Bethesda explains Elder Scrolls V classes axe

Bethesda’s Todd Howard has waded in to explain the company’s decision to give the boot to Oblivion’s traditional character classes system for the upcoming Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

The developer previously confirmed that the mechanic – considered among RPG aficionados’ as a staple of the genre – has been ditched for the upcoming fantasy sequel for what Howard’s described as a more "elegant system."

"What we found in Oblivion – you start the game, you pick your race and you play for a while. Our intent was: you played for a while, you got to figure out some skills, and then depending on how you play… one of the characters asks you ‘okay, what kind of class do you want to be? Here’s my recommendation based on how you’ve been playing’" said Howard, during a recent Game Informer podcast.

"And sort of our thought process was, what if that guy never asked that? I was perfectly happy right before then, ya know, I was just playing the game and skills were going up, so we just got rid of that. You just play, and your skills go up as you play and the higher your skill, the more it affects your leveling. So it’s a really, really nice elegant system that kind of self-balances itself," he added.

The Skyrim game director went on to add that the team wants to avoid any instances of the player poking about in a certain skill class and then later realising they’d plumped for the wrong one.

Instead, gamers will have access to a variety of skills and perks covering multiple classes, allowing them to channel their efforts into a particular avenue when it comes to character growth.

"What we found in Oblivion is people would play, and even though they played for a half hour and then they picked their class, it’s still – in the scheme of the games we make – not enough time to really understand all the skills and how they work. So people would play, and the general pattern would be they’d play for like, three hours and then ‘oh I picked the wrong skills, I’m going to start over’

"They weren’t necessarily upset about that, but to us, someone who’s making a game you’re like… ‘is there a way we can solve that? Is there a better way of doing it?’ And we think this is it."

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is due out on November 11, 2011.