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When I first started playing RPGs, wwaaaaayyyyy back when, I was really quick to pick up on the fact that it was better to damage multiple opponents at once rather than one at a time. If I could get AOE abilities on all of my characters, I could zip through encounters faster and level quicker. In MMORPGs, this kind of thing manifests itself as AOE and it's the cornerstone of the MMORPG trinity.
For those of you new to this site, or MMORPGs, the trinity runs something like this: The tank, a melee character with lots hit points and armor, aggros a bunch of monsters and stands in one place thus getting all the monsters in one place as well. A healer, keeps the tank alive as he's being attacked while a nuker, typically a wizard character with AOE abilities, rains death into the crowd that the tank is keeping occupied. Rinse and repeat.
This little strategy is not only effective for farming, but also works on quest bosses and raids, although on a larger scale. This leads to to question of why MMORPGs even offer character classes outside of these three. Melee and ranged DPS classes can sometimes one hit kill enemies of a similar level, making them very solo friendly, but they aren't going to advance as quickly as a nuker with with a tank or healer partner. Hell, a nuker can clean up solo if he / she has roots and can get the kite, root, nuke timing right.
So why would anyone even bother with abilities that aren't AOE or in support of nuker characters?
Edit: I thought I should include some examples.