Snow Angel, Bug Hunter, Class Tester
In terms of class issues, I think Ryuyasha's hit the biggest point. The way gameplay is right now, crits do a lot more damage than regular attacks and because they are emphasized both from a damage perspective and from a visual one (larger and different coloured text), they start to become the only damage that players notice. This happens even when the non-crit is pretty high; Lightcaster, for example, hits like 1.2k non-crit, which is higher than the crit of a lot of other classes, but it doesn't register much because it's just a regular hit.
From my experience playing on the test servers, it looks like non-crit damage has been increased a decent amount but crit damage is lower. If you're doing (these are made-up numbers, I haven't done formal testing) 40% more damage on a non-crit but only 60% of the damage of a regular crit, you're losing more damage than you're gaining because crit multipliers are currently so high. This means that overall, damage output goes down. This, along with monster health regen, means that fights take longer, which means on the whole everything takes longer. You can also run into issues with mana models that rely on damage, as a lower crit will reduce mana regained and thus a player may have to retrain themselves to not just spam all the skills all the time in order to win.
So, to me, it seems the biggest issue with classes in the test servers (besides for the issues of things not working properly) is that they're doing less damage on the whole and making things take longer. Repetitive farming can be boring enough as-is, but when monsters are taking even longer to kill, it just makes it worse. Sure, the increased respawn rate helps, but how much time are you really saving? If the monster respawns 3 or 4 seconds faster but it takes you 10 seconds more to kill the monster, then you're not really saving much time compared to the regular servers.
There's also the whole part where "luck-based classes" are overly-prevalent because people choose to use Lucky rather than a more suited enhancement, for whatever reasons (higher damage, fewer pieces of equipment necessary, etc.). So a class that maybe wasn't designed to be luck-based then becomes luck-based in the meta, and thus on the new servers it isn't performing at the standard people are used to. Classes would have to be performing where they're at now for people to be happy with it, but in order for that to happen with a decreased crit damage, non-crit damage would have to increase a lot more than it has, as you need to compensate for the lower damage and the monster health regen.
quote:I think in some ways, it's more that players want the items or rewards, and monsters/drop rates are standing in the way of that. Thus they want to use the best classes they can in order to get the most damage, which in turn ends the fight faster and gets the player closer to their reward in a more timely fashion. A lot of it seems to boil down to speed, it seems, at least in my mind.
I kind of think our players to a large degree want more of a beat 'em up than an rpg
Changing from an enhancement system to a stat pool may be a solution, but if you're applying that stat pool to the character then in some ways you're putting big restrictions on choice. If someone builds a stat pool that gives them a glass cannon for Wizard-based classes, and that's what they want, then that's good for them. But what if they want to use a dodge class for a particular hard fight? Or they're in a party and someone needs to be the healer? You'd either have to reallocate stats (a potentially expensive endeavour) or accept that you're not going to be nearly as effective as you could be. So if you went the stat pool path, you'd probably have to apply it to equipment rather than general character based ones. A potential solution could be have all stats be allocated to the class. This allows you to really tweak each individual class to the role you want for it, and then allows you to use whatever equipment you please as a purely aesthetic (disregarding boost items) choice, rather than having to change sets around all the time. The more I think about this, the more I think this could be a good solution in terms to stat distribution. I still think the issues with damage and speed I outlined above apply, but this could be a step towards fixing that. Remove class base stats and then just have each stat, regardless of the class, do the same thing; each point of Endurance increases X and Y by Z amount, each point of Intellect increases A and B by C amount, and so forth. Then a person could build their classes to perform the way they want them to. Then it becomes about the skillset, rather than having somewhat dedicated "dodge classes", "healers", "tanks", etc. The skillset would, in many cases, still benefit skewing stat distribution towards some stats, but it would allow more freedom on how to play that class.