Style Vs Trinity And The Solving Of Problems

February 2, 2011 at 2:55 am | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 10 Comments
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I wish I hadn't forgotten about this piece of art

Ravious had a pretty good post a while back where he essentially went through all the features that Guild Wars 2 is putting together. He outlined what was new, innovative, old, different, and familiar. In the end it was a clean and effective summary of just what makes Guild Wars 2 so special to the people anticipating its release.

Fast forward to tonight when Arenanet posted their latest blog by Designer Jon Peters. “What’s Your Style? Jon Peters Talks About Combat” In many ways it reminded me of what Ravious was trying to do. He talks about all the things in MMOs that Guild Wars 2 wants to change. Starting with the Trinity.

For a long time now information has trickled out of Arenanet, but when the information first started to flow there was another post by Jon Peters called Healing & Death. It was our first inkling that maybe they really were going to do away with the MMO holy trinity of Heal, Tank, and DPS. In it we were told that every profession must bring a healing skill and that everyone had the ability to resurrect dead allies.

Since then we’ve had little to go on. The odd profession reveal would show support skills from the ranger or elementalist, who otherwise we would have thought concentrated on damage or otherwise. We could see skills in the demo for each profession that were clearly support. Yet there were still people moaning about the Trinity.

Well this post and the guardian profession reveal ought to put the last nail in that coffin. We found out that the guardians focus is on controlling the battlefield and protecting people from damage, rather than healing. We found out, once and for all, there is no more monk.

We found out that there is no targeting allies.

Think about that for a second. Goodbye Whack-A-Mole.

Guild Wars 2 will allow people to play whatever style they want to play as whichever profession they want to play. You want to play support as an elementalist? Fine. You want to control your enemies as a necromancer? Okay. You want to play long range damage as warrior? No problem.

And how many of the following problems have you experienced when you played an MMO?

* Group LF Healer/Tank…
* Party wipes when you lose the wrong person.
* Watching the interface instead of the world.
* Playing with people because you have to, not because you want to.
* Being stuck in the same combat patterns over and over again.

If they could even solve just one of these age old hindrances, how much better off would we all be?

It’s as though Arenanet’s real goal isn’t to design games, but to kick ass and solve problems.

Dynamic Events mean that when you play through one of the five starting areas a second time, it could honestly end up being completely different. Dynamic Events that weren’t around the first time could have moved along in their event chain to something you haven’t seen before. Same old content? Problem solved.

Their grouping system means you never have to join a group, but still reap the rewards of participating in Dynamic Events. If you always reap the reward by participating, there is no kill stealing. No territorial behaviour. It encourages working and playing together. Mobs being camped? Problem solved.

Their Marketplace, while acting as a normal auction house, could also end up being twice as useful as other MMO auction houses, because you can post want ads too. Can’t find what you want to buy? Problem solved.

Completing a dungeon means you get a guaranteed token, which you’ll need a number of to gain the loot you’re after. No grind, no raiding culture, no ninja looting, no petty jealousy. Sick of the endless dungeon routine? Problem Solved, son.

In the close of the post Jon Peters talks about the features he thinks will solve the quoted problems above.

– Healing Skill Slot
– Downed, Defeated, and Revival
– Shared Boon System
– No Allied Targeting
– Diversity
– Mobility

There is plenty to discuss in those features, and I know I’ll touch upon them again, but as I’m sure many have said, there are multiple game changers here.

No allied targeting. It could change MMOs depending on how well it works.

Diversity. Being able to change your skills and traits between fights is great. Changing weapons and therefore half your bar during a fight is down right awesome. But that’s not even what he’s talking about when he mentions diversity. He’s talking about using the same skills to do different things.

Mobility. You can run while casting. Some games do this, some don’t, but in Guild Wars 2, you have to do this. I’ve talked often with others about just how aware you are going to have to be of your surroundings. You will have to dodge, you will have to move, you will have to watch the tail swipe.

And yeah, I think some of these things will solve problems. Everyone healing themselves means you don’t need to wait for a healer. Being able to switch roles means you won’t wipe when you lose a person. Every profession being able to play multiple roles means you won’t have to put up with someone just because they play an integral role. Not being able to target others means you don’t have to stare at a health bar and can actually enjoy the beauty of the world you’re in.


I could go on and on about every single facet of this, but damn it, just go read it yourself.



  1. It sounds VERY promising!

    • I think so.

  2. I’ve never denied that Guild Wars 2 is going to bring many innovative ideas to the genre, but a lot of the time, I did think that the many “new” things they are talking about implementing are just little, barely significant changes. Not this one though. This one is truly a real change. Sounds awesome, no more standing around helpless with your life in someone else’s hands, waiting for a heal that may or may not come!

    I’ve always hated the typical style of healing, because it takes your attention away from the fight and the game, focusing it instead on a bunch of green, moving bars. However, I know quite a few dedicated healers who will be disappointed in this news though, people who like the whole process of watching for their allies’ health and strategizing and timing heals etc. And maybe they actually like whack-a-mole.

    • I can see how you might see it that way but after watching the demo it looks like it just plain plays different than most MMOs. I just don’t do barrel rolls in most other games you know?

      I know what you mean when you say healers will be disappointed, when they first announced there would be no monks I could hear the disappointment in the voices of a few of my gaming buddies. Some of them have definitely come around since then, and I think all it takes is to show them information about gw2 to change their minds.

  3. I’m really excited that they released another design article. The professions are fine and all, but what I want to know is how the game is going to play. This actually reminds me of how the first Guild Wars was designed to answer all of the problems MMOs had at the time. And it looks like they are going even farther now.

    • I think they’re going a lot farther than anyone really expected. I think people just thought it would be guild wars with jumping and its turning out to be quite the innovative game.

  4. I’m excited about the fact that we can’t target allies. This was one of the major reasons I hated playing a monk in GW. I felt like I was watching red bars instead of paying attention to what was going on in the game. It’s also why I let my heroes do my minion bombing for me because minions are so hard to target.

    They whole system seems to be more dynamic. I think the learning curve of traditional MMOers may be a bit steep if they don’t have FPS experience, but I also feel like ANet will be able to draw in the FPS crowd a bit as well.

    My primary character is a Necro and I stuck with him because of how versatile the profession is. I’m very excited about the versatility of professions in GW2.

    • For those who play monk a lot watching health bars isn’t that bad, but I think they’re in the minority, i think more people will be drawn into helping others with this design.

  5. It will be interesting to see how people who have never read the blogs or forums handle the new concepts. I was just talking to a guy today who plays DDO and knows very little about GW2. While attempting (several times) to explain that you cannot target an ally to heal them, he would look at me quizzically like I was speaking a foreign language.

    People like that I expect will look at the list of professions when they start the game and try to guess which one is the healer.

    • They mentioned somewhere that the first few people who played the game who were unaware of what they were doing, tried to play the game as if it were a traditional mmo, running past dynamic events or even npcs calling out for help.

      I’m pretty sure people will get used to it but I find that hilarious and intriguing.

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