Introduction: One of the topics that has been heavily discussed internally among the team as well as within our community is the topic of specializations and balance between play styles. This is a very much debated topic and we wanted to create this thread to start an official discussion with you guys. The purpose of this particular thread is not to discuss potential specializations down the road, which is something we will be discussing at a later date, but to talk about the hard lock specializations like Destroyer and Mage Killer that are currently in-game. For discussion purposes, a hard lock specialization is something that locks your character out of certain aspects of combat - in the example of the four currently in game (Destroyer, Mage Killer, Mage Hunter and Indestructible) the aspect of combat locked out is Elemental Magic. Removing/Altering Hard Lock Specializations: Our vision for Darkfall: Rise of Agon is a game without classes, and having hard lock specializations the way they currently are goes against that vision. Every time we have made a change that somehow affects combat in some way the discussion always revolves around whether or not "Destroyer was buffed" or "Destroyer was nerfed". This is due to the fact that currently we have to balance around hard lock specializations like Destroyer and Mage Killer since the players that spec into these do not have the same access to skills that hybrid players do. In response to this we have been discussing the possibility of removing/altering how certain specializations work so that there will no longer be hard lock choices that we must balance around. This will provide us with a better foundation to build upon and to balance, especially when we add to and/or alter aspects of combat down the road (new weapons, new armor, new specializations, spell balancing, etc). With specializations like Destroyer currently in game, we have to instead always make sure to balance around the small percentage of players who end up choosing this specialization. Addressing Balance: The specializations, such as Destroyer, were added to the original Darkfall due to player concerns on a lack of balance for melee and archery player types. If these specializations are to be removed/altered then we will need to address balance for these play styles in other ways. There are many ways to accomplish this that we have been discussing, and we wanted to present a few ideas to help start the conversation: 1) Tweaking Encumbrance - encumbrance can be used as a tool to balance melee and archery play styles having Melee Encumbrance affect damage (currently Archery/Magic Encumbrance does but Melee does not provide a noticeable difference) implementing changes to stat cost on spells and skills 2) Altering Hard Lock Specializations - the four specializations in question (Destroyer, Mage Killer, Mage Hunter and Indestructible) could be balanced without the need for blocking certain magic types an example could be Destroyer providing a small melee damage boost to staff wielders at the cost of a larger max mana penalty - hard lock on elemental magic would be removed Conclusion: Our ultimate goal is to get the game to a point where we can start expanding on specializations that are not hard locks, similar to some of the current specializations we have in game. This could provide players the ability to specialize more in their particular play style, without having the negative effects that hard lock specializations create for us. We are eager to hear your feedback and thoughts on this subject and look forward to furthering the discussion. ----------------------------------------------- Please refrain from any personal attacks or posts that break our Terms of Service. We will be closely monitoring this thread and people who get out of hand risk losing their posting privileges in this section. We want to hear all of your constructive feedback and opinions on this but we will do what is necessary to keep the clutter out of this thread.