Revering the Holy Trinity

In MMO terms Holy Trinity refers to a Tank, Healer and Damage Dealer

ArenaNet are being very bold with their claim that their upcoming title, Guild Wars 2, will not rely on the Holy Trinity (HT), a game mechanic which the genre has relied on since the beginning of time. They claim that to succeed you will not need a tank and a healer in a group. This has got me thinking: Can any developer actually claim that they did away with such an old MMO trope?

Here is a video showing five dps specced characters running Ascalonian Catacombs and ‘progressing’. The video was not actually shot by ArenaNet but it is being circulated on Google+ through the ArenaNet channel, which I take to mean that they agree with the content. I came away from the video feeling totally unconvinced for three reasons:

1) The run cannot be called smooth by any stretch of the imagination. The narrator dies a whole lot and, although he does not give any indication of how long it took them, I am guessing it was quite a slog.

2) Ascalonian Catacombs is not a high level dungeon. To really test whether a system is required or can be ignored you have to test the most difficult parts. Easier parts inherently allow more leeway for experimentation.

3) In the video, the dungeon was not completed. From what I see they just barely managed to kill the last boss shown, but apparently the last boss shown is not the final boss of the instance.

To their credit the narrator claims that, for the majority of them, this is the first time that they had been running the instance. This means that with successive tries the group would eventually learn more efficient ways to run the dungeon in a shorter time and with less casualties. However, does this video really convince anyone that ArenaNet have managed to get rid of the HT? My answer to that would be: Not by a long stretch.

Let me tackle the elephant in the room. If you want to abolish the HT in an MMO then why allow anyone to spec for tanking or healing at all?

It’s all a question of relativity. You definitely can complete these dungeons without having a healer and a tank, especially if you have a good group of players who have been playing together for some time. But why would anyone want to? Why would anyone choose to go into a dungeon, take twice as long, die multiple times and, more importantly, risk not completing the dungeon when in fact they could go a safer route and get someone to spec for healing and someone else to spec for tanking? Why would anyone decide not to try and set up a group with the highest chance of being successful if that is an option? In short: why would any group actively gimp themselves unless they want to prove something?

Remember how in vanilla WoW you could complete Stratholme with five Paladins? This was in a time where Paladins could be tank and healer specced but they did not really excel in any of those roles. To complete a high level dungeon without either a Priest or a Warrior required lots of experience, planning and practice. However, despite the fact that no instance finder existed back in the day, very few people would attempt something like that. It made more sense to be patient and wait to find a proper tank/healer rather than go into an instance knowing that the chances of completing it were remote at best. Just because it was doable did not mean that it was in any way desirable. Harcore players attempted it for the challenge and that’s about it. WoW showed that the elite could make do without a hard HT and this is the same picture that Guild Wars 2 is painting.

Some would argue that in Guild Wars 2 you can change your spec on the fly and that is definitely true. However that is beyond the point being made here. Making the HT more accessible is one thing. Claiming that you don’t need to rely on it is something else entirely. Most modern day MMOs have made the trinity more accessible by allowing classes to respec on the fly. However, just because players can, does not mean that players will. There are still barriers to entry. Let me give an example through personal experience – I have a Mage in Rift. Played up to level 29 as a damage dealer since, quite obviously, it’s the best way to level solo. I joined a group and we had no healer. No problem! I will respec. A couple of button presses and I was a healer. A healer with zero experience in healing and no real healing gear. Needless to say I did extremely badly. Moreover playing as a DPS and playing as healer/tank is not the same experience. Some players just don’t want to be the healers or the tanks even if the game allows them to.

The easiest way to claim to have beaten the Holy Trinity is to remove the Holy Trinity from your game. Groups with a healer and a tank are inherently more powerful. This fact creates quite a conundrum for the developers. Should they decide to set the difficulty level to suit an HT group then a non-HT group would find the content too hard. On the other hand should they decide to cater for non-HT groups then anyone with a classic tank/healer group would breeze through the content.

ArenaNet would be right to claim to have done away with the HT if they announced the implementation of some wicked algorithm which detects group composition and changes the instance accordingly. Bosses with more health, less damage and loose aggro rules for a full DPS group. Bosses with more health, less damage and strict aggro rules for a group with just a tank. Bosses with less health more damage and loose aggro rules for a group with just a healer. Understandably this would require a lot of work from the developer which would include removing or adding specific abilities to each boss so as to make each encounter challenging but doable regardless of group composition.

If any developer manages to provide the same level of challenge both for HT groups and non-HT groups then they can honestly claim to have created a game which revolutionised the genre in this regard. I very much doubt Guild Wars 2 will be that game.


29 thoughts on “Revering the Holy Trinity

  1. Does GW2 allow you to spec for tanking and healing? As far as I could tell, it actually forced everyone to be a hybrid with offensive (damage dealing) and defensive (support and control in GW2, although healing and tanking belong here as well) roles by providing a small amount of support and control so everyone is able to help with the defensive roles but in order to get a full defensive coverage, everyone needs to help.

    Personally, I think the way of hybrid such as the one GW2 attempts is actually the way to go if you want to rid of holy trinity. Even though GW2 might and probably will not be perfect. The class balance has became too tight for return to pre-trinity games. (The reason for this doesn’t matter, it has happened and won’t un-happen.) If hybrids and pure classes can’t coexist, one way to go is remove the hybrids (as WoW has done for the most part) – the other ways would be to remove the pure classes (as GW2 seems to try to do).

    I have to admit I don’t quite understand the last paragraphs. If a game comes with no holy trinity, how would players be able to form HT groups?

  2. In GW2 you can spec for tanking and healing. The only difference is that you will not be a super tank and you will not be a super healer. However, since the option exists to improve your tanking and improve your healing any group would ignore such options at their own peril. Many in the community are referring to this as the Soft Holy Trinity approach. In the video at the bottom of this comment Colin Johanson describes the fact that each class can fill in each role and hotswap at any time. That is NOT getting rid of the holy trinity. That is making it more accessible. If everyone wants to totally forget adding any extra healing skills or damage mitigation abilities in a group they definitely can. But in reality few will totally ignore the basic premise of the holy trinity, especially when the instances start getting real hard and every little help counts. The only thing that GW2 does towards abolishing the HT is making everyone able to rez.

    Actually at the top of my head I can think of one very important reason why the traditional HT is better than the soft HT proposed in GW2. Everyone knows their role in a class as opposed to everyone having to constantly swap on the fly. That requires an inordinate amount of coordination.

    1. @Mighty Viking Hamster

      “In GW2 you can spec for tanking and healing.”

      Sorry, but tottally wrong. Maybe you need really play the game before talking about something you have no idea and no knowledge, only ignorance.

      I played at least 5 guardian toons from BW1 to BW3. Guardian is NOT a tank and cannot be speced for be a tank. Guardians are good combo openers, they can autocombo, they are good supporters, but they are not tanks.

      There is no healers too. GW2 have supporters, but all classes are supporters. A staff elementalist can use rain or fountain for give some AOE regen for a few time, but that will not mantain the party alive. Light combos (started by gurdian) too will give AOE regen for a few seconds, but again that will not mantain everyone alive. There is not target heal, so it is stupid someone ask “heal me!”. Everyone need learn to auto-heal, clicking 6. And to dodge.

      With relation to Ascalonian Catacombs dungeon, everyone enter it as level 30-35, ever. A level 80 toon will be lowered to that level range. So, there is not “easy” low level dungeons.

      Dungeons at GW2 are hard, people that tested them know they are harder than some WoW raids. So, it is frequent die inside that dungeons. To be true, if you try a dungeon (any one) at explorable mod, it is sure everyone will die at least one time and problably the party will see at least one wipe. “Trash mobs” will trash your party.

      The trinity is dead at GW2. If you don’t believe it, play it. It is better than base your arguments at your ignorance about a game.

      1. I did play the game!!!! (Shock shock horror horror shock shock horror!) Maybe not to the extent you have, but I did definitely play the game 😉

        Let me see the Guardian Skills. Using a Shield which is the tanking item par excellence you get:

        Shield of Judgment – Create a shielding wave in front of you that damages foes and gives protection to yourself and up to five allies.
        Shield of Absorption – Create a dome around you that pushes foes back and absorbs projectiles.

        They do seem like very tank-ish skills. The official wiki says that ‘Guardians specialize in protective and defensive magic’ and they wear heavy armor. Therefore they have inherently more defense and if you spec with a shield they have even more defense. The fact that they are melee means that they cause more aggro (since they are in range of the mob). They lack a mechanic like stealth to lose aggro meaning that they keep it more than thieves. (overall Warriors are have similar traits if specced with a shield). Other classes can cast at a distance so aggro is less of a problem for them.

        So let me reiterate: Increased damage mitigation, some defensive abilities, inherently causing more aggro. It sounds to me like a Guardian CAN in fact be specced to be more tank-ish. Granted, this does not make him a pure tank (and hence why many have dubbed the term soft holy trinity) but it gives the player who decides to spec this way a small advantage.

        I cannot understand why you find it hard to see my point when Colin Johanson and other devs frequently refer to switching roles while in a group. If they are not referring to healer/tank/dps/cc then what exactly are they referring to?!?! GW2 does soften the impact of the holy trinity to some degree, but abolish it? I don’t think so. Time will tell I guess.

      2. @Mighty Viking Hamster

        sorry, but that guardian with shield you think is a tank cannot mantain hate and it is killed by any boss with two smacks. I saw it, everyone that tryed it saw it, guardian with shield don’t works as tank.

        Shield of Judgement and Shield of Absortion are cc skills, not tank skills. That skills just work for a few seconds, it is enough for a cc, but not enough time for give any actuall protection against damage. A good guardian will know when use that skills for cc trash mobs and the boss, but a guardian with shield will die if try to tank (because it is what ever happens if a guardian try to tank: it will die). And, sincerelly, any guardian that goes to a dungeon trying melee is just stupid: bring a scepter, because some mobs are for fight ranged, mostly the bosses.

        And heavy armour… well… at level 80 the diference between light armour and heavy armour is only 300 tough. In praticall terms, heavy, medium and light armour are cosmetic. A light armour elementalist have the same chances to survive a close fight with a boss than a guardian in heavy armour and shield: who dodges boss attacks will survive.

        There are NO spec for be a tank. There is NO spec for be a healer. The holy trinity is dead at GW2. Just ask to everyone that REALLY played GW2: the game don’t have tanks and healers. Just read what players wrote at http://www.reddit.com/r/Guildwars2/comments/xfyyh/dungeons_and_class_roles/

  3. You should have known it’s impossible to write anything less than glowing about GW2 without someone showing up to tell you that you just don’t know what you’re talking about. 😉

    Very interesting post — I didn’t know about the “soft” tank/healer specs, but with those I think your conclusion is absolutely right. I know from years of playing healers that if any character/spec CAN heal, someone will want them to because it better enables them to get the rad high DPS numbers.

    I am not a game designer, but honestly I’m trying to image a totally tank-less instance, and I can’t think of anything except bouncing aggro. While possible, it doesn’t really seem optimal or smooth.

    1. I’m sorry if you had this impression from my comment, I wanted to say GW2’s vision is different, not necessarily better. I may be excited for it, then again I can probably get excited for anything better than the pre-trinity models. 🙂

      1. @ Imakulata I am not entirely sure about GW2’s approach on this. From the feedback here it seems that coordinating everything in an encounter will be anything but casual friendly.

    2. @ Liore Yeah I should have known what I was getting myself into. Truth is everyone here might be right and I might be wrong. Can’t wait for the game to come out at this point!

      1. this is intended at your reply to imakulata….but ‘anything but casual friendly’ is not necessarily a bad thing to a portion of the mmo playerbase. Trying to pull this off in a subscription game not named EVE would probably be futile, but there is no sub, only a cash shop. I don’t believe it’s intended to appeal to the (not intending this to be condescending) to the LFR/LFD crowd…the people who loved BC and initial cata heroics…they are who this system will appeal to…and because there is no sub getting a loyal following of those players and PVPers is reasonable and very likely profitable.

      2. @ mesc

        There is definitely a hardcore market in the MMO sphere. I cannot but agree with you on that. I also agree 100% that being aimes at the hardcore is not necessarily a bad thing. Its just a different design decision. As regards to personal preference I would say I would prefer games leaning towards the casual side but with some optional hardcore elements.
        However I would say that the casual market is much bigger. It just happens that (quite understandably) the hardcore segment is much more vocal so it gives the impression that it is bigger than it actually (relative to the casual players). So at the end of the day I am not sure that aiming for the hardcore market is more profitable. It all depends on who spends most money in cash shops and I don’t think I ever read anything about that. I would assume that the hardcore tend to splurge more although from personal experience I’d say that’s not exactly true. Interesting observation nonetheless.

  4. There some major flaws on your logic there. It is impossible to have a holy trinity on GW2, because the game lacks the fundamental mechanics that allow you to do so: the abilities to hold aggro, and to target heal. Without those, there is no holy trinity.

    GW2 allows you to spec to different roles, and as a heavy armor class you can probably spec to be a little more resilient, but no matter what you do, you will never be able to “tank”. There are no skills that allow you to hold aggro on you, so it’s not possible to ensure that other players won’t get hit. Knock-backs, stuns, and one-hit-downed-state are very common to all bosses on instances, no matter how well equipped you might be, and pretty much all of those make the boss turn to other players. So tanks don’t exist.

    Healers also don’t exist. There is no target healing on GW2, only area healing skills that, even if you spec highly for healing won’t recover more that 10-20% of another player’s life pool, and those are the high-cooldown skills. That means that even if someone dedicates to do nothing more than heal others it will still be meaningless, so it’s a better use of their time to do DPS and other forms of mob control.

    You might think that the narrator of that video getting downed was a display of failure, but that is the norm on this game. The game was designed with getting downed after one shot being a part of the experience. The tutorial boss encounter one-shot everyone within the first 5 seconds of combat to make sure everyone understand how downed mode works. Getting downed is not failure. Dying is not failure. Wiping on instances only happens when the last man dies and there is no one else around, because running back after dying is also part of how dungeons were designed (you get many waypoints directly inside the dungeon itself so you can do that).

    When Colin Johanson describes how classes can swap roles at any time, he’s not talking about tanking and healing. He is describing the other roles you can perform on a party. He’s talking about interrupting casting, knocking back, stunning, slowing mobs. He’s talking about switching between melee and ranged attacks. About using skills that debuff the mob, or buff your allies, about deploying combo fields at the right moment for others. About using environmental weapons that are many times available. They call those a “soft trinity of damage, support and control” because there are no specific rules for those. There is no standing around, doing just that specific task, because the game simply doesn’t enable you to do so.

    All of those are ways to help your party that have nothing to do with a holy trinity. And any smart group of players can discover what professions are better at performing each role, and how to best use the skills available on that group without requiring an specific group composition. That is how you are supposed to play GW2. If you try to fit a holy trinity mentality here, you will fail.

    1. Very valid points and I am sure you have more experience than me in the matter so I argue with you at my own risk 😛

      I am quite conscious that no single player will be standing there absorbing hits while no single player will stand in the corner staring at health bars. From that point of view GW2 absolutely nails it. There is an element of skill involved. There is an element of coordination which is required of each individual in the group as well. Since no class has a definitive role I can only guess how pugs will be able to down some of the harder encounters.

      There is an aggro system however. Mobs usually attack characters who are closer to them and causing damage. So in essence if you are melee you are more prone to get attacked. Of course there are some classes which have mechanics which reduce aggro (such as stealth on a thief).

      At the end of the day I am sure we will still see certain party combinations receive preference over others in certain encounters. Your point is that they will not be a healer, tank and dps. My point is that I am not sure how that is better in the grand scheme of things.

      1. @Mighty Viking Hamster

        “At the end of the day I am sure we will still see certain party combinations receive preference over others in certain encounters. ”

        Sorry, it was not was working that way when I played dungeons some times. Any class, any combination is a go, no one need wait for a tank or a healer. There is no preference, just need a player that KNOW what it is doing.

        Dungeons at GW2 are not causal mode. They can be harder than some raids at other MMO. Be ready for stay 3-4 hours inside a dungeon before finish it. Wipes will happen, death is common.

      2. I’m not really arguing on this system being better or worse than a classic Holy Trinity. That, as you mentioned, time will tell. My point is simply that the game was designed, and I have done a full run on Ascalonian Catacombs to check it, in such a way that party composition is pretty much meaningless.

        For instance, yes there is aggro, but it changes constantly. It’s not a simple matter of distance. On my run we had a warrior, two elementalists and… two of another class, I forgot which. I was keeping my distance from the bosses, but that didn’t stop me from getting aggro many times during combat. First for very obvious reasons, the warrior would die, or he would get knocked away, or stunned, or something. Other times, the boss would just switch targets to something doing more damage, or any other less obvious reason, because it is programmed to do so. There is no way to ensure that a single player, or even two have the aggro at all times therefore protecting the rest of the party, the AI was written specifically to stop that from ever happening for too long, adding a random aspect to combat.

        Additionally, the healer aspect doesn’t work either, for the same reason you can’t argue that you can make a party on WoW where someone is responsible to using bandages on other players. Even the strongest “third-party” heals from all classes are still Heal-over-time, which makes them very unreliable on a pinch. If you are dying, your best bet is your own self-heal… and dodging away from incoming fire.

        I’m sure some players will figure “better” party compositions and use that as a rule of thumb. I’m sure some will even suggest on PUGs that they just want class X or Y. But it is my experience that player skill trumps class composition every time because of these random aspects. The best groups are the ones that understand how to use the available skills to deal with in-the-moment situations, because combat is very unpredictable. You can do that with a well distributed class composition, or just as well with a 5-Thief group, as long as each player knows how they are doing. On both groups the problems faced are the same and can be solved with the same amount of ingenuity and skill, and that is why there isn’t a Holy Trinity on GW2.

        Maybe that is not better than having a trinity… but it is how the game was made. It’s not the same as trying to do a 5-pally run on WoW, because that was a situation of taking one versatile class that can perform each of the 3 roles to a certain degree, and just picking one person to focus on each of those roles. Here… those roles don’t exist because they are not possible, so each player needs to think moment to moment how to best help the group.

      3. @ João Carlos: ‘Dungeons at GW2 are not causal mode. They can be harder than some raids at other MMO. Be ready for stay 3-4 hours inside a dungeon before finish it.’

        And I should look forward to that because? I really really hope you are wrong on this one. If you are not get ready for the instances to be nerfed. Developers have come to realize a long time ago that shorter instances are generally preferred by the majority of players.

      4. @ Kewmer

        That sounds interesting although I am not really sure that mobs having random or undecipherable aggro mechanics is a good design choice at the end of the day. The thing which excites me most about GW2 is that it seems very skill based and if what you say is true I can’t wait. I pre-purchased it solely after I saw a video of someone playing extremely skillfully (with just a handful of abilities nonetheless). That is what I want to experience and admittedly my time with the beta weekends did not really give me the same sense of control that the player in the video conveyed.

      5. Took me around 2h30m to finish Ascalonian Catacombs with a PUG that had never stepped inside there and was new to the game, and I ended up leading the group because I had seen so many videos of it I knew exactly what to do. It can be completed much faster with a better group more in tune with each other.

        That’s one of the concepts of dungeon design they said to be working towards: shorter dungeons with more replayability value from multiple paths. I didn’t feel it was too long.

      6. @MVHamster: It’s not really undecipherable, but it is random in a way that makes things more interesting that hitting keys with one hand and eating a sandwich with another. You do need to be on your toes at all times. To me it was challenging and frustrating in a way, but I never felt like my frustrations were born out of bad mechanics, but of our own bad performance, so it felt right.

      7. @M. V. H., keep in mind it took WoW several years before the “bring the player, not the class” holy trinity started to be the model for all but the most hardcore of groups. I wouldn’t be surprised if GW2 struggles with similar problems – actually there seems to be a melee vs. ranged issue you mention. (Although, to be honest, I can’t recall a game which got the balance right in this particular case.)

        By the way, it might be just me but the Arena.net video makes it seem as if they got rid of trinity because Colin Johanson had an axe to grind against healers. 😀

  5. I’m not sure I was able to explain properly as it seems obvious we’re just unable to understand each other. I guess it might be because I’m not a native English speaker, I will try my best anyway.

    The combat basics (for any MMO, whether pre- or trinity one, but also for many other games) boil down to several elementary roles. Every active or passive ability that affects others works in at least one of the elementary roles. I counted 8 but I might have missed something:
    – dealing damage to an opponent
    – healing an ally
    – redirecting a damage from one ally or self to another (or self)
    – helping allies so they deal more damage
    – helping allies so they receive less damage
    – hurting opponents by making them deal less damage
    – …by making them take more damage
    – preventing opponents from taking actions

    The borders between the elementary roles are not quite clear (such as numbers 6 and 8) and there probably are more than just 8 but basically any action taken boils down to one or more of the elementary roles and a cost.

    What the holy trinity does, it:
    1) classifies the elementary roles to primary and secondary ones in a certain manner (first 3 I mentioned are primary, other are secondaries); an example would be WoW’s damage dealers (primary role) who also apply buffs and debuffs (secondary role), the former is something they focus on, the latter is something tacked on as a side effect to their spells or just them being there
    2) assigns the elementary roles to particular builds or build groups or classes, everyone gets a single primary role and may get some secondaries
    3) this isn’t a necessary part of the trinity but thanks to WoW and their effort to balance it may be considered as such by some, the primary and secondary role performance are normalized (“bring the player, not the class”)

    It is the primary vs. secondary elementary role classification and the “one primary to everyone” assignment that defines the holy trinity.

    I haven’t played GW2 much so I can’t comment on how it actually does things but their vision seems to be quite different. It’s especially the “pick one, just one” part they want to axe, replacing it with “pick something from each group” of their control, damage, support replacement. It’s not making the trinity accessible – it is something that runs counter to the principles of holy trinity. What you seem to do is describing the differences between GW2’s vision and HT model and then claim they are not differences. I believe they are and I believe so based on my experience with HT. And it’s the hardest encounters where the difference will be most pronounced as every group member will be responsible to raise the bars for damage, support and control enough so that the group gets through.

    As for your last paragraph, I concede this argument. Holy trinity really might turn out to be superior to GW2’s model or GW2 might fail to follow their vision in more difficult content or whatever – I can’t tell.

    1. @Imakulata

      Each class at GW2 work as support/control/damage. Just change a weapon, change the utility skills, everyone can change the class for more support, more damage or more control.

      It is not the same than “holly trinity” (healer/tank/dps), anyone that try be “holly trinity” at GW2 just find it not works so and soon find it is a fail try it.

      From BW1 to BW3, I played at least 5 toons as guardians, 3 toons as elementalist, 2 toons as necromancers, 1 warrior and 1 ranger.

      My experience, going at least one toon that classes to level 25+, is that guardian is NOT a tank and elementalist is NOT a healer. I know what is a tank and what is a healer, I played FFXI, EQ, EQII, SWG, SWTOR and a lot of other MMO. Classes at GW2 don’t work like that ones MMO.

      Look, I cannot say how mesmer, thief or engineer will play at GW2, I never played them. But I know how guardian plays, it is impossible to try make it a tank.

      If you want believe me, it is your problem. You too can believe at someone that never played GW2 or played it only a few hours.

      But I afirm this Mighty Viking Hamster article is basically misdinformation and ignorance.

    2. @ Imakulata

      Don’t worry you make very good arguments and explain yourself very well. I do realize that ArenaNet are doing something different here. However I am just not sure that their claims to have abolished the HT is warranted. We will know soon enough I guess.
      I have nothing against the HT system to be honest especially in the way its been implemented of late – with each class basically able to switch to the desired role before an encounter. And don’t get me wrong – I am NOT hoping ArenaNet will fail with their vision. On the contrary, if they pull it off it will be awesome. However I have my reservations… I explain why in the original post.

      @ João Carlos

      Each class at GW2 work as support/control/damage. You do realize that one can easily argue that it works exactly the same way in a Holy Trinity right? Support = Healer (Adds health to other players) Control = Tank (Keeps the mob attacking them instead of others) Damage is self explanatory. So basically you are saying that support classes help you by giving you a buff which makes you receive less damage. Good. So instead of losing X amount of life and the Healer giving you back Y you just avoid Y amount of damage. Different way to get at the same thing. You claim the control class roots the mob to the ground or makes them confused. So instead of forcing the mob to attack a Tank which mitigates X amount of damage over 5 seconds the control roots the target so it does not deal X amount of damage for 5 seconds. Again, different way to get at the same thing. At the end of the day this does not lead to the ‘Anything goes in the party as long as you are playing well’ mentality. You will still need THIS support player and THAT control player. There is just a wider choice. A wider choice is something games like Rift have already tackled quite well.

      1. @Mighty Viking Hamster

        “Support = Healer (Adds health to other players) Control = Tank (Keeps the mob attacking them instead of others) Damage is self explanatory.”

        Sorry, don’t work that way. The fact GW2 players started to use diferent terms for explain how the game works show it is not the same. There are a lot of players from other MMO that were at BW, and we ended using the terms control/support/damage, not healer/tank/dps.

        However, the terms control/support/damage are not being used by Anet. Anet uses the terms “boons” and “conditions”.

        A support will give to party “boons”, that are buffs. Some buffs heal, but there is diferent boons, not all boons will heal, so support aren’t the same as healers. There is an explanation how boons work at http://www.guildwars2hub.com/guides/basics/boons-guide.

        Control too is not the same than a tank. Control will use conditions and boons that stop the enemy attack. Can be a block, can be an aegis (a boon), can be a blindness (a condition).

        Damage will be direct damage, but too can be caused by conditions as bleed. Take note that armor don’t protect from condition damage and a player can find fastly dead after some conditions caused by mobs stack. http://www.guildwars2hub.com/guides/basics/conditions-guide

        Now, the funny thing is that ALL classes are at same time support/control/damage. So, iIt is impossible to make any preference when running a dungeon, because ALL classes have the 3 diferent roles. The players just need KNOW how to play it.

      2. @MVHamster: What I think it’s important to keep in mind is that what makes the Holy Trinity “holy” is that it requires players to be setup in specific roles for the duration of each combat.

        On WoW you would pick your role at character creation, and each class brings with it an expectation from players of what they should be doing in a group situation. Rift does give a little more room to work with by letting players setup a few different roles beforehand. But when you get invited to a dungeon, someone still asks for a Healer, or a Tank. If you have that role set up, you’re in, if not you’re not.

        This is the difference between previous MMOs and GW2. Those roles don’t exist, and the roles that do exist can be performed by all classes/professions. And despite the existence of different roles, the encounters are not designed around the requirement of role X or Y, therefore eliminating the need for classes W or Z.

        Probably the trickiest encounter on Ascalonian Catacombs is The Lovers. Two bosses that are nearly invincible when close together. You need to separate them to make things easier. I’ve seen videos of players doing that with their classes knockbacks. Others did it using rocks on the environment. One particularly clever group closed the door to the room with one of the bosses still inside, something usually to be considered an exploit, but the group had a dev among them that congratulated the clever use of game mechanics. My group just resisted and killed them together, which I thought was awesome but very unlike to ever be able to repeat.

        There isn’t a single solution, a unique “dance” you need to perform to kills a boss like on WoW. You just need to do the best with what you have. A Soft Trinity just means there are 3 groups of things you can be doing at any time, but nothing you can focus and do semi-exclusively, because there are not mechanics to allow it. Everyone is DPS; control and support are just high level concepts behind particular skills you can use at the right time to help your group, they not character roles.

  6. Ok let me reply en masse first. I UNDERSTAND that there is not real tank and no real healer. That was never argued. There is no real tank and no real healer. There are however classes which are better suited at absorbing damage for a while and there are classes which can be specced to provide better heals. Ergo I predict some encounters will necessitate certain classes specced in a certain way to reduce difficulty. 10-20% more life can easily be the difference between success and a wipe. It is clear that GW2 does not have a traditional Holy Trinity. All I am saying is that its not exactly devoid of some basic ideas found in a Holy Trinity. True, I have not run any instances so I stand to be corrected. Time will tell if I have been off the mark on this. If I was I assure you I will be the first to admit it.

    1. It might happen. Even WoW has put a lot of effort behind the “bring the player” concept but still failed to fully avoid the opposite, even if they did advance the idea a lot.

      Thanks for reminding us of that, it’s easy to get excited about new changes and then find they failed to deliver compared to what we imagined. 😉

      1. Sorry, but from what I saw at 3 BW, Anet do’nt failed to deliver what they imaginated. GW2 don’t have healers/tanks.

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