The camera pans from a burning torch, and settles in on a group of weary adventurers. Their swords blood-stained, their armor indented with sword swings from fallen foes. Zoom in on a Dwarven Warrior wiping his blade.
“Okay. In the next room lies Grinto, the evil giant. We must be well prepared as he is a foe we have never conquered. Eat, drink, and take potions in preparations! The Will taste victory on this day!” The battle tested Warrior resheathes his blade and turns to his trusted advisor.
“PopRocks – have you studied this encounter?”
“Why yes, TankMASTER, I have. We will form 5 groups, each with 2 healers, 1 tank (or offtank) and 2 DPS. This is a standard tank and spank fight. But we must hurry! The foes we have just defeated will magically reappear unscathed in less than 5 minutes, and if we are defeated we will have to kill them again!”
“Thank you PopRocks. Is everyone ready?”
“Geez, Legolass – hit the ready check button already!”
“Alright. So it begins.”
The soldiers file into a large circular room, filled with the smell of death. In the center a 40′ giant stands – the evil Grinto! The adventurers split into five groups and position themselves around the giant in a pentagon pattern – seemingly unbeknowest to the beast. The beast watches and waits for the soldiers to be prepared.
“Ug, guyz, youse ready to rumble?”
“Yes, vile beast! Prepare to DIE!”
TankMASTER runs in, shield high, sword poised to strike. Grinto waits until TankMASTER is in striking range, and swings his enormous axe cutting TankMASTER in two. The top half of the Dwarf falls 5 feet away, blood gushing from the entrails, while the bottom half remains standing, somewhat defiant.
Pleased with how the battle has begun, Grinto turns his attention to the others.
“Uh, not so fast big and ugly!” TankMASTER is back in one piece, spitting out a bit of blood. “I won’t go down so easily!” Grinto turns back to the Dwarf, swings his giant axe again and brings the dwarf to within an inch of his life as the blade nearly severs the head of the Dwarf. Almost instantly, balls of light hit the Dwarf, and his wounds dissappear. Grinto strikes again, and you can hear ribs crush as the axe impales the dwarf, yet almost instantly again, the wounds heal immediately as balls of light fall upon the dwarf. He continues to swing, bringing the Dwarf to the brink of death with each blow, but he is instantly fully healed after each!
Grinto understands. Those who are standing behind him in the cave must be casting some magics to keep the Dwarf alive. Grinto knows he must kill those first, before the Dwarf. He turns his attention to a small group of robed enemies huddled near the back of the cave, and begins to advance.
“Don’t make me plant a seed, grow a beanstalk, and come up there and show you who is boss!” taunts the patched up Dwarf. Enraged, Grinto ignores the healers and forces all of his attention back on the Dwarf, almost killing him with each swing, yet having him instantly revived. Surely if Grinto just keeps swinging at him, eventually he will die. He must! He insulted the legacy of Giants everywhere, and no matter how futile it may seem Grinto will only worry about killing the Dwarf. The Dwarf must die!
I’d buy two tickets to see that movie. Hopefully it is in 3D.
Tesh touches upon the holy Trinity (Tank, DPS, Healing) at his site (in the link above) and how it is time we moved away from it. I won’t paraphrase the excellent article but go give it a read – and the comments afterwards. This is yet another system that has just been carried through from early day MMO, no developer brave enough to break the mold. While completely silly, the short story above illustrates exactly what we do in MMO encounters. I think it is time that MMO mechanics, and the encounters built within them, played out more like a good fantasy movie battle instead of the rediculous scenario we currently get similar to above.
I understand that roles are created so people can find a niche – or class – they enjoy. I do think “healing” as a core MMO mechanic is outright rediculous – the act of making sure you have enough players casting healing spells fast enough to negate massive amounts of damage per swing is just so blatantly UN-fantasy like. Go watch your favourite Fantasy movie battle and count how many backline healers there are. Of course, some people like healing as their way to play MMO’s (My raiding mains in WoW were Resto Druid, and Resto Shaman, so count me among them!) so how can games evolve to play out more like a movie?
It’s simple, really. Have way more misses, parries, blocks and evades – instances where damage doesn’t come easily but when it does it is meaningful. Instead of direct heals, have a slew of in battle buffs (fit much more in line with lore) and have each class able to tank, do damage, or buff respectively that the entire encounter doesn’t hinge on the capability of the Main tank to hold threat effectively. Also tool them that the main tank can die, and the encounter isn’t a complete wipe. After a big battle, armor will need to be repaired (use it as a larger damage buffer) and out of fight “healing” can occur. I just realize how completely silly the mechanic is in comparison to epic battles on the silver screen.