A discussion on Tobold’s blog made me think about the trinity this morning and I realised that one possible solution to the overpopulation of DD (damage dealers or DPS) players would be to formalise the support role. Rift has this in the Bard, Archon and Warlord souls, LoTRO has the captain and loremaster classes who can play a support role.
The point is that support players focus on short-duration tactical buffs, minor heals, debuffing enemies and CC. Their main focus is not to top the recount list for damage done. I actually often have played my balance druid in this manner, spending a lot of my time in our guild premade dungeon runs focusing on CC, interrupts decursing/depoisoning and backup healing as needed. So my DPS numbers have never been stellar but then the reason for this is stated up front. I’m playing support. I think a key element of this is that the play-style should still be active with choices to make. The debuffs or buffs should come from using damage abilities in combination or with other abilities. One example is from the Archon soul in Rift which applies temporary stacking buffs and debuffs based on the choice of damage spell you use.
Why not formalise this? Give all the ‘pure dps’ classes a repurposed support role so they have a choice as well of how to participate in dungeons. Add the option of queuing for support (but do not require support in the DF as Rift made that mistake and it backfired).
Some ideas of the top of my head:
Hunter / Rogue: concentrate on the debuff and temp group buff side
Balance Druid: CC, cleansing and some new group small heals that trigger automatically (without needing to shapeshift to caster form)
Arcane Mage: Mana regen for group, dispels/interrupts, CC
Maybe also add a support role to Warrior/DK (as they can’t do healing)? The changes don’t need to be drastic to these classes, but by stating these roles can be ‘support’ officially you’d start the mind-set change in the player base. With another option with less responsibility than tank or healer you might coax some of the DPS players to try something a little more team-spirited.