The Group Recipe

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

12 thoughts on “The Group Recipe”

  1. I would want to kick any Captain who went for max DPS at the expense of everything else. I expect the group’s best DPS to come from buffs from the game’s best buffing class. Everyone should be forced to spend a month if City of Heroes without an Empath just to learn one important thing: damage prevention > healing.

    It would be horrible balance if Captains out-damaged the DPS classes, wouldn’t it? They would still be a heavy armor class with buffs and heals, and even if they are lousy buffs and heals after traiting for damage, that still beats what else the DPS classes offer beyond damage.

    1. Oh, I’m well aware of my role, but my point was my diverse role can make balancing all the ingredients harder… especially when DPS races seem to be the flavor of the month.

  2. The way I see it, Captains are the “oil” take makes the fellowship go at full speed – their numerous buffs improve the whole group’s performance by such a large amount that I’d rather have one captain in a dps race giving Telling Mark, To Arms, OB, crit buffs and all those fancy defeat-event-skills instead of one more dps-only class.

    As a Captain I’d only worry about personal dps if there already was another cappie in the group.. but there are red traits for that, right?

  3. I shouldn’t have brought up Captains, I guess, because I really wasn’t trying to make a woe is me post. I love my Captain, and I love what he can do in groups.

    I was just trying to show Captains, and many other LOTRO classes, are complex ingredients compared to the simplicity of WoW, IMHO. YMMV. Of course. ;)

  4. You are right, Wardens usually get the shaft. For the Farmhalls of Dol Guldur people even go so far to prefer Captains over Minstrels for healing (DPS for “Speed Clearing”, and not much healing is needed) and I have seen Guardians specifically getting asked if they are “DPS traited”. As I play a Champion i can fill the DPS tank role even if I am not traited in any way for damage prevention/absorption and Champions are in high demand for the Sword-halls.

    My favorite setup is Champion, Captain and Hunter. Runkeepers or Burglars are great, too.

    The Dungeons of Dol Guldur are no DPS race nor do they promote the trinity. They promote player skill and attention. And it is almost sad, but they are by far the least played and liked instance of the whole Dol Guldur Cluster. I guess people rather run the Grand Stair again than the Dungeons of Dol Guldur with its light puzzle elements. Makes me a bit sad, and I guess I wont see the dungeons anytime soon again to make some better screenshots. Nobody wants to do them. :(

    I also notice an increased trend to demand interrupt abilities. This is good for Wardens, if you are doing nothing else but interrupting on cooldown (and this is what is expected from a Champion in Sammath Gûl), they actually might outdamage clobbering Champions.

    Another thing is that they are even increasing the strength of the “true” tank classes like Guardians of Wardens in this particular role by giving them increased anti-crit protection and more HP. — BUT I have not seen a real need or demand for this outside of raids, where Guardians were already the tanks of choice anyways.

  5. I was impressed to find that a somewhat unorthodox fellowship which looks, on paper, to be DPS-light (Burglar, Warden, Lore-master, Hunter, Captain & Minstrel), could have so much success in Sammath Gul.

    Conversely, my Burglar felt useless in many of the Moria instances, compared to my Champion.

    Also, Wardens seem like ideal tanks in SG – tons of adds to control and leech from.

    1. That’s cool. I’ve heard the Sammath Gul is really well done and reminiscent of the Shadows of Angmar cluster. My first go at the SoM cluster is tonight. :)

    2. Ah..burglars, the secret weapon. With their damage buffs they can increase the dps output of a group; my guardian plus a minstrel with a burglar defeated the post Book 8 HoM instance. Again, even with the guardian in OP (sometimes) and the minstrel in WarSpeech (sometimes), somewhat dps light. That was another instance which focussed on the dps, you had to outdamage the boss self-healing.

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