I saw Syp’s post on Rift’s Soul system and started thinking about how many different class combinations are possible.
To be accurate, I need more information besides just the number of choices. I assume order does matter (e.g. an Assassin/Cabalist/Beastmaster is different than a Beastmaster/Cabalist/Assassin – typically the first class picked will be the strongest class). If that is the case and order does matter, then it is the number of class permutations rather than the number of class combinations.
Also, are there other limitations in class selection? Are players free to pick multiple classes from within the same archetype (e.g. is Champion/Paladin/Paragon an allowed combination? I’m positive repetition of the same class isn’t allowed, so no Champion/Champion/Champion… that would be a degenerate case, as would be the player that for some reason doesn’t choose a 2nd and 3rd class, if the game even allows for that to occur.
If those are true (order matters, choices can come freely from the various archetypes, no repetition), then the total number of class permutations in Rift is:
# = P(32,3) = 32!/29! = 29,760.
That’s some variety!
I don’t play Rift and don’t know much about Rift’s game mechanics; this calculation is merely the total number of class permutations. I’m sure there are other ways to make a character unique: a WoW-like talent-tree system, or a LoTRO-like trait system, etc. If that is also the case, then two players with an Elementalist/Druid/Reaver will be unique due to a different emphasis within each class.
EDIT: I went to the Rift forums to learn more about their class/soul system. It appears to work like this: you choose an archetype (warrior, rogue, wizard, cleric) and can switch around within the 8 souls of that archetype. In this case the number of classes is:
4 (number of archetypes) * P(8,3) (permutations within the archetype) = 4 * 8!/5! = 4 * 8 * 7 * 6 = 1344.
That is a lot smaller than 29,760, but is still a large number of classes!
There is another layer of character development: each of these 3 class combinations is called a “role”, and a character can have 4 roles which are swappable outside of combat.