Bring the Profession, not the Class

| Friday, August 7, 2009
No, this isn't a nerf cry for JC or BS or a demand for engineering buffs. Well, it might be a demand for engineering buffs, those tend to just slip into my posts accidentally. But moving on to number two on the daily agenda, I remembered to get more gum. Okay number three, this post.

There was my DK, running around Stratholme. He must run because otherwise he pulls too slowly and the disease kills him. It's the one I mentioned a couple posts back, blocks food regen, pretty annoying. So he has to pull fast so that the self-healing keeps him alive. Strange situation where pulling more mobs is safer than doing nothing. Anyway...

I was thinking, what if I had a Restoration Potion? My paladin doesn't have to worry much about debuffs, removing all but curses with a single spell, so this disease worried me more than usual. But it got my thinking, what if we used professions more to fill in gaps in classes?

No cleanse? Use this potion. Did your friend get sheeped and you can't remove magic? Maybe you're an engineer and can use this. Ah, a locked door and no rogue! How do we get by? Blast it open or get another key. Do you need to keep something rooted but have no druid? Get a net!

It's odd that professions have so much potential, and yet are mostly just a source of more stats or gold. Traditionally engineering didn't bring any great stats but it did have neat devices. It has lost some of these over time, others became too cumbersome or unreliable. Other professions gained little toys here and there, but nothing which would make you think "If we had a BS in this group we could have avoided that wipe." It's a hard target to hit, making professions useful, balanced, desired, but not required.

Moving into the realm of not ever going to happen, what if we could use professions to create sub-classes for ourselves? As my DK used his lightning generator (is it weird that I get excited when it hits me too?) I thought "what if I could more frequently use this?" Then I got thinking about the cloaking device and it all went downhill (though downhill for normal people is often more interesting). What if I could, unreliably, capture an elemental spirit in a device and gain that power, perhaps being able to cast lightning shield on myself or chain lightning? Or capture a demon instead and use it to fuel shadowbolts? Make it some sort of event/quest to create the device, overpowering whatever being you capture. Sometimes it might escape or die or for the most fun, rebel, and then you'd need to subdue it and get a new one. Other classes might do things like a mage blacksmith using a combination of magic and metal to be able to block attacks temporarily (it would be mentally draining to levitate and control the shield).

The best would be if the powers were gained from some amount of cooperation, or domination, of other classes. Kidnap a warlock's imp, bottle a warrior's rage, put a frostbolt in a bomb.

I know, it's not going to happen, but can a person dream?


Kiryn said...

That's a really neat idea. I wish professions worked more like that. One thing I really like about Engineering is how much it does fill in gaps with things your class might be missing, albeit not as good as the real version.

Don't have slowfall? Get a parachute! Sure it doesn't last as long, but it'll still save you if you time it right.

Can't rez? Get some jumper cables! Sure they don't work most of the time, but it can be quite nice when they do.

Alchemy can also fill some nice gaps (tracking of certain monster types, invisibility, sprint, cleanse) but the problem here is that anybody can use them once they've been crafted.

Stabs said...

It sounds great but I can see why they might not balance things that way.

I think WoW has got fairly set in its ways. They've worked out where they want professions and that's where I think they'll stay.

There are even lists at EJ and other places of how many hit points you get for each profession and they're generally pretty comparable. And will probably get closer over time, not more distinct.

Klepsacovic said...

@Kiryn: That's one of the risks with this: engineering is practically unlimited in its potential, so balance could be pretty tricky. Alchemy has problems because its products are usable pretty much by anyone. I thought it would be cool to make class-specific alchemy advantages. Rogues are the easy one, they could either make stronger poisons or something which they can combine with vendor poisons to make them stronger. Hunters could poison their arrows. Casters might bottle spells; think of the usefulness of a second frost nova on a separate cooldown or maybe a psychic scream. They might also bottle their spells for others (with a cooldown, since this would be a very draining process), so mages could make invis pots for nothing but a vial and mana.

@Stabs: Yep, just like my quest-based gear idea, not going to happen in WoW. And balance would be pretty hard since while a mage with an extra frost nova might not be OP, imagine a warrior with a frost nova and bladestorm.

Stabs said...

It's not even that it would break the game.

If they radically changed the mechanics people will nerdrage and quit. Cf Star Wars: Galaxies.

I recently went back to SWG and it's actually quite a good level-based system in many ways but changing the system after everyone has found their comfort zone will kill your game.

Klepsacovic said...

We could argue pointlessly about what it means to break the game and how this might or might not apply, but that would be pointless.

I wasn't aware the SWG still existed. I kept wishing I ha d time machine to go back and try it, since it sounds very cool.

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