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8-25-2011 @ 6:17PM
"the idea of the tanking figure is fairly unique to the MMO genre"I have to disagree with this comment. As long as there have been roleplaying games, there has been the concept of a class or unit that is able to withstand huge amounts of damage while standing right in the face of the enemy. That's what a tank does. MMOs may have enabled tanks to take incredible amounts of damage thanks to being healed, but they didn't introduce the concept. We had everything from fighters to clerics to assault mechs doing the tanking. They sought to take the damage while the weaker classes and units tried to dish it out.I know there are many people who are growing tired of the tank-healer-dps design, but there are many players who aren't and still enjoy it. The problem with WoW is that so many people have become too attached to the game, and they want to change the game to suit their own desires, instead of playing a different game altogether. Of course, Blizzard doesn't want to lose subs and money, so they capitulate. WoW may change from the trinity concept, and that will make a lot of people happy. Others, like me, will move on to other games to continue playing that style. I already play several different games to fulfill different needs, i.e. I'm not going to play Madden when I want to roleplay or grind up some gear. As it stands, I'm not very happy with the proposed changes to tanking coming in 4.3, so in all likelihood I'm going to take a break for a while or perhaps even quit WoW altogether. And that's perfectly fine.
8-25-2011 @ 6:32PM
See, I played D&D all the way back to the Basic Set, and there were no tanks. Fighters didn't try and get aggro. There was no concept of same. Were fighters more heavily armored? Yes, but they weren't out there trying to make mobs hit them, they were simply out there to try and hit mobs. Armor did for fighters what the ability to dodge/evade did for thieves and which magic and hiding did for magic users.So I'd argue yes, tanking is unique to MMO's. The idea of arguing that having high armor and health means you do less damage but generate threat is unique to MMO's, at least until 4th Edition D&D.
8-25-2011 @ 6:42PM
"Tanking" in PnP RPG's didn't even emerge until after WOW was released. To my knowledge, it's not even a common trait in PnP RPG's, there is nothing in an encounter preventing the GM from having all the NPC's "Kill the one in the dress". I believe one version or other of AD&D has some form of "taunts". Sure, there's always been plate-wearers and shield-users, but they had no abilities whatsoever to force an NPC to attack them instead of the flimsy caster.
8-25-2011 @ 7:23PM
D&D 4th Edition was the first edition to ever include mechanics that forced a monster to attack a particular target. This concept never existed previously in D&D, and was introduced after WoW was released because it was a method to attract WoW players back to PnP gaming.The reason taunt mechanics were unnecessary was because if your GM was enough of a douchebag to coordinate the monsters to focus fire the clothies instead of the big angry barbarian with the battle-axe, that GM quickly found himself without players.
8-25-2011 @ 8:19PM
I'd say the idea of the "meat shield" was always in D&D, but that it was a part of the game that the guy with lots of health/armor would stand between you and the bad guy so you could sling spells or heal folks.4e introduced the MMO mechanics to D&D, but the "idea" of a fighter being the guy that takes the hits and gets the heals was always around, it's just that players/ DM's could handle the "realism" in a way aside from having to invent "threat'.
8-25-2011 @ 9:07PM
Ok, you're right about MMOs bringing in the idea of threat, but the idea of tanking goes way back.
8-25-2011 @ 9:41PM
Actually the marks used in 4E do not compel the NPC to attack your defender, they merely make it a strategically sounder choice. Taunts did exist in 3.5 in the form of the knight class in PHBII which had challenges that worked very much like wow taunts.
8-25-2011 @ 9:50PM
I'm surely not the only one to remember the standard D&D marching order: melee in front AND back, casters in the middle, scouts on the flanks and ahead.We did this not because the melee were tanks, but because they were physical obstacles to take the initial rush of whatever we encountered. They took up physical space with a lot of armor. Fighters, Barbarians, Cavaliers, Paladins - they were meat shields for the casters and archers.The lack of collision detection in MMOs negates the value of this simple, yet logical arrangement. You can't put your head down, shield up, and barrel through a group of mobs to push them back, away from the clothies in WoW. Threat was an interesting innovation to compensate for the lack of solidity in the game, but it doesn't make much sense in an RPG where you can, oh, enforce the laws of physics.It actually makes me sad that the concept of tanking has been added to D&D 4E. I like my monsters smarter than that. :-(
8-25-2011 @ 10:50PM
Vocenoctum is correct. While there was no incentive for the monsters to attack the fighter or paladin, they were generally expected to interpose themselves between the monsters and the squishies. This worked pretty well in dungeons, where there was very little mobility (the "conga line of doom" of monsters attacking plate-wearers in a doorway while the mage fireballs everything) is an example), but doesn't really work well outside without significant terrain obstacles. And flying, teleporting, or incorporeal monsters can ignore even those. Pretty much, you had to rely on the DM having the monsters act suboptimally by engaging the fighter or barbarian instead of ripping the mage in half and *then* wheeling onto the fighter.4e has the Defender role, classes of which encourage monsters to attack them, primarily because their marks penalize the marked monster attacking anyone other than the marking defender. I'm of mixed feelings about this; it does lessen the value of that social contract, but I have had enough RBDMs that ignored that that I don't mind a rules mechanic that helps. And it's not like the monster has to attack the fighter; it can choose to turn and savage the rogue or cleric and just accept the penalty to hit.
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