Notice in the prior post I didn’t mention job or class selection as a part of character creation? This isn’t because I plan on making a classless or sandbox MMO, but because I believe avatar creation and class selection should be divided. Why? Several reasons:
-It unbinds race and class. There’s often too much focus on race as a subset of class. Certain races excel or are poor at certain classes, and if you include jobs in base character creation, it will often influence that.
My goal is that people find the avatar that expresses personal style, and not see it as an extension of a class. In FFXI we had a tremendous amount of people choose Mithra for the high dex over actually wanting to be one, and we often saw humorously named characters like Diditforthedex, Notagirl, and Manthra. If racial stat differences aren’t an issue, we can divorce class selection from character avatar creation.
-People need to play jobs first to make a choice. I am very much a fan of the Elder Scrolls: Oblivion style of Tutorial, which lets players experiment with many aspects of character ability before settling on one. I think for MMOs, players should to try jobs and pick one based on what they like.
FFXI with the job change system is this without any tutorial. Another plus is that you make the basics of your job play at an early level. A common problem with MMOs is that you have to level to mid-level or higher just to understand how the job is played. In FFXI again, a lot of jobs played radically different at level 37 or 40, and red mage in particular changed from a sword-based enfeebling DD to a main healer.
-you can also instruct people on the mechanics as they choose. It’s easier to explain job roles or stats if you are doing so as they play, before committing to a choice. You also get a feel for the class in play, especially if it is different from traditional holy trinity archetypes.
You also can do this in a safe environment, and even make it a team exercise. Why not let people choose their job together, and have newbies party up in different roles to experiment with how they work?
The difficulty is that players may want to reroll race if they don’t like the way it looks with a job or class. A shortcut back to the character creator in the newbie experience may help.