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Revisiting the "Holy Trinity" of MMORPG Classes 362

Posted by Soulskill
from the or-druid-as-the-case-may-be dept.
A feature at Gamasutra examines one of the foundations of many MMORPGs — the idea that class roles within such a game fall into three basic categories: tank, healer, and damage dealer. The article evaluates the pros and cons of such an arrangement and takes a look at some alternatives. "Eliminating specialized roles means that we do away with boxing a class into a single role. Without Tanks, each class would have features that would help them participate in and survive many different encounters like heavy armor, strong avoidance, or some class or magical abilities that allow them to disengage from direct combat. Without specialized DPS, all classes should be able to do damage in order to defeat enemies. Some classes might specialize in damage type, like area of effect (AoE) damage; others might be able to exploit enemy weaknesses, and some might just be good at swinging a sharpened bit of metal in the right direction at a rapid rate. This design isn't just about having each class able to fill any trinity role. MMO combat would feel more dynamic in this system. Every player would have to react to combat events and defend against attacks."
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Revisiting the "Holy Trinity" of MMORPG Classes

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  • Hmm... (Score:2, Funny)

    by XPeter (1429763) *

    We all know that mages are the superior class, so this article is invalid.

  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Friday December 18, 2009 @08:38AM (#30485720)

    And my question is: why would you want to do such thing?

    If you start with a system based on: Two sides dealing damage to an amount of health, the first to reach o health loses.

    You'll reach the roles of:
    Dealing the most damage, receiving the least damage, and avoiding reaching the 0.

    If you want another set of classes, you'll have to change the system, not the allowed skills.

    For example:
    - Add one more number to push into the negatives (typically, armor and shield) and you'll have the posibility of creating a class that manipulates that other number (a shield healer of some sort) a class that damages said number (An EMP mage) and a class that endures more damage to said number (A shield...tank).

    - Add positional advantage (complex to do in mmorpgs for lag reasons) and you'll have a class that restricts movement, one that gives positional advantage to teammates and one that uses more effectively positional advantage.

    etc.

    • by selven (1556643) on Friday December 18, 2009 @09:05AM (#30485884)

      What about:

      -buffing team members
      -weakening enemy team members
      -dispelling or temporarily silencing buffs and debuffs
      -redirecting damage dealt to yourself (ie. tanking)

      Also, you're wrong about positional advantage not being viable, MMOs do it all the time:
      -melee range (some classes are stronger when closer to the enemy)
      -AoEs (some classes are stronger when enemies are clumped together)
      -AoE healing/buffs (some classes are stronger when friends are clumped together)
      -line of sight (some classes only need to be in LoS some of the time to be effective, think buffers and debuffers)

      You can be very complex with just a simple first-to-get-to-zero-loses system.

      • by Thanshin (1188877)

        Also, you're wrong about positional advantage not being viable

        I would've been wrong had I said such thing.

        Otherwise I agree with your post. Even as they stand, there are sufficient elements in a mmorpg to allow for more class specialization, which, in my opinion, is the objective.

        Homogenizing the classes removes detail.

      • That reminds me of the awesome auras available to paladins in Diablo 2. Without the lower resist aura it was hard for mages to deal damage at hell levels.

        • by Lord Pillage (815466) on Friday December 18, 2009 @09:57AM (#30486488)
          Level 20+ thorns was the best, especially if you could find a ton of gear that increased your health regen rate. I didn't need potions and I didn't even need to attack as the enemies simply dealt something like 600% damage they did to me back onto themselves. My health simply regenerated in a couple seconds. That was the best paladin I ever made. Basically Diablo would kill himself.
      • by ottothecow (600101) <ottothecow&gmail,com> on Friday December 18, 2009 @11:50AM (#30487988) Homepage
        I think the article and most of the comments are missing the main point that enforces the trinity...

        The core piece that makes the trinity viable is the tank (or more, the fact that the tank concept is functional).
        The entire trinity is allowed to function because one character can get the attention of all of the monsters (or hold the attention of one big monster), leaving the DPS and healer free to go about their ways. I used to play WoW so my experiance speaks mostly to that...a lot of encounters deal more with managing aggro than with the other elements of the fight (and WoW is set up to make this happen). For example, The priest may be able to heal the tank fast enough that he would never die and the DPS may be able to all out kill him with ease but some monsters have very strong attacks and get distracted easily so you focus on things like timing your heals/attacks with the tanks high aggro abilities and using less efficient spells that have a lower threat rating. All classes have abilities meant to play with aggro (often to no effect other than increasing or reducing aggro) and as long as you can keep the right balance, the mobs stay on the tank and the trinity functions.

        If you want to break up the trinity, this is the cycle that must be broken...it can't be done with giving jack-of-all trades clsses--people will just min-max them into variations of the trinity. To get rid of the trinity, you need mobs and encounters that don't respect the trinity.

        The trinity doesn't hold in most PvP combat because your opponents are smart. When a big warrior charges in, their gut reaction is to throw a couple of blows his way but they will soon realize that that robe-wearing, pale skinned and frail player standing behind him looks like a much easier target...especially if that player is keeping the warrior alive--you know you have to drop the healer no matter how much damage and high aggro abilities the warrior is doling out on you.

        Obviously even with "smart" enemies, there will be preferred group compositions (look at WoW arenas) but there will be more variations and more experimentation when the majority of your party can't sit back in the safety created by tankable mobs.

    • by AlXtreme (223728) on Friday December 18, 2009 @09:08AM (#30485910) Homepage Journal

      Good examples!

      Add one more number to push into the negatives (typically, armor and shield) and you'll have the posibility of creating a class that manipulates that other number (a shield healer of some sort) a class that damages said number (An EMP mage) and a class that endures more damage to said number (A shield...tank).

      Or go in the Cthulhu direction: sanity points! Horrific monsters would require different skills (restore sanity, block horrors etc). You would still end up with a trinity, but you would require a different trinity for different encounters. An emotionally-stable cleric who normally heals would have to tank, for instance.

      • Isn’t that just another skill?

        Can’t we just generalize it to 3 classes for every skill, and allowing users to make their own combinations, thereby allowing a giant number of freedoms with little work and general algorithms?

        Isn’t this already done in pretty much every RPG?

      • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Friday December 18, 2009 @10:25AM (#30486842) Journal

        WoW did this.

        The Yogg-Saron fight (yes, it's heavily Cthulhu-mythos inspired), at the end of Ulduar, requires the raid members to monitor their own sanity level. If it hits 0, the player goes insane and attacks their allies (a condition that lasts until the end of the fight, even if the player is killed and resurrected).

        Sanity is reduced by a number of factors, including semi-random attacks that Yogg-Saron can do on the raid, remaining in proximity to his brain for too long, or facing him while he howls during the final phase of the fight.

        If players have the assistance of the Keeper Freya during the fight, she will provide sanctuary pools in the corners of the encounter room that players can run to if they need to regenerate sanity. In the fight's harder modes, Freya's assistance may not be there and players have to be very careful not to take unnecessary sanity damage.

        It's not a brilliant implementation, I grant you. It would have been awesome if they could have made it so that as your sanity level gets lower, you start seeing odd visual effects, or your controls become less responsive. But it has, at least, been tried.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by pwfffff (1517213)

          WoW did do that, but it's not what he was talking about. Nobody switches roles really to deal with insanity.

          There has been role-switching in WoW before though: ranged-tanking is fairly common for bosses who attack primarily with spells (Mimiron's flying head phase is best tanked by a ranged class standing away from the group), and an upcoming fight in Icecrown requires you to heal the boss to full rather than burn their health down.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Canazza (1428553)

            Three of the five mobs on the Maulgar fight in Gruuls lair were like that.
            Kiggler the Crazed was normally tanked by a class immune to polymorph (Druid, either Feral - the proper tank spec - or Moonkin - the ranged DPS spec)
            Olm the summoner is tanked by a warlock controlling Olms own pets
            Firehand is tanked by a mage who spell-steals his damage shield as he casts his big spells.

            one of my favourite fights (as I got to tank Kiggler :D)

    • by Scutter (18425) on Friday December 18, 2009 @09:59AM (#30486510) Journal

      For example:
      - Add one more number to push into the negatives (typically, armor and shield) and you'll have the posibility of creating a class that manipulates that other number (a shield healer of some sort) a class that damages said number (An EMP mage) and a class that endures more damage to said number (A shield...tank).

      - Add positional advantage (complex to do in mmorpgs for lag reasons) and you'll have a class that restricts movement, one that gives positional advantage to teammates and one that uses more effectively positional advantage.

      Interesting. You just described EVE Online.

    • by toleraen (831634)

      If you start with a system based on: Two sides dealing damage to an amount of health, the first to reach 0 health loses.

      So isn't the system itself flawed then? How about designing MMORPGs that don't rely on running around killing stuff. In traditional RPGs there's so many more ways to deal with an adversary than zerg rushing, yet this hasn't really been used by too many MMORPGs.

  • Two words: (Score:5, Funny)

    by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Friday December 18, 2009 @08:46AM (#30485770)
    Offspec [wowwiki.com] (Apologies for the rubbish link quality, but it gets the point across).

    You can't make classes "jack of all trades." It doesn't work. Someone misses their cue to fire off a spell because they're in the middle of doing something else, and it's all gone to pot. This fictional game from Gamasutra would be great if many MMO gamers (that I've encountered) could keep track of more than one thing at a time. However, having seen healers run backwards into a new mob, tanks which run around between enemies trying to take aggro from other characters who don't need it, and damage dealers who have no concept of aggro mitigation, I'm susprised a lot of MMO players can cross the road without assistance.

    Paraphrasing someone's very famous words: "If it ain't bust, don't fix it."
    • Paraphrasing someone's very famous words: "If it ain't bust, don't fix it."

      Leaving research exclusively in the hands of engineers, we would have perfectly functioning oil lamps, but no electricity.
      (Quote attributed to Albert Einstein.)

  • It's a ridiculous "skill", anyway, and unbalances game play.

    America's Army made this work pretty well. They have a "medic" specialty, and while his primary job is still that of a soldier, the medic's secondary function is to stop a "yellow" wound from becoming "red", and a "red" wound from becoming fatal. But both the casualty and the medic have to stand still for the duration of the bandaging process, and unless you're out of sight you're likely to get shot.

    And nobody in A.A. is a tank. Getting hit repe

    • maybe they should move to a system based on shields, cavalry, infantry, and artillery

      You obviously come from a wargaming background... But I don't think that would be fun to play in an RPG context. The reason behind healing was to allow PCs to live more, like heroes in novels, while dealing with dangers heroes in novels would not.

      • by flitty (981864) on Friday December 18, 2009 @10:02AM (#30486542)
        Wanna come play an MMO with me? I'm always the third guy from the right in the frontline shield phalanx. There was this one time, where i was sitting there, like usual, and this calvary got to close, and I was like *block* and I totally kept him from getting through the frontline.

        It was awesome.
        • by tprox (621523)
          I'm sorry, this comment is just so awesome. I'm laughing hysterically, thanks!
    • by selven (1556643) on Friday December 18, 2009 @09:10AM (#30485930)

      I hate healing for a simple reason: it screws up item scaling balance horribly. Take a healer with 10k health and 800 HPS against a damage dealer with 1000 DPS. The healer survives 50 seconds. Now make the healer 12% more powerful. Bam, there's a 100% increase to survival time. If you let healers be more powerful than damage dealers (and you have to do this if you're going for a pure class/role system), killing a healer is reliant on preventing him from casting for some time, something which does not make for fun gameplay.

      • by idontgno (624372)

        Healtanking. I hate fighting that as a DPS class. Very frustrating to see all the progress you've made towards killing the fool wiped out in one big heal. Meanwhile the trivial damage he's been doing to you adds up, and there's almost nothing you can do about it, and all your good burst damage abilities are burned.

        And then his dps buddy comes over and obliterates you.

        Yeah. The life of a WoW Hunter in PvP.

        The real lesson here: solo duelling is a losing proposition against a healtank unless you're extremely s

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by CodeBuster (516420)
        That was one thing that I liked about Dark Age of Camelot back in the day. The stealth classes, which most people either love or hate, provided some balance in this area by being able to backstab with poisons for massive damage. In PvP this basically meant that if the stealther was equal level to the healer he could kill the healer in seconds with that first surprise attack. Of course, the stealther was then visible to everyone and vulnerable to counter-attack and depending upon what other players where in
  • by bickerdyke (670000) on Friday December 18, 2009 @08:48AM (#30485784)

    Rock.
    Scissors.
    Paper.

    Call them by any other name, but thats how you get an ideal game balance.

    Fighter, Mage, Archer
    Human, Dwarf, Elf
    Fire, Water, Air

    There's a reason why this simple game is still around after possibly a few hundred years. And everyone knows some variant of it, (acid, well, hammer, chainsaw..... you name it) and also knows that they suck. messing up the balance.

    • Not all variations [samkass.com] suck.

      Live long, and prosper. Unless you pick scissors, in which case be crushed!
    • by selven (1556643)

      Works in theory, but fails utterly in practice. 90% of all MMO combats are 1v1, despite Blizzard's efforts to the contrary. You can't have a fun game if you know you're going to dominate 33% of opponents and you know you have no chance against some other 33%.

      • You shouldn't extend it to a "no chance" point in a game thats supposed to last longer than 4 seconds per round.

        But the law of game balance requires that every advantage has to be paid for with a disadvantage. Skill points pretty much work that way. any skill point spent on strength can't be put on Dexterity. Each advantage in melee has to be paid for with a disadvantage in ranged combat.

        But exactly as you mustn't let player create an uber-class by giving them unlimited skill points or "acid" that eats up p

        • I had a high CHA Char a while ago. It pretty much sucked, as the DM preferred to have persuading, haggling et al. played out instead of rolled out.

          Bad DM.

          Look at Terry Pratchett's Discworld books involving the Ankh-Morpork city watch Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson [wikipedia.org]. A guy who is insanely charismatic but usually sounds about as intelligent as a bag of hammers and as naïve as anything. Yet pretty much everyone he meets cannot help but want to behave well in his company. Up to the point of him giving murde

          • I had a high CHA Char a while ago. It pretty much sucked, as the DM preferred to have persuading, haggling et al. played out instead of rolled out.

            Bad DM.

            Look at Terry Pratchett's Discworld books involving the Ankh-Morpork city watch Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson [wikipedia.org]. A guy who is insanely charismatic but usually sounds about as intelligent as a bag of hammers and as naïve as anything. Yet pretty much everyone he meets cannot help but want to behave well in his company. Up to the point of him giving murderers a 'motherly talking to' and them being ashamed of their behaviour, because he doesn't approve of it.

            THAT is charisma.

            I've had the sad experience of playing under DMs who refused to see charisma as anything but a modifier for looks, so I know how you feel.

            That guy is my standard definition for charisma too... :-)

            He wasn't a bad DM, rather an experienced one who tried to make the game varied and intresting by playing as much as possible as real interaction between players and not let it become a dice-a-thon.

            But we rather often fell into the rookie trap of not beeing able to discern between player attribute and char attribute. Can you really sit still and not help your friends if you know the solution of a puzzle, but your char is stupid as said bag of hammers

    • by Thanshin (1188877) on Friday December 18, 2009 @09:09AM (#30485918)

      Fighter, Mage, Archer

      Cleric, Rogue, Warlock!

      Human, Dwarf, Elf

      Halfling, Ogre, Thri Kreen!

      Fire, Water, Air

      Earth? For God's sake how could you miss Earth?

      And you see what all this proves, right?

      Just by watching it you reach the conclusion that the real game is Rock, Paper, Scisors, Lizard and Spock.

    • by Presence2 (240785)

      Rock, Paper, Shotgun - since 1873, the superior answer. (google it)

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      There's a reason why this simple game is still around after possibly a few hundred years.

      I know WoW looks a little old and tired, but I don't think it's been around quite that long.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Friday December 18, 2009 @09:16AM (#30485982) Homepage Journal

      Rock.
      Scissors.
      Paper.

      When I was a kid, we were so poor we only had rock and paper.

    • It's called a nash equilibrium, and what it means in a nutshell is that no one's single strategy can beat anyone else's provided the strategies are fixed (i.e. a fighter cannot take on the attributes of a Mage).
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nash_equilibrium [wikipedia.org]

    • by Lord Pillage (815466) on Friday December 18, 2009 @10:05AM (#30486590)

      Fire, Water, Air...

      Earth! Heart! GOOOOOOO PLANET! "By your powers combined, I AM CAPTAIN PLANET!" ...captain planet, he's a hero, gonna take polution down to zero...

  • Batman analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jollyreaper (513215) on Friday December 18, 2009 @09:01AM (#30485866)

    Pigeonhold the players into one of the 3 style is easy.

    Letting the players to pick and choose from an array of strength / agility / defense for their own character would be a nighmare for those who program the game.

    I always hated the leveling dynamic in rpg's and the idea that you had to be locked into one class. I'm not likely to have the time to play the game again and it would be fun to play different classes.

    So, the Batman analogy. Sure, he's got his standard suit he runs around in. Lightweight for acrobatics, bulletproofing on the chest and weights in the cape so he can hit people but his main defense is not taking hits. But if he needs to tank up, he has heavier suits. His anti-superman suit was basically space marine power armor. He has bat spacesuits, bat diving suits, whatever. The point is, all he needs to do to change roles is change equipment. the trick is knowing what to bring.

    Strangely enough, Armored Core got this idea right. You can build different mechs specialized for different roles. Some missions you need heavy firepower for crushing hard targets with bolts of energy with low fire rates, sometimes you need autocannons that spam out shells all over the place to hit fast-moving light targets. You equip to suit the mission.

    I'd like to see an rpg take that line of reasoning. You need to do sneaking, you carry your light weapons and black tights. Scouting the woods? Longbow, shortsword, cloak. Have to wade into a big melee? Now you bring out the heavy armor.

    But what ends up happening in the online games, and I'm sure the publishers don't mind, people will run several accounts specialized in different roles just to make progress. In EVE people will have industrial characters, pvp characters, miners, etc. And the best part is that if you find you have less time to play, you can't consolidate those characters. Bah. It's a cycle best to avoid by not playing.

    • I'd like to see an rpg take that line of reasoning. You need to do sneaking, you carry your light weapons and black tights. Scouting the woods? Longbow, shortsword, cloak. Have to wade into a big melee? Now you bring out the heavy armor.

      To be fair, WoW does allow Dual Talent Specs. There's a world of difference between how you'll gear/play your Paladin if you spec for both Holy & Protection or Retribution. I've heard of Holy Paladins in cloth for better Spirit & Intellect bonuses.

      • by andrewd18 (989408)

        To be fair, WoW does allow Dual Talent Specs. There's a world of difference between how you'll gear/play your Paladin if you spec for both Holy & Protection or Retribution. I've heard of Holy Paladins in cloth for better Spirit & Intellect bonuses.

        Except that doesn't really change the dynamics of the class, so much as the regen/damage effects that class has. You're not re-specing into a rogue or re-specing into a warlock, you're just becoming a slightly different type of Paladin.

    • That might work for singleplayer, as there is a scripted storyline that might put you up against a variety of opponents.

      But in multiplayer, e.g. in a dessert level, EVERYONE would be equipped the same! The whole area would be filled with batmans in the samew Lawrence-of-arabia-Batsuit!

      To keep it balanced, there has to be a cost attached to each advantage you get. (Not exactly needed in singleplayer. Bots don't cancel their subscriptions just because the don't have a chance of winning)

    • Re:Batman analogy (Score:4, Informative)

      by Alphanos (596595) on Friday December 18, 2009 @10:37AM (#30486964)

      You're looking for Runescape. It's designed so that you can fight using melee, magic, or ranged/archery depending on your preference of the day, and you can eventually master all three. Similar with non-combat skills. In fact a few upper-level monsters and bosses are designed such that to defeat them you must switch combat styles mid-fight by swapping out your equipment.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Clover_Kicker (20761)

      Isn't Guild Wars like that, you can learn lots of skills but can only have a few in your toolbar at any one time?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by killmenow (184444)

        Yes. I play GW frequently. You can learn a lot of different skills for your character's primary and secondary "profession" but only have 8 skill slots available at any one time. Another cool thing they do is there's part of the story line (completely avoidable if you don't want to do it) that if you follow it and complete the missions your character becomes "Ascended" which allows you to then change your secondary profession at will. You can get so called "elite" skills as well but only one elite skill can

  • The Trinity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by argStyopa (232550) on Friday December 18, 2009 @09:05AM (#30485886) Journal

    It's funny; I played RPGs for a couple of decades or more, and until I got to MMO RPGs, had never really heard the terms tank and dps.

    The reason that the MMO genre has devolved to these reductionist archetypes is because MMO gameplay is about one thing and one thing only: doing damage to kill monsters before they kill you. That's it. Pen and paper RPGs have many, many alternative ways to tell stories and player choices.

    Few MMOs I've ever heard of offer anything in the way of goals that don't boil down to killing some stuff. Sure, you might be reuniting two warring factions...but never through discussion or negotiation, generally it's about rescuing someone from some monster/prison/boss or bringing them 10 worg hearts (involving killing many more than 10 worgs). Is there ever any possibility that you could sneak into the enemy fortress, steal the Big McGuffin, and get away WITHOUT killing anyone?

    If your gameplay can be boiled down to a function including monster health, monster damage, player health, and player damage, you're going to get players naturally 'gaming' the characters to fit that function as efficiently as possible.

    • by tbannist (230135)

      There often is a way to steal the McGuffin without killing anything.

      But then the Game Developers declare that it's an exploit, ban anyone who can do it, and change the game so that when someone touches the McGuffin, it locks them into the room with and angry Evil Foozle who can see hidden and invisible creatures and teleport anyone who gets too far away to right in front of it. It's kind of shocking how far some game developers will go to ensure that everything (and everyone) goes exactly the way they plan

      • Re:The Trinity (Score:5, Interesting)

        by GTarrant (726871) on Friday December 18, 2009 @10:25AM (#30486830)
        Ding! We have a winner.

        MMORPGs that have classes have tried to have other archetypes (and in games where there are "skills", players end up CREATING the archetypes out of the skills, so it becomes functionally similar. In the end, it doesn't work out, because unless those classes are useful, and useful often, there's going to be complaints from both sides:

        1. The people playing that class complain that they can't get a group a lot of the time because most of the content doesn't require them to be there (why take along someone who can debuff the enemies if for all the battles you're fighting this time, you can kill them without those debuffs? Just take along another DPS).

        or

        2. The people that do the 95+% of the content that doesn't require those classes complain that they have to go and find someone of that class for that ONE moment when they are useful.

        If there are hybrid classes out there that are only 50% as good as a Warrior tank and 50% as good as a Cleric healer, no one, at high levels, will want to use them for either role, and the people playing those classes, who may have chosen them early on because they sounded neat, end up feeling robbed when they get to high levels and realize no one finds them useful (EverQuest tried this with the ShadowKnight and Paladin, and had to buff them both significantly). If there's a class out there that has a special buff that's great for a few boss battles, but isn't necessary in most other cases, and it means they're a 25% less effective healer than the other healing classes, no one will want them except during those boss battles, and even then, they'll just take along one. EverQuest started with the intention that the Shaman, the Druid, and the Cleric were healing classes, but the Cleric was clearly better - guess what happened? A large group might have one Shaman, for slowing down the attack speed of the enemies, but had to have a large number of Clerics, you know, to do the REAL healing. Solution - the healing ability of the other classes was buffed substantially until they were nearly equivalent.

        And let's not get started on the Enchanter, a class that for crowd control could be amazing, but in many mundane encounters with no need for crowd control, was used for Clarity and little else. Solution? Give 'em more ways to do damage.

        In World of Warcraft, the new "random group" ability lets practically anyone join a group that the game puts together as "Tank, Healer, 3 DPS". In the game, in "standard" dungeons, the effectiveness of the tank, healer, etc. in those groups is determined more by their gear (and their individual skills) and less by which class they happen to be. Replace a DK DPS with a Hunter DPS in your average dungeon and assuming similar gear you'll end up with similar DPS.

        In raids, sure, it's good, often essential, to have a mix (for example, when Onyxia is flying, you need ranged DPS to be able to, you know, hit her). But if there was a 4th archetype there, right now they wouldn't be needed. Any game would have to be designed from the group up with that 4th archetype in mind as one that is integral to the game. Right now, it's hard to envision what that archetype might be.
      • That goes for any possible role that could be introduced, it won't be liked or appreciated if it isn't a necessary and fun component of the game.

        Fixed that! If disarming the traps is both necessary and boring/unfun then people will still (rightly) complain.

    • Is there ever any possibility that you could sneak into the enemy fortress, steal the Big McGuffin, and get away WITHOUT killing anyone?

      I dreamily think about MMO spy game where you're trying to maintain the appearance that you're on one side while working and/or communicating with the other side.

      I guess EVE is pretty close but something more approachable (read World of Warcrafted).

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Rogerborg (306625)
      If we're being honest, all O"RP"Gs are Death By Spreadsheet, and Epic weapons would deal +5 to SQL.
  • by unity100 (970058) on Friday December 18, 2009 @09:06AM (#30485892) Homepage Journal

    i just finished dragon age origins. again there was the stereotypical class definitions and mechanic that made little sense.

    a 'tank' which is horribly strong enough to stop a dragon by holding a shield, but it suddenly became less effective when you gave him a huge 2 hander to swing around, despite all the strength (in practice) it should have because stopping anything with a shield requires huge strength.

    arch demons, strong and smart enough to marshal entire armies stupidly attacking some party member designated as 'tank', and getting its ass spanked. 'threat' my ass.

    the forced stupidity that says a ranged class, especially archer/ranger, should be less effective a damage dealer and should have pathetically low range to make melee classes viable. crossbows which were strong enough to punch full plate + chanmail sets of armor from close range to instantly kill knights does 'damage' to them instead. archers are able to only shoot effectively at 42 yards range. as if agincourt has never happened. the feeling of a real ranger/archer which lurks in a forest/area and snipes the enemy from afar without enemy ever being aware of him/her, is nowhere to be found in games, despite they were a common occurrence in real history and is a frequent occurrence in fantasy fiction.

    insanely powerful, stupid mage class. press a button, and freeze 10 enemies to sleep or something. spells 'ignore' armor. the 'crowd control' stupidity, which has never existed in any real battle situation, hell even in no legend/lore the earth civilization has had up to this point, including the later fiction works, leave aside ancient legends. pitt a party of 4 against 10 enemies to create 'challenge', and then be obliged to put the stupid 'crowd control' concept into the game. if you were going to let me freeze 8 out of 10 enemies with 'crowd control' and deal with them one by one, why did you put 10 enemies to challenge me in the first place ...

    weapon inconsistencies. the hilariously stupid 'dual wield' thing, which does more 'dps' than other weapons. dual wield ... something that has never been a reality or practicality in entire world history, even including the daggers 17th century musketeers used to wield in left hand for extra control and exploiting occasional openings in duels. go 1-2 centuries backwards, and you will find that lighter weapons which can be wielded in one hand couldnt do shit against heavy armor, and every knight either used swords +shield combo or heavy 2 hander mauls or maces to penetrate armor and negate it, if they were not mounted with a lance. yet, for some reason we have this 'damage' dealing dual wielding nonsense in every goddamn game.

    stupid classes. a 'bard' class, that noone can say what it practically does. vague lines to distinguish it even the rogue set it is supposed to belong. 'sings and entrances enemies'. really ? i mean, really ? you sing, and you entrance a demon with your song and freeze it. but isnt that definition of some kind of magic ?

    stealth nonsense. going invisible in broad daylight in open field and moving towards an enemy and 'ambushing' it. total hilarity. and that's despite the success Thief series had in gaming industry. they still didnt wake up to the fact that more realism means more excitement for the player.

    no flexibility. you HAVE to have a tank, a healer, a controller and a damage dealer. the same old shit everywhere, every game. no variation. no room for an all melee warband or all archer bandit squad. you need to rinse and repeat the same ancient, derelict format in every game. no room for error too - you have to increase tank's defenses, resistances so that it will hold the insanely stupid archdemons, you have to get cc spells for your mage so that it will be able to negate 8 out of 10 enemies you are presented for 'challenge'.

    and the 'dungeon' concept. it was fun back in 1980s, but its not fun anymore. fighting and killing 13182356216 random mobs and 2 mini bosses and a major boss at the end o

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chibi Merrow (226057)

      dual wield ... something that has never been a reality or practicality in entire world history,

      Musashi would disagree with you.

    • by Thanshin (1188877)

      Maybe I'm wrong but: Are you judging a fantasy game because of its historical inaccuracy?

      • by Sloppy (14984)

        That and its fantasy fiction inaccuracy. Take a wizard character, for example. The fantasy isn't "Imagine you're a medieval wizard sent to cleanse Jerusalem from the infidels" and that's fine because real life wizards are lame. But it's also not "Imagine you're Gandalf trying to mobilize the Rohan" or "Imagine you're Cujel the Clever trying to make a buck" or anyone like them. Instead, it's "Imagine you're a D&D wizard seeking to go up a level." Same for the other classes (especially in computer imp

      • You are a little wrong, he's judging a fantasy game based on it's realism, which sounds almost as ridiculous, but if you think about it, he has a point. Specifically with the dual wielding concept, if the REAL world has shown that it was not a really viable tactic, why should it be so effective in a video game, which bases alot of it's ground on real world items, such a plate armor, swords, and castles?

    • So, if I understand the crux of your argument, mmorpgs are ludicrous because they don't reflect accurately the life of a typical middle age soldier.

      Let's run down that checklist

      -Malnourished
      -Enslaved (serfdom) to your liege
      -Likely to die/sustain long term damage from any wound sustained, no matter how minor
      -Underequipped (only the liege`s knights get any armor at all
      Gee, that sure sounds like the life I'd want to play in MY fantasy! Your arguments, while true, are completly irrelevant because nob
      • by unity100 (970058)

        your point is wrong. my approach is in terms of COMBAT techniques, whereas yours is from social perspective. its not correct in that respect either - for soldiers, henchmen were well fed during those ages, because they were the means to enforce lord's will. landing a job as a soldier was a good thing for anyone, for they were sure to be fed.

        • not completly wrong. Even for combat techniques.

          "Historical correct" means you have knights charging towards masses of badly equipped cannon fodder. Until the invention of the halberd, there was no chance (or almost no) chance of winning against a mounted, armoured knight.

          Knights were superior to soldiers.

          And now comes the really hard part: Who would want to PAY for playing a inferior class? If everyone gets to choose an even slightly better class, your game is doomed. you could have skipped designing the o

          • by idontgno (624372)

            And now comes the really hard part: Who would want to PAY for playing a inferior class? If everyone gets to choose an even slightly better class, your game is doomed. you could have skipped designing the other classes and turned your game into a singleplayer.

            And that's a good point. The fundamental entertainment value of any RPG is that the player is a hero, not a peasant pikeman who gets paid by pillaging if his side wins, or will just be executed out of hand if they lose.

            So a heroic "infantryman" will t

    • by vadim_t (324782)

      arch demons, strong and smart enough to marshal entire armies stupidly attacking some party member designated as 'tank', and getting its ass spanked. 'threat' my ass.

      I think it makes sense for the most part, you just see the consequences in-game and not what actually happens.

      Eg, suppose you're going against a fighter and a wizard. You really want to get the wizard. But the wizard knows he's squishy and hides behind the fighter, and the fighter knows the wizard is squishy and gets right in your face. You cou

      • by unity100 (970058)

        Sure it does exist, the crowd controller is the guy with the machinegun, or flamethrower. In medieval times, it'd be the guy who sets off some elaborate trap, like making a tree trunk roll down the battlefield.

        machine gun does not control anyone. it does not prevent you from moving your finger. you hurl a grenade to the emplacement, and it ends the thing.

        show me 3 battles in which tree trunks were rolled thus effectively. braveheart doesnt create historical commonplace.

        You can do it, it just wouldn't work well. In a game you're in for a long time engagement. If your team is all guys with swords, at some point archers in the trees will snipe all of you with no effort. If all archers, fighters can ambush you. There's a reason why armies aren't all made of archers.

        in rpgs you dont have armies. 4 people do not constitute an army.

        • by vadim_t (324782)

          machine gun does not control anyone. it does not prevent you from moving your finger.

          No? Why did all those people suddenly start digging trenches then?

          Of course it doesn't physically prevent them from moving, it simply makes it suicidal to do so in some cases. But this isn't about the mechanics of it, but about the result it has.

          Also, Agincourt is very much a "crowd control" sort of setting. Just imagine a wizard summoned the rain.

          you hurl a grenade to the emplacement, and it ends the thing.

          You hurl a thro

    • Your complaint is that the game breaks from realism? Seriously? You want to play a fantasy game that is realistic? That would be the worst game EVAR! If you didn't die instantly from a rogue jabbing a dagger into your kidneys or an archer putting an arrow into your eye socket, you'd probably end up dead from an infected wound. This is FANTASY! Learn the concept or go play a different game.
    • by Rich0 (548339)

      I think the only reason the tank/dps/healer thing works is because of dumb AI. So, you're taking out a whole army of goblins or whatever in some cave. You come up to groups of 2-3 bad guys at a time, in constrained corridors so that your tank can actually block them from getting past.

      There are a couple of obvious counters to this. The first group of 2-3 puts their biggest tanks in your way to slow you down, while the last guy does a Paul Revere and every goblin in the lair is headed your way. While they

    • Big game publishers can't risk change and hobbyists can't quit their day jobs so expect any progress to be very slow. On the bright side, this should mean you haven't had to buy any new RPGs in the last five years or so.
  • I've basically played two MMORPGs (level of "RPGness" being debatable): PSO and WoW.

    I guess I wouldn't call PSO a MMORPG but more like just a ORPG since parties are limited to four and if you don't group up, you won't meet anyone out in the world.

    There are no healers or tanks in PSO. There's no aggro either. There's three races (newman, human, and androids), three classes (force [caster], ranger, hunter [melee]), and male/female. Not every combo is allowed (no female human hunters, no android casters, no

  • I like the solution for this that City of Heroes uses. Yes, they have the holy trinity of tank, damage dealer, and damage mitigator, but they have two variations on the theme that make combat dynamic and interesting.

    Specialist Options: Some tanks dodge damage, others resist it, and yet others take the enemy's full attack and then quickly heal it back up. Similarly, some damage mitigators heal, others use force fields to prevent damage from happening in the first place, and others debuff the enemy enough

  • by netsavior (627338) on Friday December 18, 2009 @10:25AM (#30486840)
    It is like the #2 or #3 MMO depending on how you count...
    Skill and equipment based "combat triangle" anyone can max any stat, but the gear you are wearing keeps you specialized in a given fight... Metal/heavy armor makes Melee vulnerable to Magic, resistant to Range, Dragonhide armor makes Rangers vulnerable to Melee resistant to Magic, Magic armor gives magic boost and spells are really powerful (including AOE, and life leaching) but they are vulnerable to Range and Melee
    There is no practical way to heal others, but when a group goes after a bigbad, there are often roles, but get this: Every player in a successful group will ROTATE ROLES.
    The guy with the most food/potions for healing will tank, soak up damage, and heal himself till he is low, then the next guy, and so on.
    I value MMOs where grouping is optional, and basically strong character classes really hinder that type of mechanic; so if I want to go to fight in God Wars against huge bosses for top drops, I have to group, but I can play on my own at any time too... I can also be a mage one day a ranger the next, and a melee fighter the next... so I tend to only need one character another huge plus (to me).
  • The reason things break down this way is because of the fundamental dynamics of the game, not specifically because of class design. The classes exist this way because the games are designed around gameplay the necessitates it. Even if you broke classes out of this mold, you'd still have the same basic objectives: kill something, don't die. Since "don't die" breaks down into "stay alive, keep your friends alive" and kill something is "do damage," you've got three clearly defined tasks. Even if you made all c

  • This is why I run a beater. Much simpler to just swing and let the spellchuckers throw over you, so long as there's a healer that can raise you without comps, or someone who will bestow some PoY to de-age you after. Sucks to die old.

    I've always run Ninjas in Avatar [wikipedia.org], an old NovaNET game (now on cyber1 [cyber1.org],apologies for /.ing them) which I started in on in about 1985 [textfiles.com] or so (hard to remember when). I know Jim, and I was the first of the =mainei signons to get whacked, having offended many UICU ops, admins, and

  • by whistlingtony (691548) on Friday December 18, 2009 @03:10PM (#30491314)

    R.I.P. Roleplaying....

    Ok, so yeah, I'm an old D&D player. But dangnabbit, I miss just playing my characters. They had quirks, flaws, personalities...

    I was never just a fighter, I was a poor guardsman, a greedy mercenary, a disgraced nobleman with a drinking problem. I was a farm boy sworn to get rich and bring my family out of poverty. My characters had motivations beyond Epic Loot.

    Danged Min/Maxers! Someone aught'a make a game with only 5 levels, player made content, and let social structures dictate power, just like in real life. Lets face it, even the most badass swordsman WILL get taken down by an angry peasant mob. And he should.

    And permanent character death too!

    Stupid kids don't know what they're missing. Get off my lawn!

    -T

    (Oh gods, I'm only 30....)

How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else. -- R. Buckminster Fuller

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