Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Injustice for Support Classes

Lots of issues with how hard it is for tank spec/geared players and holy spec/geared players to farm for materials and gold. Not going to rehash them, but Tankgst has been doing an ongoing thread of posts regarding possible ways to fix it.

I threw in my Jousting idea the other day. This was for PVP, but now I'm on a different horse, so to speak.

Why not a daily quest?

Lets use the Netherwing faction daily quests as an example. While running around in the Netherwing mines, I rarely see a healing class. I rarely see a warrior or priest at all. Kitty druids, but never a bear or elf/caster form. And I've often thought to myself, while completely delusional about levelling up my priest, "ugh, if i ever get my priest up to 70, he's going to grind this rep out with the booterang and amava will farm him the netherdust pollens. it'll take longer, but whatever."

Of course, my holy priest friend just dinged exalted with Netherwing, and he did the grind faster than me, as he found locations for eggs and collected those puppies like there was no tomorrow, but I digress.

So for daily questing, lets say for the sake of the argument, that my hunter can kill stuff way way faster than a prot warrior. And lets also say that the majority of the quests out there involve killing stuff, and then either just grabbing the drops of of them, or taking the drops and doing stuff with it, like Yarsil's Mutton. And finally, lets say we believe that this is an inherent injustice.

The problem isn't in the class designs. We don't need to make support classes kill stuff faster.

What we need are more quests designed around the unique skills that support classes have.

Try this one on for size: Some armorsmith in Honor Hold is trying to find the best armor in the Outlands. Take this hit impact recording device, and go absorb 50k damage and report back to him so he can analyze the performance of your armor. Or maybe make it a certain number of swings from the axe of this sparring partner. If you're critable, you're gonna die.

Pick whatever amount of damage you want, the point is...make it such that a tank spec'ed player will be able to do it, and other classes will find it much harder or it'll take much longer (in this example, sure a DPS'er can bring a healer and do the same quest, but for the same financial return you'd rather just go kill some stuff since that's what you're good at).

For the healers out there, make another quest like the crazy bandaging quest in Theramore. You gotta heal a bunch of guys. Make it really really hard to do with bandages, so its accessible to all classes, but for a healer, it'll be straight forward, just like the "kill X mobs" quests are for DPS classes.

These are just two ideas that pop up in my head in a quick brainstorming session, so there's more and more that can be invented.

Now, putting on my Blizzard profit hat, this is not such a good return on investment. You put money into developing these quests, and you're more or less building content that's only going to be enjoyed by a portion of your customers. It makes more financial sense for them to just buff the DPS capability of spell damage for healers. Then they're making existing quests that're already paid for accessible to more of their customers.

They'd have to do the analysis on a much larger big picture. Would the investment in making tanks and healers more viable actually increase the ability of the entire player base to see more of the very expensive-to-develop content in raid dungeons since there'd be less shortage of those key player roles?

I play DPS because I like providing MQoSRDPS. My Holy Priests play healer because they love keeping us alive. And my tanks thrive on making sure that nobody else ever feels steel hitting their squishy little hides.

Does the least-common-denominator approach of buffing everybody's ability to deal damage sacrifice too much of the concept of the roles that players choose?

1 comment:

Rob Drimmie said...

I came along from Tangst, because I really like this idea.

I think it can maybe be taken a step further: Instead of alternate daily quests (though I'm not opposed), what about alternate solutions to daily quests?

The Skettis dailies are actually examples of reasonably flexible quests. For the escort, you can burn down the attackers or you can tank them, or you can heal the guy through their attacks. I think healers probably have it roughest there since they would probably be generating some fairly high level.

But if more quests were completable in multiple ways, perhaps there would be fewer problems for non-dps classes getting them done.

I do think that focusing on quests overlooks part of the problem too, that there are typically limited slots for tanks or healers in raids, and that those spots must be filled by those role types.

I don't imagine it's an easy thing to do, but if more endgame encounters in general were designed to be solved by more combinations of group makeup then the need to respec for a particular encounter or to get a spot in a raid would be lessened.

I think that is probably a drum that has long been beaten though and I can't fathom how difficult designing such an encounter would be, so it is almost certainly a pipe dream. If nothing else, the more flexible an encounter is the more susceptible to min/maxing it is which definitely seems to be something Blizzard tries hard to avoid.