Posting this in the NGS forums at the risk of it getting less traffic because it makes more sense to be here. There's been a constant back and forth in the community about these systems. Many players feel like there's not a lot of reasons to main a specific class because you can use their weapons to full effectiveness elsewhere and/or that some classes skills are not desirable enough to warrant maining them. When it comes to the multi weapon system many people don't think there's much of a reason to interact with it. Overall the feeling seems to be that these things combined makes things feel both underwhelming and restrictive especially with the introduction to the 10ish percent buff to main weapons on main classes and skills/passives being weaker as subclasses. Which seems to speak against the idea that Sega wants us to try and create unorthodox setups and expirement.
This thread really isn't to serve as a counter argument to these issues as after my own playtime and much thinking I don't entirely disagree with any complaint that falls under these things. It's also not a thread to really defend Sega's choices (be they based on feedback from the beta's or not,) as I don't entirely agree with the approach to the posed problem(s) either. Rather the thread is mainly to explore some of these feelings whilst giving my own opinion. And potential suggestions for the future.
Main classes and their identity crisis:
I think probably the best place to start is discussing main classes themselves as it directly branches into and influences both the subclass system and the multi weapon system. For better or worse be it from Sega's intent or not Main classes are looked at as the "identifying" factor to a person's playstyle. Main classes are identified by main class skills (and sometimes specific passives,) but arguably the other major identifier for a main class is the weapons they use. In Base (Base=regular PSO2) you could debate about wether certain skills were class defining or not but at the end of the day Hunter used sword. Braver used Katana. Etc.
In NGS however it seems like weapons are not to be as defining to a class. This is assumed because weapons can now be used to their full effectiveness related skills and all without that class being your main. You can even use normals and weapon actions that don't belong to your main or sub if it's multied onto something you can use from your main or sub. This has raised a few questions. Why use a main class? Why have weapons tied to classes at all? Why a class system? Etc. Sega has sort of "met" these concerns half way by giving main class weapons a roughly 10% damage increase when you use the matching class and weapon. They have also reduced the effectiveness of skills/passives when used off class.
While this certainly does give a reason I don't think it's really the reason people were looking for. The popular class used to poise this argument is Hunter. Hu is considered by many to be the worst class in the game. Not because it's weapons aren't good. But because the class as a main doesn't really offer anything of value. We can sort of see a different side of the same problem Via Gunner. Gunner is still very married to TMG's pretty much exclusively. This is entirely because Gunner still heavily relies on chain trigger. Chain trigger is still a main class ability and only benefits from TMGs. So you can't even use your secondary weapon of rifle to interact with this. Nor does the class really offer anything important to rifle.
This basically Mirrors how Gu was in Base. And like Base it seems Rifle really only exists as a use for the combo of Ra/Gu. But that will be touched more on with subclasses. Sega might have done a very good job with making Chain trigger more usable with the many QoL changes it made. However it failed to actually address the problems Gu had in Base. This can be seen with some other classes as well. So I would pose the problem here is less that there's lacking reasons for main classes and more that Main classes are not identified enough even when multi weapon wasn't a thing. Chain trigger is fine as a defining skill. But the way it's implemented isn't how things should be if we're trying to make classes distinct. I don't think that we should give everyone access to chain trigger or anything like that like some suggest. But it's entirely too restrictive. And because TMG's are so heavily married to it TMG's themselves cannot really be used to any sort of benefit for other classes as a sub weapon.
Subclasses: Subclasses are a cool system that's probably meant to help further define a specific playstyle. It seemed that in Base the devs also had specific pairings in mind for main/sub. Hu/Fi Ra/Gu Fo/Te and what have you. However due to how things worked in Base people used subclasses to make up for the main classes weaknesses. Sometimes even finding very busted pairs of interactions that hurt the game. (see early day chain trigger with a handful of things.) At the end of the day Subclasses became less about diversifying your gameplay or enhancing your style of play and more so just finding the most amount of damage you could stack together to burn through anything.
Subclasses in NGS seem to try and distance themselves from base. The main factor in my mind that shows this is the removal of stat heavy trees. Many things in NGS that do give damage are highly situational (i.e down states) or give very little returns when subbed if they can even be subbed. At a glance subclasses seem to get back to that original idea where they're meant to stylize your playstyle more. This is assumed because at the moment you are primarily picking your subclass for two reasons Either PP regen (Gu or Fo) or you're picking for a multi weapon combo.
However I feel Subclasses are failing in that regard for two reasons. The first being like I mentioned earlier it seems like the devs are still pushing natural pairings in some cases. The other problem being subclasses have to account for being a main class as well. In some cases this works out fine. Fo as a class is good as both a main and a sub. However Hunter is basically only good as a sub. And Te is only good as a main. In short Sega needs to re-define Main classes so they're unique and worth using always. But avoid trying to make natural pairings with subs. This would avoid some bloat and let subclasses still mainly fill the role of giving you access to your other weapon to complete your style. They already made it most of the way here by decoupling most weapons from their classes to a degree. They just need to go a bit further.
Multi weapons and the numbers conundrum:
Multi weapon as a system was thought by many to be intended as an extension of someone's playstyle. After all Base and NGS seem to really push combat as the main attraction compared to other MMO's. Being able to slam say knuckles into your rod means you could in theory do good damage from far away whilst being able to do high damage burst through the knuckles up close after forcing an elemental down state. In other words the system was meant to be more of a flexability system that players could interact with if they wanted to really distinguish themselves from others and not sort of an end game feature. However this isn't what we got entirely.
Part of this is because of issues with the main class/subclass issues. Like TMG's being out of the equasion unless you want to main Gu. But part of this problem also exists because Sega decided to do a rather hasty change of buffing main class weapons as a reason to use a main class whilst also nerfing the effectiveness of class stuff when subbed. Now let me be clear here. I have been arguing against this damage differential since it's been brought up. At the moment I still believe this damage difference isn't a big deal.
However it does set us on a slippery slope for the future. If our damage continues to climb as content comes out that 10% is going to become a bigger and bigger gap in damage. So even if it's not a problem now due to the way Content is it will be a problem in the future. I think Sega is asking us to make a choice between damage and utility and you know what? That's perfectly fine. In fact I like having to make that choice. However you have to weight that utility against the damage as well. Sure I "can" sub Fi and use knuckles as a damage option up close during a down state. But is that going to be better than just spamming techs? Is it really worth my resources to have a close range option when i'm mostly exclusively playing range?
Do I really want to lean hard into close range and end up potentially gimping my main classes's effectiveness since i'm spending all my resources to make that situational close range time better? At the moment no, it doesn't seem that way. Don't get me wrong, there are some instances where this does pan out. The most notable being Te/Hu for Wand/Parti. While I think this is a fine example of what we could be wanting out of the systems there are not many situations like this. There's also something to be said about multi-weaponing in house with your main weapons. Like shoving rifle and launcher together or Kunckles and double saber.
In a sense you can argue that Multi weapon does have some utility cases and also some cases for main classing. That to me means multi weapons as a system are not pointless. However I would still say that multi weapons feel too restrictive right now for reasons already mentioned. Multi weapons don't offer the utility that they should be and part of that problem is because NGS as a combat game doesn't really prioritize much besides damage. Even Te being a support class is not unique enough to be seperated from Fo nor is it a very good implimentation of support. As if any other Te exists in your team you invalidate each other's existence.
Conclusion and possible suggestions:
Overall I think NGS has some great ideas on how to make combat more interesting and varied. In my opinion the base changes made to combat is a big step above anything Base offers and that's a feat worth celebrating regardless. However I think there's a few big missteps with these systems that if not addressed will likely see us return to Base where we have mostly "solved" the combat experience while not really offering incentive outside of said cookie cutter setups.
Suggestion wise the biggest one would be to further define what classes are as a main class. I recognize that's easier said than done and I can't really offer many examples on how to do so for any class at this time. But I really don't think statistical differences is the way to approach this. If we really want to keep the main weapon bonus in some way I think it should be exclusively tied to multi weaponing. Meaning if I want to eek out that bit of extra damage for my main weapons on my main class I shove two of the weapons from the same class together. This solution isn't perfect atm because there's basically no reason to do that for things like TMG or wand and rod. So something would have to be done about that. But I'd rather it be tied into the system that's meant to specialize rather than just be how classes are by default.
It's entirely possible that as Sega adds more skills main classes could be more defined. But it is also possible that said new skills might end up being all class usable. So we shouldn't really bank on new skills to solve the main class identity problem. Additionally we could just have multi weapons do inherently more damage. or allow sub weapons to benefit from main class. None of these are great solutions. But imo I don't think keeping a main class damage bonus is a good thing to begin with. (as an aside I think having class skills be less effective on subclasses is fine. They just went a little too hard for some skills. it's a tough balance to strike. But they need to continue to work at it.)
If Sega manages to make main classes unique and worth running that should inherently make subclasses better. However I would stress that Sega really needs to take a pass on some weapons and/or skills to make the weapons better without needing to be tied to main class specific skills. And weapons like the Partizan need a total pass over to begin with since they unfortunately didn't hit the mark on making it less one dimensonal. Instead of relying on Volk you now rely on Ripper scythe.
Finally in regards to multi weapons as a system I don't think much needs to be changed. As i've mentioned already mechanically it's very sound. The diversity of said system just doesn't exist because main/subclass systems are messy. Additionally making multi weapons be the source of extra damage gives use to said system and "partially" addresses some of the issues. Personally speaking though I think that if anything should be done to the multi class system it should be to look at the restrictions of what can be multi classed. I am fine with rarity being a make or break on what can and can't be done. However I think that instead of limiting what can be multi classed they should instead encourage people staying in the series.
This can be done by buffing the effect that the series normally gives. Through a straight damage up. to maybe relaxing the conditions (like not needing to be at full health. Or the effect of that bonus persisting for a limited time after going under full health.) We can have weaker versions of said effects when you multi outside a series. But considering how expensive it is already to make high rarity multi weapons I don't think this extra restriction is needed. It's already plenty enough of a pain to find the series you want with an inhereted bonus at all let alone the one you want.
Anyway, I appreciate it to whom ever reads. And look forward to the discussions if any happen.