Forty Drunken Dwarves
Oct 01, 2008 12:48:35

I have said it many times before, and I will say it many times in the future; hell hath no fury like a gamer whose game has been scorned. But there is one aspect of gaming, which is particular to MMOs, that DOES have "fury like hell" because it usually makes people as mad as hell if you don't agree with their viewpoint.

What is that subject?

That subject, my friends is player versus player (pvp). The proof of which can be found no further than this web site, in the body of the article by Brent entitled "Warhammer Online: the mmo that jumps the shark" - I have come to think of it as "the article read "round the world."

Now before anyone's eyes starts rolling back in their head (either due to exasperation or being so mad you are possessed) I am not referring to what makes good pvp or not. The issue of whether or not virtual death in pvp should have real consequences can be saved for another day.

No, what I am talking about here is the "how" of pvp; in a word, archetypes. For those of you who may be reading these pages for the first time, when I say "archetype" what I am talking about is something a character class that serves as a model or "pattern" for the way any given MMO is played. In other words, computer graphics have developed by leaps and bounds. We have gone from largish squares bouncing from one side of the screen to the next (remember "Pong"?) to CG movies that portray humans so realistically they are difficult to tell from real people. Yet with all this we are still playing games the same way. We are still spamming chat channels with "looking for healer, looking for tank."

Yet try to change the way games are played "" try and break out of traditional roles "" and many gamers will react as if you asked to not only shoot their dog, but bake it up in a pie afterwards.

Now I didn't expect to be living in a future with the moving sidewalks and folding cars that I used to see in the Jetsons cartoons back in the sixties. However, I had at least hoped to have a few forward thinking players to go along with the forward thinking developers at Mythic. Now some of you may re-read that last sentence and think back to what I wrote in the article entitled "Seein' Red" and think I am doing a bid of back peddling. But I remember I am talking about archetypes here. It is sad comment on gamers as a whole that the devs at Mythic have to design game mechanics that protect gamers from from themselves: pubic quests where no one can be shut out and healers that MUST be on the front line to heal are but two refreshing examples.

What I am starting to see in Warhammer PvP however, is the same thing I saw the first time I came to a "roleplaying server" (rp server). The interesting thing about roleplaying servers is that despite being very popular very little actual roleplaying goes on there. The reason they are so popular is that many players game there hoping to meet and play with more mature players. What inevitably happens, however, is that all those people who came to the rp server to escape the other servers simply bring the behavior with them.

When I left the pvp in World of Warcraft (WoW) to come to Warhammer, I had hoped with the advent some of the new way Mythic looks at old archetypes I might have met with some refreshing new attitudes. I had hoped to leave behind all those people who seemed determine to tell everyone else around them that they can play games, including pvp their way, or simply "get out"...of the guild or the static group. Yet here I am in Warhammer and once again I see that ugly monster hubris rear its head once again. Whether it is in forum posts or general chat I am beginning to meet with the same people from WoW (no, not literally the same people) who told my paladin that I MUST heal and buff. The conversation went something like this, as forty of us are marching down into the depths of Molten Core in WoW, long before there was an "Outland."

Guild leader: Ok, you there, Dwarf Paladin, I want you to heal off tank.

Me. Wait a minute, don't I get to fight? I'm a retribution spec'd paladin, I told you that.

Guild leader: We NEED you on that wall healing.

Me: All I get to do is heal? What am I wearing this armor for?

Guild leader: I was wondering why you bothered to wear it myself; I tell you what, you can fight the garbage mobs but when we get to the boss you need to heal.

Me: So when I fight I get to fight the garbage?

Guild leader: Right.

Me: But when it really counts you want me to heal. Despite the fact I hate it, and I am no good at it.

Guild leader: Right.

Me: Can I ask you one question?

Guild leader: Sure.

Me: How much is the guild paying me per hour?

Guild leader: Um...huh? What?

Me: Well I already have a job. In fact it pays well, that's why I do it - despite the fact I hate it. But if I come here to do something don't like so YOU can have fun, even when I am not, I must be getting paid.

Guild leader: Why would we pay you? You are doing it for the team.

Me: "Win one for the Gipper? Right?"

Guild leader: Who's the "Gipper"?

Me: Never mind. The thing is, we come here four hours a night, every night of the week and longer on weekends. We are forced to execute the raid with such precision that it would make a Navy Seals team jealous. And we have to do everything you say otherwise we will get a "50 DKP MINUS." And why is this?

Guild leader: ...for fun.

Me: This isn't fun.

Guild leader: So we can win.

Me: Why do we have to win? What happens if we loose?

Guild leader: We have to win because losing is pause)....losers.

Me: You know it seems to me that if forty drunken dwarves wanted to just come down here and take on Ragnors and tell jokes, it seems like they should be able to, no matter what class they play.

Guild leader: They would lose.

Me: So what? They would have fun.

Guild leader: Are you nuts? There are other people here who want to win! Do you think we're here to have fun? Do you think this is just a game?

(After another long pause)

Me: um...yup...I think this is just a game.

(I start to walk away)

Guild leader: Where are you going?

Me: find 39 other drunken dwarves.

- Julie Whitefeather

Submitted by Brent on Oct 01, 2008 12:48:35 CST (comments: 7)


'My sentiments exactly.' by Trillio
Submitted on 2008-10-01 13:37:46 CST
I could go on and on about why I ultimately stopped playing WoW, but the "Look-at-My-Huge-E-Peen" elitist player base (which is pretty much what you've exemplified here with the "Guild Leader"), was a huge factor. There is some of that in pretty much every MMO I've played but it seems far more rampant in WoW. It is disconcerting to know that this has spilled over into WAR, which I plan on playing once I've had my fill of AoC.

You can also include this type of exclusionary behavior when it comes to gear in WoW as well, because the same sort of "have this item that gives you x stat or you can't play with us" mentality exists in that respect too.

'Bad players or bad designers?' by Shalkis
Submitted on 2008-10-02 02:31:48 CST
It seems that I'll have to step to the Devil's Advocate role here and defend the guild leader. Clearly, he's an achiever archetype (in the Bartle sense), where killing Ragnaros is fun, and wiping on Ragnaros is not fun. So naturally he was trying to maximize his fun by optimizing the raid, just like you were trying to maximize your fun by finding 39 drunken dwarves. And before the Burning Crusade, the retribution tree was lackluster in PvE when compared to other DPS classes/specs. That was simply bad design and thus the game designers were really at fault there. The guild leader was simply trying to make the most of a bad situation, even willing to make compromises so that both the achievers and the socializers could have fun in that raid.

That said.. I haven't played WAR myself so I don't know if a Rune Priest (as an example) is viable in both healing and DPS. Clearly, the intent of the designers is to allow Rune Priests to be able to do both. If the Rune Priests are working as intended, then you are 100% correct and it's the players with their outdated prejudices that should be blamed.

Finally, there's the issue of game design being so inflexible that it doesn't allow to play unorthodox classes/specs (like a melee hunter), but that's a separate issue and is worth a separate post.

'Well let me say this about that.' by Julie
Submitted on 2008-10-02 16:49:55 CST
Interestingly enough the guild leader role is sort of a conglomeration of several guild leaders and events and isn't really one person (it's called "dramatic license"). But when you said "So naturally he was trying to maximize his fun by optimizing the raid, just like you were trying to maximize your fun by finding 39 drunken dwarves" I believe you were spot on as far as the general line of reasoning behind it. This was all one the alliance side. When I went over to the horde side for the first time (before the Burning Crusade came out) I did manage to get into a guild that ran molten core for the fun and even had arguments that ran like this: "no I don't want it YOU take it."

Saddly those days are gone, never to be again with the emphasis by Blizzard of rushing players past the middle levels of the game.

But the more important issue is that of character classes that are able to do both DPS and Healing well. In fact before you reach level 20 on a goblin shaman you receive a "tactic" you can use interchangably before you go into battle (more on this in show 9) that enables you to do 25% more dps and 25% less healing. So it is nice to see such control with the character. It is also refreshing to see mechanics like, with the Shaman if you want a boost to damage, you have to heal for awhile, and if you want a boost to healing, you have to do damage for awhile. The goblin shaman character is the only character I have ever played where a tank (a black orc in this case) asked me to stop healing him and do more dps to the champion we were trying to take down - what a switch.

It's a shame that Mythic had to design characters and game mechanics that protect players from themselves (for example healers that have to be in the front lines in order to be able to heal...and anyone who has ever tried to take down a goblin shaman or disciple of khain knows how well the mechanic works...great). Still, the fact that the devs at Mythyic DID take that approach to gaming is fantastic.


'RP Paladin vs Non RP Paladin' by chamelean90
Submitted on 2008-10-08 15:10:45 CST
Is it the archetype, or is it the way the archetype is played?

Having played DnD for over 20 years, I cant imagine a Paladin sitting back bored pumping in the odd heal whilst a named monster was going furious against the party. If someone says to my Paladin "sit back and heal" my response would be blocked by the profanity checker (even though my Noble & Heroic Paladin would never swear of course).

The same is true of all other classes. I could expand on this point quite a lot, but i'll leave it there for now. A raid/group leader on an RP server should know what to expect from a Paladin,,, heroism & gallantry, not minor healing.

'Paladins and more' by Julie
Submitted on 2008-10-09 10:13:10 CST
@ Chamelean90: It is indeed true in World of Warcraft, especially now, that Paladins are capable of doing much more then most players give them credit for. I think they are taken a bit more seriously on the horde side of things (I have level 70 characters on horde and alliance but my level 70 paladin is a dwarf). More than anything else it seems to me not the way the archetype is played but the archaic expectations from other players trying to force another player in to a role not of that players bidding.

I can identify with your opinion however and that is exactly why I got tired of playing my paladin and quit. To me a paladin is supposed to be a holy warrior battling in the front lines - after all, a paladin and a warrior taken together without any additional support, the paladin is capable of lasting much longer.

Yes a raid/group leader on an RP serer SHOULD know better, but in World of Warcraft most of the time they don't.

Saddly this same archaic attitude occasionally creeps in to Warhammer Online (rarely but it happens). I have had underware models...excuse me "witch elves" complain I am not healing. My answer is of course: No...I'm just not healing YOU.


'Gee Dubs is the answer' by Grugio
Submitted on 2008-10-13 22:23:13 CST
Despite people calling Guild Wars not an MMO, it has some of the best, innovative PvP in the genre. You are only limited by your level of creativity and skill. There are no archetypal healers or tanks, as almost all of the classes are able to combine in such a way that you can be effective at anything you want. If you want to do damage and be able to heal at the same time, you can. Try it out.

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