Tobold has an interesting post up today about making combat in MMOs better.Â I’d like to take his combat cards design a step further, and use it to support a classless design as well.
Think about it, if all your attacks, defences and utility moves in combat were based on a deck of skill/action cards, you can go a step further and make each card have requirements.Â For example, a defensive card called “Shield Block” that would buff you an absorb the damage of the next incoming attack (or X amount of damage) would require you to have a shield equipped to use.Â A “Fireball” card could require a wand be in your primary hand, while a “Backstab” requires a dagger.Â I’m sure we could spitball and come up with many things like this.Â As an added bonus, the items could have a modifier.Â Using a flat shield with “Shield Block” has no bonus, but if you had a Spiked Shield your “Shield Block” would inflict X damage if the attack absorbed was a melee attack.Â Again, let your mind run wild on all the things you could do.
The result would be that your “class” would be defined by your equipment and the deck that you carry.Â New cards and new items could be found through questing and adventuring, and made through crafting.Â Crafting itself could be made up as card game combat using a separate deck and crafter’s tools.
To throw another element into the mix, you could allow for character level to affect the bonus on cards, or even add a “card level” where the cards in your deck gain experience through use, the more you use a card the higher level it gets the better the bonus.Â Card level would, in effect, mirror a skill based system, while your character level would carry a bonus on all cards.Â So if you had been heavily magic focused and decided to become a plate tank by switching your gear and cards, the 50 levels you earned as a mage would transfer as a level 50 warrior, you’d only be lacking card levels.
Another thing this design would allow for is a structure where any opponent can be non-trivial.Â If defence and mitigation are card effects, an unlucky draw could leave you open to attacks by even the “lowest level” foes.Â The reverse is also true, that low level characters can fight even high level foes with a good deck and a lucky draw.
This design would even allow for RMT in the form of selling booster packs of random cards (or buying specific cards for larger amounts), but restricts the power of “bought goods” through the equipment requirements and card level bonuses.Â (Traded cards would not retain their level.)
Lastly, similar to the way Guild Wars handles things, make the places you can swap equipment and decks be limited to the adventuring hubs, so that a player picks a role and outfits themselves prior to heading out.Â (This works fantastically with my thoughts on town–centric design with judicious use of instancing.)
The more I think about it, the more I like this.