Out of the box?

by: Kiara

Since the early days of D&D, the standard formation of a group has been
fighter, healer, damage dealer. This translates to MMO land as tank, healer,
melee dps, and mage. In Everquest 1 it led to the holy trinity of groups.
Warrior, Cleric, Enchanter. Then you filled in the blanks with whatever else you
wanted. Usually a rogue and a wizard and some other random something. In
Everquest 2 it's roughly the same. Fighter, healer, scout, mage. It makes for a
balanced group and allows folks to do just about anything.

So, just because it's always been this way, does that mean that's the only
way it can be? Is the same old mold really the way it HAS to be? Or is it
possible to break the habit and think outside the box?

People do it everyday. They run groups without healers, or without mages, or
without tanks. True, they don't raid that way, but you can run a successful
group a lot of places in EQ2 with non traditional set ups. It's not easy, but
with skill and luck, it can be done.

But why does it have to be that way? Is it possible to stray from this tried
and true formula and try something different? How about making it so that no one
type of class is vital to the success of any major undertaking. Not just a
situation where a group can manage without a key class. A situation where a
group can thrive with ANY makeup.

Gods and Heroes has tried to balance a little of both worlds it seems.
They've done away with the mage class entirely and are relying solely on
fighters, melee dps, and healers. They have three classes broken up into two
subclasses each.


"Soldiers of fortune, prisoners of war, criminals, slaves - the title of
Gladiator applies to any one who steps into the arena. But only those worthy of
glory survive. Gladiators who merit such favor from the gods fight their way to
the top in a spectacularly bloody and fearless fashion: no trick is too dirty,
no enemy too intimidating."


"The Soldier represents the pinnacle of Roman military might - loyal,
courageous, and above all, disciplined. Soliders are masters of thier bodies and
their minds, as well as a variety of very lethal weaponry."

Well, those sure sound like fighters to me. What about you? I haven't really
figured out what it is that defines them. What makes them different? It isn't a
good side versus an evil side. That's for certain. Nor does it fall into an
ordered versus chaotic sort of division. However, that is the closest I can pin
point what separates the two subclasses.


"The Scout is the ultimate outdoorsman and the craftiest of killers. Scouts
are more at home among the animals in the wilderness than the luxury of Rome.
They live to sleep beneath the god's[sic] open skies and can summon food and
drink from the bountiful blessings of the land."


"The Rogue's only loyalty is to the gods, but even the gods don't dare turn
their backs on a Rogue if they're carrying a fat purse. Raised under the
scornful eye of the Republic's burgeoning cities, Rogues' wits are as sharp as
their blades."

These are the two melee dps. Once again, the ordered versus chaotic division
is more accurate than good and evil or anything else. These are your thieves and
assassins. They do away with bards completely.


"The Priest is undyingly loyal to the gods and is in turn favored above all
others. Because of their unyeilding dedication, in fact, Priests weild the very
powers usually reserved only for the gods. Their knowledge of the rites of
healing is unsurpassed; some priests have even been known to bring their
companions back from the dead."


"The Mystic is a seeker of arcane knowledge and aspires to live a life
dedicated to true spiritual wisdom. Sheer magical force is the Mystic's weapon
of choice. Mystics are not keen on hand-to-hand combat; they attack from a
distance, and thus rely on the support of their companions - especially the
Gladiator or the Soldier - to protect them."

The priest classes seems to combine the traditional mage classes with the
usual druids/shaman all into one class. The Mystic appears to be a mish mosh of
a lot of classes we're used to from the fantasy genre. The Priest is the typical
cleric type all on it's own.

So, while GnH clearly draws on the traditional trinity of group makeup, they
deviate from the formula in a big way. The minion system, something we're all
familiar with from such games as Baulder's Gate and Neverwinter Nights, plays a
large role in GnH. Like with Baulder's Gate and NWN, you get built in group
members. They hack, they slash, they even julienne fries. In single player games
it's very helpful to have a little extra firepower.

The question that plagues my little mind is this: Aren't other people
supposed to be your backup in a MMO? I mean, I know that I advocate the ability
to break the traditional mold of a group and broaden it so you can still get
things done and feel like you've accomplished something without the "must haves"
in a group. However, isn't this just a little too much?

I'm not too sure yet. I haven't had a chance to see it in action, nor will I
until the game goes live. But GnH has certainly taken bold and innovative steps
to shake up what we're used to and give the "usual" a shot in the arm. Let's
hope they've breathed new life into an old favourite rather than the
alternatives. No, you don't want to know what they are. There's a big albino guy
named Shorty and cement... It isn't pretty.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Jeff joined the Ten Ton Hammer team in 2004 covering EverQuest II, and he's had his hands on just about every PC online and multiplayer game he could since.