Career Changes

Here’s how I’ve seen it.

A new game goes live, everyone rushes in, and we all pick the class that either sounds good or that we’ve typically enjoyed in other games. Bottom line, this means there’s a whole lot of rangers/hunters, monks/martial artist-types, rogues, paladins (unless the word is out that they are the suck beyond suck), wizards/mages and necromancers/warlocks/the life suckers.

Everybody likes to do big damage and everybody likes to keep their solo’ing options open. There’s always a few diehards that choose warriors or priests/clerics/doctors/whateverthehell they call the badass healers in the game. I mean, they choose tank or healer because they WANT to play that class. *boggle* The game may be tuned so that tanks and healers can solo, but CMON, a defense class takes longer to kill stuff because that’s the way of the world, ERGO, the tanks and healers take longer to max out.

Naturally, there’s situations where a guild will … let’s say, encourage … some of its members to make tanks and healers in the new game, but for the most part, in the initial rush of the new game, most of us are choosing the hardcore DPS or solo classes.

We all race through the levels and the zones, sometimes there’s a few bad levels when the living isn’t so easy anymore, but most will work through the rough levels to arrive at better skills, better equipment and better spells.

A week or three after the first max levels start appearing in game, it’s reality time. For a myriad of reasons, we’ll have to group up to advance further: either the best spells or equipment are hidden away in group/raid dungeons, tougher quests require a group or more, the mobs start hitting like a truck or AE’ing the shit out of anyone that approaches, or, in a PVP situation, players need to group for everyone’s mutual protection, e t c.

Enter the first wave of the character remakes. Some will recognize the necessity earlier than others, some later — we all arrive at the same realization that we’re going to need more tanks and A LOT more healers. Deja vu is never so bitter than at this point.

If the player is an experienced sort, he/she/it has some decisions to make. 1. Will he/she remake as a healer or tank? The sooner there’s more volunteers to take one for the team, so to speak, the faster the tank/healer drought will be over, and 2. Is he/she going to stick around for very long in this game, because frankly, he/she might want to buy a 2nd account to house the healer: the 2-box and powerlevel possibilities, the healer can be whored out to the guild later on, can be used as a buff and heal bot for later waves of remakes.

(Hey, it was just a thought! I don’t make up the rules, I don’t design the endgames, I just live in ’em.)

Few more weeks pass, more tanks and healers arrive on the scene to end the drought and the game moves on.

Enter the first wave of major class balancing — y’know, a reshuffling of which are the god classes and which are the pity classes via the wonders of nerfs and buffs. After the initial wailing and gnashing of teeth, the second wave of character remakes begins in earnest — The DPS Remakes. (Recall the EverQuest post-Kunark monk/rogue remakes … Fungi Tunics everywhere, not a competent feign puller to be found. Crimony.)

Players in a guild will again be (ahem) encouraged to remake as the new DPS gods; the unguilded masses may decide they can solo further into the game and/or find groups easier as one of the new DPS gods.

And so it goes. Tuning and balancing of the classes is shortly followed by waves of remakes. Game expansions bring new zones with different challenges, new monsters with higher DPS and more wicked AE’s — hopefully there’s new character spells and skills to deal with the new challenges — all of which spawns yet another wave of remakes. Maybe if the game is far enough along, players already HAVE the new “chosen” class at max level and can just dust it off and continue their way through the new content.

But probably not. There’s only so many hours in a day.

It’s not that I always have to be the DPS god class or have 89 healers on every raid, there is fun to be had without such luxuries. But when the nerf bat swings around and lobotomizes my chosen class and what was once doable is now not possible, kinda sucks the fun out of it. Having to hold two (or 3 or 4) more raid slots for healers means two (or 3, 4) other players won’t be joining us — that’s not much fun either.

Eventually, we all gotta do what we gotta do to make it in the virtual world — the raid guilds have mouths to feed, the casual guilds and soloers have loot wants and needs, too. Sometimes that means a career change for the character. Like with a real life job.

What? You thought this was a game?

Tsk, tsk. You haven’t been paying attention.

6 thoughts on “Career Changes

  1. “I mean, they choose tank or healer because they WANT to play that class. *boggle*”
    Hmm I like to play healers, because 1) soloing in MMOGs is dead boring, and 2) finding groups is even more boring, and 3) healers are the easiest to get into groups.

  2. For people like me, who came to Everquest straight from Ultima, it was definitely a case of “Total Group Ignorance”. Some people knew what was going on, and had played the MUDs that Everquest was based on, but for people who had never experienced the holy trinity group dynamic before there was a lot of catching up to do in terms of gameplay and character decisions.

    For quite some time in Ultima there were only two “classes” you were either a tank mage or you were a goddamned thief. It wasn’t until meditation was added and healing was reworked that you had more defined class templates, but even at that point you only had about 3 classes, Mage, Dexxer, and Thief.

    To make matters worse for people who would transition to Everquest, Ultima was never about killing mobs. They were there, you got loot from them, and they got your skills up, but all but the most difficult of creatures could be soloed by relatively new characters. The most difficult mobs in the game were easily killable once you had a decent character.

    Ultima was all about the other people in the game with you, and grouping was something you did for protection from other players or to steamroll other players. When you couple this with the fact that even the best weapons and armor in the game were only a little bit better than commonly available equipment, and that you were almost guaranteed to get dry looted on a daily basis (your equipment was basically meaningless) and you had a whole group of Everquest players who had no idea what they were supposed to be doing.

    Everquest was familiar to me in the sense that it was much more like D&D than Ultima was (classes/levels) but in tabletop D&D there’s really no such thing as Aggro management, usually the DM just ends up attacking the guy who’s being the most annoying, so I just ended up picking the class that I like most in D&D (ranger) and went with it. I probably made it to about lvl 13 before I ever realized that I was supposed to be grouping with people. I remember reading about the taunt skill and thinking it was the stupidest skill I’d ever heard of (Who the hell would use that?.) I didn’t even have it on my skill bar. It wasn’t until right before I stopped playing at lvl 18 that I started to realize how the group dynamic was set up and that the reason that it was taking me so long to get anything done is that I wasn’t playing the game right.

    That was the last exposure I had to a class based game until WoW. Being a guy who loves the melee class I rolled a warrior, and was pretty depressed until we started to get buffed. That’s when the situation that you’re talking about arose, where now with a 30% crit chance and TUF, we absolutely destroy people, you cant spit without spraying a warrior. Now we’re staring to get nerfed (warriors, nerfed, ha! Go back in time and tell that to a warrior in January) and the pendulum is swinging back the other way. Looks like it’s time for the hunters and druids to shine now.

  3. I’d be surprised to find even 5 priests on my server without a full schedule on any given night, much less 15. Not that many are still shadow specced at 60 either, almost all are holy/disc or disc/holy.

    Wish Warcraft would beef up mages some. We could use a mage remake wave.

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