Pet Class, Where Art Thou?
In our last ESO column, our own William Murphy listed off his 2016 Wish List. In this list he makes mention to something that I haven’t really thought of before or even felt like I needed, but now I have this weird compulsion to have it implemented. Bill Murphy you have put this want, nay, need in my mind that has altered my ESO experience. All I can think about anymore is how or what new class would fit into ESO and what kind of abilities it would have. Since I got into ESO’s closed beta, so very long ago, I have been fixated on trying to figure out why ESO only has one morph stage for their spells, when it could have been so easy to add an additional stage. I will get into this in another article, first I need to discuss this new class concept.
Shortly after ESO was announced they released some of the classes we’d be able to play, one of them being called “Warden”. This was supposed to be a primary healing class with the option of doing damage from range as well. Before you all jump down my throat and say the Warden wasn’t removed from the class lineup it was just renamed the Templar, you need know that at the time of the Warden class announcement the Templar was already released. The Templar’s role was comprised more so of the melee and healing abilities. Exactly what you would expect from a Templar, but the Warden was different. Its primary role (at least from the little information that was released about the class) was focused on being able to heal allies. Like the Dragonknight’s abilities are focused on being able to mitigate damage, the Warden’s was about being able to replenish health and mitigate damage for allies.
To make any MMORPG work you need to have roles that fill the “Holy Trinity”, in some fashion or another, Tank, DPS, Healer. As a caveat, Healer doesn’t just mean restoring health, it means protecting from death, be it through replenishing of health or mitigating damage. Also the trinity isn’t just three roles, it’s more of a nonagon, Tank, Tank-Healer, Tank-DPS, DPS, DPS-Healer, DPS-Tank, Healer, Healer-Tank, Healer-DPS. Anyways, to my point I am failing to make, ESO has the trinity, it has roles that fill it very well with the exception of a pure healing class. You might argue that the Templar is the healing focused class but when you have two out of three skill trees that are all about dealing damage I would say your argument is invalid. Granted, the Templar is the only class that does have a skill tree that is all healing. It would make a more devoted healer than the other three classes but I wouldn’t say healing is its primary role.
Healing in ESO isn’t a concern though, so does ESO need a dedicated healer? Since my play style in MMORPGs is to be the dedicated healer I would say yes for my own selfish reasons, but in the grand scheme of the game, I don’t think it does. It would be interesting to see a more diverse healing option, like a class that is all about mitigation vs restoring hit points, but I don’t think it is needed.
So what does the game need in terms of a new class? The only type of class that isn’t in the game, a pet class. A class that isn’t strictly about doing damage from their character but more from their pet. A great example would be the Albion Necromancer from Dark Age of Camelot. While you still had your own character with a small arsenal of spells you could cast, you did most of your damage through your pet. Another great example would be the Animist, also from Dark Age of Camelot. You would summon an army of stationary mushroom type pets that would harm, snare, or debuff, any enemy brave enough to approach them. This type of game play really offered a unique play style. You could set up traps along bridges or at mile gates (choke points). The Necromancer class had great options. You could go for heavy survivability but lower your overall DPS, become that annoying character that can’t be killed easily, a distraction for the enemy to focus on while your team moves in from behind and begin lowering their numbers.
These pet classes rely more on themselves than that of others. You’re a class that is self-sufficient, you could have your own healing abilities that work only on your pet / minions. You no longer have to rely on your team’s healer to keep you alive, it’s all your own skill.
You’re probably going to say “Sounds an awful lot like a Sorcerer and their Daedra pets”, to which I will agree it does. Sorcerers and their summonable pets are similar in respect that they can have a pet but they are in no way reliant on that pet. A Sorcerer is fully functional and extremely deadly without their Daedra by their side. Whereas an Animist, Necromancer, or even a Bone Dancer from DAoC would be an easy target for anyone if they didn’t have their pets summoned (which was a great way to bait people into a stealth group)
This is Elder Scrolls, being able to take control of a creature and make it do your bidding is most certainly something that is plausible. Daedra Princes are constantly summoning creatures and commanding them to do what they want. Who’s to say that certain members of the Mage’s Guild haven’t dedicated their lives to learning how to summon and control creatures? Why should only the Daedra possess such power?
So I ask you, what class do you feel ESO needs to implement, do you think a pet focused class is needed in ESO or do you feel another Healer role would be more suitable?