Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Learn to Improvise (We Don't Need No Stinkin' Mages)

So this rant stems from the outcry that has come up over Blizzard's new Armory feature (which I think it just plain awesome by the way). Lots of people across the WoW community are bitching about 'lack of privacy', but once you look at the reasoning presented by these complainers, the main issue seems to be a sense of worry about how their character might be perceived by their guildmates. Especially concerning talent builds. What an extremely silly thing to get upset about. If your guild is so anal and unimaginative that they demand that you spend your talent points in a certain way, then you need to find a new guild (unless that sort of thing doesn't bother you).

Are these guildmates really so set in their rut that they cant figure out how to use an arms warrior or shadow priest effectively?! This brings back memories of the early days of Shadowclan in WoW. For those unfamiliar with Shadowclan, we are an orc-only guild (recently, we began to allow trolls with restrictive guidelines). In the early days of the game, as the guild began to hit the upper dungeons, there was much debate about allowing other races into our orc-only guild, with some claiming that we could never do many of the dungeons with an orc-only group. If I recall correctly, this first came up in regards to the Lycaeum in Blackrock Depths (the place with the massive dwarf armies that respawn every 30 seconds).

"You must have a mage," they cried, "Otherwise its impossible!"

Nope. We did it. Many times. Sometimes with warlock help, sometimes sneaky rogue attacks, and other times with just quick-moving, coordinated firepower! Then it was said that LBRS would be too hard. Done. Then UBRS. Done... one time with only 8 orcs. Five orc Dire Maul tribute run? Done. Stratholme? Done. Scholomance. Done? Epic Dreadsteed quest? Done. Epic Shaman hat quest? Done. We never had the numbers to try Molten Core, and the smaller raids weren't released until a large portion of our guild had already left WoW for other pursuits. I'm sure there are plenty of naysayers that will claim the raids would have been impossible with an orc-only group, but, we'll never really know for sure at this point.

This is one problem with class-based games. Players get stuck in this single-path mentality and refuse to escape it (or can't due to overly restrictive game mechanics that make their class choice a cookie cutter mold). This has also limited the skill-based games, because players aren't able to think outside the box and dont know what to do with themselves when presented with an open skill tree. The entry barrier that Eve suffers is a great example. It's obvious that many MMO players need some sort of guidance, especially those who are new to the genre, but locking players into a cookie-cutter mold (even if there are two dozen varieties of cookie shapes), just doesnt cut it for me in the MMO theater.

This rant may seem a little hypocritical, as Shadowclan requires that all players in the guild play an orc, but, in comparison to many WoW guilds, thats a very small requirement. We have no class requirements, no talent specifications that must be adhered to, no equipment expectations, etc, etc. So we're sort of the anti-anal-rentitive-raiding guild. We'll take four warriors and an enhancement-spec shaman into a dungeon and find a way to emerge victorious.

So what am I bitching about? I'm not complaining about the class system itself (thats a rant for another day). WoW actually does a decent job of using the talent trees to allow players to customize their characters so that they are all a little bit different. I'm bitching about the types of players who can't think for themselves or use some creativity to come up with a solution that doesnt require a friend to remold their character. Learning to work together and to play off each others strengths as well as shore up weaknesses is relatively easy to do and much more fun for everyone involved.


Tanuviel said...

Interesting perspective, but to be honest in WoW high level instances life become really hard without some form of CC. It does not necessary mean you need a mage, but their CC tool agaist humanoid/beast is very efficient. Plus in Heroic/Raid content group balance is really key. Thanks for your comment on my blog!

Tholal said...

I don't deny that it can be helpful. Is it absolutely required? Certainly not.