Class Bias

I came upon thinking this subject the other day when I was informed about potential DC casting nerfs.

As a Favored Soul advocate, I am clearly biased. But as I thought deeply about this, and upon how others react, I realized something.

Often, people become “possessive” of a certain class that they champion, and carry strong opinions against any other class (depending on the favored class, the “opposition”). There is a lot of toxicity from the casters versus melee, and we see that most between those two because both have had their highs and lows during “eras.”

Personally, I do carry some form of judgement of those who tend to follow builds mindlessly, generally following “flavor of the month” builds or classes that got the latest buff. Perhaps it is because I feel that it is shallow – but I have begun to look at things differently. Not in the sense of following what the mainstream crowd follows, but to look at it from a grand scheme of things. A lot of the forum warriors who champion their classes versus its opposition tend to forget that this is still a multiplayer game, a game that utilizes teamwork and cooperation to some degree. And ultimately, that leads to everyone winning – when a class is buffed, there is some happiness, and some hate. That hate, the more and more I think about it, becomes more unreasonable. Sure, a class may be stronger than the others (cough cough Warlock). But in my eyes, I have always found a way to see the positive despite that – who knows, if you can outkill the top and latest buffed class, that says something. If you can work together to complete one of the most difficult adventures, that says something. There is always more than one solution in the game, well, so we can say in general – but that is the game’s entire charm. And a lot of people seem to forget that, always wanting the best of the best for their class, and their class only.

I cannot say that I do not feel the same. Favored Souls have been due their update since years ago, and they have always been a one trick pony class in the mainstream field as a 2-4 splash, at best. But I know that this issue is multifaceted, and that not everyone hates X class for the reason I mentioned above. It is just that when we hear the word nerf, we automatically assume its negative connotation, and they are almost always unfavorable by a large margin. From the developers’ point of view, I can understand that they are attempting to balance classes. From the players’ point of view, any nerf is bashed against as a force of imbalance. I think it is important to view both nerfs and buffs as equals and dependent upon each other – that one cannot exist without the other without “chaos” breaking loose from one side. Even then, buffs can be perceived as imbalance to the players as well if that is all what the devs did, and eventually, the elites would cry out boredom.

Perhaps I am just not pushing for much as the others say we should, but I do not think I have ever really complained against what the devs did, no matter how ludicrous it is. This anniversary, sure it was not even sufficient enough to my (and many others’) expectations, Reaper mode, even little nerfs and bugs such as Implosion’s friendly and enemy targeting bug – all of these I just accept and move on, playing by their rules (for the most part…). Maybe I just have a low threshold of expectations, but perhaps the reason for my easy acceptance for their “mistakes” is because I view any controversial negative action as an internal challenge, and frankly, it just doesn’t bother me because life goes on still. If I can overcome it, I will be fine, my reasoning goes.

But I slightly digress. Class bias – I am clearly affected by it as I always ask “What’s your favorite class?” to many friends and players. I am fixated on the notion that most everyone has a favorite class on their one main toon, and I have always never fully understood those who had numerous alts and never stayed on one toon, in endgame, and enjoying the company of friends and raids at endgame content. I think a lot of people who favor a certain class that is not as strong as other clearly OP classes tend to have an inferior complex. I do not mean that in a bad way necessarily because I am sure that anyone who has fallen in love with a class that is generally unfavored or neglected by the devs (like Druids) have felt this way. But just like how Sorcerers were in the dust for the longest time until the undead zombie Shiradi was introduced, which may be kind of an iffy example because it is not exactly the same as a pure Sorcerer which was what we were comparing, it still emphasizes on creativity (build and skills). Shiradi was always a build that has been around since the early release of Epic Destinies. So how did it become so popular and blow up again? The minor adjustments to the build that marks its excellent self sustainability along with a certain “something” drastically improves the initial concept of the build that ultimately created a new creative build to own. I like to think of this as a well made remix to a song.

And again, I digress. But this entire topic is interconnected on so many other things. So perhaps not! 😛 But in this new “era” of Reaper mode, it is clear that cooperation is now being forced. It feels forced. I did not intend to turn this into a Reaper mode evaluation sort of post, but it is related. With cooperation back on the table mostly due to healing penalties and rules, class bias is just one of the things that split the community up, since the beginning of the early days back before the EDs. Threads like these will be more common I’m sure, and perhaps in the future when there is a greater amount of the player-base running high end Reaper mode content that people will become more and more divided. I think it will be reminiscent, almost, of the older days when there was more prejudice and discrimination among classes since there is a newfound (or brought back in our case) demand for very specific classes. I think that this would not be so much of an issue if we had a greater population to work with, so that the range and probability of gaining desirable members is higher and ultimately, achieve greater gameplay without waiting for healers or certain classes. However, there definitely has been an increase of returning players simply based on my experience, but retention rate may not be reflective of that increase.

All in all, I have thought about this personally and feel that it is time to stop thinking of such class divisions in discriminatory ways. My personal philosophy after all has always been to play the class you want to play, and whatever you find fun is the right way to play the game. The typical spiel of general liberalism. Regardless of the rules imposed by the game developers, we as a community have an implicit responsibility as team players to work together to overcome any and every obstacle or challenge.

It is going to be very hard to switch from a fast paced self sufficient play-style to one that is accommodating others in every aspect. But for me, at least, well, I would like to think that I am, have always been doing that and am fairly conscientious of my surroundings and what is happening to other players near me. Which lately, I have been feeling strongly disappointed by the fact that now a lot of people seem to neglect attention to what others are doing – the general grievances of the PUG audience. I was wondering how long it would take to be honest. But I get over things quickly – I had my moment of frustration, and moved on. That doesn’t exactly mean that I’ll stop caring for others (especially as I am the party leader in 95% of the parties I run in). And I think that is what it just boils down to in simplest terms: learning and trying to care about others.

🙂

Cleric Past Life Feat: Initiate of the Faith

I don’t know about you, but over the past few lives, I have found a liking to this feat.

icon_feat_past_life_cleric

Click on the icon to view more information about this feat.

The Cleric purchasable past life feat, Initiate of the Faith, honestly seems to be severely underrated. I’m not sure if its because people just don’t find its x5 usage worthy of a feat slot, but it’s saved me many times. I wish I had thought of this when I was doing Rogue lives!

However, it’s definitely important to know that this is most effective when you are able to take meta-magic feats and pump as much heal amplification as possible. This feat acts as a “oh-shoot” last minute quickened heal, and x5 is just enough until the next shrine at least. In heroics, this was the main (and primarily/necessary source of self-heal) and in epics, it complements Rejuvenation Cocoon or other forms of healing.

While I played heal amplification “happy” classes such as Monk when I first started taking this feat, it really opened my eyes to seeing how effective it could be. Since it’s based on character level as opposed to caster level, the healing scales just fine. With any decent measure of heal amplification, it can easily heal from over half of whatever your HP is to 75% or more depending on your heal amp. On my previous Monk traditional fist fighting life, at level 30, I was able to heal each usage for over 1K, with Empower Healing/Quicken/over 120 or so heal amp. It was great.

I definitely plan to take this feat for classes that lack a self healing ability, such as my upcoming Fighter lives. I remember my guildie Avia once took this feat and that was kind of intrigued me into trying it out (well, this was months ago but I still remembered!). I’m glad I did – there are so many things to learn about this game that even after 5 years, I still have yet to try! I suppose it’s all about learning to try something new, since I’m always so used to doing things the way things have always been done or in my particular fashion. With that said, I will probably make some changes to Sera’s appearance next life: a brunette! xD

Overall, this feat has so many nice perks. When addressed properly, can be a formidable form of self healing, but also does not require any sort of caster level or caster class splash (such as certain meta-magic feats). I like to think of it as the cheaper form of the Halfling Dragonmark Heal/cure SLA line.

Definitely worth trying out if you are planning to run a class like Monk, Fighter, or Sorcerer that may not have a reliable form of heal!

🙂

PS: I’ve tested and it is possible for even non caster type classes (pure Fighters for example) to take this feat and Intensify at level 24 as a spellpower booster and still reach good enough heals – in my Fighter lives, they have healed for over 700 and crits in the 1200! 🙂

The Problem of Avoiding Drama

So I had a random thought hit me today when I was prefacing what our guild was about to a recruit – and one of those things included a “tendency to avoid drama” and other good stuff. But I thought to myself suddenly right after I pressed the enter button, is it really a good thing? I thought more critically about this and I came to the conclusion that a guild or a player who avoids drama isn’t really a good thing at all at its core.

There’s this stigma around drama both online and in real life – that it’s just a pain to deal with it because the assumption is that everyone’s had gone through countless drama filled experience and it is not pleasant. And that is true all in all – they really aren’t joyful experiences and indeed rather a headache. We’re so tired of hearing about them and facing them. No one wants to stay up late worrying about friends fighting with each other (or you in a dispute with someone else, whatever the situation is). But the truth is, no one can escape “drama.” There’s no such thing as a drama free guild because that implies absolute freedom from such experiences, and we as humans know inherently that that is just close to impossible. Perhaps there are exceptions to the rule – solo guilds or small guilds composed of family, real life friends, or folks who just agree on close levels and have that common understanding of boundaries. But to me, it feels like 90% of the guilds, especially ones that are “public” (meaning open recruit for the player base that is a conglomerate of various kinds of people), face at least some kind of drama in their time of activity.

It is the inevitable, and so my conclusion is that we should acknowledge it and face it – to work through them and arrive successfully at a point of ease. The phrase “to avoid drama” is basically synonymous to “don’t start anything in the first place” – which is a very good practice. But the part I am getting at here is that the possibility of failure to doing that is always there – and to ignore that is to be ignorant of imperfect natures. Most guilds who promote a drama free policy boot as a result of failure to comply with the policy. It makes sense at surface level – but the more I think about this, the more it seems wrong. So I ask, what then do people really learn from this “rule”? This social stigma that drives guilds to be so harsh in regards to dealing with drama? I think we place too much emotional value behind this seemingly laughable, easily dismissed issue.

We should be teaching others by our actions that it is OK for some drama to happen. Sure, there is indeed a limit on how much drama is too much drama. But sometimes, people don’t reach a greater point of understanding until they make a mistake and then learn to overcome it. It is especially important that people who join a guild are capable of doing just that (or even willing to). To me, it feels as if the current way of things is paralleled to a time bomb – a temporary fix, bound to ruin. Would it not be better to learn to disable the time bomb instead of moving it to another place? Essentially, we aren’t doing people a favor when they are booted because of drama reasons. From firsthand experience, I have seen it, and would never want to resort to that ever again.

So then, why do I still feel like I’m obligated as an officer of this guild to offer that as an explanation or reason for joining the guild? Perhaps I too have fallen in this trap, the socially acceptable idea that all (social) conflict is poison. Or perhaps one could argue that this rumination doesn’t establish a true grasp of what drama means – its subjectivity however is another topic.

Nonetheless, I’ll apply the same idea to my own conclusion: to work through it all the way to the end and arrive at a point of clarity. Who knew I could turn a totally random, laughable thought into an essay!

I just wanted to close saying that BBA as a guild is fantastic. Well, in my opinion that is an understatement honestly, haha. I mean, I can’t say that there was no drama, but there were very few cases, and only one that ended without much of a solution. As much as I want to think that the guild is all good and all perfect, it would be foolish to claim so. Many people would think so, but every guild has their own problems. Not that I am saying this guild has problems inside at all, and not particularly now (it is rather the opposite of that – lack of people playing the game/active in guild means nonexistent “sparks”) – no, that is not why I made this post. I felt strongly about this particular matter because of cognitive dissonance – the new conclusion resonates with my thought of logic and beliefs. BBA as a guild has done so much for me, and in turn I do the best I can for them. I’m amazed at how well the guildies click, as if it weren’t purely coincidence/chance in the recruiting process. It truly speaks a lot of our officers’ recruiting abilities, and even of their own values. After discussing guild stuff with the officers in a meeting today, I can’t help but want to continue to strive for better and help the guild grow.

This post is best understood by where I’m coming from and the kind of person I am. There’s nothing more anxiety inducing to me than when there is a sharp dispute or atmosphere among people, not even just friends but with anyone in general. Social harmony means a lot to me, so anytime there is a conflict that threatens that, my first instinct is to try and resolve it myself. I know that to be one of my greatest flaws as a person online. But to organize my thoughts in this post/ramble, this is where I am coming from – just as another person striving to understand others the best she can.

🙂