Freedom of Class
You don’t need me to tell you that TESO is going to be a bit different from the average dungeon crawler MMO. ZeniMax Online is putting their own spin on a variety of established gameplay mechanics, but one of their tweaks that caught my fancy was how they are structuring their class system.
So far, it’s been confirmed that there are at least four different classes in the game – Dragonknight, Templar, Sorcerer, and Warden. Offensive physical, defensive physical, offensive magic, and defensive magic respectively. There are some clear distinctions in there, but nothing really screams “tank” or “healer.” Now you could make the argument that the Templar is the obvious tank, Warden is the healer, etc., but that’s taking away far too much credit from the game.
It has been confirmed that any class can pick up and use any of the weapons or armor that they find. I absolutely love this; it helps blend the classes even further, which I think is an intentional move. The classes also have a broad variety of skills and abilities they can learn as well – I can only hope that in-game these skills actually mean something. If a Dragonknight can learn healing magic, but it is hopelessly pitiful when compared to a Warden’s healing, than in competitive play it might as well not be there at all. But let’s say they do in fact have good balance. Assuming the classes themselves will be relatively similar, coupled with the ability to pick up and use any weapon or piece of armor, I think the teams in TESO are going to be a lot more varied.
In just about every single fantasy MMO ever made, you have every member of the team doing a very specific job, and not much else. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but the system gets a bit stale after a while. With TESO’s class system, there is a good chance that roles will be blurred in battle and improvisation will become an important factor. The battles will be more exciting and everybody will, more or less, be on equal footing within the team.
This ties in very nicely with everything ZeniMax has said about wanting TESO to be more action-focused and fast paced. Not only does this obviously break the tradition of assigned roles and raise the action-quota, it sort of makes each player, even in team play, the star of the show. If ZeniMax Online wants TESO to feel like past Elder Scrolls games, this is definitely an effective way to do it.
[box] Are the classes too similar? Are you excited about where the class system is heading, or is ZeniMax fixing what isn’t broken? Let us know in the comments![/box]