Non-Damage Classes

| Monday, July 12, 2010
Would you play a class which did not do damage, but instead was only a debuff/buff class?


Edawan said...

You mean like paladins in classic wow ?

Ratshag said...

When I went ta Black Temple as a shadow priest, was fer me mana battery, not me (barely better than a TBC tank) dps. Were awesome funs, and would happlies do again.

Miss Medicina said...

Because the skill in such a class would be in constant awareness of what others around you are planning to do, and prepping them for it with your abilities.

This is mostly what I do in D&D and i LOVE it.

Dwism said...

Depends on how the class works.
But I think the record of other such classes speaks for itself: Those that would play such a class would be a vast minority, and even those, would still insist on that class having a different build that was able to *do* damage.

Quicksilver said...

you mean a healer?

Unknown said...

It would be some sort of Bard like individual. Their buffs would have to be pretty over the top so that the mass majority of raids would need them to make it viable.

They would almost have to be OP for people to gravitate towards them or for them to be "needed" for specific encounters.

Would I play one? Perhaps.

Shintar said...

Assuming you mean that they'd literally not have any damage abilities whatsoever... then not in a game like WoW, because solo play (which makes up a large portion of the game) would be impossible. In a different game where you're grouped at all times I could see myself playing such a class. I don't particularly enjoy pew pew.

LifeDeathSoul said...

Yeah, I would so love to roll a Bard class and do that if I could to be honest :D


I'd always thought about a Priest tanking spec; not through armor, but by massively debuffing the enemy's damage output enough to take it. It would be tricky to balance, but honestly it would be cool to see.

Anonymous said...

In order to solo such a class, you'd need a radically different way of doing things. Maybe mobs would have a sanity or a mind stat you could attack? Ah, but then that's damage by another name. Could you debuff to zero stamina maybe? Mind control another mob as a damage pet?

It's certainly an interesting design discussion.

Inquisitor said...

In group content, happily. Solo... I'd be surprised if it was possible to make the game support it, and how they did that would influence my answer.

Mike ... said...

What Bri said. Not being able to do damage would make leveling a little hard/slow.

So maybe leveling, as we've known it, needs to go?

Lanashara of Khaz'Goroth said...

Like the Enchanter class from the original EQ? Absolutley...

Chastity said...

In theory, hell yeah.

In practice, hell no.

In theory it's an awesome idea, in practice you'd either be mandatory (nobody else can do what you do, and you need to do what you do exactly right or the boss won't die) or redundant (your buffs and debuffs amount to an increase in raid DPS equivalent to adding another DPSer).

In the first case, everybody would resent having this new class foisted on them, in the second case, nobody would want to risk the unknown quantity when they could just take moar DPS.

Basically how fun it was to play would depend very much on the extent to which encounters were designed with your class in mind.

Sven said...

Such a class would be incredibly hard to balance in WOW as it stands. If the buffs were equivalent to one more DPS in 25 man raiding, the class would be unwanted in 5 and 10 man content and hence impossible to gear up. If you balance around 5-mans, it would be OP in a raiding context.

Aberron said...

Sure I'd love to. Wouldn't look back.

It wasn't too bad in WoW between lvl 20 and 80 really, but there is still a lot of forced-soloing before and afterwards. Most folk don't even notice, don't think twice about it, can't even imagine that it's an issue but it's extremely hard even for a healer to avoid tedious solo grinds, usually obscure rep ones like the Kaluak.

So forcing the issue would work really well for me as I wouldn't be pushed into tedious soloing as I'd HAVE to find a group and it would be justifiable to everyone, whereas you try finding a group to kidnap snow-pups in WoW. Go on. Everyday until exhalted. Or try LF1M Jewellcrafting Daily!

I defy you!

See, forced-soloing.

Wiggin said...

No damage? No, that just isn't good game design. Assuming Blizzard would try to balance the class, they would have to give HUGE incentives to play the class, find players willing to hold your hand as you level, and so forth.

The class would have to give parties/raids huge advantages to makeup for the loss of a tank and/or healer and/or dps (we can't assume, because the new class doesnt damage, it therefore tanks or heals.)

But it isn't practical. But there can be "adjustments" to make things similar. What if Warlocks' damage ONLY came from DoTs? What if mages could only aoe? What if warrior tanks did no damage in defensive stance?

You can add elements, but you have to be creative with raid utility.

However, small group team strats can work. Recently in 4v4 Starcraft 2 matches, one of our players, usually a protoss, only builds defenses and gives his resources to other players to produce units. Now, he doesnt want to be relegated to that role every time, but the option adds vertatility.

Sky said...

This idea is entirely workable but not in the context nearly everyone seems to be thinking of. People seem stuck on the idea that a buff class has to have immensely powerful raid wide buffs when the obvious implementation is simply single target buffs.

The class could have many short duration single target buffs to cast so that they are always doing things. For example:

15 sec duration, 15 sec cooldown: Target player does 10% more damage.

4 second duration, 2 second cooldown: Target player gains 25% haste.

8 second cooldown: Target player gains X energy/rage/runic power/mana.

Obviously to make this viable for soloing the class would have to have personal attack spells too, but when soloing they could just stack all their buffs on themselves and be pretty reasonable if balanced right. You would also want to build a lot more interactivity into their buffs with procs and synergies but these took me 10 seconds to think up.

I don't think that Blizzard will actually implement this sort of thing because it would be even more difficult to balance than another more traditional class but there is no reason that the idea couldn't work and be fun for both soloing and raiding. Most likely this class would be a little worse at soloing than most dpsers are, but it would be easy to make sure they are as good as a tank or healer.

Bristal said...

I like the idea of "synergy abilities" better. Spec a bit into the synergy tree and you get abilities that boost other's abilities.

But you don't just buff and sit on your duff. You must use the ability in conjunction with the DPS/tank/healer player's abilities. Focusing a cast time, for instance. Amplifying a taunt. Increasing the radius of an AOE attack.

Would require communication and strategy, working together with a particular player. And of course they would have a few points in the tree as well, so it becomes a real dance.

New addons are developed to keep track of your buddies cooldowns.

Balance, however? pretty tough.

Anonymous said...

as long as there was a way of measuring the effectiveness. It's like Disc priests and someone without the damage absorbed add on thingy for recount. " You suck as a healer. Omg.. " and then they link their damage absorbs to show you how much damage they prevented from happening.

Klepsacovic said...

@Edawan: I admit, I laughed.

@Rashtag: Maybe a middle ground of low-DPS but strong buffer? That wasn't very popular though. Then again, maybe the goal shouldn't be to make everyone want to play every class.

@Miss Medicina: Aye, it wouldn't be a fire and forget, but a dynamic thing. A bit like bloodlust or tricks of the trade: situational and needing timing but powerful.

@DWism: Is a minority class a bad thing? As long as the class brings enough subs to pay for development, what's the problem?

@Okrane S: Not really. Healers are more like inverse damage.

@Fuubar: Sort of like tanks are needed? That wasn't meant to sound snippy.

@Shintar: I've been trying to imagine damage abilities that wouldn't be damage abilities: provoking inter-NPC violence, luring or triggering environmental effects, or possibly being able to magically steal items in cases of "collect 4 zhevra hoof" quests.

@LifeDeathSoul: I'll add you to the Yes column.

@Dire Human: "God is my armor" doesn't always work so well. :)

@Bri: Exactly, big problem there, renaming it doesn't really change what's happening.

@Inquisitor: Soloing is a big issue.

@Mike: Perhaps leveling as a giant XP sink would stay, but quests would need to be radically redesigned and expanded to accomodate them.

@Lanashara: I've not played EQ, but I'll think about that.

@Chastity: Redundancy could be an issue, but would fit nicely into the "bring the player, not the class". I don't know about "foisting a new class", I mean, we all love DKs.

@Sven: I'm imagining some sort of "diluted power" debuff, such that in a 5-man you might give (made up numbers for my poorly considered idea) a 25% damage buff, but the 25 raid dilutes it to a mere 5%.

@Abberon: Forced soloing, I've not thought much of that as a concept, but I suppose it's truish.

@Wiggin: While the Starcraft example sounds nice, as a general rule PvP seems to encourage more innovation.

@Sky: You nailed it: This can't be a "fire and forget" buffing class. It needs to be something people play.

@Bristal: Improved Improved Blizzard: Makes another player's Blizzard do 50% more damage for 45 seconds?

@pugnaciouspriest: If Blizzard adds their own DPS meter it should be trivial to add a "100 damage (25 from superpower buff)". Basically give us a little bit of the mechanics behind damage calculations by going one step back.

Klepsacovic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

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