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.