Something that has been bothering me a lot recently is the fact that most modern MMO’s seem to be straying away from Archetypes. Your typical DND style Warrior, Mage, Assassin archetypes are being traded away for a more ‘unique snowflake’ approach. Now, let’s get this out there right away, I am not directly saying this is a wrong approach but I am more curious at how this will affect the Elder Scrolls Online as a game. Also, whether it is a good approach for an MMO in general.
Morrowind was my first experience in the Elder Scrolls universe. This was before I had gotten seriously involved in any MMOG. I loved how open the world was, how the questing was so non-linear, and how I could really be whatever kind of hero I wanted to be. The first two are eventually what brought me into MMO’s; I feel the later may be the downfall of my MMOGing experience. As a single player game, being the best at EVERYTHING is fine. You are the only champion and there is no one else to compete with you. It’s what makes single player games so great.
Does the lack of archetypes and a more ‘be whaever you want to be’ type progression work in an MMO setting?
I am not convinced. I am going to use Funcom’s “The Secret World” as an example here. While having SO many flaws it did have an interesting progression system. Something similar to what I expect in ESO. Basically, as long as you keep playing you can receive more skill points to put towards new abilities. Anything from tanking skills, damage skills, healing skills, even more utility type abilities. The problem here was that eventually your single character could become skilled at everything! Now of course there were restrictions and you could not do them all at once. But our main tank could switch out after a long fight and heal the next battle. Now what is wrong with that? Maybe I am just living in the past, but I like my heros! Gandalf, for a lack of better example, was your typical wizard archetype. We loved him carrying a staff and casting spells etc. Now imagine if halfway through the series, his character decides he wants to be a warrior. No. This bothers me. It takes away from that shiny special feeling you get of being the best and spending so much time working towards that goal.
Another interesting point is that if every character has the same ‘buffet’ of skills to choose from, won’t we eventually find the best build to use? Modern gamers are ruthless towards developers. They can find glitches and bugs in any system faster than you can blink an eye. This was another downfall of TSW. Anyone remember in Fusang all the AR builds early on? Cookie Cutters steamrolled while the people trying original builds were torn apart. Would this happen in ESO?
Now this is all speculation, and could very well change but it is an interesting idea that I would like to keep at the forefront of discussion.
What do you think of Archetypes? How does it affect making alts? Does a skill point ‘buffet’ work, or do modern players eventually figure out the single best build?