Getting In The Way Of My Own Goals
The fact that I like PvP and multiplayer makes me at least a mildly competitive in gamer. I guess. I don’t strive for the number one spot, but I like to do well. Kind of a passive-aggressive balance between not caring and going overboard. Anyway the point of this rambling is to say that in order to excel in gaming, you have to pick the classes and roles that play to your strengths. You choose a playstyle that fits you. That creates two problems for me. I don’t know what my playstyle is, and my other problem is just the natural progression of what comes next. I have a hard time picking what to wear.
My Quest For The Perfect Playstyle
There are a whole lot of levels to this problem. First up is the developers. They either can’t, or don’t want, to be flexible in regards to class selection. World of Warcaft is the best example. Now as I mentioned above, I love to PvP. My ‘main’ character in Warcraft is a Paladin, and I really love the Protection (tank) spec. Unfortunately for me though, Protection Paladins are not ideal for Arenas (Ranked PvP for the uninitiated). They could be, but the devs have just chosen not to balance them. I’m guessing that’s because it’s too hard. But hey, that’s why I picked up a Warrior. Except that now Warriors are only good when they have a healer. Finding a healer for PvP that is both a) good, and b) online when you are, is #!%$*@& impossible. The constant changing balance of classes is so frustrating.
The next part of this problem is a little more of my own doing. I’ve tried a lot of playstyles in MMOs. Warriors, Paladins, Rogues/Thieves, and more. I’ll find a few of these classes to be particularly fun, but which one is more fun? Most fun? How much time do I have to spend with a class to figure this out? What if our group needs a tank? I don’t want to sit around waiting for a <needed class> logs on, or find one of sufficient skill through LFG. Then, i’m playing so many different classes that I lose track sometimes. I really don’t have the time to level up every class to max level, then fully gear it up, then bounce around in ranked PvP for a few weeks.
Then on top of all this, I have to ask the life-long question: Melee or ranged? Well, given the classes above you’d think melee. I thought so too for the longest time. That is, until I tried smuggler in SWTOR. I can honestly say Smuggler is my favorite class in SWTOR, hands down. That decision is easy. That got me to try a Hunter in WoW, which I immediately loved as well. So now I’m back at square one. Guild Wars 2 has the best system I have experienced so far. The classes were all highly customizable, and the build I had for my warrior was probably the most fun of any class in any game I’ve played.
So this part ties in with my playstyle quandary. There are some classes I won’t play. Generally those are the ones in cloth, but it could also be because I don’t like the concept (Necromancer/Warlock). I may be the best mage the world has ever known, but unless I can wear plate mail, the world just won’t ever know it. I don’t care about magic. I want swords and shields to plow through the enemy with. Or a good blaster. Another example is race/class combinations. I love way Worgen look in WoW, and I love the way Paladins play. You can’t be a Worgen Paladin though. Why should I have to sacrifice any part of what I like in a video game? This isn’t real life, this is a game. This is purely for entertainment, and I’m spending money on it. I get attached to my characters! I see them for hours on end! More frustration.
Another example of this is in Company of Heroes 2. I’m in love with this game. CoH2 is a WWII era RTS game where you choose an army to battle with. Being an American, I like to play the United States. Unfortunately for me, they apparently don’t fit my playstyle. They’re a moderately aggressive, combined arms force. Apparently I’m a defensive, single focus player. I don’t want to try the Germans, Russians, or British. So I’m trying to learn a new playstyle, but coming in dead last nearly every game. It eats at my soul when I can’t even pull my own weight. Locking playstyles to specific visuals is a mistake. Stellaris, a 4x strategy game, is another good example. There are no visually appealing races for me to play. Dozens of races, but nothing that I find interesting. That’s the only thing that keeps me from going back to the game. It’s such a stupid reason too, I know. It’s literally just a little portrait you only see occasionally. The game itself is fun. Eventually I’m sure they’ll release some DLC with a race I like, but until then, it’ll continue gathering digital dust.
Anomaly or Pattern?
The answer to all this is customization. Video games need more customization and flexibility. Skill trees over class templates. Why do classes/roles have to be so narrowly defined? Why do I have to choose between what I find fun, and what I find visually appealing? I understand that you can’t plan for an infinite number of scenarios, but why am I having so much trouble? It seems in every game I play, I have to choose between what I want, and what’s good for me. Am I really that far outside what developers consider ‘normal’ players? I am determined not to sacrifice visual appeal in my games. Guild Wars 2 makes it work, why can’t everyone else pick up on it? Am I just weird? I don’t have time to try and master every class in every game, and then pick a class to keep playing! I just want to pick a role, and at least pick a general visual appearance. DEVELOPERS: Stop locking me into such narrow templates! If you want my money, just let me be me.