Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What if: There Were no Holy Trinity

To those that do not know the expression of the holy trinity is mean a tank, a healer and a damage dealer(s) working together.  The holy trinity is the reason there are waits for the dungeon finder and the looking for raid.  Because the game is assembling the group based on a predetermined holy trinity. The holy trinity is the reason there are no waits for scenarios because the trinity is not required for them.  The holy trinity is also to blame for many other small things, like why some healers hate doing dailies because they do not like having an offspec, as they are healers and that is what they do.  Things like that.

So what if the Holy Trinity did not exist.  It would surely make for an interesting new world of game play, one that would possibly be better than what we have now.

Some people believe that if there were no holy trinity that the control role of tank and the support role of healer would be gone but that is not true.  Even without the holy trinity there would still need to be someone taking the hits and positioning the boss and there would still be people that would be needed to help with healing.

The one difference with having no holy trinity would be that anyone could do the tanking and anyone can do the healing.  As a mater of fact, everyone would, even if they did not want to, just by doing their role of dealing damage, which is the only true role in the trinityless group.  See scenarios for an example.

For a system like this to work you would need all classes to have some sort of defensive cooldowns and the switch to active mitigation this expansion makes for the perfect stepping stone to add just that. 

All classes could easily have a few abilities that would be added that they could use to tank, so to speak, if and when their turn came to do such.  You would also need all classes to have healing of some sort and that would be a little harder to manage but could easily be done by having all damage dealing abilities also heal, whether it be the user it heals or the most needy target the heal bounces to, along with some direct healing spells, but they would not be as powerful as the direct healing spells as we currently know them.

Besides giving all classes some sort of healing capabilities and some sort of active mitigation there would need to be some other fundamental changes to the game such as the removal of dodge and parry and spirit on gear.  Dodge and parry would not longer be needed as there are no longer tanks in game that would stack them.  Same would go for spirit which is considered a healer stat and without dedicated healers there would be no need for a dedicated healing stat.

With the avoidance removed from tank gear there would need to be a change to how strength, agility and intellect work.  All of those, depending on variables of their class, would offer dodge in a percentage.  This would give some passive avoidance to all classes in one way or another.

There would then be three types of fights and how the boss would be handled.  The life fight, where the boss will always attack the person with the highest life.  The stationary fight, where the boss will stand in set positions and main attack whichever is the closest target.  The threat fight where the boss will attack the person with the highest threat.

The life fight would be pretty straight forward, if you have the highest total life you get attacked.  When you no longer have the highest life total it will move to the next person.  When the boss is on you, you use your active mitigation.  Simple enough.  There would also need to be some sort of timer so the boss did not just ping pong around forever.  When the boss switches to a new target with the highest life he will stay focused on them for 20 seconds no matter what.  It can not be taunted off or distracted, it is on that target for 20 seconds or until that target dies and then moves to the next target with the highest life.

The stationary fight would be where a boss does not move, you know the ones I am talking about, there are many of them.  In that case, it will always attack the target closest to it.  Simple enough and for some groups they might even decide on making a tank type crew that will move in and out and rotate the hits.  As there is no holy trinity any longer you could not have one dedicated tank as there would never be enough heals to keep a dedicated tank up but a rotating crew should do just fine.  On fights like this if there is no one within melee one player will be grabbed randomly and dragged into melee so the boss has someone to attack.  And unless that person has other people to switch with, they are dead.  This will keep groups from just going all ranged and avoiding the need for a melee taking damage to begin with.  Someone must always be getting hit, no matter what.

The threat fight would be one of the more interesting ones to deal with in groups because the boss will go after whoever has the most threat.  Again, it would have to have a lock on, like with the life fight, so it does not ping pong, but only of 6 seconds this time because the threat fight will be about threat and the idea would be to taunt off of others and to dump threat.  So all classes would have a taunt now, to put them on top of the threat meters and all classes would have an aggro dump to get it off of them.  You could handle the fight just winging it with whoever has the most threat, or you could control it with taunts and dumps, to try and keep the boss in a position you want him in.  The aggro dump all classes have would be a new ability and not like a hunters feign death.  It would be a charge up ability that once you reach a set number, lets call it three times your total life in damage taken, you can use it to dump all threat.

Many people argue that dungeons and raids can not work without the holy trinity but I do not agree.  I think it is an interesting what if with potential. 

There is another side effect to the what if of no holy trinity.  PvP would be completely different.  If all classes were capable of taking care of themselves to some degree meaning decreasing damage taken and some light heals, and there were no dedicated healer, it would be a lot easier to balance the classes. 

I don't know how more seasoned player vs player people see it but from my limited experience it is healing the makes things unbalanced.  If everyone were responsible for their own healing and all other direct heals that others could pass along were not huge, it would mean the battle would be more about who does best and not who has the most healers or who is better at focusing them down.

The removal of the holy trinity for PvE could be the best thing to come to the PvP world ever, at least as I see it.  How is that for a what if?  Maybe some people more versed in PvP could imagine what would happen in their side of the game with the holy trinity gone.

What if there were no holy trinity?  Would it really make PvP easier to balance?  Would it completely solve any issue with wait times for random content?  Would it be a boon or a bane to the game?  What if you logged in tomorrow and the holy trinity were gone?


  1. You have described GW2. :-)

    It is a very good game, I enjoyed it a lot and am playing it in parallel with WoW since it came out. In fact, I am seriously considering dropping WoW altogether for it (I just want to see what they will do to PVP in the next season first, then I will decide).

    GW2 has no dedicated tanks, healers or DPS. Every class (they call it "profession") can do everything depending on how you specialize it. Sure, since classes are still different, some can still, say, tank better than others, but the difference is not that large.

    Both tanking and healing capabilities are limited to much less than they are in WoW. Noone can just stand before a boss and take it. Noone can heal enough to keep up a guy who is just standing before a boss and taking it either. A "tank" should move around, dodge attacks, heal himself and frequently pass the tanking duties to others (and perhaps help them keep themselves up when they are "tanking"). The aggro is a complex combination of proximity and damage (that is, every mob selects whom it is going to attack based on who is in range of its attacks, who seems to be the most dangerous, etc).

    The gameplay that results from all this is very dynamic. In my opinion, it is very interesting, too.

    Sure enough, as you guessed, this design makes for much better balance in PVP. Again, the fights are much more dynamic and, given even numbers, very even-sided. Their analog of rated PVP (called "structured PVP") has no gear reqs, you get gear the moment you zone into their instanced arena. The impact of gear overall on PVP is much smaller than in WoW, an undergeared guy will struggle against a top-geared one, but he *will* dominate the top-geared guy given enough skill. Yes, many PVP'ers regard GW2 as *the* best PVP game as regards the skillcap and balance.

    So, there. The thing that you described exists. :-)

    1. GW2 has it dead on balls accurate on how it should be done for PvE and PvP when it comes to that aspect.

      I have never tried it and doubt I ever will. While the graphics are stunning the aesthetics are not really pleasing to me. Same reason why when I gave rift a good amount of time trying it, and I did love it as it is vastly superior to wow in many aspects, it just did not come off a pleasing to the eye for me. The graphics might be amazing but that is where it ends.

      As much as people make jokes about warcrafts graphics they are a lot better than people make them out to be and as such they are capable of being more aesthetically pleasing and that is why I keep playing wow.

      Give rift or GW2 or any number of other "attempts" to duplicate the success of warcraft a dose of warcraft art and aesthetics and I would drop warcraft in a heartbeat. It is amazing that all these companies have tried to steal warcrafts thunder but not a single one of them has never touched on one of the things that makes warcraft so fantastic, aesthetics.

  2. you mean someone took my idea about no pvp gear until you go into it then you get different gear for pvp! Drats.

    -roo "Just when I thought I was out, THEY PULL ME BACK IN"

    1. That idea works great in organized PvP, like battlegrounds and arena type things, but not for world PvP in the sense that wow does it.

  3. I think more people thought of GW2 while reading this - even if you think it is not GW2, it's at least what GW2 wants to be.

    As for roles, in my opinion the most basic of tasks (roles?) are offense and defense. Maybe, if someone (whether a real designer or an armchair one) doesn't feel they can pull a role-less gameplay, they should look into making sure to balance these two tasks among the roles/classes/builds. (It does make everyone sort of a hybrid, similar to GW2.) It would ensure everyone would have soloing capability; in group PvE it would make a better number balance compared to holy trinity while having potential to provide a more structured gameplay with less difficulty to design; in group PvP it may have a chance to get rid of the "healers have to die" problem as it would make everyone able to help with defense to the same extent (assuming they have the same skill and gear).

    Although a roleless model would work for all of those as well.

    1. I knew GW2 was designed something like this but being I never played it I have no clue how far it actually goes. This was just some random ideas thrown out there and I am not sure how closely they resemble GW2.

      I think roleless would actually be easier to code for then roled played. Because you would not need to make it so "all tanks can tank this" and "all healers can heal this". It would just be everyone can do everything which would actually make designing a lot easier. My opinion of course, no actual facts that would back that up.

  4. As much as I like the idea, I doubt that Blizzard will drop the trinity for WoW.

    However, their next MMO could potentially be that way.

    1. I don't think they ever would either. That is why it is a what if. :)

      I could see them avoiding it in their next one as it seems to be the way of the future.