Tanking About, celestial-style
Why do people play tanks? We can assume a multitude of reasons for this, but the truth is probably, as it always is, more complicated than anything one might assume. And every person’s reason is their own, from a simple ‘I like the abilities’ to a complex understanding of mechanics and gameplay systems.
In regards to Pantheon, there is an interesting way to look at the game’s tanks through the lense of trying to intuit how they will play and how they will feel. We already know a bit about the Dire Lord’s anti-magic specialization, the Provoking Phantoms stacks and the aggressive, in-your-face style of tanking that befits a class such as Dire Lord. At the same time, while not much is known of the Warrior at this time, we do know some things and it looks that this class will be a classic tank with a few specific twists. But what interests me personally the most at the moment is the Paladin.
In most MMOs I tend to fill the tank role. I enjoy it, I like to be in front, taking hits, protecting others. And I tend to play martial, melee classes because of that. Paladin was always one of my favourites. But what I am seeing so far with Pantheon’s take on Paladin might just make it my favourite class period. In any game. Granted, we still know precious little about it, so let us not get ahead of ourselves and measure our passion. But… speculating is fun, so I’m gonna do it.
Looking at the abilities, the first thing that jumps out at me, is the defensive utility combined with a healing potential for the Pantheon’s Paladin. An ability like Arcing Light is a perfect quick pick-me-up for the nearest few of your group. That gives your healer the opportunity to focus on the more important targets, knowing that any damage that may come from enemies the Paladin is tanking will be mitigated by the Paladin themselves. With the proper balancing I can see this being really satisfying to pull off during a close battle.
Another ability that jumps out at me is Living Light. If those flames of celestial light are directional, meaning they behave in a predictable fashion and move in consistent directions from you, that’s a whole subset of tanking skill opening up. As a tank, you’d have to not only think about your positioning regarding the boss, but also regarding your group, if you want to be a secondary\tertiary source of healing for them. And I love that, no MMO that I played thus far was able to put such strong tools in the hands of the tank, being able to not only fulfill their main role, but to help out in other areas where needed as well.
But the most interesting ability to me at this time is Atone. It just screams Paladin however you look at it. It’s sacrificial, it’s powerful, it’s useful, it’s thematic. It is honestly a perfect Paladin ability, as far as I’m concerned. Sacrificing your own survivability to help a downed ally is the ultimate Paladin move, and I know that anyone who was ever invested in playing a Paladin will agree with me. At the same time, while incredible conceptually, Atone can be borderline unusable outside of some fringe circumstances. If the Overzealous state lasts too long, or the casting time is not practical, you may never actually encounter a scenario where using it is a thing you can afford to do. So it’s a precarious ability to work on, that is for sure. But those are often the best ones.
No doubt, my musings here are no more than just that, musings. And it will be difficult to get the Paladin right, fulfilling that expectation. But from what I’ve seen so far from Visionary Realms, I have faith in them to get it right. And I look forward to learning more about the Paladin.
In conclusion, cherish your tanks, thank your healers, and let the DPS flow. We tanks will make sure that you’re safe and protected.