Have You Played... Future Vs. Fantasy Quake?
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Every FPS with skills and characters is being caught up in the ineffectual backlash against MOBAs but heck, the idea's hardly new. Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory from is a cracking class-o-XP-a-shooter and that came out 13 years ago. The first I remember enjoying, though, was Future vs. Fantasy [archived official site] for Quake in '96, '97.
Future vs. Fantasy is a mod for Quake (and later, other Quakes) adding a load of player classes. You might fancy being a fragile Ninja flinging daggers and firebombs while grappling hooking around, a Cyborg Camper with huge area-of-effect attacks, a Wasteland Warrior flinging worms and chemicals, a helpful Cleric summoning heals and pickups, and so on. Heck, you might even fancy being just a plain old Quake soldier. Players level up or power up as they go, one way or another, becoming super-mega-monster-slayers. It's a class-o-XP-a-shooter, yeah?
The problem with some modern FPS-action-RPGs is that they're simply not fun shooters at heart. Future vs. Fantasy was wrapped around Quake. That is a good heart. Strong. FvF is quite different, of course, but it's a solid foundation for something weird and fun to play on the side. I played Quake's episodes dozens of times but FvF was an interesting way to see them fresh - not to mention from a new perspective when playing a class with a grappling hook.
I mostly played FvF in singleplayer, but it does also have co-op, deathmatch, and an objective-based mode I never got to play. The deathmatch was a good silly time. If you fancy a go, you can download FvF over here.