Author Topic: Races and roles  (Read 15072 times)

Endorya

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Races and roles
« on: July 20, 2013, 12:08:27 PM »
Ahhh... Elves, trolls, dwarves, halflings, orcs, trolls, humans,... Whenever I'm about to choose my main charater's race from the extensive list of races available, I know I will end up being either a human or an Elf. For some reason I simply can't stand the idea of having my character reincarnate as a dwarf, halfling or a dumb troll. Unless there are other new races worth exploring like an Elemental, Beastlord or Drake, this is how it usually ends, me being an Elf or a Human.

I fully understand that having such "common" races in a game might be a good thing because people are already familiar with them and may be specially attached to some. These common races usually share the same strengths and weaknesses allowing players to quickly foreseen the expected game play. A dwarf usually excels in fortitude and stamina while an elf will mostly certainly have magic bonuses making it a strong candidate to become a great wizard.

Then you have roles. Certain roles will be only available to certain races, which I guess it makes sense. Having "The Great Troll wizard" or  the "Champion Halfling Gladiator" would sound an utter non-sense. But this however does restricts possibilities, which is something I'm usually not fond of. Having to choose roles itself at the beginning of the game feels already castrating, not to mention you will have to try each race with each role until its outcome will be something you might appreciate or that may suit your gaming style.

Races and roles can also be a decisive factor to enjoy or letting someone getting into the game. I hated when I first played ADOM because I choose a race and role with a poor outcome. That combination didn't let me to perceive ADOM's game play as expect.

The Elder's Scrolls have the concept I like most for character generation. You do choose a race and possibly a role or you can create a role of your own and even if you create your own role, the character won't be limited to those skills you have chosen, you will still be able to train whatever you want throughout the whole playing without restriction whatsoever, though you won't become good at every field of course. But there is something I really hate even in skyrim. Something that affects a huge stack of games, which is failing miserably on not telling the player what exactly will be those bonuses / penalties they mention regarding that particular race the player is viewing information about. Lets have a look at this example in Skyrim:

The High Elves, also commonly known as Altmer, are a race of Elves which reside in the region of Tamriel. The High Elves, or Altmer try their utmost to follow their ancestors which are the Aldmer in as many ways as possible, namely though, through traditions involving Marriage and Reproduction. (...)

Altmer/High Elves are, on average smaller than humans in body size, which means that in general they are not as strong. Being very tall creatures, this makes them less Agile than the Bosmer, and therefore more vulnerable. Altmer are among the most intelligent and magically skilled races within Nirn, which surpass even the Bretons in magical ability. (...)


Ok, so we can conclude the High Elves are good with magic but what is good with magic? What exactly are their bonuses? I need numbers and I need to see what is considered average so that even if they show those numbers players can understand what the magnitude of the bonuses they refer about.

Anyway...
What do you prefer? Races with or without established roles?

Having or not common races? Do you prefer to have races you never heard before or keep playing with traditional ones?
« Last Edit: July 20, 2013, 12:13:18 PM by Endorya »
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Vanguard

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Re: Races and roles
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2013, 06:44:13 PM »
I fully understand that having such "common" races in a game might be a good thing because people are already familiar with them and may be specially attached to some.

This is a weakness, not a strength.  You can put literally anything into your supernatural/fantastic setting, so why do the exact same thing as everyone else?  The best dwarves and elves are the ones people really believed in - frightening aliens with incomprehensible motives.

They're mechanically worthless too.  A good rule of thumb for game design is that you should include exactly as many rules as you need and no more.  Race and class do the same thing, so you're adding another layer of complexity without a meaningful increase in depth.  Like, if elf wizards and dwarf fighters are good, but not the reverse, all you've gained by adding races is a few trap options.  Why not have one race that's good at everything instead?

requerent

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Re: Races and roles
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2013, 09:00:33 PM »
Races shouldn't be too much more than novelty. They shouldn't alter the paradigm from which you play the game. For example, if you want to fully experience the magical system, you shouldn't be compelled by the mechanics of the game to be a gnome so that you aren't missing content.


What happens here, with races and classes, is that the player's ability to explore certain content is heavily confined. it's better to allow classes to emerge from a composition of skills and items. If a player wants to learn a bit of magic, he should be able to- and it shouldn't be ineffectual just because he's not a 'pure caster.' Games can get pretty stupid with how they make distinctions between classes. Every character should be able to at least learn how to do things.


As for races, I think that our idea of what classes are is a disease. An animistic shaman may be more like a wizard than a priest, and there is no reason why a Troll Shaman may be less powerful or interesting to play than a wizard or a priest. It's important to rationalize how magic works in your world-- are their multiple sources of magical energy? If so-- everyone should have a near equal opportunity to tap that magic in some way that is meaningful to that character.

Lastly, the worst thing you can do is set ANY arbitrary restrictions on the usage of items found within the game. Everyone should, to some degree, find some degree of usefulness with any piece of equipment they find.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2013, 10:11:51 PM by requerent »

Anvilfolk

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Re: Races and roles
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2013, 10:01:00 PM »
I really liked IVAN's system. You're just a guy, and you get better at what you use. This goes from combat types (swords, maces, spears, etc) to specific weapons you've used for a while, and other skills too.

That said, I don't see anything wrong with having races being better at certain things than others. I'll agree with everyone else on classes though: they are mostly useless. They should be, at most, a preliminary startup skillset.

In the limit, races could also be randomly generated - I've seen a few interesting proposals in this forum :)
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Endorya

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Re: Races and roles
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2013, 10:24:08 PM »
Thank you all for the replies!

I'm planning to leave every skill or profession unlocked so the player can decide what to train at any given time; I'm definitely following up Skyrim's path towards skill progression and availability. I'm also planning having factions instead of races. I'm studying a method (on second thread in my mind) to generate them dynamically, attached to the terraforming seed which breeds the whole planet.

The output should be having factions favoring different types of life styles. Some factions might favor melee, others might favor ranged or hunting, crafting, trading or even magic.

What do you think about this and what suggestions / ideas would or could you share with me?
« Last Edit: July 20, 2013, 10:28:10 PM by Endorya »
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Re: Races and roles
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2013, 01:51:44 AM »
I'm of 2 minds on this. If you create a nice deep system where  all classes can be fun, that's great. They don't need to be balanced, some can be harder. You can label them as 'advanced'.

It's hard to make that sort of system though, but it's fun. D&D I played as a kid, Red Box, had races that WERE classes. So there was Fighter, Cleric, Thief and Magic User as well as Elf, Halfling and Dwarf. Race = Class, so 7 classes. Pretty fun.

Then there is the way that Brogue does it. You start as a blank slate and the gear you find determines your abilities. It's entirely gear based. You don't even level in Brogue anymore.

Vanguard

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Re: Races and roles
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2013, 10:18:39 AM »
Balance is still important in single player and cooperative games.  The main thing to be aware of is that single player/co-op balance isn't necessarily the same thing as good competitive multiplayer balance.  Advanced classes can be good, but personally, I prefer  the ones that offer great rewards for those who master them over gimp classes.  If you've ever played DoDonPachi Daioujou, its expert-type ships are a good example of what I'm talking about.

Many modern developers seem to think that balancing is the same as homogenization, and that leads to boring games.  Ideally, every class should be capable of completing the game and feel powerful in its own way while also being clearly distinct from the other classes.  You know you've done your job well when every class makes you feel confident that you made the right choice, but at the same time you find yourself wishing you had some other class's advantages too.

This applies to races as well.  Mechanically, race and class are the exact same thing.

cyb_rogue

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Re: Races and roles
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2013, 09:27:44 PM »
Then you have roles. Certain roles will be only available to certain races, which I guess it makes sense. Having "The Great Troll wizard" or  the "Champion Halfling Gladiator" would sound an utter non-sense.

On the other hand, it could indicate that the character in question is truly exceptional. Maybe because they know their strengths (and weaknesses) and use them accordingly?

What do you prefer? Races with or without established roles?

Races without established roles. Race should modify how a character performs a certain role. A Troll warrior won't be doing gracious swordplay, while a troll mage probably won't go into the finer points of illusionism or mental manipulation. A troll rogue is probably going to be more of a thug than his sneaky halfling colleague.


Endorya

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Re: Races and roles
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2013, 09:55:27 AM »
On the other hand, it could indicate that the character in question is truly exceptional. Maybe because they know their strengths (and weaknesses) and use them accordingly
Well, it could happen, having an exceptional great troll wizard or a champion halfling gladiator. But they would only be considered exceptional among other trolls an halflings as they would need also to compete against other exceptional wizards and gladiators existing in other races, which would have, by far, a greater disposition to excel in such roles.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2013, 12:50:31 PM by Endorya »
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requerent

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Re: Races and roles
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2013, 03:29:56 PM »
On the other hand, it could indicate that the character in question is truly exceptional. Maybe because they know their strengths (and weaknesses) and use them accordingly
Well, it could happen, having an exceptional great troll wizard or a champion halfling gladiator. But they would only be considered exceptional among other trolls an halflings as they would need also to compete against other exceptional wizards and gladiators existing in other races, which would have, by far, a greater disposition to excel in such roles.

That's so racist.

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Re: Races and roles
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2013, 09:09:31 PM »
I liked what ADOM did with paladins. Instead of all paladins being Holy White Knight Champions of Virtue(tm), each race's paladins were champions of said race's natural alignment. So troll paladins were actually *supposed* to be evil!
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Endorya

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Re: Races and roles
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2013, 09:12:55 PM »
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Krice

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Re: Races and roles
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2013, 10:24:00 AM »
Mechanically, race and class are the exact same thing.

Right. They give penalty or bonus in some attribute and helps you play a "role" that way. In raceless/classless system the gear determines the same thing, so it's not that different. I also like the "unbalanced" way to create classes and races, because it's effectively same as difficulty level and it makes the game more interesting since you get different kind of experience with each race and/or class.

Endorya

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Re: Races and roles
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2013, 10:53:38 AM »
Right. They give penalty or bonus in some attribute and helps you play a "role" that way. In raceless/classless system the gear determines the same thing, so it's not that different. I also like the "unbalanced" way to create classes and races, because it's effectively same as difficulty level and it makes the game more interesting since you get different kind of experience with each race and/or class.
That's in fact an interesting way to see it.
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miki151

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Re: Races and roles
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2013, 11:05:30 AM »
You can have other things depend on race & class too, like game beginning and ending, allies (based on the race).
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