of quest chains or even (if you have to) grinds?

This was one of the reasons I was really looking forward to EverQuest Next, because it was supposed to have some sort of class-collecting and -swapping system. From what I remember, not all of the classes would be available when you created a character; you’d have to venture out and find new ones through various means.

It’s high time we got past rigid class boundaries and offer more in terms of player freedom.

One thought on “Why not make class changing a part of your MMO character’s journey?

  1. Literally the exact opposite of what I want from my mmorpgs. Want to play a new class? Of course! Who wouldn’t? Roll a new character and start over. My characters aren’t meant to be rounded individuals living a full and long life. They’re fictional characters and like most such they have a specific role to perform. Outside of that their motivations, desires and preferences are opaque.

    I think the class changing idea works for those who see their characters as “avatars” or extensions of themselves but for me it’s positively off-putting and remains a strong reason why I generally don’t enjoy (or play) games that encourage it.

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