"Support" Class. Lets talk about that.

90 Blood Elf Paladin
0
I'd be open to the idea. There are many, many possibilities to making a support role.

1) Stance System: You'd perform some dps or healing rotation and your stance would dictate the type of support. Maybe you'd get a choice of physical (+ tanks) support, caster (+ healers) support, debuffer, and so on.


Best and easiest way to incorporate one or two support specs.

Have maybe an "Augmenter" spec that would typically a healing-type class, but would have two "stances" -- an Augment: Life for healing and an Augment: Sword for damaging.

Augment: Life would be a traditional healing spec, that would apply a buff, "Augmented Life," which would increase healing received to the target by the caster by 1% and stacking to a total of 5%. Base healing would be sub-par to other healers, but can rival that of others once fully stacked. This is to make it similar to how a Holy Priest has to undergo a short cooldown between Chakras, but instead of switching from raid and single-target healing you would be switching from a slightly weaker healing kit to a weak DPS kit. Augment: Sword would be similar, but would apply a 1% damage buff to nearby friendly allies in a large area to a max of 5% in the center. This would have diminishing returns, so players further away (maybe a max of 40 yards) would not gain the full 5% buff, but instead a 2-3% buff. Number-wise, it's a bit wonky but the idea is still there.

For a DPS-support, I think playing off the older Paladin-style of Auras would be a neat idea. Toss in a stance-dance deal like older Warriors, too.

I think the main point, though, is making it so that it isn't a whole "support spec" where you will be pigeon-holed into being "just a support" while you're also playing the part of a healer or DPS. If you need to switch to playing a more support-role for a certain fight due to your composition, then you can hit a button to toggle a support stance or personal buff that you would be able to do your normal job (healing or DPSing) at a lower efficiency while making up for it by supporting everyone else with specialized buffs/debuffs/off-heals.
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90 Pandaren Shaman
14345
08/04/2013 06:18 PMPosted by Ocyla
For example I played Lineage 2 for 5 years since open beta and the first main support class was a mystic>cleric>prophet>hierophant. They had single target buffs, the best in the game, but buffing a full party (9 man) took not only a lot of time, but their entire MP bar, so after buffing they sat down to regen until it was time to do it again in 20 mins. (no drinks or food). No live player wanted to play this way and they were SO required that people boxed them.


The support would be based more around in-combat buffs and debuffs. What you're describing is similar to what mages had to do back in vanilla 40 mans. Mass-conjuring food and water for hours, which was stupid.

That last example brings up something else. Should buffs / debuffs scale with gear and how do we do it?


They would have to scale with gear, otherwise what's the point in getting gear?
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100 Night Elf Druid
6295
They would have to scale with gear, otherwise what's the point in getting gear?


But that's tricky, because a lot of the time they're also going to scale with the recipient's gear, and that results in multiple scaling.

If I have a buff that increases your AP by X + Y% of my own SP (assuming an int-based caster support, which wouldn't necessarily be the only kind), that doesn't scale with the AP you already have -- but it DOES scale with the crit, haste, and possibly mastery that you already have. That's probably why the existing AP buff is 10% of the recipient's AP, with absolutely no scaling from the gear of the player who provides it -- but as you point out, that would make gearing very boring for support specs.

And what about my own secondary stats? Haste might improve my uptime (presumably a support spec will spend the majority of its resources, whatever they are, on providing support), which is a double dip if my other stats also improve effectiveness. Presumably a support spec's mastery would do *something* to make them better at supporting (potency, duration, reduction of cooldowns, whatever), which could easily be even more multiple scaling. It's hard to imagine a buff critting, so supports might be the first role that can't use crit at all -- but then their gear selection is narrower compared to everyone else. (Especially since they probably won't need spirit, and may or may not need hit/exp depending on how much of their total power is in debuffs.)

Support cooldowns would need to be coordinated with the recipient's cooldowns for maximum effectiveness -- the way lust works now, but an actual support would probably want to be able to use more than 1 major CD per fight.

The more you look at it, the more of a complicated mess it is.
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90 Pandaren Shaman
14345
I would think that actual %increase would be off primary stats. As you said, because of the double-dipping it would be have to be quite a small amount. For secondary stats, I would imagine crit would work a similar way to chaos bolt, which scales with crit. Or crits could have a longer duration. It would definitely require a much more intensive encounter-tuning process, but that's what PTR is for.
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92 Worgen Druid
15985
Adding anything that buffs percentages of the caster's stats and scales with gear leads to the stacking of the best gear possible on a single person first so that they can buff the raid.
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90 Gnome Monk
16035
Here are my thoughts on how a support spec might work.

The player deals significantly reduced damage and healing while in their support stance, but allows them to generate a resource to be spent on buffs for other players. While I'm sure it would be a pain to balance, the buff to others should be only strong enough to make up for the loss of dps or healing by the player providing the buff. This way groups are balanced around having approximately the same damage/healing with or without the class.

A stance system that reduces damage within the support stance but leaves access to dps stances (Fierce Tiger for Monks, Battle Stance for Warriors, ect) should allow for fairly painless leveling. Maybe as much of a pain to level as a healer nowadays, which isn't that bad.

On the topic of differing group sizes, the buff provided could potentially change the number of affected people or the power of the buff based on the size of the group. They're already using tech that allows this kind of thing in Flex Raids (boss health and damage scaling, number of targets affected by AoE heals). For example: in a 5 player group, a damage buff could affect 2 dps specced players, while in a 10 player group the same buff could affect 4 players, and so on.

Personally I like the idea, and think that it could work out great if introduced as a 4th spec for certain classes. Monks seem like a good fit, since our specs are based on the August Celestials, and the missing one represents Hope. Warriors could also work, acting like a General, dealing with shouts and banners. And I'm sure Paladins and such have their own reasons for being good choices as well.
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90 Pandaren Monk
11705
Rift had a very good system in which the standard group was the following:

1 Tank
1 Healer
1 Support
2 DPS

As you can see the Trinity of Tank, Healer, DPS still existed. But the fights were tuned in such a fashion that the were a tad difficult for the standard 1-1-3 combo. The support class normally provided either group buffs or back-up healing.

So.. if we were to say the Tank did 500 dps, and a DPS did 1000 dps and the healer did 1000 hps. The Support DPS would do about 500 dps + 500 hps. For awhile in that setup my Cleric in support setup was doing 750 dps + 750 hps. He definitely wasn't a full healer or a full dps but was halfway between.

In Terms of World of Warcraft that Character should be doing the following in raid. If standard dps was 100k. They would be doing 75k dps and hps. Or about a 75%, but useful in both. A character in that role instead could be providing serious raid buffs that no one else provides or damage mitigation that no other class provides.

In WoW, this would be a Disc priest atonement healing. As I play monk, I will put in my suggestion how to allow this for monks.

Convert Mistweavers to using energy like the rest of the specs. Take away melee based mistweaving. Buff Crackling Jade Lightning for energy users. Give Serpent stance also to Windwalker and allow them to go into a fistweaving style of fighting. This would make them a melee support healer. While making the mistweaver the ranged healer or ranged dps.
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5 Human Warlock
0
Rift had a very good system in which the standard group was the following:

1 Tank
1 Healer
1 Support
2 DPS

As you can see the Trinity of Tank, Healer, DPS still existed. But the fights were tuned in such a fashion that the were a tad difficult for the standard 1-1-3 combo. The support class normally provided either group buffs or back-up healing.

So.. if we were to say the Tank did 500 dps, and a DPS did 1000 dps and the healer did 1000 hps. The Support DPS would do about 500 dps + 500 hps. For awhile in that setup my Cleric in support setup was doing 750 dps + 750 hps. He definitely wasn't a full healer or a full dps but was halfway between.

In Terms of World of Warcraft that Character should be doing the following in raid. If standard dps was 100k. They would be doing 75k dps and hps. Or about a 75%, but useful in both. A character in that role instead could be providing serious raid buffs that no one else provides or damage mitigation that no other class provides.

In WoW, this would be a Disc priest atonement healing. As I play monk, I will put in my suggestion how to allow this for monks.

Convert Mistweavers to using energy like the rest of the specs. Take away melee based mistweaving. Buff Crackling Jade Lightning for energy users. Give Serpent stance also to Windwalker and allow them to go into a fistweaving style of fighting. This would make them a melee support healer. While making the mistweaver the ranged healer or ranged dps.


Pretty neat. You could also give them some tanking abilities, or perhaps make that a variant. A difficult thing to implement and balance I suspect but something that could breath some life into this grand but aging game.
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90 Blood Elf Paladin
16150
In Everquest, the Trinity was Tank, Healer, Slower (Shaman, Bard, Enchanter), + 3 DPS.

Support was Utility. That a was a single spec game, and there was a lot of issues taht came from it.

Tanks meant Warriors, Paladins, Shadowknights (The DK equiv).

Healers meant Clerics, Druids, Shaman

Crowd Control/Puller meant Bards, Monks, Enchanters, and a lesser extent SK's and Necromancers

Everyone else was "DPS" although even those above were considered DPS in some regards (Hybrid classes).

The issue was the amount of utility versus the amount of dps they brought to the party/raid. Once the necessary allocation of utility was met, only DPS was needed. It was a much less inclusive system, even though the raid sizes were over double what is allowed in WoW (54 when I played last).
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90 Troll Druid
11010
what do you think WoW would be like if we didn't have so much healers as we had supports?


It isn't limited to supports replacing healers, I think the better question is what would we do with a support instead of one of the three. To me the answer of that question is IF the support class replacing one of the triangle of Tank, Heal, DPS can provide the party with the means to still progress while replacing one of the aforementioned roles, then there isn't a problem. But the question then becomes how do you do that? How do you replace 100k dps with utility? How do you replace a tank being able to take a 600k damage hit with utility? How do you replace 100k hps on a massive AoE damage encounter with utility? Without drastically changing the way this game is played on every level you kind of can't and here's why:

Support classes don't work with how the game is currently designed, and the game has evolved from vanilla to now to negate the need for such a support based role. The first step was making every spec for every class viable in the triangle of roles (Tank, Heal,DPS), and this has been a journey that WoW has been on since the beginning. Resto druids went from being priest innervaters, to lifebloom bots, to rejuv bots, to kind of rejuv bots with a bit more healing utility. This extremely over-simplified analysis of the evolution of resto druid game play over the years can be applied to every other class in the game as well. My favorite quote of vanilla raiding was "Yeah you pay $15 a month and you deserve to play ret, but the $585 we pay says go holy so we can down rag" -my old GM

That mentality drove the need to have each class contribute enough to justify his/her position in the raid while maintaining unique class abilities that justified the potential dps, tanking, or healing shortcomings that could change fight to fight, or just be based on the classes balance at the time.

That being said there was also a phase during this game when consumables were king, and outside of the norm style buffs could potentially boost you to higher levels of progression that you could have otherwise. I.E bloodlust drums (lol move all the warlocks into leatherworker groups lets win @ sunwell) Rallying Cry of the Dragonslayer, Mind controlling one of the mobs in UBRS to have him apply fire resist buffs to your melee to negate the need for wearing fire resist to a higher degree, potions having unlimited uses regardless of being in combat or not. All of these things have came and went because the developers of this game wanted to make an environment where people didn't have to play the game only one way to succeed at it. Which for your min-max progression pushing PVE superstar has always caused rage because they have always made those sacrifices for the betterment of the raid and now all of a sudden hunter pets can bloodlust when you had to reroll a shaman to provide your group with the tools to win. This game has been toeing that line for it's entire history.

Now in a world where on average a mix of 3 classes has the potential to bring any of the 3 out of 8 standard buffs (Stats, Stam, Mastery, Crit, Spell Haste, Attack Speed, Spell power, attack damage) and where each has interesting ways to maximize your parties success, weather it be by increasing raid dps overall I.E crit banner or stormlash totem. Or raid displacement IE Life/Death grip from priests or DK's. Moral of the story is whatever style of party you bring to the table you have the potential to win. It's just easier with more of one than the other fight dependent.

So to answer your question of the thoughts on a support based class, i ask a question that I'm having a hard time finding the answer to. Since day one of progressing the identity of your game towards what the game is today, why bring the embodiment of everything you've changed back into a new class?
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96 Pandaren Shaman
14705
City of Heroes built this concept into their game fairly well. Their "Defenders" weren't just about healing. While they all had some sort of 'heal' ability and some even had the option to have nothing but healing abilities, some only had one 'heal' that wouldn't keep a group alive and instead brought buffs, debuffs and minor damage to the group that would more than make up for their spots. For example, the "Dark" defender had one heal on a long cooldown, but could debuff enemies to take more damage and hit less often, contributing to the team effort in non-standard ways. The "Kinetic" defender had a rather hard to use heal, but slowed enemies and sped up their teammates so healing wasn't so much a necessity.

I envision that carefully balanced, that concept could work in World of Warcraft as well.
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100 Dwarf Priest
Red
6540
Like the post, but I do have to disagree with the initial assertion that we as MMO players tend to think of healer as support. I think that is something that's very subjective and based entirely on your particular MMO experience.

To me, the truest form of support would have to be an original EverQuest Enchanter and, to a lesser extent, but still moreso than any game since, the Bard. Not meaning to start an EQ vs. WoW war, but WoW decided that the support functions would be handed to various DPS classes to be used as flavor abilities and the level of "support" you need is dramatically less than EQ.

Enchanters were about as support as you could get since their role was performing a function almost completely opposite of combat. They provided enhancements to allies, debuffs to enemies and controlled enemies. There were entire boss encounters - hell, entire raid zones - where enchanters didn't fire off a single damaging spell. The game supported this model (no pun intended) because there was no solo game except for a few distinct classes that could pull it off. It was very grindy and competitive in the grind as groups fought over mobs to kill - being able to pull and control several and then kill them was paramount to your group success.

I don't think the pace of this game allows for support roles. You're not allowed to make mistakes in this game. When pulls went wrong in EQ, there was a pretty awesome feeling when you recovered from it by having a wizard or ranger root one target, the enchanter stuns and then mesmerizes a few more and then charms the last one and then you slowly work your way through it. That was OK in that game because it was played more slowly. You had time to correct mistakes because if you wiped you were going to spend the next 60 minutes recovering.

This game is tuned around precision mechanics and very strict math - there's no making a mistake and recovering from it. You make a mistake you wipe and start over in a few minutes. I'm not saying it's good or bad. I'm just saying it's faster paced and the favored model for most new MMOs and I don't personally think it lends itself well to support because no one will tolerate being purely support without also contributing DPS since everyone would just prefer to kill, kill, kill.

On a side note - I think Rift found possibly the best balance for the faster paced game with the support role in their Bard soul. It's fun to play, it feels like it makes a difference in the buffs and debuffs and you can still do some damage, though clearly not as much as specing into a pure dps soul combo. But it still does feel a little bit like a low DPS WOW class with a lot of corollary + healing splash effects tied to their DPS abilities.
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MVP - Customer Support
100 Tauren Druid
13680
It's an interesting idea.

As an example, DCUO has the Controller role, which focuses on helping party members regen resources faster.

Adding something like that to WoW would require a fairly radical redesign of all player resources - but I think it could work. Bring a few extra Controller-type roles to your group if you wanted to crank out the damage (and healing!) faster. But don't stack too many, or you won't have the people to crank out that damage or healing.

It would be an interesting thing to experiment with, but I suspect it would be a while before we saw anything along these lines (the next expansion, while not yet announced, is probably too far into the design stage for such a radical re-imagining of class roles).
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90 Pandaren Shaman
7315
Come to think of it, some other games I have played the "support" abilities are often synonymous with healing, as in something for healers to do when they need not heal. For example in Tera, both priests and mystics are capable of restoring mana to other party members pretty much all the time unlike mana cds that wow classes have. Mystics as well could use a short cd ability to buff the party's damage withing the range.

In many many mmos buffs are something basically only healers bring, or the game does in fact have a support-like class that brings buffs. Example-clerics and medics in Fiesta and Scarlet Blade, respectively. Bards in DnD and by extension DDO are the very nature of a support class, but the healing classes like clerics, favored souls, and druids are generally also expected to bring buffs. Sore support-ey classes like bard and to an extemnt wizards,sorcerors, and possibly rangers have cc abilities. Heck, in Flyff the class was even called Assist because it brought the major BUFFS in addition to healing.

The upcoming FF XIV ARR has the bard as a sort of prestige for archers which gives them party buffs that don't detract from their dps skills save for having to make room for them in their rotation as far as I can see, though again the main healing class, conjurer, has buffs like protect. Games like Eve are a bit more difficult to compare though :/ so my limited expertise in that area is kind of not applicable.

I guess my point is while a support based class or spec would be fantastic, it would be far easier to tweak healing or possibly dps to encompass that role in addition to their own to a greater degree of importance than they do now, as in greatly rewarding the usage of support type skills. Still alot of work though! Biggest issue would be getting it through to the mentality of the players that they SHOULD be doing these new things, or old things they have forgotten they can do (I'm looking at you, cc!). It could be another way of telling the good or average player from the great if they can accomplish using their entire toolkit to it's fullest for the good of the party/raid, not just themselves.
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MVP - World of Warcraft
90 Blood Elf Paladin
HC
12145
The upcoming FF XIV ARR has the bard as a sort of prestige for archers which gives them party buffs that don't detract from their dps skills save for having to make room for them in their rotation as far as I can see, though again the main healing class, conjurer, has buffs like protect. Games like Eve are a bit more difficult to compare though :/ so my limited expertise in that area is kind of not applicable.


AFAIK FFXIV Bard class is just 'hit-this-aura-and-keep-DPSing-but-it-won't-be-as-good-as-a-BM." And I don't think that's fantastic design.

A friend brought this to my attention, but:

Since we have such a thick role system in place, what if said support class could have a support tank, healing, and dps spec. Where they could off-tank but provide cool buffs to the raid/MT, could raise everyone else's DPS at the cost of his or her own, or provide healing in unconventional ways (See: Monk/DPriest).

I think, that instead of forcibly squeezing a supporting in the current design, making a support be flexible to support all three roles (while performing as them) instead.

I'm just concerned that say, they do create a support spec that it would garner the idea that there's a raid comp "meta." And Blizzard likes to move away from those things.
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92 Worgen Druid
15985
Rift had a very good system in which the standard group was the following:


And most groups in EQ2 were:

tank
healer
chanter/bard
dps
dps/second healer, usually a warder, like a mystic, who can put out some sick dps themselves.

Pure DPS had the disadvantage.

In Everquest, the Trinity was Tank, Healer, Slower (Shaman, Bard, Enchanter), + 3 DPS.

Support was Utility. That a was a single spec game, and there was a lot of issues taht came from it.

Tanks meant Warriors, Paladins, Shadowknights (The DK equiv).

Healers meant Clerics, Druids, Shaman

Crowd Control/Puller meant Bards, Monks, Enchanters, and a lesser extent SK's and Necromancers

Everyone else was "DPS" although even those above were considered DPS in some regards (Hybrid classes).

The issue was the amount of utility versus the amount of dps they brought to the party/raid. Once the necessary allocation of utility was met, only DPS was needed. It was a much less inclusive system, even though the raid sizes were over double what is allowed in WoW (54 when I played last).


You forgot Ranger = token dead guy.
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24 Blood Elf Paladin
6975
My view is that DPS-ers (yes ... them) are the stars of the show. Tank and Healers provide them condition so they can do their best hence support.

That is why i think that a healer that deliberately lets a DPS die is a bad healer.
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92 Worgen Druid
15985
My view is that DPS-ers (yes ... them) are the stars of the show. Tank and Healers provide them condition so they can do their best hence support.

That is why i think that a healer that deliberately lets a DPS die is a bad healer.


What I miss, and WoW won't work with it very well, was EQ2's raid model.

Your healers ran out of power, you wiped. That was the enrage timer, your healer's power pool. And you *did* spam your heals. All of them. Constantly. Each spell had a short recast timer to it so you weren't really casting the same one over and over again, and you had a priority on what to cast when multiples were up, but if your dps sucked, you weren't killing it.

Edit: I let them die when they repeatedly stand in bad after being asked not to. Every DPS has the tools to keep themselves alive, and I don't care if you just popped your CDs, GET OUT OF THE FIRE.
Edited by Gozreh on 8/13/2013 8:58 PM PDT
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