I don’t how far this project is along or how malleable things are at the moment, but one idea that comes to mind that addresses a few of the different topics I’ve seen brought up here might be to split the weapon-centric skills off of classes and attach them to their respective weapons instead.
Backstab, for example, would be removed from thieves and placed on thrusting weapons, so that anyone wielding a thrusting weapon would be able to attempt to backstab a living creature, with success being determined by your experience with the weapon and perhaps your dexterity stat as well, and damage being determined by your strength, dexterity, and your weapon.
I think from a real world perspective it makes sense, and opens up the way for a lot more variability in the way an individual can approach the game in terms of combat, roleplay, and character creation. If we’re worried about a miniscule playerbase where grouping is rare, the ability to make solo progress is required, and we need to keep players engaged long enough to attract other players, this might be a reasonable way to do it.
So if you broke it down just as the game was at its final state (or near enough), the class skills would be:
Barbarian: Berserk, Circle
Ranger: Haste, Track, Sneak
Thief: Steal, Sneak
Cleric: Pray, Turn
Paladin: Pray, Turn
Mage: Offensive Magic
Fighter: Circle, Parry (As pointed out in an early post, parry doesn’t make a lot of sense and probably needs work)
Unarmed: Touch of Death
Some work needs to be done there, but I wanted to make the point first and then worry about the minutiae later if its even relevant.
Additional skills could be added, such as giving thrusting weapons the ability to be envenomed, or mages the ability to temporarily enchant their weapons with damage from the elemental magic they’re most skilled in(with magic elemental skills being an idea suggested in a previous post), so on and so forth.
Also, I think overpowered combinations naturally preclude themselves, for the most part. For instance, a barbarian who goes berserk would find it nearly impossible to pull off a backstab, just because the two abilities naturally cannot reasonably coexist. When your adrenaline is dumped into your system, your fine motor skills completely evaporate, and backstab is a precision skill - that sort of thing.
I think the biggest concern with this idea is losing definition in Nexus’ class system, but that is countered by further defining the classes with useful abilities.
Anyways, just curious what anybody thinks. Or, if it’s just not doable, maybe it will inspire different directions of thought that will help make this iteration of Nexus successful in a new day and age.