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Thread: Varied groups in PvE

  1. #1
    Plane Walker irongamer's Avatar
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    Default Varied groups in PvE

    Allow for more varied groups

    There will be much gnashing of teeth by die hard group mechanic fans, but I'll present this anyhow...

    Imagine for a moment that the game has only one class. Everyone must play this single class. Now look at groups in most mmo games. There is a single group build everyone plays. The group build is always the same; the aggro guy(s), the heal bot(s) and the damage machine(s).

    In most mmo's today groups feel like playing a single class to me.

    There have been a few mmo's that have deviated or at least stepped back a bit from this standard. The standard group build needs to be one option, not the only option.

    Different group builds would handle encounters in different ways. This is similar to how different classes handle combat in different ways.

    I also think it would free up the community and encourage more grouping.
    • Grouping would be encouraged as the system doesn't get in the way of the player. You can pick up anyone, regardless of class, to join you in a good dungeon romp or group based quest.
    • Guilds would not need to try to find specific replacements (unless then wanted to, its an option now)
    • It could open up some interesting role-playing groups/guilds.

    Does the industry not have the technology or inspiration to expand on the idea of multiple classes, and move into the realm of multiple group builds in the PvE setting?

    Many of the old and current mmos are grounded on the idea of the tank and healer. If you pull those out they topple in a big heap. I expect to see posts that are trapped inside that box:

    "Don't change what works."
    "How would aggro work?"
    "How do you keep people alive?"
    "Won't this dumb down encounters?"
    Maybe some examples of thinking outside the box would be helpful.

    When Steve Perlman (Quicktime guru back in the day) presented to Apple management that he knew of a way to stream video on a computer screen, the boards response was, "Why would anyone want to run video on a computer screen?"

    Later when Steve was working with Onlive he would talk to engineers about what they were doing and the engineers would say, "This is a law. You can't push that much data (Shannon's Law)." Steve told the engineer that they are "pushing 100x Shannon". Engineer, "That is impossible." Steve, "We aren't breaking Shannon's limit. Shannon wasn't wrong. Shannon had the right answer but for the wrong question."

    The above example comments remind me of the the Apple board and the engineers. Step outside that box for a moment if you will.

    City of Hero's is perhaps most successful varied group setup game.

    Have you played other titles that allow for more varied groups?




    PS.

    Steve Perlman's talk. It is really interesting.
    http://tv.seas.columbia.edu/videos/545/60/79

    I do not work for Onlive, but I have beta tested it.
    Last edited by irongamer; 05-04-2010 at 01:51 PM.

  2. #2
    Rift Disciple Wisdomandlore's Avatar
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    With the latest (mini) expansion, LOTRO has eased up who you have to bring to a group. Basically, there's one or two jobs that are the best at a role (tanking, dps, healing, etc), then there's a variety of classes that can spec to fill that role. So a Guardian or a Warden is a the best tank, but a Captain or a Champion can fill the role (if not quite as well). Minstrels and Runekeepers are the best healers, but Captains, Loremasters, and even Burglars (through Conjunctions) can. And just about every class can spec for decent DPS at this point. I've seen other games attempt this kind of balance, but usually the secondary roles are either took weak or too specialized to be useful.

    At first, it seems watered down, but each class has distinct mechanics, and most classes can't perform more than one role without paying a visit back to town to respec. Turbine has also moved away from the old standby of making group mobs hit hard and have a lot of HP. Instead the encounters are more scripted, although they've left room open to improvise. So while there's a certain set of actions you have to perform for the fight, different class combinations can approach it in different ways. So if you don't have a good tank, you can CC or kite. If you don't have a healer, then you can remove a debuff on the mob that heals you but makes the mob take less damage. It's an interesting approach. Then there's the new skirmish system, which gives you a pet soldier that you can spec to make up for weaknesses either in your class or your group.

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    Give examples of mechanics of what you are suggesting. This feels so much like another large thread here with no specifics, just "I don't like the way tanks get aggro"

    To suggest you can create a system no matter what class balance you have in a group the effectiveness of that group is unchanged is an impressive claim. Back that up with some solid suggestions rather than "some other guys did some blue sky thinking in a totally unrelated field".

    People always push efficiency, in 20 odd pages noone actually came up with a feasible system that got rid of controlled aggro and still left scope for strategy being required for fights.

    I suspect this thread could get just as long and you won't be able to get to a system where class balance didn't matter and you still have the devs able to create strategic fights that was equally killable for every possible balance of classes and still a challenge. Again it sounds like a Diablo style game where it doesn't really matter what you do or who does it, stuff just dies.

    Until you actually come up with real suggestions of how a system can work I'll treat your hypothesis that there is a "magic mystical perfect system that noone has thought of in 20 years of development" as simply that.

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    Ascendant Darcnova's Avatar
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    I'm all for this, of course, I wouldn't find it cool if say, a mage could tank, but I'm sure thats not what you are getting at. I like the group set ups where you need a tank and healer, but why not have more than 1 of each if you want, and still be able to do stuff? That's the level of class dependency that works, in my opinion. Healers and Tanks still being definable, but allowing for a mix and match...*nod*

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    Plane Walker irongamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Durnkrag View Post
    Give examples of mechanics of what you are suggesting. This feels so much like another large thread here with no specifics, just "I don't like the way tanks get aggro"

    To suggest you can create a system no matter what class balance you have in a group the effectiveness of that group is unchanged is an impressive claim. Back that up with some solid suggestions rather than "some other guys did some blue sky thinking in a totally unrelated field".

    People always push efficiency, in 20 odd pages noone actually came up with a feasible system that got rid of controlled aggro and still left scope for strategy being required for fights.

    I suspect this thread could get just as long and you won't be able to get to a system where class balance didn't matter and you still have the devs able to create strategic fights that was equally killable for every possible balance of classes and still a challenge. Again it sounds like a Diablo style game where it doesn't really matter what you do or who does it, stuff just dies.

    Until you actually come up with real suggestions of how a system can work I'll treat your hypothesis that there is a "magic mystical perfect system that noone has thought of in 20 years of development" as simply that.
    Just curious if you have played CoH.

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    Official Rift Fan Site Operator Ciovala's Avatar
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    I don't quite understand the question I guess. There seem to be a few in the one post, which will just lead to 'wall of text' answers. What is wrong with the whole 'trinity', anyway? The one game that did do things differently for me was Asheron's Call, simply due to the skil-based system which didn't have classes. Anyone could learn healing if they wanted to, although even in that game you'd run into people who had more points in that area.

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    Plane Walker irongamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ciovala View Post
    I don't quite understand the question I guess. There seem to be a few in the one post, which will just lead to 'wall of text' answers. What is wrong with the whole 'trinity', anyway? The one game that did do things differently for me was Asheron's Call, simply due to the skil-based system which didn't have classes. Anyone could learn healing if they wanted to, although even in that game you'd run into people who had more points in that area.
    Playing with the same group build (tank,healer,dps) over and over, with respect to groups, makes the combat feel like there has only been one class to play over the last 10+ years.

    At least that is how it comes across to me. There are a few games that have broken out of that mold, but not enough.

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    I played CoH for a short while, it really didn't grab me at all. Seemed like there was no longevity in the game.

  9. #9
    Plane Walker irongamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Durnkrag View Post
    I played CoH for a short while, it really didn't grab me at all. Seemed like there was no longevity in the game.
    Ok, cool. I agree, the world content was pretty lacking. However, I loved the freedom of the combat system.
    Last edited by irongamer; 05-04-2010 at 02:21 PM.

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    Ascendant Darcnova's Avatar
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    Hmm, never played CoH myself, so I'm used to the traditional group builds, as I grew up with 'em...though new ways of grouping is always nice.

  11. #11
    Shield of Telara Caracarn's Avatar
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    I like the idea of primary and secondary role fpr every class. Very basically you find 4 archtypes in MMOs: Tanks, Healers, DPS (melee, ranged or magic) and Support (Buff, Debuff, Utility, Crowd Control,...), with Tanks and Healers usually being in short supply for group content. So even for end game group content it would be a good idea to be able to master it even with a less than perfect group setup to allow casual players to find working groups more easily. This should not apply for raid content, of course, as there the primary classes should do what they really are intended for.

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    Plane Walker irongamer's Avatar
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    Turbine has also moved away from the old standby of making group mobs hit hard and have a lot of HP. Instead the encounters are more scripted, although they've left room open to improvise. So while there's a certain set of actions you have to perform for the fight, different class combinations can approach it in different ways. So if you don't have a good tank, you can CC or kite. If you don't have a healer, then you can remove a debuff on the mob that heals you but makes the mob take less damage. It's an interesting approach.
    Ah, there is something fresh, options, varied solutions, good to hear. Might have to fire up that account again and try it out.

    This is very close, if not what I am talking about.
    Last edited by irongamer; 05-04-2010 at 02:22 PM.

  13. #13
    Prophet of Telara Eldran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irongamer View Post
    Just curious if you have played CoH.
    I have - and I'm still not sure what you're OP is about.

    CoH is absolutely no different from any other MMO in their reliance on the basic "holy trinity". What they have is more variety in abilities and how those abilities interact with other.

  14. #14
    Plane Walker irongamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldran View Post
    I have - and I'm still not sure what you're OP is about.

    CoH is absolutely no different from any other MMO in their reliance on the basic "holy trinity". What they have is more variety in abilities and how those abilities interact with other.
    This clip from another post is what I'm getting at.

    Turbine has also moved away from the old standby of making group mobs hit hard and have a lot of HP. Instead the encounters are more scripted, although they've left room open to improvise. So while there's a certain set of actions you have to perform for the fight, different class combinations can approach it in different ways. So if you don't have a good tank, you can CC or kite. If you don't have a healer, then you can remove a debuff on the mob that heals you but makes the mob take less damage. It's an interesting approach.
    While it is not a complete change it is very close. If you have a crappy tank (no tank maybe?) your group can still function. If you have no healer, your group can still function.

  15. #15
    Plane Walker irongamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldran View Post
    I have - and I'm still not sure what you're OP is about.
    Ok, people like diversity of classes. A different class allows someone to complete combat with a different method.

    What about group build diversity? A different group build allows a group of people to complete combat with a different method.

    Is that clearing it up at all?

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