What’s more Important, Races or Classes?

What’s more important to you as a player – the classes you can select, or the races of the characters you play? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. In a lot of mainstream MMOs it’s hard to move away from the ‘holy trinity’ of warrior-healer-dps. There’s not a lot offered outside of those realms. For me personally, it’s more important what race is offered, because the majority of the time I already know at least three classes are going to be available, and I’m comfortable with that.

I don’t like to play humans in my video games. I suppose the very basic reason is because I already ‘play’ one in real life and I find them a little boring. I’d much rather place a creature of some type, or some race that may be similar to human but is not. Yes, looks play a giant role in that. I’d love to see more MMOs where you can customize your race with hand selected features and traits and be an ‘unknown’ if that’s what you wish. I realize that for lore purposes this doesn’t exactly work out in all situations (ie: EQ2) but I think it would be a really neat idea. What would happen if you mixed a ratonga with a kerra, and were able to add specific features from both races, perhaps they’ve evolved over time. Or if you could combine your arasai with a troll, choosing racial features and traits from both ‘base’ races.

Ah the possibilities we’d have then!

15 Responses to What’s more Important, Races or Classes?

  1. Ulgrish says:

    Both matter to me, generally, unless I keep my character in an illusion all the time. It depends on the looks of the race its specs, then the sort of specs one needs for a certain class. In EqII, for instance, dwarves make -great- priests, warriors, and scouts, while they’re okay mages (my dwarf conj can attest to this). Though to be honest, most everything anyone does in MMORPGs is to try and make their character look as awesome (in their eyes) as possible. That’s half the reason I keep my ogre zerker, Ulgrish here, in an orc illusion all the time (damn, I wish they’d let us be able to put the armor on the orc illusions). Appearance.

    People will even pick classes or betray to classes for appearance. Who has ever seen an ogre conjuror, or a dwarf necromancer? No one. Who has ever seen a Thule-worshipping Iksar Paladin? No one. (Though, this can be done; just accept Thule as your deity before you betray. It can be done with any evil god or good god before betraying to the other side; I’ve always thought how funny it’d be to see a Bertox-loving Paladin.)

    And there’s nothing that’s more like a smack to the face than a troll mage of any sort, seeing how low their intelligence is when you start out as one.

    But, that’s the fun of game mechanics.

  2. I always pick some kind of Elf and a caster class ,just can’t help myself that’s always my first toon in any game.

  3. Gothun says:

    It really depends on what game you’re playing and how they interact with each other. Even though the racial buffs were just changed in EQ2 to be more class specific, they play a bigger part than what they used to. That’s actually something I like to do is mix and match and make the best possible combination for my character’s skills.

    I guess if race doesn’t do anything to or for your character buff wise, then it’s all about what you want it to be at that point, whether you role play, or just want it to look like what you think is cool. It’s nice to have a variety of choices too, unless you’re like me and you couldn’t make a decision if someone gave you the right answer.

  4. Pete S says:

    Classes. I almost always play human characters. I’ve always wondered what it’s like to be human and MMOs are the closest I can get to experiencing that.

  5. For me personally, class matters most simply because that’s what determines how I’m actually going to play the game. In EQ2 in particular, many classes simply didn’t click with me. That said, I do value being able to play what I refer to as non-Tolkein races, and I typically go that route whenever I can.

  6. Magson says:

    For me it’s the classes. Sure there are only the 3 archetypes, but what the game does with a class within the archetypes is what interests me. My shadowknight and my monk are both “tanks” but they’re also worlds apart in how they play. My dirge and my brigand are both technically dps, but again… very different. Heck, my warden and my fury are not only both healers but they’re both druids, and yet they play completely differently. And of course, I absolutely love to play my coercer (mage dps) but don’t really care for my necromancer (mage dps). I like my warlock (mage dps) but still prefer the coercer overall.

    What difference would my race make to any of these? Would a high elf or sarnak warlock really be any different than my dark elf? Would an ogre be a different shadowknight than my high elf? I don’t think so. Race just doesn’t mean anything to me other than looks. It’s the class that affects how I play.

  7. I think they’re both hugely important not only in the fun you having playing but also in establishing your character. I could play a class I didn’t like nor a race, to me they are equally important :)

  8. RichY says:

    It’s the Races….. I played Eq2 on release for awhile but the characters all seemed to blend into the same visual after awhile.
    As someone else pointed out in a great little blog; afterawhile, the only difference between the classes are the spell effects.
    Playing ‘humans’ in MMO’s never interested me. It’s a bit like going abroad on holiday & having fish & chips for Tea (something of a missed opportunity)!
    Trolls or Iksar seemed to win hand’s down, perhaps because they were so obviously ‘different’.

  9. For me it is definitely the races. I play EQ2 because I can be a ratonga — if they only had human and human-like races I’d probably have stopped long ago (if I had ever decided to start). I persisted with Vanguard for as long as I did because of the raki, and if they had better animation, and tails, I might still be playing. I’m seriously considering going to play WoW (at least for a while) when they introduce the worgen.

  10. Blue Kae says:

    Before I started playing LotRO I would’ve said races are more important, that was one of my gripes with Guild Wars and I never played a human in EQ. In LotRO though I mostly play Men, and I’ve played nearly every class to level 20. Most of the classes have very different playstyles and almost all of them have some hybrid abilities.

  11. Ferrel says:

    It is inteteresting that you view race as more important since we can’t get away from the standard styles of classes. I know that feeling for sure. I’ve wanted to play an alt in EQ2 but it is so locked into the trinity mentality that I just can’t find what I want. My paladin is too much of a tank and too little dps/healing compared to the EQ1 version. At least at the level I’m at.

    I like having a true variety of races. By that I mean actually different things. Humans and ratonga are different and interesting. I’m not so sure we need four kinds of elves in every MMO. Nor do I feel we need three kinds of humans. Things like that make me less concerned about race.

    In general though I think the less classes there are the better they are and I focus there mostly.

  12. Olphas says:

    I never really thought about it until I read your post today.
    Yesterday I would have said that classes are the thing for me. But when I think about it, I have ALWAYS the same pattern concerning classes I choose.
    My first class is a healer. Always. It’s just what I like best. Second is a scout like my troubadour in EQ2 or my hunter in WOW. The scout is usually the character I use to relax from all the healing and the responsibilities of being a healer.
    And then, when I know the game, its mechanics and the dungeons, I create a tank.
    It is always the same with me. But I love thinking about the characters behind these classes when I create them. Who will they be? What are they like? And choosing a race is a big part of that.
    In EQ2 I wanted to play a troubadour. I ended up creating a rattonga dirge, who just could not stand the sad songs anymore and betrayed to Queynos to become a happy little singing rat. I don’t play EQ2 anymore, but I will never forget little Whuzzy. I love this character.
    And don’t get me started on my froglok shadowknight. What made this character so much fun to play was never the fact, that he is a shadowknight. It was this crazy, megalomaniac frog who claimed being ruler of Norrath (obviously!) that made this character so much fun.
    Concerning humans I’m with Stargrace. I can’t remember any human character I played in any MMO more than maybe 10 levels to get a look at the starting zone. It just doesn’t appeal to me. Why should I play a human character when I can be a cute little rat? :D

  13. Akely says:

    Ares you suggesting intra-racial breading? :-O

    Kidding aside, I think class is way more important. At least in EQ2. The differences between the races is minimal and there is very little difference between them. At least any difference that has any impact on the game. I guess this is good in the way that it does not matter much which race you do pick, an everyone can be anything approach.

    Classes on the other hand are really different and can be made even more different with AA point spending. A similar system (or AA tree) for Race would be very interesting bringing Race into the equation. (Yeah, I love to tinker with the points. :-) )

  14. Petter says:

    In the typical DIKU trinity-based MMO, I’d go with races as well. Even though I usually go for the same kind of race and class (seriously, my gnome has ruined me – my experiences in EQ2 was much better as a ratonga than a dark elf), I prefer a wide variety of races around me. I’m always sceptical when a game either just have one race (AoC) or two (like Aion). Classes just won’t give enough variety.

    I really like the “unknown” race alternative in STO. Although I never played around with it myself during beta, I probably will at launch, just to create the perfect character for myself. It will also be interesting to see all the crazy stuff other players will come up with.

  15. Sara Pickell says:

    If I had to pick one it would be classes. I tend to be of the sort that wouldn’t mind if everything was human even in sci-fi and fantasy. But then I’m not much of a fan of classes so perhaps this is my choosing the lesser devil. =)

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