I don’t always agree with Tobold, as we generally approach MMO games from two very different viewpoints, along with having different writing styles, but I’m in total agreement with the basis for this post and the ones before it, and can’t help but laugh at all the people disagreeing and frothing with rage.
Whenever I’m playing a themepark MMO, I’m always playing either the tank or the healer (usually the tank). The reason? Because I know I’m better than the ‘average’ themepark player, and rather than ‘waste’ that skill on a simple and replaceable role (dps), I’m much better off playing something critical. Lets face it, most instances can be beaten with a good tank and healer, plus whatever filler dps you find, and a super-star dps player won’t do much if the tank or healer can’t do their job.
Just a few days ago my buddies and I were talking about our old WoW raiding days, and how much better things would have gone if one of our friends has played a priest rather than a mage, as his talent was under-utilized in the easily replaceable and somewhat non-impact DPS role. Furthermore, while I remember our standout tanks (me basically) and healers, I’m having trouble remembering who topped the dps charts, or who played any kind of critical dps role. Actually, the only thing I do remember about DPS is wondering how some of them were so inferior to our better guys, given that everyone had similar gear. But that inferiority meant nothing more than clearing a raid a bit slower, while if we had our sub-par healers on, it usually meant not making much progress (I was the MT, so, you know, that area was always solid, unless I let one of my underlings try and MT, much to the chagrin of everyone else in the raid). Furthermore, while we often kicked dps players who were terribly, you had to be a complete and utter mutant to be kicked if you played a healer.
I think that is why people are so up in arms about what Tobold wrote; because the average dps player switching to a vital role would expose them. It’s easy to go unnoticed as a slightly below average rogue/mage/hunter, but play poorly as a tank or healer, and everyone sees it. If you are in even a semi-competitive guild, that might mean getting kicked, or at least not being selected for a raid. And not only can dps ‘hide’ their skills, but generally the bar is set lower for them to perform anyway. Generally dps roles don’t position raid bosses, they generally don’t have to worry about burst damage or sustained healing, or theory-crafting out how to handle the next encounter. Nope, they show up, mash 1-2-3-2, and at most worrying not to mash too fast to grab agro (and the bad ones do that anyway, which a good tank will overplay to make up for them). Of course there are examples were dps does more , but is it any surprise that generally, those bosses are considered the tough ones?
So while it’s amusing to watch reply after replay, post after post, talking about ‘player freedom’ or how this is Blizzard’s fault (ignoring the fact that this setup existed long before WoW launched…) and all that nonsense, I think a large kernel of truth lies in the fact that, when you really break it down, the ‘average’ player is scared to play a vital role and expose or challenge themselves. Playing a role that requires 100% attention is ‘work’, and “it’s just a game”. One which you sit for 30 minutes in a queue for to avoid getting noticed.