Links, and the last word on tank numbers in WoW

First off, good luck to Kadomi (of Tank like a Girl renown) with her new blog, Live like a Nerd which is going to have a broader base than the WoW-centred blog. I’m a big fan, and welcome to life after WoW!

Pete at Dragonchasers ponders how he feels about challenge in games. I’m firmly in this camp where feeling overly threatened by a game just makes me turn it off. When I see a hard mode, I automatically think, “Oh it’ll be too hard for me,” and switch it to normal (or easier) Β even though I’m a fairly experienced gamer. For people like me they should label the modes, “Beginner”, “Don’t worry, it’s a bit harder but you can do it,” and “Think before you rush in.” In any case, it’s perfectly legitimate to want your challenge doled out in a careful curve so as not to frighten the less macho amongst us.

Moon Over Endor posts about his experience with the extended SWTOR demo that was held recently in London. SWTOR announced on Friday that they’ve retooled class roles somewhat so that now Smuggler/ Agent is the only class that cannot tank, dps, or heal (they can’t tank!) — all the others can. (edited to add: Nope, my bad. What changed is that trooper/ bounty hunter and inquisitor/ consular both get the option of all three roles — smuggler/ agent can’t tank and jedi knight/ sith warrior can’t heal. Thanks expostninja for the correction.) I am amused at the notion of a trooper as a ranged healer, I hope they get a healing gun πŸ™‚

Nick Dinicola at PopMatters explains why the whole point of Dragon Age 2 is that your character is limited in their ability to change things. He also puts his finger on one of the things I like about the setup which is that I’m a bit tired of the hero’s journey and like the idea of playing a character who is a bit less special.

Eurogamer reports that EA is planning its own version of realID (or at least a persistent identity across all EA games).

And finally, Bashiok (a Blizzard community manager) posts about making WoW easier:

Overcoming all of the obstacles (I CHOOSE NOT TO SHOOT HER WITH THE SILVER ARROW… NOOOOO) was a big part of what gaming (I HAVE 1 LIFE!?), and especially PC gaming (HOW DO I LOAD MOUSE DRIVERS?), <used to be> about. But, I feel we’re lucky to now be in an age where those ideals (intended or not) are giving way to actual fun, actual challenge, and not fabricating it through high-reach requirements

Clearly he hasn’t tried to play Mass Effect 2 on a PC recently, if the amount of hassle I have had in trying to persuade it to locate its own saved games are any indication.

And on that note, Bioware are giving a free copy of ME2 on PC to anyone who buys DA2 before 30th April (including people who already own it). Astoundingly, some people are complaining about this. When I started it up, I commented on twitter that I wondered if the Illusive Man was a love interest and got this:

Cdr_Shepard Commander J. Shepard

@copperbird What the hell… ?
Got to love twitter.

LFD and tank/ healer numbers

I wonder if the LFD tool itself has contributed to having fewer tanks and healers in the queues.

Why? Well, when forming groups was difficult, players who really wanted to socialise in games tended to roll tanks or (more commonly) healers. It was well known that doing this would automatically make you popular without all the hassle of actually having to make friends with people. (Note: this is not to say that no tanks/ healers have social skills since most of them do, it’s just that it was a shortcut to being quite popular in groups in game when you were new and didn’t know anyone.) For example, I always felt well loved in vanilla when I played a holy priest.

But now, with LFD, groups are more accessible to everyone. Playing a tank/ healer just offers shorter queues. So people who mostly wanted to tank/ heal to get groups now have a choice — wait longer or take the grouping roles. And if the instances or the random groups are sufficiently annoying when tanking/ healing then they may well be deciding to just suck up the longer queues as dps.

20 thoughts on “Links, and the last word on tank numbers in WoW

    • I think modern games actually do have more difficult options (think hard mode instances in WoW/ LOTRO, or better tuned PvP), as well as the fact that any MMO player has the option of making things harder for themselves (levelling naked, soloing group content etc).

      Or maybe we just define difficulty in a different way now. In any case, I’m not a fan of difficulty for its own sake. But at the same time, I know challenge can be fun. I (and gamers like me) need to be lured into it and given plenty of opportunity to get our confidence up first.

  1. I still feel loved for being a healer :> just not in random dungeon finder groups. I heal/tank for my guild only, and if they’re not on I won’t do a heroic on that character.

  2. Certainly I’ve noted tanks and healers saying ‘I’ll do a PuG for todays daily, cant be bothered to tank/heal I’ll go DPS for an easy life’. heck I’ve done it myself….

  3. Heh, Uzi is right, all the tanks I am friends with on my server will usually go DPS if they can’t get a guild group. All the valor points for the day, without the hassle of tanking.

    Thank you kindly for the link. I can not dream to keep a schedule of quality posts as you do, but I will try my best. πŸ™‚

    That Twitter conversation is hilarious. I do wonder though, where do all the Bioware twitter accounts come from all of a sudden? I was giddy fangirl finding a Merrill fanfiction and was all aflutter when KeeperMerrill started tweeting at me. In the meantime I have noticed that all the DA characters use Twitter, and also seem to have set up Formspring to answer questions. I spent an amusing afternoon tweeting back and forth with Merrill. Hilarity. Only on Twitter.

    • There is a LOT of crazy roleplaying on twitter. Maybe it’s company employees taking on those personas to drum up some PR, or maybe random people/ players having some fun. Part of the fun is that you’ve no idea who is behind the persona, I think πŸ˜‰

      But yes, the one above did make me laugh.

  4. I find it amusing that Blizzard have to go through all these trickery to increase roles that no one likes to do naturally [tanks and healing] ..

    …and in this same blog post i learn how Bioware is limiting these exact same roles per class. I mean geepers creepers, we know Tanks and Healers are always a problem , why design your game to have classes that can NOT do those roles?

    Simply put : Jedi/Sith that can’t heal…helllooo . How’s that for creating a shortage right there.

    In other words: Future MMO Devs, if you are going to restrict a class from doing stuff, restrict it from doing DPS !

    All Bioware now has to do is make Jedi’s not able to tank OR heal and watch how everyone will -still- roll a Jedi anyway! Oh the irony…

    • “…if you are going to restrict a class from doing stuff, restrict it from doing DPS ! ”

      You know what, I read that line and it gave me an idea for WoW.

      Ever since Blizzard announced the new LFD Role Reward (Call of Arms), dps players have been complaining about feeling “less important”. Truth is, they ARE less important. I’ll give you a quick hypothetical scenario;

      Random 5 Man Heroic Boss is at 10% health. Boss mechanic forces you to sacrifice one party member of your choice. Chances are, that player you chose to sacrifice is dps. Even if you had to sacrifice three party members, chances are all three are dps.

      Want to make dps more important?? Make tanks do little to no dps. Have all their abilities mitigate damage or do straight threat. Don’t give healers and damage dealing abilities. Give DPS what they want, more responsibility. If a boss doesn’t die, a lot more would be riding on the performance of dps. DPS would be held more accountable for a party’s success – and in turn, they may choose they don’t like the added stress and reroll another class…

      • Indeed. That’s an interesting angle , kinda reminds me of what they did in Star Wars Galaxies with the Trader and Entertainer classes.

        Those two classes you leveled without doing any form of DPS . Sure you can hold a gun and shoot, but you gained zero benefit from doing so. In other words, you did not get experience from killing mobs….how’s that for a revolutionary idea that everyone ignored?

        Maybe if someone figured out how i can roll a HEALER and HEAL to lvl 85 and have just as much fun as a DPS’er . Likewise as a TANK . Why should everything boil down to “kill it as fast as you can” ?

        The current solution to this lack of creativity is to create HYBRIDS. So now instead of finding a way so a TANK can play as a TANK , they simply give them ability to DPS [so now they don’t need to tank at all) . So everyone can DPS in every MMO , it’s the “bread and butter” activity and the ONLY activity to progress in the game. It’s no surprise that most likely everyone deep down subconsciously realise this design flaw and hence realise you are not going to “level” or “progress” as a Tank or Healer . You might be able to do this at the END, but not while you play…..and what’s the fun in that?

        Simply put : If you can’t DPS, you can’t kill it. If you can’t kill it, you can’t progress.

        So i’m not even sure why we call it the “Holy Trinity” , it’s clearly Tanking and Healing is just “band aids” to a standard “kill’em all” gameplay style.

      • The way I see it, every class has a dps talent tree. But… not every class has a tank/healing tree. With the addition of dual spec, which should be available once the talent trees open up IMO, you can have a level spec and a dungeon/raid spec.

      • Older style games did go for a class design where healers/ tanks had very poor dps. And it pretty much sucked unless you were constantly grouped as one of those classes. (And even then, you didn’t really have the option to take a break from tanking or healing unless you rolled an alt).

        It may be that now that tanks/ healers have dps options, dps feel less important. But it’d be better to have every class as a hybrid than force tanks/ healers to have rubbish soloing ability again, imo.

      • If You want to follow that path, just don’t take DPS away from tanks/healers, but give more HP to non-solo-content and let tanks/healers amplify the dmg of others. So everyone has valueable solo-dps and suitable grouped-dps.

      • @Silvertemplar — In the original SWG, Doctors gained XP from healing action bars (combat healing), wounds (reductions in action bar length), and by giving out buffs, and no other way. You wanted to heal better? You had to heal more!

        Dancers and Musicians were also healers, but they healed the 3rd “mind” bar, plus cured “Battle Fatigue” which no one ever actually figured out how bad it was but . . such is life with mysterious mechanics.

        Thing was, though….. everyone could use the moderate-sized “Stim-B” to self heal, everyone could wear the best “composite” armor, and with buffs from a doc before heading out you generally auto-regen’d so fast that you didn’t often need to self-heal anyway, much less need an actual healer along in the groups.

        As a result, everyone simultaneously was tank/heal/dps. Made the game a soloer’s dream, sure, but made it so that dungeons tended to be rather simple as well.

  5. “If You want to follow that path”

    What designers want, primarily, is players playing their game.

    To get them they have been hopping between making things fun for one role at the expense of the others, ever since it was discovered that Holy Trinity generated more fun than Everyone Is Dps.

    As I recently blogged, the name of the game for the last ten years has been Capture the Healers. However WoW has also made a number of designs aimed at dps. This has left a crisis in the third arm of the Trinity.

  6. PS Diablo 2 was, imo, the high point of Everyone Is Dps design. When Diablo 3 comes out it will be very interesting to see how it does.

    After all Diablo in its online form works by allowing players to cluster in small groups (like pve instances) and pick who you play with or just pug (like pve instances).

    Logically the way the genre has moved there’s no reason for MMO players not to play Diablo 3 – it will be polished, everyone gets to dps, no one has any responsibility to others.

  7. I healed my way to 80 as a Resto Shammy. It sucked.

    I then DPS/Healed my way to 85 following behind a collection of my favorite tanks. It sucked less.

    Its now perfectly possible to heal your way to 85. Get to LFD level and then just use your rested bonus up healing randoms. The trouble is the hassle you get the closer you get to 85…

  8. Pingback: Difficulty | Kill Ten Rats

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