Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Parental Response

Being a Rogue
in World of Warcraft is a good way to earn a lot of enmity.

Which seems to make sense, given both the connotations and the fucking definition of the word 'rogue'.

You see, a Rogue has a distinct advantage in one-on-one PvP, assuming that they can get the drop on the opposition using Stealth and Backstab.

According to some of the forums, however, that's totally not cool.

Rogue isn't the only character class that gets attention from the Nerf Criers. In fact, almost every class in the game has at least one post bemoaning how grossly overpowered X power is, or Y trinket, or some other aspect.

What all of those posts boil down to is this: "That's not fair!"

We all know that life isn't fair. But guess what?

Games don't have to be fair, either.

In fact, there seems to be an assumption nowadays that playbalancing automatically means that each side will have exactly the same advantages and disadvantages.

This is, of course, folly.

Consider the much-lauded multiplayer in Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow. You have spies and mercenaries. Spies have the benefit of a wider field of view, scores of gadgets and stealthiness. Mercenaries have got the guns. There is no regard given to a level playing field - in fact, on a level playing field, the spies get riddled with bullets and left for dead.

But this system is balanced, in the sense that the players must not only know their own skills and their opponent's weaknesses, but the right time to strike.

What many MMORPG players don't seem to realize is a fundamental lesson of American history: Separate is inherently unequal.

The only way to have completely equal classes is to make one class, with only one set of powers and only one talent tree.

It seems that the majority of those bitching that such-and-such is overpowered or underpowered are what would be called 'achievement gamers'. They add up all the stats, figure out all the hidden formulas and crunch all the numbers, all in an attempt to point out inequalities in the system. They do this in order to maximize their own characters. They debate which builds and equipment sets will gain the biggest advantage in PvP. Which means they tend to be the first ones to call for nerfing if they discover even a minor advantage over their character.

They are, of course, the ones that gravitated first, and care the most, about WoW's honor system.

Because the honor system doles out both numbers and ranks, achievement gamers flocked to it and found the best ways to maximize its benefits for their characters.

There's nothing wrong with being at a disadvantage in a video game. In fact, if anything, it can provide motivation to examine your shortcomings and correct them. The players with mounts give me impetus to save up enough money for my own mount; I don't whine that I can't travel as fast as them.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this:

Get over it.

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