WTB Tank ASAPSeptember 16, 2008
Someone asked on a recent post, “Why is Order hurting for tanks?”
Now, it’s of course a bit too soon to start pulling the panic cord and declaring Order to be a vast wasteland of tankage. But indications seem to point that way, and I’ll explain my view of why a tank shortage might well cripple the Order faction:
1. In WAR, like most traditional MMOs, tanks are an essential part of the “holy trinity” — tank, healer, damage. WAR does blend elements of two or three of these roles within a single class (Warrior Priest being an example of tank/healing/damage), but it still has to conform to the trinity that it revolves around. And that means needing tanks not only for PvE (such as dungeons and other high-danger group events) but for PvP as well (to distract the enemy from focusing on squishies, and protecting the squishies with taunts, debuffs, damage sharing and other tricks.
2. Both sides of WAR lost a pure tank class a couple months ago, the Empire and Dark Elves. While Mythic made vague claims about how they incorporated elements of tankage into the remaining classes for that army, it cannot be denied that these two races are missing a fundamental part of the MMO trinity, and are therefore at a disadvantage until they mix with other races and can rely on the tanks that they have. However, I would posit that the Dark Elves loss of a tank hurts them less — Destruction has two huge, bulky tanks (Black Orc and Chosen) that are very popular, boast a profile that one would associate with a “tank”, and are being rolled in sufficient numbers as to offset their loss of the Black Guard.
3. People, by and large, and particularly casual players, tend to favor the most human-ish race when they play a MMO. It’s what we identify with the most, and that’s that. It’s not completely lopsided, but human races are the baseline for fantasy RPGs for a reason. In WAR, this means Empire and Chaos, followed by the sort-of human-like Elves and Dark Elves. Chaos has a tank, Empire does not. So with this alone, Empire is behind because players looking to roll a human race will find themselves lacking the option for a tank.
4. The two remaining Order tanks — Ironbreaker and Swordmaster — have to fight negative perceptions. The Ironbreaker because, as much as you or I think a little stuntie bristling with armor is cool, dwarfs are not as popular of a fantasy race as humans or elves. Dwarfs also equal shortness, and that’s not a highly desirable trait for most folk. The Swordmaster has also gotten the early reputation of being a bit too thin, willowy and, er, effeminate for a tank role. You’ve got a class that, once rolled, looks like he stumbled out of his bathroom in the morning (with perfectly styled hair), threw on a bathrobe and grabbed a sword that he or she mistakenly thinks is their baby child and cradles it as such. Swordmasters might indeed be the paragon of hardcore toughness in the upper levels, but at level 1… it’s an elf in a robe with a sword.
Faced with these two options of tanking, it’s not surprising that players might look elsewhere. The Warrior Priest is the closest thing Order has to a third tank, although it lacks a direct taunt that most tanks need to function as such (although damage + healing might be a great way to retain aggro). Then, what do you have? Melee Shadow Warrior? White Lion? They might be good in a pinch, but they are no tanks.
It’s of my opinion that Mythic should be getting very, very serious about refining and installing a new Empire tank class as soon as possible, before the growing complaints of a tank shortage tend to put a sour taste in the mouths of Order players.
Of course, I could be totally wrong, and time will show that people will come out of the woodwork for Ironbreakers and Swordmasters.