Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Role of a Tank

In the classic MMORPG, a tank is someone who has lots of hit points and defence, and thus is able to take more damage than his group. A tank gets abilities like 'taunt', to force enemy NPCs into attacking him. This system has problems, however. First of all is the fact that taunts are totally useless on players, since you can't force them to do anything. You could always force them to target the taunter, make their view red, or prevent them from controlling their character in a matter similar to fear spells; however, the first two can easilly be prevented with macros, and the last one is too harsh and prone to abuse.

What I would see, instead of using taunts to protect lesser-armored players, would be to have players good in defence have abilities which allow them to protect other players. Having warriors be able to block corridors would be one of them; dexterious warriors could also stand near the casters and block hits directed to them, or stand in the way of would-be assassins. Whole dynamics could be created for building a protective circle around weakly-armored people, and breaching that circle could become the whole point of the assaulting team.

But more importantly, it would remove much of the current PvP problems of having healers and damage-dealing mages being the first to fall because they are easy targets. A defender could take special abilities which allow him to defend a single target better, or dissuade people from trying to reach casters, similar to the dungeon and dragon-style attacks of opportunity. Sneaking behind enemy lines would become an art, and combat would become closer from what someone could expect a medieval fantasy war would look like.

No comments: