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The Drawing Board

Today’s post is a bit of an extension off of the recent discussion regarding physical mitigation (and the community’s desire for magical mitigation to be addressed as well) and the roles of archtypes and how said roles are being exceeded by new gear and statistical combinations. Mythic needs to step back and go back to the drawing board from ’06 and try to understand what the intended roles of the archtypes/classes were if they are to fathom how to fix them. Was the ‘drawing board’ version of the archtypes perfect? No, but it made a hell of a lot more sense than what we currently have.

If you look back into the history of WAR and the pod-casts you will see that the four current archtypes were presented as checks for themselves, a “rock>scissors>paper / tape” model. The rock shall be the tanks, big heavy pieces of dead weight; tanks were intended to be the nemesis of MDPS, our ‘scissors’ – classes with lots of sharp pointy ends to jab into the enemy; MDPS were intended to kill RDPS, our ‘paper’ – classes that indeed sounded good only on paper; and to close the loop RDPS was the counter to tanks; and the fixing essence in this equation was the tape of the family, the healers – a class intended to support the other three. Where did this go wrong?

The current model hardly fits the drawing board idea of Rock>Scissors>Paper, that no one can argue. Prior to the split set changes brought about by 1.3.6 in July of 2010 classes had two options for their gear below Sovereign, this was most visible in tanks and healers. For example, tanks could either choose to acquire dungeon sets which had their ‘defensive’ stats, or their RvR sets which had their ‘offensive’ stats; healers could do dungeons for their ‘healing’ set, or RvR for their ‘dps’ set. You had to take a different path towards optimizing your play style. Players had to mix and match sets to near soft caps, admittedly the ‘old’ sets were poorly itemized leading to a struggle to reach soft caps. However, Tyrant gear was the first indication that new gear sets were better designed in comparison to ‘old’ gear, too well designed. The split Sovereign sets were the second step towards this, but were not blatantly overpowering. The Sovereign split sets instead gave that second option which in prior sets was only available in dungeons through RvR, the which was the right step for WAR. However, one has to ask themselves but one question – how did these sets fit into the original ‘drawing board’ design of the archtypes?

We take a step back again looking at the archtypes and their intended roles and what these archtypes were driven to with the RvR sets. First off we have tanks, intended to be the stone wall of the 6-man – a heavily armored beast with group utility to support his team in the slaughter…. yet all the RvR sets for the tanks are focused on the offense. If a tank wants to be tanky they have to grind dungeons to little avail. Healers were intended to heal with adequate dps should the player choose to level them via PvE – once again, the dps was meant to be adequate as a means of leveling, yet once again we see RvR sets focusing on dps. MDPS were the brunt force of a party – huge burst damage with the intention that they have to put them self in harm’s way and risk death if they are not supported. RDPS were to benefit from range to bring down heavily armored units, yet be weak against melee with their various speed buffs and stealth tactics. Did players stick to the ‘original intended design’ of their class? No, not always, it primarily depended on what gear they could acquire, but with these ‘old’ sets players were more or less forced to choose between a generic split we shall call ‘survival’ and ‘offense’ – getting the best of both worlds was rather difficult.

As one progresses through the game it becomes more and more apparent that the ‘other’ route for some archtype grows stronger and stronger, and while the dps route for tanks and healers was intended to be kept low so that they could manage to get by levelling in PvE, the potency of these abilities quickly grew beyond its intended capacity. With the split sets this only became more apparent and enforced through the game. The result? Players no longer have to choose between defense and offense. Whereas before you could not have the best of both worlds, now doing so is terribly easy by purchasing one set with its various procs, and speccing ones tactics,talis, etc. into another path and the result is a creature that has no limitations.

Tanks are meant to be group support units, though they can fulfill this function wielding two-handers and doing insane amounts of dps while retaining their survivability. A tank can don defensive armor with armor, wounds, and toughness values that are incredibly high making them very hard to kill for physical dps classes AND they can deal large amounts of damage. Tanks have very little to lose speccing dps. Healers likewise can spec for dps and retain modest levels of healing to keep themselves alive. The end result is you have two support classes intended to keep the group alive which have viable paths for dps while retaining their own survivability. Then we enter the realm of MDPS which has a defensive set so designed that they are nay unkillable in the age of ProcHammer, the first proc being a nice absorb bubble, and the second proc being an un-mitigatable damaging attack which heals themselves for 150% of the damage dealth. Simply by donning this set MDPS already attain a unreasonable level of survivability, however they can still spec their renown into offense and deal enough damage to kill whatever they wish. Magical Range DPS exist in a sphere of their own killing without impunity. It does not matter if you are a tank or a light armored class, a BW or Sorc will melt your face off just the same. Oh but wait they are suppose to have backlash damage that makes them weak on their own, well throw on some defensive gear, spec into heal regen with your renown and you’re doing just fine. Physical RDPS is the ugly step-child in all this mess and most likely will always continue to be the archtype that looked best on paper.

End result? Tanks running about with-two handers as part of the melee train. DoKs and WPs going full dps as unkillable beasts taking down 6-mans; healers dps and keeping themselves alive only. MDPS speccing defensive and being harder to kill than most tanks. Sorcs and BWs not only more difficult to kill with armor levels approaching 50% physical mitigation, but retaining incredible killing power that only gets more lethal. I somehow doubt this is what the original designers intended.  I firmly believe that no class should have the best of both worlds. You cannot have survivability and damage – that was the original design, yet in this age of Warhammer for many classes this is not only easy to attain, but the norm of the day. Stipulations such as those in Focused Offense and Divine Fury should be built into ‘offensive’ sets for support classes; dps classes which opt to don defensive gear should have a default decrease in damage output . I think its about time players were forced to choose once more what path they take, not simply live the best of both worlds. When a class can take on 6 times its number and come out victorious, maybe its time someone stepped back to the drawing board.

Here’s some food for thought -from two city defenses recently.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. zizlak
    March 22, 2011 at 3:21 AM

    Yep..that rock,paper, scissor thing is dead for some time now. I think that the dps-sets for tanks and healers need a little bit of tweaking only, because they have mastery paths devoted to that sort of gameplay. So a tank/healer who wants to dps is fine..as long as he/she loses the defensive/healing part. Therefore I was for the change to make guard only available for def-tanks. Healers are a bit more diffucult as there are some life-tap heals ..i.e. like the Runepriest, whole careers built around dps/healing at the same time.

    DPS def-sets are wrong in so many ways, I can’t write it all down here. DPS should stay fragile if they have no support, no matter what set they were. I’m no friend of giving them any defensive-sets at all.. but if it is really necessary I agree that they should lose their dps-capability, but what’s the purpose of a dps career that doesn’t do any damage? 😉

    • March 22, 2011 at 4:04 AM

      I agree that the paths should stay in terms of offensive tanks/healers, but there is a fine line that has been crossed. When they can maintain high heals and still do incredible dmg (do to magical damage and low magical mitigation) the combination isn’t quite fair. Even in defensive sets w/ Siphon Vitality procing for the AoE-tards, they do plenty of unmitigateable dmg.

  2. March 22, 2011 at 3:29 AM

    Move to Norn NOW. I’ll even let you farm me. It would seem you have it worse there than I do on Norn. And I play Destro on Norn. 😉

  3. March 22, 2011 at 3:36 AM

    Archexecutor :
    Move to Norn NOW. I’ll even let you farm me. It would seem you have it worse there than I do on Norn. And I play Destro on Norn.

    And I’m apparently still gathering my wits after just coming back from lectures. Repeating my servername so many times makes me look like a retard. Anyway, repetition is the mother of all propaganda! Now move to my server dammit! XD

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