Gordon of We Fly Spitfires posted a provocative guest post last week, suggesting tanks and healers should get more rewards than other characters?
His thinking was that this could address both the supply and demand issue (giving better rewards encourages more people to take up the less popular roles) and also rewarding people for taking on more responsible/stressful tasks. That’s how real life works after all … isn’t it?
I think this is a bad idea on several levels, but to come back to the real life analogy, this is the same reason that teachers and social workers are paid less than lawyers and CEOs, even though their jobs are recognised as being very important and they are often understaffed. And the main reason is that it doesn’t much impact the bottom line. The people paying the CEOs and lawyers feel (for some reason) that their market value is higher.
Or in other words, as long as the majority of players prefer dps roles, they won’t want to pay to feel disadvantaged or to feel that the developers prefer the tank and healer classes. I think current gen games are taking the better route by making it smoother and easier for players to try out different roles on the same characters. And the social rewards for playing the undermanned roles will eventually filter through.
The other reason is that a lot of people who take up careers in teaching, the ministry, social work, etc do it because they feel some kind of a calling, or enjoy other rewards of the work. You don’t need to pay through the roof to get these people, they’d do the job anyway.
There is still a balance point where more rewards would attract more and better qualified candidates. Unfortunately, in MMOs, rewarding the social aspects of group friendly classes acts against the other trend which is being more accessible to soloers.
Or in other words, devs could create awesome group content rewards and that would effectively reward tanks and healers because they get to do it more easily … but people would complain about feeling forced to group.
Other reasons not to overly reward tanks and healers
- Plays into ‘special snowflake’ syndrome which already affects tanks and healers disproportionately.
- What are you going to reward them with exactly? More gold, reputation, badges or gear will just mean that they gear up more quickly and are no longer motivated to continue running the instances. Maybe a random pet – a little tank pet might be cute, especially if you could get it to shell dps who stand in the fire.
In fact, far from rewarding tanks and healers, I think that if the disparity continues it’s likely that their rewards will be more spaced out. To encourage the players to keep tanking and healing instances so that the dps can have their shot too. Anyone remember Utgarde Pinnacle at the beginning of Wrath – only instance which dropped a purple tanking weapon. It was run a lot. Because all the warrior and paladin tanks wanted that drop.
That’s how to get more instances running.
And on another note, why don’t we have achievements for different roles?
I don’t get behind extra rewards, but wouldn’t it be fun to have some achievements for tanking 100 instances, or healing them? Or completing some instance or raid in all of your character’s possible hybrid specs, just for fun?
Maybe that’s all the reward people would need.
But devs have been very reluctant to include class specific achievements, even when (as in WoW) they’ve been very explicit that achievement points are pointless and meaningless.