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Reader Comments (29)

Posted: Oct 17th 2010 8:19AM Scuffles said

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I would say my favorite class has been a petclass/debuff/dot/dps/buff/healing class, in that order of effectiveness. Tho buffing and healing might be switchable and for the most part were only applicable to you not your group.... If a group would take you.

The bonedancer in DAoC was essentially a whole group in a single character, combined with ML and CL, it could be turned into an unspeakable Juggernaut(har har see what I did there) of doom and chaos.

I have never really given two thoughts about the mmo holy trinity, I play how I enjoy playing and if that gets to a point where I have to go total cookie cutter to progress through the game (be that getting groups or just solo) ...... I'll Uninstall.

tl:dr, Yes I like debuffers.

Posted: Oct 17th 2010 8:21AM Scuffles said

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Actually in retrospect think the order was more
Pet/buff/debuff/dot/healing(andor)dps
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Posted: Oct 17th 2010 8:34AM lmollea said

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Absolutely! My ice/thermal corruptor on COV, my Illusion/sonic controller and my cold/psi defender on COH are my favourite debuffers. Coupled with the "partial" debuffing ability of the kinetic defender there that's my playstyle in MMO.

Sadly I still haven't found another game where playing debuffers is as enjoyable as COH/COV...

Posted: Oct 17th 2010 8:55AM (Unverified) said

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When I used to play Magic:The Gathering (long before the expansion nonsense got out of control), my favorite type of deck was what I liked to call my "Denial of Service" deck. Annoying as hell, and pissed people off. Debuffing sucks when it happens to you, but it's fun as all hell when you're the one doing it.

Posted: Oct 17th 2010 1:47PM (Unverified) said

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I run with a pretty casual Magic group, and that's the kind of stuff that keeps me playing. We usually do two-headed games, so making decks like that is compounded by having a partner who can handle the standard damage dealing for you.

In general, I think MMOs are richer with classes like this that diverge from the standard trinity. With the movement away from party play in these games, it seems like their days are numbered at least until the idea of actually playing MMOs in public groups (thus meeting new players) comes back into style.
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Posted: Oct 17th 2010 9:22AM (Unverified) said

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Debuffing has become a function of all classes rather than being packaged in one. I think of debuffing as a corrollory to each of the Trinity. DPS class debuffs allow them to output more DPS. Healer class debuffs allow them to better manage their healing output. Tank debuffs allow them to maintain aggro focus.

Instead of putting all debuffs onto one class I prefer it that most modern MMOs allow any class to use a debuff and in customisable class builds that they allow more or less emphasis on that function depending on the player's preference.

I'm curious what you think about crowd control abilities. Would you class those as debuffs? If there's a forgotten fourth member of the band in the Holy Trinity I think I'd argue it's the charmers, stunners, snarers and mezzers.

Leib

Posted: Oct 17th 2010 9:15AM (Unverified) said

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Love the debuffing classes. I find playing pure dps characters to be incredibly boreing and while the debuffer can’t get the same high damage output as a pure dps they increase the effectiveness of the entire team making them a very good addition for almost every situation.

The main problem I have with debuffers (and support characters in general) is that they don’t stack with themselves very well or in many cases not at all. What I mean is that an enemy can only be affected by a certain debuff a limited number of times at one time, this limit usually being one. Therefore having two defuffing characters in a group adds no benefit to the team and just detracts from the overall dps of the team. It’s not just debuffers though, take any support class and this usually ends up being the case.

People often complain that there are too few support characters in mmo’s and it’s rare that you’ll find a group that is in dire needs of dps but all too common for groups to be hurting for support. It seems the games are designed to be that way though. Always more dps classes than anything else and it seems like most games discourage the play of support classes, or at least don’t reward having several of them in a group.

tl:dr, Debuffers rock my socks.

Posted: Oct 17th 2010 11:05AM ThePenIsMightier said

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I'd have to argue that affliction warlocks are no more or less a debuff "class" than anything else in the game-almost all of their abilities are DoT or direct damage, they have almost no pure stat effecting abilities. Kind of a shame that WoW has no pure utility classes and leans just on the traditional trinity.

Posted: Oct 17th 2010 11:35AM Pingles said

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I never seem to benefit enough from a debuffing to use it. Great on bosses and such but for day to day leveling it always seems like my mob is dead well before I see the benefit of the debuffing.

Posted: Oct 17th 2010 12:16PM Resurge said

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Gonna agree with thepenismightier up there (wow that name doesn't look too kosher without the capitals, o,O ) that affliction locks are hardly a "debuffer". Wow really has no debuffer or buffer classes. Pretty much everyone brings something to the fight to debuff or buff something/someone with in WoW.

Dots are not debuffs. Hard control abilities like mezz/fear/sleep are not debuffs either. I guess it's debatable whether soft controls like snares and slows are debuffs - i guess maybe they could be considered debuffs, particularly if part of the snare or whatever affects attack speed or something, which is common. Of course, many control classes are also the main debuffers of their respective games, so the point might be a bit moot.

Me. personally - i love to be an unique snowflake - impossible in an MMO, but debuff/control/support classes are a great place to start in some games if you wanna at least play something other than another part of the horde of DPS that seems to dominate almost all of these games at the present. Particularly if you don't wanna tank or heal.

Posted: Oct 17th 2010 12:25PM Controlled Chaos said

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Oh, I adore my Mesmer in Guild Wars. I've actually spent a good amount of time in making up good skill bars that make her a nightmare in both PvE and PvP, varied depending a lot on the situation that one goes into.

However, debuffer, in general, tends to be a type of play that not a lot of people find much interest in. How often do you see nuker types or hand to hand types over those who have powers that are meant for taking the enemy down a peg in abilities? Takes a special type of player to really enjoy that...either they enjoy the challenge or they find a little bit of amusement in making someone else rip their hair out.

I admit, while it's more the former, I admit to a bit of the latter as well.

Posted: Oct 17th 2010 12:53PM Brianna Royce said

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I think it's interesting that the holy trinity has actually changed so dramatically in such a short period of time. It never included DPS 10 years back... the holy trinity as coined in EQ1 was tank, healer, mezzer. Warrior, cleric, enchanter.

Anyway to answer the question -- I love debuffers; my CoH roster is filled with trollers and fenders. But it's more about the type of spell to me. But do I want to go back to an era when debuffers and mezzers and other pure-support types were completely defenseless without a group? No way. If class hybridization and dilution of those classes is the only way to make all classes solo-viable, I'm all for it.

Posted: Oct 17th 2010 1:44PM ChongShin said

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Even standard monsters in games these days are designed in such a way that a debuff or two has little to no impact on the outcome of a fight. The exception to this is when the designers specifically code an encounter to require (or to significantly benefit from) a debuff, but that's most likely going to be a boss fight. It's basically pointless in day-to-day play.

In my opinion, I think that the main reason for this is that MMOs have little to no AI. This has improved some, but the processing requirements for AI in a MMO - with their tens of thousands of simultaneous encounters - is simply too great. The designers therefore use brute force to compensate for the lack of any real AI. Mobs have resistances, HP, reach, damage, and other stats that are far and beyond what any single debuff class could hope to counter.

That or the mob encounter is targeted toward solo play and is therefore so easy that the fight is quickly over, making debuffing the mob a pointless act.

PvP may be the exception, but a strict debuffer class is becoming fairly pointless. Better to get someone who can dish out damage, or take damage, or heal and then give a stun ability and / or some sort of crowd control to multiple classes.

Posted: Oct 17th 2010 2:29PM (Unverified) said

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I have always loved controlling support classes. a lot of the time people immediately associate support casters with healers and buffers, but I have always found the most satisfaction by being a debuff/control class.

Whether it was in PvP or PvE, watching the little game model completely helpless while the heavy hitters took them down was just way to much fun to pass up. My only big complaint with this kind of class is that often in PvP many of the effects of your debuff and control skills are usually nerfed and so you lose some of the satisfaction.

I definitely think we are in the minority and yeah it takes a lot more time to level, but once you get a perfect build up to snuff.....its hard to play anything else :D

Posted: Oct 17th 2010 3:32PM cyanpill said

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I definitely love the power of debuffers in CoH: my demon summoning/traps mastermind could reduce resistances by 100%, doubling damage for the team. And a huge amount of -regen that made all tough bosses die much quicker. Plus, the cold demons slowed monsters to a crawl.

Posted: Oct 17th 2010 3:36PM Sam not Spam said

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As a long-time player of City of Heroes, I love Debuffers even though I don't play them. If one had to set up roles for COH, it'd be Control, DPS and Buff/Debuff. Of course, with City of Heroes any of the ATs/classes can do one really well and will have elements of one or two of the other (certainly the power pools and APP/PPPs can help). Buff/Debuff is a lot more interesting, useful and powerful than simply being a heal-bot which some new players from other games expect Defenders to be.

Posted: Oct 17th 2010 3:41PM Heraclea said

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Yes, CoH seems to have the largest variety of different debuffing sets, and the design of the game makes debuffers extremely valuable, indeed vital, in many end boss (AV/Hero class) and world monster encounters. They can be done without them; it just takes five times as long, and much riskier.

On the other hand, until you get to one of those end bosses, often the debuffs don't last long enough on the trash to make them worth bothering, at least in the high level game.

Posted: Oct 17th 2010 3:44PM J Brad Hicks said

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There's a semi-famous all-defender super-group in City of Heroes called the Repeat Offenders who have repeatedly demonstrated what's dangerous to game design about having debuffers (of any kind) in a game: when you stack 8 copies of a debuff, there is no enemy that any other team has any hope in heck of defending that can't be reduced to trivial. -11% to-hit is significant; -88% to-hit is laughably over-powered. And so on. So some designs include diminishing returns, or disallow stacking of debuffs. But all that does is punish teams for bringing more than one debuffer, which puts a cap on the number of debuffers that a team can have. Either way, the game design loses.

So as much fun as I have playing a debuffer (you should see what a nearly-all-science away team, with a science captain's tremendous stat buffs to debuff abilities, does to enemies in Star Trek Online!), I've come to see it as being really detrimental to good game design.

Nor is this unique to debuffing. 8 in-combat healers on a team can out-heal any plausible amount of damage that an enemy any other team can survive; 8 buffers who can stack buffs can buff any team to the point where they steam-roll anything; 8 mezzers can turn any plausible game design into a game of smashing down defenseless statues. But good luck finding a game designer with the guts to omit buffs, debuffs, and in-combat healing from his or her MMO.

Posted: Oct 18th 2010 4:23PM StClair said

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Another problem with debuffers is that encounters are often designed around the assumption of their presence. I still bitterly remember an incident in CoH, years ago, where we DID get an entire zone of people pounding on a giant monster (Babbage in Skyway City), the kind of thing the devs said they'd buffed the monsters in hopes of getting... but no one was putting so much as a dent in him, until I finally switched characters and brought in my radiation debuffer. He went down in two minutes or less, after 10-15 minutes of futility.

I didn't feel like a hero. I just happened to be the first one to show up with the Magic Sword of Defeat Monster, without which the sustained efforts of 20+ other people meant nothing.
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Posted: Oct 17th 2010 5:59PM cray said

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Mesmer FTW!

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