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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » The Trinity: MMO born or before?

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  waynejr2

Elite Member

Joined: 4/12/11
Posts: 3732

RIP City of Heroes!

12/24/12 4:08:10 PM#41
Originally posted by grimal

Since this side-discussion seemed to be derailing a thread, I thought I'd create a new one specifically for this.

So, the Trinity. 

Did this start with MMOs or was it created back with pen n paper Dungeons n Dragons some twenty plus years ago?

The trinity, as I understand it, is the tank/dps/healer combination used in most modern MMORPGS.

For the Trinity to exist, there needs to exist game mechanics of "Aggro" and "Taunt".  These, as far as I know, never existed as game mechanics in old pen n paper Dungeons and Dragons rulebooks.  So even though you may have used tactics similar, it was not in fact the Trinity.

What do you think?

Incoming wall of text to show discussion before:

This is a continuation from a GW2 thread found here:http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/372532/page/14

JTCGS:

"-Roles are horribly underexplained and unclear

  1. Unclear only to those that were not able to get their heads out of the tiny little box it was placed in by MMO companies unable to think differently. The holy trinity was one of the worst ideas in RPG history, thank you D&D."

Grimal:

"What??? DnD?  The trinity was created by the modern MMO.  There was no trinity in DnD."

JTCGS:

"Are you freaking serious....The first MMORPG with Graphics was NeverWinter Nights Online back in 1991, it had the holy trinity which Meridian 59 used in 1996 and EverQuest which is D&D with another name...wowzers.

Original D&D Black Box had 3 classes. Cleric (Healer), Fighter (tank), Mage(DPS).

It wasnt until Greyhawk was released that other classes started

to appear, Greyhawk brought the Theif (another DPS) and the Paladin (tank/healer). it wasnt until the player handbook came out that the first non-trinity class was created...the BARD.

Everything else all falls into the trinity catagory BECAUSE they are taken from D&D.

/fighter/berserker/avenger/barbarian = dps

paladin = tank/healer

warrior/warlord/ardent = tank/dps

Warden/batlemaid/swordmage = tank

ranger/scout = dps

theif/rogue = dps

wizard/mage/elementalist/necro/warlock = dps

cleric/priest = healer

Druid/shaman/monk = healer/dps"

Grimal:

"Wow.  Ok, first off, DPS stands for damage per second.  Combat in DnD was never based on real time.  There were turns or rounds, so how could it have been Damage Per Second?  It couldn't have been!

The Trinity was developed back with the first gen of MMOs (EQ 1).  Made up of the Tank, Healer and DPS.  DnD never had such a term for this combat style because it didn't come into play until the MMO!!

True each class was based off an archetype, healer, warrior, etc, but the actual term trinity as we use it now was coined by and for the MMO genre.

Please, show me anywhere in any of the pre-MMO genre DnD books where it specifically states the trinity.  You'd be hard pressed.

The only trinity you will possibly find mentioned is that of the three core books: Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide and the Monster Manual...but those referred to the three books, not the Tank/DPS/Healer trinity you are talking about.

Second, EQ 1 may be a fantasy based online RPG but it is not Dungeons and Dragons. 

I can't believe I am actually needing to post this. Did you even play Dungeons and Dragons PNP?"

Vorthanion:

"No, tabletop definitely had the trinity.  Wizards / Sorcerors were the damage classes.  Fighters / Paladins / Rangers were the meat shields and protectors of the mages, always putting themselves between the opponent and the mage.  Clerics / Druids were the hybrids who both kicked ass and saved the group's bacon with well placed heals.  Thieves were the melee damage class and trap experts.  I never played a campaign that didn't have at least three of the above archetypes as campaigns couldn't be completed without them.

They may not have been labeled as the trinity at the time, but that is exactly what they were.  Doesn't matter if combat is real time, turn based or some mix of the two, the point is that you had to have classes that healed, classes that tanked and protected and classes that dealt real damage in order to be successful in campaigns."

Grimal:

"I won't argue that you could play it like that now if you wanted but the trinity refers to the mechanic in MMOs.  Again, please show me where it is specifically referred to as "Tank/DPS/Healer" trinity in those books.  You can't because the label was created for MMOs.  There was no taunt mechanism, either.

Edit: By saying the trinity existed with old pen n paper RPGs of the 70s-80s, you are projecting a 1999 mechanic onto something that predates the very definition of it.  If Everquest and the modern MMO never existed, there would be no "trinity" as we know it.  You can't go back and attribute it to something that was around 30 or more years before it.  You can argue there were elements or roles that beared resemblance to it, and perhaps lent itself to the creation of it some time after but thats about as far as you can go."

Dopple MO:

"This. Trinity as people refer it nowadays is basically: Tank manages aggro, DPS deal damage, Healer keeps everyone alive. I have never seen characters systematically doing aggro management in the pen and paper games I played, because that notion was pretty much non existent."

Volkon:

"Have to agree with Grimal on this one. Never once while playing D&D (I was in the Navy... not a lot to do at night when on a carrier at sea...) did anyone take roles like that. No one ever taunted the boss, no one was a pure healer, etc. It was actually a lot closer to GW2 than WoW."

JTCGS:

"Did you NOT see where I said there was a NeverWinter Night Online MMORPG made back in 1991? Or that it was followed by Meridian 59? Or how about right after that I mentioned EQ being based off them.

D&D gold box games had SPELLS WITH LINGERING EFFECTS AND BLEEDS from melee attacks which would TICK each round of combat, This is where the idea of DAMAGE PER SECOND comes from...YEAH, Meridian 59 had real time combat and thus had DPS before EQ.

The very idea that you are now pretending EQ is not a D&D clone is crazy, the arugment has no meaning other than to argue."

Vorthanion:

"MMOs and their developers don't label their classes as the trinity either, players do.  Of course there was taunting in D&D.  Not only did my fighters shout epithets at mobs to keep their attention, I also would place myself between them and the physically weaker members of the party which in itself is taunting, forcing the mob to face me and ignore my party.  I'm not projecting anything.  The mechanic already existed, it's just that no one even gave it a second thought or considered it a bad thing."

Grimal:

"Nice try."

Vorthanion:

"Any more than your pathetic effort."

Grimal:

"The burden of proof resides on you.  Your example above just shows a description of a combat encounter.  Just because it bears similarity does not mean that the trinity suddenly exists.  That's like saying that all green items are equal just because they are green."

Vorthanion:

"Just because you are too blind to see it for what it was or too obstinate to admit you were wrong.  Your argument is no different thaI' ve already shot down your whole argument.  Others have agreed.  If you can't talk nice, avoid discussions."n people who proclaim that homosexuality is a modern issue, all based on the fact that even though it existed in our ancient past, it wasn't labeled as such and therefore it didn't technically exist.  The terminology and label may be modern, the idea and practice are not.

By the way, Ms. Knowitall, the burden of proof is required on both sides of an argument and you haven't proven anything yourself."

 

Grimal:

"I' ve already shot down your whole argument.  Others have agreed.  If you can't talk nice, avoid discussions."

Vorthanion:

"You haven't shot down anything and  one or two agreements doesn't mean anything.  You were never nice to begin with, so don't try pretending otherwise.  Your post history is replete with sarcasm and baiting.  It's I who should have known better than to argue with someone like you."

 http://www.youhaventlived.com/qblog/2010/QBlog190810A.html

  Gishgeron

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/05/07
Posts: 1297

12/24/12 4:08:18 PM#42

 

  Well, the roles did technically exist in DnD but they did not resemble anything we see today.  You had a tank, but he had a myraid of things he could do.  Besides being an insane damage dealer, the warrior could do a number of other things too.  You could specialise them to be great at spotting traps, or making potions, or whatever.  Feats defined a class as much as class skills did. 

  Hell a caster wasn't even a real damage dealer early on anyway.  They were pure utility until nearly 12-15 when they had the spells and feats to support serious throwdown.  Before that a warrior was easily better for killing things.  He didn't have to sleep a day after each fight either.  Clerics were basically tanks as we know them now.  Nigh unkillable, heavy plate wearing, smash your face kinda guys....that also happened to turn the undead and heal you.  I imagine most fighter types leaned toward barbarians anyway, simply because they could rage while supreme cleaving their way through 50 enemies in a row.  Thieves and Assasins were neat, but my favorite incarnation was the shadow dancer.  Getting that positional backstab was a ton easier when you could walk into the trees shadow and OUT of his.

  I'm rambling, and I'm sorry.  The point is that DnD had a trinity.  But it cared more for being awesome than adhering to that trinity...so class role was more or less defined by the player.  Nothing prevented you from having a druid tank while his feral bear pet and two treants bashed things in.  They even gave you a druid spell that specifically turned metal armors into wood and another that allowed the wood to retain a high armor class.  A wizard could wear plate, suck down some mage armor and punch faces.  Or he could stop time and cast 4 rounds worth of spells at once.  Whatever.  A cleric could really focus on stats that allowed him to cast more heals...or he could bloody str con it out like a warrior and beat things up and heal himself when things got rough.

  That was the fun part.  Each character in DnD was varied BEFORE you even considered multiclassing.  Now a game has to include multiclassing just to barely touch the surface of the character depth DnD had for its core class.

  Novusod

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/30/09
Posts: 861

12/24/12 9:08:22 PM#43

 

 

 

 

Building a group as a trinity was just a strategy adopted by the players to clear content faster. These were the power gamer types that existed even in the 70s and 80s. In DnD a lot of this depended on the GM if it was to be allowed.

 

Warhammer Fantasy Battle was a major factor in bringing the trinity to the forefront in gaming. In WFB the use of 3d minitures on a battlefield allowed defensive melee units to block the path of oposing melee units from taking out the magic and ranged units on the back lines. This is the earliest use of the term "tanking." Many of the tactics in WFB were copied from historical battle movements. Blame Ramseys of Egypt or Alexander the great for devising ancient battle strategy of stacking archers safely behind their melee units. The use of reserve troops could also be seen as a "healing" mechanic. As melee units were wounded or killed on the front lines the commander would bring in fresh troops from the back lines to relieve the wounded. Keeping a reserve is superior strategy than having everyone charge at once. Sure the Phonecians and Melachites didn't think the trinity was fair but who cares about them? They were conquered.

 

Bottom line here is the trinity is rooted in historical tactical battle strategy.

  Ridelynn

Elite Member

Joined: 12/19/10
Posts: 3362

12/24/12 9:36:32 PM#44

The term Trinity changed from EQ1 to WoW, it originally was Healer/Tank/Slower (or Healer/Tank/CC, depending on the circumstance), because DPS was just "everyone else" used to fill out a group, and the only people I know of that called themselves "DPS" were rangers who were desperate to get in a group (when they weren't busy trying to convince you that they were really the tank).


From 2003 - before WoW was even out:
http://www.thedruidsgrove.org/archive/eq/t-235.html

It's also the oldest post I could find where the group class makeup was referred to as "Trinity". (although I didn't look terribly exhaustively)

Really, if you want to get down to it, it just refers to a way that people commonly build their group - form the group around XXX group roles (with whatever class or play style can fulfill that), and your group will have a good chance of succeeding. In EQ, a group with a healer/tank/slower (or healer/tank/cc) had a good chance of taking on pretty well all group content. In WoW, a group with a healer/tank/dps has a good chance of taking on pretty well all group content.

It doesn't really have to do with the taunt mechanic - it just so happened that there were 3 roles that, if actively defined and filled, happened to make the content easier (probably because most of the content was designed around those 3 roles).

By no means was that the only way to get through content. I can remember one infamous group of mages on my old EQ1 server that loved to go around, and they would 1-group older raid content with their pets. No tanks, no slowers, no healers - completely defying the "Trinity" concept. Groups in EQ1 commonly were unorthodox - especially when the server populations started to decline in the mid-00's.

Nothing special about the term trinity really - it's just that so much content across so many games have been designed with that in mind that most people can't wrap their heads around anything else.

Personally, I loved the older EQ1 stuff, where the trinity wasn't so well-defined. Classes were very diverse, and roles weren't cookie-cutter and had to share common cross-class abilities. I also really love the newer games, where the trinity goes out the window - it makes life more chaotic, and I find it fun when it doesn't just break down to zergitmoar and can keep some semblance of tactics involved in the game play.

DnD still had classes, and roles, but it wasn't necessarily a trinity. You had a live person who was DMing who could fill the role of "Artificial Intelligence" a whole lot better than any computer program can do, and can work around mechanics that go beyond just the pen-and-paper rules, so roles could be a whole lot more diverse, players can be a whole lot more creative, and the DM could compensate or tailor the encounter around their players. In a game, if you come across a locked chest and don't have a rogue - well, you just keep on walking. In a Pen-n-Paper game, maybe someone hacks the box open, or you decide to pick it up and carry it back to town, or maybe you fireball it and melt the lock off - or any number of infinite possibilities that players could come up with when they aren't constrained within the limits of an artificial game engine.

  User Deleted
12/24/12 9:41:02 PM#45
Originally posted by Greyface

I've been playing table-top RPGs since I could hold a pencil, and I don't think any of them had any notion of an aggro mechanic.  We had THAC0 and alignment languages, but never anything so stupid as the trinity.

In old-school CRPGS, it made sense to put your heavilly armored characters up front, but there was never any special mechanic that pigeon-holed characters like the current trinity does.  As far as I know, all that originated with Everquest (I could be wrong -- I was playing UO back then, where everyone was a heavilly-armored mage and we bandaged our own damn selves).

yeah, agro (and by extension, trinity) was never mechanically enforced.  The GM just sort of knew that the hulking warrior could take on more guys than the dude in a bath robe.  It wasn't fun when people died, and it's not like the table top stuff was players vs GM or anything.

  Alberel

Novice Member

Joined: 12/02/09
Posts: 1121

12/24/12 9:49:14 PM#46

Before WoW the 'trinity' actually was a quartet that included a crowd control class of some kind. A tank would NOT survive engaging multiple mobs at once and a CC class was essential in ensuring only one target was ever actively engaged in the battle. EQ1 and EQ2 (in the early days at least) both had this, but WoW did away with it and no MMO since has allowed CC to be that useful...

So with that said, WoW actually created the modern trinity.

  ice-vortex

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/21/10
Posts: 919

12/24/12 9:49:30 PM#47
Originally posted by asmkm22
Originally posted by Greyface

I've been playing table-top RPGs since I could hold a pencil, and I don't think any of them had any notion of an aggro mechanic.  We had THAC0 and alignment languages, but never anything so stupid as the trinity.

In old-school CRPGS, it made sense to put your heavilly armored characters up front, but there was never any special mechanic that pigeon-holed characters like the current trinity does.  As far as I know, all that originated with Everquest (I could be wrong -- I was playing UO back then, where everyone was a heavilly-armored mage and we bandaged our own damn selves).

yeah, agro (and by extension, trinity) was never mechanically enforced.  The GM just sort of knew that the hulking warrior could take on more guys than the dude in a bath robe.  It wasn't fun when people died, and it's not like the table top stuff was players vs GM or anything.

Every campaign I've ever played in didn't have a bunch of idiot enemies that target the character with the most hit points and did the least damage unless the enemies actually had a low wisdom or intelligence.

  muffins89

Novice Member

Joined: 10/15/12
Posts: 1254

12/24/12 9:50:33 PM#48
@OP - this whole topic is flawed.  it's based on the premise that the trinity is tank/dps/healer.  the trinity is tank/damage/healer.  the term dps is the bi-product of the addon recount. 

I think the prostitute mod corrupted your game files man. -elhefen

  ice-vortex

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/21/10
Posts: 919

12/24/12 9:53:49 PM#49
Originally posted by muffins89
@OP - this whole topic is flawed.  it's based on the premise that the trinity is tank/dps/healer.  the trinity is tank/damage/healer.  the term dps is the bi-product of the addon recount. 

The acronym dps has been around since Everquest, long before any addons were around.

  GrayGhost79

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12/24/12 9:54:47 PM#50

All developers did were add mechanics to replace DM's and the players decision to jump in front of other players and such. 

The trinity existed in DnD, it was simply handled different. 

 

Was the trinity then the exact same thing as the trinity of today? No. Players had to be creative with feats and all of that to keep attackers focused on them. All MMO developers did was simplify the tanking from DnD and turn it into a provoke or w/e it is called in your preffered game. 

 

The concept and the goals are exactly the same, the only thing thats changed is the means. 

  abottemiller

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12/24/12 11:02:52 PM#51
Sorry played D&D long before MMO's. Started in 82 and the trinity was strong in D&D you needed it that way.
  User Deleted
12/24/12 11:18:16 PM#52

Classes specialize performance.  A group of mixed classes will assume roles.  The ones who can heal, will do so.  The ones who can take damage and who need to be up close will do so.  The ones who can DPS from ranged will do so.

 

Even without aggro mechanics (taunts and dumb mobs that lock onto the tank while getting killed) there are still roles, and they tend to parallel:  Melee DPS, Ranged DPS, and Heals.

 

MMOs didn't invent the three.  Early game systems established roles.  Gamers figured out 3 was minimal.

 

 

  User Deleted
12/24/12 11:40:04 PM#53
Originally posted by Alberel

Before WoW the 'trinity' actually was a quartet that included a crowd control class of some kind. A tank would NOT survive engaging multiple mobs at once and a CC class was essential in ensuring only one target was ever actively engaged in the battle. EQ1 and EQ2 (in the early days at least) both had this, but WoW did away with it and no MMO since has allowed CC to be that useful...

So with that said, WoW actually created the modern trinity.

 

Rogue or mage for CC was quite common in WoW Vanilla and BC.  It was later that tanks became god-like eliminating the need for CC.

  ice-vortex

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12/24/12 11:45:28 PM#54
Originally posted by abottemiller
Sorry played D&D long before MMO's. Started in 82 and the trinity was strong in D&D you needed it that way.

I've played D&D for most of my life, and I've played in campaigns and have DMed campaigns that were made up of a single class or only a couple of classes.

  Loktofeit

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12/25/12 12:12:54 AM#55
Originally posted by waynejr2

 http://www.youhaventlived.com/qblog/2010/QBlog190810A.html

 

THANK YOU.

 

 

"And wikipedia is as accurate as Britannica. Wikipedia is very reliable. You would be hard pressed to find a more reliable source for these kinds of things." -fovoroth

  HeroEvermore

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12/25/12 3:29:31 AM#56

Physical blocking isn't the only way to replace the trinity with something more flexible and interesting, of course; there are many ways to do it. Hit location would be one way (dps the legs and it doesn't move); speed would be another (if it can't catch you, it can't hit you); proximity check would be a third (if you're standing close to someone in armour, they're deemed to be defending you so they take the hits aimed at you). There's lots you can do. I personally like physical blocking, but then I also like area of effect spells to damage friend and foe equally, so I'm probably a bit too traditional for most of today's MMO players.
 

 

Such narrow minded views. He is a very oldschool guy but his views don't even touch what technology is capable of NOW.

Hero Evermore
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Playing Path of Exile and deeply in love with it.

  jondifool

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12/25/12 3:56:50 AM#57
Originally posted by grimal

Since this side-discussion seemed to be derailing a thread, I thought I'd create a new one specifically for this.

So, the Trinity. 

Did this start with MMOs or was it created back with pen n paper Dungeons n Dragons some twenty plus years ago?

The trinity, as I understand it, is the tank/dps/healer combination used in most modern MMORPGS.

For the Trinity to exist, there needs to exist game mechanics of "Aggro" and "Taunt".  These, as far as I know, never existed as game mechanics in old pen n paper Dungeons and Dragons rulebooks.  So even though you may have used tactics similar, it was not in fact the Trinity.

What do you think?

Lets dicern between trinity and holy trinity.

Basicly the premise that goes wrong is that that there needs to be an aggro and a taunt mechanic.

That is what is needed for the speciffic variation of the trinity thats often best called the "holy trinity".

The trinity in it self is the mechanic of Support, Control and Damage.

The "holy trinity" is where controll have become all about agro, tanking and taunting. Support about reactive healing in the form of  a whack a mole minigame. And damage about gearing up for max Dps.

That's the reason that its makes sense to use the terms "the trinity" and "the holy trinity" because the holy trinity is just a primitive fixed and limitted version of the trinity. And support includes alot more than reactive healing, controll alot more than taunts and tanking, and damage can have alot more variation involved than just dps.

The trinity itself exsisted way back in games history, and was fleshed clearly out in pen and paper roleplay from the start.

The name "the holy trinity" is fitting because it became a dogma in MMO gaming that it was really the best way to make combat, to a degree where developers lost sight of the basic foundation it was build upon and it looked like it was the only way. And a whole generation of gamers understood it as the only way a MMO gameplay could be. And they basicly equalised the holy trinity with the trinity itself.

Still too day people claim that old MMO games did have non trinity game play because there where more roles. But they fail to realise that not having the fixed "holy trinity" doesn't takes you away from the basic premise of having a trinity setup in form of damage, support and control.

MMO games is trinity games of control, support and damages, and that part is found in old school classic games as well.

 

 

 

read how to create a succesfull mmo before posting about GW2. And read tao of ArenaNet before talking about innovation in GW2

  Rydeson

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12/25/12 4:12:03 AM#58
Originally posted by endgame1

There was no "trinity" in D&D while I as growing up.

If the dungeon master, (the guy running the campaign), pulled out a module for the group to do, the module would simply say "adventure for characters level 4-7", and any class combination could do it if they played intelligently. You could have three people playing, with all three rolling a thief, or everyone rolling a fighter, or two wizards and a fighter, or whatever, and they would be just fine. Your characters could buy potions of healing, scrolls of healing, bandages, there were certain items that would heal you, you could hire an npc to heal you, wizards had spells like vampiric touch that would heal them, etc..

Never in my history of Dungeons and Dragons was a group unable to do something because it didn't have a dedicated tank or healer. Anyone saying differently, I don't think they really played the game.

Same with EQ..    whether it was AD&D or EQ, there was no trinity so to speak.. There was many times our group kited Mobs or used other means of fighting besides tank and spank with heals.. I miss kiting, and wish MMO's today would go back to class roles of yesterday..

  Greyface

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12/26/12 8:50:41 AM#59
Originally posted by ice-vortex
Originally posted by abottemiller
Sorry played D&D long before MMO's. Started in 82 and the trinity was strong in D&D you needed it that way.

I've played D&D for most of my life, and I've played in campaigns and have DMed campaigns that were made up of a single class or only a couple of classes.

Seconded.  90% of the games I played in, the DM let people play what they wanted and tailored the combat to that mix.  When I DM'd, I did the same thing.  There must have been people who played more structured games, but I'm not sure that I ever met them.

If anything, old-school RPG's had a Holy Quadrilateral, not a trinity.  Thieves were never considered a damage dealer -- they were needed to scout ahead, disarm traps, pick locks and sometimes pockets.  Anyone who rolled a 1st or 2nd edition thief to put a hurtin' on things was an idiot.  The class was more Bilbo Baggins than it was Ezio Auditore.

The word "tank" was never even used during old school table-top games -- unless it referred to that thing filled with sharks that you fell into when the thief failed his Detect Traps roll.  

  User Deleted
12/26/12 9:14:16 AM#60
Originally posted by AlBQuirky

Reading a bit further on, I find that the "trinity discussion" has become the "aggro discussion."

I guess, in effect, since no aggro management was used by your DM in D&D games, there was no tanking in your experience. Not every DM used a random roll to see who the mob would hit. Why did fighters wear the best armor they could get? Why did fighters get the higher hit dice per level? After all, isn't a human a human and a half-orc a half-orc? Why the variance depending upon the career one chooses? Those game mechanics tell me it was so they could take the brunt of the attacks. Unlike tanks in MMOs, they also could deal a lot of damage, which also sometimes factored into the monsters choice of target. I realize what you are arguing is the actual management of aggro. In my experience, we had some control over who the monster would hit because of our DM. It was not always a random dice roll to decide who they monsters would attack. I admit that EQ had an actual "taunt" skill, and thus aggro management became the norm and was probably the reason for term "the trinity" to be born, but that does not mean it did not exist beforehand.

I recall a battle my little group engaged in against a female troll and her young offspring. Our Fighter attacked the youngster and handily managed the momma troll's aggro. I laugh with the memory of the encounter because my DM was sick of us always asking, "What was the loot?" He said her "treasure" was an old dirty rag and an old gnawed on bone. "It was a treasure to her!" he informed us :)

As far as DPS goes, D&D combat was based on 6 second rounds. You could hit three times and miss 7 times in a turn (1 minute segment) of battle or hit all 10 times in the same turn. You could add up all the highly variable damage done by a player, divide it by the length of the battle and come up with their DPS. It really did not matter, though. The mechanic was there but rather pointless. Kind of like how it is in MMOs, wouldn't you say?

AIDS was not "discovered" before the late 19th, early 20th century. Does that mean it did not exist before then? Who knows? Maybe, long ago, deaths credited to the flu or a simple cold or chicken pox was actually AIDS and nobody labeled it as such. After all, AIDS attacks one's immune system and thus makes them susceptible to more common diseases. We will never know how long AIDS has been around. Does that mean that "the trinity" did not exist before it was coined for MMOs?

As I said previously, it really depends upon on how someone played D&D. A game mechanic DM would randomly roll for every action taken by a NPC. A roleplaying DM would react to the player's actions.

Tanks wore heavy armor, the best they could, because it did not impede any magical powers or movement based skills like other classes.  Mages and rogues and druids could wear heavy armor, but they were penalised for doing so. Instead they got other skills or abilities to handle damage recieved. Warriors used heavy armor because the armor and potions were the only thing stopping them from a nasty death. They didnt have the avoidance or trickery of the rogues, or the magical defence of the sorceror, or the healing and magic of the druid. That is why they wore plate. Not because they were there to get beaten up instead of the squishier target. Clerics could also wear heavy armor and take a hit, but paid for it in damage capacity. They all had different strengths and weaknesses.  

It would make no logical sense that someone would avoid attacking the obvious healer and go for the juggernaut instead. Which is why the whole principle of the trinity annoys some people. If your DM made it so everything went for the plate wearer and ignored the others while someone cast heals on the 'tank' every round, that would just be rediculous.

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