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Revisiting the "Holy Trinity" of MMORPG Classes

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the or-druid-as-the-case-may-be dept.

Games 362

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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Help! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30485638)

Okay, this is like REALLY disgusting, but before you judge, hear me out!

Here's what happened: A few weeks ago, my crush Daniel invited me over to his house to hang out by the pool. It was the first time we'd ever been alone together! Everything was going okay, but after too many chips and dip, I had to go Number Two.

The problem was, after I did my business, the toilet wouldn't flush! I tried and tried to get everything to go down, but it just wouldn't work. And I REALLY didn't want to ask Daniel to help me so he could see my gross, disgusting turd.

So I did the unthinkable...

I used a HELLA amount of toilet paper and wrapped up my piece of poo with the intention of smuggling it out in my purse and then dumping it outside in the neighbor's yard.

But, as I was sneaking out, I slipped and fell on the patio and everything came flying out!

"EWWWWWWWWW!!!" screamed Daniel. "Do you always carry poop around in your purse?"

After that, let's just say the rest of the date stunk. And I haven't really talked to him since.

But, I mean, what choice did I have? What would YOU have done? Called for help? (He would have seen the poo anyway!)

BadAnalogyGuy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30485650)

Slashdot posters fall into three basic categories:
Good, bad, and BadAnalogyGuy.

Good posters are insightful interesting or funny. Bad posters are persistent trolls.
BadAnalogyGuy is a raving lunatic scientologist, and so goes in his own category.

Re:BadAnalogyGuy (1)

KaptainKrunch (1226500) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485686)

Don't forget about the fourth type of poster: PizzaAnalogyGuy!

Re:BadAnalogyGuy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30486024)

Or the fifth: 7-digit+ UID poster.

Apple vs Linux (-1, Flamebait)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485654)

This really boils down to whether you want to give your customers few options and watch them work within the boundaries to create great experiences or whether you want to provide a multitude of options and basically pigeonhole your customers.

The best situation, of course, is to take the middle road. Give the customer a few options and let them show you what they can do. This is why Windows is such a popular OS. It gives plenty of configurable features without overwhelming the user with too many options.

This works in any software genre. Not just games and operating systems.

Re:Apple vs Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30485856)

What happened to you man...?

What's BadAnalogyGuy, or BAG, without an analogy? :(

Pigeonholding (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30485698)

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.

Re:Pigeonholding (4, Insightful)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485980)

Not the programmers. They work with their array of stats and thats all. Wizard and Tank are exactly the same code. The only differ in the parameters.

It's the job of the gamedesigners to decide, how much of those stats should be accessible to the player. It's like AD&D. and it's easy to become a jack-of-all-trades charackter, who is completly useless in a game. So thats what classes are for. They are predefined sets of stats. But predefined by the designers to simply work.

If the designers are lazy, they can offload the job of finding good stats combination onto the player. To one player thats a huge degree of freedom, to the other it's a chance to mess up and make the game unplayable.

Re:Pigeonholding (4, Insightful)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486286)

True. That's not the problem for the programmers.

But highly customizable characters are pain for story designers. In story player encounters the monsters with not some random stats - but the stats which reflect the role the monster plays in story.

Just recall the NWN1 where they had the magic button "Recommend". During character creation and level up screen, hitting "Recommend" was defaulting to properly leveled warrior and guaranteeing that player wouldn't hit an obstacle s/he can't overcome. Because playing custom character means that there might be monsters you can't defeat alone. And for some exotic classes there were even specialized modules, allowing you to play in full force, because default campaign was designed for a warrior. (Even playing as barbarian, due to its low persuasion, one would miss many interesting side quests.)

Essentially, exotic/custom classes increase game complexity on both sides. Making a campaign becomes more complicated as many classes has to be taken into account. Playing with a custom class requires quite a skill of knowing and expoloiting strengths and weaknesses - your own and monsters. That's not something average gamers might expect - many are way too used to bashing stuff with a sword or annihilating everything with a magic.

Re:Pigeonholding (2, Interesting)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486606)

If the designers are lazy, they can offload the job of finding good stats combination onto the player. To one player thats a huge degree of freedom, to the other it's a chance to mess up and make the game unplayable.

Well, there ARE those of us who consider learning fun. There are several ways to learn things. Being told exactly how to do it (rote memorization). Being shown how to do it and then asked to repeat it. Or learning completely from scratch.

I quite like a mix of number 2 and 3 in those options. Give me two hundred kg of assorted LEGO bricks, and I can have quite a lot of fun. Give me blue prints for some designs, and I'll still have fun. Tell me I am only allowed to make those designs, and I won't want to play.

This is why I like the Fallout series. No classes. You can do anything, just not everything equally well. Meet a lock you can't pick? Try to blow the doors off the hinges. Really really bad with explosives? Steal a key. Really bad at stealing? Tough - you won't get past that door. Practice and come back later if you want to get in there. Or you could try to hire someone who's good at getting past doors.

That way you don't have to fit into a neat little box labelled "Tank", "Healer" or similar. If you wanted to, you could be the "Remover of Obstacles" through picking the locks or the use of rocket launchers and other explosives. Rather handy when you break the last set of lock picks.

Re:Pigeonholding (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486792)

This is why I like the Fallout series. No classes. You can do anything, just not everything equally well. Meet a lock you can't pick? Try to blow the doors off the hinges. Really really bad with explosives? Steal a key. Really bad at stealing? Tough - you won't get past that door. Practice and come back later if you want to get in there. Or you could try to hire someone who's good at getting past doors.

That way you don't have to fit into a neat little box labelled "Tank", "Healer" or similar. If you wanted to, you could be the "Remover of Obstacles" through picking the locks or the use of rocket launchers and other explosives. Rather handy when you break the last set of lock picks.

But that's a singleplayer game. There won't be any door you won't be able to make your way through. (or around it)

In a MMORPG, your opponnent (eg door) will be played by another player. And simply no one would pay for taking the "door" class, that hasn't the slightes chance of NOT loosing. (you may get lockpicked, blasted, kicked down or simply circumvented)

Non-cooperative Multiplayer needs to give everyone a chance to win. If you want a choce of gameplay with that (like different skills), you need to make sure that every advantage comes with a price. Or else you have something like Quake where you're free to choose your skin, but when it comes to gameplay, everyone is the same.

Hmm... (2, Funny)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485702)

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

Re:Hmm... (1)

amazingxkcd (1682296) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486512)

more specifically, frost mages...

Despecialization isn't an objective. (5, Interesting)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Despecialization isn't an objective. (4, Interesting)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Despecialization isn't an objective. (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485998)

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.

Re:Despecialization isn't an objective. (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486086)

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.

Re:Despecialization isn't an objective. (3, Interesting)

Lord Pillage (815466) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Despecialization isn't an objective. (4, Interesting)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485910)

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.

Re:Despecialization isn't an objective. (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486490)

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?

Re:Despecialization isn't an objective. (3, Interesting)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486842)

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:Despecialization isn't an objective. (4, Insightful)

Scutter (18425) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486510)

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.

Get away with the classes already (1)

Rhaban (987410) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485738)

Isn't any mmorpg out there capable of offering a stats-based or skill-based character with no classification system?

Re:Get away with the classes already (2, Informative)

floofyscorp (902326) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485746)

Runescape does, and I believe EVE technically does also.

Re:Get away with the classes already (1)

Rhaban (987410) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485766)

right, I forgot about Eve. And didn't know about Runescape (but who plays it anyway?)

Re:Get away with the classes already (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485920)

Eve sort of does, but the type of ship you use tends to be your classification, at least as long as you're piloting that ship.

You're not going to do a lot of DPS in a mining ship.

Re:Get away with the classes already (2, Informative)

querky (1703040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486338)

i play runescape for the reason that you aren't constrained to one class, you can do whatever you want!

Re:Get away with the classes already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30485774)

UO [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Get away with the classes already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30485820)

Runescape?

Re:Get away with the classes already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30485846)

Yes, there are mmo's without classes -- they just aren't as popular as ones with classes.

I think people like being able to look at a toon and immediately know the sort of role they are set up to perform.

Re:Get away with the classes already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30486226)

asheron's call did/does

Asheron's Call did, what like in 98 or so? (1, Informative)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486236)

It was a stat and skill based game. You could be everything and be damn good at it. Essentially what happened in AC was the people mini-maxed their characters to an extreme because you simply had an unlimited amount of experience to be gained. That game was fun because it was about being under the dozens if not more mobs and having the ability to get out alive. Nothing really has compared to combat AC style. Let alone PvP. Hands down the best PvP of any MMORPG. You can dodge spells in AC!!! See the giant snowball coming at you, just side step.

Still it lead to what one should have expected. If you can do about everything you really don't need anyone else. Yeah, specialized tanks were able soak up damage better than some mages but like UO, tank mages existed and they could withstand quite a bit too.

Of course with no class based system comes some fun when you allow stats/skills to reach silly numbers, like run speeds that would make even the fastest drake in WOW look like a slouch

Re:Get away with the classes already (1, Insightful)

danbert8 (1024253) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486294)

It's not a MMORPG, but it is a MORPG. Fallout 3 is a great game where you can pretty much do whatever you want. All the skills are individual and independent. It does have a multiplayer, nut I would like to see a Fallout MMORPG. It is an interesting universe, with multiple factions that people can side with.

Re:Get away with the classes already (1)

whitehatnetizen (997645) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486784)

Eve online - you can fly any type of ship you want, you can put different modules on certain types of ships to make them go from tank to heavy dps or compromise between the two - or even repair other ships. then there are specialised utility ships, extremely good at one particular thing if need be.

Eve-Online (1)

Miv333 (1180543) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485758)

Lacks classes... There are dedicated ships to repairing other ships, but they are not an essential part of the game, and any ship can fit the modules, they just don't get the extra bonus.

Re:Eve-Online (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485936)

and any ship can fit the modules

You can't put a rocket launcher on a mining ship, IIRC.

Re:Eve-Online (1)

Miv333 (1180543) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485984)

You are right, I was referring to armor repairers and shield repairers though. :P But you can place mining lasers on combat ships.

Two words: (4, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#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."

Re:Two words: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30486138)

But... but... I loved my RedMage (Jack of all trade class)!!!

Re:Two words: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30486494)

THANK YOU!

It's called "situational awareness" and as a gamer I find its the only true thing that distinguishes "hardcore" players from "casual" players. Being someone who when they play a game wants to learn every facet of it and go to Spankstown USA, (population: Your Mother) I prefer playing with the "hardcore" players rather than the "casual" players. It has nothing to do with people being 'twitchers' or playing all the time, just for the love of my sanity please OPEN YOUR DAMN EYES!

I just can't believe that a person playing a third person game where they can look in any direction their character isn't can run into guys they "didn't see". It's maddening!

Re:Two words: (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486552)

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.)

So get rid of healing (1)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485772)

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 repeatedly means getting dead faster.

For a better swords and sorcery system, maybe they should move to a system based on shields, cavalry, infantry, and artillery.

Re:So get rid of healing (-1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485788)

This is a story about MMORPG's. Of course you won't see healer classes in an FPS; It's a whole different game mechanic.

Your comment is simply inappropriate here.

Re:So get rid of healing (5, Insightful)

wtbname (926051) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485908)

Ahem.

http://tf2wiki.net/wiki/Medic [tf2wiki.net]
http://quakewarswiki.net/wiki/Medic [quakewarswiki.net]

Plenty more where those came from...

So by "of course" you mean, "of course i don't really know anything about the subject, but I'm going to run my yapper anyways."

Oh right, slashdot...

Re:So get rid of healing (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486390)

Just because it's a different genre doesn't mean there's nothing to be learned from it, or that the concepts can't apply.

Re:So get rid of healing (1)

Antiocheian (859870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485832)

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.

Re:So get rid of healing (4, Funny)

flitty (981864) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:So get rid of healing (3, Interesting)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Rock, Scissors, Paper (5, Insightful)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Rock, Scissors, Paper (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485876)

Not all variations [samkass.com] suck.

Live long, and prosper. Unless you pick scissors, in which case be crushed!

Re:Rock, Scissors, Paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30485882)

Terran, Zerg, Protoss

Re:Rock, Scissors, Paper (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485902)

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%.

Re:Rock, Scissors, Paper (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486348)

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 paper, scissor AND rock, you have to be carefull to make all possible traits equally important. And thats really difficult. 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.

And also in computer games, most games focus on battle, so non battle related strengths are a skillpoint-sink

Re:Rock, Scissors, Paper (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486740)

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.

Re:Rock, Scissors, Paper (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486380)

It doesn't have to be that pronounced. Just so that if in 3v3 3 rocks beats 3 scissors, you're fine. These things tend to be more pronounced when you add players, since there's sort of a snowball effect when you get more. Say you've got a 10% damage bonus, well in 3v3 that's pretty much a 30% damage bonus as far as the first guy you kill is concerned if you play your cards right.

But I play more RTS, where skill tends to be the balancing factor (though obviously civ plays a role.)

Re:Rock, Scissors, Paper (4, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Rock, Scissors, Paper (1)

VernoWhitney (514284) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485932)

Except, of course, for Rock-Paper-Scissors-Spock-Lizard.

Re:Rock, Scissors, Paper (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30486520)

Parent is more relevant than even they know. The "Rock, Paper, Scissors + N" pattern is EXACTLY how most games with multiple classes (not just rpgs, look carefully at class-based FPS and various RTS games) tweak the balance when there are more than three actual classes. Let's say the game starts with archers, infantry, and cavalry. So, maybe infantry kills archers, archers kill cavalry, and cavalry kill infantry. Throw wizards in there. Now, wizards don't just sneak in between a couple of the other classes; they enter another loop, which can be shaped however -- say, wizards kill archers and infantry, bust succumb to cavalry. OK, that's a little unbalanced against infantry and archers, so we'll add in another class...I dunno, summoners. Summoners beat mages and cavalry, but die to infantry and archers. Now, infantry kills archers and summoners, archers kill cavalry and summoners, cavalry kills infantry and wizards, wizards kill archers and infantry, and summoners kill mages and cavalry. Repeat this process until all available classes have their proficiencies.

In reality, there are also differing odds involved, so that class matchups that make for easy fights are balanced with "close" fights where one side has just a slight advantage. At least traditionally, melee-melee fights (rogue/warrior?) are closer than melee-ranged or melee-caster fights, since either the melee fighter will be able to close the distance easily and end the fight quickly, or will be held at bay, unable to do much of anything. Specifics aside, conceptually resolving this just means assigning representative values to each matchup and balancing out the sums a bit. It's a bit of a combinatorial headache, but a lot of it falls into place rather naturally, thanks to decades of people tinkering with systems like this.

Re:Rock, Scissors, Paper (1)

Presence2 (240785) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485958)

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

Re:Rock, Scissors, Paper (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485970)

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.

Wait, I've got another one... (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485982)

Rock.
Scissors.
Paper.

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

Re:Rock, Scissors, Paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30486070)

cat, tin foil, microwave seemed to me to be the only trio that actually made sense.

paper beats rock!? wtf.

Re:Rock, Scissors, Paper (1)

IDK (1033430) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486408)

The problem as I see it here is more about getting strategy into the game, and there just happens to be such genre called just that, strategy games.

I'm mostly thinking of Rome total war, where there was a rock, paper, scissors element in.

It worked like this if I can remember correctly:
Phalanx spearmen beats everything head on.
Cavalry beats everything while charging (except charging into spears).
Swordsmen beats everything in melee.
Axemen beats heavily armored units.
Slingers, bowmen beats everything at a distance.
Artillery beats everything at a even grater distance.
Skirmishers beats non-ranged infantry on open ground.
Light cavalry beats lightly armored enemies.
Heavy cavalry beats everything in melee.
Cavalry archers beats everything except light cavalry on open ground.
Elephants beats everything (even heavy cavalry and swordsmen) in melee, except phalanxes.

And then one has to consider the terrain, morale and lots of other things.
And this isn't even strategy, just the rules of the strategy.

Re:Rock, Scissors, Paper (0, Offtopic)

Speare (84249) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486422)

Lots of people commenting on the Rock-Paper-Scissors-Spock-Lizard thing, but I'm surprised nobody mentioned Luke-Vader-Emperor.

Luke beats Vader.

Emperor beats Luke.

Vader beats Emperor.

Nash equilibrium (2, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486580)

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]

Re:Rock, Scissors, Paper (3, Insightful)

Lord Pillage (815466) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 (4, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Batman analogy (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486228)

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.

Re:Batman analogy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30486292)

That's why Star Wars Galaxies had to potential to be the greatest MMO of all time. It's just too bad that they had such terrible management post-launch (not to mention development practices with all the bugs), because it was essentially the "perfect" starting point for a game. If they had been able to add content instead of continually screwing with mechanics, it could have been in WoW's place right now.

Aside from equipment, a skilled new character was only a matter of a weeks away from joining older players. If you decided you wanted a new role, you were only a week or two away from shifting over. If you didn't enjoy combat at all and just wanted to use the game as a social medium, you could even do that and still provide a useful function to other players.

Re:Batman analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30486416)

How is this any different from having different classes? Even now in WoW there are classes which can do all 3 jobs (tank,dps,heal). You change your spec from prot to retro, get yourself som crit + ap gear and you can switch your paly from tanking to dps any time you like. Even though some classes can be "jack of all trades" they should not be able to do it equally well ALL the time. It called balancing. If you allow every plaer to wear plate, do huge amount of damage and heall then you will endup with bunch of bored OP plladins.

Re:Batman analogy (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486454)

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 (1)

Jed_8 (1611735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486562)

The only way to win is not to play? I think I've heard that somewhere before...

The Trinity (5, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485886)

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.

Re:The Trinity (1)

tbannist (230135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486266)

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 planned it to go.

On the larger topic of having more roles, it can't be done by changing the character design. You'll just get not very good tanks, healers and dps if you try to go against the trinity that way. You have to change the A.I. of the enemies. Tanks exist because aggro control exists, and because most of the time you fight a few enemies who can be relatively easily focused on one target. If you want to introduce a new role (or roles) you have design your game from the ground up to make the other role(s) valuable. Not just occasionally valuable, but valuable all the freaking time. Want a trap-disarming/lock-picking class? You'd better have traps and locks all over the place. They'd better be an integral part of at least 75% of your boss battles. Not disarming the traps has to kill or severly hurt the characters, and not in a way that can be instantly healed by fire and forget magic.

That goes for any possible role that could be introduced, it won't be liked or appreciated if it isn't a necessary component of the game.

Re:The Trinity (4, Interesting)

GTarrant (726871) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:The Trinity (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486382)

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:The Trinity (2, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486458)

If we're being honest, all O"RP"Gs are Death By Spreadsheet, and Epic weapons would deal +5 to SQL.

Tbh, these definitions need to be dropped. (5, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485892)

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 of a squirming, linear, cramped dungeon is not fun anymore. its mundane. old. stinking. you cant even take shortcuts or other kind of routes, there is an allocated 'playtime' that that dungeon is supposed to make you spend, and you are accepted as 'having fun' while going through the mundane work of working your way up to the endboss. some shitty reward that provides some small percentage of performance increase for your gear, and off to another dungeon.

this genre has been stale for too long. it has grown way too old. someone needs to do serious innovation in this genre to make it work again.

Re:Tbh, these definitions need to be dropped. (2, Insightful)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486046)

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

Musashi would disagree with you.

Re:Tbh, these definitions need to be dropped. (0)

CubeRootOf (849787) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486572)

Musashi would agree with him.

the only point is to cut the enemy: it doesn't matter how you cut the enemy.

In the later part of his life, the man didn't even use his wakizashi, he used a carved oar exclusively.

Re:Tbh, these definitions need to be dropped. (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486080)

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

Re:Tbh, these definitions need to be dropped. (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486148)

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 nobody plays a fantasy game for realism. This is not a **** re-enactement of Ye Olde Dragone Slayinge.

Re:Tbh, these definitions need to be dropped. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486402)

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.

Re:Tbh, these definitions need to be dropped. (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486270)

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 could try to go around him, but the fighter is going to use the chance to stab you in the back if you try. So you don't. So the fighter provides a threat by just being there, and a reason not to try to attack somebody else.

It wouldn't work that way with an archer or a wizard as if they don't have their equipment ready they can't attack at a moment's notice.

Agree about that archers should be more effective, though.

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,

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.

Wizards would naturally fall into that role too. If you can magically set somebody on fire, it seems logical that the effect doesn't have to be limited to a single person. You can set an area on fire and make things very inconvenient for a group of people.

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 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.

Re:Tbh, these definitions need to be dropped. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486436)

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.

Re:Tbh, these definitions need to be dropped. (1)

dskzero (960168) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486672)

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.

Ever heard of suppressive fire? And it that case, in the case of, for example, RF Online, crowd control does equal to dealing damage, and as such, well, the objective is generally to kill the enemies.

Re:Tbh, these definitions need to be dropped. (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486716)

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 throwing axe at the wizard, and it ends the thing too. I fail to see much difference.

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

Choosing the field of battle is a form of crowd control, so is the building of fortifications. In modern times, you have tear gas and flashbangs.

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

I wasn't talking about armies in the previous sentence.

Having an unbalanced group is simply suicidal. If you're some kind of hero on a quest, it won't take long for your enemies to figure out that a few archers could easily deal with a few people with swords and no horses.

Re:Tbh, these definitions need to be dropped. (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486502)

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.

Re:Tbh, these definitions need to be dropped. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30486550)

For all your complaints, it sounds like you still finished a 40+ hour game.

Re:Tbh, these definitions need to be dropped. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30486612)

I wish there was a "+1 insightful, but depressing" moderation ;)

Seriously though, you sum it up pretty well... obviously games aren't supposed to be entirely realistic, but the MMO (or even regular computer-based rpg) gameplay dynamic really hasn't changed or developed much when you get down to it. One of the reasons why I quit WOW was that despite there being this huge, cool looking world with a genuinely interesting backstory and a great interface, there's really nothing at all to actually do in the game other than grind on mobs, grind on getting materials, and grind on leveling up abilities that use those materials. Or grind the same battlegrounds all the time. Which, admittedly, were a lot of fun for a while, but it ended up becoming an exercise in mechanics rather than strategy or even fun.

Oh well... hopefully someone will come up with something new some day! :D

heroic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30485990)

One of the main concepts in Fantasy is....Fantasy! That you can be the super-tough warrior, or mysteriously powerful magician, or quick-killing assassin. Do away with the specialization and you do away with some of the core reasons why people play. I understand wanting to mix things up a bit, but if you aren't special....you aren't special.

Phantasy Star Online (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486316)

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 newman rangers) but each one that is allowed is different. All non-androids can use techniques (spells) to varying degrees. Females can use higher level spells than males. Androids regen health when not moving and has traps (explosive, freeze, and confusion). Newmans regen technique points (mana) when not moving. Rangers and hunters can use shields; forces are limited to barriers.

Spells are foie (fire), barta (ice), zonde (lightning), grants (holy), and megid (dark). The first three comes in three flavors (simple, normal, and hard). There's one healing spell. One. It's an AOE heal. There's four buff/debuff spells that raises/lowers armor and power. There's no buffs for caster damage but there are armor pieces and weapons that can boost either specific spells or a class of spells. There are limits on what classes can equip but there's nothing preventing players from decking out a force with melee weapons and physical dps armor to let them wade into combat. The buff/debuff spells really closes the gap between the armor differences.

And the system works. It's could use gobs of polish for sure. The "depth" of the system comes from quickly changing weapons but for pure casters, generally you stand at the doorways of rooms and snipe away until the boss.

There is some level requirements for gear but most of the requirements are based on stats. Gotta have such&such amount of hit to equip this gun or this much strength to swing this sword.

I'm pretty sure I explained more than I had to just to get to the point of saying, "Hey, it's possible to make a game without resorting to the tank/healer/dps pattern."

Tank/Healer/Damage Dealer (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30486350)

That's quite inaccurate. Tank and Damage Dealer are the same close-range combat class, while ranged combat is missing from the list.

Re:Tank/Healer/Damage Dealer (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486516)

They also exclude crowd control (you aren't healing, doing damage, or tanking) You are preventing an enemy from doing damage to a player. In a way it's kind of like a third person tank/healer but you are doing neither technically.

That's why I loved my Enchanter so much in EQ. I could get around the world, couldn't kill a thing to save my life... but put me in a group with DPS, Tank and a Healer and I increased the ability of the group 3-4 fold.

Re:Tank/Healer/Damage Dealer (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486540)

Er... slight correction. They did include crowd control, but they nerfed the living daylights out of it and handed it to the tank.

Replace classes with gear choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30486528)

How about, rather than pre-defined classes that are locked in at creation and control what you can wear to improve your abilities... to let the type of play you do evolve based upon what kind of items you pursue and equip. Carry heavy armor if you want to take a beating, tomes and wands if you want to be nuking, etc. Perhaps keep multiple sets so you can fall into different roles, or create hybrid classes of your own choosing based on what you choose to have. That's the basic idea; Of course there can be limitations, or skills you must train and develop to become expert perhaps. But at least you won't be locked out of a group for playing a Ranger.

teamwork (1)

bluewolfcub (1681832) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486642)

I wonder how making everyone more independent in an mmo by broadening their roles would affect playing together.
Can you imagine doing an instance where everyone feels like doing their own thing, pulling left and right, because they can handle it...?
It's also useful to specialise one particular area instead of being a useless jack of all trades. Maybe you could do that by what TFA describes, but if everyone ended up focusing on one area anyway what's the point...?

Bards (1)

MrDoh! (71235) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486666)

When you have to have the holy 2.5'inity in one toon.

I like the City of Heroes solution. (1)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486836)

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 that their damage can be shrugged off. All these options lend themselves to different situations, and the party tactics can change according to which options are present in the group.

Hybrids: All CoH archetypes are hybrids. 'Tanks' serve as tanks and crowd control. Damage mitigators might also be damage dealers or crowd controllers. Some damage dealers have abilities that make them serviceable tanks in a pinch (scrappers). Allowing each character the ability to play two or more roles keeps the game fluid and the player engaged. But no character can play all three roles of the trinity; that removes the incentive to group and creates a single-player experience that's not much fun.

The only real problem in CoH is that most encounters are so easy that their deep, interesting combat system isn't necessary. If the CoH characters are likened to chess pieces, with their own specialties and subtleties, the NPC enemies are playing tic-tac-toe. But the system itself is very, very well done.

Runescape has no character classes (2, Interesting)

netsavior (627338) | more than 4 years ago | (#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).
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