This week's Community Spotlight focuses on the thread, "Impossible to leave the trinity behind?" by Dewm. Dewm challenges the idea that we can actually break away from the 'holy trinity' paradigm, even if we tried:
"Alot of people around here, on MMO's and online in general have stated they are tired of the "holy trinity" or the "trinity" period. But they never offer a solution. And my question is, are they not offering a solution because there isn't one?
In any fighting game, or any game where there is combat/battle/warfare there is the trinity. Now some games don't have the full trinity, some only have 1 part, or 2 parts...but nothing really varries. The 3 parts of the trinity (as I see them)
Now you might say "this isn't the holy trinity"...but it really is, You have a tank what does he do? defend, secondary tank? defend, paladin, knight, warrior, tank...whatever you call them...its there to defend, Now you can take that class and (as an example) make a death knight, who has all of these super powers and skills and amazing armor and this and that....but really all you've done is taking a defending class and added some attacking skills.....nothing new. And all combat games are like this. Halo for example:
attacking: depending on which gun you happen to have
Defending: your armor and health bar...
Even card games like :Magic the Gathering have attack defence and CC.
So really when it comes down to it, I think we keep seeing the trinity come up game after game...its because thats all there is. Developers can only dictate which of the 3 parts of the trinity you have. "Will this class attack, defend, both?" So games that offer a diffrent option from the trinity like "FFXIV" and Rift, are really offering you the same thing."
This topic proved to be quite popular, stirring up a lot of solid discussion. Let's find out what people are saying:
quentin405 actually loves the holy trinity system and doesn't see it as an issue:
I love the so called Trinity, or as I call it specific roles.. I mean sure its all highly based on the flow and structure of the game, and of course the population.. But basically all my best memories and friendships in MMOs have come from the need to befriend and establish regular teaming with "good" players of certain classes..
It in my opinion really adds depth to the community.. You could be a tank or healer that logs in and gets bombarded with whispers begging for your company, or maybe no one wants to group with you and you just cant figure out why (cause you suck). I read all the time how people are so tired of waiting and have so much trouble and are sick of the trinity, but maybe perhaps its the fact that I am a group MAKER not a group member that helps, because other then 5am monday morning back in wows hayday, Ive never found any fault in this system.
If there is low population, or the time of day maybe, or maybe if you have trouble communicating / making friends with others it might be really hard to find a group.. I dont know, I dont want to play any game no matter how revolutionary they hype it up to be, that doesnt have specific roles, thats the whole idea of a roleplaying game..
I do want to play a game that allows me to establish a reputation for myself as a really reliable and skilled Tank/Healer/DPS, I mean maybe its just me but Dual Specs are about as loose as I want a class system, 2 is great, 1 spec for your main purpose in group play.. and 1 spec thats best for soloing..
cali59 asserts that what people are really frustrated by are inflexible combat roles and content designed to require them:
"When people talk about the Holy Trinity, they mean WoW's version of TANK, HEALER, DPS. Even in WoW where you have choice of spec, or Rift where you have a lot more variety, the gameplay demands Holy Trinity Specialization. Being a hybrid is mathematically inefficient and encounters are balanced around people locking into one of these strict roles.
You say that games have a trinity of attacking, defending and cc. I say ok, no problem, because nobody is trying to get rid of that trinity. We're playing combat MMOs. Nobody is saying let's get rid of attacking, defending, and/or cc, what people want to do is get rid of rigid inflexibility in combat, in other words, getting rid of The Holy Trinity (WoW's version).
As far as GW2 is concerned, it's not heresay if we're discussing a concept. The idea of allowing people to switch roles on the fly depending on what the group needs, as well as not allowing for pure specialization (couldn't be a pure healer even if you wanted to be) is a concept that addresses the holy trinity and offers a solution. Even if GW2 failed in its implementation, or didn't even exist at all, we could still discuss this potential solution, just as I brought up EQ as an example of a game where it's possible to play a character and be valuable and praised by others, but still not tank, heal or dps."
Quirhid suggests thinking outside of the box as a solution to the trinity and it's associated issues:
There's plenty of ways to make combat without "the trinity" and the cursed taunting system.
Heavy armor characters can body block monsters so they cannot get past them to the squishies. They can get in the way of ranged attacks against soft targets and block them with their shield to avoid taking the hit themselves. Actually, how 'bout focusing the combat around actually avoiding taking damage rather than just soaking it and healing back up again. Taking damage is punishment for failure and dying is punishment for failing too much.
Make the combat about area control. Smash a bottle of oil in front of your softies so that it becomes a slick surface hard to cross. Another character might light the oil aflame so that crossing that area becomes even worse idea. Encourage team work and make it so that different characters can combine their abilities for greater effect.
I could imagine that a different sort of health system would discourage focus fire on both sides if your efficiency is tied to your health. Then half-dead characters are actually half dead and not fighting like they had no scratch.
it is entirely possible to design combat without the holy trinity. Alas, too few are trying.
I've always been a bit internally conflicted about this. On the one hand, I really love flexibility, but I also love playing a distinct role. I think I'm just particular about the role. I don't like fixed DPS roles, I feel like everyone's damage should be valued and blurring the lines on DPS is fine. I also don't like dedicated healers who just sit in the back and play whack-a-mole with health bars. However, I do like dedicated tanks, though I think there is a lot of room for making tanking more interesting in PvE. I'm more interested in tanks in PvP though.
My most fond memory of tanking in PvP involves playing a Knight of the Blazing Sun in a game of Nordenwatch in Warhammer Online. Protecting my entire team using "Hold the Line!" as we slowly advanced towards Fort (the team was actually cooperating) against a team who was previously dominating us while we were uncoordinated felt really satisfying. Tanks could also protect key allies by sharing damage with them, and by using a number of CC abilities (particularly knockbacks) to physically keep enemies away. I think if you introduced some of these ideas to PvE (or made the encounters challenging enough to require them) tanking, at least, would be more interesting.
TL;DR version: I don't like the complete trinity, but I do like the idea of dedicated tanks (not taunt bots!).