Can the Trinity be damned?

Can the trinity of tank, heal, damage roles in online rpg games be removed? Really?

An old question, and perhaps one which is both too subjective for each game style in question, and also blisteringly obvious for MMOs. Blessing of Kings has a great post where the discussion thread is the perfect primer for the issues and the potential degrees of how effective the solutions will be. A darn good read.

trinity-dangerousTo me it is all about degrees of effectiveness vs the suspension of disbelief. No solution I’ve ever read provided a summary for an MMORPG that has no role based system, without a set of quasi-magical powers to manipulate the monster’s behaviour. And that is not what might really happen.

If nine of my friends and I decided to attack a giant, I don’t think the giant would understand taunts enough to only swing at one person, or that two of us were good at recovering from wounds so might be better to kill early. The giant is going to kill easy targets, targets that hurt it a lot, and then the rest of us.

Similarly a grizzly bear will attack one of us until it can get a good meal, unless we keep poking it with spears in which case it will hurt the spear carrier and probably ignore any others just standing to the side waving their hands (healing, caster dps).

In MMORPGs I don’t think it can be totally removed. I don’t think I’d want it removed either. We have a method which is essentially in support of the fun, and while the mechanics of that illusion might be tweaked, the illusion is useful.

Damage Meter, Recount or Skada?

Skada in action

Skada in action

A week ago I changed from Recount to Skada for tracking damage. My first main reason was memory use in the game, as I was told that Skada has a lower memory footprint. Now that is slightly true, although I think if you have 11 meg in use for Recount and only 7 for Skada (which were my stats), then I don’t see that as a huge change; but lower is better.

It does not tell me which of the two actually consume more resources and processing while running though, which is something that I think has more bearing on “lag” that players complain about. The cpu processing might actually be more important than the raw amount of data the mod needs to hold. i.e. I can write a routine that burns cpu cycles, but only uses a small amount memory; and vice versa. And I’ve not found any reference to wow mods that tells me which is dangerious to game performance.

Recount in action

Recount in action

Skada performs the same basic functions as Recount. If you have one, the other will not significantly change your game. Initially I missed some of the information that Recount makes very obvious, but I am finding that I really don’t overly care 95% of the time, and now I can live without it the remaining 5%.

My major beef with Skada is how obtuse it is to change the visual presentation. The default settings are too small in my opinion.

Particularly the font size is slightly too small on the small screen I play on, and that means that its difficult to tell what the stats are. Mostly this bothers me because I also not to wear my glasses while playing, but in general I should not have to squint to see the bar values. It could be said that I don’t need that level of understanding, but for a dps player; we all know that ego makes it important.

To fix this open the options.lua file in the base directory of the mod, and change the “barfontsize=11” line, to read a higher number. I found that 12 or 13 was plenty.

Happy killing, and knowing your damage.