Looking for MOAR in WO:AR

You knuckleheads have driven me to altaholicism…

There’s been much idle gnashing of teeth in Warhammer Online for me lately. It started back last week when I was writing my strategy guides, or perhaps even earlier as I was playing my Archmage, and realized that, “goodness, when it comes to allowing a team member to live, a Tank is even more influential than my healer…”

MOAR LOL-Cat

It's a less cute word when you know it was coined by children demanding more pornography over 4Chan.

… and this was not an incorrect thought – while a healer may attempt to counteract enemy damage, a competently played Tank can nullify between 50% to 85% of the damage applied to whatever they’re guarding.  Healers may cure what ails you, but it was the Tanks that save lives.

Thus, the seeds of flow-ruining altaholicism were planted… but, as we’re about to see, in this case it wasn’t entirely my choice.

The main trouble with my Archmage was that I was getting really tired of dying as a Healer.  I made it pretty clear in my little guide that healers need to die first, but even without my guide people have come to realize this on their own: when you’re hammering away at a mass of enemies for 5 solid minutes and nobody dies, you start looking for answers.

In my studies of the class balance, I had discovered the vital importance of a Tank: that they had the capacity to keep healers like me alive, despite the enemies’ best efforts, and (through extension) Tanks could extend the life of the whole team.  The reason why I kept dying as a healer was because those goddamn ungrateful tanks weren’t properly protecting me.

Delusions of ingrates…

That got me thinking that perhaps I aught to play a tank better with my new insights on their importance in mind… so I did; I played a Swordmaster a bit.  I made it my life mission to protect the healers and, in every battle I was involved in, I would indeed die before the healer did.

The only trouble is, I would die a whole lot more than I should have been.  Tanks are durable, but they’re far from immortal, and the healers I was so diligently protecting wouldn’t heal me.

About 5% of the time they did, and then things were just as I thought they would be.  As the Tank, I kept the healer alive or padded blows against people taking more damage than he could heal.  A competent healer with me at his side could transform our team into a neigh unstoppable juggernaut whose only apparent Achilles Heal Heel was being greatly outnumbered.

The trouble was the other 95% of the time.  The healer I’m following runs around obliviously, rarely bothering to heal anyone, and certainly not me (the tank protecting him).  Consequently, I die, the team dies, and the player playing the healer doesn’t seem to care.  Not about his faithful guard, not about the rest of the team.

I had discovered the hard way that those goddamn ingrates lived on both sides of the fence.

It only takes a second thought to realize that a lot of these ingrates are really just newbies with very poor situational awareness: it wasn’t that they didn’t care, they just had no clue.  However, it still was very frustrating, and for good reason:

Why mothball my level 18 Archmage to address a need for Tanks that would allow a healers to do their job well when, 95% of the time, the healers can not do their job well anyway? I might as well stick with healing…

… unfortunately, the grass did seem, in fact, greener…

… even if I was good at it, I didn’t want to return to my Archmage.   My little trip beyond the fence into the other yards revealed my Archmage had a very singular focus: he heals, he nukes… and that’s pretty much it.  He had a few buffs and debuffs, but so does everybody.   A few weak (20% as opposed to the usual 40%) snares, no roots, and a couple half-interesting morale moves at best.

Why dost thou hate Archmages so, oh great MythicEA Gods in the sky, to give them such a narrow selection of fun abilities? Let me off this seesaw/rubber band thingy. I’m the kind of player who likes a lot of toys in his sandbox, and having seen all the fancy toys in the other sandboxes, I was no longer content.

So, what’s the alternative? Good question.  Honestly, I’m not sure what I’m going to play right now.  I’m really quite frustrated.

Closure

A couple days later, the answer became self-evident.  Life has a tendency to come at you whether or not you’re busy worrying about something trivial, and you live with those consequences: I may well have flubbed an important midterm because I was so preoccupied with such a trivial concern as altaholicism this week.

Such a cost was enough to snap me out of my funk: Life’s too short to give a damn what I play Warhammer Online, so long as I play something and have fun.  I’ll probably stick with my Archmage until I’m completely bored of it.

Seems like that might be a bit of a snafu of the veteran player revealed, really: You might think you’re preserving the fun by restarting before you get bored of something, but the resulting altaholicism can kill the fun even faster. Interesting if it’s true, as it suggests that the typical level-based RPG model actually punishes players who attempt to diversify their play.  Perhaps “sticking with my Archmage until I’m completely bored of it” is exactly the cure to altaholicism in RPGs I needed at these years.

Besides, I discovered something in-game: Well-played Tanks are slightly more scarce than well-played healers – looks like most everybody still wants to be the DPS guy – but without a well-played healer, your team’s longevity is hosed.  If I wanted to go where I was needed, I should have stayed right where I was.

Since the initial issue was, after all, players who didn’t understand how to play their class, I’ve chosen an alternative solution besides playing their class for them: Education.   As a Healer, I’m getting in the habit of telling players in control of Tanks that I’m going to need them to use their Guard ability if they want me to stay alive and keep healing them.

You should expect a bit of backlash if you go about “educating” your fellow players – many don’t like being firmly told how to play a game.  However, as of yet, I’ve had one Tank reply to my suggestion “tanks aught to guard the healers” with “well, healers aught to heal the tanks.”  Excellent: it seems players are beginning to catch on.

Perhaps instead of embarking upon another futile quest to find more in WO:AR by playing other peoples’ classes better, I aught to stay where I am and helpfully hint to my fellow players that there are certain abilities on their hotbar that are meant to be used.  If successful, then the more in WO:AR will find me.

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