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BadSpock's Logical Conclusions.

My random thoughts about MMORPGs. A bit of critique, suggestion, debate, and insanity. Enjoy.

Author: BadSpock

Thoughts on the Grouping

Posted by BadSpock Monday April 28 2008 at 11:07AM
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Just some random thoughts I've had about grouping and class archetypes and the so-called "Holy Trinity" of DPS, Heal, Tank.

The tank is usually the one who ends up paying for it when DPS screws up.

So is my experience as a tank.

DPS is off target and pulls aggro so tank has to use their cooldowns and shift focus off their target to get the 2nd target back, but then this causes the first target to break and kill the healer whose been building steady aggro...

Then the group wipes without a healer, and everyone is pissed off. Everyone is blaming the tank "L2play hold aggro nub!" when the real fact is that the dps players were so concerned with having the highest DPS and largest damage scores that they caused the wipe.

As a tank, we understand that we are only as good as the DPS and Healers allow us to be. We can only do so much.

There is a holy trinity between tanks, healers, and dps. Tanks have to hold aggro so the healers and dps don't die. Healers have to heal the tanks and dps so everyone doesn't die. DPS has to kill fast enough so the healer doesn't run out of mana and then the tanks/everyone else dies. It's a circle, each part is dependant on each other. We are all responsible for each other in a group.

Tanks understand this, many healers do too... DPS are the ones that tend to have trouble with the concept

The tanks are responsible for keeping the hate on them, and for using their resources to increase their survivability, thus giving the healers an easier time. The DPS has to be as free as possible to unload without fear of pulling aggro.

The healers are responsible for keeping the tanks and everyone else alive, and for not being wasteful or inefficient. They rely on the tank's survivability and the DPS' damage to kill the target before the mana pool runs dry.

The DPS needs the tank to keep the damage off of them, they need the healers to keep the tank alive to keep the damage off of them, and they need the tank to hold aggro. But they also need to unleash as much as they can without tipping the scales to keep the healer's mana from running out and the tanks survivability from failing. 

It's a circle.

The question is, do we like it?

I've often heard talk of the holy trinity being a bad thing, how people don't like being defined to roles and that they'd rather have more freedom. 

But do you really? 

I personally enjoy the Holy Trinity. As long as it is balanced, as long as there is equal need for people to fill the roles, I believe it adds a lot of commradery and dependancy between players. 

What do you think?

Loke666 writes:

Well, it is a bit too simple sometimes and I wish there were more roles than the 3 classic (ok, there is sometimes a guy that buffs the rest of the party and or debuff the opponents but still..I want more).

As one of the DPS guys I agree that the tank often gets crap for stupidity from the dps guy, my general dps output depends on the tank. With a good tank I do 3 times the dps and a fair amount of AE on the opponent which makes the combat a lot shorter for everyone. The Tanks i cant stand are those guys who looks on tv or something at the same time their playing (of course healers who does that are even worse). Any group need a good main tank, a good main healer and  not to reckless dps guys.

But as I said, there should be other ways also. Think a game with no healers, would change everything a lot. A realistic MMO placed in the real dark ages would be really intresting, with no magic the roles would be very different from the old EQ (and most games after EQ) roles we have now.

Mon Apr 28 2008 12:42PM Report
JB47394 writes:

For starters, I think it would be great if you would respect Christianity and not capitalize Holy Trinity.  That term has been taken, and there are quite a few people who find the existing meaning important.

On the subject of the three classes, I think that DPS classes need to be more intertwined with the group dynamic.  As a silly example, suppose the tanks served as the focus for the DPS damage; the tanks actually controlled who was hit by what.  In addition, that the damage done served as a source of power for the entire group.  That incoming power would be regulated by another class - Channelers - that apportion the incoming power to different group members.  The equivalent of mana healing.

A feedback loop to bring the DPS guys into the 'intimacy' of the group dynamic would be a good thing.  Then the DPS guys could start behaving themselves because the Channelers aren't feeding the errant sons more power.  It also ensures that it requires the tanks to get the ball rolling by doing some damage.  That feeds back as power to the group, which enables the DPS guys, etc.

I'd like something like that more than I do the current triple.  I'd like a class-less system even more that didn't operate on the current Grind Principle.

Mon Apr 28 2008 12:51PM Report
Anofalye writes:

Bottomline, you should focus on what YOU can improve.


See, if the DPS is winning aggro of a 2nd mob, taunt only if you are sure the main mob won't turn on the cleric.  The DPS died from earning the aggro of an off mob?  Why should you care?


A tank job is to keep the aggro from the MAIN mob no matter what.  If you can hold aggro of other mobs, good, but never, never, never lose the aggro of the main mob.


See, in a group there are 6 players.  If I see the DPS-dimwit earning aggro, and I am DPS myself, I would make a judgment call here, see if I remain with you, or switch to obliterate whatever got the brilliant idea to attack to other DPS.  If I am a chanter (CC), eh, this is my job to keep these sleeping!


If you lose the aggro of the main mob, no matter what your excuse is, it isn't right.  The main mob MUST be on you, no debate here.  If the off mobs are not on you, eh, now we can sit and talk and wonder what happens.


As to the holy "trinity" (which is Healer/Tank/CC for your information, DPS is not part of the trinity, it is the filler, and you want as many and as much as possible).  Most games don't have a holy trinity anymore.  As CC is less and less important, why CC if you can kill?  Why sleep mobs if you can burn them?

Mon Apr 28 2008 3:35PM Report
Anofalye writes:

See, if someone earn off mobs aggro...they usually kinda expect it, they are ready to face it.


If someone earn main mob aggro, he might be quite unready to it and died fast.  The DPS-dimwit, I bet he somehow think he can tank it or something.  Let's him have it his way until he died or the cleric bitch at him to stop taking aggro off you!  In either case, the guy who wins aggro is usually ready, unless it is the main mob aggro.

Mon Apr 28 2008 3:42PM Report
lordtwisted writes:

 It is up to the tank to stay on the main target, not correct the DPS's mistake.

 I always play DPS, and I will typically pull a second mob onto me intentionally if I think it is effecting the group, and I can either handle it, or handle it long enough to allow the group to finish thier mob then grab mine.

 As an example, if I pull a mob, and the tank takes aggro, but another mob wanders into the fight and is pounding on the healer, double teaming the tank and making the healer run his mana down to keep the tank alive, or it happens to just aggro on me, then I will take it on, with the hopes to either save the healer, keep the tank alive so when he kills that mob he can aggro mine, or just to save myself.

  If the tank fails to understand the benifeit to the group by me sacraficeing myself to save them, or drawing aggro to prevent the death of the healer, or too much damage on the tank, then the tank may think I am in trouble and, he may think he is attempting to save me, so he will draw my aggro too and wipe the group. This tank does need to learn.

 The DPS class, just like the healer class, and the caster classes, always have to learn how to not gain too much aggro, it is the first thing you learn or you die. The second thing you have to learn as DPS is how to gain aggro when you really need to. as a caster, you never try unless you have evac or something to save your butt. And as a healer you never strive for aggro unless you know you can handle it, because if crap hits the fan you are the one to rez.

 As a tank your noly goal is to keep your healer alive, he is your life, let the DPS die if he gets aggro, he either did it to help someone else, or because he is stupid, either way, your concern is you and the healer.

Mon Apr 28 2008 4:27PM Report
vajuras writes:

I think you might misunderstand what people mean when they ask for freedom to create their own roles. Sometimes they might rather just be a "pure" crafter (which are abundant in games like EVE) or pure tailor (design clothes for other players in City of Heroes) or fashion designer (win the player run costume events in City of Heroes) or Runner (character that escourts players through dangerous areas in Guild Wars) or Trader, or Hauler, etc

So, player created professions has nothing at all to do with "holy trinity" which is one of reasons I think PVE is so silly. In PVP, players ignore Warriors. This whole idea of "taunt" is illogical

In real life, everyone wears armor and everyone does DPS whether it be a Tank, Air plane, or mobile missile launcher platform

Mon Apr 28 2008 4:43PM Report
WRyan writes:

I've been trying to figure a way to really get rid of the whole Holy Trinity ordeal in games for a long time.  I've come to the conclusion, that these sorts of things have to exist as long as current design stays on the mindset that to get somewhere, you have to kill something or a lot of something.

Where people really feel the sting in this design, though, is when they solo.  Together, you can accomplish anything, but alone, one or more of you will suffer.  Usually, the Tank is the one who suffers the most.  Why?  Because it doesn't matter how well they can mitigate damage, their offensive always sucks.  Thus, it takes them forever to kill something.

The DPS guy, on the other hand, usually has it made when soloing.  He never has to take on more than he can handle, and he can kill it with more or less relative simplicity.  One down, on to the next.  This is why you usually see the DPS guy leveling faster.

The Healer is sort of in the middle here.  Usually, they rely completely on mana or some other form of continuously depleting power source.  This offers a huge problem to them because if their mana runs out, then they are functionless, since notonly is their primary ability disabled, but so is their secondary ability (attacking).  This is why these guys are usually the more powerful of the three.  They almost always have very powerful attack magic (for single targets), and their healing magic is self explanitory.  In other words, their survivability is not as good as the Tank, but better than the DPS, and their attack is not as good as the DPS, but better than the Tank.  If there is a Expertise or Talen system involved which allows them to boost certain abilities over others, then they really can go all over the place in versitility - making them more or less the best all around class.

My proposal to this ideal is that there is no healing class.  There is a class that responds to conditions of ill-favor.  They have protocols that allow them to aid other players in the event some major tide turns.  For instance, they can't heal players, but they can revive them.  They can't replenish your health, but they can stop the poison or disease.  They can't make you regenerate health or mana faster, but they can stop some other ailment that leeches it from you.  This class is competely reactionary.

Why make a class like this?  Because giving a player the ability to heal themself is sort of like giving them extra hitpoints, which is more or less like giving them a pseudo-tank function, which is sort of like what the Melee DPS guy is.  And since their attack prowess is already better than the Tank, and the design of combat is built around the fact that there is a Healer who heals damage.... the whole ideal is screwed from the get go.

It's a concept brought over from D&D, which is not a great system to base an MMO off of.  D&D was designed for a group of players to go through an entire dungeon, usually never able to replenish their resources.  MMO's are completely different, and the classes need to be redesigned thusly.

Mon Apr 28 2008 5:02PM Report
BadSpock writes:

I kind of lump the DPS and CC together.

More CC = less DPS needed, but in modern games (like WoW) most all of the CC comes from the DPS classes anyway.

Mon Apr 28 2008 6:13PM Report
BadSpock writes:

I posted a blog referencing this beautiful piece from the Spellborn devs a while ago, but it ties in to this blog post a lot too.

Having the holy trinity of classes in a group allows to manage and maintain the encounter, some predictability is good.

I think the greatest strength of World of Warcraft is the teamwork, coordination, and actual player skill it takes to complete a LOT of the 5 person dungeon content, especially the heroic encounters. 

It's not just memorizing strategies and patterns, any group can do that.. but a really good group can adapt and change when something goes wrong, which in the Heroics tends to happen!

Check it out, you'll love it-

Mon Apr 28 2008 6:22PM Report
vajuras writes:

WoW has mastered the art of "sports gaming" in MMORPGs seriously. I think if Devs want to get recognized they have to hit WoW at their weak points like lack of character custimization (spellborn covers that), good world pvp (-spellborn), good combat (+spellborn we hope), and impacting the game world (dynamic)

I think Spellborn will be good but I dont think it's trying hard enough to hit WoW at its weaknesses.

What these Developers should realize is WoW has solidified raiding, funneling (firm iron fisted direction), and "sports gaming".

There is only two ways to beat Blizz: Be different or Be better. I dont think anyone has budget or content to be better out of the gates so they should be as different as they can be. Otherwise people will jsut return to WoW cause thats where their friends are

Mon Apr 28 2008 11:54PM Report
Melf_Himself writes:

I'm not a fan of the Holy Trinity.


1) The Holy Trinity exists because the AI is not smart enough to fight the players properly. The AI needs to learn to disrupt the DPS, and randomly spike down unprotected targets (whether they're healers or DPS).

2) Taunts are a poor way out, because they don't work in PvP. This creates a massive difference between PvE and PvP, causing many players to suck at PvP because they have no idea of the tactics needed, and try to "tank" in PvP (WAR has a new take on tanking in PvP, which I hope works). This causes a segregation between the 2, the so-called "elitism", limiting the communities for both, and limiting fun dynamics such as RvR PvEvP for everybody.

3) The other "enabler" for the Holy Trinity is crowd control, which is often somewhat retardedly overpowered. In some games this stuff DOES work in PvP, and makes players gnash their teeth since they hate losing control over their characters.

4) To make bosses difficult, instead of buffing AI, they just give them x10000 hit points/armor and damage so that it takes forever to kill them, or you get wiped.

5) These factors all combine to make PvE incredibly dull/frustrating for some players, since little thought is required once you've got your build all set up. Yes, I know some of you love it, I can't imagine why, but oh well there you go.

In conclusion, please give me an MMO where the AI is good so that I can't exploit it with such an obvious, worn out idea as the Holy Trinity.

Tue Apr 29 2008 2:45AM Report
grimfall writes:

Why not just make taunting work in PVP?

Tue Apr 29 2008 4:53AM Report
vajuras writes:

Melf_Himself wrote an excellent post I must say.

Making Taunting powerful in PVP would break it utterly. Now- I cannot target the healer. I'm stuck targetting the Warrior.

Integrating Taunt into PVP is disaster or its totally ineffective if you nerf it. Most games nerf Taunt in PVP and the limited Range of a Warriors Taunt makes it fairly useless due to the extreme twitchness that is PVP

Checkout youtube->City of Heroes videos and see how fast players move. Warriors are pretty bad off there and not really desired for PVP

I wont comment on WAR we will see how they handle Taunt. I think its a bad idea to make it work in PVP much better to drop it and challenge ypourself to think of an alternative. Then you'll have a fun PVE/PVP game like Guild Wars

If GW was a huge open world I'd still be playing all the time



Tue Apr 29 2008 7:35PM Report
Melf_Himself writes:

True that about Guild Wars

Thu May 01 2008 8:14AM Report
sdozer writes:

I think DPS is just a stupid move in the first place unless the game is built for it. Do normal fighters go onto a f***in' battlefield with no form of defense? I didn't think so. It's like what was said in the blog that said that Gandalf tanked the Balrog. Too true... I think people should be penalized for going in without fulfilling an aspect of their character, unless they have a good plan; which might mean teamwork. People complain that the one who is attacked the most is the one without defense; and so they can't get their lame strategy to work without an arbitrary AI behavior that makes them MORE DUMB.

Mon Jun 16 2008 7:21PM Report writes:
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