Updated Fri, Jan 02, 2009 by Shayalyn
Age of the Warrior
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.
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.