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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 28
04-01-2009, 07:14 AM
Originally Posted by Flatfingers View Post
Am I completely off base here, or is that a potentially valid read of what Craig said?
I don't know ... but I look at what he said, and what you got, and .... Underpants Gnomes, Step 2.

1. I don't believe that the tank/DPS/support+aggro mechanic is inherent to MMORPGs; I consider it primarily a quick hack to get around the problem of decent collision detection eating too many CPU cycles in early online games. Why perpetuate a mechanic that's no longer necessary just because other games do it? That's cargo cult thinking.
The thing is ... Tank/DPS/Support roles in Team-based gameplay predate the internet. Seriously, they're from Dungeons and Dragons style games. And before that, even, in wargaming. Even in non-class-based game systems (and I'm still talking non-Computer games, here), the skills you pick generally will determine which of those roles you have, within the game.

To support the idea of twisting the well-understood Star Trek roles (Science, Engineering, Tactical, Command) into the tank/DPS/support model of other games, I'd need to see that it was clearly superior to alternative grouping designs that could be a better fit for a Star Trek MMORPG. Why not light weapons/heavy weapons/special weapons (no "tank" type needed)?
Well, here's the thing. Bob has "Light weapons" - as such, his damage output is lower than Sarah, who has "Heavy weapons".

What does Bob get to compensate him for having less damage output? Or, alternately, what did Sarah have to give up, in order to acquire her relatively-speaking improved damage output?


Usually, lower damage output ---> higher endurance. So, Bob is the "Tank", and Sarah is the "DPSer".

When Brian shows up, with his "special effects" / "special weapons" ship - he takes a "Support" role, using the effects of his weapons to leverage both Bob's higher endurance, and Sarah's higher DPS.


How do YOU expectyour "Light/Heavy/Special" setup to work?

And precisely how is aggro, on which the whole "tank" concept rides in particular, in any way whatsoever a play mechanic that is naturally inherent in the very concept of a MMORPG?
It's inherent in the way the AI works. Until we have true, smarter-than-people, self-aware AI ... expect there to be some mechanism by which the AI determines who to be aggressive towards.

Remember though, "tank" need not include any inherent ability to acquire and hold aggro above and beyond what anyone else can. In City of Villains, Masterminds were often tasked with Tank roles - and had ZERO "aggro management" abilities of their own. Heck, smart masterminds tried to AVOID direct aggro (they had the personally lowest HP in the entire game, at all levels); instead, they tried to get their PETS out on the pointy end. Their replacable, don't-quit-the-team-in-disgust-when-they-faceplant-repeatedly, pets.

In other words, in what I would consider the right design for this particular game, combat would be just one context among several -- it wouldn't be the single starting point for ship and character design (as seems to be the case now), where all other contexts just have to settle for being second-class citizens at best.
We - both you and I - have no real evidence except lack of direct mention of any other scenario that combat is "the single starting point" at all.

I think you're being a bit of a Chicken Little just now. No offense, mind.