SWTOR’s current class system is nothing new, Ultima online had this. Even though it did not have a class system in the traditional form we all know now.
Yet, it did give you the ability to take on a number of roles, Mage, Warrior etc.
The ability to be multi functional was set out so long ago.
Fast forward to now, and TOR is again hitting on the multi tool function game-play mechanic. Rift has done this very same thing, and playing at the end-game, it is quite evident that not every class that has Tank or Healing abilities is viable in those given roles.
Look at any mmo from the past 6 years, and you can see that the roles of Tank and Healer, are not the best at being able to fill the role of dps. Combining these roles with a dps viable spec, will open countless game play balancing issues.
Take the Trooper Tank for instance. This class has access to the heaviest armor in-game. This is balanced by giving this class a lower dps, and a system to hold agro from many a raid and world boss.
Dps on the other hand, has access to the highest damage weapons. Now if you combine both, the problem is self-evident.
High armor, high dps, would become a very powerful class indeed. Yet, this will not play out like this. In the interest of balance, you have to give this class lower dps and/or armor.
The Healers in the same token have lower dps as the norm, as well as lower armor. As a support role giving this group high dps, would also account for major balancing issues.
Taking this into account, how effective would you become at any of these given roles ?
If BioWare resolves this by gimping skills to come into line with other classes, the Trooper can not possibly become good at each role they have available. We all know the sacrifices a player has to take, in becoming the raid leader when it comes to tanking. They take a in ever diminishing low-end dps rates, to other classes around them.
This also make them level in a totally different way to other classes. Having lower dps is not always a bad thing, when your armor surpasses others around you. You may not be able to kill a single target as quick as the next player. Though you can take on multiple targets at the same time.
This in turn, gives Tanks, a very nice way of farming and leveling, that other classes can only dream about.
Changing the tank roles up to have a viable dps spec, within the given trees, will not make any more good tanks available.
There is a good reason for this. Adopting the role of tank, can be the hardest, yet most rewarding role you can have. These players that reach the top, are the best of the best. You have to play the class way more, and learn every inch of every raid.
They lead from the front, they have to know what is round the next corner. This does not come easy. The time investment alone far surpasses those of dps and healers. Anyone with a mouse or keyboard can be good at dps. Tanking on the other hand, you have to learn what the boss is doing, how to counter it, as well as watching your group to make sure they are not taking aggro. If they do, as the tank you have to counter this quick and effectively.
It will not make any difference if you make more tanking roles, in finding a good tank. Also I can see this diminishing the effectiveness of tanks on the whole. To be a good tank you have to play as such. You have to learn your skills, from level one to max. But having a dps tree, is highly attractive to most of the mmo players of times gone by.
Most of the player base, will indeed take on the dps tree, for most if not all of their leveling experience. This will leave them not knowing their class. Nothing can replace the countless hours, learning your skills. Playing dps, over tanking, will not do you or your group any good, when you take the responsibility of leading the front line.
It would be like changing class altogether. All the skills set before you are alien, and unnatural. Having to check your skills as you use them, will cause great problems.
We have all seen the footage from Pax and the flashpoint. Most of the groups did not complete the instance. This could be down to not knowing how mmo’s work. But most of it would boil down to the players not knowing the classes and skills they have at their disposal.
This is exactly what will happen if you try to switch from one role to another.
Not knowing what to use when are where, will get everyone killed. As a tank you take up the most important job in the group, followed by that of the healer, who also has a dps role.
As anyone who have played a healer before will tell you, they are the slowest leveling class in every mmo. Having a dps spec, will be irresistible not to use. This will also leave you at the same disadvantage as the tank would have, and that’s not knowing your class.
A bit part tank with a hardly used healer, will make for a few fun times for sure, and do expect to have raids last far too long, if your core team does not have the knowledge behind them.
It’s going to be an interesting run up to launch, seeing how BioWare is to make all these roles viable for end-game content. I’m sure it will be fun and interesting, when the information rears its head. The good old tank/heal/dps may not be as flamboyant as a multi class system. But we do know those in the role of tank and healer are more than to up the task.
This way there is way more uncertainty, expect to see long raids and lots of nurd rage when the game hits 🙂
So until we meet again, MrWarlock signing off
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