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Dave Gaider on DA classes design

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Dave Gaider on DA classes design

Game News - posted by Vault Dweller on Sat 10 December 2005, 18:30:28

Tags: BioWare; Dragon Age

David Gaider has made some comments on Dragon Age classes design and restrictions, and since it's a slow day...

Rail-roading: Rail-roaded is a pretty loaded term, as is stereotype. There are development paths available, as well as other classes -- though if what you're asking is whether or not wizards in DA get access to anything beyond basic melee skills, no they don't. Nor should they, really, in light of the fact that we're using a class system and the way that the DA wizard works in particular.

Multiclassing: It depends on what you mean by hybrid. If you mean mixing any two classes, then no. There's lots of customization paths for classes to take, but we have very distinct class roles -- magic, for instance, lies in the hands of the very few in the DA world and having anyone being able to pick up mage levels willy-nilly would rather dilute that.

Does that not sound appetizing? Perhaps not to someone taking the Goldilocks approach to classes, but personally I think it's more important that the classes fit the game and especially the world, first -- this isn't D&D, after all.

Undead-fighting Clerics: Well, there's no class like that so I can say no. As for those classes which are meant for melee, they're free to steer their development in a number of ways... as long as those ways conform to the general class -- that being the nature and purpose of having a class, after all.

Wizards: It's not a melee class, so yes... they don't have access to melee skills.

Well, let's see. Insofar as whether or not mages can wear armor, I don't think it's been nailed down just yet, though we certainly do have ideas on the matter. So your opinions on the subject are welcome.

Myself, I tend to think of there being two basic philosophies of combat: the "don't get hit" philosophy and the "don't take damage" philosophy.

The former is going to rely on speed and agility and on avoiding getting hit to begin with -- but when they get hit, they're going to get hit hard. The latter is going to get hit repeatedly -- but they're going to take less damage from those blows, or none at all. Both of these should be valid ways to fight.

Mages aren't fighters... BUT the philosophy applies to them as well. Do they remain agile enough to get away from combat and avoid getting hit? Or do they take the blow and less damage and hope that they can deal with whatever is hitting them quickly? I would prefer not to restrict spellcasters from wearing armor per se, but rather provide some logical reasons why you're not likely to see them wearing armor very much. Such as:

- armor is cumbersome and spellcasters tend to be physically too weak to wear it properly.

- heavier armor tires you out more quickly, a fact which applies both to warriors (the tank fighter fights just as well but can't fight at full strength for as long) as well as spellcasters (they regain mana at a slower rate the more armor they are wearing).

So long as you don't have a system where there are no drawbacks to wearing armor, you don't have to fear having your spellcasters wear it -- and trying to come up with in-game rationalizations to support system shortcomings should always be a last resort.

Now, before anyone thinks otherwise, this is mostly my opinion as the armor system is not yet fully realized -- yet this is where I think it should be heading. Naturally any system you have is going to rely on many other systems for its underpinnings (let's say we decide that mana does not regenerate during combat -- well, then, obviously we would need to rethink the armor system as it applies to casters) so there could be a lot of changes (and arguments, probably) before the final system sees the light of day. But this might tell you where I, at least, sit on this particular point.

Sneak attacks: I don't think everyone should be able to get access to "sneak attack". Everyone should be able to score a critical hit on vital areas, sure, but if you're going to make a distinction in the overall fighting style at the class level there's a distinction to be made between the tank fighter and the finesse fighter -- and using stealth and swiftness to your advantage definitely falls into the finesse side of things.

Arguing that such a basic question of fighting style not be class-oriented is more of an argument not to have classes at all -- which is fine, if that's what you want to argue, but it's pretty fundamental to the nature of classes to begin with.
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