Sunday, February 21, 2016

Group Mechanics in Blade and Soul

Blade and Soul has an interesting approach to group mechanics. As I understand, it's not quite Trinity gameplay, but it's not quite a zerg either.

Threat exists in BnS. Blademasters and Kung Fu Masters are considered "tanks" and have higher threat output. Their damage is still roughly the same as the other classes. Threat also appears to decay fairly rapidly, which means the tanks have to keep up with consistent threat output. But DPS can stop doing damage and will drop threat reasonably fast, and then not pull threat immediately when they restart.

However, there are no healers in BnS. That part of the trinity is entirely missing. The tanks rely on active mitigation, blocks and counters, and some self-healing to keep themselves alive. The other classes also rely on their defensives, mobility and potions. There are some group defensive abilities. I believe Summoners can occasionally heal the group, and Force Masters can put up a defensive shell that protects people under it for a few seconds.

The end result is a quasi-zerg, where everyone is attacking the boss with their full potential. But it's a controlled zerg, as the boss is generally attacking the tank, rather than bouncing from person to person. This means that incoming damage is very controllable, and if you play well, you can do an entire boss fight with minimal loss of health.

It's reasonably fun, because you do function as a group, and the quality of your play matters. As well, no one is forced to play a low damage characters. The tank classes generally have blocking and countering being central to their damage combos, so they want the boss to attack them. However, they don't have a taunt, and they don't really "control' the fight the same way a trinity tank does.

This structure is better than straight zerg or kiting. However, I don't think it's quite as good as Trinity gameplay. In particular, I don't think it can provide the variety of encounters that the Trinity structure can.


  1. Pre-WotLK, most bosses were immune to taunts and it still allowed for interesting encounters. From WotLK onwards, however, almost all single-target boss encounters have some ability that is specifically put in to make tanks rotate and does not enrich the encounter in any way. So the absence of taunt is not so bad.

    Without healers, of course, there cannot be Loatheb, Valithria and Chimaeron.

    1. That's true. It maybe the threat decay, then. Or maybe general fight design. It doesn't feel like the tank controls the positioning and movement to the same degree as in a trinity game.

      It may also be that tanking appears to be primarily single-target, and not AoE-based.

  2. I thought this game was heavily focused on 1v1 PvP. How do they balance around some classes being able to avoid nearly all damage while still doing as much damage as everyone else?

    1. PvP is very much like a fighting game with combos. Certain abilities also allow you to break a block or counter, and I gather that PvE enemies don't use those.

      Similarly, blocks are timed, and when the timer runs out, they're vulnerable for a bit. So in PvP, another player can play around the block, while in PvE, the block responds to the enemy attack.

      Finally, almost every class can theoretically solo bosses and avoid their damage, not just the tanks. For example, my Force Master (if I was actually good) could kite and freeze the boss. It's just easier for the tanks.