A character class that plays completely different from any other class in the game. Either it revolves around a certain mechanic no other classes has access to, has a strange power set that makes it fit nowhere precisely in the Fighter, Mage, Thief spectrum, or even both. This class is often (though not always) named after some sort of entertainment profession, most often Bard, but Dancer, Mime, and other such unorthodox roles are also possibilities.
What makes the class unique however is the gimmick. Because this class is so centered on their gimmick, and said gimmick tends to put them outside the usual roles, the usefulness of this class can vary wildly, from The Load to Game-Breaker or even Lethal Joke Character. Difficult, but Awesome and Magikarp Power aren't unusual either.
Subtrope of Competitive Balance. Compare and contrast Quirky Bard, where the character class in question is just not enough to support itself. The usual candidate for the "Gimmick" aspect of Balance, Power, Skill, Gimmick.
If a work does not make use of a Character Class System or similar one, then those would belong to Mechanically Unusual Fighter, the Fighting Game brother.
- The main offensive node for Rogue class ships in Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages is the Gemini Array. Unlike other ship classes, which are armed with the more straightforward weaponry, the Gemini Array depends on placing targeting beacons on enemies and then spending the beacons to create effects such as firing salvos of homing rockets or shutting down the target's weapons. Rogues are expected to use their Cloak and Subterfuge Systems to give themselves the time needed to set the beacons up.
- The Lancer class of ship in Distant Star: Revenant Fleet is entirely unarmed (i.e. can literally mount no other equipment at all), but mounts a manually targeted Wave-Motion Gun; intended to be used as a sniper. Therefore, it requires immense micromanagement to get it into position so it can pick off a Dreadnought or traitorous space station, and escape intact while its laser recharges.
- Final Fantasy is known for having gimmicky jobs:
- The Bard, Dancer, and all other variants in the series. Bards and Dancers are usually supporters, and the effects they grant can be powerful, but said effects and their methods of execution tend to vary.
- The Mimes, present in various games, specialize in their signature "Mimic" ability, which allows them to copy many — if not all — abilities used by others. In addition to being able to copy massively powerful attacks and magic for free, Mimes in V can use almost any ability possessed by any other job naturally, allowing for Game Breaking combinations.
- Blue Mages, in a similar vein to Mimes, learn their spells by copying them from monsters, but unlike Mimes have to spend their MP in order to cast them. Sometimes, there are also spells that can only be copied from certain monsters or bosses that will eventually go extinct.
- The Gambler job from various Final Fantasy games typically counts toward this, with Setzer from Final Fantasy VI being the clearest example: he attacks with cards, darts, dice, whatever results from using the Slot command, and even Gil.
- The Lady Luck Dressphere from Final Fantasy X-2 in particular has the Reels, of which there are four, whose respective effects are determined by playing a slots mini-game in the middle of battle. The most notable result is CONGRATS!, which is essentially a group-wide Bribe ability.
- Relm from the same game as Setzer also counts; she uses paintbrushes as weapons and paints up magical duplicates of monsters to use their own attacks against them or straight-up mind control them by using a specific Relic.
- Gau, Gogo, and Umaro are the clearest examples from Final Fantasy VI. All lack the usual "Fight" command other characters have; two of them have something else in its place while one doesn't even have any commands to begin with.
- Gau instead has "Rage" which lets you select a skill based on almost any of the game's monsters (once obtained) and then puts him in a berserk-like status in which he will randomly use either a physical attack or a particular special skill, and the Rage will also copy the elemental weaknesses/resistances and inherent buffs/debuffs of that monster. (Or you could just have Gau use Magic like anyone else).
- Gogo has "Mimic" by default and the player can choose to equip any three other skills on him.
- Umaro represents the Berserker job, thus he is on perma-Berserk status and has no in-battle control but can be equipped with Relics that change his actions, including letting him Fastball Special the other party members.
- The Memorist class from Final Fantasy Dimensions. The stats for this job are a flat 10 across the board no matter what level the character is, but by returning to places where cutscenes occurred, the player can obtain items that allow them to increase their stats by a few points according to their liking and allow for an immense amount of customization. As well, rather than learning and equipping abilities like the other jobs, the Memorist instead draws on a randomly selected assortment of abilities the character has already learned.
- Calculators/Arithmeticians from Final Fantasy Tactics are very slow and weak, but their ability lets them cast spells from other magic-based jobs with neither MP cost nor charge time, under the condition that they follow the numerical parameters. And though it may be very time consuming, after all of their abilities are purchased, as well as all of the usable spells, they become nearly invaluable units.
- The Morpher from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance mimics the stats and abilities of the monsters captured and raised at the Monster Bank, through which the player can turn into a Game-Breaker with enough time, patience, Gil, and foresight.
- The Gadgeteer — also from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, or Tinker in the sequel — has a highly variable performance. Gadgeteer/Tinker abilities can cast buffs, debuffs, or ailments on either every enemy or every ally. So yes, if you're unlucky, you can end up casting Haste on every enemy or inflicting Doom on you and your allies.
- The Flintlock, from Final Fantasy Tactics A2, uses a "hand-cannon" as their weapon of choice like the Cannoneer. But unlike that job, its own cannons are considered to be magical and it needs to use Prime first in order to gain access to the rest of its Ballistics A-Abilities.
- Chocobo Knight, also from Final Fantasy Tactics A2, definitely counts towards this trope. Unlike all of the other generic jobs in the game, which learn their abilities from equipment, the Chocobo Knight's abilities depend on what Chocobo he is mounted on and can't use any abilities when unmounted (except secondary ones of course, though he can't use them while mounted as a trade-off).
- The Final Fantasy Legend and its sequel has a rudimentary Job System that allows players to assemble a party of four from a selection of different races, all of which defy traditional definitions for classes as seen in other RPGs:
- Humans cannot gain stats through leveling, and instead must consume items to increase their stats. They are incapable of using magic, but they can use eight equipment slots to outfit themselves with various weapons and armor.
- Espers (Mutants in the English releases) increase stats at random points after battles. They can only use four equipment slots, but can learn up to four randomly-learned magic abilities.
- Monsters can only get stronger by eating meat randomly dropped from defeated enemies and transforming into a different monster. The form they transform into depend on their current form and the monster that dropped the meat.
- Robots change their stats based on their equipment. The weapons they are equipped with only have half as many uses as when equipped by humans or espers, but they can recharge their weapons' durability by resting in inns.
- The Schemestress class from Soul Nomad & the World Eaters. Instead of dealing damage, healing, or casting buffs and debuffs, the Schemestress has abilities unique to her like dealing Percent Damage Attack, disabling the enemy from counterattacking, or switching the front and back row of the enemy squad. To a lesser extent, she is also the only class whose melee attack is based on INT rather than ATK. Unfortunately, these abilities fall into Useless Useful Spell category most of the time.
- Monster Hunter 4: The Insect Glaive is the only weapon in the game with an aerial moveset, allowing the player to parkour all around a monster throughout the fight. The accompanying Kinsect instills a variety of status effects by collecting extract and augmenting the Insect Glaive user's attacks. The IG is considered a Difficult, but Awesome Lightning Bruiser in skilled hands.
- In competitive play, Pokémon that focus on the move Baton Pass have a tendency to be this, often using Substitute for endurance purposes and then racking up status buffs in hopes of lasting long enough to pass them on to the next Pokémon. Pokemon given these movesets are often passed up outside competitive play, as it's faster and easier to just mow through the in-game opponents with high-leveled Pokémon.
- Ditto (which cannot do anything other than transform into the opponent, copying their moves) and Smeargle (which can permanently learn any move in the game by copying it, but has horrendous stats) are rarely used for similar reasons. Ditto at least is very useful for breeding however, while Smeargle is very useful because it can learn the only perfectly-accurate Sleep move in the game (Spore), set up buffs while the opponent sleeps, then Baton Pass. Smeargle is also used in some rather convoluted breeding chains; when breeding Pokemon, the offspring's species will be the unevolved form of the mother, with the moveset of the father. However, many Pokemon are a One-Gender Race, requiring "creative" workarounds.
- Shedinja is a One-Hit-Point Wonder, the only one in the games. If it takes damage, it faints immediately. But its unique Ability, Wonder Guard, makes it completely immune to any attack that isn't super effective, meaning that if the opponent lacks any Dark, Fire, Flying, Ghost, or Rock moves, Shedinja is effectively invincible. However, Shedinja is not immune to Status Effects and other forms of indirect damage, so opponents may be able to take it down without attacking.
- Wishiwashi blends evolution and Ability-based forms, thanks to its unique Ability Schooling. If Wishiwashi is low-level, it will be stuck in its weak Solo form, featuring the lowest base stat total of any Pokémon. However, once it hits level 20, Schooling transforms it into the mighty School form as long as its health stays above 25%, giving it a base stat total rivaling some legendaries.
- A Greninja with battle bond can transform into Ash-Greninja after scoring a KO, effectively giving it its own Mega Evolution without having to hold a held item.
- Aegislash changes between a Stone Wall and a Mighty Glacier appropriately to the move it's just used.
- Necrozma has the Ultra Burst, during which it uses its Z-crystal to perform what amounts to a Mega Evolution, after which it immediately performs its Z-move.
- Palafin essentially Mega Evolves offscreen if it switches out in battle, gaining stats rivalling legendaries in its Hero Form.
- In general, any Pokémon that has an ability that cannot be copied or Skill Swapped is this in some way, as it generally means the ability is mechanically unique.
- Golden Sun:
- The vast majority of classes depend on what Djinn are attached to the character (giving a Mars Djinni to a Venus character makes him go from Squire to Brute, for example). Most non-standard classes require all but two Djinni to be of the same element, but some like the Ninja, Samurai and Dark Mage require three of each. This tends to verge into Awesome, but Impractical territory, as Djinn can be summoned in battle as spells, which lowers stats and completely changes available spells.
- In The Lost Age, there are items that can be equipped to change the character's class. These tend to be drastically different from the base classes made through djinn.
- Dark Dawn has an inversion: Sveta's base class has some useful abilities, but what you really want is her Beastform ability, which allows her to attack every single enemy at once every turn (no one else can do this).
- Mercedes in Odin Sphere is the most drastically different of the five characters. While other characters use melee attacks to varying degrees, Mercedes wields a crossbow and is purely a ranged character. Being a fairy allows her to fly around indefinitely, and instead of a POW meter that acts as the character's stamina, depleting as you attack, but recharging if you idle long enough, she instead has an Ammo meter that can't be recharged until it's completely empty, and requires the player to manually reload (though absorbing Phozons still recharges it like they do for the POW meter.)
- Ragnarok Online has a few:
- The Taekwon Kid has a mechanic where the majority of his special attacks are only usable at random, when a prompt comes up in battle while he is attacking. This gives the class a very frenetic feel compared to the typical classes, and allow them to dish out some large amounts of damage.
- Its advanced professions are also mechanically unique: Soul Linker is essentially a noncombat class that has separate buffs for each character class, and Star Gladiator can only use their skills on certain real life days, pre-set maps, and/or specific monsters; in addition, they gain a significant attack speed buff in return for permanently becoming almost blind.
- Super novices have the HP, MP and equipment of a novice, but have access to all the skills of the core first-rank classes. Generally regarded as a weak 'gimmick' class, but has some unique abilities such as being able to achieve an instantaneous spell cast time if you care to tweak them.
- The Taekwon Kid has a mechanic where the majority of his special attacks are only usable at random, when a prompt comes up in battle while he is attacking. This gives the class a very frenetic feel compared to the typical classes, and allow them to dish out some large amounts of damage.
- Kingdom of Loathing has several classes exclusive to special challenge paths, all of which are designed around their own special skill tree and don't use skills made permanent in previous ascensions:
- The Avatar of Boris can't wield anything but their trusty axe, Trusty, and has a personal bard instead of a familiar.
- The Zombie Master uses a horde of zombie recruits in place of MP and can only eat brains — lots and lots of brains.
- The Avatar of Jarlsberg is a germophobe who can't consume any food or drink except the platonically-ideal food they can summon themself, and has conjured companions instead of familiars.
- The Avatar of Sneaky Pete has a live studio audience watching their every move and fueling many of their skills, and a Cool Bike instead of a familiar.
- Ed the Undying has servants instead of familiars, recieves Ka coins after defeating enemies that have souls, has to buy all his organs (including seven spleens!), and can get better after losing in combat — can and should, since this is by far the most convenient way to get to the Underworld where aforementioned organs (and many other useful items) are sold, in exchange for aforementioned Ka.
- The Avatars of West of Loathing — the Cow Puncher, Beanslinger, and Snake Oiler — all serve as previews of the then-upcoming spinoff, with the Cow Puncher able to use Cowrruption more effectively than any other class, the Beanslinger using cans of beans in many of their skills, and the Snake Oiler extracting various oils (snake and otherwise) to heal themself and harm their foes.
- Final Fantasy XIV:
- The Arcanist class is unique, at release, in its ability to equip two different job souls and thus specialize in two drastically different roles; the Summoner Job focuses on damage, while the Scholar Job focuses on healing and support. Other classes only have one job Soul Crystal available. Prior to the introduction of The Red Mage, The Summoner is the only DPS job that can resurrect during battle, while the Scholar can more easily apply damage mid-fight than White Mages and do so longer without endangering mana reserves. Being tied to the same class also means that Scholar and Summoner are the only jobs that can be leveled simply by playing a completely different job, though they still have their own separate job questlines.
- The Bard is an odd combination of damage and support skills, including the only Job skill that can restore an ally's MP, while not having the same damage capabilities as Monks, Dragoons, or Black Mages. They're different enough from other DPS roles that developers have discussed creating a new hybrid role for them. With Stormblood, the dev team seems to have decided that ranged physical DPS (i.e. Bard and Machinist, plus Dancer later on) are the "support DPS" role, as they share several role actions of this type.
- Ninjas are unique in their role as some of their abilities are Ninjutsus that aren't accessed as a single action. Instead, they must perform Mudras in a specific order, then use the Ninjutsu skill to activate the effect. Botching a mudra sequence will instead have a rabbit appear on your head for all to see and laugh at you.
- The three new jobs in the Heavensward expansion are all mechanically unusual in that they do not follow the Class/Job paradigm that all other jobs in the game follow, as well as automatically starting at level 30 when you begin the job. The Dark Knight is a tank job with both incredibly survivability (a lot of their skills focus on keeping themselves alive), as well as above average damage for a tank job, but they are heavily dependent on MP for their abilities (Paladins (used to) rarely use MP, while Warrior didn't at all). Astrologians are powerful healers, but have a random element added to their abilities through card draws. Machinists are the second ranged non-magic DPS job introduced, and until 5.0, were very dependent on their ability to load ammunition to do the most damage, making them burst DPS instead of consistent DPS. The 5.0 update changed Machinists to a more conventional ranged DPS that use their abilities to build up energy and "overheat", which then allows them to use extremely powerful abilities for a short time, keeping the theme of the class (burst DPS), without mechanically restricting base damage output. The Astrologian's random card draw element became downplayed as well.
- The two jobs added in Stormblood also follow this pattern (though starting at 50 instead of 30). Samurai is a melee DPS class that relies on combos to build up as many as three special tokens, and then uses those tokens with a special ability to either inflict big damage (one token), attack all enemies in a cone (two tokens) or inflict massive damage (three tokens). Red Mage is a mechanically unusual mage class, which can use both healing and attack spells, allowing them to serve as a back up healer or a primary damage dealer. However, if they can balance their use of white (healing) and black (damage) magic, the Red Mage can build up to more powerful spells, while a Red Mage that fails to balance finds it more difficult to continue their current action (healing gets harder if you heal too much, for example).
- The Blue Mage, introduced in Stormblood version 4.5, plays completely unlike any other class or job before it. Similar to the class's appearance in previous games, their playstyle revolves around Power Copying, replicating the abilities of monsters for their own use. This makes the job highly versatile, so much so that Blue Mages don't really fit anywhere into the Damager, Healer, Tank classifications of previous jobs. As such, Blue Mages cannot form parties with random players in Duty Finder, making the job more solo-play focused. In addition, unlike the jobs introduced in Heavensward or the launch of Stormblood, Blue Mages start at level 1, and also have a level cap of 70 compared to the standard 80 (which will be increased incrementally in the future).
- The two jobs added in Shadowbringers also qualify. The Gunbreaker is a tank job with fewer mitigation abilities than the other tanks, but compensates by having better damage output and a playstyle more akin to a DPS class. The Dancer, meanwhile, is a physical ranged DPS job with not only an array of supportive abilities like a healer, but also several weaponskills that require them to get within melee range of their target.
- Yoshi-P, the lead designer and director of the MMO, has stated that the original Class/Job system is The Artifact and he doesn't like it anymore, but removing it entirely would require rewriting quite a lot of low-level quests, so any new classes or jobs introduced by updates or expansions are now expected to be mechanically unusual by the playerbase.
- Star Trek Online: Starships of Tiers 6 and 5-Upgraded have "starship mastery", which allows your captain to improve their stats by gaining experience flying them. Additionally reaching the fourth mastery level with a T6 unlocks a starship trait you can use while flying other ships.
- Dungeon Fighter Online introduced the "Creator" class. While everyone else in the game controls in classic Beat 'em Up fashion using the keyboard or gamepad the Creator casts magical abilities with the mouse.
- The Fallen and Redeemed from Nexus Clash are turncoats who switched sides between good and evil halfway through the game's class progression and play differently from everyone else. Fallen are infiltrators who must pretend to still be angels long enough for a convenient Back Stab, while Redeemed ignore the Mana Meter that everyone else relies on for powers and have to spend points from their Karma Meter instead.
- Guild Wars 2 has the Revenant. Unlike the other eight professions, the Revenant has an energy cost for most of their skills and cannot freely mix their utility skills, instead using two preset sets of utility skills dependent on the two stances they've equipped.
- Rift: the Saboteur, a Rogue specialization. Like all Rogues, they utilize the combo system and finishing moves, but the standard Saboteur combo involves placing bombs on the enemy and utilizing the spec's only finishing move, Detonate, which explodes the bombs and deals all their damage at once.
- Baldur's Gate
- Baldur's Gate:
- Throne Bhaal introduced into the franchise the wild mage. Basically it is no different from a standard specialist mage, except when casting a spell there is a small chance of a wild magic surge (which results in undesirable effects ranging from simply a spell wasted to losing money or even self-destruction). It also has access to two unique spells, one of which is a level 1 dweomer that allows to cast any spell written in the mage book no matter its level or that of the caster (imagine a level 1 mage slinging level 9 spells like comet, wish or summon planetar, which wouldn't be able to normally cast so early) at the price of an increased chance of a wild surge.
- The sorcerer deviates from the standard Vancian Magic used by D&D games because it doesn't memorize a set of interchangeable spells from those written in the mage book, instead it relies on fewer innate spells that can't be changed but can be cast more times (each launch decreasing the daily amount of available spells, like in mana).
- Siege of Dragonspear introduced the shaman, which plays similar to the sorcerer except with divine spells. Besides it has access to unique spirit summons that can be controlled at the cost of becoming immobile.
- The wizard slayer kit for fighters is pretty unique because it forces the player to renounce to all the tons of useful, sometimes almost indispensable magic items you would otherwise use. To play BGII (where relevant enemies are almost always immune to non-magical weapons) without all the magic equipment it throws at you with every loot requires quite a change in gameplay and forces to adapt.
- Baldur's Gate II features the wild mage. While for its basic usage it is no different from a specialist mage, it is subject to a small chance of a so-called wild surge, that is, casting a spell might result in unwanted effects, from changing a simple change of color to losing money or worse self-destruct... Besides it has access to two exclusive spells: one that allows to cast ANY spell written in the mage book regardless of its level and if the wizard would normally be able to cast that (imagine a level 1 mage slinging level 9 offensive spells that would be otherwise unaccessible until leveling up), although at a high risk of triggering a wild surge; and another one meant to reduce chances of wilde surges, although it occupies slots that could be used for other very useful level 2 spells. The randomness and risky outcomes of this class make the wild mage a different experience from any other one in the game.
- Baldur's Gate:
- The Abomination and Flagellant in Darkest Dungeon.
- The Abomination is unique because he has a Stance System: all characters have seven moves, but he has all seven unlocked to begin with, instead of the usual four, with different sets available depending on whether he's turned into his werewolf-like beast mode or is in his human form. While he's in beast mode, he gains extremely powerful attacks, but accumulates stress quickly, while his human form is somewhat more fragile, with less power but more utility (he isn't able to hit as many targets from as many positions as the beast mode, but can stun and inflict blight), and he has a weak self-healing skill that's also one of the few in the game that heal stress. He's also dangerous to the party, in that his beast mode causes all other party members to stress out as well, making the Abomination difficult to use effectively, but extremely powerful if used well.
- The Flagellant, meanwhile, interacts with the stress and health systems in weird ways, making him much harder to get a handle on than other characters. He gets stronger as he loses health (becoming an absolute beast at Death's Door), and some of his best skills can't be activated unless he's at low health and also heal him so that they can't be used successively. He can never develop a virtue when his resolve is tested, and he will always develop the same affliction, Rapturous, where he becomes convinced that bloodletting is good for friend and foe alike, and starts smacking around the party as well as the enemies (though he does get a stronger buff when his health is low while Rapturous). He also can only use the flagellation stress relief activity in town. His advantages (utterly massive amounts of bleed damage to enemies, as well as being basically unkillable if his skills are set up right) make him a force to be reckoned with, but he is completely ineffective against undead (who don't bleed), and his disadvantages can pile up and become overwhelming very quickly, especially when he gets afflicted.
- Almost every single character in LISA has a unique playstyle to some extent, but the most stand-out examples are the following:
- Ajeet, whose Standard Attack is replaced with a variety of Poke skills that deal no damage but give guaranteed status effects. His only source of direct damage is through his potent Finger Beams and physical attacks, all of which cost SP.
- Birdie, a support-based party member whose Standard Attack is *getting himself drunk*. He more than makes up for it for having a heal that affects your entire party along with the ability to dish out Oil, the most powerful status effect in the game.
- Carp, who can lower enemies' stats with his Slash skills.
- Queen Roger, whose prime source of damage, his Beatdown skill, will inflict a different status effect depending on the weapon he has equipped.
- Shocklord has only one attack: falling on his face and dealing heavy damage to all enemies.
- In Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, the various vampire bloodlines play the part of classes. Most of them are fairly standard; they have varying focus on combat, stealth, social skills, and so on, but all play in largely the same way doing the same quests. The Nosferatu, on the other hand, are so hideously deformed that they can't risk being seen by ordinary humans. Since most of the game involves wandering around cities populated mainly by ordinary humans, this requires a completely different style of play - they have to spend most of their time in the sewers, and will struggle to acquire many quests or even talk to many NPCs.
- Arguably the Malkavians also fit. Being completely insane, every piece of dialogue in the game was rewritten for just this class. Although the actual gameplay remains essentially the same, since the game has a strong focus on story and social interactions this can actually be more significant than any other differences between classes.
- Dragons in Might and Magic VIII had the gimmick of being, well, dragons — unable to wield weapons or use armour like every other race/class, and sharing the minotaur's inability to wear headgear or boots, but possessing a powerful inherent attack, special abilities and natural armour all improved by a single skill. Perhaps understandably, you couldn't start play as one.
- Divinity: Original Sin II: Unlike the Whatevermancy- and weapon-based combat abilities, buying points in the Polymorph ability doesn't increase the power of Polymorph-based skills, which are themselves a mixed bag of abilities. Instead, every point in Polymorph also grants a free point to increase character attributes, allowing a Polymorph specialist to be customized to a variety of roles.
- South Park: The Fractured but Whole:
- Mysterion has a Stance System where if he dies or uses his first Ultimate, "Cruel Fate", he'll turn into a ghost and switch to a secondary moveset complete with a second ultimate, "Mysterion Re-rising", which heals all allies on the field. But the price for this is he's unable to attack, as all of his moves as Dead Mysterion are purely for support, or be revived with items, as his secondary Ultimate is the only thing that will bring him back. Also, if Mysterion is still dead when the rest of the party dies, you'll still lose the fight.
- DLC character Mintberry Crunch has a moveset revolving around status effects that only he can apply, 'Mint' and 'Berry'. While Minted allies are cleansed of any debuffs, it's true power comes from the fact that Berry-affected enemies do no damage to any Minted allies.
- The New Kid gains a new class in the same DLC that added Mintberry Crunch: the Final Girl. Three of the four attacks the Final Girl can use mark it as very different from the other classes. First, the Saw Bleed, which places a vertical row of sawblades on the field. Any enemy that passes over a saw in any form will take damage and suffer a status effect exclusive to that specific move, 'Hemmorrhage', which is like 'Bleed' but is more damaging and can stack with Bleeding as well as itself. Second, the Hammer Bomb, which allows the New Kid to not only move after selecting a target, but also select which direction the knockback goes, something no other move in the game allows you to do. Finally, there's the Ultimate Power Move, "Final Vengeance". Once it's activated, the New Kid moves to whoever is in their range and attacks them with a cobbled-together chainsaw weapon, instantly killing any enemy that's at low health.
- The Bard and Gadgeteer in Wizardry 8. These classes had access to Musical Instruments and Gadgets respectively, which were essentially a magical spells at stamina cost only. Gadgeteer had the disadvantage to having most of gadgets broken in two pieces that have to be found first then assembled; but towards the endgame they were much more powerful than Bards due to having access to gadgets with effects such as Earthquake or Heal All. Gadgeteers also had unique gun - Omnigun - that was able to shoot various Abnormal Ammo as Gadgeeter leveled up, starting with pellets and then expanding to arrows, various explosive potions, swords and so on.
- Sword of the Stars: While all the races have their own unique ways of moving about the strategic map, the Loa have the greatest difference from the rest. They don't build spacecraft normally, instead assembling them from "cubes" at the start of each tactical encounter, and their population growth is based on an interplay of solar activity and tax rate that other races don't have to bother with. They also acheive FTL by building catapult stations that give a big boost up close, but this quickly fades, leaving them to crawl between systems unless they build one at every planet they own.
- The Civilization V expansion Brave New World introduces Venice as a playable civ. Unlike other civs, Venice cannot train or capture settlers; instead, it gets the Merchant of Venice, a replacement for the Great Merchant who can purchase and puppetize city-states, as well as being able to maintain twice the number of trade routes as a civilization at the same tech level. Venice is a civ built around the one-city challenge, and is essentially a city-state on steroids.
- The Endless series:
- The Harmony in Endless Space's Disharmony Expansion Pack do not utilize Dust, the game's currency, which prevents them from rushing ship production, hiring Heroes, and upgrading ships; in fact, their production is harmed by the presence of Dust. On the other hand, they don't pay upkeep on planets or ships, allowing them to have stupid huge fleets. They do not have empire approval/disapproval, and instead of a dust tax rate they have a "Mind over Matter" rate which allows them to shift food production to science or vice versa. Ship production stops population growth as well. The Broken Lords of Endless Legend are an inversion of the Harmony; being a race of Animated Armor, they do not utilize food and do not have natural population growth, requiring citizens to be built and units healed by expending Dust.
- Both Endless Space and Endless Legend have races that cannot utilize diplomacy and are instead locked into a state of either cold war or war; the Cravers and Necrophages, respectively. The Cravers, being a Horde of Alien Locusts, must continuously expand or consume their own civilization; their production on a planet is boosted by 25% for 40 turns, normal production after 40, and decreasing production starting at turn 60 (going up to -25%) as they depleted the planet's resources, which cannot be restored. Inverted with the Roving Traders in Endless Legend, which cannot declare war, and rely on diplomacy and their control over markets to get their way.
- In Endless Space 2 most races must establish a temporary outpost in a system they wish to colonize which needs a supply of food from another colony until it can become a full colony. Vaulters and Unfallen skip this phase by instantly establishing a colony via their special mechanics.
- Vaulters use a single unique colony ship, the Argosy, which has a high movement rating and can instantly create a colony on any planet. Due to the cooldown period between uses and the fact that the Vaulters only have the one ship, the faction tends to establish fewer colonies but it can afford to spread them out between high quality systems thanks to their instant travel portals.
- The Unfallen grow vines between an established colony and their destination, instantly establishing a colony on reaching a system with an acceptable planet. They can colonize additional worlds in a controlled system with no production cost, instead facing a fixed time depending on the type of planet.
- In Galactic Civilizations, with the individual tech trees in "Twilight of the Arnor", all of the races gained some unique talents, but the most distinctive is probably the Arceans. They have no engine techs at all; instead, they rely on buildings on their planets that boost the speeds of all ships built on that planet. On the one hand, this allows them to cram even more weapons onto their ships than other races, because they're not taking up space with engines, but on the other hand it tends to make them slower and means they can't build ships as quickly since they need to dedicate planet space to ship speed buildings.
- In Stars In Shadow, Humans are the only race not to have a homeworld. This locks them into a Luck-Based Mission, since if they don't have a planet capable of being farmed within their Command Radius, they're hooped.
- In Star Ruler 2, many of the alien races are examples of this, particularly when more gameplay mechanics are introduced in the "Wake of the Heralds" expansion. "Verdant" races are spore-based plants that grow from a Mother Stalk, "Linked" races are similar but are mechanoids linked to a mainframe, and "Star Children" exclusively live in orbital habitats instead of planet surfaces. The expansion intro
- In Stars! (1995), races with the Alternate Reality primary racial trait play quite differently than other races. Rather than landing on planets and colonizing them, they live in space stations orbiting the planet. This has many implications. They cannot build mines or factories, instead extracting minerals and producing things at a set rate determined by their population and a few other factors. They can quickly make planets useful since they don’t have to spend time building infrastructure and can bomb other races infrastructure to dust with no penalty. They can also utilize the fact that the mineral concentration on their homeworld never drops below a certain level, and the fact that they can use remote mining ships on worlds that they "inhabit" to produce effectively unlimited mineral resources given time. The downside is, they receive no bonuses from mines and factories either. Even worse, they can also be wiped out from a planet at any time if their space station is destroyed, and enemies do not have to bother with bombing them into submission. Since you can order your ships to attack space station first…
- All the classes are like this in Team Fortress 2 (new weapon loadouts have only accentuated it for most), a few stand out. Here they are in order of uniqueness from most to least:
- The Engineer is mechanically (har har) interesting, as while he can deal a bit of damage, his primary purpose is to build gadgets which can teleport teammates across the map and replenish their ammo (as well as heal and deal damage). Other classes fight in a more direct manner. Also, the majority of the damage he deals doesn't even come from him, it comes from his Sentry Gun, which aims and fires automatically. Pretty much the only reason the Engineer even has a Shotgun and a Pistol is so he isn't completely dependent upon it.
- Then there's the Spy, who focuses on mind games; he can turn himself invisible, and can disguise himself as the enemy, and is one of the only classes to focus on facing and is the only class in a normal game who does most of his best damage at melee range.
- The Medic is focused almost purely on healing and turning himself and one teammate either invulnerable, nearly invulnerable, or a source of Critical Hits. Also, the Medigun, once it latches onto a teammate, doesn't actually need to be aimed; the healing beam will follow the "patient" around until he dies, the Medic dies, gets too far away, or the Medic shuts off the Medigun.
- The Pyro, while usually played as a straightforward class, has found himself a unique niche when his flamethrower weapon gained the ability to blast compressed air to deflect projectiles, push away enemies and put out teammates on fire. That and "spy-check": Your teammates are Friendly Fireproof. A spy pretending to be a teammate is not.
- Later updates have added new loadout options for many classes that certainly qualify, at least compared to their original playstyle:
- The "Demoknight", a Demoman ditching his trademark sticky grenade launcher for a shield that allows him to charge at enemies and fight them in melee. Typically paired with one of many sword melee weapons, which offer increased melee range at the cost of several debuffs (which are often effectively nullified by the buffs applied by the shields). This subclass splits off into two further sub-variants:
- Pure Knights replace their grenade launcher with one of two (statistically identical) footwear weapons that offer a further helping of buffs, transforming the Demoman into a melee-only class.
- Hybrid Knights retain their grenade launchers as a backup ranged weapon for when melee is an untenable option.
- Snipers with the Huntsman Bow instead of their usual sniper rifle are far more limited in range but can be very competent in close to medium ranges, especially when they know the bow well enough to compensate for the arc. Also, since the bow has no scope and a much faster charge time, this allows Snipers to keep their peripheral vision and be more towards the frontlines of battle.
- Soldiers (and to an extent Demomen) can focus their loadout on their Rocket Jump abilities, even going for a Goomba Stomp tactic via the Gunboats weapon. The purest distillation of this playstyle is the "Trolldier" sub-class, which sees the soldier make heavy use of the Rocket Jumper (harmless rocket launcher that only incurs knockback against the player) while hunting for kills with the Market Gardener (melee shovel that deals oft-lethal crit damage when striking a player while rocket jumping) and the aforementioned Gunboats.
- Battle Engineers see the typically squishy, building-reliant support class turn into viable front-line combatant. This is achieved through equipping the Gunslinger, which (among a few other perks) replaces the hard-hitting but cumbersome and resource-intensive Sentry Gun with the smaller, weaker, cheaper and more disposable Mini-Sentry. Paired with the Gunslinger increasing the Engineer's base health and the right Shotgun variant allows the Engineer to more reliably support their team in active combat, especially in scenarios where locking an area down with the standard Sentry is either unviable or unnecessary.
- Overwatch is a team-based shooter where each "class" represents a different character in lore. Because of this, the heroes have different weapons, fighting styles, and abilities, and are split by the game into three categories (Damage, Tank, and Support), and by the community into many, many more. To give some examples:
- Reinhardt is a large German man styled after the knights of old. Instead of a gun, he has an oversized rocket-powered hammer and a hard-light shield which can protect his teammates. His primary focus is not pure damage output (in low level play, a "good" Reinhardt will simply hold their shield up and walk forward rather than use their hammer and abilities to try to attack the opposing team), but to protect his teammates.
- Sombra is a Mexican hacker whose primary ability is to disable the abilities of the enemy team, as well as prevent them from using health packs. Her ultimate, an EMP blast, does this within a large radius. She is also the 'only' hero who can become invisible, which, when combined with her teleporter, shift her focus from damage output, healing, or protection, to stealth and harassment of the other team, while not actually securing many kills herself.
- D.Va is a South Korean gamer-come-military general who pilots a large mech in combat. In-game, this mech has 600 health, and when destroyed, ejects her into a 150 health form with only her pistol and no other abilities (it should be noted that the standard health for most characters is 200, and only one other has 150). She can eventually regain her mech, and can also deliberately eject in order to self destruct as her ultimate ability, although this leaves her vulnerable for the duration of the ultimate. The devs have noted that because the game treats D.Va in her mech and D.Va out of her mech as two separate characters, she generally has double the amount of bugs as any other hero.
- Doomfist is a burly Nigerian Genius Bruiser whose kit is built around the titular doomfist, a massive mechanized fist that he wears on his right hand and can can supposedly level skyscrapers. His primary fire, a set of four shotguns on the knuckles of his left hand, deal comparatively little damage, are more or less inconsequential to play strategy, and recharge one by one over time instead of being reloaded all at once. Meanwhile, his abilities feel more akin to a Street Fighter character than one from Overwatch (including a "Rising Uppercut" very similar to a Shoryuken), and give him a temporary shield of up to 150 health (raising his "total" health to 400, which is that of a tank rather than an offense hero like Doomfist) that fades over time.
- Roadhog is supposedly a tank, but unlike the rest of the game's tanks, has no deployable shield at all, mostly counting as a Tank by virtue of his HP. His playstyle is closer to that of an Offence character, only slower.
- Borderlands 2's DLC classes were deliberately designed this way (compared to the original 4 classes, all of which focused on shooting with an "action skill" to augment it);
- Gaige The Mecromancer was designed as a "Beginner Mode" character (the first skill tree focuses on making things easier, with skills that still do damage to enemies if the player misses or increase their ability to survive) with the option of playing her as Difficult, but Awesome instead for better results (the last skill tree has skills that deliberately make the player go against what they would normally do in an FPS, such as sacrificing accuracy for higher damage thus forcing them to get up close and discouraging them to avoid manually reloading).
- Krieg the Psycho uses a lot of Desperation Attack based skills and generally involves taking damage to deal it (one skill tree consists mainly of skills that only work when he's on fire). In addition, he's also the only class which has a melee build as one of the default options (other classes can have them, but they need some optimization). The developers noted that it was because of this reason that he was saved as DLC since his skill-set would likely turn players off compared to the easier to play ones. One of his talents even makes him vulnerable to friendly fire.
- Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! features Claptrap the Fragtrap, who boasts a few notable differences from his Vault-hunting contemporaries. First, as a robot, he has no need to breath, so his Oz kit's oxygen reserves don't automatically drain over time in a vacuum. Second, as a robot, his metal chassis renders him resistant to Incendiary damage but vulnerable to Corrosive, as opposed to the other way around for his (mostly) human teammates. Finally, his Action Skill, VaultHunter.EXE, functions very differently from any of the other Action Skills in the series, loading up one of several Action Packages based on the current situation. Several of these Action Packages can apply their effects to everyone on Claptrap's team, and even more can be unlocked by investing in the right skills in his skill trees.
- Compared to previous games, every Vault Hunter in Borderlands 3 is this by virtue of having multiple options for their Action Skills that they can switch between freely. They also get special skills called augments, which alter the behavior of their Action Skills but don't cost skill points and can also be swapped in and out freely. And don't think the fun stops there, because they also manage to stand out against each other.
- Amara the Siren is the closest to a vanilla Vault Hunter this time around; she only gets to equip one Action Skill at once, and she can equip up to two augments for it. However, one of her augment slots is reserved for augments that control the element of her Action Skill, and none of her augments have restrictions regarding which Action Skills they can be paired with.
- Zane the Operative gets the option to equip two Action Skills at once, each of which gets two slots for augments. However, in order to equip a second Action Skill, he must give up his ability to throw grenades, and he never unlocks any additional Action Skills beyond his initial three.
- Moze the Gunner behaves the most similarly to past Vault Hunters in some ways, since her Action Skill always summons her mech, Iron Bear. Instead, her Action Skill options control Iron Bear's weaponry, with one augment slot each for the left weapon and right weapon. She can choose to equip the same weapon to both sides or mix and match, but both sides must be assigned a weapon before she can use her Action Skill.
- FL4K the Beastmaster gets to choose a pet to summon in addition to an Action Skill and two augments. The pet grants passive bonuses and largely acts autonomously but can be commanded to perform a special attack. Instead of new Action Skill options, FL4K unlocks upgraded versions of their pets instead.
- Hexen has three player classes: Mage, Cleric and Fighter. Both the Mage and Cleric rely on ranged weaponry, with only the Cleric's first weapon (a spiked mace) being melee, and the Mage's first weapon (a wand) being ranged and piercing. And then you have the Fighter. Most of the Fighter's weapons are melee, with spiked gauntlets as his first weapon, a magical ax as his second weapon (that does more damage when you have mana, and less when you don't), and his third weapon is a hammer that can be thrown at range if he has mana, but does far more damage in melee. Only his fourth and final weapon, a magical sword, is primarily ranged, doing absolutely no damage in melee, making his later levels after getting the sword mechanically different specifically because he can now fight at range.
- In both PlanetSide games, the MAX Powered Armor functions completely differently from the standard armors or classes, exchanging the ability to ride in normal vehicles, heal themselves, and agility for massive firepower and durability. In the first game, each empire has 3 MAX suits with an empire specific ability (anchored mode and berserk, an overshield shield, and a Jump Jet Pack) each with a unique weapon geared for either anti-air, anti-infantry, or anti-vehicle. For mobility, they could route weapon power to Sprint Mode to keep up with the slower vehicles. In the sequel, they use customizable Guns Akimbo and function fairly similarly, minus the Sprint Mode.
- Of all people, Samus in Metroid Prime: Hunters gets this to an extent; having homing missiles instead of a secondary affinity weapon. Weavel is another example, since his Alt mode turns his lower half into a stationary turret instead of simply transforming him into a single entity.
- Vermintide II: Bardin's Slayer class cannot use ranged weapons, but can take a second melee weapon instead. His unique Skill is a leaping attack that recharges relatively fast to make up somewhat for his inability to deal with threats at any distance other than "very close". Winds of Magic added throwing hatchets for him, which alleviate the issue a bit. Kruber's Grail Knight and Saltzpyre's Warrior Priest cannot use ranged weapons either, and lose access to some of their melee weapons too (Warrior Priest is limited to certain types of hammer or flail). In exchange they both get unique mechanics: Kruber receives missions from the Lady of the Lake that confers party-wide buffs if they are achieved, and Saltzpyre fills a "Righteous Fury" as enemies die around him and when full, increases his combat power.
- League of Legends hosts a small percentage of champions that don't use Mana and use either a different resource or none at all, with varying impact on the character as a whole.
- Garen, Katarina, and Riven are manaless champions without any secondary resources. This functions similar to having infinite Mana, but cooldown times are crucial to them in exchange.
- Dr. Mundo, Vladimir, and Zac simply Cast from Hit Points.
- All the Ninja champions (Shen, Akali, Kennen, Zed) plus Lee Sin use Energy, which fills fast but depletes just as fast and can only be marginally increased through runes at best. These champions have skills that can recharge their Energy meter besides waiting as well.
- Tryndamere, Renekton, Shyvana, and Rek'Sai use Fury, but Fury behaves completely differently for each character, with the only similar theme being it can charge from dealing damage. Fury on Tryndamere gives him extra Critical Strike chance and can be consumed to heal him, Renekton's can use an enhanced skill with enough Fury, and Shyvana's Fury is a glorified cooldown meter for her Super Mode. Rek'Sai has a damaging skill that scales with Fury or she can use it to heal herself while burrowed.
- Rumble, Rengar, Gnar, and Yasuo don't rely on a secondary resource overall, but they have something that ties with their skills:
- Rumble's skills generate Heat. At above 50%, Rumble's skills deal extra damage, but when the Heat gauge reaches 100%, it disables his skills until all the Heat dissipates but gives his attacks extra damage during the process.
- Rengar gains Ferocity every time he uses a skill. When it's at 4 stacks, he can cast an enhanced version of his skill with no cooldown.
- Gnar gains Rage over time or when he deals or takes damage. When he reaches maximum Rage, he can transform into Mega Gnar, a hulking, close-range champion with a new set of skills.
- Yasuo gains Flow whenever he moves across the battlefield. When his Flow is full, he gains a shield the next time he takes damage.
- Sett has Grit, a rapidly-depleting resource converted directly from the damage he receives, which he can then unleash back onto his enemies with a massive Haymaker punch.
- There are a few champions that lack a "true" Ultimate ability: Elise, Jayce, and Nidalee have a mode-switch, going from Ranged to Melee. Karma's "Ultimate" gives a boost to one of her other abilities.
- Udyr is special in that he has 4 (relatively) equal 'Stances' that he uses to cycle between four forms. This makes him the only champion who truly doesn't have an Ultimate ability. Also, in normal games, he is the only champion who cannot max out all his skills.note
- Graves, Jhin and Aphelios' auto-attacks rely on an ammo system rather than being typically unlimited as is MOBA tradition, and both of them behave in different ways as a tradeoff.
- Graves' shotgun, rather than firing a single projectile, instead fires a conic blast of bullets, making him much deadlier in close-range, though he has to reload after two shots.
- Jhin's attack speed is completely fixed, with any attack speed built just turning into bonus damage. He has to reload after four shots, but every fourth shot is a guaranteed critical hit (crits also give him a burst of movement speed), which eventually stacks up into making him heavy on instant burst damage rather than damage-per-second as with most marksmen.
- Aphelios has access to five different weapons, carrying two of them at the time, and replacing them when they run out of ammo. Each weapon has different properties, activated ability, and changes the effect of his ultimate. On top of that, he doesn't gain skill points when levelling up, instead using them to directly upgrade his stats.
- Xayah and Rakan aren't that special individually, but they're unique when put together. Both heroes are meant to be paired together, and gain enhanced versions of their skills in combination with the other, as well as a second passive that allows them both to return to base off the same Recall.
- Heroes of the Storm likes to push the limits when it comes to MOBA characters, designing lots of heroes to be built around a particular gimmick, which, while very hard for your average beginner to use effectively, can be deadly in the right hands.
- Much like in his home universe, Abathur doesn't get involved in the combat directly, instead acting through his teammates via a small zerg organism. He can also place toxic nest mines around the map (globally with the proper talent) to defend objectives. Those are also his only two basic abilities, instead of the normal three. Basically, Abathur is Mission Control.
- Playing as The Lost Vikings gives you three heroes to play at a time. Each Viking has its own passive (Erik has extra range and speed, Baelog's basic attacks splash, Olaf will occasionally charge at an enemy and regenerates health out of combat). They don't start with ANY abilities, and might never have any basic abilities at all depending on the player's talent choices.
- Murky is built around the Zerg Rush (despite not being from the Starcraft universe). He starts with a health pool of a minion, and deals very little damage, but respawns almost immediately from an egg that can be planted anywhere on the map and awards next to no XP for dying.
- Rexxar was the game's first ranged warrior hero. He fights alongside his bear companion Misha, who he will use to attack enemies and soak damage while Rexxar attacks from afar. What makes that especially interesting is that the player has no direct control over Misha. Instead, Rexxar needs to give Misha various built-in commands to control her. Notably, most of Rexxar's abilities are based on Misha, so if she dies Rexxar is pretty useless.
- Cho'gall is the first MOBA hero controlled by two players, with each player controlling one of the heads. Cho is a Warrior and controls movement, Gall is a Ranged Assassin and does most of the damage. This of course means that you get an absolute powerhouse on the team, but it also means that the team only has four bodies total. They're also part of the "no-resource" club, likely due to gameplay complications.
- Tracer's ability set is taken directly from Overwatch (which isn't even part of the same genre), complete with an ammo mechanic for her basic attacks and a Heroic ability charged by dealing damage rather than a cooldown. Additionally, her sole Heroic is unlocked right from level 1, unlike others who have to choose between two Heroic abilities at level 10, with her level 10 talents instead augmenting it in some way. Finally, Tracer was also the first hero in the game who can attack while moving.
- Deathwing is a very direct way to make a playable boss work in a MOBA. He has Contractual Boss Immunity as a trait, rendering him permanently immune to all crowd control. As a trade-off, allies can't affect him with their abilities, which means he has to rely solely on his own bulk to survive. He can also fly off the map entirely, and land anywhere within vision at any time. If that wasn't enough, he uses energy instead of mana, only has a single Heroic that he starts with out the gate, and has a Stance System for good measure. Also, his model is enormous. For extra flavour, he also has special UI that mimics boss health bars in World of Warcraft.
- There's a handful of Heroes who don't use mana as their resource.
- Sonya uses Fury, which is generated when she deals or takes damage.
- Chen uses Brew, which functions like Energy in that it has a static amount of points, but doesn't regenerate naturally. Instead, he needs to stand still and channel his trait in order to recover his Brew.
- Auriel uses Energy, but it functions very differently. It's gained whenever she or a selected ally deals damage, and it's spent all at once to power up her healing.
- Valeera, Lt. Morales, and Deathwing use traditional Energy as it's seen in World of Warcraft and League of Legends.
- Zarya uses a third type of Energy that is gained whenever her shields absorb damage. It boosts all of her damage but slowly drains.
- Gazlowe uses Scrap, which he gains over time and can scavenge extra scrap from his own turrets when they're destroyed.
- Hogger uses Rage, which is generated when he takes or deals damage, but isn't used as a resource. Instead, it reduces his cooldown time and increases the damage of his E, but quickly falls off out of combat.
- Gul'dan and Probius use mana In Name Only. They both have a small pool and can't regenerate it naturally. Instead, they regain it using their traits. Gul'dan has to Life Tap, while Probius summons Pylons that regenerate his mana while he stays near them.
- Many heroes don't use any resource at all, either due to gameplay complications (characters like The Lost Vikings or Abathur) or just as part of their innate skillsets (characters like Illidan and D.Va).
- Mounts are already a unique feature in the game, but some heroes use special variations. Most special mounts function like a fourth basic ability, although others are more akin to passives.
- Some heroes instantly gain a massive speed boost, but have to wait through a long cooldown before they can use it again. Sgt. Hammer, The Lost Vikings, and Probius all follow this. Probius' is especially weird, since his comes with a passive speed boost but is cancelled if he takes damage.
- A few heroes can effectively teleport (often globally), at the downside of having very poor out-of-combat mobility while this is on cooldown. Falstad can fly to a target location, which can potentially be half the map away. Brightwing can teleport to any ally on the map and heal them in the process. Abathur can tunnel to any visible location. Dehaka can tunnel to any bush or vent, and passively gains a movement speed boost while inside of one. Deathwing can leave the map, becoming untouchable in the sky indefinitely, and reactive to land anywhere.
- Rehgar shapeshifts into a ghost wolf instead of mounting, which is instant and doesn't interrupt his movement to use. Taking damage doesn't cancel the form either. It also causes his next basic attack to lunge at the target for extra damage. To compensate, he only moves at 120% speed instead of 130%.
- Lunara has no mount ability, instead she has a passive 20% speed bonus. Instead of being a straight bonus, it happens in the form of leaps and bounds (seeing as she's part deer) which make it easy to weave basic attacks between. This bonus is not removed in combat, either.
- Instead of mounting, Medivh turns into an invulnerable raven that can fly over terrain. This makes him a literally uncounterable scout, although he obviously can't attack in this form.
- Just like his home game, Lucio gains a movement speed boost while riding on walls. Prior to his rework in 2019, he had no mount ability whatsoever (Wall Ride was his trait instead), just a piece of Flavor Text for anyone bothering to read the tooltip.
- D.Va's mount technically has no positive mobility effects - it enables her to basic attack and channel skills while moving, but reduces her movement speed while doing so. She instead uses her Q ability to get around. She can use regular mounts while in Pilot Mode, however.
- DOTA 2 has a few heroes who are not standard in the terms of 4 abilities / passives.
- Invoker has Quas, Wex and Exort, which simply generate orbs that float around his head, giving him different stat bonuses. By using his ultimate, Invoke, which is automatically learned at level 1 without using a skill point, he gains and can store up to two abilities out of ten, determined by his current combination of orbs.
- Meepo has an ultimate which creates multiple copies of himself, and can be unlocked at level 3, unlike almost all other ultimates in the game, which are unlocked at level 6 (with the one exception being Invoke).
- The Techies plays like a trap setter instead of the usual brawling heroes, possessing a skillset dedicated entirely to trap-setting (except for a long-range mobility attack that brings them halfway to death) with very limited capabilities in direct combat. As such, playing as Techies encourage you not to stay in lane very long, but wander in jungle, placing mines in strategic places and hope some poor schmuck stepped on them while trying to reach for other objectives.
- Rubick is a Master of None whose spells are less effective compared to other heroes', and the way his ultimate works means most of the time, he doesn't have an ultimate. But decreased effectiveness comes with incredible versatility, and his ultimate is Spell Steal, allowing him to combo those spells with his own, and even turning the enemy's own ultimates back at them. Much of Rubick's playstyle is about choosing which enemy spell that can be comboed with his own spell to devastating effects.
- Nitro in Heroes of Newerth originally was the first and only hero to not have a regular autoattack. Instead, one of their skill, Ballistic, serves as a replacement instead, giving them a long-range shot that scales with attack damage and speed and allows them to fire while moving, albeit requiring aiming. They still had access to autoattacks by splitting up into a melee pet and a stationary cannon that fires Ballistic, so they were still able to deny creeps while laning. Unfortunately, the mechanic proved virtually impossible to balance and after a few years they were reworked into having standard autoattacks.
- Adrenaline was the closest thing to an "Energy"-based hero in the game. All his skills costed a percentage of his max mana to activate and his passive skill regenerated a relatively huge percent of mana, but he still uses mana for everything else such as items. His skillset was also reworked to no longer use a pseudo-Energy system.
- The Dragon class of Rogue Legacy is unique in many ways: first, it cannot jump, but can fly infinitely (other characters must use a rune slot to be able to fly, and only for a limited time). Second, it cannot use its sword, and pressing the button instead uses the character's spell, which is the third point: unlike other characters, who start off with a random spell, this class always starts with a unique spell, which is a projectile attack. Characters of this class also regenerate MP rapidly, unlike most other classes for whom MP is a limited and valuable resource.
- Hawk in 20XX. The other two characters start out with the ability to pick up different weapons for their normal attacks and can only get powers by finishing levels. Hawk, on the other hand, can only wield a whip that drains energy from hostiles and picks up powers from weapon crates.
- The other DLC character, Draco, is the opposite: he has a heavy focus on standard weapons, being able to hold several...but paying for this with a reduced supply of power slots. Additionally, instead of charging attacks, he has a number of charge orbs that allow him to use a charged attack with no waiting period, but which take time to recover, with charge modifiers like the Dracopent set instead giving him more and more powerful charge orbs.
- Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled has the Drift stat class. Normally, there is a strict arc that you turn towards when drifting, but the Drift class's arc changes based on your input, being tighter when pressed in the turn's direction and being straighter when pressed away from it. Although this makes turning much more versatile, it comes with terrible acceleration, thus a single mistake can be very punishing.
- In Age of Empires III, each Expansion Pack introduces factions that play a bit differently from the European civilizations in the base game.
- The WarChiefs introduces Native American civilizations with the Lakota, Haudenosaunee, Aztec and (in Definitive Edition) Inca. These factions share a "War Council" in the place of a Home City, and age up by recruiting Council Members instead of Politicians, who are not replaced and keep their benefits through the whole game. The Native American civilizations also have the unique trait of every building having its own marquee technology to research, and have a worker management system built around the Community Plaza which provides bonuses when staffed with villagers, with more villagers increasing the strength of the buff. The Native Americans are averse to siege weapons in general barring the Haudenosaunee. The Lakota have no siege weapons at all, the Aztecs have to make do with the Arrow Knight, and the Inca either have to make do with the Huaraca, research the "Thunderbolts of Illapa" marquee technology to get Light Cannons, or send the "Tupac Rebellion" card that upgrades Huaracas and Macemen into Grenadiers and Light Cannons. Meanwhile, the Aztecs and Incas have no cavalry whatsoever and must make do with the Coyote Runner and Chimu Runner respectively (though the Inca can use the aforementioned "Tupac Rebellion" card to upgrade Chimu Runners and Bolas Warriors to Hussars and Dragoons respectively). Inca War Huts and their unique Stronghold are also able to use stealth via sending the "Cloud Fortresses" card, a rarity among buildings. Finally, the Lakota and Haudenosaunee cannot mine for gold, instead building the Tribal Marketplace near coin deposits as their source of money.
- The Asian Dynasties introduces Asian civilizations with the Japanese, Chinese, and Indians. These factions have Castles as a unique building (combining the Forts and Artillery Foundries of the Europeans), have unique navies (with the exception of the Indians), advanced in age by building Wonders, and also have a unique Consulate mechanic, which allows them to recruit units and tech from specific European civilizations.
- The Chinese do not recruit units in a traditional sense; rather they instead train Banner Armies from the War Academy and Castle, which are instead pre-set combinations of different unit types (though the Castle can train individual siege units as well). And while the other two Asian civilizations have two Monks instead of a single Explorer, the Chinese instead have a sole Shaolin Master who can train multiple weaker Disciples, though they can attain a second Shaolin Master through sending the "Walk the Rice Paper" card.
- India and Japan both cannot hunt animals for food, and instead have alternate ways of exploiting wild animals. India can build the Sacred Field which generates XP for all animals near it, while Japan can build Shrines to attract wild animals and earn resources from doing so.
- The Definitive Edition introduces American civilizations with the United States and Mexico, which while resembling European civilizations at first have several notable differences. Rather than aging up with Politicians, they age up with Federal States that not only grant resources and technologies but also two unique Federal cards that cannot be accessed by building a deck regularly (as a trade-off, their deck capacity is smaller than usual). Instead of having an Explorer, they have a General who is more combat focused, can plant Inspiring Flags to boost nearby units and buildings, and builds Forts that can be upgraded via unique cards to train units from other civilizations, such as Grenadiers and Hungarian Hussars for the United States or Cuirassiers and Lancers for Mexico. They also have the Saloon instead of the Tavern, which can train unique outlaws specific to each civilization.
- The United States has "Immigrant" cards that grant them different capabilities borrowed from other civilizations. Their unique State Capitol allows them to train wagons without resorting to the Home City, aging up, or researching technologies. They also have only one Royal Guard unit when most civilizations have two.
- Mexico has "Plan" cards that allow them to turn all instances of a given unit (or even Outposts in one instance) into a different unit type while boosting their stats. In general, Mexico's card deck is one of the most unorthodox, with a wide range of cards with unconventional effects at the expense of conventional unit cards. They have access to a unique version of the Revolution mechanic, which allows Mexico at any age (starting in the Commerce Age) to transform into another nation with their own unique cards, and (in most cases) turn back into Mexico at any point afterwards while keeping the bonuses from the Revolution. In one particular case, they can even pull off a double Revolution. They also have a second hero in the form of the Padre, who can inspire nearby units or pacify enemy units.
- Most revolutionary civilizations are offense-focused, turning your Settlers/Villagers into Revolutionaries, crippling your economy and forcing you to rush down your enemies to win. South Africa, available to the British and Dutch, is the exact opposite: Villagers have their gathering rate increased by 10% instead of becoming Revolutionaries, and their only unique unit is a transport vehicle for Villagers.
- The African Royals introduces African civilizations with the Ethiopians and Hausa. Much like the aforementioned American civilizations, they select a different Alliance to age up, and the selection remains the same throughout the game. Each Alliance grants unique units and technologies that cost Influence, their unique resource, of which both civilizations can attain through a unique building (the Mountain Monastery and University respectively), which also serves to research any unique technologies gained from the Alliance. They do share the ability to gain Influence at the Livestock Market and can build Granaries (which work like the Japanese Shrine) to increase food output. These units make up for the fact that on their own, the African civilizations have minimal unit rosters. Their explorer equivalents are cavalry units with unique sets of abilities and multiples can be sent via the Home City. Their defensive structures have special production capabilities; their towers can produce outlaws while their Fortress equivalent - the Palace - trains Alliance units and mercenaries. Meanwhile, their houses can train militia units
- While civilizations in Age of Empires IV are more diverse than in past games, there are a few unusual standouts in terms of gameplay mechanics.
- The Abbasid Dynasty only has one Landmark, the House of Wisdom, and they advance in Age by upgrading it with different wings that unlock different technologies. The House of Wisdom can trigger a Golden Age based on how many structures are built within its influence, which speed up resource gather rate, research times, and production. With this unique system, the Abbasids do not need to free up their Villagers in order to advance in Age, allowing them to maintain their economy. However, this does mean that losing the House of Wisdom is catastrophic for them.
- The Chinese have a unique "Dynasty" mechanic, which provide unique technologies, units, and structures once they build both Landmarks in any given Age (making them the only civilization that can build both Landmarks rather than having to sacrifice one for the other). As a tradeoff, their landmarks tend to be quite weak as standalone buildings. They also have more unique units than any civilization, though a good portion of these are locked based on what Dynasty they are in unless the Spirit Way Landmark has been built.
- The Delhi Sultanate can research all of their technologies with no resource cost whatsoever, but at extremely inflated research times compared to other civilizations. They can reduce the research time penalty by garrisoning Scholars, their Monk equivalent, in their Mosques.
- The Mongols are able to pack up their buildings and move them around. They also cannot gather Stone normally, instead needing to build an Ovoo over a Stone outcropping that not only slowly gathers the resource but also boosts production and technologies in surrounding buildings. Their nomadic nature also means they cannot build Farms; they instead create food by using Pastures to spawn Sheep at regular intervals.
- The Dawn of War 2 expansion Retribution allowed play as any of the factions rather than just Space Marines. Most play basically the same way with four heroes in different roles that can be levelled up and given equipment, and the ability to recruit a few extra generic units during missions. Tyranids, on the other hand, only have their commander as a hero unit, in exchange for being able to field many more generic units and having a variety of buffing auras to improve them.
- Command & Conquer: Generals: The GLA's main siege unit is a dune buggy with a rocket rack. Like other siege units, it has long range, high damage and low HP; unlike other siege units, it's one of the fastest units in the game. The GLA is also the only faction without aircraft (a converted cargo plane that drops anthrax bombs as a Support Power nonwithstanding.) Finally, their Worker Unit is a single infantry as opposed to two separate vehicles (Dozer as the builder unit for both China and USA and for collecting supplies a supply Truck for China and a Chinook for USA.)
- Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars: The Scrin (and their subfactions in Kane's Wrath) work slightly differently than both GDI and Nod- For starters, their MCV equivalent is an air unit instead of a Vehicle, their basic infantry, the Buzzer, is a single unit instead of a squad, thier infantry heal in tiberium instead of taking damage from it, they have a significantly reduced selection of units in comparison to their human counterparts, their air units aside from the basic fighter craft move more towards mighty glacier as opposed to fragile speedster, their harvester unit is almost defenseless by itself (GDI Harvesters can fire upon enemies, and Nod harvesters, aside from the Black hand are stealthed) and they can artificially speed up the growth of tiberium by building a Growth accelerator.
- This can apply to GDI as well, since they are the only faction in the base game who can heal and replace missing squad members via their Armoury. The Scrin can heal infantry through standing in Tiberium, via Corruptors or in the proximity of their repair drones, but cannot replace missing squad members whereas Nod cannot heal infantry or replace missing squad members.
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3:
- The Empire is the only faction of the three that cannot build a production building for air units. Instead, several of their ground and sea units use a Stance System that allows you to turn them into air units.
- The Empire also has a very unique method of base building. Both the Soviets and Allies have fairly typical construction methods: The Soviets construct buildings in the open, while the Allies construct buildings within the MCV and deploy them when they're ready. The Empire instead builds Nanocores, quick to produce units which can deploy into the building you want. This means the Empire can potentially set up their bases much faster than the other factions, with the added risk of the Nanocores being intercepted and destroyed before they can deploy.
- The Soviet's basic infantry unit, the Conscript, holds the distinction of being the only basic infantry unit of the three that has a ranged alternate attack, which also means they can clear garrisoned structures without sacrificing themselves.
- Company of Heroes has plenty of quirks which are unique to each faction:
- The Wehrmacht's Terror Doctrine provides you with the King Tiger as a special unit. Uniquely, this unit can only be summoned once; when it's destroyed it's gone forever.
- Instead of static buildings, the British build one of three Command Trucks which can move around and count as securing the Strategic Point of the sector they are currently deployed within.
- The British have a unique infantry movement system: When outside a friendly sector, infantry move extremely slowly. To counter this, they either need the Recon Element upgrade for the Infantry Section, or be under the command radius of a Lieutenant.
- Beyond their use of Officers to buff their units, the British infantry situation is also rather unique. Their Worker Unit, the Sappers, hold the distinction of being their elite infantry option, with an upgrade that equippes them with anti-tank weapons, alongside another unique upgrade that alternatively improves their repair ability and lets them 'overheal' vehicles. Because of the unique strength of the Sappers, the British are also the only faction that don't have their worker unit as their starting unit, instead beginning each game with an Infantry Section pre-upgraded with Recon Element for easier early-game scouting and capturing.
- The Royal Commandos Support tree is mechanically unique in that it allows the British to deploy gliders anywhere on the map they have vision on. These gliders instantly deploy a unit upon landing, and then serve as production buildings for further units.
- Panzer Elite:
- The Panzer Elite only have one standard infantry unit, the Panzer Grenadiers, who at the start of each game double as both your Worker Unit and your basic infantry. To keep them competitive through the whole game, they get a range of both global upgrades and weapon packages that gradually makes them more elite. As an alternative to the Panzer Grenadiers, Panzer Elite players also have access to one of two types of Heavy Infantry: Assault Grenadiers and Tank Busters, who are mechanically identical to Panzer Grenadiers but come pre-upgraded with a certain weapon and have a different resource cost, reqiorign more Manpower but no Ammunition to build.
- Their method of securing Strategic Points falls on deploying their Scout Car rather than building an Observation Post.
- Every faction's Veteran Unit system is unique:
- The US have a traditional one: Defeating enemies earns units experience, which levels them up.
- The Wehrmacht don't earn veterancy through combat, but instead build the Kampkraft Center where they can research veterancy upgrades that are applied to all current and future examples of units within a certain category.
- The British earn veterancy via their officer units: All units within an officer's command radius contribute to the officer's veterancy, and upon earning a rank the officer's veterancy benefit applies to all units within their radius.
- Panzer Elite units earn veterancy through combat like the US, but upon levelling up get a choice between an Offensive and Defensive upgrade, each level of which is mutually exclusive.
- In Earth 2160, the Morphidians have only defense turrets as structures. Their Worker Unit can instead clone itself and evolve into ever more dangerous combat forms.
- The Goo from Grey Goo (2015) is a contender for the most unconventional and unusual faction in any RTS. Instead of having a Headquarters building, they instead start the game with a Mother Goo. By absorbing Catalyst (the in game resource), they can grow and increase their HP. Once they have enough HP, they can sacrifice it to split off into smaller goo proteans, who themselves split into proper Goo units. Due to their building-less nature, they lose the game when all Mother Goos have been destroyed and they don't have any air units. Additionally, several of their units (most promenatly, mother goos and protean goos) can climb over cliffs and rough terrain, allowing them to ambush other factions.
- The Shroud doesn't build powerup modules on their structures. Instead, they can evolve their buildings into different ones. They may also build a power pylon that increases the abilities of every structure within its radius, including defensive turrets. Additionally, the Shroud are the only faction to have upfront costs for units, instead of gradually spending it over the course of a unit's production. Their extractors also directly siphon Catalyst off of the spigots, instead of needing to have a harvester ferry it between a refinery and extractor. Said extractors can also "undeploy" move about as if it were a unit and redeploy at other catalyst spigots.
- The Terrans are the only faction to start with a ranged combatant and get a melee fighter later, the only faction without a Build Radius mechanic, the only faction whose "spellcaster" can attack normally, and the only faction with a superweapon (a nuclear missile which is rather more difficult to deploy than you'd think).
- The Zerg's heavy fliers have no air-to-air capabilities, leaving them without the option to simply spam 12 Capital ships and call it "a fleet." They require a mix of light Mutalisks to (funny enough) guard the Guardians from airborne threats.
- In StarCraft II's co-op mode, commanders are mostly variations on the standard races - you build a base and army and engage the enemy with it, some adding a Hero Unit in the mix. However:
- Alexei Stukov (at least without a prestige or with his Lord of the Horde prestige) has a completely different playstyle: he builds bunkers that spawn a constant stream of free, time-limited units, which he can control all at once by placing the Psi Emitter anywhere on the map. This makes his play much more economy-focused and more friendly to low-APM players.
- Tychus, on the other hand, has no regular units at all - he can hire up to five "outlaws", (anti)hero units, from a roster of eight, and once you've picked an outlaw, you cannot replace them with another one for the duration of the mission, only rebuild them if they're killed. His gameplay is very micro-intensive, with great focus on the units' abilities.
- Arcturus Mengsk's infantry have a Stance System similar to the Alliance Peasant's, where they swap between a Worker Unit in a Hardiman-style powered exoskeleton, and a basic soldier with assault rifles. Furthermore, in soldier mode, they can be upgraded with a SAW, a Grenade Launcher, or an anti-air missile pod.
- While all of the races in Total War: Warhammer play radically differently from one another, there are some notable examples between the races, some of which even occur within racial subfactions.
- Certain Legendary Lords have access to unique units, such as Aranessa Saltspite having human Sartosan Pirates and Eltharion the Grim having unique Mistwalker units. Sometimes these units come from other factions, such as Arkhan the Black having certain Vampire Counts units, Alarielle the Everqueen having Forest Spirit units, and Rakarth having multiple beast options from different factions. The most notable example is Drycha Hamadreth, who has limited access to Wood Elf units (and those which she can recruit are of lower quality due to them being Brainwashed and Crazy), due to her Fantastic Racism. To offset this, she instead has access to unique beast and Malevolent Tree Spirit units, culminating in her being able to free her master Coeddil as a Legendary Hero (where other Wood Elf factions instead unlock Ariel as a Legendary Hero).
- The Dwarfs have no cavalry whatsover, use Rune Magic rather than traditional magic (their spells do not cost winds of magic but instead share the same cooldown), and they suffer no civil wars.
- The Tomb Kings are unique for their units not costing any upkeep, but as a consequence they are heavily constrained by caps on different unit types that can only be expanded through either infrastructure or technologies. However, their economic capabilities are relatively poor which limits their ability to expand their roster. In battle proper, they also have a resource called the Realm of Souls, which heals their units over certain thresholds (based on how many units they have lost) and eventually (once the maximum threshold is reached) allows them to summon a unit of Ushabti on the battlefield.
- The Warriors of Chaos and Beastmen do not have settlements, instead having hordes. The Beastmen also have a similar system to the Tomb Kings in that their units are free but are limited by specific caps, which they can expand through the use of their unique Dread resource, which they gain based on the number of slain enemies, destroyed settlements, certain buildings, or from events and missions. This resource can be used to recruit lords and heroes, including the other Beastmen Legendary Lords regardless of campaign, as well as to create items. They can also erect Herdstones on the ruins of captured settlements, which are "mini-settlements" that help support their armies and can be upgraded with Dread.
- The Hunter and the Beast DLC introduces Nakai the Wanderer and Markus Wulfhart, who play so differently when compared to their base factions that the campaign selection screen will list different racial attributes for them compared to lords of the same race. Nakai is the more mechanically unusual of the duo. To start, he is a horde faction while the Lizardmen normally are sedentary, and any city his faction conquers can either be dedicated to a specific Old One or given over to his vassal faction, the Defenders of the Great Plan. In Wulfhart's case, his unit access is highly limited at first, and he has to earn the support of the Empire provinces back home to gain better quality units. He also has to handle a threat level system which gauges how hostile the Lustrian continent is towards his colonization efforts. He can also can recruit four Legendary Hunters, each with their own quest chains the completion of which leads to more benefits, especially during the final battle.
- Each of the monogod factions have a unique element not found in other Chaos factions, and sometimes when compared to the every other faction.
- Khorne is the only faction without access to any sort of magic.
- Tzeentch is an oddity among Chaos factions in that they have strong ranged capabilities. They are also able to upgrade their Lords of Change (both as Lords and single entity monsters) to wield a wide range of spells from different lores of magic, allowing for whole armies of spellcasters without resorting to Hero spam.
- In terms of campaign mechanics, Nurgle plays unlike any other faction in a Total War game so far, instead playing more like a gradually spreading infestation that reflects the cycle of life Grandfather Nurgle embodies. Their buildings are not manually upgraded but instead evolve over time into higher tiers of infrastructure before eventually withering and starting again from the base state. They do not summon their forces at full strength but instead have them grow to their full strength over time after being summoned, much like in Thrones of Britannia. Their units can be recruited in any neutral or friendly territory from a global pool, but are constrained by unit caps much like the Beastmen and Tomb Kings. They also have access to the Plague Cauldron which allows them to concoct different sorts of Mystical Plagues that ravage their enemies while empowering their own forces.
- While most Chaos factions are, well, Always Chaotic Evil in the eyes of all non-Chaos factions and as such are unable to conduct any diplomatic action with them aside from war, Slaanesh is uniquely able to conduct diplomacy as usual with other non-Chaos factions. They even have the unique mechanic of being able seduce enemy units into switching sides for the duration of battles.
- Warcraft III: Casters tend towards the Squishy Wizard and have three spells each, but there are exceptions:
- The Druid of the Claw is much tougher than its counterparts in Night Elf form and can turn into a bear to make it even tougher (with stats slightly lower than the other factions' T3 melee unit), although this makes him unable to cast spells (until the expansion where it can cast its Roar spell to increase allied damage).
- The Druid of the Talon can turn into a crow, giving it a much stronger Anti-Air attack and greatly improving its survivability. It too can cast its Faerie Fire spell in animal form, reducing enemy armor.
- The undead's Obsidian Statue has two area healing spells (one for life and one for mana) and a weak attack. However, it can eventually transform into the monstrous Destroyer, a flying Anti-Magic unit that can eat enemies' buffs to replenish its mana (which is uniquely negative) to make its attacks even stronger.
- Intelligence heroes are all ranged except the Goblin Tinker, a melee caster hero whose ultimate turns him into a tough mechanical unit, making him immune to many spells (including beneficial ones). Rather than the standard 3 abilities and an ultimate, he has a passive ability that makes his other spells more powerful.
- While every faction has a hero that can summon units as an ability, The Beastmaster hero has 3 such abilities, with an ultimate that leaves him helpless but sends unkillable Action Bomb summons towards an area.
- Sword of the Stars: The Pit: The Lich. In exchange for immunity to poison, disease and hunger and a variety of unique abilities including Animate Dead, he needs to keep track of his psionic reserves because running out will kill him as surely as actually running out of HP.
- Enter the Gungeon:
- The Bullet. Its starting weapon, Blasphemy, is the only purely melee weapon in the entire game, although it can fire Sword Beams if it has full health. It also starts with a passive item that makes it immune to contact damage and makes rolling into enemies damage them, not only encouraging aggressively rolling into enemies, but makes it immune to any enemy that only damages with contact damage.
- The Robot as well. It starts with six armor but has no hearts, meaning it has no easy way to keep health up, collecting Junk gives it a stacking additive 5% increase in damage per piece and notable for being the only two abilities in the game that's built into a Gungeoneer rather than being tied to a starting item. To compensate, it starts with the strongest side arm in the game, a passive item that boosts accuracy and makes all shots electrify water pools along with an active item that makes said water pools. To compensate for being unable to gain heart containers, anything that gives one gives one armor instead and Master Rounds give armor equal to the chamber number plus one. Since the Robot doesn't use heart containers, it also takes only one damage from Jammed enemies, making it a good character for cursed runs.
- Several The Binding of Isaac characters operate on different rules than the rest.
- ???/Blue Baby cannot gain any permanent Heart Containers, only being able to use the "shielding" soul hearts. This leads to a few items working very differently for him (for example, Whore of Babylon, which normally activates at half of a red heart of HP, is always active for him because the game treats him as having zero red hearts).
- Azazel's tears are replaced with a Brimstone laser, which is usually not overridden by other tear effects. While the laser is powerful, it has an absurdly low range even with range upgrades (the normal Brimstone item gives infinite range), meaning he mostly works as a melee class. He's also one of two characters to start with flight.
- Eden is the "randomizer" character, starting with different items and stats each run. Because of the potential to exploit this via resetting, playing as Eden requires a special currency that is only gotten by beating a late-game boss.
- The Lost takes ???'s restriction even further: no hearts. One damaging hit, and you're dead, no questions asked. Compensating for this is an innate ability to fly and shoot wall-piercing tears, being able to freely Deal with the Devil, and (in the Afterbirth expansion) the Holy Mantle as an unlockable starting item, which takes a single hit per room.
- Lilith wears a blindfold, a special item that prevents her from shooting tears at all. She instead has to rely on familiars, which she has a starting set to take advantage of: an Incubus that follows her around and shoots bullets that copy her tear properties, a usable item that clones her familiars for a single room, and an item that can grant her a permanent new familiar when she takes damage.
- Keeper swaps out the standard heart system for two "coin" hearts, which replenish themselves when he picks up money. However, he cannot gain more than his starting two (until Repentance, where the cap was raised to three). He also starts with a triple shot that spreads out wider than the multishot granted by items like The Inner Eye and Mutant Spider. As of Repentance, he also now pays for Devil deals with money instead of health.
- The Forgotten is peculiar, because it acts as two characters rolled into one. It doesn't shoot tears; instead, it has a bone that can be swung as a melee attack, or thrown as a boomerang. It also gets bone hearts (max 6) instead of regular health containers; they can take three hits instead of the usual two, but break irreparably once depleted. The second character, The Soul is a ghost with flight and wall-piercing tears, uses soul hearts (max 6) as health, and can use the first character's now inanimate body as a shield - but it cannot fly too far away from said body. Dying as any of the two automatically kills the other.
- Bethany has low starting damage and she cannot use soul hearts, forcing her to rely on regular health containers for survival. Instead, she collects soul hearts and can consume them at will to recharge her active item. Incidentally, she starts with the Book of Virtues, an active item that spawns wisp familiars: combined with Bethany's ability, it can quickly spawn a ton of wisps acting as shields and shooters. As an official character in Repentance (she originated from the Antibirth mod), the Book of Virtues stacks with other active items, gaining the charge time of the second item and sometimes affecting what kinds of wisps are spawned.
- Jacob & Esau are two characters controlled at once, each with their own stats (Jacob has more health, Esau more damage) and items carried. Having two characters means having twice the tears and twice the active items at once, but also twice the hitboxes - and, if one of them dies, the other instantly dies too. The duo also use so many buttons that they have a special key combination to even use pills/cards/runes.
- Repentance also introduced 17 new characters, which ALL have their own unusual gimmick: The "Tainted" version of every character, each one coming with a gimmick that could be seen as a "twisted" version of their usual gameplay. There's no point in listing all 17, but here's a few of the weirder ones.
- Tainted Cain starts with an item called the Bag of Crafting, which lets him gather consumables to craft them into nearly any item. However, he can't use any actual items, instead converting them into a selection of random pickups.
- Tainted ??? can't use bombs, instead collecting various types of poop which he can throw at enemies. His poops have a wide variety of effects, but he can only carry 9 at a time.
- Tainted Forgotten is a unique Puppet Fighter. You play as a ghost that can fly but has no direct way to deal damage, while your body is indestructible and can hit enemies with a melee attack. You can only damage enemies by carefully throwing your body into position.
- Tainted Jacob starts as a normal character. Thirty seconds after the start of each floor however, the vengeful ghost of Esau emerges from Hell and chases you for the rest of the floor. The ghost can hurt enemies, but if he ever catches your character, you turn into a ghost that dies in one hit unless you reach the next floor.
- Every class in Dicey Dungeons has its gimmick, but some classes stand out in terms of how unique their gameplay is.
- The Robot doesn't roll dice at the start of its turn like other classes. Instead, it has to basically play a game of blackjack: it's able to roll an extra die as many times as it wants, but if the total value of the dice exceeds a certain number, all of its moves are disabled for the turn, while hitting the number exactly lets you use a special move.
- The Witch can "equip" up to six spells in her spellbook, which have to be invoked into her four spell slots by using the appropriate dice before being used. This is quite different from the other characters, whose equipment is there from the start of the fight.
- The Jester doesn't equip cards like other classes. Instead, it stores its cards in a deck, and draws three of them each turn at random.
- While all characters in Slay the Spire play differently by virtue of working with different card sets, the Defect has the unique orbs mechanic that the Ironclad and Silent lack. The Defect can use their cards to channel one of four types of orbs in the slots above them during battle, which stick around and activate a passive effect after their turn (Lightning attacks a random enemy, Frost makes extra points of Block, Dark stores attack power that gets released once it's evoked, and Plasma generates Energy used to play cards). If an orb gets pushed off the slots by the addition of another orb, then it activates a stronger "Evoke" effect before disappearing; certain cards can also evoke orbs automatically. The Defect has less direct offense/defense options than the other characters, so playing them well well requires channeling many orbs and evoking them at the right time.
- X-Universe series:
- While most ships are built around combat with guns, whether energy or kinetic, the M8 bombers and M7M missile frigates introduced in X3: Terran Conflict are purpose-built for Macross Missile Massacre. Where other ships have a several gun slots and a single ventrally mounted missile tube, these carry two and eight tubes respectively that can fire simultaneously in huge barrages, and at most two rear-facing guns. Though fielding them requires construction of a supply train to produce and distribute ordnance, in player hands they're absolute Game Breakers since NPC ships rarely have any missile defense worth mentioning until X3: Albion Prelude added the Mosquito Missile Defense system.
- Military Transport freighters introduced in X3: Terran Conflict are moderately fast, well shielded freighters with mediocre-at-best weaponry. However, they make up for their mundane stats by swapping out the standard freight modules for fighter docking clamps, allowing them to carry their own escort internally. A Magnetar TM kitted out with four Eclipse M3+ heavy fighters is a force to be reckoned with.
- The M7DC Drone Frigate ship class introduced in the Xtended Terran Conflict Game Mod. Terrible weaponry barely more powerful than a corvette and with poor shielding, they rely on their ability to produce their own advanced fighter drones on the fly. The drones are launched en masse (up to 24 at a time) and have stats similar to a M4-class interceptor. The ships make excellent patrol vessels due to their speed and force projection ability much like a real carrier, at the fraction of the price of a standard M1-class carrier with significantly easier logistics. The ships later appeared in X3: Albion Prelude, though they function more like miniature carriers rather than a unique ship class.
- The expansion Albion Prelude added a few M2+ superdestroyers that typically include a gimmick in addition to being even bigger, tougher, and slower than normal destroyers. The ATF Valhalla and Terran Kyoto are Battlestars that can dock ships of up to corvette size, for instance (carriers can only dock up to heavy fighters, and destroyers can't dock anything), while the Xenon I has a pair of missile turrets that can use missile frigate ammunition. In their original incarnation in the Xtended Terran Conflict Game Mod, they also were the only (non-Kha'ak) ships capable of using the Point-To-Point jumpdrive to jump anywhere in a sector rather than being forced to rely on jump gates.
- In the original Xtended Game Mod for X3: Reunion, each major race had a M8 class Support Frigate, each with its own gimmick. The OTAS Custodian could regenerate shields and their Heavy Capture Frigate was the only ship capable of launching Boarding Party operations, the Teladi Tern could lay mines, the Argon Griffon could manufacture Attack Drones and the Split Panther could produce fighters, the Boron Swordfish could sap shields, the Paranid Agamemnon could fire shield-penetrating missiles, and the Terran Ollerus could manufacture new Jump Gates. A number of these ships appeared in X3: Terran Conflict and X3: Albion Prelude, with the Panther appearing as a pocket carrier in TC, the Griffon as a M7C carrier-frigate in AP, while the functionality of the Heavy Capture Frigate and Agamemnon became a new game mechanics and the foundation for a whole new class, respectively.
- While all chassis types in MechWarrior Living Legends have vastly different handling from each other (stompy robots, tanks, hovercraft, planes, etc.), the Long Tom Artillery Tank is by far the most unusual. Whereas most tanks are designed to get right in people's faces and start ripping and tearing or providing Anti-Air and Anti-Infantry support, the Long Tom carries nothing but a single massive BFG that fires 200kg high-explosive shells over a kilometer away capable of One-Hit Kill direct hits against light targets. The gun is so powerful that the tank must be anchored down before firing. The weapon's range is so great that it extends beyond the vehicle's radar range, requiring a Target Spotter and some mental arithmetic to judge the weapon's travel time and arc.
- World of Warships has the aircraft carrier class, both before and after their overhaul. For all the rest of the ships (cruisers, destroyers, and battleships), each player controls one ship and its armament from a first- or third-person perspective. But before the overhaul, aircraft carriers played like a real time strategy game, with each carrier player controlling their own ship and a number of squadrons of aircraft from a top-down view. After the overhaul, the player can only control one squadron at a time from a third-person view, and must control the carrier only via waypoints, which is still a wildly different gameplay style from every other ship in the game.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- Bards in several editions, including Pathfinder, focus on their "Bard Songs"note , abilities that can be used to buff allies and debuff enemies. The Bard class is also a bit of a Jack of All Stats, Master of None; it tends to combine martial combat, spells, and skills but are below average at all three unless one decides to specialize in one of those aspects.
- In some early editions, the Thief class itself being the only one with explicit, percentile-based skills would count as this Trope.
- Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition and the first edition of Pathfinder feature a good number of classes that fit this Trope:
- The Sorcerer, which debuted here, casts spells from level-restricted slots like a Wizard, but doesn't need to decide what spell a slot will be used for ahead of time. He has a limited number of spells known as a consequence, compared to the Wizard who can learn new spells through study or the Cleric who simply knows all cleric spells automatically. The Favored Soul is an equivalent class for Cleric spells. The Dread Necromancer, Healer, and Warmage all combine the Sorcerer's spontaneous spellcasting mechanic with knowing every spell on their list like a Cleric does, but their spell lists are smaller and more narrowly focused than those of other spellcasters.
- The Psion in 3.5E is basically a Sorcerer but with the gimmick of a Mana Meter instead of Vancian Magic. Prior to this edition, psionic classes also had substantially different rules regarding how the powers worked, to the point that they weren't considered magic (and therefore could function in places where magic couldn't) and had different affects based on whether the target was psionic or not.
- The Warlock in the 3.5E splatbook Complete Arcane has a sharply limited selection of available spells and are locked out of the metamagic system, but can cast them an unlimited number of times per day. The Dragonfire Adept in late-edition supplement Dragon Magic is another class that uses the same spellcasting system.
- The 3.5E splatbook Magic of Incarnum adds classes that work off of the Essentia mechanic, which revolves around Diverting Power between the user's abilities from round to round, as well as a whole new magic category called Meldshaping, which allows the user to enchant themselves with spectral equipment called "soulmelds". Soulmelds can optionally be filled with Essentia to increase their strength, or equipped in the user's magic item slots to unlock new abilities.
- Also from 3.5E, The Tome of Battle was infamous for its mechanical and tonal shift, being more Wuxia-influenced than other D&D splatbooks had been up to that point. The classes put both implicitly and overtly supernatural and magical abilities into the hands of melee combatants, breaking a divide that was somewhat baked into the system by that point.
- And then there are Binders, who are not only quite dissimilar to the other classes, but can very easily end up quite dissimilar to themselves yesterday. Essentially, a Binder gains powers by forming a pact with mysterious entities from outside reality; they can change pacts every day or so, and this brings with it a shift in special powers and bonus feats. The same book Binders were from had two other new magic systems, but Shadowcasters were comparatively standardnote and Truenamers were fundamentally unworkable because their skill check-based magic system went up in difficulty considerably faster than the player's skill could without a magic item granting a huge bonus to the Truespeak skill.
- Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, has most of the earlier classes represent a particular fantasy archetype, meaning most of the later classes mainly exist because of a certain mechanical gimmick and share archetypes with an earlier class. For instance: the Avenger (gimmick: roll twice for each attack, same archetype as Paladin), Psion, Runepriest (gimmick: switch between offensive and defensive mode at will, same archetype as Cleric), and the fact that there are two different classes named Assassin that both feature a different gimmick.
- Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition has a few unorthodox classes itself:
- 5E marked the return of Warlocks as a core class, much like in 4E, but they're unusual among spellcasters for a few reasons. Instead of gaining additional spells per day for each individual spell level as they level up, Warlocks have very few spell slots to begin with, and gain very few over their careers. However, these slots automatically scale to the highest spell level that the Warlock can cast, so weak spells can be automatically strengthened and strong spells can be used as needed. Additionally, Warlocks are the only spellcasters that refresh their spell slots after a short rest; so long as they stop to take a breather once in a while, they'll always have magic at the ready, not just after a full night's sleep.
- Cardcasters, as the name implies, are spellcasters who make use of cards for magic. But not just any ol' card though, they're all themed around Tarot Motifs that determine what spells a Cardcaster can cast based on what they have on hand at the moment. But not just that either. Not only do Cardcaster players rely on cards for their magic, they make use of said tarot cards in real life. Fortunately (pun not intended), the makers of the Cardcaster class were generous enough to make their own set for potential players to pick up, which is even encouraged to help those immerse themselves to the class.
- The Kineticist is a spellcaster class which uses Burn instead of spell slots; every point of burn temporarily reduces max hit points, and it scales with the spellcaster's level. While this can be devastating to their survival if they spam spells, the catch is that they start out with a standard elemental blast spell, which is cantrip (meaning unlimited use) yet starts with the power of a 1st level spell and scales over time to the Kineticist's level. Half of the Kineticist's spells are centered around empowering this blast, and all spells can lower their burn costs if the caster spends their turn charging energy. This essentially turns the Kineticist into a magical gunner; they can either spend turns charging up to create high-level spell slots, or unleash their fury with a death-or-glory attack.
- Alchemicals are a mechanically unusual splat which have the unique ability to trade out their Charms during downtime, while Lunars are the only ones with a shapeshifting system. Sidereals may also qualify, given that their gimmick is founded on having an incredibly weird interpretation of their skills - their Medicine tree is used to kill undead, while Archery has a Charm that allows them to shoot health at someone, and their best persistent Dodge enhancer is in Performance.
- The previews for third edition indicate that the Infernals are going to have their own unusualness in the form of the Shintai system, which has gone from One-Winged Angel Charms to a point buy system with effects based on the Charms you buy, and the new Exigents are going to be unusual because they will be focused on designing your own powers rather than starting with ones that already exist.
- The fighting-game-inspired Burn Legend shard has the Ryuujin (Terrestrial-equivalent), Okami (Lunar-equivalent) and Tennin (Sidereal-equivalent) as the most unusual options, with most of the rest having a relatively straightforward moveset with maybe some discounts or unusual side effects. Earth, Air, Fire and Water Ryuujin have two levels of technique, and need to invest in the lower levels to unlock the higher: Earth has Metal, Air has Lightning, Fire has Shadow, and Water has Ice (Wood Ryuujin can take the base techniques of any other kind, but not the higher-level ones). The Okami have different moves depending on whether they're in their human or beast form, although since you buy them from the same point pool and beast moves are more powerful, generally they just go werewolf in the first round and stay that way unless there's a really good reason not to. Tennin are the only ones with a three-tier system that matters in play: you need to use tier one moves to be able to use tier two in the next round, and tier two moves unlock a tier three (their moves get more dice in their pools to compensate for the loss of flexibility).
- The Ghost faction from Smash Up. For most other factions (and most card games), it is favourable to have more cards on hand. The Ghost faction requires the player to have as few cards on hand in order to be at their most effective, and even have cards that force discarding from hand. However, their cards are very powerful when used right, including playing from the discard pile, a Mind Control action, and an action that makes a minion an Intangible Man.
- 13th Age has the Occultist from "13 True Ways". Unlike most other classes, which do things in their turn, the Occultist mostly gathers Focus in its own turn, then expends that Focus to power a move in someone else's turn depending on the circumstances of the battle and the actions their allies are taking. They do get a Focus-expending attack that allows them to discharge it at the start of their turn if they haven't had a power triggered, then charge it up again with their standard action.
- From the same book comes the Chaos Mage, which knows all of their spells by default (and casts them at the highest possible level they can), but has very limited control over what spell they're going to cast. They can also inflict bizarre and uncontrollable effects on the battlefield, like a living Rod of Wonder.
- The Monk is unusual, because they like the tabletop version of a fighting game character. They have three levels of attack (Jab, Punch, and Kick), and fight by chaining together combos of martial arts level abilities. The Drunken Monk variant is even more unusual, because (like the chaos mage) they have almost no control over what kind of move they're going to do next!
- Really, this applies to almost every 13th Age class to some degree; from the Barbarian's mechanic of rolling 2d20s (and critting if they both hit and exceed 11), to the Necromancer's ability of becoming more powerful if they spend a full round monologuing... It's a weird game.
- More than a few archetypes are designed to be one of these:
- Crystal Beasts are placed in your Spell/Trap Zone as Continuous Spells when they're destroyed. Their support grants various effects based on the number of Crystal Beasts you have either on the field or treated as Spell Cards.
- Dark World monsters are designed around being discarded by an effect, and Fabled monsters are designed around being discarded for any reason. Their support cards generally focus on helping them discard.
- Elemental HERO Neos and the Neo-Spacian monsters, as well as Gladiator Beasts and later introduced Contact Fusion archetypes, are capable of being summoning Fusion Monsters via Contact Fusion; despite being Fusion Monsters, they don't use Fusion Spells, and aren't treated as being Fusion Summoned.
- Exodia the Forbidden One is an Instant-Win Condition that triggers the instant you have all five pieces in your hand, without you actually having to play anything. This is the only way you can win the game before either player has a chance to play any cards.
- Fire Kings either destroy (not discard) other cards in your hand or destroy themselves, or have effects that trigger when they're destroyed. Their support cards focus on destroying them.
- Infernity monsters, like the Ghost faction in Smash Up, require the player to empty their hand to use their effects.
- Most Infernoids can't be summoned without banishing other Infernoids from your Hand or Graveyard.
- Lightsworn monsters and their support send cards from your deck directly to the Graveyard. This is a boon to many archetypes or decks that require certain cards be in the graveyard.
- PSYFrame monsters are designed to Synchro Summon during your opponent's turn instead of your own, using their field spell.
- Gemini Monsters are Effect Monsters, but have an effect that causes them to be treated as Normal Monsters while on the field or in the Graveyard. They can be Normal Summoned a second time, while already on the field, to give them their Effect Monster effects; if their effect is negated while they're treated as a Normal Monster, this also causes them to be treated as an Effect Monster, but doesn't give them their Effect Monster effects.
- Pendulum Monsters as a whole usually go to the Extra Deck instead of the Graveyard when they leave the field, and a great deal of their support revolves around destroying them. They can also be played as a Pendulum Scale, which means treating them as a type of Continuous Spell instead of a Monster on top of Pendulum Summoning setups, but they cannot be Set on Pendulum Zones.
- Link Monsters' main gimmick lies in their Link Arrows. While previously you could place your cards wherever as long as you abided by the Arbitrary Headcount Limit, with Link Monsters, the exact zone they are placed in matters since they interact with whatever zone or monster they point to.
- More than a few archetypes are designed to be one of these:
- Each warcaster and warlock in Warmachine plays differently from one another. Having different spells and abilites, but a few stick out.
- The Butcher's second version generates his Focus points at random unless he destroyed models in the previous turn, and attacks everything in range, friend or foe, when he makes a melee attack.
- Karchev is encased within a warjack, giving him the abilities and attributes of both a heavy jack and a warcaster.
- Jeremiah Kraye makes warjacks in his army behave like cavalry with increased maneuverability and speed.
- Sturm and Drang are a lab built creature whose two sides are constantly fighting for dominance. With different spells and abilities depending on which side is in control.
- The Convergence of Cyriss faction's warjacks act completely different depending on which warcaster is controlling them. Gaining the melee and ranged attack skill of the warcaster, in addition to each one giving their warjacks a different ability. Melee focused warjacks being useless in one warcaster's hands but fantastic with another.
- The Grymkin's Defiers function like warlocks, but do not have Feats like regular warlocks and warcasters. Instead they have "Arcana", abilities which are triggered by events and conditions in game.
- Khador armies in general. Most Warmachine armies have a mixture of lighter, skirmishing warjacks and heavier, damage-dealing warjacks, and generally have at least one unit with an arc node to channel spells. Khador, due to a near-complete lack of arc nodes and a serious lack of cortexes, builds every warjack on the template of "giant slab of murderous iron", and has no arc nodes on anything unless you count "axe to the face" as a spell.
- The Doomed in Masks: A New Generation is defined by an oncoming grim fate that, apart from people playing the Transformed who pick a very specific advancement option, nobody else really has. This not only puts a limit on how long a Doomed character is playable (if your doom track fills up too often, you die), but also changes the standard options every other playbook gets; everyone else, even the Transformed, can shift to another playbook as a higher-experience advancement option, but for the Doomed, this plays out more like a controlled detonation where they trigger a confrontation with their fate in a setting where they get a chance to survive, then they're allowed to change playbooks. (The "retire character" option, incidentally, shifts from "retire from the life or become a paragon of the city" to "become a paragon of the city for as long as you have left".)
- Each Skin in Monster Hearts has variations on the basic template, such as the Infernal's bargains or the Fae's promises. The Angel takes the cake, though, as it has no Dark stat. Instead they have a sliding scale of Trespass and Forgiveness that shows how much they have fallen.
- The UM-R60 UrbanMech in BattleTech is a bizarre little 'Mech that is usually met with derision and scorn, because it is a light 'Mech (30 tons) that's trying to be a Mighty Glacier (there are mechs three times its size that are twice as fast as it is). The UrbanMech, by contrast, is small, slow, and has only two weapons, one of which is limited to 10 shots before it runs out of ammo. However, that one weapon is an AC/10, one of the biggest guns mounted on any light mech. It's also got some of the heaviest armor of any Light 'Mech, which means it has durability. Sure, it looks funny and doesn't drive well and can't withstand an extended engagement. But if it's piloted correctly, it can be surprising as hell. And if it's part of a lance that's using its abilities to the fullest (ambush tactics), then it can be deadly. Just don't take it out into an open field.
- Twilight Imperium (4th ed) contains 17 playable factions, each with a different playstyle, but a few standout here:
- The Brotherhood of Yin are roughly similar to others in their general playstyle, but their flagship is unique. Instead of being a powerful addition to their fleets, the "Van Hauge" is a weapon of mass desctruction that will destroy everything in its system if it dies. This leads to it being treated like a missile.
- The Nekro Virus, can't research technology on their own. Instead they must steal technology from other players by destroying their ships or manipulating politics; though as a trade-off, they can steal techs that are normally faction exclusive. Speaking of politics, their "Galactic Threat" means they can't cast votes during political phases. Both of these traits to lead a very different playstyle from other factions.
- The Arbortec can't produce infantry at their space docks; instead their infantry have Production - they are able to grow their organic spaceships or more troops directly out of their existing ground troops (or flagship). These differences encourage a very different approach to producing units from other factions.
- In Chess, the Knight is this. Every other piece moves orthogonally and/or diagonally, and their movement can be blocked by other pieces in the way. The Knight instead moves in an L-shape and is not obstructed by other pieces. Due to their unique way of moving, they're the only pieces who can threaten a queen without exposing themselves to said queen.
- Warhammer 40,000:
- Knights and Chaos Knights are the only armies to be constructed entirely from the superheavy "Lords of War" category, meaning that their model count is normally in the single digits (although the price is typically not that different). Knights are very powerful, but often struggle when a tournament meta is assembled, because they're vulnerable to dedicated anti-vehicle fire.
- The Dark Eldar/Drukhari had a system introduced for working around their multifaceted army structure: instead of trying to build a large force of one subfaction the way, say, Space Marines would, they were actively incentivised to take small detachments of disparate core military, Wyches, and Haemonculi to create a patched-together coalition.
- A common trend in Tyranid mechanics, with varying severity by edition, was that they were the only ones to require unit support in the form of the "synapse net" - making sure each unit was supported by something such as a brood of Tyranid Warriors or a Zoanthrope that could patch them into the Hive Mind and allow you to control them rather than be at the mercy of their instincts.
- In older editions, when there was one main "Force Organisation chart" in place of the game's current detachment system, some subfactions could shift it around - for example, the Iron Warriors Chaos Marines could forfeit two Fast Attack choices for an extra Heavy Support to bring a big gun.
- It's since been abandoned, but in some older editions, Orks had a rule for "Mobbing Up" which meant that when Ork units fled, they tended to group up into giant Katamari blobs containing the leaders and guns of the component squads.
- In the Adeptus Titanicus spinoff, while all the Titan Legions have their own quirks, some have more bizarre effects on play others, such as the Legio Gryphonicus's mechanics encouraging them to 1v1 enemy Titans instead of the usual strategy of killing one target at a time, the Legio Venator's ability to ad-lib squadrons every turn, Legio Vulcanum's double-commander gimmick, Legio Infernus's focus on daemonic mutations or Legio Mordaxis's Mighty Glacier Titans that radiate a debilitating area of effect. And, for those who want to go really weird, there's the option of running a Knight Household instead and focusing on much smaller mecha in much larger numbers.
- Warhammer Fantasy Battle:
- While it was eventually abandoned in favour of focused factions, for a while the Chaos army had three separate sections: Beasts, Mortals and Daemons. Your choice of general determined which were treated as Core units, with the others relegated to Special - so, a Chaos Lord would make Marauders and Warriors Core, but could only take Beasts or Daemons as restricted Special units, while a Beastlord would push Marauders and Warriors to Special and open up the Core choices to Brayherds and the like.
- Undead armies were invulnerable to morale mechanics but took casualties on losing combat and could only move quickly near the general. Tomb Kings also had a sequence to their Magic phase where you could only use spellcasters according to a strict hierarchy.
- In Robotech, Southern Cross characters are made a little differently from RDF and REF Character Classes. While RDF and REF define their classes by specialization, Southern Cross instead define their classes by membership in one of the fifteen Armies of the Southern Cross, with Military Occupational Specialty only being an additional skillset (so in the Tactical Corp, their mechanical engineers are still a rifleman first and an engineer second). Furthermore, while the RDF and REF lack dedicated infantry gruntsnote , most Southern Cross forces are primarily infantry, with mecha used as a force multiplier.
- Warframe: towards the beginning, all the 'frames followed a basic pattern. Four abilities, with the first one being a quick-and-dirty tool for damage, two more utility-focused powers, and an "ultimate" power for either damaging and stunning crowds or a more powerful version of the first power. After about twenty 'frames, though, things started to get stranger:
- Vauban the engineer was the first step towards unorthodoxy. While other Warframes cast their powers more like spells, Vauban throws grenades with special effects.
- Zephyr was the very first Warframe to get a passive ability. As the wind-themed Warframe, she is constructed from the ultra-light Oxium alloy, causing gravity to affect her less. However, all Warframes were eventually given passive abilities, ultimately leaving her fairly ordinary.
- Limbo's entire gimmick is that he can access an intermediate plane of existence between normal space and the void, an ability called "rift-walking". Limbo can enter and exit this plane at will and while inside it he is intangible, though still visible, to everyone in normal space and regenerates energy while inside the rift. The downside is that he cannot affect objects in normal space in return, having to go back "into phase" in order to attack enemies, hack terminals, open containers, or collect item drops. His first and fourth abilities allow him to "banish" enemies (or even an overwhelmed ally) into the rift, temporarily taking them out of the fight and allowing him to divide and conquer large groups of enemies or single out particularly troublesome foes.
- Chroma, being based off the chromatic dragons from Dungeons & Dragons, can utilize different elements depending on his primary emissive color. Reds, oranges, and yellows give him Heat damage, blues and purples give him Electric damage, greens give him Toxin damage, and grayscale tones give him Cold damage. This also alters the secondary effects of his Elemental Ward power, making him almost like four Warframes in one.
- Equinox is a big walking yin-yang in humanoid form. By using Metamorphosis, she can switch between the offense-oriented Day form — which can debilitate enemies, buff the damage of allies, and spread a damaging aura to stun/shred everything — and the defense-oriented Night form — which can immobilize enemies, debuff the damage of enemies, and spread a Life Drain aura to heal teammates. Her energy color affects which form she'll default to at the start of missions.
- Inaros has no shields whatsoever, but in addition to two Life Drain powers to make up for it he doesn't die in the traditional way, utilizing a sarcophagus to drain health from nearby enemies. Drain enough, and he can revive himself. He also starts out with more health than any other Warframe can reach without mods, making him truly stand out from the crowd.
- Nidus, like Inaros, has absolutely no shields, but he offsets this by being the only Warframe with innate Regenerating Health, averting the game's standard Regenerating Shield, Static Health. Furthermore, his powers involve juggling a secondary, unique resource, and building up enough can let him ignore lethal damage, regaining 50% health and becoming invincible for a few seconds instead.
- Octavia is the most unusual yet, a music themed frame who has powers such as a rolling disco ball that entrances enemies and a device that deals certain types of damage on certain notes of the songs that players program into it.
- Khora was originally intended to have two unique gimmicks. First, as the beast tamer, she would constantly have a unique Kavat named Venari by her side that would interact with her powers. Second, she would be able to rotate between three forms based on the physical damage typesnote ; one form would be dedicated to offense, another to crowd control, and the last to healing. Ultimately, only the former came to fruition, as the latter was tied to an attempt at reworking the physical damage types that was scrapped after players responded poorly.
- Hildryn is the first of only two Warframes (Lavos being the other) to completely lack an energy pool, instead relying on her massive shields to fuel her abilities. In order to support this, she gets a few extra shield-related perks. First, picking up energy orbs replenishes her shields if they are not full, although no other form of energy regeneration has any effect for her. Her shields also grant her a few forms of extra protection; overshields prevent any damage from ignoring her shields, her health can't be depleted if her shields were damaged by a given hit, and losing her shields entirely grants her a short burst of invincibility, although her shields must fully recharge before the effect can trigger again.
- Lavos, who also doesn't use energy as a resource, instead manages cooldowns on all of his abilities. His armor increases with level in place of energy capacity; the Ability Efficiency stat instead accelerates the cooldown reduction effect of his Transmutation Probe; and energy (or universal) orb pickups allow him to temporarily resist status effects. As a result, he's one of the only Warframes who is not affected by Energy Leech Eximus or Ancient Disruptor enemies.
- Additionally, each of Lavos' abilities has a different base element, and can infuse their element into his next ability cast, allowing him to "mix" elements on the fly so each attack has multiple damage types and inflicts a variety of status effects.
- Lastly, he has a unique interaction with elemental status effects — not only can each of his abilites inflict multiple statuses, but his Ability Duration stat affects the duration of elemental status effects he inflicts with any weapon.
- Specialists in Arknights act differently from the seven other Operator classes. The specifics vary from operator to operator, but they can be broadly separated into several subcategories:
- Fast-redeployment Specialists have extremely low deployment costs and have very quick redeployment cooldown. They are mostly used to plug breaches in your defenses, stall or divert enemies, or kill off stragglers.
- Shift Specialists are able to reposition enemy units with their attacks, often pushing/pulling them to Bottomless Pits. They are also able to be placed on low and high grounds.
- Controller Specialists have lower chances to be targeted by enemies, as well as having innate physical and magical dodge chance. They also have a block value of 0, which means that melee attackers pass right by them instead of engaging them in battle. They usually focus on being placed right into a group of enemies or at key points, where they can use their skills to slow or stun enemies with little threat of retaliation.
- The Bloons Tower Defense series mainly has standard tower defense towers, which attack targets that enter their range. However, there are a few outliers:
- The Monkey Ace flies above the map, firing a spray of darts around itself (and occasionally dropping explosive pineapples, if upgraded).
- The Mortar Monkey fires explosive shells directly at wherever you target.
- The Dartling Gunner has infinite range, and constantly fires towards your cursor.
- The Heli Pilot has four targeting options: following your cursor, staying in place, flying between two points, and chasing the bloons around (the latter must be purchased as an upgrade).
- Psy-Ops in XCOM 2 are quite different from your other classes: they level up through training instead of completing missions and killing aliens, and the abilities they learn are semi-randomly selected. They can even participate in missions while training, the only caveat being that their training will be postponed if they need to recover from injuries. They are the only class that is capable of learning every single ability available to them, given enough time (in contrast to the other classes, which are given a choice between two different abilities for each level). Additionally, their accuracy with weapons pales in comparison to other classes, making them more reliant on their psychic abilities.
- Atlas Reactor has a number of characters with very different or unusual skills for their character type and end up playing differently or picking up hybrid roles as a result:
- Juno is a firepower without a dash move, but instead has a personal shield that soaks damage. Her ultimate ability costs 50 energy to activate instead of 100 and can be kept on during subsequent rounds for a cost of 20 energy.
- Rask's ultimate ability cannot be manually activated by the player and fires off automatically at any round in which Rask starts with full energy, resetting all of Rask's cooldowns in the process. Rask also gains energy by being attacked instead of just by attacking like all other freelancers.
- Quark is a support who has no cooldown skills and whose healing skills can't target themselves. Instead of using powerful single-target heals or attacks with cooldown, Quark uses their primary moves to 'bond' to friendly or hostile characters and deal/heal small amounts of damage over time. Quark also gains small amounts of health from a third move that boosts these bonds for a single round.
- Fire Emblem:
- The Dancer class, as the name implies, dances to allow another character to make a second action that turn. Most other games in the series have a class that serves a similar role in granting a second action, such as the herons in Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn.
- Merlinus' Transporter class from The Blazing Blade is one of the biggest examples of this in the series. After recruiting him, you have the option to deploy Merlinus in any chapter. He's an immobile tent who can't fight, but as long as he's on the map any items obtained by a character with a full inventory can be sent directly to storage (they'd have to drop something otherwise), and any character adjacent to his tent can access the storage. Unlike all other characters, Merlinus is not gone for good if he's defeated in battle, he'll return no worse for wear in the next chapter. Because he can't fight he follows unconventional leveling mechanics: Merlinus automatically levels up every time he survives a chapter, and once he reaches Lv 20 he upgrades to a horse cart and finally gains the ability to move. And while his combat stats are useless, he eventually gains large amounts of Speed and Luck, making him a very effective evasion-tank. He retains his cart in The Binding Blade, but now takes up a deployment slot and can only gain levels from dodging enemies.
- Xane's Chameleon/Freelancer class from Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light and Mystery of the Emblem. He is a Ditto Fighter who can shapeshift into any other ally (except Manaketes) for five turns, with all of the abilities thereof.
- In Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark, most classes level up and learn new abilities by spending AP in their skill trees. The Gadgeteer class is different: while it learns its passive skills and counter ability this way, it can only learn its active abilities by crafting Gadgets in the Troops menu, or by finding Gadgets in treasure chests on the battlefield.
- Heroes of Might and Magic: In II and III, the Necromancer/Necropolis' heroes stand out by being the only hero type(s) to have a skill specifically associated with them: Necromancy.note The skill is entirely core to their playstyle, since it lets them kill enemies to raise as skeletons for their signature Zerg Rush playstyle. Additionally, their troops all ignore the game's Morale Mechanic, are blanket immune to mind spells, and have a host of support and counter spells specifically for them.
- Into the Breach:
- Two of the three alien pilots change the mechanics in unusual ways: Kazaakpleth is the only pilot who replaces the mech's basic Repair ability (swapping it out for a melee attack), while Mafan regenerates a shield every turn, but caps his mech's HP at 1, making him very durable against the first hit each turn, then instantly dead on the second.
- Kai Miller, added in the Advanced Edition, has an ability that raises her mech's damage as long as it isn't damaged. If it's missing HP, the ability shifts a movement penalty until it's patched up.
- The named AI pilots have abilities that require power cores, with Gana's Dynamic Entry, Prospero's flight and Archimedes's Hit-and-Run Tactics costing one core, and Silica's double-shot costing two. However, they can be very powerful, with Gana being able to thin out weak enemies before the scenario even starts, Silica being able to do mammoth damage on a good turn, and Prospero adding mobility to teams that lack it.
- Usually, a retry doesn't modify anything about the scenario, just lets you, well, retry a turn. Adam from the Advanced Edition, however, gets more powerful on turns where you've used a retry...which means that retries can be expended proactively, not to cover up a mistake but as a means of clawing a little extra damage out of Adam when you need it.
- Among the teams, the Arachnophiles and Bombermechs introduced in the Advanced Edition are the only ones to spawn minions in play by default, while the Cataclysm are the only ones to focus on creating Bottomless Pits.