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Encyclopedia > Character class
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This article is about a concept in role-playing games. For character classes specific to Dungeons and Dragons see Character class (Dungeons & Dragons). In computer science, "character class" refers to a type of element of a regular expression.

In role-playing games, a common method of arbitrating the capabilities of different characters is to assign each one to a character class. A character class aggregates several abilities and aptitudes, and may also sometimes detail aspects of background and social standing or impose behaviour restrictions. Classes may be considered to represent archetypes, or specific careers. RPG systems that employ character classes often subdivide them into levels of accomplishment, to be attained by players during the course of the game. It is common for a character to remain in the same class for its lifetime; some games allow characteers to change class, or attain multiple classes. Some systems eschew the use of classes and levels entirely; others hybridise them with skill-based systems or emulate them with character templates. Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... A character class is a characters profession or vocation in the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. ... In computing, a regular expression is a string that is used to describe or match a set of strings, according to certain syntax rules. ... This article is about games in which one plays the role of a character. ... Ability is one of the many ilities. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The term background can have any of the following meanings: Background (computer software) refers to software that is running, but not being displayed. ... Social stratification is a sociological term for the hierarchical arrangement of social classes, castes, and strata within a society. ... An archetype is a generic, idealized model of a person, object, or concept from which similar instances are derived, copied, patterned, or emulated. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), the first formalised roleplaying game, introduced the use of classes, and many subsequent games adopted variations of the same idea. These games are sometimes referred to as 'class-based' systems. As well as tabletop games, character classes are found in many computer role-playing games and live action role-playing games. Class-based systems are often criticised as archaic and restrictive, yet many of the most popular role-playing games, such as D20 system and White Wolf games still use character classes in one way or another. Most games offer additional ways to systematically differentiate characters, such as race, skills, or affiliations. Dungeons & Dragons (abbreviated as D&D or DnD) is a fantasy role-playing game (RPG) originally designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, and first published in 1974 by Gygaxs company Tactical Studies Rules (TSR). ... Computer role-playing games (CRPGs), often shortened to simply role-playing games (RPGs), are a type of video or computer game that traditionally use gameplay elements found in paper-and-pencil role-playing games. ... This does not cite any references or sources. ... d20 redirects here. ... Many fantasy stories and worlds call their main sapient humanoid species races rather than species. ... A skill is an ability, usually learned and acquired through training, to perform actions which achieve a desired outcome. ... In law, affiliation (from Latin ad-filiare, to adopt as a son) is the term to describe a partnership between two or more parties. ...

Contents

Common types of classes

In fantasy games, where classes are more common, it is usual to find one (or more) class that excels in combat, several classes that are able to perform magic (often different kinds of magic), and classes that deal with professional or criminal skills. Magic: The Gathering. ...


For example, Dungeons & Dragons provided a set of four classes that many players consider archetypal among games with classes: Fighter (combat-based abilities, but almost non-existent magic), Rogue (with stealth- and socialization-based abilities), Magic User (powerful magical abilities, but physically weak), and Cleric (healing and supportive magical abilities, and minor combat abilities). Non-fantasy role-playing games often fill the place of the magic user with psychic- or scientist-like classes, and the Cleric (healing class) with a medic or similarly supportive role. The Fighter is a common archetyal character class in numerous role-playing games whose speciaties lie in physical combat. ... Zidane Tribal is a thief from Final Fantasy IX Thief, taken from the Battle for Wesnoth computer game. ... The Wizard is a magician character class in many role-playing games and computer role-playing games. ... The cleric is a character class in Dungeons & Dragons and other fantasy role-playing games. ... Smaug in his lair: an illustration for the fantasy The Hobbit Fantasy is a genre of art that uses magic and other supernatural forms as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. ... Psychic is a term relating to or denoting paranormal extra-sensory abilities or phenomena that are apparently inexplicable by known natural laws, since they transcend the confines of our current understanding of what a human being is capable of. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article is about the title or occupation. ...


There can also be "hybrid"-character classes such as the Bard, a cross between the thief and mage with an emphasis on interpersonal skills, mental and visual spells, and supportive magical abilities - such as singing a positive stats-aiding song, or the Paladin, a cross between the fighter and cleric with slightly decreased combat skills (although still formidable, but more shield-aimed) but various innate abilities that are used to heal or protect allies and repel and/or smite evil opponents. In the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, bard is one of the base character classes. ... In the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, paladin is one of the base character classes. ...


In the Computer RPG Final Fantasy series, character classes can be grouped similarly by characteristics like relative physical/magical/special attack/defense power, but distinguished by their skills and equipment. Among the generally physically strong character classes (and their common traits) are classes like knight (broadswords), monk ("buildup" and "kick" skills), dragoon ("jump" and spears) and berserker (uncontrollable character) and there are various types of mages (black for mainly offensive magic, white for holy and mainly curative magic, blue for magic learned by experience/observation, summoner for calling creatures). There are also "other" classes, such as thief ("steal" and "mug" skills and high speed), dancer (ability to equip ribbons), bard (musical instruments as weapons and songs that alter statuses), and scholar (books as weapons and 'seeing' enemy stats and properties). Computer role-playing games (CRPGs), often shortened to simply role-playing games (RPGs), are a type of video or computer game that traditionally use gameplay elements found in paper-and-pencil role-playing games. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... In several installments of the Final Fantasy series of role-playing games by Square Enix, classes (jobs) are roles assigned to playable characters that determine the characters proficiencies. ...


Classes provide direction and limitations for characters. For example, a thief will usually be provided abilities such as lock picking, but probably would not be able to wield magic as well as a mage (or, depending on the game, possibly not at all). Game designers use the limitations provided by classes to encourage (or enforce) interdependence among characters. Some RPGs restrict the classes a character can choose based on alignment, race, or other statistics, though this is rare among contemporary RPGs. Lock picking is the art of unlocking a lock without its intended key. ... A game designer is a person who designs games. ... In Dungeons & Dragons and some similar role-playing games, alignment is a categorisation of the moral and ethical perspective of the player characters, non-player characters, monsters, and societies in the game. ... Many fantasy stories and worlds call their main sapient humanoid species races rather than species. ...


Classless characters

A common alternative to class-based systems, skill-based systems are designed to give the player a stronger sense of control over how their character develops. In such systems, players choose the direction of their characters as they play, usually by assigning points to certain skills (such as "fighting with a one-handed weapon" or "forgery"). Advancements in class-based systems have sought to provide players similar control by presenting options as the player progresses in level. These options include prestige classes (a form of sub-class that is only available to characters who meet certain prerequisites), multi-classing (advancing a character in two or more classes), and hybrid class/skill systems. A skill is an ability, usually learned and acquired through training, to perform actions which achieve a desired outcome. ... Appearing in primitive form in the second edition rules of the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game and developed extensively in the third edition rules, prestige classes (PrC) are character classes that offer specialized, exclusive abilities once certain restrictive requirements are met. ...


Classless games often provide templates for the player to work from, many of which are based on traditional character classes. Many classless games' settings or rules systems lend themselves to the creation of character following certain archetypal trends. For example, in the computer role-playing game Fallout, common character archetypes include the "shooter", "survivalist", "scientist", "smooth talker" and "sneaker", unofficial terms representing various possible means of solving or avoiding conflicts and puzzles in the game. Although Fallout is classless and there is no set limit on how a character's skills can grow or what image they may make the character into, their initial skills are specialized into three selected skills and are based directly on the character's other attributes. In Eve online (a space-themed MMORPG) no strict classes exist but by training certain skills one can become a specialised player within certain archetypes such as combatant/pirate, constructor/inventor, miner/gatherer. The player can freely choose which abilities to train and choose to be specialised in one field or become an allrounder. Theoretically a player can excel in all fields over time by training all skills, usually players pick one field that matches their playingstyle thus creating these archetypes. This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... EVE Online is a persistent world multiplayer online game set in space. ... An image from World of Warcraft, one of the largest commercial MMORPGs as of 2004, based on active subscriptions. ...


Variations on the classes concept

Some RPGs feature another variation on the classes mechanic. For example in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, players choose a career. The career works like a class with added bonuses or skills related to the selected career. However as the player advances and gains more experience he or she may choose a new career according to a predefined career path. A player might start as a warrior and choose a career path to become a mercenary or choose a different path to become a dragonslayer. The warrior's available career paths do not allow the player to become a mage, similar to the restriction that one cannot change classes. Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP or WHFRP) is a role-playing game set in the Warhammer Fantasy setting. ...


In White Wolf's World of Darkness games, rather than picking a career, one picks an affilliation (such as a vampire clan, werewolf tribe, or magical order) which grants a minor affinity and some bonus abilities, but otherwise has little effect on overall capability. Typically player groups represent only one kindred, be they vampires, werewolves, or else. The logo of White Wolf Publishing, one of White Wolf, Inc. ... The World of Darkness (or WoD) is the name given to two related but distinct fictional universes developed by Mark Rein-Hagen. ... A magical organization is an organization put up for the furtherance of its members by use of magic or to further the knowledge of magic among its members. ...


Another way to differentiate within character classes is the use of talent points such as in the game World of Warcraft. As players advance in levels talent points are awarded and used to branch skills and abilities within an archetype. A warlock for example can choose to specialise in affliction (curse based skills), demonology (skills based on summoned demons) and destruction (skills related to do more damage with specific spells). As a result a warlock with talents in affliction plays very different than a warlock of the same level with destruction talents. World of Warcraft (commonly abbreviated as WoW) is a massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed by Blizzard Entertainment and is the fourth game in the Warcraft series, excluding expansion packs and the cancelled Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans. ... To meet Wikipedias content policies and video game article guidelines, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Demonology is the systematic study of demons or beliefs about demons. ...


Non-role-playing games

Outside of role-playing games, some other cooperative games, such as Star Wars Battlefront II or multiplayer tactical shooters, use class-based systems to leverage the emphasis they provide on cooperation. Often, these games also include other elements traditionally found in role-playing games, such as experience points. This is a relatively new, but growing "genre", having been pioneered by the Quake mod Team Fortress. A cooperative game is a game where groups of players (coalitions) may enforce cooperative behaviour, hence the game is a competition between coalitions of players, rather than between individual players. ... Star Wars: Battlefront II is a video game set to be released in November of 2005 for PC, Xbox, PSP, and PlayStation 2. ... Online gaming redirects here. ... Tactical shooters include games of the first-person shooter (FPS) and third-person shooter genre of video games that generally simulate non-fictional, squad-based or man-to-man combat. ... Experience points (often abbreviated as exp or xp) are a representation of a characters advancement and improvement in skills in role-playing games and computer role-playing games. ... Zombies attacking the player at the starting of Episode 1, Mission 3: The Necropolis. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Team Fortress is a team and class based online multiplayer computer game modification based on id Softwares Quake. ...


Typical "Classes" for tactical shooter include: Tactical shooters include games of the first-person shooter (FPS) and third-person shooter genre of video games that generally simulate non-fictional, squad-based or man-to-man combat. ...

  • Heavy Infantry (High power weapons, slower),
  • Sniper (very long range rifles, weak close fighting ability, typically very difficult to use),
  • Engineer (weaker than average firepower, but abilities such as repairing vehicles, creating automated turrets or planting mines or bombs),
  • Medic (weaker than average firepower, but can heal others),
  • Anti-vehicle (Slow, can destroy vehicles, weaker firepower against infantry)
  • Typical infantry (average firepower, possibly faster than support classes, few or no special abilities, however, ideal for taking down more speciliazed classes such as engineers or anti-vehicles)
  • Auxiliary (weaker than average firepower, can give ammunition to other players)
  • Spy (Can disguise/cloak himself, plant cameras for remote surveillance and stab foes in the back for one-hit kills; sometimes combined with the sniper to make a "Covert Ops" class)
  • Flamethrower Infantry (Slow or average speed, high power at close range, little or no long range capabilities, best at harassment tactics. Sometimes combined with the standard infantry class as a selectable weapon)

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