Obviously, classes are a big deal in Stonehearth, since the balance between the types of villagers determines how well you will be able to survive and what you will be able to do. But, I am wondering how the conversion between classes will carry out. The devs say that the rough idea will be like “worker ‘Joe Average’ picks up saw and turns into a carpenter”. After thinking for a while I realized that this would be a bad idea later in the game, due to the fact that if you have the right items you can change Joe the worker into an end class character like a magma smith in half a minuet by picking up upgrades in rapid succession, that just feels wrong to me. So I would like to propose a few ideas.
Each villager should have a level attached to his profession e.g.(Joe - worker lv. 4), and as the villager continues in that profession, his/her level rises and they become more proficient at their job e.g.(workers build faster, craftsmen build better items, swordsmen fight more skillfully). The villager can continue down that carrier path as long as they choose and become more skilled; But if you so desire you can take a skilled enough worker and change it into a lv. 1 basic class like carpenter, farmer, or hunter by grabbing a class oriented item like a wooden mallet, hoe, or bow (since it would be useless to change classes if there were no items available for them to use). Whenever that villager becomes skilled enough in that class you can progress them further down the class system via the same method.
The method for leveling would be pretty previous, as worker works he slowly becomes a more skilled worker. But there should be other methods that player can take to speed up the process to be better prepared in the game. Also, since some classes are not constantly doing a job. The most obvious being the soldier, since he would only gain experience when fighting enemies. Villagers should be able to increase their skills most quickly by carrying out their job, but could alternatively do training like tasks, our soldier could practice on training dummies or spar with another soldier. A villager skilled at their profession could also apprentice less skilled villagers, like master swordsman instructing a recent recruit.
We now come to the special classes a.k.a. the characters like magma smith, elementalist, engineer and what ever crazy things the devs come up with. According to the description of these classes, just having one seems to add an entire mechanic to the game, thus I feel there should be special rules on how they are obtained. I like to call the method “Hero quests”. These quests would be a module that requires the participation of an extremely skilled [insert class here], and at its completion one of the rewards would be the upgrade of the participating villager(s) into the special class associated with the quest. This also adds a little variety to the game play since you wont’t know what special classes you will be able to get in the game since it is associated with a randomly selected quest.
That’s my little rant, let me know what you think, and feel free to post your own opinions.