World of Warcraft (further) obviates a group recipe with the new random grouping mechanics: 3 DPS, 1 healer, 1 tank. While the issues regarding population imbalance caused by the DPS majority can slow down group matching, the groups and challenges are made so that the five random people are not impeded by guessing what the group make up should be.
Zubon points out that the group recipe in Lord of the Rings Online can be much more varied, and Berath comments that the favorite classes in Lord of the Rings Online are the straightforward DPS classes. Sure a Captain, Loremaster, Burglar, or Warden can cover multiple roles (even without retraitting), but the purity of the Guardian as Tank, Minstrel as Healer, and Champion, Rune-Keepers, and Hunters as DPS are hard to overcome.
A person agreeing with Sycaine can easily argue that the complexity of Lord of the Rings Online’s class makeups outweighs the “EZmode” group recipe of World of Warcraft in terms of challenge and flexibility. I would normally agree. Lord of the Rings Online would be following a path to perfection if its group challenges were all made to foster a diverse range of group makeups. To their credit, much of the time they do.
However, with Siege of Mirkwood Turbine is further eyeing a dangerous path. More and more I am seeing challenges which require a so-called DPS race. A DPS race is one where the players must get the boss down to some level of life (usually death) before time runs out or the boss goes godmode and wipes the group. The DPS race has always been part of World of Warcraft’s challenges because the group must kill everything faster than the healer will run out of mana. Energy is much less of a concern in Lord of the Rings Online so the DPS race mechanic is found usually in boss skills. Either way, what do DPS races reinforce? The use of DPS classes.
As a Captain, I can trait to gain a pretty good DPS; however, I then suck at support and rely on my Archer pet (who likes to, you know, stand in boss AoE’s for grits and shins). Even fully traited for DPS, I am fairly certain I could not equal the DPS of a DPS-traited Hunter, Champion, or Runekeeper. So when DPS races occur in Lord of the Rings Online, my group is already handicapped by having used me, a Captain, instead of something that can output more damage. It gets even worse in 3-mans where I cannot quite completely fill one part of the trinity, which forces my two teammates to branch out as well, possibly putting the whole trinity-formula out of whack.
Turbine finds themselves in a conundrum by using the intense DPS race mechanic. On one hand they have to account for the support classes who won’t have as great of a DPS. On the other hand, they have to watch for situations where the DPS race is a complete cakewalk for a group with lots of DPS classes. World of Warcraft might have the EZ-bake group recipe, but Blizzard won’t easily fall in to this same conundrum. Still watch out for randomly grouped, leather wearing Paladins wanting their day in the tank sun.
and I helped