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The Time of TankMages

Posted by vajuras Friday May 2 2008 at 12:51PM
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I Have a Dream. I dream of the day when we can all don armor and fight together side-by-side the way God intended wars to be fought. No longer will our groups fall apart because the only healer we had in our group has to go. There will be overlap, plenty of it. No more waiting 2 hours to find a healer. There will be plenty of overlap.

Everyone will have some tanking ability. If a mob wants to target one team member in our group then everyone else can start sending some heals his way in a pinch

We will all be TankMages and our roles will be dictated by the arrangements of the groups in the 'army'


Imagine, a unit of 50 TankMages go to kill a Dragon. So, there will be 'squads' within this unit. Each squad contains 5 members. Only 1 person in a squad is the BACKUP 'Healer'. He has a star by his name indicating he volunteers for this role. But this is a backup role. We only heal in a pinch.

Note, a TankMage game wont have grouping restrictions. We decided ourselves to form a group of 50 because thats all we need to storm the Castle or aggressive enemy NPC town.

When the mobs decide to focus fire on a target, the backup healer will help heal that target. The aggressed Tankmage will also try to heal himself or attack. Just whatever they decide is the best strategy to storm the enemy NPC city

Notice we are not raiding a dungeon here- we are raiding a populated NPC city complete with guards and really tough mobs that dybnamically seekout the weakest target and destroys them utterly.


Imagine PVP- and loot everywhere. It's no longer about our gear our player skill can come into play. Perhaps in this title the armor you wear provides you benefits in a specific area. Perhaps in this title armor is just armor- thats it. It merely provides more protection and takes durability loss over time. Perhaps in this title Guilds work together to takeover resource nodes and we can employ NPCs to do the boring resource gathering

Imagine character progression. Be anything you want to be- pure crafter or a form of TankMage. Every player can learn to Tank because that is basic common sense every soldier in an army wears Armor. Anything else has no place here. Then you can pick to specialize in magic branches. Whether you learn new skills through skill-based progression or XP makes no huge difference too me. Whatever is the most fun and works for that title. as long as we can explore the ultimate potential- become a TankMage

The time of TankMages needs to return. I think the one MMO that nails this formula right will be a huge success. Right now we see WELL Online, Earthrise, LinkRealms, and others  promising to come out soon. Let's hope TankMages time will return and it will be done right!

vajuras writes:

Grimfall please stop trolling my blogs before I'm forced to report you. My fingers tire of hitting 'Delete'

Fri May 02 2008 1:05PM Report
JB47394 writes:

Why not Eve Online?  It has generalist characters.  The limitation there is not that it takes time to accumulate abilities, but that when you leave port, you can only leave in one ship.  That ship is your specialization until you return to port and get a different ship.

I've argued in favor of equipment-based specialization in the past, and somehow I missed that Eve Online already does this.  I don't play Eve Online because it is PvP and grindy, but it has done a large number of things right.  How is Eve Online not fulfilling the tank/mage model?  Is it simply because it's the wrong genre?

Fri May 02 2008 4:09PM Report
vajuras writes:

EVE Online is a good game JB47394 there is nothing wrong with it. I play it along with other games. EVE is a game you plan to play for the long haul. The ships binds our current abilities similar to a Class based game in a way.

But I also look forward to more 'achiever friendly' games to play along with it. I'm greedy and I'm a hardcore gamer. I try to play everything I have time to put into

Fri May 02 2008 5:38PM Report
vajuras writes:

To be clear for other readers- EVE Online employs "Time based advancement" system whereas your avatar levels in real time. I'm at the point in my avatar's life however where I wait up to weeks at a time for a skill to train to Level V (specialization training)

I'd also like to see other well done implementations that allows gamers to earn XP or grind up a skill with use. Possibly CCP will most likely do this for World of Darkness MMO I hope

Fri May 02 2008 5:41PM Report
SandboxGod writes:

Theres a few MMOs with true TankMages in the works that I look forward too... When one of them comes out I'll return to MMOs...

Sat May 03 2008 12:49AM Report
Druz writes:

Unfortunately lack of diversity would kill any sense of fun.. having everyone able to do everything would be boring

Sat May 03 2008 4:15PM Report
vajuras writes:

I didnt give specifics. Such a title could allow players to explore different specializations of Magic. Also, I find this whole idea of the game becoming boring because players having excess to every skill in the game pretty ridicilous to be honest. In Battlefield 2142, every player can unlock any skill on one avatar and the game is beyond boring

The entire game doesnt have to rotate around your build. You should not become bored with a game because you've unlocked everything on your avatar.

I guess I have a different take on games because I play a lot of different genres so I've seen this work pretty nicely. Plus I've played a few Indies here and there that had TankMages and those were a lot of fun

Sat May 03 2008 5:38PM Report
Melf_Himself writes:

One of the things I like about RPG's in general (not just MMO's) is brainstorming over team composition, trying certain combo's of skills, etc.

If everyone is a tank mage, I can't do that.... sounds kind of... not that interesting? Am I misunderstanding the idea? (I thought in your last blog we were saying how tanking is bad, maybe you should avoid the term "tank" an replace it with "mage that is squishy but has some skills to avoid focus fire for a brief time and can also heal and stuff" :p

Sun May 04 2008 3:32AM Report
vajuras writes:

You guys havent played City of Heroes I see. It's a current MMO. So, go make a Corrupter if you have City of Villains or a Defender in you own City of Heroes. These are the "TankMages" for that title. They are the most diverse especially around late gate where All 8-Corrupter teams stomp through endgame content or All 8-Defender teams.

Defenders and Corrupter comes in different blends. Some heal better then others. Some DPS better. Some even Tank better (Sonic powerset). They can overlap buffs and get everyone's resistances up real high which is essentiually everyone being able to "Tank"

So see, TankMages can still each have clearly defined roles. City of heroes was one way to do it. There's still many other ways

You guys never got out there and tried out Battlefield 2142? Samething. We all wear armor. We all do great DPS. Yet, we can all develop our characters to fulfill unique roles.

Sun May 04 2008 9:02AM Report
Druz writes:

But then it is no better than the tank/healer/mage trinity - only that you don't have to make a new character anytime you want to switch..

to me this does not change the game in the way you were suggesting..

This idea isn't original either, the MMO market has steered away from such games due to dumbing them down for the common denominator - If you've ever played Ultima Online or Asheron's Call then you've played an amazing game that does this well

Sun May 04 2008 10:38AM Report
vajuras writes:

Druz, if you came here to read a design document for some innovative, brand new title you will ALWAYS be disappointed. This is a blog- not a game design document

In this piece I was giving an example how players could dynamically assign roles. That was the goal. It was also just a quick little brainstorm how things work when you have TankMages.

This is not a game concept. Game concepts should be presented a Developer's Corner. I have no problem with other people posting new concepts in their blog but never come here expecting that from me

Sun May 04 2008 1:32PM Report writes:
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