I have a vivid memory of a particular time when I was playing vanilla World of Warcraft when I heard or read one of Blizzard’s developers pour on the hate for damage-over-time (DoT) spells. I mean, this guy really, really hated them and did not hold back on how he thought they were cheesy and annoying to balance.
I wish I could find that original quote, but what I remember best is just how angry I got at him in return. At the time, I was playing a Warlock, a class that was more or less all about DoTs. And I loved my ‘lock. There was nothing more satisfying than loading up an enemy with a bushel-full of DoTs and watch him tick down until his demise. What I was hearing from Blizzard (or at least this one dev) is that my preferred playstyle was bad in some way and despised by the very people who put it in the game.
I’m sure my memory exaggerates, but it’s stuck with me, because every time I play a DoT-wielding class, I feel like I’m rebelling against this dev and any others who are part of the anti-DoT set. Go Syp. Be that hardcore James Dean of the virtual worlds. Oh I totally am.
Along with hybrid classes and pet classes, any class that primarily deals in DoTs is one that is actively wooing me in MMOs. I’ve never been a guy who loves to hit the big crits and go all-out for direct damage, anyway. I’d rather do more damage over time and have that delayed gratification of seeing my enemy wither away no matter what it does. It’s just so dang satisfying.
One of the reasons that I love RIFT is that it allows me to make DoT builds as much as I like. My cleric has two separate DoT builds that I alternate between, and I love both dearly (my Cabalist/Druid one is my favorite, though). I’m not hitting the enemy in the face; I’m cutting its legs out from underneath it and laughing all the way to the loot bank.
It could also be that I have an intrinsic love of multitasking — of getting more than one thing done at once. Knowing that I’ve triggered several attacks that are ongoing while I’m doing something else entirely is bliss. Add a pet to the mix and I might as well be a slobbery, tail-waving dog. Who plays video games.
The flip-side of DoTs are HoTs — heal over times, and yes, I love those as well. My RIFT Warden and WoW Druid both primarily healed with HoTs and it was terrific for many of the same reasons that I gave for DoTs. The tradeoff of time for a greater overall effect (and sometimes less mana/power usage) is worth it to me, as long as I’m willing to plan ahead.