Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hybrid Classes and Economic Modelling

Gamasutra has an interesting article up entitled MMO Class Design: Up With Hybrids! An Economic Argument by John Hopson. It discusses the need for hybrid classes in MMOs in order to provide flavour and diversity, then takes a very intelligent look at the problems involved in hybrid classes, and ultimately suggests an economic approach to creating and balancing hybrids.
One of the fundamental assumptions of the comparative advantage model is that a commodity is the same no matter who produces it. [...] If all tanking is the same, then all tanking classes can be directly compared to one another and one will inevitably come out on top.

[...] We can break this assumption by offering different "flavors" of the three basic commodities. If one type of tank is better at absorbing magic damage, while another is better at absorbing non-magical damage, then we have split the single commodity into two commodities, which can be supplied by two classes. The more commodities, the more potential for hybrids who can fill multiple niches.
Check out the full article here.

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