For the record – this is my one hundredth post on this blog. The blog was created in June 2010, had a fallow period until February of the following year, and has been active (at least one post per calendar month) pretty much ever since, and I have no intention of stopping just yet. All this really shows is that if I’d put the same word count into my novel writing I’d pretty much have a first draft of something complete by now, instead of one project stalled at the 40% complete mark and another with a detailed design
I’ve been playing MMOs a lot longer than that, of course. I dabbled slightly with Ultima Online in a “what’s all this ‘ere, then?” kind of way, but the first MMO I played seriously was Dark Age of Camelot, which I played from the European launch in February 2002. It didn’t take long to discover that I had started off with a series of what plenty of players would categorise as the “wrong” choices – I was playing a Blademaster (widely seen as a ‘gimped’ class) in the Hibernia realm (the least popular of the three factions, and a definite underdog who were repeatedly getting sand kicked in their face by the Vikings of Midgard at every RvR beach party), and had picked the Prydwen server (the less populated of the two English language EU servers) to boot. Despite this, I had fun. The Blademaster class seemed to do pretty well for me and some of the other guys who persevered with it even before it inevitably got buffed up to the point that Blademasters were flavour of the month; and Hib/Prydwen pulled together, got some great leadership and came out punching well above our weight. I still have great memories of the year I spent playing DAoC as a Hibbie, even more than the two years I spent playing DAoC on the Albion side of the Excalibur server after some serious guild drama and a self-imposed exile.
It seems, though, that I’d set a pattern of making what can charitably be called unconventional choices in my characters. I played City of Heroes from launch as a katana/regeneration Scrapper (Hibernian Blade, a swashbuckling hero created as a homage to my DAoC character), which was a power combination that was seen as underpowered… until it got buffed and became flavour of the month. When WoW launched, I started out on the Alliance side but soon switched to Horde and played my Shaman as a melee fighter with a side of healing. Shaman melee was definitely not seen as a core part of the class in vanilla WoW, which didn’t stop me raiding with a guild and getting one of the guild’s closed beta keys for the Burning Crusade… where I discovered that the shaman class was getting a huge boost to their melee capability, and once again my niche role became flavour of the month. Which is not to say that I’m sort of avant garde genius who unerringly picks winner classes before everyone else does. It’s just that I like to go my way, and if there’s one thing I have learned in eleven years of playing MMOs it’s that devs will fix anything that’s genuinely broken or underperforming – which is NOT the same as responding to every whine on the forums. So if passing jerks point at your class or build and laugh, take heart – the day will come when they roll an alt trying to be just like you.
As of this week, I have my fifth max level character in Guild Wars 2. A Ranger. A melee-specialised Ranger, doing most of my fighting up close and personal with a greatsword. My guildies are jokingly telling me that I am Doing It Wrong. And all I do is smile, and wait for the wheel to turn.