Gemstone IV is running a pay to play event called A Night at the Acadamy designed by the talented GM Alyias. A 3 hour quest/puzzle event with some undead creatures to inhibit you. It’s meant to have a roster of 10 people per run at a modest $17.95. 10 people is normally how large a group might be for an event run by a player organization or an invasion response force. We have invasions similar to say Rift where creatures poor out in areas they normally wouldn’t that drive storylines. A lot of the Krolvin story things I’ve blogged on has us in groups of about 4-10 combating the Krolvin invaders in the streets.
Day to day you have more of a solo, duo, or trio as a common hunting group. Most areas can be done alone and we don’t have heroic boss fights like your standard MMOs. Those characters are generally storyline NPCs that a Gamemaster (GM) controls. As I’ve been playing alts lately, which is rare for me, I wanted to kind of cover this topic and the Academy event is a good tie in to discuss group composition and class utility in the game.
In a lot of MMOs today you have the 3 archtypes. The Tank/DPS/Healer. Gemstone IV has somewhat different dynamics in that roles are less defined in rigid ways as the archtypes. It’s more in a Dungeons and Dragons aspect that you have utility and people who can perform tasks to meet every situation.
Geijon is a Warrior. We fill the sturdy attack role, but GSIV doesn’t have a aggro system. Warriors can use protect or guard to help misdirect attacks and being in groups has a force on force component and defense component that keeps our Defense Strength (DS) high when at even or greater/lesser numbers versus our opponents. We don’t have tanks at all in how they are viewed in other games, but if anyone fills a similar role it’s a Warrior. We also tend to be beasts of burden in some ways as we’re least effected by encumbrance, especially a Giantman Warrior such as me in carrying treasure and chests.
Wizards are powerful and popular, perhaps the most player class in the game. They can enchant weaponry (making it more powerful), have incredible spells, and serve an offensive attack role while bringing defensive and augmentative spells to the group. Spells in GSIV in some instances are either radius based by being in the group with a certain player or time based buffs that can be stacked prior to combat. Wizards have a great balance of both offensive and defensive spell capabilities and tend to be a strong duo partner in hunting in GSIV.
Sorcerers are similar, have strong incapacitating spells and offensive power with a good mixture of elemental and spiritual defensive magic. This brings up another topic in that we have spell circles. You have your base spell circle such as Sorcerer, Wizard, and you normally have two support circles. Sorcerers access minor elemental and minor spiritual circles making them well balanced in their defensive spellcasting role. Evialla plays a sorcerer and has been my primary companion for many years. It allows Geijon to be an adequate defensive fighter coupled with his dodge training and my personal playstyle of being an offensive minded player. I prefer to strike first rather than survive an attack, although I am not considered a weak defensive character.
Bards are excellent utility players. The can loresing to check what items do and magical properties contained, purify gems to make them worth more money, and are hybrids in the semi term. We use Pures (Casters), Semi (Utility/Mixture), and Squares (Non-caster/Martial) to explain our class roles, but they are less rigid as the DPS/Tank/Healer archtypes.
Rogues are stealth combatants that fight as Warriors do, but from the shadows and ambush. A lot of them are also known to use ranged weapons like bows and crossbows while serving as Locksmiths. Many rogues also train in spells in the minor elemental pool making them diverse and useful characters. Their services are often sought for after a party and can improve effeciency when in a party by picking locks on sight.
Empaths are the healers of the realm. They are also fantastic spellcasters and bring a lot of utility to groups in surviveability and escape/rescue situations.
Clerics are similar to Empaths, can be played as Holy Warriors and were popular in this form before Paladins were implemented, but they serve the second half of the rescue scenario or recovery piece in that they resurrect the dead. They also provide weapon blessing for combating undead, but it’s not exclusive to them. Spells effect undead and the Order of Voln, a player society, allows its members the benefit also.
Bards and Paladins are unique group boosting classes and add to your core power when present, while it doesn’t diminish the group not having them it’s a welcome addition. Many classes defensive spells are available from buffs or short duration items or imbedable magic items with limited charges. This provides a lot of diversity for say 3 warriors to hunt if they are properly buffed beforehand in many situations.
Gemstone has started to implement areas that are more group-focused/required such as the Scatter, a level 130 area, in the rift. The maximum level of a PC is 100 with continued skill gain afterwards through experience advancement. Even so a level 130 creature is powerful when stacked 1on1 versus a capped, as we call it, level 100 PC.
Kenstrom also introduced the Krolvin leaders ship, Krentuk, the Gzadmor gno Prozd (Pain of Night) as a level 130 group-focused ship.
As to alt characters personally I tend to focus on a primary character in most any game I play as I found I didn’t always invest the necassary time into them to get far with them. In Gemstone IV I played Geijon exclusively until probably 2010. I dabbled a bit with really low level characters that didn’t stick, but I’ve since played an Empath, Wizard, Rogue, and Cleric to the modest 20-35 range.