Well, to be honest, Guild Wars 2 had already garnered my interest, and I haven't been ignoring it . . . exactly. Maybe a little. I really don't want to get burned by the hype for another MMO that isn't even going to be out this year. Still, I follow Kill Ten Rats and in a post today Ravious talked about running dungeons in GW2, and the party makeup required to be successful.
The short version is -- there isn't one. Guild Wars 2 is being designed to do away with the "holy trinity" of classes that have been the backbone of MMORPG fantasy games since Everquest. If you want to get technical, it really dates back to the days of pen-and-paper Dungeons and Dragons, where sensible players would put their beefiest most heavily armored characters in the path of danger, the fragile mages would lurk in the background tossing spells, rogues would skulk around the edge of the battle trying to stab things in the back, and clerics would keep everyone alive as best they could. It's a model that has been essentially unchanged for decades, and one that most (but not all) MMORPGs have followed.
Guild Wars 2 developers have been claiming for a while that they've done away with all that. I've nodded appreciatively and essentially dismissed the claim with "I'll believe it when I see it." Ravious, apparently, has seen it, and my interest in this game just jumped up a few notches.
The "holy trinity" is tired, and just doesn't work that well from a social standpoint in an MMORPG setting. Tanks and healers have a lot of responsibility. Responsibility makes things feel like work. Games are (generally) played for fun, not work, so the roles of tank and healer are shunned by a majority of players. This has no impact on general questing and adventuring out and about in the game world, but it has a huge impact when it comes time to run group content like instanced dungeons.
Rift attempted to alleviate the holy trinity by giving almost every character the ability to play almost any role by flipping a switch. Sadly, it doesn't seem to have been enough, because it doesn't address the underlying issue that people don't want the responsibility of being the tank or the healer, especially in pickup groups, even if they actually like playing the tank or healer class. So even in Rift it is often very hard to find a tank or healer for groups.
Guild Wars 2 is trying to avoid that entirely, and it sounds like they're succeeding. Groups still need to work as a team, and content is not cakewalk easy, but it should be possible to form successful groups with almost any class composition. This suggests groups will be much easier to form, and group content will be, dare I say it, more accessible. I'm all for accessibility through clever game design rather than the dumbing down of content. Time will tell whether it really works on a broader scale, but I'm more optimistic at this point that Guild Wars 2 really will be something new and different.