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Should class/race restrictions be a thing of the past?

Today the news came across that EverQuest Next (which, in-case the title isn't self explanatory, is the next EverQuest MMO) is not going to be having any class/race restrictions. That means every one of their races will be able to play as every one of their classes. This is quite an interesting move for a major MMO, and begs the question -- are the restrictions a thing of the past?

In WoW, right now, no race has access to every class. And in WoW's story there is often good reason -- the lore simply doesn't support the race accessing the given class. For instance, a Dranei warlock makes no sense, they hate the dark arts. Still, some players would argue that they should be able to pick those off-the-beaten-path combinations, with the lore reasoning that they're a break away sect or some such thing.

How legitimate that argument is, however, is another situation entirely; and one that is often up for debate. But perhaps more important than the lore implications is the line that's reiterated by Blizzard designers: gameplay trumps lore. And this isn't a bad mantra either -- if a game isn't any fun to play, who cares what the lore is? No one is going to experience it (I'm looking at you, Star Wars: The Old Republic).

It's not uncommon for AAA game developers to copy each other's decisions when they pay off. We'll have to wait and see if EverQuest Next's direction is good or not, and keep an eye out if Blizzard decides to pick this up for WoW.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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