WildStar: Relearning the Trinity

Cyglaive discusses what to expect with WildStar's use of the "Holy Trinity"

If you’ve played any MMORPG in the past 10 years or so, I’m sure you’ve grown quite familiar with the plethora of mechanics that accompany the genre. Everything from questing to battlegrounds to loot-filled bags that need sorting out should all be familiar territory to any MMO veteran. Another one of these well-established mechanics that you might be accustomed to is none other than the “Holy Trinity”.

While this commonly used gameplay mechanic has proven time and time again how much it works, it has grown a bit stale over the years. That being said, I believe the upcoming Carbine Studios-developed MMORPG, WildStar, aims to give players a fresh take on what it means to play their chosen group role. With free-form targeting mechanics, a complex telegraph system and its huge emphasis on movement and position-based gameplay, WildStar may be just the game to hit the sweet-spot between combat innovation and familiarity.

Today I’ll be taking a look at the Holy Trinity of WildStar and what things players may need to learn or keep in mind for their role in group play. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be well on your way to helping lead your group to victory upon arriving on planet Nexus, so let’s begin!

A Stalwart Shield

If you’re unfamiliar with what the Holy Trinity is, it’s pretty simple. The Holy Trinity refers to the three basic combat roles that you have in a typical MMORPG adventuring party: the Tank, Damage Dealers and the Healer.

First, let’s talk about the Tank.

These stalwart defenders act as a shield for the rest of their party by doing their best to prevent any incoming damage from making it to the other members. If a monster wants to get to your group, they’ll need to go through the Tank first.

Unfortunately with games that use standard tab-targeting combat, the Tank ends up spending a lot of their time before and during monster pulls ensuring that they have the correct target selected before they use certain taunt or low-target abilities. One wrong move and you’ve just taunted the mob next to the boss, instead of the boss itself, or you’ve tab-targeted too far and missed the mob you wanted to select in the first place.

In my opinion, this never felt like a great mechanic to have to work with as a Tank. Instead of charging in and causing as much chaos as possible so the monsters would focus on me, I was playing the tab-target game, which watered down the whole experience a bit.

In WildStar, however, Tanks have zero tab-targeted abilities. This means that all of the skills used for tanking are free-form or proximity based. Instead of switching between targets, you simply have to make sure you’re either aiming properly or getting in range for your abilities to land. While this is not always an easy thing to do, it keeps you actively focused on the positioning of monsters, your group and yourself, rather than who your cursor is highlighting.

Hitting a button, charging forward and ramming into the first enemy that crosses your path or diving into a group of mobs to spin around and throw razor disks at all of them--while laughing I might add--feels glorious and is its own reward. Skills such as taunts or intimidates tend to affect an area within a certain radius around the tank, which means that in most cases you’re actually encouraged to dive into a group of enemies and go crazy in order to get their attention on you. To me, this feels a lot better than having to frantically swap between targets and creates a system that makes you feel like an actual beefy unstoppable machine as you wade through groups of enemies.

There are still other aspects of tanking that are prevalent in this game that do require skill and knowledge of the role, such as positioning a boss correctly or not accidently pulling an entire room full of blood-thirsty aliens. Also, with the telegraph system in place, you’ll probably want to avoid “facetanking” big enemy attacks as much as possible due to the amount of damage they can dish out. Because of the organic nature of the role in WildStar, however, I would say that tanking will definitely be easier to pick up for new players looking to learn the role.

 

A Deadly Blade, A Soothing Wind>>

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Chicken
# Mar 06 2014 at 2:34 AM Rating: Decent
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A good read, with the only downside being that now I want to play some moar! I usually heal, but during the few stress tests I tried I kinda chickened out into playing a Stalker (which is awesome). Come release and more focus on group play, it's back to the heals though. See you in the world!
Chicken
# Mar 10 2014 at 1:08 AM Rating: Decent
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Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it and good luck with the heals. See you in game!
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