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There's a huge thread already on this forum about people arguing whether the (holy) trinity exists or does not exist in GW2. I do not intend this thread to be like that.
Instead, I want to discuss what having or not having a trinity system really means in terms of how the game plays and players interact.
To me, the trinity system has always meant that there is one simple group-level tactic that will work in almost every single scenario. Namely, I tank, you heal me, everyone else kill stuff. On the positive side, this makes it extremely easy for any group whose players have a small modicum of MMO knowledge to succeed. After all, you only need to understand what your "role" is, and that's it. Once you know you are the "healer" no other tactical discussions need to take place.
But this is a double edged sword. Because it also means that, since the same tactic works in every situation, dungeon runs become so simple that players rarely need to even talk to each other when doing a dungeon. Indeed, the communication of many dungeon runs consists of only short phrases or single words like "I'll tank" or "Pull" and that's it. Nothing else really needs to be said to succeed. Know your role, and you will win.
Furthermore, since dungeons become so simple with the trinity system, and players don't really need to communicate to succeed, this can lead to a mentality of just rushing through dungeons for a "reward" instead of actually playing them for enjoyment. After all, since completing them is so trival, and there is no need for social interaction to succeed, they become kind of boring. A lot of people blame this behavior on dungeon finder, but honestly, I think the trinity is at fault. If there wasn't a single tactic that worked on EVERYTHING, maybe players would actually have to talk to each other before running blindly into any battle armed with the all powerful trinity monkey wrench.
Now let's talk about a "non-trinity" system.
All this means is that the "trinity" tactic won't work in most situations. Further, I will assume that there is not a "replacement" tactic that can work in every situation as well (because that would be stupid). Different situations may require different solutions, and players will have to examine the "tools" in their collective toolbox of abilities to try to find the best way to approach a tough situation.
On the plus side, this will probably encourage more communication the players won't have a single "monkey wrench" tactic that they can apply to any situation and win. They will need to actively discuss strategy when a hard challenge is encountered...running in blindly will likely not work due to lack of coordination.
But on the negative side, this makes it more difficult for groups to work together. Some people just want to casually blaze through a dungeon, and all of a sudden it becomes a much bigger time and mental investment. Communication is also a double edged sword. In a trinity system you can go through an entire dungeon with a jerk and possibly never even realize that he's a jerk because there is no need to talk. But in a non-trinity system, his jerkness will probably be well known to you.
Personally...I prefer a non-trinity system.
I remember the best dungeon run I ever had was in Rift when 2 of our group members (including the main healer!) bailed and the remaining three of us (warrior and two rogues) decided to try to finish the dungeon. We actually communicated about strategy, and had the one rogue switch to a tanking build so he and I could switch off tanking the boss while the other rogue switched to bard for support heals. Miraculously, we actually beat the dungeon, and I actually felt a feeling of real accomplishment for once.
We had beaten the dungeon in a way the designers really didn't intend by thinking of a clever solution. The trinity system normally robs you of that. It gives you the solution, you never need to think of it...you just need to not royally F up your role and you will win.
I'm really looking forward to a system that actually makes me think again.
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