Lets look at the definition of the word support:
verb (used with object)
1. to bear or hold up (a load, mass, structure, part, etc.); serve as a foundation for.
2. to sustain or withstand (weight, pressure, strain, etc.) without giving way; serve as a prop for.
3. to undergo or endure, especially with patience or submission; tolerate.
4. to sustain (a person, the mind, spirits, courage, etc.) under trial or affliction: They supported him throughout his ordeal.
5. to maintain (a person, family, establishment, institution, etc.) by supplying with things necessary to existence; provide for: to support a family.
We understand support in terms of MMO's more close along the lines of the first definition; We are there to hold up people as they take incoming damage that is either avoidable or (in most cases for the general population of players) not.
There was tweet that got me thinking about our current understanding of our role as healers, and the trifecta that is currently: Tank, DPS, Healer.
I'll start off by saying that there isn't anything wrong with it by design. When you step back and look at it it's pretty clean, and I can continue playing as is currently pretty happily. Though, if you could just humor me, what do you think WoW would be like if we didn't have so much healers as we had supports?
First, we should clarify what would define a support - and what wouldn't. I think healing abilities are a natural step in the 'support' direction - as that's the way it's been in well, any fantasy game ever. But an important tool to look at when we're talking about supports is utility.
Yes. Utility. Like a hunter's Frozen Trap, or a Warlock's Demonic Gate. These tools, in most other genres, would be considered support spells. And while support/utility abilities aren't limited to a support/healing class, it's interesting to me to think - perhaps, what would a support class be like in WoW?
Are we talking like a Bard from perhaps Rift or FF 14? Are we talking about a character design similar to Leona or Nami from League of Legends? The parallel to these comparisons are that they all posses a strong form of utility that allows them to strengthen others. Bards in Rift buff other party members while either providing a small bit of damage or healing. Final Fantasy's Bard's have their overall damage output while playing a constant song that provides incredible benefits to their party. Nami, and Leona, are both utility supports that can turn the tide of a battle in a press of a button.
When we look at these sort of strengths, it's easy to be allured to the idea of 'Well what about WoW?'
My question to you is - if say, the developers were developing a class that was more of a utility/'support' class, what would it look like to you? What do you think would work. What wouldn't?
Just a thought. :)