Playing The Underdog
I can’t decide if I like being “unique” or if I’m just a bit of a masochist but I’ve always had a thing for the underdog classes in MMOs. Even though it was absolutely craptastic I adored and vehemently defended the Berserker in the original Everquest and found myself wandering between the underdog tanks of EQ2. As soon as a class got nerfed I’d be on like it a fat boy onto cake and I flip-flopped between the Guardian and Berserker so often I should’ve got a medal for it. WoW is pretty well balanced but I still find myself shunning away from the popular classes like Paladins or Death Knights in favor of the plain ol’, often underestimated and underappreciated, Warrior. Even in EVE, which doesn’t even have the concept of classes, I find myself drawn to the peculiar skill combinations rather than the traditional ones.
Part of the reason I feel happy playing the less popular classes is because I’ve never cared much for the min/maxing of stats in order to squeeze out the last ounce of predictable DPS chart goodness or whatever the current measurement trend is amongst the kids these days. That doesn’t mean I’m not competitive, I’m just not overly so the point of it diminishing any personality my character and his class have to offer. Plus (I know it sounds kinda wanky) but I probably compete more with myself than anyone else. It’s ones personal aspirations and achievements that matter y’know (/wretch).
I suppose I also like to prove a point about “underpowered” classes to other players and show them that gaming skill and general personality and having fun (sorry, I’m full of altruistic rubbish tonight) is the most important part of, almost, any MMO. I’m definitely a roleplayer instead of a ruleplayer and picking a class because it’s the best at an activity is, in my mind, not a valid reason and I as often go the other way just to prove a point to those that I might encounter online. There’s something hugely rewarding about being commended for your tanking ability when playing a class that is often regarded as being inferior. It’s my personal two fingers up to all those naysayers out there.
Perhaps more of a draw than all of that though is the fact that I plain like being different. I don’t know why, I just do. Ironically, I don’t really feel this call in real life and, apart from my obviously extraordinary good looks, I’m a pretty normal bloke. When it comes to my MMOs though, I like to be different. I hate being the guy who’s playing the most popular class in a raid or seeing 50 other people in the guild with the same class. Nah, I like being unique and special and there’s nothing more obvious to announce that to the world than an unpopular, underdog class.
So there you have my ode to the underdog. And I’d like to end this article with a plea to any developers who might be reading: please, oh please, forget class balance, forget appealing to the mass market, give me lame and underappreciated classes any day.