If I asked you what a Mage is in an MMORPG, what would you say? Some cloth-wearing gal who lugs around a long staff and flings fireballs (or other elemental chunks) at bad guys. What about Rogues? Stealthy sneaks with twin daggers and lightning-fast attacks. Warriors? Big lugs with shields and swords larger than most compact cars. Fantasy class tropes are so ingrained that even developers seem powerless to go against them.
But there always seems to be this weird exception when it comes to Druids. A Druid in one MMO isn’t quite the same as one in a different game. Sure, there are usually some common threads — most notably an attunement to and use of nature — but each team has more freedom to interpret and design the Druid concept how it likes.
I thought it would be fun today to riffle through some of the current and past MMOs that have boasted a Druidic class (if not always in name) and see where the similarities and end and the wild notions begin.
The Druid of Crowfall is not a firehose healer. What does that mean? Well, for one thing, firehouses that die around her stay dead. In another and more important sense, it means that her roles isn’t simply about shoving as much healing into a target as possible. Instead, she’s meant to provide interesting gameplay that splits time between doing damage and supporting the party, as displayed in the new ability preview for the archetype on the official site.
Druid heals don’t cost resources, but instead generate a resource known as Essence; once the Druid’s Essence total breaks 80%, she starts taking damage while receiving less healing, thus preventing you from just standing back and healing constantly. Essence is also utilized by her DPS stance, though, which emphasizes swapping back and forth between launching ranged attacks and throwing healing orbs on the battlefield for your teammates. The hope, ultimately, is for an interesting and in-depth healing archetype that nevertheless provides support through something other than raw healing numbers. Good news for everyone who isn’t a firehose.
Guild Wars 2 players will be able to get their collective hands on Heart of Thorns very soon, and that’s a good thing. The final test weekend for the expansion will kick off on October 2nd; the test will keep some parts of the final expansion tucked away but will generally allow you to explore things to your heart’s content. Among the things you can explore: Druids, the elite specialization for Ranger, and a font of astral power that can support and heal allies.
This final test event will also allow players to try out the game’s raiding, which was the subject of an entire panel helpfully embedded and watchable just below. If that inspires you to make some music or video for the game, so much the better; a partner program is being introduced that will allow community members to receive extra promotion from ArenaNet for producing content about the game. So get to streaming, and get ready for the final test weekend in just a few short days.