Warriors are the long-sung heroes of both fantasy and lore. Their deeds
are many and their virtues are the stuff legends are made of. Strong melee
fighters in MMOs, warriors are the ones who can wear all the armor and
wield most of the weapons. Standing at the front of battle, they are often
the first line of defense for their group. These masters of melee place
themselves in harm's way to defend their allies from rampaging monsters
and bloodthirsty orcs.
My first time playing a melee I can remember well--it came from one of the
classic RPG games for the original Nintendo called "Final Fantasy."
In it, you were able to select four characters for your group--my first
was always a fighter, which was the equivalent of a warrior for that game.
The fact that he could use all the best weapons and armor was an immediate
draw for me. I never did take a liking to the magical caster types, but
I always liked having them around. If there is one thing you learn as a
warrior, it's the value of a good caster.
Warriors in most games, even the older ones, were not the great damage
dealers we sometimes see in the movies or read about in stories. My warrior
in Final Fantasy, for example, did not hold a candle to the warrior portrayed
by Arnold Swartzenegger in Conan: The Barbarian. Conan was a fierce warrior
and a master of steel. With a single swing of his sword, he could cleave
his enemies into pieces. My little Final Fantasy warrior with his stick
sword, on the other hand, was not as adept at destroying his enemies.
While I could attack and take great damage, I could not dish out the same
high amounts of damage.
Warriors in MMO worlds such as Norrath or Azeroth are pretty much the
same. They can take loads of damage, but they are not the killers of a
group. They are the defenders. Being a master of melee and heavy armor,
they stand toe to toe with the enemy and keep its attention. It is then
the job of the casters and other light melee to dish out the damage and
vanquish the foe. The casters need the warrior or other protective fighter
for one very important reason: if they were not there, the mob would shred
through them and their little cloth robes like hot butter.
The warriors are figureheads when it comes to grouping. If they do not
do their job and keep the creature occupied, the group is going to be
in for a rough ride, and likely a corpse run. The skill of the warrior
when it comes to raids as well as grouping is an important one. While
the combat mechanics of Everquest were not terribly complex, they could
at times become very complicated. Everyone on a raid had to work together
in controlling the encounter. The warrior would taunt the creature to
keep its agro focused on him, and the rest of the raid would unload their
attacks and try to kill it. The trick here was for the warrior to maintain
agro. If he did not, the raid would often end up in a total wipeout. Note
though that these were the warriors of the past. The new warriors of the
future in Vanguard: Saga of Heroes look to be much more complex and exciting.
Picture this You are the warrior and you have just begun your first
encounter with a group. You are facing three mobs in a dark dungeon. You
have the cleric set as your defensive target and you are focusing on the
first of three mobs. One of the casters scores a surprise move on your
enemy and creates an opportunity for you to advance the attack for more
damage, but at the same moment your cleric gains agro. Two icons suddenly
pop up on your screen. You now have two choices as your options. You can
advance the attack and deal a great deal of damage to one of your foes
or you can attempt to rescue the cleric, but you only have only a couple
of seconds to decide, and all of a suddenly a third icon appears. Your
warrior has recognized an attack using his Perception and is given the
opportunity to interrupt it. Which do you do?
Decisions like that are what the Vanguard combat system will consist
of. Being a warrior within Telon will require one to pay full attention.
The decision the warriors make and the speed at which they decides to
make it in these situations will determine if they stands victorious over
their foes and collect the phat lewtz, or if they find themselves falling
in combat and suddenly standing naked in the nearest outpost with nothing
but a fig leaf covering their groin and a bad headache as they begin an
exciting corpse run to regain their gear.
In my days of Everquest, I prided myself in the guise of my avatar as
being a great tank. When Vanguard: Saga of Heroes goes live sometime next
year, I will find out if that self image is justified as I step into Telon
and test my skills with a group in this new strategy-based combat system.
When the day comes, I will don my armor and draw my sword as a warrior
of Telon. In the new age, warriors will march forth to battle as they
did in the old, but with some new changes that will make the warriors
of Vanguard true warriors of a new era.
Karen is H.D.i.C. (Head Druid in Charge) at EQHammer. She likes chocolate chip pancakes, warm hugs, gaming so late that it's early, and rooting things and covering them with bees. Don't read her Ten Ton Hammer column every Tuesday. Or the EQHammer one every Thursday, either.