Elder Scrolls Online combat detailed; tanks not necessary, apparently


Since the first MMOs sloped out of their primordial ooze the tank has existed, present in every fight, and, for all intents and purposes, standing there like a muscly-looking damage sponge. Zenimax Online are claiming they’ve managed to do away with the class, not entirely but certainly making him far from a necessary component of every team.

The news comes from a recent developer Q&A and it goes into more than just the make up of fighting teams.

Answering a questions about the need for a tank in the new Elder Scrolls-set MMO, Zenimax pointed this example from one of their testing folk:

“Yesterday in the lunchtime dungeon test, our group of four (all at level 12) included:
· 1 Templar with light armor and healing staff, abilities focusing on healing
· 1 Templar with light armor and dual wield, Templar abilities focusing on healing
· 1 Dragonknight with light armor and destruction staff
· 1 Sorcerer with heavy armor and dual wield
This was with no real consultation with each other while making characters, other than ensuring there was at least one healer. For the sake of the dungeon we really could have used a true tank (the closest we had was the sorcerer wearing heavy armor and using unstable familiar to get the monster’s attention, with no real “keep myself alive” abilities), but as a group we were (eventually) able to take down the Fungal Grotto bosses. More to the point, with four players making independent choices in abilities and gear, three of the four made builds that defied the standard templates – and yet felt perfectly viable in actual play. The players were each able to build a character to their own taste with class abilities as a supplement, rather than the rigid defining aspect to the character, and have effective characters.”

This could, of course, be straight up propaganda being peddled out by Zenimax to swing fence-sitting fans. We’ll know more after our next preview of the game.

One of the other questions they answered is particularly pertinent to healers. Apparently their new soft lock targeting system means healers won’t be targeting individual allies to heal but will instead use wholly area of effect and cone-cast spells: “To be effective, you might want to stay in the middle of your allies for AoEs or face them for cone effects. Healers will need to be aware of their environment of course, and pay attention to the battle.”

You can read the rest of the Q&A over here.