To answer this we have to take a good long look at the fundamentals that define our World of Warcraft:
Everything evolves around it.
- Tanks should receive it exclusively, because they have the tools to handle it best.
- Healers need to heal the damage caused in order to keep the players alive.
- Damage Dealers need to deal as much damage as rational possible to prevent the mobs from dealing damage as soon as possible.
So, we have a role dedicated to damage mitigation, one for damage removal and one for dealing damage.
Even utility abilities can be sorted into one of these categories. Polymorph, for example, is a tool for damage removal or damage dealing (sheeping a healer). Curse of Weakness on the other hand is damage mitigation. The list goes on and on.
Since this all boils down to a few mathematical operations done to the damage going around, it’s rather hard to find a new place or role in this very simplistic environment.
There is only so much you can do with a number. Increase it, and you have a damage dealer. Lessen it, and you’ve got a tank or a healer. You get the picture.
You cannot just design a role that lives outside this formula. It would not fit into the game at all, or feel very awkward at least. Honestly I can’t rack my brain to produce something that would even be halfway viable inside WoW.
Of course you could distribute these abilities and find new ways to apply them. For example they could create a class that acted as an assistant to the tank. It could have various abilities to help other people mitigate their damage income.
Let’s just whip something up:
- A 30 Minute buff that can only be applied to a single target only, that increasing their armor by 5000.
- A low-damage spell that causes the next few attacks of the mob to deal 15% less damage and generates an equal amount of threat for the target they are hitting with their attacks. Tanks would love you for this.
If you think further, this class would be able tank any normal instance together with a enhancement shaman, a hunter pet or whatever sub-par tank you can think of. So the place of the tank could be taken by a more wide array of players. On the other hand, that may put some standard tanking classes into the off. And some raid encounters may become to easy…
Well, I certainly would not want to balance that class.
But as you can see, it’s no new role technically. It’s just a redistribution of what we have already.
So, to come to a conclusion, I don’t think WoW needs a new party role. Hell, it has no room for one. But we can clearly see that there is still much creative space that can be used.
Happy tanking, healing or damage dealing folks!