What's stopping me from creating a 35-year-old Thursar with Shaman-like powers (which are described in their lore) if I felt like it? Well currently, the Game.
I'm basing most of my opinions on: The presented lore, the mechanics of physiological diversity, player testimonials/feedback, and things that we've been told by SV over time such as: "There is no need to delete and recreate your character." and (When talking about the negative aspects of many other MMOGs) "The levels and gear dependency create a level of separation between characters that cannot be overcome by player skill. That same separation inhibits the social aspects of the MMOG because of the division between different play styles and experience levels."
This isn't just me whining to "change it" for my own personal reasons -- I'm pretty fine with what I've got and where I am (my dream playstyle/race combos ended up working out well, not many people were so lucky). This is an honest suggestion coming from a perspective of genuinely wanting to improve the game for everyone that this affects.
-- The Clades --
Currently: Classes In the Form of Clades
Suggestion: Clades are Heritages, Not Class Choices
Maximum stats are currently very limited and very different depending on one's ancestry. I made a big post about that here, but I've thought about this more and I felt that I could present it better. (If you're concerned about the exact numbers then check out that thread.) I'm of the opinion that different Clades should have less extreme differences in max stats, and instead the emphasis should be on how long it takes to get those attributes to where we want them. So while an Alvarin can't be as strong as a Oghmir, the Alvarin can still become pretty strong but it will take much longer. This will all depend on what the Devs want to do, and what their plans are. I am not asking them to change their plans if their plans go against this.
-- Different Ages --
Currently: Specific Years, Specific Stats
Suggestion: Specific Wide-Spanning Age Groups, Specific Stats
As for ages, I think that options like "Young Adult", "Middle Adult", and "Elderly" instead of choosing exact age could really be used better for a few reasons. For one, the stat differences might make a little more sense instead of them changing every few years. And for two -- this also allows the implementation of different textures (and maybe voices down the line) for different age groups.
This way, people won't be forcing "23 Year Old Veela" on someone if they wanted their character to be 35, they're just going to tell everyone they're 35 even if theyre 23. It doesn't really do anything. Under what I propose, it still won't matter much if you're a Young Adult or a Middle Adult, but I think if your character is Elderly there might be stat changes because of the inevitable effects of aging.
All you have to do is toss a few wrinkle options in the "Middle Adult" group and you're looking at a decent representation of every age group without giving players so many options that they end up making things feel very artificial because only hyper-specific ages are the "best" for certain playstyles and it's just what they'll choose anyway. Currently it's really just giving you a choice as to if you want to be disadvantaged or not because of a number based on your future playstyle. There really is no reason to not choose the "best number", so why not just get rid of that and make it more about larger age groups? If someone wants an older character to look younger than they are -- they can do that. More choice and ability to be creative with Character Creation.
-- The Sub-Clade Ethnic Groups --
Currently: Nave's Stereotypes -- Classes In The Form of Heritage
Suggestion: Nave's People -- Heritage Makes Certain Choices More Likely, But Not Certain.
To keep from sectioning up those within Clades too much (there are situations like Sidoians currently having 32 more max Int than Kallards), I also suggest that those within Clades have the same max attributes but different resistances to getting attributes up which will reflect their genetics/culture. So while a Kallard might have to spend a longer time investing in Intelligence skills to get to the same Intelligence stat as a Full-Int Sidoian, it's still possible.
My reason for suggesting completely taking out max stat differences within the Clades is so that there are less max-attribute options so that people actually reflexively have more choice. It allows for us to be less prejudiced as players. As someone in the Help Channel put it:
"When you look at a character's race, you can tell what they do."
How realistic is it to look at a character and say "That person is really bad/good at [insert skill here]." Based entirely on the way that they look? They have a word for that, it's stereotyping. The game currently severely reinforces that, and as such it has a negative impact on immersion, playstyle choices, character creation, and lore. Essentially all of the different groups within Clades are running around as literal representations of the stereotypes of their people and I don't think that reflects a virtual world -- It's more like a game creating barriers between groups so that players have visually-based character types so that they can be easily identified instead of representing different ethnicities/cultures within a world.
I do, however, understand that culture and genetics will effect certain aspects of a person, which is why I suggest sub-Clade attribute resistances like the ones between Clades, but less effective. Players looking for the "best human warrior" will probably typically choose a Kallard, Khurite, or a Sidoian, but that doesn't stop a Tindremene character from being just as good eventually. This gives people much more choice and freedom. This also allows for the usability of "Jack of All Trades" ancestries like Tindremenes who don't really excel in anything since under this new system it would mean they're the most versatile and most likely to pop up in many roles.
For similar reasons I suggested less attribute differences between the Clades (Average Alvarin have 40 more Dex than an Average Oghmir), but still leaving some differences to reflect that their bodies have adapted and evolved differently. All Alvarin will have more potential in Dexterity than everyone else, but that doesn't mean that Humans won't be able to reach a comparable level with a lot of training. This will prevent Dex-based playstyles from being funneled into Alvarin characters. There also don't always have to be differences between Clades in all max stats. For instance, why not give Alvarin and Humans the same Con and Int? They're already pretty similar there already on average.
-- Closing / Further Elaboration --
When you have 100% Strength you are the strongest possible within this fictional universe of a person of your ancestry. So why can the strongest Alvarin possible not use a somewhat powerful bow? Considering that the starting stat is so low for everyone, you'd think they'd at least be comparable since the starting stats are so similar. However, it currently feels less like "You're becoming as strong as you can be!" and more like "You're working up to becoming a representation of what the stereotype of your heritage is!" because of the disparity. I've read "There is no need to delete and recreate your character." in the FAQ, but if you can't use any effective bows as a character not specifically built for archery from the beginning... then you will have to reroll.
When we're making new characters, are we really Creating Characters, or are we Choosing Classes and Playstyles that we're then locked into? I think one is more important for a character in a sandbox game where you never know what you'll end up needing to skill-up in. I think one is more important for when you might have a specific character idea in mind. I think one is more important for a character in a virtual world where not every individual of an ancestry is going to be built the same way and do the same thing.
Maybe they Devs are fine with the way the game works now in this regard, but I figured a suggestion couldn't hurt.
So many people delete their characters and have to reroll because of the large limits between every group. If we completely eliminate the limits between those within a Clade to prevent treating each Sub-Clade group as a Stereotype and shrink the limits between the Clades, we'll see more players happy with their choices because no choice completely blocks someone out of a playstyle even if some choices are better than others -- just not so much better that they blow the others out of the water like a Veela having 40 more Max Dex than a Huergar.
Instead, we will have the freedom of choice no matter what we start as, because how is a new player supposed to know exactly what combination to start as? We'll have true freedom of playstyle from the get-go that has little to do with where our character's parents came from -- and I think that's very important for a virtual world to really feel real. When we aren't running on stereotypes of groups and instead we're focusing on the fact that the person developed the skill and worked to improve their attributes, it will make things feel much more natural. Because of the resistances, players who want to streamline their experience will be able to do so and because of this we will also get a naturally flowing amount of mages/thieves/warriors from the groups that are intended to be more geared towards that.
The only disadvantage will be that our choices of age and race won't matter as much. They'll still matter, but those alone won't set us ahead. If this game is truly meant to be about player skill over stats then I don't see the problem with that. It makes it even more about player skill and less about predetermined scenarios.
-- Why Do You Always Write So Darn Much In Your Suggestions And Explain Everything? --
It's a rule:
"2. Suggestions must contain constructive content. Posting that something simple would be a good idea while not giving any explanation or details will not be useful to the devs and therefore will not be tolerated. Please explain your ideas and go into detail. Explain every direction (why something needs done, what changing it will do, what adding something will do, etc)."