Martin

Ditching the Class System?

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So, what your thoughts on having a game where no character have a class and they instead just use a specific weapon like in Heroes, except that they might have access to a second weapon or a new movement type upon promotion? I think it might open a more diverse set of characters. An archer would not have promote specifically to another class of just two options. Instead, he could become someone that wield a bow and lance, a bow and axe, or even just gain a mount and the bow itself. Meanwhile, his archer buddy might just promote to a unit with an entirely different set of weapon accessibility. Character identity would  not be effected by this process either. I honestly think that the lack of classes would improve it. 

 

Here we have one sword fighter from a noble house; equipped with a skill that allows him to use rapiers and the legendary weapon and there, we have the gruff, buff warrior who is also a sword wielder. This guy would be wearing chains, rags, and large gauntlets to make him seem like a threat to his enemies. Hell, with the lack of classes, we could probably even have extremely tall allies and enemies. No one is bounded to the weapons their classes allowed them and their actual roles compared to what they do can be taken more seriously. (Actual knights for example that could use swords and lances and is not found wondering with a group of bandits for whatever reason. )

We could have mounted knights and lance wielding samurais. I personally could stop questioning the reason Lords have this specific class that no one else in the game have access to despite obviously being lords in other parts of the world. 

In terms of modelling and clothing, Intelligent Systems have a crap ton of funding and tech because of the success of FE Heroes and it's previous main stream FE games, I don't think it would be too much of a hassle for them to make a specific set clothing for each character. Hell, they can get away with people having similar clothing because of uniform standards and even keep the same general move set for the majority of the cast. (Although, I only guessed that Intelligent Systems had massive success. I'm doing a fact check at this movement. XD)

Edited by Martin

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But.. Why though? The class system has been there since fe1. There is 0 reason to drop it.

Edited by Michelaar

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The reasons I explained in the original post are some reason I'd say drop it. 

Edited by Martin

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3 minutes ago, Martin said:

The reasons I explained in the original post are some reason I'd say drop it. 

Then i'll politely disagree with you.

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I guess I'll agree to disagree. I know there are some key features to the game just because they've been there since game one, but it does not automatically mean that they're any good. Having classes limit each unit more than it identify them. 

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It could be interesting, although I think I'd stick with the normal class system for now. The main reason is it makes a characters role more immediately obvious. As much as I do like your idea of having the promotion gains be in the players hands, as well as how it gives weapons more importance, I can also see it making the characters more interchangeable and less diverse. It would also make the weapon triangle a little too important, as a characters weapon type would define them instead of their class or stats. Still, I'd this as a new game+ mode, and I do like the idea of having more control over promotion bonuses that what we currently have.

Aesthetically, I don't believe that getting rid of the class system will fix the lack of variety will enemy and ally armor. I blame that on laziness lack of resources and the lack of a random generator that determines the facial construct of random enemies. If anything, a class system would only make it easier to diversify between enemy types. I've given this idea before, but I personally believe that they should (and would) make it show the classes of nation/faction A would be distinct from the classes of nation/faction B. Bandits would look as if they're just wearing civilian clothes, and whatever else they could find, from pots to pans or leather, to make up their "armor," while the later enemies should look professional and practical, with some small but noticeable visual differences between each nation's army. I also proposed that the faces of the enemies would be randomly generated, so you're not fighting the same-haired mercenary over and over again. I even proposed a ratio of male-to-female enemies, mostly to see the female class models more, but to also show a factions stance on women serving in the military. These are just a few ideas, but you get the point.

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In the direction Fire Emblem's currently going classes are becoming less and less important and instead feels a lot more about min maxing to build some super units with no weaknesses by reclassing and grinding until you got the skill you wanted and then classing back into something different. Older Fire Emblem games also felt like they didn't do much to give classes their own strengths and weaknesses with some classes having lots of strengths and little weaknesses (cavaliers) and others having few strengths and many weaknesses (armors and archers). Honestly, if Fire Emblem keeps this direction your idea is something I would be more interested in because at least everyone can serve their own niche and essentially be their own unique class. Although I would much rather see Intelligent Systems go back to basics and restructure the classes with new benefits and handicaps and make each unit within those classes unique so that it feels like their is a reason to choose every class from now on.

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I don’t see the purpose of that.

 

Classes simpilify the game. Your Pegasus Knight can easily pass through the stage, but is weak to arrows. Your Cavalier is a jack of all stats. Your mage can easily damage most physical classes, but can’t take many hits, etc.

 

Also, different classes can be used in different situations. You can use flyers in maps with restricted terrain. You can use bow in maps with plenty of flyers. You can use Defensive classes in maps that require protecting something . Etc

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From what I've seen of Berwick saga, seemingly every playable character has their own class, even if just small differences in the code such as the player Armor Knight's class having different data then the enemy ones despite having the same name.

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On 4/30/2018 at 4:16 PM, Hawkwing said:

It could be interesting, although I think I'd stick with the normal class system for now. The main reason is it makes a characters role more immediately obvious. As much as I do like your idea of having the promotion gains be in the players hands, as well as how it gives weapons more importance, I can also see it making the characters more interchangeable and less diverse. It would also make the weapon triangle a little too important, as a characters weapon type would define them instead of their class or stats. Still, I'd this as a new game+ mode, and I do like the idea of having more control over promotion bonuses that what we currently have.

Aesthetically, I don't believe that getting rid of the class system will fix the lack of variety will enemy and ally armor. I blame that on laziness lack of resources and the lack of a random generator that determines the facial construct of random enemies. If anything, a class system would only make it easier to diversify between enemy types. I've given this idea before, but I personally believe that they should (and would) make it show the classes of nation/faction A would be distinct from the classes of nation/faction B. Bandits would look as if they're just wearing civilian clothes, and whatever else they could find, from pots to pans or leather, to make up their "armor," while the later enemies should look professional and practical, with some small but noticeable visual differences between each nation's army. I also proposed that the faces of the enemies would be randomly generated, so you're not fighting the same-haired mercenary over and over again. I even proposed a ratio of male-to-female enemies, mostly to see the female class models more, but to also show a factions stance on women serving in the military. These are just a few ideas, but you get the point.

Making character's roles could be done just as easily with some good dialogue and immediate appearances. If I see a chick(or man) riding a flying mount, I'll immediately assume that I can fly over mountains with him and as soon as I select him with the cursor, good level design will tell me that he can indeed do so when his move options are over mountains and such. Before I send him off to do his job, he can just easily tell the MC that "Hey, I'm extremely weak to arrows, so if you can have me avoid those jerks with the bows, that would be fantastic". Even with the class system, IS does exactly that in nearly every game. A new player would know not to put his Pegasus knight near an archer even if her class did not specifically say "Pegasus knight" 

 

With some cursor manipulation and some more good dialogue, I can know rather or not a person is a thief. I did not look at Colm's class as he popped in from the east entrance and proceeded to unlock a door without a key. I just knew that from his shady cloak and big bag, he could rob some stuff. 

 

I also think that removing the class system allows characters to be less interchangeable and more diverse. The only reason a green and red cavalier are different if because of what they say and the colors they wear. Without the class system, they could have gradually learned different skills, became different promotes, and filled different roles. However, this cannot always be the case since at the end of the day, they have the same class bases and growths and require their personal growths to let someone know that they're different. 

 

@CyberController The game is could easily express that once you see that this guy haves a flying mount, or that dude has a horse, or that guy has a shield. Besides, simplicity is not always that fun. The simple game mechanics that a typical fire emblem game haves makes it fun to me, but if people are the same classes and have the same roles, then what can be done with the game mechanics make the game a little less fun for me to play. 

 

At the end of the day, classes are nothing more than names that prohibit characters from truly growing into some cool roles and possessing some entertaining stats. 

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Except FE games often contain tutorials that explain mechanics like this to new players.

Edited by NinjaMonkey

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1 minute ago, NinjaMonkey said:

Except FE games often contain tutorials that explain mechanics like this to new players.

So how does that benefit a class system if you can easily just explain to new players that this guy does this and that without mentioning them?

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20 minutes ago, Martin said:

Making character's roles could be done just as easily with some good dialogue and immediate appearances. If I see a chick(or man) riding a flying mount, I'll immediately assume that I can fly over mountains with him and as soon as I select him with the cursor, good level design will tell me that he can indeed do so when his move options are over mountains and such. Before I send him off to do his job, he can just easily tell the MC that "Hey, I'm extremely weak to arrows, so if you can have me avoid those jerks with the bows, that would be fantastic". Even with the class system, IS does exactly that in nearly every game. A new player would know not to put his Pegasus knight near an archer even if her class did not specifically say "Pegasus knight" 

There's also the phrase "don't judge a book by it's cover." Also, a large chunk of the series makes it obvious immediately through dialogue that flying units are weak to arrows. About the only games that didn't do this were FE 1-3.

20 minutes ago, Martin said:

With some cursor manipulation and some more good dialogue, I can know rather or not a person is a thief. I did not look at Colm's class as he popped in from the east entrance and proceeded to unlock a door without a key. I just knew that from his shady cloak and big bag, he could rob some stuff. 

So... in this system without classes... would stuff like stealing be allowed? Could only sneakier characters steal from enemy units, or would everyone be able to, but shady characters would get a bonus when doing so? These are the kind of questions that would be raised with a system without classes.

20 minutes ago, Martin said:

I also think that removing the class system allows characters to be less interchangeable and more diverse. The only reason a green and red cavalier are different if because of what they say and the colors they wear. Without the class system, they could have gradually learned different skills, became different promotes, and filled different roles. However, this cannot always be the case since at the end of the day, they have the same class bases and growths and require their personal growths to let someone know that they're different. 

I think you underestimate how much of an impact growth rates can have on a character. Near the end of the game, the Kain and Able pair will have a noticeable yet not drastic difference in their stats. Heck, Est is infamous for her low bases but high growth rates, yet Palla and Catrina are often considered the best units in the game for different reasons, but all three are pegasus knights. Simply because two characters are in the same class does not mean that their usefulness is the exact same.

I do see where you're coming from with giving the various archetypes different promotions and skills, since those would do a good job at showing their role. However, I do see this having the potential to backfire, as depending on how a unit has been RNG blessed/cursed, they may not fit into the role that's been planned for them (Such as a unit planned to be defensive instead ends up fast, or a utility unit ends up super strong, etc). This can be circumvented with foresight and planning, but you get the idea.

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Sounds like you're not suggesting the removal of classes, but instead the implementation of personalized promotions, which is what Jugdral did.

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5 minutes ago, Jotari said:

Sounds like you're not suggesting the removal of classes, but instead the implementation of personalized promotions, which is what Jugdral did.

Personalized promotions seem like a pain. Instead, they should do things like Heart Seals and Second Seals. You can either stay in your own class, or change to a predetermined other class.

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7 minutes ago, CyberController said:

Personalized promotions seem like a pain. Instead, they should do things like Heart Seals and Second Seals. You can either stay in your own class, or change to a predetermined other class.

Let's not act like that system was all that great, either.

Some units gained secondary access to classes that really complimented their base class. Then some units were Effie.

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1 minute ago, Slumber said:

Let's not act like that system was all that great, either.

Some units gained secondary access to classes that really complimented their base class. Then some units were Effie.

Yeah. Some of them had really wtf ones.

 

Like, Orochi, a character with nonexistent strength, getting Apothecary.

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32 minutes ago, CyberController said:

Personalized promotions seem like a pain. Instead, they should do things like Heart Seals and Second Seals. You can either stay in your own class, or change to a predetermined other class.

I can see liking the idea of Heart Seals and Second Seals over Personalized Promotions, I'm of that opinion myself, but why exactly would you describe Personalized Promotions as a pain?

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On ‎30‎/‎04‎/‎2018 at 8:36 PM, Martin said:

We could have mounted knights

Those already exist, they're called Great Knights, and as someone who lists his favourite FE as Sacred Stones, you should know this.

On ‎30‎/‎04‎/‎2018 at 8:36 PM, Martin said:

Here we have one sword fighter from a noble house; equipped with a skill that allows him to use rapiers

So most Lord characters, then?

On ‎08‎/‎05‎/‎2018 at 2:40 AM, Martin said:

At the end of the day, classes are nothing more than names that prohibit characters from truly growing into some cool roles and possessing some entertaining stats. 

You say that, and yet, you don't provide any examples of this.

Edited by NinjaMonkey

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On 5/7/2018 at 10:03 PM, Hawkwing said:

There's also the phrase "don't judge a book by it's cover." Also, a large chunk of the series makes it obvious immediately through dialogue that flying units are weak to arrows. About the only games that didn't do this were FE 1-3.

So my point is, the addition of classes is not necessary to keep that statement true.

Quote

So... in this system without classes... would stuff like stealing be allowed? Could only sneakier characters steal from enemy units, or would everyone be able to, but shady characters would get a bonus when doing so? These are the kind of questions that would be raised with a system without classes.

Yes. Stuff like stealing would be allowed and certain characters would be able to activate the command. And these questions that would be raised are not all that advanced. Any changes to a game that may be a little out there may raise some questions that devs have answers for as they build up the mechanic. That's like saying in a world with fire emblem without classes: "So in this game with classes, would only [insert class here] be able to use this or that ability?"

 

Quote

I think you underestimate how much of an impact growth rates can have on a character. Near the end of the game, the Kain and Able pair will have a noticeable yet not drastic difference in their stats. Heck, Est is infamous for her low bases but high growth rates, yet Palla and Catrina are often considered the best units in the game for different reasons, but all three are pegasus knights. Simply because two characters are in the same class does not mean that their usefulness is the exact same.

I do see where you're coming from with giving the various archetypes different promotions and skills, since those would do a good job at showing their role. However, I do see this having the potential to backfire, as depending on how a unit has been RNG blessed/cursed, they may not fit into the role that's been planned for them (Such as a unit planned to be defensive instead ends up fast, or a utility unit ends up super strong, etc). This can be circumvented with foresight and planning, but you get the idea.

You got me here. Characters do just fine growing to become different in terms of stats with the current system. As for the backfire, does this not already exist even with the classes in place? A person could still be RNG screwed with each character

1 hour ago, NinjaMonkey said:

Those already exist, they're called Great Knights, and as someone who lists his favourite FE as Sacred Stones, you should know this.

Bad wording. My fault. Mounted Samurai then. 

When I originally made that post, I was thinking of the title and position of a mounted knight story wise, not the dude-in-metal-armor class and of course, we already have Paladins and actual great knights, but why would highly trained officials be limited to a spear and a sword(plus an axe in the GK's case). How about a knight trained in archery and magic? 

Quote

So most Lord characters, then?

Yes. Most lords and removing classes would not change their positions as such.  

Quote

You say that, and yet, you don't provide any examples of this.

 Well take Fire Emblem Heroes for example. There are many characters, from many backgrounds and experiences, that appears within the game. Had there been classes that dictates the specific skills and they use, many more of them probably would have been extremely similar to another, unless the creators decided to waste their time attempting to come up with different, fancy class titles to more specifically fit a character's role. 

Now in a setting in an actual Fire Emblem Game, where people are allowed to possess more than one weapon type, this format of classing could open up possibilities for unique bosses left and right. That Grimleal jackass don't have to be just some other dark mage. He could be a badass user of dark magic and an axe or whatever. In the dev's position, when you have classes and want to place a boss, you're not going to be able truly to truly express the boss and what he is about as a character.

What if I wanted my boss to be based off of Lu-Bu and have him use a spear and a bow and be mounted on horse back? There's probably not going to be a class for that and yes, one could be made for it, but then time would be wasted trying to come up with a cool name for it and over the top skills. Where in a game without classes, one could just pick the skills necessary.

 

I don't know, guys. At the end of the day, I'll admit that the removal of classes probably will not change much of the game play, but it definitely will not make it worse. I guess it's just the story appeal that gets me with the cool weapon and movement type combinations we could get without classes. 

I just want to say that if Fire Emblem never had classes in the first place, a lot of you would be extremely against the idea of implementing it if became a topic. 

On 5/8/2018 at 3:17 PM, Slumber said:

Let's not act like that system was all that great, either.

Some units gained secondary access to classes that really complimented their base class. Then some units were Effie.

Well, that's the character design's fault, not the actual mechanic. I don't know who in IS thought it would be a good idea to have a troubadour as Effie's second class. [It was a troubadour, right?]

@Jotari No. I do not want personalized promotions. I want open possibility of seeing an extremely fast lancer, a defensive sword user, a resistant knight, an armored and mounted bow user and just other unique enemies and allies. With classes active, I'm actually extremely against personalized promotions, at least when there is only one option anyways. 

Edited by Martin

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1 hour ago, Martin said:

@Jotari No. I do not want personalized promotions. I want open possibility of seeing an extremely fast lancer, a defensive sword user, a resistant knight, an armored and mounted bow user and just other unique enemies and allies. With classes active, I'm actually extremely against personalized promotions, at least when there is only one option anyways. 

I still don't really understand what you mean. We've seen all of those things before aside from a mounted armoured archer, and nothing about the class system makes any of those things impossible or even any less likely. If you remove classes, the only logical result would be a system where all characters can do anything, which doesn't seem to be what you're after as you're specifically calling for characters to have predefinied roles which is exactly the reason classes were invented in the first place.

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From the sounds of it, I'd be fine with it. Your issue seems to be the existence of the label that determines what toolkit the unit has to work with more than anything. I like things that promote character diversity. It's part of why I actually liked 4 & 5's skill system more than Awakening and Fate's.

@Jotari I think it's mostly removing the labels. So Machua wouldn't be a swordfighter that promotes to a hero where as Mareeta promotes to a swordmaster. Machua'd just be a character who uses a sword who gets axes on promotion with a certain set of caps, and Mareeta'd just get a different set of caps but no axes, assuming FE5 actually had class-specific caps. That way, there's no need to come up with all the different names to justify them having different kits. I think we can all agree there've been some class names where we're like why is that a class? No one would also be pigeonholed due to class expectations. No more people claiming that such-and-such myrmidon sucks because he has the growths of a paladin.

Edited by bottlegnomes

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3 minutes ago, bottlegnomes said:

 

@Jotari I think it's mostly removing the labels. So Machua wouldn't be a swordfighter that promotes to a hero where as Mareeta promotes to a swordmaster. Machua'd just be a character who uses a sword who gets axes on promotion with a certain set of caps, and Mareeta'd just a different set of caps but no axes, assuming FE5 actually had class-specific caps. That way, there's no need to come up with all the different names to justify them having different kits. I think we can all agree there've been some class names where we're like why is that a class?

But is that such a problem that you remove just the names of the classes? 

Simply having class names offers quite a bit of information to the player. 

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12 minutes ago, bottlegnomes said:

From the sounds of it, I'd be fine with it. Your issue seems to be the existence of the label that determines what toolkit the unit has to work with more than anything. I like things that promote character diversity. It's part of why I actually liked 4 & 5's skill system more than Awakening and Fate's.

@Jotari I think it's mostly removing the labels. So Machua wouldn't be a swordfighter that promotes to a hero where as Mareeta promotes to a swordmaster. Machua'd just be a character who uses a sword who gets axes on promotion with a certain set of caps, and Mareeta'd just a different set of caps but no axes, assuming FE5 actually had class-specific caps. That way, there's no need to come up with all the different names to justify them having different kits. I think we can all agree there've been some class names where we're like why is that a class?

That's not ditching classes then, just ditching class names. Because if a character has defined and limited traits, then they're in a class, even if every class in the game is unique. A system without classes would be every character being physically possible of developing in any way the player chooses, even if their base stats lean in one particular direction. Like Final Fantasy II or XII.

Edited by Jotari

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19 minutes ago, Slumber said:

But is that such a problem that you remove just the names of the classes? 

Simply having class names offers quite a bit of information to the player. 

It saves effort on the part of the devs in a troublesome, but comparatively unimportant, category, and there are plenty of ways to indicate that sort of information otherwise. Look at Heroes. For the most part, if it has wings, it's weak to arrows, but can go over terrain. If it has 1 move, it's weak to armor effective weapon. If it uses a breath, it's weak to dragon-effective weapons. Those class names only actually mean anything to us because we're so used to them. Someone starting FE needs to either figure it out or have someone to explain things anyway. Sure there's the whole this character is a myrmidon, so they're probably fast and kind of weak, but that sort of thing gets broken a lot anyway, and results in people complaining about silly things like an SM with only 25 speed. Or look at Nolan. He's a solid character from most people who set aside class expectations, but I know I've run into any number of people who say he sucks because he's got the growths of a mercenary/myrmidon instead of a fighter. I think @Martin's point is that the benefits of whatever preconceived notions a class brings with it are outweighed by the freedom of giving characters individualized sets.

I think it could be worth a try, but I'm also not exactly opposed to the class system either. I'd have to try it to have an opinion, and even then, that might just be the implementation I do or don't like.

 

18 minutes ago, Jotari said:

That's not ditching classes then, just ditching class names. Because if a character has defined and limited traits, then they're in a class, even if every class in the game is unique. A system without classes would be every character being physically possible of developing in any way the player chooses, even if their base stats lean in one particular direction. Like Final Fantasy II or XII.

That seems more like a matter of semantics and what exactly a class is. Is it a set of traits, as you're saying, or is it a moniker that denotes said traits, as I believe @Martin is saying? I don't particularly care, but that exact debate doesn't seem relevant to this discussion, and I was just trying to clarify what I took as the topic.

On that note tough, I've always thought it'd kind of cool if there were an FE that was more like what you mean when you say no classes: Let everyone use every weapon, mount, and armor type, but with different aptitudes for each. Like Bartre could be a wyvern-riding, heavy-armored, bow user, but it'd take him a long time to be half as good with a wyvern as Heath is at base, a third as good as Rebecca with a bow, and a fifth as good as Oswin is with heavy armor etc, to pick some random, inconsequential numbers.

Edited by bottlegnomes

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