EQNext: No Tanks? No Trinity?

One of the hottest topics from the entire EQNext announcement so far has been the news that – like several games before them – EQNext is doing away with the Holy Trinity of Tank, Healer and DPS.

The argument is that EQNext’s advanced AI will completely remove the need for the tank/healer/dps combo, and furthermore that most people don’t like being forced into those roles.

What did the many bloggers watching the announcement think of all that? Read on to find out!

  • Rohan argues that whilst a more advanced AI can easily negate the Trinity, the problem is that it will also negate the spirit of the fantasy archetypes on which EQNext is based.

    Read “Revisiting The Trinity” »

  • Ald takes a look at the Trinity from a number of games, from EQNext to Final Fantasy XI, and argues in favour of a five-person Trinity: Tank + Healer + DPS + CC + Support.

    Read “Trinity!” »

  • Rowan Blaze points us to a well-known political figure’s views on the entire “EQNext And The Trinity” debate…

    Read “Godwin’s Law Strikes Everquest Next” »

  • And Belghast writes two fascinating posts on the topic – firstly, pointing out that many tanks actually LIKE tanking, and secondly, looking at the inspirations, archetypes, and role models of the tank…

    Read “No Love For Tanks” »

    Read “A Tank Is…” »

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Games Breaking Away From The Trinity

Syl says she’s recently realised that what she most wants from future MMOs is for them to keep the swords and magic, but get rid of the holy trinity of tanks, healers and DPS. She says she’s tired of it. She takes a look at WoW and points out that despite a few design attempts to work round the trinity, the damn system is more entrenched in WoW than any other game.

Enter Guild Wars 2. Syl points out bits from the developers talking about their approach to the trinity, and how they’re treating specific roles. They seem to have a whole new attitude to healing – are re-classifying it completely. And that’s just the start. Syl’s getting very excited about it and points out a lot of ideas the GW2 developers have which sound spot on, all about balancing fun and roles to create a new way of playing.

A thing that never seizes to baffle me personally, is the strict separation of abilities between roles, in WoW and most other MMOs: You have this powerful caster standing next to you in a 5man party, that magic spellweaver – and all he really does for the group is deal damage, besides few more mob-centric abilities. While his allies fall left and right, while his healer is about to die horribly, he stands there hurling firebolts at the enemy, unable to do anything about much more pressing matters.

As a child of fairytales, sword & sorcery books, tabletops and classic RPGs, I need to ask: in which fantasy setting is this “realistic”?

Syl’s post is long but well worth the read. Nils read it and then wrote his own response, studying the tank/healer/DPS trinity. I mean studying – his post reads like he’s got the monocle out and has pinned the roles down by their delicate, pretty wings. Ahem. Anyway, his post is a good dissection of what the problems with the current trinity system are, and why both tanking and healing are absurd roles. And why they exist and games lean on them so heavily. Nils also ponders a little on potential solutions which look like they have roots in some of the games we’re seeing developed at the moment. Here’s looking forward to what we see those games achieving, and the ideas they take on board.

What about you – do you think we’re on the verge of breaking away from the traditional trinity, or is it so set into the fantasy genre that it’s going to stay?

_Quote taken directly from Syl’s post

You can find Syl’s Raging Monkeys homepage here

You can find Nils’ Blog homepage here_

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Rift’s Soul System: The Brainchild MMOs Should Adopt

Bootae says the answer to the MMO world’s stubborn, inflexible albeit traditional tank/healer/DPS trinity has been found. He says it’s Rift’s ‘soul’ system, and other MMOs should be looking to adopt something similar if they want to move forward.

Bootae starts out with an excellent explanation of how the soul system, which is Rift’s version of a talent system, works. He takes one of Rift’s classes as an example and goes through the various roles that class can assume using its talents. And its flexibility, Bootae says, is its beauty.

The holy trinity of tank/healer/DPS (or dirty quartet with support added) is still there, but it is now less of a ball ache when your guild tanks aren’t online.

We can do a sodding dungeon with 5 rogues! Uhm like woah?

Bootae explains that you can set up any class to perform in any role. Also, like in WoW with dual talent specification, you can switch between talent/soul setups to perform different tasks depending on what you need – and that he and his group did just that to tackle a few dungeons without swapping people out. I reckon Bootae’s pointed out something important today: here’s a system where you really can bring the player, not the class.

What do you think – should games use this system as baseline to give us more flexibility or is it too complicated, both to play and balance a complex world around?

_Quote taken directly from Bootae’s post

You can find Bootae’s Bloody Blog homepage here_

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Big Bear’s Ideas On Player Responsibility

So Tobold’s player-responsibility debate continues. Looks like my post yesterday clued Big Bear into the whole shenanigans and he’s come up with a response of his own. He starts out with a few thoughts on the debate itself then gets into the meat of his post.

He’s taking a look at the inspiration behind Tobold’s post – that is, that so many MMOs have the tank/healer/DPS ‘trinity’. He says the problem is tanking and healing are only used part time: in group play. The rest of the time is solo content and that’s where DPSing comes into its own, and why many players get practice and accustomed to DPS.

Big Bear reasons developers could integrate tanking and healing differently, so you might level as a tank or healer. He has some great ideas on how to do that. I particularly like his idea to give everyone an “I’m the tank now” button, and that he’s thought on how to avoid frivolities with players like Mr. Hntardlolz forgetting to turn growl the ability off when he’s not tanking. And I’ll not spoil his ideas about healing. Suffice to say it’s the equivalent of players all bandaging themselves up often.

You bring the responsibility back squarely on the shoulders of the players… and you also force them to use their judgment, with nobody but themselves to blame if they die, unless they pulled threat from the tank.

I know that World of Warcraft is far too developed and fine tuned to ever go in that kind of radical direction.

What I do hope is that someday we will see a game designer take a hard look at the unholy trinity…

Really interesting direction to take these ideas – or not? What do you think?

_Quote taken directly from Big Bear’s post

You can find the Big Bear Butt Blogger’s homepag here_

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