Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Final Battle Adventure Online Class List

So, what classes are in FBAO?
Now, as I've mentioned, there are four stats: Mental, Agility, Physical, and Social, so we're going to have classes that correspond to those.

So let's map out the corners of this square.

  • Mental: Fire Mage - The traditional magical artillery. Fragile, can't wield regular weapons (well?) or use much armor, but can cause area damage at a decent range.

  • Agility: Thief - Lots of skill points, can get most of the movement and detection skills (climb, hide, see traps, listen etc) for cheap. Opens doors, sneaks around, disarms traps,

  • Physical: Fighter - Wears armor. Hits slime with pointy metal.

  • Social: Diplomat - Grants bonuses to party. Gets better rewards from NPCs, and unlocks quests earlier. Can intimidate enemies.

So the points between the corners are

  • Mental/Agility - Shadow Mage
  • Mental/Physical - Warlord
  • Mental/Social - Healer
  • Agility/Physical - Bowman
  • Agility/Social - Dancer
  • Physical/Social - Knight

Some of them are, at the moment, more distinctive than others. A Knight combines the Fighter's combat durability with a Diplomat's party bonuses, perhaps with some extra minor abilities (like repelling slime). A Healer is quite different from a Fire Mage or a Diplomat. A Dancer gives party bonuses and inflicts various penalties on enemies, confusing, blinding, or slowing them, for instance. I'm not ready to go on record about what a Shadow Mage or Bowman can do right now.

The four secondary classes are are Blue Mage (Mental), Acrobat (Agility), Gladiator (Physical), and Leader (Social).

They're not available as a primary class and they serve to enhance your primary class' abilities. Silver_Blossom, for instance is a Healer/Blue Mage. The Blue Mage class doesn't give her any extra spells, but it can do things like increase the range of her healing, increase the number of people she can heal at a time, and decrease the cooldown time.

You can only choose a secondary class that shares a stat with your primary class. If you're a Bowman (Agility/Physical) you cannot multiclass to Blue Mage (Mental) but you could take Acrobat or Gladiator. If you

You can choose any primary class as your multiclass, though. You could be a Thief/Diplomat, for instance. It'd be similar to a Dancer but not quite. You could be a Bowman/Healer or a Warlord/Dancer, for instance, which would mean emphasizing every one of your stats (PA/MS or MP/AS in the above cases). You'd have a very diverse skill list, but you probably wouldn't be exceptionally good at any of them.

So, what about the other classes I've mentioned previously? Well, it wouldn't surprise me if we've referred to Joy's character as a healer, cleric, and priest at various times. I had originally considered having two classes between each corner (so there would be, for instance a Paladin who was mostly Physical with a little Social, and a Commander who was mostly Social with a little Physical). Right now, with 14 classes, I think we've got enough to play with. I can't justify adding six more to the design document. As is, there are 72 different class combinations. I can't justify more than that and I'm wondering if I can really justify that many.

Noob is the undecided class everyone starts with, until they pick something permanent.

So there you have it. The FBAO class list. At least until we come up with more or change them.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Class stats

This has been kinda dormant for a while, but I've been playing through a variety of games and thinking about what they don't have.

When you choose a class in Final Battle Adventure Online, it shows you what percentage of players have chosen that class. It tells you:

15% of the players online currently are Clerics.

18% of all players are Clerics.

It's not perfect, but it gives you an idea what to expect.

I've found games where a majority of the late-game content requires a six-person party, which requires a specialized tank and healer. If you found out that 40% of the players are tanks and 12% are healers, you'd probably choose to be a healer so you could get into those parties without spending an hour waiting for a healer to come on.

We'd also mention things like: "this class works best in a group" or "this class is recommended for advanced players" because the Social classes, for instance, only really work if you've got a regular group going.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Now, you'll notice in FBAO that most-all of the monsters are slimes. They've got bunny slimes, centaur slimes, dragon slimes, bunny centaur slimes, and such. This was Isabel's idea, and we just kinda went with it. I think it works better than rats for the noob dungeons and scales up nicely.

We both have different reasons for doing this - on one hand it's a parody of the various slime monsters you see in Dragon Warrior, or Maple Story, or such. My reason is that I don't like killing humanoid things for no good reason. When I played Pikmin, if I lost a large number of 'min, I'd usually reset instead of exiting, gathering more, and starting over. When I played StarCraft, I played the Human side very cautiously, slowly advancing my range of control until I could take out the enemy base in one go. (Contrarily, when I played the zerg, I'd think nothing of sending 40 zerglings charging into the enemy cannons if I got bored).

I know that narrative constraints prevent MMORPG players from making major, permanent changes to the landscape, but I think that you should be able to at least pretend that you're the hero of the story (not just an adventurer or a guy-who-kills-stuff). As a hero, it doesn't make sense for you to just go to where the orcs are, and just charge in swinging a sword. They're just hanging out in a cave. You should have some kind of reason for wiping them out. That was one of the reasons I couldn't get into World of Warcraft - you've got a bunch of Kobolds who are just sitting around outside of town, holding a peace march or something. If I'm going to go kill 20 of them, I want a better reason than "Bjorn said he'd give me new boots".

So why do you kill slimes? Well, since they're all one thing, we could come up with some kind of backstory. But they're not just a separate species with its own culture and customs. It's slime. It's not supposed to be there, so you remove it.

It also answers the question of where it keeps coming from. It re-forms or buds or what have you. That way we don't have to explain why there's a town of 50 orcs, and 400 adult orcs get killed every day. Some areas are purified, so that slimes cannot enter. Towns, for instance, are permanently purified. Perhaps some player-types could temporarily purify areas. That would probably be a cleric's area-attack spell. It'd do a certain amount of damage per second or prevent slimes from regenerating HP or such.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

More Healing

I remember a BBS door game, back in...well, back when we had BBSes and they had door games. I don't remember what it was called, either, but I do remember that you could carry up to 999 healing potions, and drink as many as needed as a free action between turns. Combat went 'hit enemy for 284 damage, get hit for 305, drink 7 potions, repeat'. It wasn't battle. It was inventory management. If it couldn't take you out in one hit, the only relevant question was whether you'd drop it before you ran out of potions or not. PvP fights were about the same - you and your 999 potions vs. him and his 999 potions. Even if you had a clear advantage, it was a long, boring grind. If it wasn't, it was a battle that was won not by swords and magic, but by whether you used a 50hp healing potion when you had 49 points of damage, or just waited.

Maple Story is similar. You can carry thousands of healing items. If a monster can't one-hit you, the only relevant question is whether you can take out enough of them for it to be worthwhile (and it's usually a matter of whether you get 6% or 9% of a level per hour, which is another rant...), and whether you're making enough money to pay for supplies.

Final Battle Adventure Online is not an inventory management game nor is it an economics game. I don't like inventory management games - I remember playing through Baldur's Gate II and it regularly taking upwards of half an hour to move items around. My wife asked me why I bothered playing it, and I couldn't come up with a good answer.

Anyhow, the main limiting factor shouldn't be inventory space or money. I think the main factor should be HP. Money will always be a factor - you can get better stuff and take less damage per enemy, but it won't be a matter of purchasing huge amounts of healing. If have to decide whether you can afford the 400 turkey dinners every hour that you need to eat to stay alive, then the game is doing something wrong. If you can eat four hundred turkey dinners in an hour, the game is doing something wrong. Yes, it's a game. You're fighting giant slime bunnies. But if the main bottleneck is how fast you can eat, and you can eat and fight at the same time with no penalty, then there's something wrong. That's why I want healing potions to be rare, difficult to get, and have a cooldown period. They wouldn't be available in shops, but may be (repeatable?) quest rewards or such.

I also don't like games where you have to sit around and wait for a long time to heal - sitting around for a long time isn't fun. So, how do you heal and when?

Firstly, being in town fully heals you. Secondly, some dungeons will have healing spots. These healing spots will require jumping, climbing, intelligence, listening, or whatever other stat/skill we think should do more, so that way you don't need to go all the way back to town to heal. Thirdly, there are clerics and other folks with a limited number of healing spells. Fourthly, if you wait, you're healed.

Automatic healing happens when you're not in combat. Every 15 seconds, you heal. First 5%, then 10%, 15%, and so on. So after one minute, you've healed half your HP. If you can find a place to rest for a full minute or two, you're healed. Let's say healing happens a bit faster in 'safer' areas and a bit slower in less safe areas. So, outskirts of town, you heal every 5-10 seconds. If you're trying to rest up in the middle of, say, the Glacier Dungeon (or Lava Dungeon, or the Zombie Slime King's throne room), it may take a while. So you can either try to find a place to heal faster or wait it out and hope that there aren't any wandering enemies.

So it's a matter of how far you can push yourself and still be healthy enough to either win or retreat. There will be some dungeons where it's a lot easier to get in and grab the treasure than it is to escape with it. It'll be fast-paced and dangerous, because it's more awesome that way.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

With January over, and me mostly out of subjects, the blog is winding down a bit.
Does anybody have any questions?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Noob Peninsula

Now, on the Hippedown Server, starting at level 10, you can take a second class. You don't have to, and you can do so at a later level if you want (unless I can think of a reason why that would cause problems). I'm going to call it 'bonus class' for now, just because 'second class' implies the wrong kind of thing.

To do that, you have to go to Noob Peninsula. City Hall has a list of the classes available to you, and you can pick one and experiment with it for a bit. You can't level up in Noob Peninsula. If you get enough xp to reach level 11 (or so) you get a message saying so, but you can stay there indefinitely. You don't gain extra xp, though - when you level up, you'll be at 0% of the way to level 12.

Thinking about it, there's a bit of a problem. It's not an issue to have character creation take a while (and Noob Island is essentially a character creation/tutorial step). The early levels generally should go by fairly quickly. The problem is that the Noob Peninsula experience should not take much longer than going from level 9 to 10, but it should also take long enough for you to have a clear idea which of the dozen or so choices you'd want, and some of the choices for a bonus class are a lot more subtle than for a first class. If you only get four points to play around with, will you really be able to tell the difference between a fighter/gladiator and a fighter/crusader?

The best ideas I can come up with are:
a) Since there's not much pre-game and you start out playing your class as it's intended, there's no reason why the early levels have to be fast.
b) Delay the bonus class until level 15 or 20.
c) Give the character, say, 40 temporary skill points so they can see how things will develop. I don't like taking things away, though. It doesn't seem like a good idea for a temporary power-up.
d) Give the character 20 permanent skill points upon entering Noob Peninsula (even if you choose not to take a bonus class). Let's say you get 3 points per level for levels 1-10, and 4 points per level thereafter, so it's less overwhelming.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


We've mentioned skill points before. You get a few of them every level. The really good skills are class-exclusive, like a Priest's Heal, or a Bowman's Rapid Fire. A few other skills can be learned by a certain classes. Most of the fighter-type classes can learn Power Attack, and most mages can learn Shield.

Some skills, like Climb and Jump can be learned by everyone. They cost more for some classes than others. Thieves can learn these skills for one point per rank, as can dancers. Crusaders and Fire Mages pay two or three points. If you have two classes, you pay the lower amount. Some characters, when they take another class, get a couple skill points back. If you were a Fire Mage with had four ranks in Jump, and decided to become a Fire Mage/Thief, you'd get 8 skill points back.

Everyone gets the same number of skill points - things get too complicated if we do it any other way. When we want certain classes to progress more slowly, we just have their skills cost more.

We've mentioned movement skills. Is it fair to have areas that certain characters can't go to? I think so. It's balanced by those characters being less powerful. There wouldn't be whole dungeons or cities that are inaccessible, but there might be a few treasure chests or some healing items that you need these skills to get to. Again, it's in everybody's interest to have a balanced party. Or spend the skill points to make up for it.

If you don't have climb, you can still go up walls, but it takes a bit longer and you might fall back down. Jump, however, you can't fake. A character who has passed an obstacle can help others cross, though.

Each rank in a skill costs the same amount. Otherwise, eventually you have to save up for five or ten levels to go up one rank, and it's bad form to have the characters remain stagnant for long periods of time. Going from rank 2 to 3 in Increase Spell Range costs the same as going from rank 5 to 6.

Some skills have caps. If the most difficult cliff in the game requires Climb 5 to go up, then we shouldn't let people put 6 points into it. Power Attack is unlimited, for instance, as is Heal.

Skill points are adjustable. You get four each level. You can adjust those points until you gain a level. Then they're locked there. Let's say you're level 8. You get your four points and use them to buy Jump 2. You find that it doesn't get you anywhere special. You can put those four points back and use them to buy something else, like Defense Dance or Axe use. And if you have those four points invested when you hit level 9, they're stuck there. Perhaps you can readjust one 'stuck' skill point each level.

If you hold on to your points, like Brisbane did, only the most recent four are adjustable - otherwise, the smart thing to do is take all your points out right before you level up, every time.