Womblin’ free

I’m pissed cos there are two classes I’m interested in and they’re both popular.

I’m interested in a Shadow Warrior, but I’m not sure if I should roll a healer so I can get a group

It doesn’t matter who said these things. It really doesn’t. The fact is, many of us who’ve played a few MMOs (and some who haven’t) will recognise the sentiment, and have probably said something similar at some point. We’re all a little more intrigued by the underplayed classes. We’ve got to a stage where we actually take into account something more than just the class that genuinely appeals to us most. Why?

Well, we have some experience of this whole genre, so it must be based on some of the following:

  • underplayed classes means other players will recognise us faster
  • underplayed classes can often mean more grouping potential
  • we can feel we’re really championing an underdog
  • it makes us all feel a little more special
  • not competing with as many people for class-specific loot
  • the chance to become something of an expert on our class and recognised as such
  • we can feel like we didn’t follow the crowd with our class selection
  • we learned our lesson in a previous game where we picked a fun-sounding class that turned out to be unwanted in end-game play
  • bragging rights (the controversial one ;p)
  • for some of us, the class sounded more appealing (yes, we don’t have to have any ulterior motivation)

Now, obviously if a class is underplayed it didn’t sound as cool or interesting to the player who bought a box, loaded it on their computer, read through the classes and went straight into the game. Underplayed classes also tend to be support/healers or tanks – two of the vital roles when it comes to group play. Which again raises the chances for grouping. Or maybe from races that aren’t as appealing to the masses.

So, popular classes. What’s wrong with them? They’re popular which means they obviously sound appealing to many people. It’s a game, it’s a game you pay a monthly fee for. From a completely objective perspective I want to say, log on, read the descriptions, play whatever sounds the most fun ignoring all other information.

And let’s not forget that Warhammer Online is a different from games we’ve played before. The design ethic has been to create interesting classes. Thus we have healers with mechanics to allow and expect them to dps as well as stand at the back healing, or tanks with twisting. The massive class poll on WHA suggests that both tanks and healers are going to be fairly popular. That already bucks the trend somewhat, but you still hear ‘underplayed’ as one of the criteria which people are using to pick classes.

The vast majority of us haven’t yet been able to test the game at all, so we’re still coming at this without having tested/played any of the classes. It’s fairly well-known that there will be no open beta as such, the NDA will get lifted, those who pre-ordered the Collectors’ Edition will get to play a segment of beta. More class information will come out at those points. But will it be enough to stop us seeking the underplayed classes and just go for what feels most fun for us (for some of us, that will be an underplayed class).


9 Responses

  1. “I’m interested in a Shadow Warrior, but I’m not sure if I should roll a healer so I can get a group”

    Haha, that’s EXACTLY me. Except I probably will roll a healer for groups this time around, and I’ll play the SW when I find myself without groupmates/guildmates around.

    “And let’s not forget that Warhammer Online is a different from games we’ve played before.”

    I can’t comment specifically, of course, but yeah, healers have some variety. The description of the Archmage on the official site gives you an idea of how offensive capabilities are balanced with healing powers.

    “An Archmage is a powerful caster both offensively and defensively. However they must strive to keep a balance between the powers they manipulate. Weaving only powerful healing or destructive spells will leave the Archmage tired and unable to assist his allies in their darkest hour. However by carefully applying force in critical places the Archmage can reserve a wellspring of magical energy that allows him to aid his allies when a normal mage would be all but spent.”

    “by carefully applying force…he Archmage can reserve a wellspring of magical energy that allows him to aid his allies”. That’s the important part of the paragraph. Other healers have this mixing and matching element as well.

    Still, your point is valid. Even though healing has a different approach, it’s still likely that most people will pick the class that appeals to them on some intuitive level first, and we’ll be left trying to make well-balanced groups in the aftermath.

  2. Thing is, right now people are picking classes based on what sounds cool/useful. When the game goes live, unless Mythic have really broken the mould, the chances are that there will be flavour of the month classes that are more powerful or effective in some ways than others.

    So the most popular classes may just end up being the most powerful ones. If Bright Wizards totally wipe the floor with everyone else in PvP, forget the polls now, they’ll be the most played.

    And then you get the whole bandwagon effect of ‘But I was playing X before it got buffed!’

  3. I learned a lot from WoW on picking classes. I loved my rogue but could never get a group so I rolled a Priest. By the time I got him to 70 and hate the whole time, priest were no longer needed as much and rogues were hard to find. So, I learned to play what I love and in the end it will balance it’s self out.

  4. I don’t know what I do but I certainly intend to make good use of the things that I find – the things that the everyday folk leave behind – I suppose that means I’ll go for whatever is the least popular – noone likes trash – except when it’s useful

    (apologies to anyone outside the UK who might find the above comment much more baffling than it is intended to be!).

  5. Screw popularity. Screw utility.

    I’m playin’ an Orc. I’m going to run around screaming “Waaagh!” and hittin’ things. I’ve been waiting to play an Orc outside of tabletop battles since NINETEEN NINETY-FIVE. Nothing, no-one, can take that joy away from me.

  6. I think that’s the healthiest attitude cappadocius – going for fun is always what we *should* be doing!

    and cb, I love you 🙂

  7. I want to play a hammerer because thay have a big hammer.

    Simple is always the most enjoyable. Not quite sure why running around with a hammer the size of my avatar is appealing but there you have it. As long as I can hit things with it. If I could name it and it grows with me all the better.

    A dwarf can dream!

  8. I’m also finding I have to start taking keypressing into account when choosing classes nowadays, since I pretty much exclusively use keys for all my abilities.

    If a pick a class that requires many abilites to be used ‘on the move’, then I sometimes struggle to hold down W, S, A or D and hit the required key or key combination at the same time without knotting my fingers. Trying to hit 2 while holding down W is a good example.

    This isn’t usually a limitation in PvE, since mobs just tend to stand there and let you hit them, but in PvP it causes more problems, and while it probably only causes a small reduction in my effectiveness, it can be a little frustrating.

    For that reason I would be hesitant to pick a class like the Shadow Warrior, who if I understand it correctly is very mobile. A tank should hopefully be ok, but my control style is probably most suited to casters, as they usually have to stand still for most of their abilities.

    Anyway, if I really like a class, I’ll pick it regardless of how awkward I find it to control, but if it’s a marginal decision between a couple of classes, then I imagine I’ll go for the one most suited to keypressing.

  9. […] Book of Grudges pulls for the underdog… classes, that is. […]

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