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?