*This is a shared topic through Blog Azeroth*
Like quite a few other MMO’s, WoW follows the holy trinity of Tank + Healer + DPS. The tank gets beat on, the healer keeps the tank alive, and the DPS kills whatever is hurting the tank. This is the tried and true formula for Dungeon raiding, or whatever it is people do in MMO’s.
So the true question is, does this need to be broken up? Does there need to be a fourth archetype added into this, to shake things up?
And most importantly, does WoW itself require this fourth archetype?
As Mooonfire eloquently described over here, there really is only one other “archetype” that could be considered, that of the “Denialist”.
We have our tanks, we have our damage dealers, we have our healers. The only remaining type of character we could have would be a utility class. A class that does little direct damage to foes, but can seriously mess them up in a way that would have the Russian mafia in fits of nausea. A class that does little direct healing to friends, but can seriously buff, assist, or otherwise make their friends more powerful.
We already have some features like this in the game. Let’s take a warrior for example, and lets look at some of the abilities we can consider to be “utility”, and not part of the trinity. (We’re only going to bring out a couple abilities here, just enough to prove our point, which I swear exists)
To hinder opponents indirectly, a warrior can use Demoralizing Shout, which reduces the attack power of all enemies within a certain radius. If thats not enough, he can then strip off some of their armor, thus rendering them more vulnerable to physical attacks. The, he can reduce the effects of any healing ability on his target by 50%. And if worst comes to worst, he can then fear all the enemies within a certain radius.
If we were to introduce a Denialist class, they would only have abilities like this. They would not have Heroic Strike, a powerful auto-attack, Rend, Charge and Intercept abilities. They would only have these abilities that mess up whatever the target is trying to do.
In essence, a denialist is an archetype who’s role is to prevent another archetype from doing theirs.
Turning a healer into a harmless piggy is a denialist action. That healer cannot heal while looking cute and munching on grass, and therefore is not fulfilling their role.
Counterspelling a mage, and locking out his spell schools, is a denialist action. A mage cannot deal damage while unable to cast any spells, and thus is not fulfilling there role.
Flipping sides here, the other aspect of a utility class would be assisting one’s allies to do their jobs better. For this, we’re going to use a Discipline priest as an example.
The priest can cast Prayer of Fortitude on a tanking archetype, giving them more hitpoints, and thus being better able to tank. The priest can cast Divine Spirit on the healer archetype, which will increase their mana regeneration, thus allowing them to better fulfill their role as a healer. Then, this same priest can cast Power Infusion on a DPS archetype, increasing the damage they deal with every spell. Which, obviously, makes them better at the dealing damage role… because… they’re dealing more damage… I didn’t need to say that, did I?
So a utility class would not be able to heal like a priest could. It would not be able to deal damage like a priest could. It could, however, buff his allies like a priest could. A utility class could:
- Increase the HP pool of all allies
- Increase the mana regeneration of all allies
- Provide a massive boost to an allies damage for a short time.
- Shield an ally from incoming damage for a short while
- Increase the armor of an ally for a short while
- Dispell buffs from enemies
- Cut in half all incoming damage on an ally for a short time
- Increase the damage dealt to a target by 5%
- Force an enemy to flee in fear
- Stun an enemy for a short time
- Cause an enemy to take damage equal to whatever healing ability next lands on them
- Drain the mana bar of an enemy, transferring that mana to an ally
- Cast a buff on an ally that makes their next 4 spells free from mana cost
And so on. This is the kind of abilities a utility class. Unable to tank, deal damage, or heal, they make everyone else better at their archetype.
So coming back to the initial question. Does WoW need a class like this?
Would it be fun to have a class like this? Darn tooting it would. It would be incredibly fun.
But… WoW doesn’t need it. There really isn’t any room for it. Games like Guild Wars have room for a utility/denialist style class, but WoW does not.
My reasoning is thus: WoW already has the idea of a utility/denialist in the game, it’s just not centered into a specific class. Every single idea you could have about what a denialist/utility class could do has already been implemented into the game
Looking at the 9 classes we currently have, every single one of them has “utility” or “denialist” abilities. It would be impossible to introduce this archetype into WoW, because it’s already there. It just doesn’t exist in it’s “pure” form, in the same way that there is no “pure” healer class, or “pure” DPS class, or “pure” tanking class. Let’s bust out a handy list, and see what WoW looks like as a Quartet of archetypes rather than a trinity.
- Druid – Tank, Healer, DPS, Utility
- Deathknight – Tank, DPS, Utility
- Hunter – DPS, Utility
- Mage – Tank, DPS, Utility
- Paladin – Tank, Healer, DPS, Utility
- Priest – Healer, DPS, Utility
- Rogue – DPS, Utility
- Shaman – Tank, Healer, DPS, Utility
- Warlock – Tank, DPS, Utility
- Warrior – Tank, DPS, Utility
Some of them might not be very good at a specific archetype, but they can still do them. A shaman, for example, makes for a very poor tank, but can still fulfill the role. A rogue may have very few utility functions, but they still exist. A retribution paladin may have lackluster DPS, but it is still a role it can fulfill.
My point is thus.
WoW does not need to add the concept of a new archetype, because all the archetypes are already present. WoW does not need to add a denialist, utility type class, because every single class in the game can already fulfill that role, to varying degrees.
As a final example, mages can provide food and water for our allies, cause our allies to gain more from healing effects, increase the mana pool of our friends, decrease the spell damage taken by allies, slow enemies, stun enemies, and turn enemies into sexy… err, cute farm animals.