| Mail |
You might also like: WoW Insider, Joystiq, and more

Reader Comments (47)

Posted: May 31st 2011 7:13PM Zethe said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
So was going to be a jedi untill i started watching vids on the trooper. Im going the healer/dps route while my gaming partner goes the tanky/dps trooper.

Dual trooper

Posted: May 31st 2011 7:48PM (Unverified) said

  • Half a heart
  • Report
Hybrids are lazy design who's sole purpose is to cater to casual gameplay. You simply CAN NOT have anything remotely resembling class balance when some classes can do everything, and some classes can't.

Actually, what I said is a little harsh (the first sentence). Hybrids, in a class system that contains BOTH hybrids and non-hybrids destroy game design. Hybrids in a game where everyone is a hybrid are perfectly fine. You either make everything a hybrid, or you make nothing a hybrid. Otherwise, it's impossible to even pretend there's going to be balance in your classes.

Due to the relatively casual nature of MMOs as "hardcore" doesn't bring in large amounts of subs, EVERY class should be hybrid in nature. For a while now, we've been going through this transition from "old school" hard trinities where no one was a hybrid, to slowly incorporating hybrids to accommodate casual players who want to be able to do everything without switching characters. Star Wars has a chance to start clean. Start with all hybrids. Don't even let the hybrid vs pure argument and game design angst begin. Don't chain itself to an outdated pure class model system that even MMOs that still have pure classes don't even follow anymore (because they've also introduced hybrids).

That's, assuming, Bioware has bothered to learn anything from all their predecessors in this field.

I'm assuming they haven't, and so despite having the chance to start fresh, they'll simply follow the older MMOs have done, and have pure classes as an archaic throwback to the days when people played a class for its role, not because it had prettier shiny lights, while also having hybrids that do everything. And, it'll join an ever-growing long list of MMOs that spend ridiculous amounts of time and money on class balance when class balance is inherently impossible when some classes can do everything and some classes can't.

I can only imagine how much content would be added to the typical MMO if all that manpower wasn't wasted trying to figure out how to balance a class that can only dps with a class that can tank, heal, and dps. Especially when you count it up over the years an MMO exists.

As for that guy who commented that hybrids are why we socialize...um no. Back when everything was a pure class, everyone socialized much closer to their real life counterparts, because everyone had to rely on other people. Hybrids are one of those casual friendly game design changes in the genre that allowed people to do most things in a supposedly social game alone, and not coincidentally, this came with a sharp increase in antisocial, quite honestly... sociopathic behavior that has become the norm now in an MMO.

Now, I'm well aware that "casual" gameplay is what fuels the business. Hybrids are here to stay. I just wish they'd hurry up with the transformation of the genre and make everything a hybrid so we could at least pretend to start being able to balance classes. Star Wars has a chance to be that "next gen" MMO that finally gets rid of pure classes all together. I'm hoping it does, but I won't be shocked if it doesn't.

Posted: Jun 1st 2011 6:07AM Zethe said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Tempes Magus

I believe the reason why games have started this tend of having loads of classes is because if someone wishes to play something else, they have to re level a new toon and gear it up.

While people are leveling, they're still subbing.

If you have a small number of classes with many specs(Rift) people might tend to get bored quickly.

Personally recently in wow all i've done is level alts, quite enjoying it.
Reply

Posted: May 31st 2011 7:48PM Zethe said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Tempes Magus

I completely agree. The problem is that it's the "best" system we have at the moment and many game developers are scared to try something new, because it can mean the end of the company they've probably spent there lives creating.

It's a shame. I hope one of the big developers like Blizzard will one day change things.

Posted: May 31st 2011 8:42PM hereafter said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I feel like in an MMO where you CAN specialize, it's usually in your best interest to do so, as an organized group will often be more effective that way. This usually requires tuning the difficulty up on higher-level encounters to challenge these specialists, which in turn compels all players to specialize if they have an interest in tackling that content. Specialization is just the natural outcome in a competitive field, even in the real world. For instance, if you are an animator looking to join a large studio, you're much better off as a specialist because you'll fit better into the pipeline than a generalist. It's the same with raiding in a large guild; they usually have all the roles and protocol set up when you join and as such are looking for people to fill specific roles. So think of joining a large guild being like joining Pixar. You'll be expected to do one thing well and it might crush your soul a little after the joy wears off and you won't have a lot of flexibility in what you do, but you'll get to work on some of the best stuff in the world. The other option is to join a small guild, kind of like joining a small studio. You'll get a little more freedom in how you operate, but you might not be able to deal with world-class content and be on the cutting edge (i.e. no server-firsts on new raid content, but you'll get there eventually). PUGs are like freelance: sporadic, uncertain, and possibly nerve-wracking.

Basically, with the hard trinity, people need to choose what play style fits them best. If you don't like being behind the leaders in end-game, then you need to change that hybrid build you're so in love with (just like I better get that modeling stuff off my animation reel if I want to animate at Pixar). If you have more fun playing your own way in a smaller guild, then accept the trade-off of getting to raids later.

I think the only real way to handle this from a design standpoint is to make hybridization impossible to avoid, perhaps through parallel skill advancement (i.e. every character levels two or more roles simultaneously) where role choice happens on the battlefield instead of the talent sheet. People will always crunch the numbers looking for the "best build" available to a given player type. If you don't want a hard trinity, you have to design it so that the best build simply cannot be the specialized builds. Players either need to be incapable of being specialists, or they need to be gimping themselves by doing so.

Posted: May 31st 2011 8:51PM BlueSkittles said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Love this debate. Thanks for bringing it up.

It's all about emergent gameplay. The holy trinity is MMO 2.0 design philosophy, where it's easier to balance an encounter when you know exactly who is doing/bringing what to the fight. It's what most MMO companies fall back on because a soft trinity is harder to balance.

With SWTOR, an MMO 2.5/3.0 designed game, it appears that they are going for the soft trinity and leaving it up to the player to find how they want to play, as they play (emergent gameplay). This is probably why we don't have more open info, Bioware is still not sure they want to go the soft trinity route, or not sure they have the time to balance a game around it. Perhaps they will HAVE to fall back on hard trinity.

What I think of as a soft trinity is a game like Left for Dead. Four basically dps players come together in a group and play through encounters. What makes each person different is gun selection and healing. Now add some more options like slightly better at staying alive, slightly better at healing, or slightly better at dps and you get soft trinity. Then just add slight variety to each monster and you have coop gameplay that is simple yet fun.

I've definitely simplified my arguments but I think soft trinity is the future, especially for mass market gaming. When WoW came out, my holy pally couldn't solo to save his life, now I can solo on all 3 specs. Soft is the future.

Posted: May 31st 2011 9:39PM BlueSkittles said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Tempes Magus

I agree generalization is a concern and can become boring or "everyone is good at everything" if they try hard enough.

What I want to see is this: I go into a group as a "dps", and the heals are kind of lacking. Then because I spec'd my talents to have some healing, I'll step in and help heal. I don't always want to heal, but don't mind helping out once in awhile by having some of my talents boost my healing, even at the expense of dps.

Where with WoW, I almost always play hunters and helping with healing or tanking is not an option. I love the class, hate the constriction. Thus a hybrid option would be great. And if the game begins by using a soft trinity, I won't have the tank or healer yelling at me when I help out, they'll be grateful and expect softness.
Reply

Posted: Jun 1st 2011 9:12PM Larry Everett said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@BlueSkittles

I have to disagree about soft trinity being the future. I think the games we will see in the future will be a mixture of both. If we look at the games coming out in the near future, I think you will see that we have a good mixture of hard and soft trinity.

Guild Wars 2. This is definitely a soft trinity game since there is no healer and everyone can rez. The mechanics of PvE are built on this base as well.

TERA. I believe this will be hard trinity, or least the things I've seen tell me that it will be. Yes, the mechanics are action-based, but the group roles are definitely hard trinity.

If we look at the two big MMOs that have released this year, they are both hard trinity.

RIFT. I mentioned this on in the column. Even though a player can switch souls/roles, the group mechanics are still hard trinity mechanics.

DCUO. Yes, it's an action game, but it is a hard trinity action game. I know controllers have a support role, but really this is just an extension of hard trinity mechanics. The controller is like a mana healer in a group. So really it's a healing class.

It's a bit hyperbolic to say that one trinity or another will ultimately come out on top because game designers are going to make what is fun and what sells. Right now, they both sell and sell well, but right now because of WoW, the hard trinity games sell better. Take WoW out of the picture, and I think it's a pretty even split.
Reply

Posted: May 31st 2011 9:22PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
The hybrid aspect I think is more to help with leveling and lower level dungeon instances. I believe that they will have to go to a more solo purpose role in raids and high end dungeons.

With my many years of MMO experience Leveling has always been the hardest or longest part for healer/tanks. Giving them access to DPS abilities will make it easier and that is why they are doing it i believe.

Posted: Jun 1st 2011 9:16PM Larry Everett said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@(Unverified)

I completely agree with this. in fact, I will go so far as to encourage people when they first start playing SWTOR (release date pending) that they take a more hybrid path. However, as they level they will want to get more and more focused. From what I've gathered from interviews and speaking to the developers myself, the game will be designed for you to do just that.
Reply

Posted: May 31st 2011 10:53PM Daeths said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Rift may have a hard trinity (or quadrangle since support is often very useful if not totally necessary), but it allows for the switching of roles between battles and has very different means of achieving the same goals. A cleric healer has 3, yes 3 different healing options or any combination of those three. That cleric could chose to spend the plat to get all 5 roles and have 3 different heal builds, a tank build and a dps build. they are then able to chose at almost any time that a different build would be better of more fun. tired of spike healing? try aoe heals or hots. want to take a more aggressive role? then go with your tank or dps. Games can allow for a hard trinity AND flexibility and choice, you dont need to choose between them.

Posted: Jun 1st 2011 9:29PM Larry Everett said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Tempes Magus

I completely disagree. Hard trinities are a lot easier for players to fall into, especially MMO players. Hard trinities allow for players to be singular in purpose and succeed. Soft trinities are usually less focused for the player. For instance, having a DPS, buff, healer hybrid is a bit more difficult for someone to know exactly what he is supposed to do in a group. Is he supposed to watch the group to make sure no one dies or concentrate on the boss to make sure it goes down?
Reply

Posted: Jun 2nd 2011 3:40PM Daeths said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Tempes Magus and yet i have a support bard in rift how i have only killed one monster with outside of a dungeon and shes lvl 28 (out of 50). Yes, hard trinities usually screw the healer in leveling, but rift allows for some one to lvl as a dps and party as a support or healer. If more games allowed for the switching of roles you can have the ease of balance and play of a hard trinity while allowing for some of the flexibility of a soft trinity

case in point: i usually run 5 man dungeons with 2 buddies and 2 pugs from the lfg dungeon finder. One friend loves to heals, but when we have another healer grouped up with use she can switch to dps so we have sufficient damage. And while i usually dps if a fight gets too hard and we wipe i can switch to a bard and help buff/heal to help keep us alive and debuff the boss to help keep damage up (not as high as 3 dps, but better than if we had 2 healers instead of healer + support). Rift allows for this flexibility while sticking to a hard trinity
Reply

Posted: Jun 1st 2011 12:11AM Space Cobra said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Larry Everett\

"The Trooper is not the only class that can possibly fill every role of the group dynamic. In fact, we know four of the eight classes have the choice of being full DPS, healer, or tank: Trooper, Consular, Bounty Hunter, and Inquisitor."

These can't be the only classes that can be "Hybrid", can they? I thought Smuggler was mentioned in one video. Or can the other classes be partial Hybrids (or are they already)?

Actually, those four choices you mentioned are interesting because the tend to be very rigid in their roles when it comes to being "Hard Trinity". They either Heal (Consular, Inquisitor) or Tank (Trooper, Hunter) in most other games.

I sorta think the Holy Trinity can be a bit messy in that you tend to get more choices with your DPS classes and less choices with the Healing and Tank class: Basically in most MMOs, the DPS can be a Mage, a Thief, or even a specialized fighter with weak armor....and whatever other "fancy class" they create.

I think we are seeing a design philosophy in motion here and decisions being made. Speculating here, it seems the smuggler/Agent (based on what little I've read/know about this game, so this may've changed or I am wrong) probably was meant to be the hybrid/fill-in class.

So, this diversity may've made the Suggler/Agent class a bit more well-rounded and even more desirable (in Beta play). Meanwhile, the other classes are stuck in their roles. Healers only healing. Tanks only tanking. No diversity is (was) offered for these other classes, even though many players like simplicity in knowing their roles, a few yearn for more complexity and ease-to-adapt, particularly if you have an abundance of Tanks sitting around and not finding other classes.

Speculating, I think there may've been Beta situations that you had a room full of Smugglers and they probably went out on group missions, but you couldn't do that with, say a room full of Consulars or some off-kilter class pairings, so this may be an attempt at adding more flexibility to groupings and group dynamics. Remember, people keep bringing up starting "all Trooper guilds"? A group of all tanks, on face value, would be weak on heals and DPS. So this may be an avenue to give to players wanting such things in SW:Tor.

And really, while I know the game mechanics are different, if you step back, it's really unfair to have two Jedi classes per side and no one else: Jedi's getting the DPS and Healing roles (Knight and Consular, for example). I know, "It's in the Lore", but if you step back, they both still wave the same glow stick and dress in robes. Really, from a game-design perspective, the best game-philosophy to present diversity would be to have a totally different class fill one of these roles in (and stick to at least the Star Wars movie mythos). So, for example, a medic class of medical droid for a healer instead of another Jedi. (Because, really, why can't a group of Troopers or even Smugglers be able to not fill these roles themselves when preparing a raid or jewel heist?)

So yeah, I think people are seeing both sides and both plusses and minuses to this flexibility versus the Holy Trinity arguement and debating it/mulling it over for themselves. Game mechanics may not be able to balance these types of classes, some may be more played than others or, maybe, it doesn't matter and since you are not limited by a specific role, a player can play whatever a player wants, like a healing tropper medic, etc.

Maybe this will balance itself out, maybe not. But my speculating seems to think that since Smugglers got some diversity, they are passing it along to other classes, so they are not so singular (and possibly able to more fully solo PvE if that's what a player wants).

Posted: Jun 1st 2011 9:49PM Larry Everett said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Space Cobra

Just a quick comment on the first part. Those four are not the only hybrids, but they are the only ones that can fill all three roles.
Reply

Posted: Jun 1st 2011 2:59AM Kark said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
QUOTE: I'd like to talk with the intelligent audience here at Massively about how you think these hybrid roles will fit in SWTOR and whether the game will sport a hard or soft trinity.

There is no point in talking about this until we know how raids will actually work, if both soft and hard trinity will be viable.

Posted: Jun 1st 2011 3:51AM Ghostspeaker said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
When I think of the soft trinity I think of my first MMORPG, CoH. People do tend to have roles, but they tend to be much more general and, well, soft. The only AT I can think of with only one possible group role is the Blaster (arguably Controller as well, though their damage output is respectable once they get their pets). When in groups everyone pitches in however they're able, and most ATs have some form of either healing or group damage mitigation to contribute to the group's survivability. It's entirely possible (even probable) to get through tough group content without any Empathy Defenders (the best healing powerset) or Tankers in the party at all.

I would rather like it if TOR turns out like that. It gives all classes a variety of possible playstyles that's vital in a game with so few classes. The Advanced Class system helps with this, but it'd still be nice to be able to switch roles as the situation requires. To be honest it already looks to be headed in this direction. All the classes have some level of hybrid-ness. Agents/Smugglers can heal or DPS, Knights/Warriors can tank or DPS, and Inquisitors/Consulars and Bounty Hunters/Troopers can do all 3 roles.

Here's hoping the advanced classes add possibilities for playstyles instead of restricting them.

Posted: Jun 1st 2011 3:51AM Toyaga said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Assumption, assumpions. You guys should play the game b4 making big statements about it.

Just saying.

Posted: Jun 1st 2011 4:43AM Bezza said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Honestly, and i mean this with every force infused fiber of my being.

"Screw the goddam MMO trinity"

The trinity means limitation in the guise of specialization, it's just my opinion but I am sick to death of mmo's which forever rely on the same tired old formula. Rift for all it's touted flexability only permits you to swap facets of each trinity on the same toon. I know i am going to love SWTOR simply cause it's star wars and Bioware.

But really I am curious as hell to see how a game like the secret world will go, pure skill based system, no more lame class limitations and holy fraking trinity.

Posted: Jun 1st 2011 9:05AM greatscate said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Is it just me or am I the only one who feels like SWTOR is going to be a gigantic disappointment?!? Honestly, it's sickening seeing so many people pine over this game when it boasts nothing special to speak of.

I get it... a game placed in the Star Wars universe! ... But get over that and it's more of the same, nothing new.

All these people expecting the world from SWTOR should start gearing back their expectations a bit. I just can't help but feel that for those of you who feel like this game is going to be the next big thing in the genre, you have another thing coming.

What we already know about this game is that it is going to be yet another, casual/solo friendly, heavily story driven, MMO with colorful cartoon-ish graphics... sounds exciting */sarcasm off*

We have been here before people: Vanguard (which I love BTW - but bad launch = death) / WAR / AoC / etc etc etc etc). Please pull back your expectations and see this game for what it is. A solid game which will hold the interests of some players... but not a WoW killer some are proclaiming.

All hype, no substance.

Featured Stories

Engadget

Engadget

Joystiq

Joystiq

WoW Insider

WoW

TUAW

TUAW