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I’d Welcome A True Support Class

Lewis Burnell Posted:
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As my last Black Desert Online column for a couple of weeks while I take a long overdue vacation, I thought I’d keep this outing much more light hearted. As much as I’d like to continue to bang the drum about exploiting or players abusing the game, I think that discussion has been well and truly flogged.

Over the week some friends and I were talking about our favorite things in online games. While the topic covered typical subjects such as PvP, classes and exploration, it dawned on me that I well and truly miss supporting others. The introduction of the druid in Crowfall reminded me of how much I miss playing the same class in World of Warcraft and how - as far as I’m concerned - few classes have ever come close to offering something so fun and versatile.

As time has gone on developers have continued to reduce the role of support classes from being mandatory for just about everything, to a fringe role that’s complementary rather than a necessity. The pursuit of ensuring all content is always possible by yourself is, at times, welcome. Unfortunately a certain dynamic has also been lost and in many respects, it’s a great shame that forming a group to complete content or pairing with another to compliment each other now nonexistent. Even in Black Desert Online the only need to join a party with anyone is for more and more damage. It isn’t necessary in order to survive or to obtain some form of utility that helps you through an encounter: that’s a real shame.

Many years ago I remember a close friend and I would regularly roam Azeroth as a druid and rogue. Our combined ability to stealth while having valuable utility and healing made it a frightening combination. The flexibility of my class (the druid) combined with his burst and stun-locking regularly allowed us to roam together with impunity. We were often sought out and regularly defeated groups of players much stronger than ourselves. While it’s certainly possible to pair-off in Black Desert Online  and any other MMO for that matter, such symbiotic relationships rarely exist.

Games such as Guild Wars 2 have further fueled the “we don’t have healers!” as a selling point and yet the introduction of the druid as an elite specialization - despite being a very poor interpretation of my beloved class - goes too far. In a game where there are no healers, the need to introduce one as a result of raid content is laughable: support classes should have always existed. Unfortunately for Guild Wars 2 they’ve now backed themselves into a corner where there’s only one “healer” and it’s often highly sought after.

Introducing such heavy heavy has also skewed other areas of Guild Wars 2 to the point where it trivializes most content or makes roaming parties near indestructible. If they’d have made the decision during the birth of the game to have multiple support classes, they wouldn’t find themselves where they are now and content already delivered could have been so much stronger because of it. You only have to look at the strength of WildStar’s dungeons to see the validity in the argument.

I know many reading this would dread the thought of Black Desert Online having support classes and similarly to Guild Wars 2, the introduction of them would have a profound effect on the game and its content. That doesn’t mean however that it couldn’t work and certainly the addition of several support classes as opposed to yet more damage dealers could quickly even out the landscape. I know that the Valkyrie sort of offers support, but it’s so loose and still so damage focused that it’s nowhere close to what I envisage when discussing this topic.

I've spoken in the past about the introduction of classes and how it isn't always positive, but considering Daum appear intent on continuing to release them, I’d more than welcome one that’s orientated around looking after others than achieving everything - at all times - by themselves. Better yet, if they could make one that shape-shifts and which can comfortably be a hybrid with damage and healing, I’d be over the moon.

What are your thoughts on the lack of support classes in Black Desert Online? Do you like the fact “healers” are now on the fringes on the genre? Would you like to see the arrival of a more support oriented class? Let me know and I’ll see you in two weeks! 


Lewis Burnell

Lewis has played MMOs since Ultima Online launched, and written about them for far too long.