OK, i'm bias to combat support...in my jarhead years i was a logistician, so i can fully appreciate the thankless job it is to keep the troops fed, housed, fueled, armed and with working shit. A combat unit without reliable support is a dead unit.
So. In games, I tend to be bias towards support toons...typically healer types, but this is relavant to all support abilities.
Xsyon, if it is to be successful, needs to think heavily on the implementation of support abilities...for several reasons.
1. Player Diversity- not everyone likes to swing a sword. I know a lot of 'pvp' players who want nothing to do with killing other toons, but will wade into the craziest of battles healing their ass off to keep their team alive.
2. Tactical Diversity- there are no tactics when everyone is the same. no 'KILL BOB FIRST BECAUSE...' target selection is merely who is closest, or most isolated. When support toons enter the fray, locating the enemy support personnel (and killing them) is a fundemental that will win and lose fights...and support players who are adept at staying alive to keep their team alive, become huge combat multipliers.
3. Resource Diversity- I would imagine, since UO is large in th eminds of the devs, that any 'magical' ability would involve reagents. Creating advanced healing/magic/whatever substances would set the need for rare reagents that could only be found wherever. Anything that gets people out and looking for stuff, it's a good thing.
Off the top of my head i can think of a couple abilities that would work within the game stucture.
- healing: bandages, healing potions, healing ointments, healing 'snacks' (with cooking), resurrection
- necromancy: worship of the dead has been with humans since forever - reanimation, poisons, advanced bone crafting (like woodworking, but for bones...basically a middle man for a bonecrafter making hi level armor)
- Trapping: uh traps (snare, stun, alarm, pit, poison, etc. etc. etc.), tracking, tanning (middle man for advanced leatherworking)
- Musician: musicians have always been present in combat units, to keep up morale, to give signals, and to keep order typical 'buff' mechanics, increased speed, bonus to hit, bonus to adrenaline, regen, etc....depending upon type of instrument used.
the more options the more diverse the combat balance becomes (of course the harder to balance)...but it becomes much more interesting when you engage, because the players have to tailor their combat to their group makeup and their enemy's.