Monday, July 26, 2010

What makes for interesting class-mechanics?

After having re-watched the fantastic EA-Multiplayer video from SWTOR, I was left feeling a little sad. The perspective of the video, was from a councilor.
And even if it was rough alfa, even if it looked great, even if I watched that damned thing 15 times. Something struck me: The mechanics looked so 2002. Boring and un-inventive. You did some healing by pushing a button. Then you did some melee tricks while mana regenerated and then you healed some more.
This was pretty much how priests worked in Molten Core. (and, i'm told, that is how paladins still work ZING).

And it is weird, because every game is struggling to outdo themselves in interesting and unique ways that a character class works.
Back in the day you had 3 types of mechanics:
rage that generated as you fought
Mana that got depleted as you fought
and energy that came back at steady rate.

To be honest, I am not sure who did what first, but I first discovered changes in this, when Lord of the rings online, came out. And a class like Champions came, where you both build up rage-like powers and spend sort of a combo buildup too. That is the best way to describe it. You would deplete your "power" and build up this secondary energy to unleash special powers.
You can see it in this vid: Notice the blue power depleting in the top corner (below the health) and in the bottom you can see a little bar with 5 red squares (above the round yellow icon with a sword in it).

maybe you have to play it to get it. Regardless it was a mechanic I really loved, and one that is sort of copied in Death Knights.
And if you thought LotRo was nuts, then stay away from war. That game was booming with interesting class mechanics. My favorite there where the High elf Swordmasters. Where you would dance into better battlestances. There where 3 and each stance had different abilites you could use. You could always use the stance below. (and yes I know that Destruction had a duplicate one, but i cannot remember its name). You can see that class at work here
I've earlier written about how cool I thought that the star wars class of Troopers mechanics sounded, in short: The mechanic got copied by WoW for hunters in Cata.
One of the main reasons why I'll be very very active on my hunter in Cataslysm.

I know mages (at least arcane) for a while where a procc class, where you kept looking out for different abilities to procc.

I guess these abundances of interesting mechanics or class-resources, got the better of me, and my hopes for star wars was, that every class would have some magnificently interesting mechanics (like pretty much every single class in Warhammer has), so I got myself pretty disapointed over councilars. Maybe I cannot see the interesting bit in that video. Maybe it is a very cool new intuative way, that this class works for healing (don't even get me started on healers in Warhammer. If only that game had the community that wow did...), but I for one, cannot see it.

Maybe there are players out there that breathe a sigh of relief? "Phew, thank god, a normal class that works how they are supposed to, now I can focus on playing the game".

What do ya'll think? Are there mechanics you look forward to? Are you allready sick and tired of new ways to skim the 3 mechanics from above (rage, mana, energy)?


  1. I'd love some new mechanics. I'm tired of the Same Old way of doing things.

  2. Well both warlocks, hunters and paladins are getting some new ways of doing things :)