The Evolution of the Player Class
Will Your Favorite Class Endure the Test of Time?
MMORPG.com's Thomas Mortensen has written an editoral that looks at the evolution of playable classes in MMOs. This interesting look at the course of these classes through the past, present and future is well worth the read.
The MMORPG genre has changed a lot since the early days of Meridian 59 and Ultima Online, but the games still relies on the basic classes introduced back then. Most MMORPG still use the Fighter, a heavily armoured close combat character that can take lots of damage. Having to rely on short-range weapons and relative low damage his fights may last long. Thus he will need the healer, whose job is to heal the party and make sure they stay alive. A second role of the healer is to buff the party by adding temporary enchantments, which make the party stronger, faster or more resilient. The mage is the most fragile character, but he can deliver large amounts of ranged damage through arcane magic. Though the games do not always use the same names for the character classes they are always build on one of these arch classes or a mix of two of them through hybrids like the Bard, Paladin or Battlemage.
This mix is tried and proven in MMORPGs through the past ten years. The fighter takes the damage, the healer keeps him alive and the mage deals the damage. But will these three classes keep being the blood of MMORPGs in the years ahead?