Forums » Pantheon Classes

What if - roles, classes, and specializations

    • 1553 posts
    November 7, 2017 10:26 PM PST

    Was talking with some folks about "eastern" classes like samurai and ninja when it sparked an idea.  I have no idea whether something like this would be doable or even desirable within Pantheon, but I wanted to post it up for discussion :)

    Some definitions:


    Role - In general, what functions a characters fulfill in a group, and the types of abilities they have.  There are four roles:  Tank, Healer, Damager, and Controller.

    - Tanks are built to soak damage and keep the focus of enemies in melee combat.

    - Healers are built to support their comrades, though this is through more than just heals.

    - Damagers are primarily built to do damage to enemies.

    - Controllers are built to control enemies at range through roots, snares, fears, charms, mezzes, and similar effects.  Controllers also have a heavy dose of either support, or debilitation abilities.


    Class - The primary definition of a character and their abilities.  Classes are based on a well-recognized concept (warriors, wizards, clerics, etc)


    Specialization - At higher levels, a way to focus the abilities of a class along a certain theme, as a choice to allow some further character progression.  While everyone picks a class (and thus a role) at character creation, specializations are things you unlock later in the game, and then choose between.  Obtaining a rare or sought-after specialization might require completing specific quests or increasing certain skills, in order to get the NPCs to "teach" you the basics of a specialization.

    The way I see it, specialization should be a choice that focuses the abilities of their class - meaning, someone could remain unspecialized and have a broader ability set, or choose to specialize, and restrict their ability set somewhat, in exchange for more potency or effectiveness.  Specializations could also allow a type of hybridization, by introducing unique abilities that are somewhat outside the normal role of that class.  Specializations would allow us to add more character concepts to the game without blowing up the list of actual classes too much.  Below is a chart showing possible specializations that I came up with.  The nice thing about specializations is that more and more could be added over time, potentially, in order to fit the themes of new areas and storylines added to the game.

    What specializations should *NOT* be (at least, in my mind) - they should NOT be "Talent trees".  Choosing one specialization should not make you automatically just like everyone else in that specialization.  There should still be room for variation in equipment and ability choices.  They should also NOT be subclasses.  Think of it as "flavor" option for your character, but someone could just as easily not specialize and still be effective.  In fact, the whole point of these is that they're optional - ways to focus your character a certain way, but only if you really want to.

    In the chart, I've listed some "example" specailizations, with brief descriptions - just to get everyone started.  I tried for 2-3 per class but I don't think this has to be super balanced - meaning if there are good ideas, there's no reason one class couldn't have more specailizations than another.  It's more about just giving people ways to further diversify their characters (again, without turning it into "talents" or subclasses).

    This is really just a "what if" exercise, and not something that I think any of us should expect to be in the game at launch, but I'm hoping everyone will have fun with it and who knows?  Maybe it's something we could see added to Pantheon, perhaps in an expansion :)  If nothing else, perhaps it will bring forth some good ideas!


    Tank Roles


    - Berserker - Berserkers sacrifice defensive capability for reckless attacks, they might have abilities that hurt themselves as well as their opponents.

    - Halberdier - Halberdiers are masters of fighting with long pole weapons, and can engage and keep enemies at a distance.  However, they sacrifice mobility due to this.

    - Samurai - Samurai adhere to a very disciplined fighting style, which emphasizes both defensive parries and devastating strikes, but sacrifice flexibility due to their intense training.



    - Champion - Champions have channeled their training into leading their fellows in combat.  Champions sacrifice some combat capability to make their group stronger.

    - Guardian - Guardians are the ultimate masters of intercepting and blocking attacks.  However, they sacrifice mobility and offensive power in order to achieve this.

    - Avenger - Avengers focus on bringing holy wrath to their enemies, and sacrifice some defensive and support capabilities as a result.


    Dire Lord

    - Dread Knight - Dread Knights focus on instilling fear and chaos in their enemies, but sacrifice offensive capabilities in order to do so.

    - Shadow Lord - Shadow Lords gather the powers of darkness to themselves, utilizing dark magical as well as vicious physical attacks in battle, but sacrifice defensive capabilities to do so.


    Healer Roles


    - Exorcist - Exorcists focus on offensive holy magic, used to banish hostile spirits and entities from the mortal realm.  However they sacrifice defensive abilities to do so.

    - Inquisitor - Inquisitors focus on debilitating and disempowering their enemies, but this limits their offensive abilities.



    - Heirophant - Heirophants bring the full fury of nature down on their enemies, and are masters of manipulating the natural world.  However, they give up a close connection with other creatures to achieve this.

    - Animalist - Animalists focus on their connection with the beasts of the world, enhancing their ability to summon natural allies.  However, they give up more direct abilities as a result of this.



    - Spiritualist - Spiritualists use their connection to the spirit world to aid them in battle and affect the world around them.  However, due to this they lose some ability to support their fellows in battle.

    - Oracle - Oracles focus on strengthening and protecting allies in battle, but as a result limit their own offensive power.


    Damager Roles


    - Stalker - Stalkers focus on tracking and stealth, often (though not always) eschewing ranged weaponry in favor of precisely targeted melee strikes

    - Marksman - Masters of ranged combat, marksmen are capable of amazing feats, but are vulnerable if attacked in melee.



    - Swashbuckler - Swashbucklers eschew stealth in favor of enhanced offensive abilities and evasion.

    - Ninja - Ninjas work from the shadows, preferring to never be seen by their enemies before striking



    - Disciple - Disciples learn to channel their own energy into their allies, strengthening and supporting them, but sacrifice some direct offensive capability to do so.

    - Mystic - Mystics hone the mind as well as the body, becoming fierce individual fighters in combat, but sacrifice some ability to support their comrades in combat.



    - Sorceror - Masters of elemental magic, sorcerors attack with devastating spells.  However, this comes at the cost of long casting times and limited mobility in combat.

    - Battlemage - Trained for the chaos of war, battlemages sacrifice offensive power in order to cast their spells more quickly, and afford better defense.


    Controller Roles


    - Illusionist - Illusionists specialize in affecting the reality that others see in experience, but sacrifice some ability to do damage as a result.

    - Controller - Controllers specialize in overtaking the minds of their enemies.  However, this focus requires them to forego some support abilities.



    - Conjurer - Conjurers choose to specialize in creating items and effects that aid their colleagues and hinder their enemies, but give up the focus required to summon more powerful beings into existence in battle.

    - Ritualist - Ritualists focus on summoning extremely powerful beings to fight for them, but due to this focus, they give up some versatility in terms of other abilities.



    - Blood Mage - Blood mages invoke the dark magics of death to steal power and weaken enemies, using it to enhance themselves and their allies.

    - Warlock - Warlocks focus on offensive dark magic, blasting their enemies with powerful spells, but this focus costs them some of their abiltiy to weaken their opponents.



    - Minstrel - A master of performance, the Minstrel can confuse, enthrall, or stun their enemies on the battlefield.  However, this focus on flashy theatrics makes them less effective at boosting the morale of their comrades.

    - Virtuoso - Virtuosos focus on inspiring their companions, but as a result, give up some ability to affect their enemies.


    Edit:  Wow bullets look terrible once you get out of the editor.  Formatting fixed.


    This post was edited by Nephele at November 7, 2017 10:43 PM PST
    • 3361 posts
    November 7, 2017 11:37 PM PST

    Great post Neph, love the spirit of this kind of thread.  I started a similar one awhile back but never got around to finishing it, so I know it takes quite a bit of effort to work out all the little details like you did here.  Here is a link to the thread I started if you want to see some other ideas:

    • 218 posts
    November 8, 2017 1:20 AM PST

    Good post.

    EQ2 did this, and when I first encountered the splitting of each roll into two classes I thought it was  a good idea. 

    However, after some time playing, it honestly felt like I was always playing half a class, incomplete.


    I get where your going, and like I said EQ2 did this if you want to try it out, but in the end I feel it takes away from the core classes to split their skill sets in half. 

    If this sort of system was to work well, then you would need 12 person groups so that all skills could be in the group at the same time.  This worked out in Raids but of course since even EQ2 only had 6 man groups you often missed some skill set or another.

    This then has the side effect that mobs must be designed so they are defeatable with half skill sets and therefore more shallow in their design. 

    Anyway thats my 2cp.





    • 326 posts
    November 8, 2017 3:05 AM PST

    I like this too, if not the specialization, then for the presentaion of the character of it.
    The Halberdier made me think of how fight game dynamics would/could do with such weapons; it would certainly expand the range of engagements.
    ('charge of the light brigade' anyone? square, turtle, phalanx formations, etc.)
    If 2 members of a group could hold a mob at bay; ofcourse there would be options for a mob to overcome this too.

    • 2122 posts
    November 8, 2017 6:01 AM PST

    I like it. I can always get behind more ways to customize your gameplay.

    EQ2's subclasses were great, although balance was always an issue there. Brigands brought massive utility to the average group raid, Swashbucklers not so much. Even things out a bit and I'd say go crazy on specialization.

    • 1553 posts
    November 8, 2017 7:44 AM PST

    @Azaya, I played EQ2 for years :)  This isn't that.  Note that I specifically said these aren't meant to be subclasses.  Think of a specialization more like... an AD&D prestige class.  You're still your original class, just with some minor tweaks for flavor and uniqueness.

    I do think there would have to be reasonable limits placed on specializations so that they didn't lead to wierd balancing issues.  Each one (or non-specialists) should still be viable in group/raid settings.

    • 103 posts
    November 8, 2017 8:37 AM PST

    Nephele said:

    @Azaya, I played EQ2 for years :)  This isn't that.  Note that I specifically said these aren't meant to be subclasses.  Think of a specialization more like... an AD&D prestige class.  You're still your original class, just with some minor tweaks for flavor and uniqueness.

    I do think there would have to be reasonable limits placed on specializations so that they didn't lead to wierd balancing issues.  Each one (or non-specialists) should still be viable in group/raid settings.

    EQOA did this both with having two different quest paths leaving to two different skill-lines, as well with the introduction of Class Mastery points - sort of like AA's for EQ. There were two archtypes for roles, 1 for every race, as well as 2 for every class.

    This is an overview of how it functioned:

    An example of what type of bonuses you'd get:

    This post was edited by Menubrea at November 8, 2017 8:42 AM PST
    • 820 posts
    November 8, 2017 10:26 AM PST

    Love this idea, though the "eastern" flavor in ninja and samurai just seem 

    Perhaps Assassin and Weaponmaster? 

    There's bound to be confusion for those who aren't familiar with "prestige classes" in D&D, vs sub-classes as done in, say, EQ2. I think one way to differentiate without having to create skill trees and pathways is to enable "class only" gear to be worn by whatever direction you choose to take. 

    For example, the actual benefits of becoming a Berserker would be, say, increase effectiveness with certain weapons (Axes, 2 handed swords, clubs) and slightly harder hits but with more miss chances. Those are relatively minor benefits (wouldn't even call them benefits), but what really sets them a part is the Berserker only weapons and armor found at the higher levels. I'm always for more variations in gear sets. These sets wouldn't necessarily be BETTER - rather they would have stats that might augment the "benefits" that are already inherent within the berserker. You could, conceivably, not wear berserker only gear and still be a viable member of your class. 

    I dunno, just talking. Good idea. 

    This post was edited by Tralyan at November 8, 2017 10:27 AM PST
    • 3361 posts
    November 8, 2017 12:26 PM PST
    Loved the CM from EQOA Menubrea! It's the only MMO I have played that offered race specific specialization. I had an Ogre Juggernaut and Halfling Deputy myself.
    • 7 posts
    November 8, 2017 1:53 PM PST

    I Loved the CM "Class Mastery" from EQOA also. Elf Paladin Immortal, Redtank from CLW. 

    • 2571 posts
    November 8, 2017 2:30 PM PST

    In the event there are specializations for each class I really hope they aren't limited. That is to say if I were a Paladin I would want to be able to (with great time investment) be able to master Guardian, Champion, and Avenger specs one by one (locked into whichever picked until it's maxed, the benefits open only once all 3 are maxed). Could even come with a title change "Master Paladin" or even class title change...or both! A mastered Paladin could show his class as Crusader (Warrior -> Warlord etc) to other players (but still show in searches/filters under Paladin).


    Mostly I am tired of classes not just being their own specialization in and of themselves (A shaman is a healer specialized in x, cleric a healer spec'd in y, and a druid spec'd in z). I liked in EQ that a druid was a druid, a warrior a warrior, and a wizard a wizard. You always knew what the class brought to the table and you didn't feel limited or excluded within your own class. 

    • 3361 posts
    November 9, 2017 9:42 AM PST

    I agree that having a class mastery option would be awesome, and that it should require a great time investment to achieve.