Last week, I posted about how I’d design/build a world for a fantasy MMO. At the end I said I’d post about how I’d take EVE’s character design and use it in a fantasy setting.
I’ve posted a few times about not limiting your players in their choices, and in fact a little over a year ago I actually talked about EVE’s design in reference to Fallen Earth’s decision at the time not to have respecs. What I like about EVE’s design is that you need skills to use equipment and your skill only matters while you are using your equipment. Applied to a fantasy setting it would essentially be: you are what you wear.
A warrior isn’t a class. A warrior is the ability to wear heavy armor, take damage, use a weapon and perhaps a shield, and taunting abilities. A wizard isn’t a class. A wizard is the ability to use reagents and focus through a staff or wand and cast spells. And so on…
A fantasy game under the EVE model would allow every character to have every skill if they take the time to train it, but what skills matter and what you are able to do depends entirely on what you are wearing/using. If you leave town wearing plate armor, a heavy club and shield and your taunts, you are a warrior. If you leave town in a robe with a staff, a wand and a bag of potions and reagents, you are a wizard.
The main thing that attracts me to this model is that it encourages players to play less characters. If you get tired of being a warrior, you just switch gear and start playing as a wizard. If next week your guild still needs a warrior, you can just put back on your warrior gear from last week and immediately be the warrior you were. While I understand that many people like making alternate characters, and this wouldn’t prevent them from doing so, I personally have never enjoyed the work that goes into making sure my friends know where to find me. I’d much rather be messing around with lesser used skills on my main character and have my friends be able to find me easily, than to be logged in as another character and have them have to track me down.
Obviously, a design like this would need to take care in how it allows people to wear gear and how much they can carry with them. Letting someone carry around a few alternate skill items to swap in special situations is great, but letting someone carry around a full set of gear that they are able to use a macro to swap allowing them to cast fireballs between enemy attacks while tanking would be a disaster, unless you want the game full of macroing tank-mages.
Then again, I prefer a crafting driven economy over a mob-kill-loot based one. Adventurers should find materials to sell/trade to crafters to buy/trade for finished gear. But that is for another post…