Now that the 20th of February has come and gone and we’re all drunk on GW2 news – holy crap, *beta registration* much? – I’d like to toss out a thought I had about their Holy Trinity-less combat while I was introducing this epic game to my friends. Of course, my greater goal – besides bringing more revenue to ArenaNet – was to have people to play with so I wouldn’t be stuck swinging a lightsaber alone. Oops, that was the lonely, bitter, SWTOR-playing, side of me talking.
Like any hardcore GW2 fan out there, I started off with the three basic, but most common, factors on why you should be playing GW2 and combat definitely came into play. I smugly proclaimed to my friends: “ArenaNet aims to remove the Holy Trinity so you will never have to ‘LFG’ again if you want to run a dungeon. Why should the game make you wait to have fun instead of just letting you have fun? It doesn’t make sense.”
They all seem mighty impressed because like many others, they were plagued by the inconveniences of any lesser MMO. The same inconveniences that ArenaNet sought to seek out and remove. Seeing an opening, I seized the chance at wowing them further. Sounding like the PR guy, or a CM, I exclaimed: “Yeah, there’s no dedicated tank and healer so we could totally run a dungeon with five mages if we wanted to!” In my defense for using “mages”, they weren’t familiar with the professions at that time so I had to use a generic archetype.
And that was when things all went slightly wrong. You see, my friends mistook the fact that there was no holy trinity to mean that we can all just charge in with a battle cry and weapons held high and we’d come out on the other end unscathed. Their reason: “You said there was no tank and healer so it doesn’t matter!”
So I tried to correct them by explaining that there is still an “aggro meter” except that it’s not as strictly and rigidly enforced as typical MMOs. You still need to strategise and handle aggro from mobs. I told them that your threat is based on how close you are to the enemy, i.e. mobs will go after the nearest player, but there is no emphasis on requiring a profession to soak damage or taunt. With the player’s skill, experience and knowledge, anyone can effectively “tank” without having the burden of knowing that your death resulted in a wipe.
They just blinked stupidly back at me, kind of how a human would react when he first talks to an asura. And it hit me that because they’re so conditioned to the Holy Trinity that they cannot fully imagine how versatile this new combat system would be. Plus, I was confusing them because the Holy Trinity hasn’t been removed like I said it was; it’s very much still there but in a much flexible version. In the end, I just repeated what Rubi said: “The combat is just not built that way. If you try to pigeonhole your character into one role, you would not be able to maximise its potential.”
Well, they’re slowly getting there but up till now, they haven’t yet been able to fully comprehend the Holy Trinity-less combat. It’s not just them though; new fans of the game or those who haven’t been religiously following interviews and podcasts, seem to be having the same queries repeatedly. And it doesn’t help that in interviews, ArenaNet staff use the words ‘tank’ and ‘heal’ quite often while describing combat experiences.
Maybe I wasn’t clear enough because I haven’t had a chance to personally experience the combat mechanics but our dear Elixabeth posted her latest installment of Flameseeker Chronicles which I thought broke it down pretty well – soft trinity, anyone? Hopefully I’ll be able to get my hands on the demo at PAX East but ArenaNet hasn’t announced anything yet. I’m sure they will though. In the meantime, here’s a virtual toast to a successful press beta and public beta events. Let’s prepare for the opening of the floodgates (soon) and the buzzing speculation on the forums.
To the readers: What are your thoughts on the (soft) holy trinity in Guild Wars 2? How do you feel about how it’s been presented over the years from ArenaNet? For those who’ve played the demo, do you love it or hate it? Do you think gamers will be able to adapt to the new system?
About the author: A self-proclaimed geek, Damagedself constantly straddles between the two very different worlds of gaming and entertainment. While not slinging fireballs from his sexy female Elementalist, he’s swooning over Darren Criss on Glee. He loves watching television and enjoys the witty dialogues of Grey’s Anatomy. Constantly fantasizes on how the hospitals of Singapore would be more enjoyable if the doctors were as gorgeous as the fake ones on Grey’s.