That's essentially what I was referring to though (what is a game if not a giant just-for-fun mechanic anyway). Every class would be able to accomplish things in unique and fun ways, but no situation would call for any single class. Now I grant that this could lead to a rather bland game, but then the obvious solution would be to design encounters with multiple ways to approach them (each way unique to a certain class).
I understand that a video game is essentially just-for-fun, but it is not a single mechanic. I only meant that a mechanic, within a game, that must interact with and make sense in the midst of a field of other mechanics, needs to contribute more than pleasantry in its existence. Also, that, by designing a game that doesn't figuratively put class-specific obstacles in your way (completely optional stuff like locked chests with 50 gold and a potion in them, aside), you have to address the fact that those class-specific abilities have been drastically reduced in purpose. Otherwise, it's sort of like taking a headphone jack off of an MP3 player, but keeping the headphones. You can still put them in your ears, if you just like headphones, but they don't really serve a function within the system anymore.
In other words, if you remove the necessity for dedicated healing to remove the restriction of party builds to need one, then, by definition, you're no longer taking more damage in any single battle in the entire game than is able to be managed by a party simply relying on their base health pools and other combat abilities. Therefore, if you take THAT scenario, and toss in a healer, everyone's immortal. So, you'd have to address the healing skills in some way, or remove it as well. You couldn't just leave healing exactly how it was when the game was designed around fights needing healers or you'd have a problem on your hands.
That's all I was getting at. You take a weight off of one side of the scale, and the other side moves as well.
There is always that, but the impression I got from "huge full plate fighter" was the kind of archetype that stands there and soaks up damage (while getting topped off by healers) while the glass cannon rogues and mages do their business. In that situation the group's longevity is limited to that fighter taking 4x (or whatever they settle for the final ratio being) his health in stamina damage before they're forced to rest, and realistically that point would come much sooner to avoid the risk of the fighter getting smoked mid battle.
It's understandable that you thought of that scenario, specifically, because that's how it's been in so many games. But that was Josh was trying to point out, I think. That, you can still have a heavily-armored tank who soaks up damage without relying upon a healer for the damage mitigation. Having heals reverse incoming damage is only one way of mitigating damage.
I'm not even saying get rid of heals (which, I know that's been talked about, but I honestly don't know if they just mean Health, or if they mean for Stamina, too) completely. But, like you said, design that eliminates unnecessary class restrictions is a good thing, and eliminating those restrictions requires touching up related mechanics. But, healing isn't the only thing that can allow a full-plate knight to survive a battle. We're just in the habit of relying on it, thanks to long-standing RPG design.
It seems we're pretty much in agreement; I guess at this point it's just a question of how much faith one has in Obsidian to deliver on their lofty goals.
Maybe my problem is I'm just too pessimistic.
Edited by Dream, 13 December 2012 - 10:14 PM.