Sunday, April 10, 2011

Random Shots: Making WoW More Like Rift

  • I just left this as a reply to a comment from MMO Gamer Chick on my prior post, but I'm so enamored with it that I wanted to bring it to the fore. I'm curious what you think.
    Of course, I'd also like to see Beast Mastery Hunters, Frost Mages, Combat Rogues, and Demonology Warlocks converted to tanks to give more options.

  • One of the things that Rift gets right is that every class has option to fill multiple roles: warriors can tank, mages can heal, rogues and clerics can both tank and heal, and everyone can DPS. Not everyone takes advantage of it, but enough do that the tanking and healing population is much more healthy in the game.

  • What if World of Warcraft did the same thing? Tanks are in such short supply partly because only four of the game's thirty specializations can even do it. If you bump that up to eight, I suspect that the tanking shortage goes away immediately. There will be some players who will dislike the change to their preferred specialization. But I think that an equal or greater number of players would love the new options. I know that if I could mage tank, I'd at least want to try it from time to time.

  • It's never going to happen, but I wonder what you all think about the idea.

  • Also, there are no original ideas. I'm willing to bet that this very idea has been posted somewhere before. If you blogged this sometime in the past, throw a link in the comments section. I'd love to see it.

© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.


  1. Heartily agreed with this and your previous article. I've written many times about breaking the unholy trinity, and I really hope RIFT gets traction in that direction. Baby steps for the WoW players who couldn't grok Guild Wars, I guess.

    ...but yes, I've argued almost exactly this before, though I think it was in a comment over at BBB's place or something. I think every class in WoW should have a tanking tree, a DPS tree and a healing tree, and changing spec (let's just bump it up to Triple Spec instead of Dual Spec while we're at it) can be done at any time, even in combat. Let anyone step up and tank at any time as situation demands, and I think you'd see better groups.

    Hrm... here's one of my older articles on it and a newer one that touch on it a bit:

    Tank You! Oh, No, Tank YOU!
    Balance, Part 4

  2. I would love to see them do something like that, and the groundwork is pretty much already in place with dual specs. Blizzard just needs to give each class a tanking talent tree. I haven't played a tank since CoH (when I literally played a Tank), mostly because soloing is so pain fully slow and I don't want to handicap myself whenever I'm not grouped.

  3. It could possibly help. Some people are going to stick with their role of choice no matter what, but if there was the option, maybe quite a few would give the tanking gig a try.

    Coincidentally, last Friday in the SWTOR update I noticed that Bioware bumped up the number of classes that can heal or tank. I guess they foresaw the problem and was thinking along the same lines.

  4. @ Tesh - Thanks for the links. Considering that WoW like to borrow from its competitors, I hope they look at this quite seriously.

    @ Blue Kae - In a game like CoH were you are expected to group almost constantly, a Tank class might maybe work. If you group constantly. Nowadays, letting players fill multiple roles is a must. Pure DPS classes feel like an anachronism.

    @ MMOGC - I read that article but I hadn't made the connection. You are absolutely right. Good thing Bioware is trying to nip that problem before it blows up.

  5. The class designs in WoW are really starting to look dated compared to newer MMOs. You have four classes that can only DPS regardless of spec. No class can be geared well for both tanking and DPS at the same time. You could theoretically use the same gear for DPS and healing on three classes. However, two of those might be geared for melee, which completely jacks up their ability to do high throughput healing.

    Contrast with LoTRO where most classes can tank or heal to some extent, and thus any random PuG can do most three-five man content. Or DDO where "tanks" hold aggro by pumping out the most damage and anyone can have access to some healing abilities if they build for it. Or WAR where there are healing classes that have do DPS to build up to their best heals. And now Rift, where you can specialize in several roles and switch between them on the fly.

  6. @ Yeebo - The more I think about it, the more I think WoW has taken a dramatic wrong turn in class balance. I need a new blog post.