Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,
Rowyn
rowyn

MMORPGs

I ordered Guild Wars a couple of weeks ago from Amazon.com, and it finally showed up on Friday evening. Lut and I only played for a couple of hours over the weekend.

I made up a healer, which should surprise no one familiar with my MMORPG play style. I like the play style of support classes, as a rule. I like being the one to keep everybody else from getting killed. And I don't like chasing critters around; one of the advantages of being a healer is that generally your targets are not trying to evade you. ;)

It went okay. I picked a secondary profession more or less at random, after Lut told me that I could always switch it later (granted, much later) if I wanted to. ("Ranger? Ranger sounds all right. Oh, hey, I get a cat! Do any of the other classes get cats?" "No." "Then I'll stick with ranger.")

The interface was giving me some trouble. Lut can switch from first to third person view via scrollwheel, but my trackball has no scrollwheel and bizarrely the options settings don't list a toggle for viewpoint switch, anywhere. More annoyingly, I found my wrists hurting very soon after I started playing -- maybe 30 minutes or so into each session. This is particularly odd given that I can play Puzzle Pirates, which involves lots of quick repetitive motions, for several consecutive hours without ill consequences. I don't know why; it may be because the commands in Puzzle Pirates are concetrated over such a small area. For most puzzles, my hand stays in the same place covering a handful of buttons. One thing I did notice was that I was doing a lot of right-click-and-hold with my right pinky while mousing in Guild Wars, a motion not required in other games and which aggravated my hand a lot. It's not actually required in GW, either -- I just need to get into the habit of using the keyboard to change direction instead of the mouse.

Lut suggested, half-jokingly, that it was psychosomatic: "Oh no! Not another leveling game! How can I get out of this? I know, pain, he'll buy that excuse." I gotta admit it's hard to argue with that notion, as my feelings while playing Guild Wars were much closer to those of the grind of Diablo 2 or Dungeon Siege than my excitement over EverQuest, or even BatMUD. I don't think I've played a levelling game that I was really enthusiastic about since JumpGate, and my enthusiasm for JumpGate waned after a couple of months. As opposed to EQ, which hooked me for three years.

This morning, I was emailing koogrr about his WoW characters. I realized, as I was writing him, that I had a surprisingly good grasp of the personalities behind his WoW PCs. Some of it that was because Koogrr's told me about his backstory for the characters. But a lot of it wasn't him telling me "The character thinks like this" but rather "And here's what my character did when I was playing today." A picture of the character's personality emerged from those anecdotes -- and of a character whose personality was distinct from Koogrr's own.

It occured to me that I'll also get a similar sense of personality from Lut's characters. Even if we're not actually RPing, there's still a certain amount of 'And here's what this one is like' attached.

With my own characters, I'll have a sense of who they are, but it's often been(a) not a character I really thought was interesting to be, (b) a personality at odds with the character's actions, or (c) both. Mystdark, my cleric in EQ, was both.

Now, I do like being the healer, not only from a social (everyone likes a healer) but from a playstyle perspective: I actually enjoy watching health bars and healing more than clicking on enemy targets and blasting. But the personality traits that I reflexively associate with "healer" -- calm, pacificistic, gentle, shy, reserved -- don't resonate with me as "fun to play", and they don't fit with the theme of typical MMORPGs ("let's go kill stuff and loot!")

Of course, being the healer doesn't mean I have to have the personality traits my mind automatically assigns the type. A plausible character could have any number of reasons for picking the profession. And it strikes me that I might enjoy Guild Wars more if I made my character with a personality that I thought of as cool and interesting, the same way Johanu and Stormghost and other MMORPG characters have caught my interest. Even my CoH characters were more successful from that perspective -- Tabitha and Kasadya & Asmedaj all had a nice feel to them.

That being the case, what I should do is figure out a personality that (a) catches my interest, (b) makes sense with the profession of healer (and thereby suits my playstyle) and (c) makes sense in the context of what I'm doing (killing lots of stuff for loot).

Hmm.
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