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“Combat classes are pretty self-explanatory,” Ouroboros continued. “All the classes that are directly related to dealing damage or tanking are considered combat classes. That would include Knights, Warriors, Gunners, Monks, Battle Mages, Archers and that sort of thing. The distinctive feature of a combat class is that it includes both weapon and armor proficiencies. So the Warrior class will not only help you learn basic usage of all weapon types, but it will also help you gain proficiency with the different sorts of armor.

“Utility classes are those classes that focus on a non-combat role while still having some combat ability. A Rogue or Thief would be a Utility class, as would a magic user who had spells that were non-combat oriented. Rangers, Scouts, Druids, and classes that combine wilderness utility with combat roles are Utility classes as well. Most Utility classes have some abilities that can be used in combat and some that are used outside of combat. What divides them from all the other classes is their terrain bonuses. Take Thieves, for example, they get a bonus to their movement speed and evasion while in dark places.

“Support classes are things like Guardians, Priests, and Field Medics. Warlocks, Witches, and other debuffers are also part of the Support category. The essence of a support class is that they are helping buff their party or debuff their enemies. Some Support classes also grant either weapon or armor proficiencies. Support classes are one of the most popular because of how necessary they are. Good Supports are the difference between success and failure, and you can tell what sort of shape a guild is in by their Supports.

“Production classes are anything that lack a combat role but produce something. It could be goods or a service, even. So a Lawyer would be considered a Production class, even if they don’t technically make anything. The production classes’ abilities are almost never combat oriented, and they tend to focus on making tangible goods like armor, clothes, food, etc. Builders and architects are also considered Production classes. Production classes also scale differently than the other classes in that they have three ranks: Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master. It takes a lot of time and practice to rank up. There are some guilds who run their own Production Corps, but most guilds contract out to full Production guilds since it can be expensive to break through to Master.

“Last, there are the Leadership classes. These are pretty rare, but they include Generals, Tactical Advisors, any member of the peerage, or any class that gives bonuses to organizing players or NPCs. You might assume that these classes are useless since the abilities they give tend to be less concrete than the other classes, but they can actually be the most powerful, if used well. After all, what use is a sword facing an entire army? How do you fight someone who can send the city guard after you?

“Common classes are single category. They fill a single role and cannot grow beyond a specified point. Now, that is not to say there are not skilled players with common classes. It is just harder to excel with a narrow set of abilities than it is to succeed with a broader set. But never underestimate a common class holder. I’ve met some strong players who use the few abilities they have through their class to the best possible degree.”

“Sheesh, are you done yet?” interrupted Mina, resting her forehead on the table in annoyance.

“Almost,” said Ouroboros with a smirk. “You were the one who wanted me to talk about this. So you have to suffer through it. Where was I? Oh, right. Common classes are single category. Uncommon are dual category, rare are triple category, and unique are actually quad category. For example, my class, Holy Guardian, is both a Support and a Combat class. This means that I can fill both roles in a party. Now, having a single Holy Guardian will not be as strong as having a Priest and a Knight of comparable skill because two is always going to be greater than one.

“But having a dual category makes me much more flexible and allows me to react to different situations better than I otherwise would with a single category class. When multiple players with dual categories get together, that advantage only grows. You saw how we were able to adjust our roles in the fight against the Shaman and Great Shaman, right? That is due to the fact that we have an abundance of Combat Support dual category classes. This means we can pick the proper can opener for the can we are trying to open, rather than trying to force it.”

“Doesn’t that make dual category classes overpowered compared to single category classes?” asked Thorn.

“Not really. There are some cases in which a dual category class is stronger than a single category class, but for the most part, all the classes in the game are well balanced. It is a matter of flexibility. Plus, if you have a single category class, and you master it, you can actually accept another class, which will promote you from a common class to an uncommon class. This is why it is so important to plan out your progression. But mastery isn’t the only way to get a dual category class. It is much faster to use an ancient inheritance to gain an existing dual category class.”

“I’ve heard that term tossed around, but I don’t know what it means,” said Thorn, scratching his head. The message boards had little bits and pieces of information, but they were by no means comprehensive due to Eve’s strict information control.

“Well, buckle up, because Ancient Inheritances are a massive subject in and of themselves,” replied Mina while Ouroboros was taking a drink. “Actually, Velin knows the most about them.”

“That is true,” nodded Ouroboros. “Why don’t you explain how Ancient Inheritances work?”

“Sure. I can do that,” the elven War Priestess agreed, her voice never losing its customary cool. “Ancient Inheritances are, at their most basic level, tokens that represent a class holder who reached the peak of their class. The token allows the class to be passed down to a player with the Mastery Abilities that the former class holder received for mastering their class.” Seeing Thorn’s confusion, she paused for a moment.

“Okay, let me back up. You know how production classes have three states: Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master? While the other classes don’t have those levels, we use a similar classification to make it easier to judge how skilled a player is. Low level means that you have recently started the class and are still getting used to the ability the class gives you. Mid level is when your mastery has reached the minimum threshold necessary for you to use all of the abilities that your class gives. For some classes, this happens fast, as the abilities tied to the class don’t have many mastery prerequisites.

“On the other hand, there are classes for which the mastery prerequisites are detailed and complex, and it might take a player years to get to the point where they can use their class abilities freely. Once you have become a mid level, everything becomes about perfecting your use of your class abilities. As you use those abilities, you gain mastery in them, the same way you gain proficiency in a skill you use over and over. High level is achieved when your mastery hits a particular threshold.

“Once you hit master, your class grants you a specific set of unique bonuses based on the way you have played up until this point. That means that if you are a Knight who focuses on defending and supporting others as you tank, you will be more likely to unlock the Holy Guardian path. On the other hand, if you focused on dealing damage, you might unlock the Retribution Knight path.

“Unlocking the path doesn’t give you the second class needed to become a dual category class, but it does give you the opportunity and informs you of what other class you need to gain in order to get the dual class. On top of the option for a second class, mastery will also grant a passive buff to your abilities that you will carry with you for the rest of your journey in Nova Terra. This buff is one of the things that separates the elite players from the regular players.

“Inheritance tokens not only contain the opportunity to gain a class that has been mastered, but they also contain a buff that is unique to that token. Because they contain a mastery buff, Ancient Inheritances are all distinct from each other. I mean, there could be two Ancient Inheritance tokens that give you the same dual category or triple category class, but each of them has a distinct buff that is unique to the specific token. This makes some Ancient Inheritances worth more than others, even if they are both the same class.”

“Huh, interesting.” Thorn tapped on the table as he thought over what he had heard. “So the Ancient Inheritances are different from regular class change stones in that they give you the bonus. But does that prevent you from getting another bonus when you master the class?”

“No. That is what makes them so strong. First, all Ancient Inheritances are dual category classes or higher. If you have a dual category class and you master it, you will get two Mastery Abilities, one for each category. If you master a dual category Ancient Inheritance, you will have four Mastery Abilities. The two from the Inheritance and the two from mastering the class. You will also get the static buff that the Ancient Inheritance gives you.

“If you have a dual category class, and you master it, you’ll have a Mastery Ability from your initial class and two Mastery Abilities from your dual class mastery. This means that mastering an Ancient Inheritance will give you one more Mastery Ability than a regular dual category class on top of the buff.”

“Oh wow. I can see why Ancient Inheritances are so important. Especially the dual category classes.”

“Exactly. But Ancient Inheritances are not so easy to get. Not only do you need to track down the Inheritance token, but you have to spend your Awakening points to acquire it. Everyone starts with three Awakening points that they can spend to change classes if they don’t like their class. But, to acquire an Ancient Inheritance, you have to spend a number of Awakening points equal to the number of categories the class contains.

“Actually, acquiring an Ancient Inheritance can happen in a couple of different ways, but the only reliable way is to find an altar of power that aligns with the Ancient Inheritance and tap into its energy while you spend the Awakening points. However, altars of power almost always have a very difficult challenge that you have to overcome in order to receive the altar spirit’s blessing.

“That challenge could be anything from a specific quest to beating the spirit in combat, depending on what sort of class the Ancient Inheritance token holds. But for the most part, they are very difficult to accomplish, even if the inheritance is ‘just’ a production or support class. If you manage to get through the challenge, then the altar spirit will grant you the Awakening, and you can assume the class contained in the Ancient Inheritance token.

“But don’t underestimate the difficulty of the Awakening quests. In fact, they are so hard that most players who find an Inheritance token end up selling them to one of the major guilds since it is practically impossible to fulfill the requirements for Awakening the Ancient Inheritance without a massive amount of resources and support. A lot of people will end up giving the token to a guild in exchange for a dual category class that doesn’t require any unlocking.”

“But doesn’t that mean they miss the extra buffs that come with an Ancient Inheritance?” asked Thorn with a frown.

“Yeah, but better to miss the extra passives than be unable to use the class at all,” replied Ouroboros. “What good is a class that you can’t play?”

“I guess that makes sense,” said Thorn, nodding.

Fascinated by everything he was learning, Thorn continued to talk with Ouroboros late into the night. Eventually, the conversation wound down, and Ouroboros, Mina, and Velin said good night and logged off, leaving Thorn to head back to the room he had rented.

The next morning, Thorn got up early, his mind buzzing with excitement. Everything he had learned the night before had inspired him to get an amazing class so he could join the ranks of the elite players. Countless plans rushed through his head, making it impossible for him to sleep.

He had agreed to meet up with the others in three days, as there were a few things they had to handle in the real world, so Thorn spent a while trying to decide how to fill his time. From what Ouroboros had said, the two most important elements of the game were mastering a weapon and being able to adapt to a fight on your opponent's home terrain.

Almost every class used some sort of weapon, and Nova Terra’s primary occupation was violence. Close to 80% of the quests seemed to include some sort of armed conflict, making weapon handling a vital part of the game. Even production classes that were often trying to avoid combat came with specialized weapons that matched their occupation.

As for being able to adapt to your opponent’s home terrain, that was common sense. Because most of the quests had the player going to a new area to fight, collect, or investigate, and those areas were almost all occupied by hostiles, it made complete sense that being able to adjust to the specifics of the area was important.

While there were countless other things for Thorn to work on that had been mentioned last night, these two were the ones that Thorn thought were the most immediately applicable to improving his own situation. And armor. Remembering his mental note to pick up some armor so he didn’t look like a complete noob, Thorn decided to make that his first stop this morning.

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WildCard

Bio: My name is Seth Ring and I am a writer. I create worlds and tell the stories of those who inhabit them. I love exploring these new worlds with other people. I post a chapter every Friday around 12 pm EST. To get advanced access to chapters you can support me on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/SethRing.

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