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One trend in MMOs these days that pisses me off isn’t the almost total lack of communication in pick up groups – it’s the brusque and impersonal nature of the communication. Characters are referred to by their role of their class, rather than by name.

“Tank pull now”.
“Healer heal FFS!”
“Hunter don’t ninja loot kk?”

I’m blaming this one on two of my favourite bugbears – the hyper-specialisation of WoW and it’s clones, and the locking down of customisation. These days in most games your role in the holy trinity is tightly defined, and all members of the same class are pretty much functionally identical. Why should I be surprised if people I meet in SWTOR call my Sith Lord “Marauder” instead of “Devaine” when he does exactly the same things as the last eight hundred dual-lightsaber-wielding acolytes of the Dark Side?

ESO is a bit different because the customisation hasn’t been locked down at all. The holy trinity roles are there, albeit not as specialised as in WoW (there are no tank abilities to insta-glue all enemies to you infallibly, for example, so everyone has to be able to handle the odd stray mob while the tank holds the most dangerous enemy). CLASS role, however, means nothing in a game where anyone can use any armour or weapon – including the healing staff – and in theory you could build a character using weapon, guild and world skills and never touch any of your class specific lines. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Templar, a Nightblade, a Sorcerer or a Dragonknight, any of these classes can tank, heal, DP{S or conceivably do two or all three of these roles in the same build.

Take my main character. Kian Tremayne is a Templar, a class that has a set of light-based abilities that can smite foes and heal friends. A classic character with those abilities in another game would be a paladin or a priest. Kian, however, is a dual sword wielder with a point blank AoE fire attack as well as melee AoE with his swords, a spell that drains power from nearby enemy corpses to heal him, and sometimes switches to a bow for ranged attacks and casts some quick off-heals. Oh, and he has been known to break out a Van Helsing style crossbow attack that lays waste to daedra (demons) and the undead.

Is a leather armour wearing, vampire hunting blademaster not what you thought of when you heard the class name “Templar”? It doesn’t matter what you expected, because I’m not a generic DPS, and I’m not any old Templar. I’m Kian Tremayne. And whatever Tamriel throws at me, I’ll meet it in my own style. If you call me… call me by my name.

One Comment

  1. Reminds me of Diablo 2. “BO plx Barb.”

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  1. […] Law Discusses the way we talk about players within groups and refer to them by class and build descriptives rather than name. Something that is improved in a […]

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