“Establish a low barrier to entry, engage more players.”
–Inspired by Extra Credits

Extra Credits (Youtube account)
Link: “Balancing For Skill”

Why have I placed so much importance on narrowing down and clarifying each of the PC combat roles? Leader, Defender, Controller, Striker. Why?

In part to give each major character type the equivalent of a “Noob Tube.” Some attack or effect they can spam to great effect.

A means by which new players can “fake it ’til they make it.”

This kind of thing is crucial to the life of a game — and the development of a sustaining metagame. The metagame emerges from player/skill mastery of a game’s systems to engage players beyond what the game itself can offer.

A noob tube levels the playing field.

Honestly, the Fighter has been the “noob tube” for several editions of D&D — “you never run out of sword attacks” is an excellent way to introduce a new player to a game about resource management and survival.

They have something — one thing — they can always count on.

In contrast, there are grenades, which exist in many games as the bane of new players — grenades in Worms can be used to arc over life-saving barriers that new players need to survive long enough to understand the effects of wind.

Grenades, employed by experienced players, are exploited to one-shot many a noob. This kind of play isn’t fun for anyone except the experienced player. Arguably, the easy win isn’t fun for them either — there’s no challenge.

This is one of the strongest arguments for largely non-lethal grenades. In games — like first-person shooters — where the majority of firearms are based on line-of-sight, grenades break the rules. They can be lobbed over imposing barriers.

But what about a combat role designed around such tactics?

That’s the controller, they’re based around indirect combat. They’re a cornerstone (one of four!) of combat, designed to break the game in a specific way. They don’t care about barriers or line of sight. It’s their advantage.

Each of the combat roles has one. They’re easy to use but selectively useful.

They level the playing field in a particular way.

Admittedly, I’ve removed line of sight from the game, including cover and concealment — because they’re redundant with another very important rules innovation: the delineation of melee, ranged, close, and area attack types.

A bonus to defenses against one or more of these attack types represents a kind of cover, or a kind of concealment. It’s the basis of the Conjuror’s “Invisibility” power, which grants him a +5 bonus vs. melee and ranged attacks.

Invisibility is a kind of defensive noob tube. If I’ve done my job well, there will exist a noob tube for every class.