Guild Wars 2 and the Lack of Roles

With the recent announcement of new features coming to the structured PvP system in Guild Wars 2, it has brought up some bad feelings about how the game handles its classes. The goal of the game has been to break away from “the holy trinity” of game classes, where most games require a tank, a healer and some damage dealers in order to tackle tough obstacles. Guild Wars 2 was stated as breaking away from this by not having the same type of roles, allowing all players to have fun while playing the game just the way they want without being forced to alter play styles just to help with dungeons and other group content. Sadly, this has only been partially working but it is also what is holding the game back.

One of the biggest selling points for me personally is the ability to take down tough group content. To me, it does not matter whether it is a raid instance or something like capturing Stonemist Castle over in the battlegrounds. The goal for me is to have a great challenge that requires a lot of people working together, and to succeed in making it. With that said, I also love the idea of being able to deal with both PvP and PvE. Sadly, raiding only encompasses one of those aspects (we could argue that the guards are the PvE aspect, although I would disagree as it just is not the same).

The problem here is that when we move to dungeons, you come to the realization that a tank is needed. If there is no tank, the group is usually going to keep dying. It is as simple as that. You can dodge attacks and play smart all you want, but life is so much easier with a real tank that it is not even a comparison. Along with this, having someone that is specialized in healing also makes things much easier. In other words, while these things are not necessarily needed, they help out significantly. This leads them to a point where they really are needed, in that most groups will not even try to run a dungeon without a healer and a tank. And since we are already to this point as it is, why not push it a little bit further and just make it to where they are required? This would open up a lot of new doors for us. For example, we could roll with raid dungeons that take twenty players (or even just ten), or a multitude of other new things. Even if we wanted to discount the idea of raiding, there are other cool things, like harder siege areas and such.

I do understand what ArenaNet was thinking when they decided to go without having roles. The concept was thinking outside the box. But the game types we are used to have taught us that we need tanks and healers, and without them the content is either too easy (since it can not be too difficult) or too hard (in that they do secretly require people of different roles, although the differences are very minor). At this point all I can really do is hope that in the future, games learn from what I would consider as this mistake. While I am all for it, and I think it would be awesome if there were some way to implement it in a solid way, I just do not see that happening at this point. There are just far too many variables in our games, and the only way to handle it would be for everyone to be focused solely on attacks, without any way to heal others or tank enemies. Either of these things end up putting us right back at square one, where both the healer and the tank are needed.


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