I’m a fan of having new classes to play in gaming, there isn’t such a thing as too many options in my opinion. It means I reactively disagree with statements like “we have enough classes already” when discussing MMORPGs – something that I’ve heard said a few times on notable podcasts covering the genre. It is also one reason why I’ve remained invested in Everquest 2 (26 classes so far), there is always another class I can dip into for alt-play if I’m bored with my main.
Recently, I’ve had a number of conversations around the lack of new classes to World of Warcraft: nothing new in the last two expansions, and only one new class since 2012. The obvious counter-argument to adding new classes is the ‘balance’ issue. While I understand the reasoning behind it, personally, I think all the newer classes added to the game have been overpowered for at least some of their time in game, so does it really matter if new classes are given some time to shine? PVP fans would probably disagree with that, but that’s outside my area of experience and interest.
Much more than the addition of a new playable race (i.e. species), a new class offers me the stronger incentive to want to level a new character. In a game I have played as much as World of Warcraft, that’s a good thing since alt levelling has always been my “end game” much more than the traditional gear/progression grinds.
There are some obvious gaps in WoW, the bard archetype for instance is completely missing even though there are a few examples of NPCs that are bard or minstrel-like. Sadly, knowing the tone the game often sets, I fear the bard if added to WoW would be heavy-metal inspired with “air guitar” flavoured abilities. We already have a skeleton boss doing just that atop his ‘pile of bones’ stage in a dungeon, and he’s not the only musician of that ilk. Let’s just say that would be off-putting instead of inspiring in terms of me wanting to level such a character.
From more recent inspiration, in Revendreth there are some very interesting NPCs with a scholar vibe. That’s a workable class, FFXIV presents a good model of what the class could be. Maybe it could even re-introduce some of the Scribe profession features long-since discarded, a buff spell that acts like the old craftable stat buff scrolls for example? Again from FFXIV, there’s the Astrologian: what about adding a tarot-themed class with some heavy links to the Darkmoon Faire? That could be a very lore-embedded new class option possibly with abilities that have randomised or varying effects based on the ‘card’ drawn by triggering a specific spell.
This post was inspired in part by a discussion of two home-brewed classes for D&D 5E on the podcast Dungeon Master of None (the Illrigger and the Warlord). As well as being interested in playing new classes, I also do have an interest in making them myself, I released my own sub-class for the 5E ranger (the Signalleer) on DMs Guild in early 2020. I was reminded by some slightly random web-browsing that this is not a new thing. It’s funny how the Web never forgets – as it took me way back to 2000 when I was still invested in the Mystara world setting for D&D. I’d completely forgotten that I wrote and submitted two ‘Prestige Classes’ for the 3E of the game to the official community run website for that world. Reading them twenty years later I was rather happy with what I’d designed, if only some MMO or TTRPG company would pay me to indulge in this passion for new classes…