Why are character-classes used in game design?
The main reason is because both the designers and players tend to expect them.
They do also help to simplify and make sense of choices, for players, designers, and AI. They can help organize and make sense of what would otherwise be potentially more complex.
Therefore it tends to end up being easier for many people, especially those used to classes, to design and play games with classes. In general, designing a class-based system and game can be much easier than trying to design a classless system that can support a wide spectrum of choices. That can depend a lot on the details of the game.
Also, classes can provide some useful things that classless systems may (but don't need to) leave out, mainly:
- Showing how some groups in society are typically trained with a set of abilities.
- Giving some emergent effects of having some combinations of abilities that work together to provide other abilities, such as some advanced abilities having prerequisites, or some tasks requiring a set of several skills.
- Showing how people who do the things needed to get some abilities, may tend to get other abilities or biases as a side-effect.
- Other social/cultural tendencies that tend to go together.
Do you agree with the above points? Yes or no, why do you think like that?
Well let's see:
**Classes are there to prevent "best build" scenario where everyone plays with optimal (Personally I feel that this is a weak case, You should be able to design a system where there is no win combination without classes)**
Some designers think that way. It's not necessary to think that way, however. You are correct that it is possible to design systems without classes that don't have a "best build". Also classes don't prevent "best build" thinking, and many class-based games end up with some classes relatively stronger than others.
**Classes create variety by offering different style of play (I agree with this but if you have the freedom to combine different skills you can actually create your own class)**
Classes don't create actual variety. Classes themselves actually reduce variety. But they can create perceived variety, at least between each other. Whether that's apparent in a game depends on the variety the game presents, and the way players approach it. If the game world consists of a limited set of things to do, then players might abuse a weak classless system to just pick the abilities that they read on the Internet will be best for that challenge. But if the game world has practical uses for a wide range of skills, and the system makes a wide range of combinations viable, then a classless system can end up providing more variety of viable character types. On the other hand, if a classless game doesn't provide any equivalent flavor to these varieties, it can feel less varied because it may seem like the player only has one choice (to be generic). To make a classless game give a matching impression of variety, one may need to design in the same sorts of things you find with classes, but without the limits. See the Fable series for one successful approach classless design with varied and distinct characters...
**Classes make choosing style of play easier to players. Most of the times players play the same type of character in different games. (Damage Dealer, Healer, Thief/Assassin etc.) (For me this makes most sense from all the arguments from above, but why force people to only part of the skills when you could offer them as templates)**
This seems sort of true, but as you point out, classes tend to be offered as exclusive choices with limitations. The same ease can be achieved without the limitations, by offering filters to find things, rather than restrictions.