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  1. #1

    Interesting encounters, and lack of a Holy Trinity

    Hello MMO-C forums,

    I don't post too terribly often, especially in the Guild Wars 2 forum. To be honest, I haven't been keeping up with GW2 until recently, because I was completely uninterested in GW1 within the first hour or so, and was already playing World of Warcraft anyway. There is, however, one thing about GW2 I'd like to talk about that I usually see dismissed instead of discussed, and that's Encounters.

    So, the concern I'm hearing from people I talk to about Guild Wars 2, is that lack of dedicated tanks and healers will make for uninteresting encounters. I'd like to point out exactly what makes even a World of Warcraft encounter interesting, and show how it relates to GW2.

    Remember this guy?



    That's right, the Shade of Aran, in Karazhan! This guy has quite an arsenal of abilities. For instance:

    Flame Wreath - Shade of Aran casts Flame Wreath around raid members, and if that raid member moves, it explodes, dealing damage to everyone.

    Blizzard - A blizzard falls in one section of the circular room you fight in, and slowly moves around the room. Players who want to avoid death should run away from the blizzard.

    Arcane Explosion - The Shade pulls everyone in the raid toward him, slows their movement speed, and begins casting an Arcane Explosion that damages anyone who is nearby. If you start running right when it happens, you'll avoid the damage. Otherwise, you're probably dead without a debuff removal.

    Don't kill him fast enough, and he'll polymorph your entire raid, drink to full mana, and continue wailing on you. Don't interrupt his spells, and he'll cast off Fireballs and Icebolts that will do serious damage to your friends.

    Shade of Aran is one of my personal favorite encounters in World of Warcraft. It was difficult, too - some guilds took weeks of trying just to get past this one boss. Everyone was equally accountable for success or failure, and most interestingly, this encounter requires no tank whatsoever. The Shade stands in the middle of the room and casts at whoever he wants to. While the fight did require healing, it didn't necessarily require healers - heals happened when mistakes were made, someone goofed and was about to die because of it. Considering everyone in GW2 has some kind of heal to use, it translates well that if they screwed up on a Shade of Aran type encounter, they'd be able to make up for their mistake with healing. Or forget to heal and get killed by the next ability, I guess.

    Warcraft is full of these kinds of encounters. To take a more recent example, Atramedes, the Blind Dragon in Blackwing Descent. The idea behind THIS particular fight is to prevent damage by ringing one of the gongs placed around the room right before he does his big breath attack. This is highly distracting for him, and since he can't actually see you, he simply breathes fire in your general direction, and chases you as you run.

    The only way Atramedes can see you is if you get hit by too many sonic waves, and your Sound level reaches 100%. He'll then turn and kill you instantly. No amount of tanking or healing will prevent you from standing in sound waves and ending up being so noisy that he knows exactly where you are.

    Atramedes will also randomly turn toward a raid member and breathe fire while he's on the ground. The fire will chase the player, and he and everyone close to him will have to run away from it. If he fails to do so, he's probably dead.

    While Atramedes is actually tanked for some of the fight, it isn't a particularly necessary or interesting part of the encounter. Healing is, again, for correcting mistakes, which can easily be done individually.

    Seems to me like "Don't stand in this" is the major thing that keeps things interesting, and GW2 will easily be able to make encounters that are both interesting and challenging without a trinity. How about you guys? What were your favorite encounters in MMOs, and did tanking or healing actually matter?

  2. #2
    Who are the kind of people that think no dedicated tank or healer would cause UNinteresting encounters? It really makes no sense, and I've never heard that personally. I always hear people wanting to get away from this trifecta of roles. I didn't think anyone could be lame enough to actually WANT dedicated tanking and healing. I really don't think you have to convince anyone here of why it makes games fun without tanking and healing. Those have ALWAYS been the best fights in World of Warcraft.

    However, don't get me wrong. I think some tanking and healing is good and needed to make fights interesting. It's just when the mass bulk of the fight, or the ENTIRE fight which is the majority of WoW, is about tanking and healing that it gets really boring. But something like a Fury Warrior being able to tank something for a bit without risk of dying in a few seconds would be cool, or when people have to fight their own targets like Leotheras the Blind. I loved the "fight your own demons" part of the fight, one of my favorite fight segments in WoW. In fact, I'm going to go through Wowhead for a few minutes and see what fights in World of Warcraft weren't just boring "tank and heal."

    Well, it took longer than I thought, and the list is disappointly short. Here's what I came up with:

    Razorgore the Untamed, the non-tanking part.
    Buru, the non-tanking part (although you did have to tank the bugs from the eggs for a tiny bit you didn't NEED an actual tank for those)
    C'thun, the stomach and eye beam part
    Chess Event, even if still doesn't technically count I think it does
    Netherspite, because of the red beam ANYONE can tank but I suppose it does boil down to tank and heal
    Leotheras the Blind, non-tank parts
    The Lurker Below, for his Spout only
    Lady Vashj, Phase 2 with the immunity and if you took out the Elites
    High Astromancer Solarian, for her Wrath of the Astromancer spell and reinforcement summon with healers that had to be stopped
    Teron Gorefiend, for his Shadow of Death spell and the minigame that triggered for the lucky player
    Flame Leviathan
    Yogg-Saron, the non-tank parts
    Faction Champions, one of the BEST encounters in World of Warcraft
    Chimaeron, if only because healing had to be done very differently here in an interesting manner
    Al'akir, the non-tank part
    Lord Rhyolith, if you removed the adds and last part
    Alysrazor, even though it involves standard tanking, much of the fight relies solely on everything but that for the people on the ground and in the air

    The way I selected these were if the bosses had non-tank+heal parts that took up enough of the fight to warrant them significant enough that success hinged solely on people executing them properly. I know some are pretty iffy to be included.

    Sorry, but I respectfully disagree with you that Atramedes is a good example. His flying part of the fight just doesn't take up enough of the fight to warrant it being compared to Shade of Aran or Flame Leviathan, so it boils down to just tank and heal. His Sonar Pulse waves also aren't enough either.
    A ton of encounters in WoW have a raid awareness element to them, but they're almost all extremely simple and easy to deal with to the point that they're practically negated and not even considered, so all that's left is just tank&heal. And even if one does fail at something like Atramedes's Sonar Pulses, it's just that person dying. Who cares? Move on, you can still continue the fight. However, if someone's a retard at Solarian then they will wipe your whole raid, and it's the same with Teron's Shadow of Death, Lord Rhyolith's direction, etc.
    Last edited by Senka; 2012-01-25 at 01:19 AM.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Senka View Post
    Who are the kind of people that think no dedicated tank or healer would cause UNinteresting encounters? It really makes no sense, and I've never heard that personally. I always hear people wanting to get away from this trifecta of roles. I didn't think anyone could be lame enough to actually WANT dedicated tanking and healing. I really don't think you have to convince anyone here of why it makes games fun without tanking and healing. Those have ALWAYS been the best fights in World of Warcraft.
    You see people on these very forums and other GW2 forums who still say they want the trinity and can't imagine playing without it so therefore GW2 will fail. It's more common than you think.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Senka View Post
    Who are the kind of people that think no dedicated tank or healer would cause UNinteresting encounters? It really makes no sense, and I've never heard that personally. I always hear people wanting to get away from this trifecta of roles. I didn't think anyone could be lame enough to actually WANT dedicated tanking and healing. I really don't think you have to convince anyone here of why it makes games fun without tanking and healing. Those have ALWAYS been the best fights in World of Warcraft.

    However, don't get me wrong. I think some tanking and healing is good and needed to make fights interesting. It's just when the mass bulk of the fight, or the ENTIRE fight which is the majority of WoW, is about tanking and healing that it gets really boring. But something like a Fury Warrior being able to tank something for a bit without risk of dying in a few seconds would be cool, or when people have to fight their own targets like Leotheras the Blind. I loved the "fight your own demons" part of the fight, one of my favorite fight segments in WoW. In fact, I'm going to go through Wowhead for a few minutes and see what fights in World of Warcraft weren't just boring "tank and heal."
    Ahahaha, I remember THAT guy, too. I remember all the healers whining and bitching that they can't possibly kill their demon fast enough. Amusingly, at that point in time I was playing a Holy Paladin. I didn't have any trouble. Then again, healer is the role that tends to attract people that can't hang as a tank or DPS because they're less than stellar players. That's not saying it's the case for ALL healers of course, but chances are "The Raid Leader's Girlfriend" who completely sucks is going to be some kind of Priest.

    Quote Originally Posted by omlech View Post
    You see people on these very forums and other GW2 forums who still say they want the trinity and can't imagine playing without it so therefore GW2 will fail. It's more common than you think.
    I gotta' say, I'm a little concerned, because I am a Tank player. It's what I do. And the reason I play a tank, is because I feel like it's the best way to contribute the most to my group. A great tank can carry a sub-par group through things they probably shouldn't be able to see. It's for the same reason I like Bard classes in other games - while damage tends to be low, people are glad you're around because you make them awesome.

    What concerns me is that in GW2, I will have to rely a whole lot more on the skill of the people I'm grouped with, instead of making up for it myself by pulling a little extra weight. It's not a HUGE concern, and it's probably about time everyone shared the responsibility that being in a group in an MMO entails, but it is a concern.

  5. #5
    Stood in the Fire MissCleo's Avatar
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    Kil'jaeden! One of the best encounters.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Freehoof View Post
    Kil'jaeden! One of the best encounters.
    Seeing as I'm not COMPLETELY INSANE, I never did Sunwell. What made Kil'jaeden interesting?

  7. #7
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    I agree, and i cant wait to see the encounters but it would be nice to get a sneak peak of a boss. I suppose we will know in a month or so

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Thrage View Post
    Then again, healer is the role that tends to attract people that can't hang as a tank or DPS because they're less than stellar players
    ...and at that point I know that I can disregard your posts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrage View Post
    I am a Tank player. It's what I do. And the reason I play a tank, is because I feel like it's the best way to contribute the most to my group. A great tank can carry a sub-par group through things they probably shouldn't be able to see.
    That's certainly the mentality of a lot of tanks.

  9. #9
    Stood in the Fire MissCleo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thrage View Post
    Seeing as I'm not COMPLETELY INSANE, I never did Sunwell. What made Kil'jaeden interesting?
    Well, for one he could be tanked by a plate wearing DPS. I remember tanking him on my Fury warrior. In general there was a ton of stuff to watch out for, most of which required quick reaction time - the adds in Phase 1 spawned these little adds which ran towards people and exploded, so you'd have to be quick with the DPS switches and run away if they started getting close to you. At some point in the fight these orbs would activate which would transform the person who clicked on them into a blue dragon, with a whole new set of abilities. You could fly around the room breathing on friendly players to give them a haste buff, or healing them, and you could put down a big shield players could stand in to counter KJ's big raid-wipe ability.

    It definitely had a tanking and (especially) a healing requirement, but it was fun and engaging for everyone.

  10. #10
    Yea, I truly loved him, shade of aran.
    Please make him a comeback to MoP

  11. #11
    I think having a holy trinity makes the encounters more predictable, more boring. The lack of said holy trinity can only help but make those encounters more interesting.

  12. #12
    I am pretty sure every game ever created had interesting encounters that did not require a tank and a healer to be successful games. What i mean by this is if you are designing a game based around the trinity then the encounters are made to support the trinity as the most successful way of doing things. Other games not based around the trinity are designed in a way that the player/s can avoid all damage with enough skill or they player/s have some sort of way to heal themselves.

    How many players have been playing D2 for years and there was no healing class involved. How many mario games have i played where i didnt need princess peach standing behind me casting heals every time i got hit but i instead learned the fight and avoided any and all damage.

    In essence you cant say that encounters will be uninteresting just because there is not trinity. The game will be designed in a way that the encounters will be interesting. Remember why the devs removed the trinity in the first place. As a tank or a healer sometimes you miss whats going on around you because you are too focused on the boss or your raid tab. They want everyone to see the content they have put so much work into, not a box with a bunch of names with bars fluctuating.

  13. #13
    Reminds me a little of those discs people flew around on during Malygos, and the whole dragon riding thing after he shatters the platform. And we see the same kind of themes in newer games like SWTOR ... tanking and healing is just sort of there, but the encounter itself typically centers around some other mechanic, like running away from fireballs, or avoiding a close-range AOE.

    There were encounters where tanking or healing were important to be sure, like Thaddius - throwing the tanks and forcing a switch - but even then once you fight Thaddius himself, it's more about positioning, making sure you're on the correct positive or negative side, that sort of thing.

  14. #14
    Bloodsail Admiral nevermore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thrage View Post
    Then again, healer is the role that tends to attract people that can't hang as a tank or DPS because they're less than stellar players.
    We're definitely not playing the same game, lol.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeek Daniels View Post
    I am pretty sure every game ever created had interesting encounters that did not require a tank and a healer to be successful games.
    A good point, but you also didn't need other people in single player games, hence the game being single player. I can think of a few multiplayer cooperative games that didn't have tanks or healers - Left 4 Dead comes to mind - but I also didn't stick with those games for very long because we chainsawed through the content (literally) as fast as possible and then playing again would just be repetitive. Very different game types, either way .. hell, L4D doesn't even have "bosses," just different orderings of the same old things in a different fighting arena.

    One thing I will say about those games, though, is that I definitely had to rely on others. I think we'll see more interpersonal reliance in GW2 than Trinity games to begin with.

    ---------- Post added 2012-01-24 at 08:18 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by nevermore View Post
    We're definitely not playing the same game, lol.
    Yes, yes, I know, Huntards and whatever else, and no, it isn't all healers - I already said that. But typically in my experience when there is an encounter that puts the healers on the spot, it's a nightmare, because the ones I've seen don't know how to think outside the box (or the green bars) and do what's needed. It's very, very easy to hide the fact that you're a bad player as a healer, especially when you have other healers around to pick up your slack. It's not so easy as DPS, with things like damage meters, and it's impossible as a tank.

    I have a lot of respect for people who play healers and do so fantastically, please don't take what I say the wrong way. It's not a personal attack, just my own experience.

    In GW2's case, I don't think anyone will be able to hide the fact that they might not be so great at the game. This could be for better or for worse.
    Last edited by Thrage; 2012-01-25 at 01:20 AM.

  16. #16
    Warchief Cherrysoul's Avatar
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    I don't see an issue with no trinity, i embrace it. The fact that all Proff's have their own heal abilities as just one example, that work in different ways, is good. Just as is a spell that you can cast can interact with another prof spell or ability and combine to make something more powerful, the dynamics in this game blow me away tbh

    I cannot forsee events etc being boring based on the, There is no tank/healer/dps thing. Pfft thats old! Embrace the change :P

  17. #17
    Yeah, the trinity forces people into roles...and it splits a group of people up into specifc tasks.
    Many fights end up being desinged around the principles of the trinity...such as boss is here, dps are there and healers behind with ppl moving or reacting to a specifc big move or moves from the boss.
    In that sense it can be views as restrictive, and it makes it very hard to create very interesting fights. Blizzard does this well...they've introduced more fights with interesting characteristics...but ultimately it's still mostly about about tank here, dps there healers back there...
    Again, they've done quite a lot to make fights more interesting. Firelands had some interesting mechanics...even if they did personally feel a bit artificial to me: as in, hit ur foot to move in u this direction to a big eruption uv already created...duh.

    I think that by removing the trinity Anet will create more scope for variable mechanics.

    Also...I dislike how trinity forces you to perform a role that may not be what you want to do...or that is not interesting. Healing sucks frankly. You end up staring and UI. And your great contribution is seldom recognised. Tanking is ok...but it can be a lot of responsibility sometimes.
    I like how Anet are making it more fun for everyone.

    So yes. I think it will make for much more interesting encounters


    And about healers being bad. They're really not. It's just that the game has forced them to play a certain way for so long (ie look at ppls bars). It doesn't promote outside the box thinking. It is however very reactionery to heavy damage and good healers are very prepared for this. (It's frankly the only really interesting bit for a healer)
    Last edited by Squirrelbanes; 2012-01-25 at 01:22 AM.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Thrage View Post
    I can think of a few multiplayer cooperative games that didn't have tanks or healers - Left 4 Dead comes to mind - but I also didn't stick with those games for very long because we chainsawed through the content (literally) as fast as possible and then playing again would just be repetitive. Very different game types, either way .. hell, L4D doesn't even have "bosses," just different orderings of the same old things in a different fighting arena.

    One thing I will say about those games, though, is that I definitely had to rely on others. I think we'll see more interpersonal reliance in GW2 than Trinity games to begin with.
    I really enjoyed Baldurs gate 2 which had co-op and didnt require tanks or heals. Dont think that youll be breezing through content in GW2 i saw a video where a bunch of lvl 20's it looked like got annilated buy an open world Dynamic Event with what looked like a huge tiger and a bunch of centaurs.

  19. #19
    I've always enjoyed the idea behind 'Faction Champs' back in ToC, but I never really enjoyed the implementation of it. I feel the Trinity held back the potential of the fight.

    In other words, I would love to see that idea in one of GW2's dungeons.

    <3

  20. #20
    I think the reason the trinity has stayed around for so long is because it's the most solid way of creating challenging and hard encounters. The problem is WoW has turned that into something that relies solely on numbers to do that. And people caught up in WoW think only "numbers" equates to fun. I am one of those people that enjoys numbers, and I certainly think it is one way of creating fun, but it's not the ONLY way in an MMORPG.

    Will Guild Wars 2 encounters be technically easier than WoW because they might be more forgiving due to lack of stringent, tightly-tuned numbers to regulate them? Probably, but they'll certainly be more fun and not casual at all because you'll have to actually know how to play a video game well.

    Personally, I want a boss fight where it's chasing you for all, or part, of it and you have to attack blockades of varying size and health in your way or try to quickly run around them. The choice would be made on the fly based on if your team was made up of people with good mobility or higher burst DPS. I think one of Phantasy Star Online's extra scenarios was a chase scene, and I loved it. However primitive and easy PSO was, I find that style of MMORPG to be the most fun.
    Last edited by Senka; 2012-01-25 at 01:30 AM.

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