Roles (or classes, or whatever you want to call them)


We have races in game, but I would like to suggest we talk about different roles, and what each could mean in game.

This is the obvious one, with a focus on military strength. Combat ships, weapons, invasions etc would all be tech under this category.

Currently we lack any form of trade system. To me, that’s a massive miss on a game like this. Instead of growing an empire by force you do it with cash. A trader would specialize in buying, selling, and moving goods. The only tech we have currently that fits this would be freighters and cargo/personnel carrier modules. There should be additional tech around buying and selling minerals, goods, and even ships and planets.

Another area that we really lack any development. The explorer would be where tech like improved sensors, cloak, and some engines would be. Additional mechanics should be added to make the explorer a viable role. First, adding in probes. With a probe it could have the chance to find a hidden resource vein, which would increase mineral density on a planet. It could also find relics, ancient technology, or other artifacts. These could give boosts to research, unlock tech, or improve planet stats.

The diplomat would have the ability to create and maintain alliances. They should also be able to collect resources from NPCs, and have some trade skills. The more friends a diplomat has the more resources they generate. There would also be a “Persuade” tech, where a diplomat could persuade an NPC pirate to join the diplomat.

Another role where we have some mechanisms, but we should have a lot more. A builder would be able to build ships and gear to sell to other players. Additionally, they would be able to build portable structures. Similar to the idea of a colony ship being able to deploy power, farm, and climate structures. A mobile structure is preassembled, and then can be transported to a planet and deployed. The construction on planet would take significantly less time, and require no resources. This would allow a player to ship all the structures needed to a new planet, and have everything running quickly.

The scientist would focus on labs and research. They would be able to create and sell blueprints for more advanced ships than what is normally available. They could create improved versions of structures, modules, and ships.

For the non-combat rolls there should also be a system where they can hire mercenaries/bodyguards. Essentially these would be military fleets that are payed to acquire, and they have an upkeep cost. These would be unlocked via different tech The tech would determines the frequency mercenary offers are received, the size and strength of the fleet, and the number of concurrent contracts.

Part of the goal would be to allow each player to develop and advance on their own, with their own specialization. However, for players that work together, leveraging different roles they will be much stronger together.

Dilpomat creates the alliance and improves relationships
Explorer finds and improves planets
Trader moves resources and generates income
Scientist develops blueprints for improved tech
Builder constructs ships and gear
Warrior protects, and spearheads invasions


I would be more open to an ideology system then a class system for your empire like:

  • Freedom - focus on money making and accepting different species
  • Order - focus on production mix between isolationism and openness
  • Autocracy - isolationism, your specie first focuses on war and might

they could be combined into a space themed ideology with bonuses based on ideology points. Some of the classes seem to specific and restrict the play of the game too much but i like the idea.


I like the idea of specialisation, but I dont like the idea of predefining roles, I feel they should be emergent from the possibilities given. More GURPS than DnD, more morrowind than the elder scrolls online. Take a look at earth history, the divergence between countries were an effect of how environment and technolgical possibility created different specialisations, mimicking such effects should give rise to specialisation here also.

The reason I don’t much like predefined classes in the context of this game specifically, is that you narrow the possibilities for interacting with the game from the get go, and they are a bit narrow to begin with. Even if every class was developed into offering a wealth of possibilities, you’re still essentially limiting the extend of possible strategies to pursue, also having the implication that you need to tailor each starting position to be viable for evey class, which will lead to more homogeneity.

That said, I think it’s a very good idea for developers to look at such a class system as a way of gauging different ways of playing the game. But I reckon that if they have a game dev worth his salt, they’ll already have worked out something very similar, listing all the different sort of engagement, how different player types have different preferances, and working out a few model players to which they tailor the experience.


There’s a reason I like the term “role” as opposed to “class”. To me, class seems more predefined, and only a certain set of skills would be available. My vision here would be that all tech was available to all players. So you could dabble in as many areas as you wanted, or you could specialize in one or two areas.

One of the games that had a similar mechanic that I really enjoyed was Earth and Beyond. First, they had race/class that determined what skills were available. That part I would remove. However, the other thing they has was a limit to the number of skillpoints you could earn (easily). Even within you race/class skills you couldn’t unlock everything by the time you reached max level. You could still (really slowly) earn additional skillpoints to learn more skills, but the time required to max out all of them was insanely high.

A player wouldn’t need to decide on a role right away, and all roles would benefit from a base set of low-level tech in each area. However, this does mean that instead of 90% of the playerbase having a goal of getting dread fleets that shifts down to maybe 50% (I expect warrior will be the preferred role).

Also, with a role-based system like this a player could choose to develop as a generalist, picking tech from multiple roles. They would be able to do pretty much anything in game, but less efficiently than a specialized player. The flip side is a specialized player would be heavily dependent on other roles to progress.


I don’t think we disagree then, specialisation will boil down to a limited number of tech branches and economic ratios one can excell at. Yet I am a little worried that by predefining roles too much or too early in the design process, you’ll end up with just those roles, and a clear cut path of getting there, essentially creating a mock freedom of choice.

edit: which is why I think its more valuable to look at playstyles, what gives players satisfaction and engagement. Then ensure there are multiple avenues to engage players on their preferences, and that all the things required to grow ones presence in the game are available through all avenues.

Some people enjoy exploration / lore, others power, others construction, creative outlet, etc. A guideline like this for example: or


Very interesting ideas :thinking: Thank you