I’d like to suggest a completely classless system for PP, the skills the soldier gains on level up should also be randomized (it worked well in the firaxis xcom). The role will be a combination of a weapon type, armor type and skills.
There were no soldier classes in the original XCOM, I see no point in locking the players’ creativity into predefined classes now.
There will be three ‘base’ classes in which all soldiers start:
Marksman - tends to have good perception
Assault - tends to have good mobility
Heavy - tends to have good endurance
Then there will be five specialist classes. These represent more refined, interelated skill groups, although there may be some crossover with other classes. Any base class soldier may acquire a specialist class if the right training and technology is available. A specialist class will also offer at least one unique skill depending on the base class origin.
I don’t think this class system is inherently flawed and I would love to try it out in practice before scrapping it for a “full random” skill-distribution.
I think on the “random skills” thing, it would be better to have more control over the skills of solders, rather than less. So each soldier is classless until you put in training to determine their “class” as such. Then you could use an extensive skill tree to determine what sort of Marksman you might want (an actual tree, not just a choice between 2). This would allow more creativity, so you can make your own subsets of a very broad umbrella “class”
Training roulette isn’t a super popular second wave option. It can be used and some adjustments have been made to avoid some of the more egregious combos, but it remains a second wave option nevertheless.
XCOM 2 has a better approach, first with one “secret skill” semi randomized unlocked per character, and even better in WotC with a few semi-randomized skills on the third progression line of each character.
A class system definitely isn’t inherently flawed as long as classes offer enough internal flexibility.
I think Julian said somewhere that skill trees will be something more than just “pick up one of two”. And there will be more emphasis on equipment-based skills rather than class-based ones. As long as this is true, and classes will be more flexible than in XCOM, I’m in.
Hm, I don’t fall strongly on one side or the other for class/classless. I do, however, prefer to have a stronger hand in shaping my soldiers than vanilla Firaxis XCOM. Too much randomness in skills prevents me from creating the characters I set out to create; or requires I go through the leveling process before determining which character they will be. That runs counter to the idea of developing attachment to my soldiers through the course of a playthrough.
I actually quite like the classless system of the original Xcom, and soldiers skills would develop the more you used them.
Realistically, only Anu should be able to get more health through mutations, but all others could equip heavy armour based on a strength attribute.
Soldiers could train from more endurance, and better aim, and so these attributes do not really need to be linked to a Class.
Also with the current build having “abilities” linked to weapons, there would be less need for specific classes.
Apart from Anu. Those mutations definitely need to be linked to a class. No amount of training can grow a pincer out of your butt.
FYI - I really love min-max with abilities in the Nu Xcom. I want to win because my time and energy has been spent creating the best soldiers, who can kick ass, and building a team that works well together is part of that. The synergys of new Xcom lent to this feeling of team building.
If I remember the original UFO Enemy unknown correctly, it must have been that the recruits had some basic diced characteristics such as strength, endurance, intelligence, accuracy and so on.
The player, so I, had to think for myself, do I make the new recruit a rocket launcher carrier, or a sniper?
The joke was, I took a weak recruit and let him always carry much too heavy things, then he became a little stronger after each use, the system was not so bad at all. In this respect, the original poster is right, just because almost everyone now does it with a class system, you don’t have to do it.
This is correct, however, with new features that were not implemented in UFO, Phoenix Point now needs some sort of rigidity to stop every soldier having the same skill set. Seeing as skills seem to be becoming a core feature in PP with the whole willpower point thing, it might be more important that each soldier is not too similar. This doesn’t have to be done the “conventional” way of course
When picking soldiers for a mission it is MUCH easier to scroll thru your roster of a few dozen and select based on class. Without specific classes, you will have to check each one to see their skills and figure out squad build. With classes, I can do this…
Ok, I need a tank. *scroll scroll… ah, here’s a tank and his armor is cool… now I need a couple assaults… *scroll scroll… yep, these two are good and near promotion…
I am not convinced by “linear progression, pick-a-perk” skill tree. I would very much prefer JA2-like skill system with all base skills available to anyone limited only by stat and skill requirements and perks being awarded for reaching a certain level in a particular skill. Skills themselves will be levelled up by using them.
Alternatively, PP can adopt F1/F2-like system with skill points, allowing lessrealistic but more flexible progression.
You forgot to mention that classes also accomplish a couple more things:
~ limiting the soldier customization
~ reducing skill sets into a pre-defined templates
~ making the whole experience very game-y. “No, your sniper has no idea how to operate an assault rifle even if his life depends on it. No, your ranger will not touch a shotty with a ten foot pole. Because classes”.
Al the “issues” you listed are only problems for someone who grabs a tactical combat game and expects to be immediately good at it for no reason. Soldier customization and squad setup are not something you should take lightly or expect to be a matter of seconds to deal with as it is crucial part of a squad-based tactical combat game.
And “development milestones”, really? You expect XCom players to have attention span so short to require fancy titles and icons popping up regularly to be able to understand that a particular soldier is now better at what player wants them to be good at? Are we even talking about the same game here?
Firstly, we aren’t necessarily talking about pre-defined templates. This could be done (and it has been said that it will) in a much less linear way, but still have a class at its core. It doesn’t need to be a linear progression. You could still have lots of character customization by choosing the sorts of skills you want your characters to develop: resulting in a wide range of soldiers for all different occasions and, importantly, a wide range of possible playstyles.
Also, in Phoenix Point, your sniper CAN operate an assault rifle if his life depends on it, he just won’t have the right sort of skills to operate it like an assault can (exertion etc)