How One MMO Changed Gaming For Me
Drastic Changes In Character Choices
Choosing what character you play defines your entire MMO experience. It’s a big decision. When i’m choosing what classes to play in games, I make it very personal. I take it personally. A hero or character I play has to follow a pre-defined archetype that matches my personal views. When I started playing MMOs, there were constants that ruled my choices:
- The good guys.
- Human characters.
- Melee classes
- Tank or DPS roles.
Before The Change
Going back, way back, I played a Human Paladin in EverQuest. I tried a Bard, and a Beastlord, both difference races, but just didn’t make it nearly as far.
Star Wars Galaxies was next. I played a Human, but tried several different classes with him. All ranged. The one I enjoyed most was a Rebel Commando.
World of Warcraft was Paladin and Warrior at first, both Human. This all changed with the Cataclysm expansion to World of Warcraft, and the introduction of Worgen. I’m so glad I had the chance to bring Worgen into this! Truth is, i’m a canine fanatic. I love dogs. The Worgen models just look(ed) perfect to me. My friends commented on this change too. I went from all Human characters, to almost exclusively Worgen, even adding a feral druid. Still, all melee, and all tank or DPS roles.
When I left World of Warcraft to play SWTOR, I started with a Human Jedi Knight. Yet another melee character. Then one day, for some reason I can’t recall, I tried a Human Smuggler. Wow. Ranged rocked my world. I main that Smuggler to this day, almost exclusively, in SWTOR.
When I started playing League of Legends right before leaving WoW, a champion had to look good to me. It also had to have some neutral to good lore behind it. By the time I stopped playing LoL (that time), I owned all the champions that met my criteria. They were all either Tank or Damage champions.
The Game That Changed Things
Guild Wars 2. What a great game. I played a Human Warrior to max level. As time went on, I wanted to try the Guardian class. I had decided to try the Charr race one day because their lore piqued my interest. I played both a ranged and melee support build on my Warrior. The Guardian was melee, as well as support. I enjoyed both characters thoroughly, and would love to return to Guild Wars 2 someday.
Trying to make sense of things, this is when I think whatever changed, changed. It was about November of 2012 when I found my support role love in Guild Wars 2. February of 2013 was when I left the game. Playing a support role in GW2 was the biggest change to date at this point. Before this was over a decade of gaming. Worth mentioning is that my Warrior support build was extremely successful, and is one of the most visited pages on my site to date.
Chaos Theory Continues
Over a year later, the addition of the Clarion to the Galactic Starfighter expansion arrived in SWTOR. The Clarion became my favorite ship/class. It is a heavy, heavy support role, akin to a healing class. To this day I still avoid all other healing classes in all MMORPGs. The playstyle just doesn’t appeal to me. GSF however, remains a small victory in regards to making healing fun. Moving on!
I came back to LoL (for the third time), I found myself gravitating towards some of the old champions I had passed on before. Some had a darker lore than I had gone for in the past. Some even had the same old aesthetic. It was such a drastic change for me that my friends commented on it. My affinity for support roles extended into League as well. I became a fan of some popular support champions.
After returning to World of Warcraft, I picked up a Death Knight for the very first time. Death Knights were always a non starter. I didn’t like whole undead thing. Paladins and the Light are the foundation of what I like about Warcraft. Meanwhile, my next stop was boosting a Worgen Hunter (ranged) to 90, and leveling it to 100. Currently, i’m loving both characters.
Things Begins To Take Shape
All of these changes continue to affect my experience with Heroes of the Storm. I like Brightwing, a non-human, support role. Falstad, a non-human ranged class, is also a Hero I enjoy. Most recently, I really, really love Arthas, the evil Lich King. At first, I steered clear of him. It’s pretty cool to see the last two years repeat itself over the last four months.
Reading over what I’ve written so far, I think only two things have really changed. My stance on the good (or at least neutral) guys, and my enjoyment of support roles. I’m a little more forgiving on the good versus evil front now. Redemption-related lore stands out to me as a big factor. And while I don’t have any support roles in WoW per se, the Warrior class relies just as heavily on a support class, as a support class would rely on a DPS class. I also have a ton of support role options in both Heroes of the Storm and League of Legends now.
As for melee versus ranged, I think the setting may have a lot do with it. Star Wars is all about blasters. There are Jedi with Lightsabers, but far fewer in number than your troopers and everyday galactic citizens. Perhaps this is my inner join-the-crowd psyche speaking. Maybe I tend to like whatever the predominant weaponry is. Knights and soldiers rule the battlefield imagery in my mind for Warcraft. The Human racial choices have always been about the visuals. I just didn’t like the character models of other races in games to that point. Once a visually appealing race came along (Worgen!), I didn’t hesitate to go all in.
This has all occurred over less than a years time. I can’t really explain why either. I guess becoming more tolerant isn’t a bad thing. Still, I’d like to know what things affect me so profoundly. I think that understanding yourself helps you make better decisions. Did I waste a decade of gaming playing all the wrong classes? Is it more important to my enjoyment that I like the visuals, or the game play more?
Deep thoughts, for sure. I’ll finish on a lighter note. I wouldn’t trade all my time for anything. The one thing I have learned apart from all this in the last year is that friends are the deciding factor in gaming for me. No matter what I like in a game, or how much I like it, without friends it’s game over.
What have you learned about your gaming preferences?