Why Are We Even Arguing About The Holy Trinity?

I really didn’t want to jump on this bandwagon again, but I mostly felt the need to defend the often maligned GW2 combat system, often perceived as “zerg all the things, press 1” or “everyone is dps, stack and cleave.” This argument is often used by holy trinity proponents as an example of non-holy trinity failure and mostly demonstrates their lack of understanding of said system.

Folks, the above is a result of keeping difficulty levels easy and simple, because casuals don’t like it to be more complex than that, and pissing off the casual playerbase is a good way to have loads of unhappy customers.

Hell, -I- personally like to have many parts of my game simple, relaxing, easy fun where I can turn off my brain after a hard day’s work and go farm stuff by myself, or get rewards for hitting a loot pinata with a bunch of other people. Champion trains, Edge of the Mists player vs door trains, Silverwaste chest farms are popular for that very reason!

The GW2 combat system has always been foundationally capable of a lot more, and if people haven’t figured that out by now, they’re voluntarily playing at easier difficulty levels, or they just haven’t bothered to learn.

This will be a multi-part post. The first is a more general rant against the holy trinity (and I can get very acerbic in places, so don’t say I didn’t warn you if you do happen to be pro-holy trinity) and I’ll get to more specific GW2 “how raids work sans holy trinity” posts over the next few days/weekend.

Now on to the fun rant:

Seriously, why are we even talking about this any longer, in this day and age?

The holy trinity is dead. It never really existed to begin with, beyond a brief blip of fame with the super-simplified World of Warcraft.

Everquest players will tell you that crowd control was a vaunted and valuable function and role where certain classes were desired and sought after.

An old MUD player like myself will point out that many different MUDs experimented with a variety of combat roles/systems beyond the pure tank/dps/heals trinity. 

Some used standing in the frontline position as a way to ‘tank’ or dictate who got hit preferentially. The MUD I played mainly used who entered the room first and engaged with fighting the mob as the set tank, with one class able to ‘rescue’ in order to swap tanking positions.

Heals might be self-heals, besides being cast by another player. The MUD I played used a sort of Diablo-esque precursor system. Heal spells were pre-brewed into potions by the cleric class. The cleric couldn’t cast heal spells as fast as you could quaff said potions. So the cleric stayed at home and crafted, and you brought a more damage-focused character to kill things, armed with some 200-500 heal potions, depending on how much you could carry.

ARPGs today still use a variation of that, you can always self-heal with potions, even if they make room for specialist classes to also heal you up, while playing in a group.

See, there have always been a couple of functions that exist in most typical combat systems.

Damage, of course, is one. You can’t “kill” things without doing damage. 

Variations include melee or ranged damage (aka coupling damage with positioning); or instant direct damage vs damage over time (DoTs, aka coupling damage over time. GW1 added the concept of degeneration, basically a really -fast- damage over time status effect or condition or debuff); or how many things you hit at one time (single target or area of effect, often with many fun shapes beyond circles now, courtesy of Wildstar and GW2.)

Survivability or damage mitigation is another. Basically how high your health pool is, how much armor you have, if you can dodge or evade or otherwise negate hits in some fashion, etc. 

City of Heroes broke this down nicely for us into two major types – resistance, where you took only a percentage of damage dealt each time, or defence, where you had a percentage chance to completely not get hit at all. The first led to more predictably sturdy characters whose health bar whittled down slowly, the latter to characters that felt invulnerable, until they failed a roll invisibly and then got an almighty punch to the face that slapped down a large portion of health, surprising everybody.

Controling of mob aggro is yet another function, ie. who the mob chooses to hit. Your typical MMO does this with a threat generation system which takes into account damage dealt, healing output, and then tends to ruin it all by giving certain classes skills that merely add huge globs of threat to this invisible counter (well, invisible until someone runs an add-on.)

It’s a convention that doesn’t necessarily have to be this way though. The Guild Wars series is the best example of spinning this concept on its head. 

The first game used a PvP-like priority system, the mobs liked to pick on casters and healers and light armor wearers and lowest health players. Makes more sense than picking on the heavily armored tank calling its mother names, no?

In PvE, there was the added concept of proximity aggro, as marked by the danger zone circle on one’s minimap. I’ll frankly confess that prior to playing City of Heroes and absorbing more of these aggro concepts subconsciously, I’d get into serious serious trouble playing Guild Wars 1, unable to conceive of backing away and pulling mobs, and thus causing my aggro circle to overlap multiple groups of patroling mobs, which led to chaos and carnage among my party. 

Post-CoH, when I went back to playing GW1, everything felt surprisingly easier, because I was methodically pulling and clearing single groups at a time without even realising I was doing so.

GW2’s aggro system has always existed, but has been frankly, invisible to many many players and not general knowledge until raids came about and made it a necessity. From the start, the wiki spelled it out. Toughness, proximity, damage dealt are the biggest factors, and each mob is capable of varying behaviors based on these factors, even at different phases of their hp. 

Many mobs respect highest toughness as the primary factor, unless they’ve been set to prioritize lowest toughness instead (very rarely occurs, eg. might be what’s happening during Lupicus phase 2 when he chooses a shadowstep target.)

When toughness is equal, aka everyone is in berserker gear or 0 toughness gear, with no other traits that give toughness, they default to proximity and damage dealt. We blend the two because it’s hard to tell what takes precedence, melee damage tends to do a considerable amount of damage, backing off to drop aggro lowers both proximity and damage dealt over time, so yeah…

…except when the mob is again set to consider something different as a target, such as Mai Trin’s favorite attack that often fucks up the most scaredy cat ranged attacker of the group (aka the furthest away from her.)

Then there’s player positioning and mob positioning. Typically, the first is the onus of every player to be where they’re supposed to, in or out of harm’s way, able to hurt or aid as appropriate. The second is often the purview of the tank and off-tanks, to move mobs where they need to be.

Again, it doesn’t have to be so. Most crowd control roles would do well to understand appropriate mob positioning, be it through pulls, knockbacks, roots/immobilizes, or just via body-blocking (in games that support that) or line of sight pulls or kiting. GW2 ups the ante by asking that most/all players learn this in harder group content.

Plenty of games these days have brought control back to the forefront as a fourth comer to shatter the trinity. City of Heroes, Wildstar, GW2 have all experimented with variations on this count.

CoH used controllers as a tank substitute, negating the alpha strike from a pack of mobs and holding them in place to be beat on. No more waiting for that one special self-important egomaniac “tank” before the group can proceed to play.

Wildstar used the Interupt Armor concept as a mitigating defence against CoH’s binary controls. (When on, they were all powerful. When off, they did absolutely nothing, much to frustration of the classes that relied on it and had to fight mobs made invulnerable to controls. Control magnitude and purple triangles on mobs turning up or down to indicate periods of vulnerability were a half-baked way to address this, but never to much satisfaction, it was too random most of the time, the very antithesis of control.)

So Wildstar brought in Interrupt Armor stacks. Each control strips off one status effect buff that protected the mob from CC. The next CC takes effect. Now there was group contribution and the possibility of group coordinating a CC spike. I don’t play Wildstar, so I have no idea which part of the trinity took on the CC role as well, but if we’re lucky, maybe -all- of them.

GW2 decided that even this was too binary and random. Given the fast pace of the game, it would be quite frustrating to strip off stacks and then have a short control take effect over a long one, just because that short one happened to land when all the invulnerability was off.

So they went for a controlled pre-set effect to take place, when a “break bar” was sufficiently depleted by coordinated CC. Different controls could also be given more weight using this system, rather than all controls being equivalent with a more binary on/off system.

Bhagpuss argues that this then becomes just another health bar to take down.

In a way, yes, there is a resemblance, but I don’t think that resemblance is unhealthy. It’ an easier concept for most people to grasp, the idea of a second health bar that can only be damaged by a different set of skills. There is added complexity in having to balance both – take more skills to do damage to real health, or take more skills to damage the other bar, in order to prevent a wipe or to help add more overall combined group damage when said mob is controlled successfully.

There is one major difference though, that has this second “health bar” echo something out of GW1. It can and often regenerates very quickly. As quickly as GW1 health bars do, under the effect of heals and regeneration. The coordinated spike of burst damage is again brought into play, a very PvPish concept, as opposed to the more PvE-like whittling down of a very large health reservoir.

Interrupts, as a concept, are really about the optimal timing of controls, often within a short interval, while the other party is in the middle of a skill cast.

Enough about control variations, what about support?

There’s reactive support, heals being the prime example. Something happens, the player does something else in response to mitigate this.

Healing, like damage, also sports all of its variations. Funny AoE shapes, instant or DoTs, affects others, affects self, the works. (Self-healing, though, should be pointed out as a critical decision point that affects how reliant on others an individual player has to be. More on that later.)

There’s proactive support, the player does something before the bad stuff happens. (Or at least while it’s happening, which would overlap in the proactive to reactive spectrum.) This is the realm of offensive (damage boosting) and defensive buffs (shielding/protection), of damage reflecting / retaliation, and so on.

Support can be always-on, or short-lived. The first are usually of the fire and forget buff variety, mostly pre-cast and made long as a convenience so that the poor buffers don’t get RSI. The second is more challenging, and either requires good skill rotation to maintain permanence if possible, or appropriate timing for best effect (such as the guardian aegis in GW2, which can completely block and negate one big hit for the group.)

The last trick is that of summoning or pets or minions. The player gets to create mobs from nothing, that can then take on some or all of the above functions, from damage, sturdiness, taking mob aggro, controls, support or heals.

Truth is, across the huge spectrum of games these days, from MOBAs and FPSes, ARPGs to yes, MMOs, you’ll see this variation of functions and combat concepts, which range from 4-7 in number, very rarely the pure holy trinity.

The uniqueness comes when the different games start assigning different classes roles and functions that pick and choose from these 4-6 general concepts.

One class could have the sturdiness of a typical tank, but lack means of aggro control, and be more focused on damage, a superhero style bruiser/brute archetype.

MOBAs, especially, have gone down one extreme, where each special character played has its own unique schtick to keep in mind, along with a vague general role function. This makes game mastery an exercise in specific game knowledge, after one memorizes/learns 48, 72, 112, 123, characters…

(I presume that Marvel Heroes follows a similar-ish route, though probably with less depth than most MOBAs.)

Pro-holy trinity-ians have long lost this battle.

No, really, we should leave this poor dead horse where it is, and take up arms around the real crux of the matter.

It’s not about tank/heals/dps, it’s about how group-reliant they want other players to be. 

Dare I say it, it’s about how dependent on others they want for everyone in their game to be, about how self-important they can feel having a special unique snowflake of a role that is irreplaceable (at least until another identical class shows up. /duh.)

Sorry, folks, I can’t keep the scorn out of my writing for such a mindset.

It’s an argument in similar vein to, “I want other people to play with me, so please force them to, by offering them no choice whatsoever,” regardless of how introverted or disinterested the other person is with regards to playing in a group, or how their schedules look like.

It also makes no sense whatsoever.

As mentioned, even in a game with utterly pure unique roles, that healer is still replaceable by another healer, that tank for another tank.

There is no harm in allowing two (or more) classes to cover the same roles, to overlap in role function. If we don’t have X class, ok, someone can bring Y class (that they do have) and that part of the fight can be covered. 

Added flexibility reduces stand around and wait to play time.

There can still be group interdependence and synergy in a holy-trinityless game. 

City of Heroes generally needed an alpha strike taker in their groups (tank, controller types, plus the villainous brutes, dominators, masterminds, or even buffer/debuffers with enough cojones to self-survive through it), plus enough buff/debuffs made everyone a god of war. Plenty of room for damage-dealers, mob-positioners, supporters, the works. 

The whole was generally larger than the sum of its parts (at least, until Incarnate powers and loot came along.)

There’s even room for special roles for that special snowflake feeling. They just take on more game-specific, build-specific names. GW1 had the imbagon, aka the imbalanced crazy buffer paragon that armored everyone into invincibility, among plenty of other ‘required’ components of a specialized group.

GW2 will always require might-stackers, most often covered by the PS warrior, but now with added flexibility by having a revenant in Herald elite spec also able to perform a similar function. The chronomancer is a must-have in many raid parties for quickness and alacrity generation (guardian quickness is not yet part of the meta but there seem to be some suggestions that the wind might be blowing a little in that direction…)

There’s plenty of encounter-specific roles as well, and a shit load of group interdependence in raids that I can only address in another post.

The only real defence for the holy trinity, that I -might- acquiesce to, is this: Simplicity.

The “it’s too hard for me to understand anything more complex” “casuals want to just drop in and have mindless fun, and feel comforted and familiar with a system they’ve already learned” argument. 

Maybe even the “I want to get carried as a no-responsibility dps because I’m not good at / have no time to learn anything more about this game” argument.

Because, as I said earlier, I have nothing against mindless fun. I like it a lot. I like being lazy and relaxing most of the time, taking the easiest route and the path of least resistance. 

I also don’t like turning away those that aren’t good at the game. If there’s a way for stronger players to support or carry weaker players to success, then all the merrier. That’s a true social game, helping others, being helped in return, because we’re all good at some things and not good at all at other things. (But let’s face it, neither mindless fun, an easy to grasp system or being able to cover for others -requires- the holy trinity.)

Catering to the lowest common denominator is the road to popularity and $$$, contrary to what most of the self-proclaimed “hardcore” will say. An easy to grasp, approachable game that doesn’t frustrate or turn away the bulk of its players at first contact will have a larger population to support it. It so happens that WoW has trained this said bulk of players to be familiar with only one combat system playstyle, so well, if you’re copycatting,  or cloning WoW, holy trinity is probably your best bet.

The instant a defender of the holy trinity brings up the complexity of tanking or healing or getting skill rotations just right as a dps though, I start to scoff. “Then why not broaden your horizons further and learn more of the other specialist functions and of other games that let you play a hybrid class that can be equally good at two things at once? Isn’t that more hardcore, special snowflake heroic, complex and laudable? Why content yourself with doing one thing well, when you can do two, three, four things well?”

Bottom line, it goes back to “I don’t like or want to learn or play any other roles or combinations thereof. I just like this one and am not flexible or adaptable.”

So let’s just say it how it is. Holy trinity defenders are sticks-in-the-mud that want to feel special and want to force other people to roll around in the mud with them.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. A preference is a preference.

It’s just not going to be a game that suits -me.-

And you won’t catch me playing a game designed in such a way for long.

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12 thoughts on “Why Are We Even Arguing About The Holy Trinity?

  1. caerphoto says:

    “player vs door” 😀

    I’ve only played WoW and GW2, so the breadth of my experience is obviously limited, but I definitely prefer GW2, if nothing else because it feels more natural and fluid, I guess, less overtly mechanical and rigid. Boss fights (at least the only two raid fights I’ve seen, VG and Gorse) feel more like scraps than dances. I also kinda like how you can be both tank and healer at the same time in GW2.

    Very much looking forward to what the next raid wing contains – the mutterings about how it’ll be very different to Spirit Vale have me intrigued.

  2. Sylow says:

    Now my comment might be very sarcastic, but I think your posting is many months too late and does not reflect the actual situation any more. I could and would have agreed before HoT launched, but when taking its changes and the new Elite specifications into account, I think your posting looses a lot of validity.

    Even I, who never was in the new raid yet, am aware that there are some classes which are being used as tanks in the raid. [Tank role: check. ]

    Even I, who do not play all classes, am aware that some classes by now have a taunt mechanic. (And in my berserker I do notice the effect, when playing with my girl. The taunt really allows me to drag enemies off from her. )
    [Most common tank tool: check. ]

    And even I, who never was in the new raid, still won’t be for a long time and probably never will be there, am aware of the capabilities of the Druid and how it is being used in the Raid.
    [Healer role: check. ]

    So, Tanks and Healers now do exist in GW2, despite a thin veil of “it’s not the trinity”. You try to argue that the third role is not “damage” but “crowd control”. Maybe there is content in the Raid which requires actual CC, I never was there, I do not know, but the break bar is as far away from that as you can get. Unlike what you describe, according to my experience (while I was not in the raid yet, I participated in plenty of open world bossfights) the question is not “do I bring more damage or do I bring more CC?” The question rather is “how much CC do we need to keep the bar down to do maximum damage?” Thus I am very much with Bhagpuss here, it’s really just a mechanic to turn CC abilities into a DPS tool and nothing else.

    Though, I have played other games where CC was an actual role, e.g. the Bureaucrat in Anarchy Online, but that required more situational awareness than “damage a second bar with CC abilities”. And while I have experienced some fights in the open world, where smart use of knockback and slowdown was helpful and CC was being used in a great way, the break bar effectively prevents that, making It a mechanic against the CC role.
    [DPS role: check; CC role: no check. ]

    Oh and btw… while I never have played City of Heroes and don’t know how things were done there, I also dare to say that GW(1) allowed to play with the trinity. You just had to be aware of the circles you mentioned. The enemy “locked on” the moment it dealt the first attack, allowing the other team members to then get into range without any risk of being attacked, as the enemy would not switch any more unless an ability would’ve been used on them which would’ve broken the lock. (This ruled out a lot of CC abilities. )

    So with my friends it was a normal thing to do. For normal mobs we just charged in and killed, but whenever we spotted something harder to fight, we let the warrior walk in ahead to take agro.
    Once the enemy was “locked” on the Warrior, the rest of us followed. The Monk had the task to keep the Warrior alive and to deal some damage in between. My Ranger had the task to do as much damage as possible, while interrupting the most crucial abilities of the enemy. (And no, I never used a pet, I didn’t have the toolbar slots for that left. )

    So you might argue that “interrupt” was a fourth column there, but when considering that interrupting key abilities is quite common in other games with the trinity, I would not qualify it as more than a sub-function of the other roles. (A real difference was the stress factor, though. If you need to interrupt abilities with 0.75 seconds cast, your own ability being at 0.25 seconds cast time and your arrow still having flight time, there’s not much time spare. I stopped that role when I realized that my sore eyes after an evening of doing so resulted from me not blinking enough any more. )

    Later the warriors tanking was replaced with the monk tanking himself in the infamous monk-tank setup with just 55 health, but that’s another story. The only important part for this here is: the monks light armour and low health guaranteed him to keep agro no matter what happened, as the game did not take the buffs into account which reduced all damage he took to 5 and made him regenerate that damage several times over per second.

    Mind you, after all what I wrote, I dare to remember that I generally play GW2 in the open world, with friends. We indeed do not use any of the trinity there, and before HoT I would have agreed that GW2 operates without it. I was not aware of the “toughness is agro” mechanic before all the talk about the raid and tanks informed me about it. But the situation has changed, the trinity was installed through the backdoor or Elite specialisations and the new raid, there is no denying of that.

  3. R'nageo says:

    As long as you are keeping with specialist roles that can only be performed by a limited number of classes played in a very specific way, what has changed? Sure, instead of a tank you bring a might-stacker and instead of a healer a quickness-provider, but to me it feels like changing a master for another. If my preferred class can’t do either, or I simply don’t enjoy that playstyle, I’m still condemned to waiting for players that can fulfil those roles. You may change the trinity into a quartet, but in the end it’s just trading a master for another.

    • Jeromai says:

      No argument there. This is true of anything that requires specific gearing and specialized roles. It’s not a direction that I personally like GW2 to go toward, I’m more of a GW1 proponent of easily switchable builds to fit a need, but apparently there’s been more of a move towards role specialization to make those who like that sort of thing happy.

      Point is, there can still be roles specialization without a pure trinity. (Along with all the inconveniences that result from that, as you point out.)

  4. j3w3l says:

    I’d jump in to defend gw2 here as well. If you are a solo player running around it might feel that way but once you get into a group there are a lot of strategies formed within. Playing gw2 was one of the more complicated in terms of a group I’ve played as you weren’t just focused on your own actions, but also combining and cooperating with a group at a more fundamental level.

    Also – screw dedicated healers in gw2 – just chuck down a water field and blast that sucka

  5. bhagpuss says:

    On the issue of whether the Break Bar is just a badly-disguised alternate HP bar I refer you to this handy guide at guild wars hub, which someone kindly linked in map chat at The Shatterer the other day:

    http://guildwarshub.com/hard-cc-skill-reference-guide/

    As you can see, it lists the exact or estimated damage each specific skill does to the bar. It includes damage constants even for skills that have no listed damage in the in-game tool tip. When you also add a timer to the bar, as The Shatterer has, you have a classic DPS Test mechanic.

    Limiting the skills that deplete the bar to a subset may add a small (VERY small) degree of complexity but it in absolutely no way whatsoever makes any of this activity “crowd control”. Is the mob knocked back? No. Is it stunned? No. Is it blinded? No. Not one of the active CC effects used has any meaning. All that counts is that numeric damage value. Basically, it’s a bodge job.

    The fundamental problem with GW2’s small group combat (and I include 10 man raids as small – a real raid in my book has a bare minimum of two dozen people – I remember 72 person raids) is not complexity, which, as you argue very well, it has always had in spades. No, it’s speed. Everything in GW2 happens insanely fast. Buffs last seconds, attacks refresh in moments, you have a heartbeat to dodge or die. It’s that frenetic pace that creates the impression of hysterical chaos. GW2 small group combat is like watching the end of the Benny Hill show on fast forward.

    The classic trinities and and the wider application of Crowd Control had their great strength in pacing. There was time to prepare, to plan and to execute. Buffing took place before the battle and buffs lasted for many fights before they needed to be refreshed. When you rooted a creature to the floor it STAYED rooted. That was the point. When you mezzed a mob it stood there for long enough for people to think and react and decide how to proceed.

    The real difference between the old school Trinity gameplay and current action gaming is the difference between playing chess and playing pinball. One is focused primarily on thought and consideration and planning, the other on reflexes, reaction time and motor skills. In my opinion, the people asking for a return to the Trinity aren’t necessarily looking for an easy option, nor a simple one: they are looking for gameplay that allows them to process full, considered chains of ideas, consciously and with consideration before executing them with deliberation.

    That’s what I got from the Trinity, anyway, and I’d like it back.

    • Jeromai says:

      That’s a fair and valid point. It’s less a holy trinity for holy trinity’s sake argument then, and more of a slower, considered, strategic pace that is desired by some.

      It’s more useful to ask for strategic, measured combat then, rather than default to the often overused phrase and assume that everyone has the same understanding, or that tank/dps/healer functions are the only way to conjure this more leisurely pacing.

      Card game-like combat or even X-Com style strategy may be one possible genre to mash into a new MMO catering to a less action-focused audience.

  6. […] debating an outlining the issues or enjoyment inherent within the trinity, although it is like Jeromai says the lazier of developmental approaches as most neither seem to understand why. Me, I’m […]

  7. Sylow says:

    Since i drifted quite badly off topic at another blog. (See here: https://waitingforrez.wordpress.com/2016/02/11/zone-fatigue/ ) I think it makes sense to return the key elements of my posting there to this place.

    I also added a TL/DR at the end, just in case.

    My posting was in regards to TSW being rejected for using the trinity. The quote of myself starts here:
    ————————————————————————————-

    It’s very true that the game -allows- it, and that players resort to it a lot. But interestingly enough, there are only few fights where I would say that this is required. When the game was new, we beat dungeons with a plethora of different tactics and doctrines. (And that goes far beyond what you hint at on your trinity posting on your blog. According to what you hint at, that you at least see four roles in GW2, I would guess that we at some time in TSW had six roles covered in a five man group. )

    I remember some boss fights were everybody in the group had a taunt on his bar, we spread out far over the area and kept taunting the boss around, so he never was in melee range to anybody of us. I remember fights where everybody had 5k health and used an assault rifle, as we didn’t yet know how to avoid the agro reset yet, so we made sure that everybody was able to survive a few hits and that plenty of healing was coming in. I remember fights where two players were assigned shotgun/chaos, used the passive “Close Quarters” to permanently slow down enemies and also brought several impairs (including chaotic pull) into their setup. This all was done just to stop adds from ever reaching certain spots. (Now, with our high damage, we just burn them down, but in old times we had to use all tools in the book to buy us the time to do so. )

    These are just some examples of what we tried and used, I could go on for a long time with such stuff here. Not only were those tactics successful, they at that time were the only way we knew how to beat those fights. We now have both better gear and more sophisticated setups. A lot of tactical challenges of old by now are overcome with “more damage”. Executing those complicated tactics I mentioned requires discipline and coordination, and teaching them to a new player is very hard, sometimes impossible. In contrast, everybody knows and understands the trinity concept. For most of the dungeons we by now learned to beat them with the trinity, but there are exceptions in nightmare difficulty.

    There are dungeons where we even years after launch still have to cover more than the three roles. We still need “rabbits”, which means runners to keep adds busy. We still need dedicated interrupters, add interceptors and some even more obscure tasks covered. I have done those dungeons, but some of the special roles requires a lot of additional practice and coordination. As a result, you can always easily find a group for any of those dungeons where the trinity can be used and special tasks can be covered by one experienced player. But it is very hard (and basically impossible without a Cabal) to find a group for any of those dungeons where more coordination is required. Beating them usually requires all members of the group to practice some of the fights together for a while, not many “random” players are ready to invest that time, especially when not bonded by a Cabal and thus having a low chance to get together in the same setup again for another attempt on another day.

    That all being said, I still dare to claim: the trinity is not -required- in TSW. You can do a lot of stuff without, and some dungeons even now can not even be done with it, but require a lot of additional tasks to be covered. At the same time the trinity is there for most of the dungeons. It quite often is not the most efficient setup for the fight, but when also taking the effort of teaching and practicing other tactics into account, falling back to the trinity suddenly wins the efficiency contest by far.

    ————————————————————————————-

    End of the quote, followed by TL/DR:

    The trinity is being used in TSW, but is not required to use. Alternatives are available, still we players use the trinity. It’s not lazyness of the game designer, it’s convenience and lazyness of us players, that we worked hard to be able to use the trinity instead of going for more sophisticated (and harder to execute) alternative tactics.

    Not the game is to blame, we players are. (Also, is the trinity really a bad thing, if alternatives are available? )

  8. fireflyry says:

    It’s pretty subjective and I enjoy both.

    Trinity games give me a defined role (nearly always healer cause I likes to healz for dayz) that I can work at, get better with and hopefully come to master. I not only feel like I’m contributing to team success, or failure, but I can actively see my contribution taking place as I play.

    I feel I have import, relevance and I’m appreciated while extending the same to my team when they play well in their role.

    Maybe this comes from a background of playing a lot of team based sport (rugby, hockey, soccer, cricket, etc) where roles are clearly defined and success was based on individually mastering your specifically required skill-set to then bring into a team enviroment.

    Theres nothing quite as enjoyable as honing ones skills to then combine like Voltron with the rest of your buddies and succeed at a goal in the knowledge that you got past the finish line or won the game due to everyone doing their individual part in a team based challenge.

    It also embraces different skill sets within MMORPG gameplay. Some players are better at, and more importantly enjoy more, healer/tank/DPS/troller roles for the gameplay they offer and the fact they excel at such gameplay.

    I seldom experience this in GW2.

    While this “jack of all trades” system is great in many regards, especially for soloers like me, I miss the trinity mechanics in regards to creating an enviroment where team work is embraced from an early stage. As a result this game can be a very lonely experience with everyone running around doing their own thing, at least outside certain minority content.

    When team based content is played it’s also very hard to get that sense of contribution, or non-contrabution, when everyone is pretty much on the same page. Pump out as much DPS as you can….heal yourself and try not to die.

    Completeing team based goals in this enviroment is nowhere near as rewarding as really, who knows who did what?

    Outside dropping into downstate again and again there is really no accurate way of telling who did what and it often does’nt matter. A player could just be running around in circles doing nothing but due to the lack of trinity, and the eyesore graphics that make it even harder to seperate the contribution of the individual, success can still be attained and nobody would know the better in that you just carried a player(s).

    You can’t get away with that in most trinity games without being noticed and called out for it. Success is far more intergrated with active and effective participation of everyone in the team.

    Then again I don’t miss “lfmonk then go!!”.

    As such I think both game types have equal validity and detractions but certainly hope the trinity mechanics are always present in at least some releases in the genre as they are as relevant and enjoyable to many as they are a bane for others.

  9. Jigawatts says:

    I understand what you are trying to say with this article, though I respectfully disagree. I’m going to guess that you never had the pleasure of seeing an Enchanter who was a master of his craft doing his work, it was a thing of pure beauty.

    I’m going to use classic EQ as a counter example for gameplay I find compelling. Lets take a full party of 6 going through a dungeon, and for this example we’ll use a Warrior, Rogue, Cleric, Monk, Shaman, and Enchanter. 3 of these classes will be fulfilling basic trinity roles (and there are people who truly love fulfilling those roles), but the others….

    Warrior: Tank, caster interrupts, moderate DPS (better than WoW prot warriors)

    Rogue: Main DPS, lots o damage with backstab, and great stealth

    Cleric: Keeps everyone alive, buffed, healed up, and removes many status effects

    (Now is where it starts to branch out a bit)

    Monk: Puller, splitter of mob packs, very good dps, a variety of attacks, feigner of death, can intimidate CC in emergency situations

    Shaman: Provides party with a plethora of buffs, keeps enemies slowed, throws out DOTs for added DPS with occasional melee, also backup/emergency healer

    Enchanter: Mezzing/CC extras in a pack and adds, charming mobs to add to party DPS, keeping your party buffed with haste and mana regen, these guys are the true masters of chaos

    These are roles and types of gameplay that cant be found in either modern games with the holy trinity (ala WoW) or games of a homogenized nature (ala GW2), they are only found in early MMOs 15+ years old or in a very small few indie MMO currently in various stages of development. Not only do they have a variety of roles available, but they are slightly slower paced too, allowing more actual socialization (I couldn’t tell you the last time I had a nice personable conversation in a WoW dungeon, even the times I try to initiate).

    Personally I find way more fulfillment being a contributing member of such a group as exampled above, then again I’m big on camaraderie and always preferred team sports growing up. There’s a certain attributed beauty when a group is functioning as a harmonious whole.

    So as I initially said, I can understand where you are trying to come from, I just happen to respectfully disagree, and that’s the wondrous nature of our modern world, everyone is truly free to have their own opinion without fear of recourse, and it doesn’t make any single person “right”, I’m not right here just like you’re not right, we just have our own specified preferences.

    Good day to you sir.

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