[City of Villains] City of Villains does not have healers or tanks. The holy trinity of healer, tank, and damage? We are down two. Stop for a moment and think about what your current MMO would look like without those two.
There are characters that can heal, and some who can take some damage. Still, your Paladin is not a Priest, and my Dark/Thermal Corruptor is certainly not an Empathy Defender. Every character has some sort of damage power and some sort of defense or utility power. We are all hybrid damage dealers.
Interestingly, good teams do not die much. There are situations and teams in which people have been dropping like flies, but that mostly seems to be due to low-level lackeys (which I will explain in another post). You use slightly different tactics, but people live.
First, large teams can be dangerous, particularly for Brutes. Large teams mean many enemies in the missions, and someone gets to absorb the first round of attacks. The nastiest mission I have seen involved rooms full of archer enemies: you walk in and someone dies, then they start trying to shoot down two people at once, which is mostly survivable. When no one has great defenses and no one has great healing, getting a lot of aggro is a good way to meet the floor.
Second, you really coordinate that opening attack. TeamSpeak is my friend. The Stalker stands next to the biggest target, the Corruptors prepare snipes and follow-up heals, the Dominator moves into position, then the Mastermind sends in the pets as the Brute rushes in. Done properly, a snipe or two hits just as the boss is assassinated, Seeds of Confusion hits half the enemies, and the Brute is sharing aggro with a bunch of robots. If we do this all within one second or so, it works perfectly. On teams without TeamSpeak, I am glad that someone else in the team has better heals than my Corruptor.
Third, the game mechanics are really supporting a villainous perspective. People seem to be bloodthirsty or craven, with little space in-between. I have seen Masterminds who must be told every time to send in pets to absorb the first round of attacks, and they still frequently wait to let the Stalker take it. On the other hand, you also see Masterminds laughing as their obedient minions rush to their demise. The Stalker is the other half of that: is he the psychopath who immediately goes to assassinate the biggest thing he can see, and hopes the group catches up, or does he stand there invisible until someone takes enough damage for it to be safe? Brutes are just the same way, although they have stronger incentives to rush (Rage) or wait (no Hide).
Those of you who are playing CoV will have noticed a few things in the above. First, it is all Masterminds and Stalkers. Is it just an observer effect that half the players seem to be one of those two? They are the shiny new classes with an interesting mechanic. Mastermind pets appeal to the PvE player, providing a damage sponge with decent damage, both of which opponents will completely ignore in PvP. Stalkers are your standard invisible PvP gank class, and people are leveling them furiously to go eat some Defenders in Bloody Bay.
Also, the Masterminds are using robots. I’m sure that there are a lot of sweet ninjas out there, but most of the people who want Real Ultimate Power just made a Stalker to actually be the ninja. Hey, they renamed “katana” to “ninja sword.” Gotta love that. At any rate, half the Masterminds I see use Robotics, with a fair minority of people who finally get to be necromancers. In one fell swoop, Cryptic gives robots, ninjas, and zombies. You can dress up like a pirate, but that’s not quite the same, so maybe Pirate Masterminds are coming…
Finally, I said “Seeds of Confusion” because they are mostly Plant Dominators. It is the only new option for Dominators, so everyone is playing it. Because holds were nerfed, sleep is weak, and immobilize can get you killed, the AE confuse that Plant Dominators get at low levels has become the primary form of CC. I would not have believed it a year ago. Still, what could be more fitting for the City of Hybrid Damage Dealers than CC that makes the enemies damage each other?
Really, though, the most important change is that no one’s gameplay is “hit taunt or heal for the next hour.” Most of us prefer to deal the damage, even if we also being the one the team relies upon to keep them alive. Now we all can be that guy, and hopefully the team survives.