Damage, heals, or tank. These are the main choices we are given when deciding both the class and how we will define our role when starting a new MMORPG. And it's important, as this will ensure that when doing any sort of group content we can contribute in a meaningful way. If you're meant to be a healer, it doesn't make sense then to join a raid with the intent of doing damage, right?
Unfortunately, though, while the Holy Trinity of MMOs might dominate how a class is designed and its role in the meta, it doesn't necessarily mean the way the class plays is the same across each game. A healer in World of Warcraft might have the same role as one in Guild Wars 2, but functionally and mechanically they are designed differently.
Many MMOs seemingly come on the scene trying to shake up the meta a bit, or at least offer some more variety to how you play, such as the "classless" design of New World for example. But even then, the trinity still dominates.
However, if you could take your favorite class in an MMO and change something about it to make it play differently, make it more interesting or even just shake up the monotony of the skill rotations enough to add a little variety to the mix, what would you do?
For me, my favorite MMORPG on record is The Lord of the Rings Online. I love my Hunter. I've played this same character since launch in 2007, though I'll admit there are times going through the same tab-targeting skill rotation gets boring. At some point there doesn't seem to be any skill involved, simply rote memorization.
Alts can help break up this monotony for sure, but I've never really wanted to play an alt - one reason I love the job system in Final Fantasy XIV so much. However, one thing I do love from within LotRO's own class design is something Loremasters already have: utility.
While the yellow trait line allows the Hunter to turn into something of a mini-crowd control character, it doesn't really do enough other than let you lay some traps. However, creating some way for a Hunter to put pressure on an enemy due to the amount of damage they are doing, or whether they are holding down a mob in the distance while the Fellowship tackles someone else sounds interesting to me. Sort of like a sniper providing cover and overwatch to the group.
Using a mechanic like the Flanked ability that Loremasters and their Pets have could be useful here. One thing I really enjoy about the Loremaster is how reactive you need to be when playing - reacting to a debuff being placed on an enemy by your bear or other pet breaks up the standard rotation enough to keep me on my toes.
This is the same when I'm playing FFXIV. My Red Mage might have a pretty standard rotation of building up White and Black mana, but weaving in damage and utility spells in between the standard skills keeps things a bit more interesting.
So what if the Hunter who might not be the primary damage dealer in the group (Rune-keeper can still be a glass cannon). What if you need to harry an enemy while the group focuses on adds? How could utilizing the Hunter's range and damage dealing ability play into this, while also ensuring that you're reacting to what's going on in front of you?
An overwatch stance, something that could pin down a strong enemy, like say a cave troll barreling towards you, adding slows downs, roots, confusion, fear and more - truly acting as a crowd control alternative when the Loremaster is otherwise preoccupied - sounds more interesting than simply standing still and burning down someone.
Forcing the Hunter to react to a troll trying to break the root, for example, would keep me on my toes too. Is the root I placed on this enemy about to break? Can I keep the target pinned and out of the main fight long enough to ensure we don't wipe? What if the target resists or breaks out of my crowd control then, what can I do and how do I react? These are all things I currently don't have to worry about, but I feel adding these types of choices would make playing it more interesting at times.
This is just spitballing too, for sure. Does the Hunter really need this capability? Probably not. The Loremaster is the undisputed CC king in Middle-earth and the Burglar adds some pretty powerful options to the table too. But I love the idea of being able to play a Legolas-type archer who can snipe and cover allies from a distance, long enough to ensure the party has everything under control.
What about you, though? If you could change something about your favorite MMORPG class from a gameplay perspective, what would it be? Let us know in the comments below.