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Reader Comments (72)

Posted: Mar 13th 2011 7:00PM Vanpry said

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I hope it will be come a thing of the past. What a terrible mechanic for a multi-player game.

The holy trinity should of stayed in single player rpgs.

Posted: Mar 13th 2011 7:23PM Averice said

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The only real issue with the holy trinity is that it is tied to the type of game where you have a tank... tank things.

In other words, in order to truly get rid of the trinity, you just have to kill Neo, you just have to change the way AI works in your MMO.

There's really two options. Remove the necessity for the trinity by changing the way the AI works in your MMO, or increase the variability of the trinity, keeping the same style of AI but changing the player classes.

The question asked is not good stand alone question. It's not like MMO companies are keeping the trinity around because they are dumb and blind and are just out to get us all by forcing it down our throats like some giant conspiracy.

Posted: Mar 13th 2011 11:41PM cray said

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The healing mehanic is the problem. Get rid of it or allow everyone to self-heal. Most modern FPS games allow all classes to self-heal. They don't have the kind of "role" problems that MMOs have. Which is why ArenaNet has opt to get rid of the healer profession and allowed everyone to self-heal effectively in GW2.

I'm looking forward to the changes.

Posted: Mar 14th 2011 12:12AM Jeromai said

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Yes, the holy trinity should die a horrible death and be left in the past. The main problem as I see it, which I am pretty much echoing in comments above, is that the pure separation of roles into dps, heals and tanking produces very limited, boring gameplay and has healers and tanks unable to do significant damage by themselves, impeding solo progress through mob killing.

Limited, boring gameplay in the sense that each role is locked into doing one thing, and doing it well. 'Pure' healers get to play whack-a-mole with green bars and do nothing else, including actually see the rest of the fight. 'Pure' tanks are not supposed to do any damage at all, and just hold aggro by spamming various taunt buttons while existing as a big hp reservoir for healers to pump heals to. 'Pure' dps get to unload lots of damage using an optimum attack rotation. Goodness knows where cc or positioning factors into the trinity equation.

And if you take purity to extremes, you end up with the one 'best' class and 'best' skill spec for the max heals/damage/aggro-holding. Then there's the human error of not being able to press buttons in time, so please get a computer to macro it for you instead. It ends up turning into absurd, boring gameplay for normal players, and is only exciting for those who calculate the optimal specs and skills and write the bots and add-ons (which granted, is a valid audience.)

But plenty of games from GW, GW2, CoH, CoV, and Rift, (heck even LOTRO and WAR are precursors, and even WoW is not as pure as it once was) are veering away from holy trinity-ness and that is only a good thing. Diablo didn't have pure healers either.

For some games, they combat the pure-ness with hybrid specs. Good heal/good dps at the same time was once fairly unthinkable. A lot of classes in different games now are capable of 'shifting' from tank mode to dps mode and back again.

For other games, the beauty is in flexibility to switch roles. A cheap or nil cost to quick-change from one spec to another, especially if you can do it in the field, yields more players swapping roles as needed.

There is also flexibility in spec'ing and building roles to consider. Guild Wars is the king of the synergistic Magic-card-like spec building minigame, and Rift has some echoes of that.

One of the key things to support build flexibility and social groups that don't self-destruct seems to be not to have difficulty that tests the weakest link to destruction as a regular course of events. There's bound to be stronger builds and weaker builds, but if devs allow for a little bit of leeway and spread for the stronger builds to cover up gaps in the weaker builds, true balance seems to be less important as long as everyone is having fun, and enjoying themselves with the slightly weaker builds too. Most players simply won't notice, and will be chuffed to be playing with friends... as long as that same friend isn't getting the entire team wiped over and over. (That's something else that should die along with holy trinity - uninteresting, repeated failure states.)

Roles meanwhile can become a lot more interesting than just tank/heal/dps. Debuff. Buff. Control. Damage can be broken up into typed damage (aka various elemental, physical, etc.) It can be positive or negative damage (aka heals or actual damage.) It can be ranged, or melee. It can be instant and direct or ticks over time or a steady drain. They all appeal differently to different players. Some like to stand far away, some like to mix it up real close.

Positioning and use of scenery is something that 3D MMOs haven't yet utilized to their full benefit either, and I can hardly wait for GW2 to attempt it. I keep chuckling at all the Rift players who freak out over knockback. City of Heroes players learned to utilize it well (albeit with lots of bad usage examples) long ago.

My favorite games don't have to change if holy trinity becomes a thing of the past. They've already tried to make it so. :)

Posted: Mar 14th 2011 9:11AM Dracones said

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The phrase "Holy Trinity" itself came from EQ1 and referred to: Warrior, Cleric and Enchanter.

The warrior was the best tank, the cleric was the only healer class with complete heal and you had to have an enchanter for crowd control. So you had 3 classes out of 10 or so that were the "best" for group play. Hence the term "holy trinity" to refer to them.

GIven that the phrase itself has changed in meaning in the last 10 years, I'd imagine we'll see today's version of the holy trinity dead 10 years from now.

Posted: Mar 14th 2011 12:53PM Magnux said

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The "Holy Trinity" as many of you have put it, is not the greatest thing, but at least that allows you to define yourself individually. For some people they like to heal and support, others they like DPS, and others like tanking. While I am sure that some of them would not mind doing some of the other roles, others hate doing anything but. We are talking about an MMO where the whole thing is that you are going to be playing with other people not by yourself. While the Holy Trinity Concept sucks at least it makes you play with other people. The Solo concept that would result if their was no Holy Trinity would make the MMO a worst place to play.

One of the other posters posted about FFXIV and the Holy Trinity is gone from that game and it was terribly executed by SE to the point of players wanting the Holy Trinity back in place. Some people need that in the game some don't, I hope that SE puts it in to placate those that need it in the game but leave some room for those that could care less. Let us hope that GW2 does a better job than the sad attempt in FFXIV.

Posted: Mar 14th 2011 1:33PM Borick said

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I think the question looks at this thing from the wrong angle.

What needs to die isn't the trinity -- that's a tool that will remain available as necessary -- but the idea that a perfect MMORPG is the perfect MMO.

Of course we need specialization, but why shouldn't that role-specialization be in the sort of sub-game you choose to play? What if we're all just as good at combat as we are skilled, but I choose to be the vehicle pilot or the social farm game aspect of the MMO world?

The days of sharding are passing away. Once we have civilization-sized player bases we're going to need much broader division of labor (gaming types, if you will) than the 'tribal'-level divisions in the holy-trinity raid mindset.

Posted: Mar 15th 2011 4:10PM spamero said

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Tha't why I like RIft so much, you got tanking rogues and healing mages... and it works out great.

Posted: Mar 18th 2011 10:25AM Shadowstep said

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As some have said, the holy trinity isn't the problem here.

Roughly:
You will always need someone to take the aggro/defend the squishies (Tanking).

You will always need someone to dish out the damage (DPS).

You'll always need someone to support the team. (healer).

What needs to change is the dynamic of the teams.
A character shouldn't be rolled because they are dps/tank/healer, they should be rolled because you like the playstyle.

Using GW2 as an example, we have the warrior which is always in the thick of things. The Necromancer who uses death and decay to whittle away health, cause chaos, sap strenght, etc.

Those are two very different play styles, but don't limit them to a set roll.

The warrior can dish out some heavy blows using duel swords, but if things get a bit hairy and a "softer" character is taking some major hits he can quickly switch to a sword/axe and shield and start playing defencively. If the team is taking damage he can always lay down a banner to boost health regen/armour or one to decrease damage taken.

The necro also has the ability to lay down some serious damage, it can also summon minnions to help tank and/or do more damage. The necro also has the ability to do cc which can give the team a quick breather to lick their wounds and get things back in order.

So the way I see it, the holy trinity shouldn't die, rather the idea that only certain proffesions can fulfill those rolls. GW2 is seeming to be heading the way of having the whole group be the holy trinity. what I mean by this is that everyone does their part in healing/dps/tanking. Thus a party can consist of 5 necros, 2 rangers and a thief and still be able to do the same things as a group that in other games would never have a combo like that.

This would also cover the problem current MMOs have created with Solo PvE, because you won't be limited by a class, just your creativity and playstyle.

Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 11:27AM faralorn said

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@Shadowstep

Download and play Vindictus through L20. Watch YouTube videos of Continent of the Ninth PvP fights and dungeon runs along with in-game video from Raiderz. There are more things in heaven and earth, Shadowstep, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
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Posted: Mar 18th 2011 3:11PM Ramei Arashi said

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According to ArenaNet every profession in Guild Wars 2 can fill every role, they just do it differently. Every character is required to have a self healing skill. There are no dedicated healers.

Posted: Mar 19th 2011 10:23AM faralorn said

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The holy trinity is an essential feature of WoW and its clones. Combat involves standing in one place most of the time, pressing keys and watching cooldowns. A random number generator does the rest.

Move to an action combat system with advanced boss AI and evasive moves available to all classes/builds and you can discard the holy trinity all or most of the time. For instance, in TERA Online all bosses up to the last two L50 ones can be defeated without a tank. Those will probably be nerfed when the game is expanded to have an L60 cap.

Boss fights are fast-paced and a great deal of fun in Vindictus and Continent of the Ninth. Tanks and dedicated healers aren't needed. The forthcoming RaiderZ dispenses with fixed classes and relies on an action combat system to season the stew.

In any case, before forming an opinion on the subject it is wise to watch a number of YouTube in-game videos showing TERA Online, Vindictus and Continent of the Ninth boss fights and full dungeon runs. Trash is easy but bosses are a real challenge.

Those who cherish the holy trinity do so because of the social role it provides them. Tanks and healers get to feel special and indispensable while DPS get to feel like interchangeable disposable parts.


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