WoW roles.

February 8, 2008 at 4:26 pm (BlogAzeroth, Game Design, Warcraft, World of Warcraft)

I thought I’d give this group blogging thing a try. Today’s topic “Does WoW need another party role?

No.

So am I done here? Can I go home? Sigh, I suppose you’d like some explanation.

So currently people think of party roles in terms of the trilogy of Tank, Healer, DPS. So what other possibilities are there? Well, looking at other games some possible roles are buffs, debuffs, crowd control (keeps mobs out of combat), runner control (keeps mobs in combat). The thing is that all of these things exist already in the current classes.

Shaman and Paladin were obviously designed to be party buffers so that’s out already. Experiment failed. They now fit firmly in the trilogy.

If you look at Warlocks and their curses, you’ll see the underpinnings of a debuff class, and to a lesser extent most classes now have some form of debuff to add to their party. For example, Scorpid Sting, Viper Sting, Arcane Shot, Aimed Shot, Frost Trap, and Expose Weakness all could be considered debuff spells and that’s just for hunters.

Crowd control is in a similar boat. Want to CC undead, get a priest. Want to CC humanoids, have a rogue Sap. Want to CC demons, banish! Want to CC anything indefinitely? Frost Trap + skilled hunter FTW.

Runner control is pretty much nonexistant in WoW. For those wondering what that is, I seem to remember EQ 1 mobs running away towards their friends at around 40%, and adds were a real issue.  This my friend is the whole reason behind the /train emote.  Kill 1 mob, agro 3 more, shout “Train to zone/city guards!” and hope they didn’t kill you before you could hit the loading screen (your computer had to load between zones so mobs couldn’t follow you).

Pretty much any 4th role you can think of is already in the game. It is just distributed amongst the preexisting classes, and I think that’s for the good of everyone. Why? Blizzard’s design philosophy has always been “keep it simple.” Currently, how do you measure Expose Weakness’s contribution to your raid? You can’t really. Now imagine trying to include a whole class where their contributions are just as nebulous. Not simple.

Second, imagine that you class is based around CC, how would you DPS at the same time.  Warlocks can do this to a limited effect, image the PVP QQ should and entire class be based around it. Debuffing as the primary focus of a class is just as misguided a notion, how would you kill anything?  And if you could somehow solo as a debuffer what happens if you pair yourself with someone who’s focus is damage?  In sanity OP.

The only possible class I have heard of is the Mesmer from Guild Wars, but even then I’m pretty sure that they’d quickly fall into the DPS category, which of course would not be adding a new role so much as a new way to DPS.

Sorry guys, but no.  There is no 4th role in WoW.

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