Sadly, the class vs skill “debate” has once again reared it’s ugly head at Damion Schubert’s place, Zen of Design.  As usual, the two sides are downplaying each other’s arguments, talking past one another, throwing up their own particular strawmen… all the typical trash.

As has been posted numerous times and in numerous places elsewhere in the past, the typical understanding/implementation of the concepts of “classes” and “skills” are, in general terms, simply points on a vast continuum of possibilities, and not even the end-points, by any stretch.  Each of the two concepts has advantages and disadvantages, each can be implemented in a hundred different ways, each can be (and often are) tuned to somewhat mimic the other, and so on and so forth.

In the current exchange of mortar fire, the initial post dared to postulate that classes as typically implemented today are a contributing factor to certain problems which bedevil those of us who find it difficult to play for several hours in row (which is one of the many definitions of “casual players” floating around these days, and one of the better ones, IMO).

Damion pointed out that much of this was really more a factor of empowering differentiation between characters than of “classes” per se.  And as quickly as that, the battle was on, both sides heroically struggling to preserve the integrity and purity of their preferred implementation against the evil depredations of the opposing traitors to all that is good and holy viewpoint…

Now, for example, it could be pointed out that empowering differentiation is one of the distinguishing features of classes, according to none other than Damion himself.

Logically, if one common result of using classes (A) is empowering player differentiation (B), and there is no argument that empowering player differentiation (B) can create some problems for “casual players” (C)… how does that go again… if A implies B, and B implies C, then A is “entirely unrelated” to C?

That doesn’t seem to jive with what my old logic prof tried to pound into my head back in my misspent youth, but I never liked him anyway.  (and yes, I do remember the limitations of conditionals in philosophical logic… vaguely…)

The above probably seems like I’m picking on Mr. Schubert, but I really don’t mean to. (I absolutely ADORED his AGC 2006 presentation, btw. If you have any interest in MMO design at all: Read it. Study it. Hell, memorize it.) I could do some of the same nitpicking to the “pro-skill/anti-class” side of the argument. But why bother… it’s already being done.

So why did I bother to write this at all, if I’m just going to call declare the entire discussion silly, and present everyone with a time-out that they’ll just ignore anyway?

Remember that original topic? How to better accommodate “casual players”?

Lost in the crossfire. Again.