Just a bunch of ideas I came up with while lazing around with nothing to do. Uncentered for easier reading.
- 5th Job should further define the roles of each class; for example, in the case of Adventurer Warriors, Heroes would be the damage-dealing specialists while DrKs could be secondary attackers who help the team by specialising in debuffing enemies (which fits the "dark" theme better than buffing does). Paladins should go beyond simply being damage sponges to become defenders who actively protect party members*. Paladins should also be able to hold their own in battle, though not as well as either of the other two warriors, unless elements come into play; in which case they shouldn't be too strong either. Paladins shouldn't receive as much of an elemental damage bonus/penalty from using elements as mages do either; it makes more sense for mages to be better attuned to the elements.
*5th Job Paladins could have skills like Provoke to forcibly draw enemy attention to themselves, perhaps giving enemies a reverse-enrage debuff that raises the target's damage to the caster but also causes some area attacks to strike only the caster himself. Of course, tweaks will be necessary to prevent people abusing this to kill-steal, perhaps by giving the skill a rather hefty cooldown. Paladins should also have something like the Battlemage's Advanced Blue Aura (perhaps more along the lines of a traditional buff), something that allows them to protect allies to their own detriment.
- I think 5th Job should also bring back the old quest-based 4th Job skill system, sans Mastery Guides. Only one skill (preferably passive, for story reasons) will be granted upon advancement and would only have a level cap of 5. To obtain other skills, players would have to hunt for Skillbooks, Storybooks, or complete incredibly long/tedious quest chains. Perhaps all skills that are available from Skillbooks should also be made available from Storybooks so that players can choose to kill powerful(?) bosses as a shortcut of sorts, or hunt for the Storybook and take the quest route. In lieu of Mastery Guides, players would also have to complete (shorter, but fairly difficult) quests to raise the level cap of the skills by say 5 levels at a time. All skill quests, including those that raise skill level caps, accessible without Storybooks should have varying level requirements, with those that raise the skill level caps relatively close to the level cap. Of course, more high-level training areas would be needed to accommodate training, and these new areas could be where the quests are set, too.
- Story-wise, the reason for there being only a single, passive skill upon advancement would be that said skill is earned upon awakening an ability inherent within the character. 5th Job would be considered a level which no one in the history of the Maple world has ever reached, so there are no skills for that job tier. To get skills, you'd have to create them yourself by drawing on your experience, assist someone who has created a skill so powerful that only someone of your ability could use it, seek out lost texts from an ancient civilisation containing information on a forbidden technique...and so on, which would be roughly how the quests could go.
Infernal Proposition (DrK)
Along with the awakening of your powers, the Beholder too grows stronger. It forms you of a powerful technique it believes you are now able to handle, and asks that you prepare certain items it requires for a ritual of sorts. After preparing the items, it asks you to head to the rift between dimensions (The Gate to the Future) to seek a suitable place to perform the ritual. Upon arriving, you find that the place is infested with monsters and must purge them all in a series of quests culminating in a boss fight against their leader. The ritual begins, and you are suddenly seized by incredible weakness, as if your powers have all been taken from you.
<All 4th Job skills and Hyper Skills are disabled>
The Beholder then reveals to you that it had deceived you; it had planned to rob you of your powers so that it could break the seal placed on it at long last. You must defeat the Beholder, now in a large a demonic form, and seal it once again for good.
Reward: Darkness Unleashed
Having sealed the Beholder for good, you are now able to freely wield its demonic powers. Certain skills gain new effects while this skill is active. While transformed, your HP will deplete continually. Has a cooldown.
The new effects I'm thinking of would be a slight increase in damage for Sacrifice, Dragon Roar and Dark Impale (the increase would be admittedly greater for Sacrifice and Dragon Roar, to compete with other skills). Adding to that would be a chance to inflict debuffs on enemies with those three skills, stuff like a chance to drop enemy PDR/MDR to 0, reduce damage, or simply inflict DoT. The former two would, of course, give the targets temporary immunity afterward like Binding Darkness and Magic Crash. Oh, and of course, new darker animations for Sacrifice and Dragon Roar. It would be nice to have the character transform and wield a scythe too. *winks*
- Maybe we should have a proper berserker class that does not only get stronger as its HP drops, but also gains varying benefits when afflicted with certain status effects.
- A boss (a Chameleon, perhaps?) that is elementally weak but continually changes its weaknesses and resistances every minute or so; the colour of its body would correspond to the element it's immune/resistant to (red = immune/resistant to Fire, weak to Ice; I prefer immunity though). When its HP reaches 20%, it would no longer be elementally-weak, but switches instead between absorbing physical and magical attacks. At this point, it would also gain access to new moves and hit harder, and will never revert to its previous phase.
(Have another one, but I think I'll have to flesh it out a little more first...)
- Cursed Weapon: All of the afflicted player's attacks can deal damage to his fellow players. Fixed damage of 200~300 per hit depending on the boss; perhaps stronger bosses could have a 500 damage version. Needs tweaking and stuff, or perhaps this is just a bad idea on the whole considering people could just PK their party when the boss is about to go down just to hog all the EXP (EXP? What EXP?) and drops.
- Karmic Balance: A cursed balanced appears over the afflicted player's head for a short time (about 10 to 15 seconds?). Attacking tilts the balanced right, while not attacking results in it gradually tilting left. Should the balance tilt too far in either direction while this ailment is in effect, the player will die instantly. Instead of a status effect, this can be implemented as a gimmick for a particular boss fight with it being either in effect throughout the fight (this is gonna suck), or only when the boss's HP is low.
- Transmogrification: The afflicted player is transformed into a vicious demon that will turn on his own allies for as long as this ailment is in effect. Victim can only be hurt by other transformed players, and cannot be healed. Damage dealt by the victim will be equal to monsters of his own level. As a side effect of the transformation, the victim will receive damage continuously while transformed (5% HP per second perhaps?), and will be unable to move/attack or use potions of his own free will as with Seduce. The effect will end when it runs out (I'm thinking maybe 10 to 15 seconds). As with Karmic Balance this can be just a gimmick instead.