Paeroka’s Ponderings: Choosing the wrong class in MMOs

Paeroka's Ponderings featured image for columnI usually like the levelling process in MMOs. The amount of alts I have is proof enough! But it does get tedious at some point – both in MMOs with vertical as well as horizontal progression. While levelling per se is fun in Guild Wars 2, having to recollect enough Hero Points to unlock the elite specializations for each character over and over again isn’t my idea of fun, for example. So basically, having a main character at max level that’s basically ready to do everything the game has to over is great. Levelling alts once in a while is fun. But all of this for me depends on having a main character that has left the levelling process behind (and this counts in levels as well as unlocking abilities or things like elite specializations).

When Lotro’s progression servers started, I absolutely wanted to have a hobbit as my main. But I also knew I didn’t want to play the warden anymore, because I didn’t want to relearn all the skill combinations essential for playing this class well. So, I went with a guardian. And this was a mistake! I don’t like the class at all. It’s boring. I would have preferred champion or runekeeper, but both aren’t available for hobbits. I realized it before hitting the then-max level, but decided to stick with the guardian because she had the highest level of my characters already. In hindsight, this was a big mistake. I quit playing as a result, because I really do not want to go through Moria a second time!

lotro Falling goat in Moria

And one would think that I learn from such mistakes, but I did it again with WoW Classic: : I chose the warlock because I did like it back in vanilla and it’s compatible with my chronic hand pain, being a pet class. However, playing as warlock gets too monotonous. Yes, she can do a lot that others can’t thanks to fear and drain life, but still, it gets boring. I should have chosen shaman or at least, mage. But back when WoW Classic started, my hand pain was at a stage where playing a frost mage wasn’t possible. Still, the shaman was. So, instead of quitting the game (I am paying for a subscription, after all) I am now levelling my mage and my shaman while my warlock’s collecting dust.

In Guild Wars 2, I just never settled on one main and played both my mesmer and my warrior depending on my current mood. This, of course, means that neither even has all elite specializations maxed out. Focusing on one class may have been a better idea, but then again, I can play them with the builds that I want without unlocking everything, so it’s not a big deal.

Elder Scrolls Online is a game where I don’t yet (!) feel any negative effects. I am still levelling my main, my templar. I started out with the dragon knight, but realized fast that I don’t want her as my main. The templar is not yet level 50. After that, there’s collecting Champion Points instead of more levels, but that’s basically all I know about the system. But ESO is different than the other games: I can go everywhere and my level is adjusted. So, if there was a Mines of Moria-like zone, I could just avoid it and go somewhere else! With all zones being open, I also don’t really notice the lack of levels with any of my smaller characters. They do feel weaker than my templar, but they still manage and get through the content just fine. But again, this may only be because I have no idea about the Champion Points and what awaits me at endgame (not doing any group content, though, like trials).

GW2_Combat_Warrior

In conclusion, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the progression in MMOs, just that some games are more lenient towards changing your main character without having you feel thrown back to being a complete newbie. That is, some are more “alt-friendly” than others. This gets doubled when you look at character-bound vs. account-bound unlocks for things like costumes, mounts, pets and so on!

I regularly have rants and ramblings in my mind, but never really know if I should post them, so “Paeroka’s Ponderings” is where I will try to give these rants a place. Sometimes they will make sense, sometimes they won’t.

8 Comments

  1. One of the things I liked about FFXIV was the flexibility of its class system. One thing I’ve done to combat this problem is less friendly games to tell myself that I’ve still learned something valuable, even if the thing I learned is that I don’t like that class. Forcing ourselves to play the wrong class “because we’ve already levelled it” is a strange combination of the sunk cost fallacy and a form of self-torture that speeds up the burnout process.

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    1. Yup, and hoping that I will like the class again once I’m at endgame with her having its full potential. In case of the warlock – well, I did love the class once! And the guardian in Lotro… I really was hoping that she’d get more skills to use that would be more fun. It worked with the templar in ESO where I wasn’t sure I wanted to play her either and thought of switching to the necromancer instead. But she did become more fun with a few different skills in her skill bar. Then again, since ESO restricts you to just a few skills, it can easily make a huge difference. Whereas both Lotro and WoW give you access to all skills the class has at all times. So, if you don’t like the 20 skills the game already throws at you, why do I expect to like the class more when it has 21 skills? ;)

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  2. +1 for Final Fantasy XIV. Being able to unlock all Jobs in one character was a blessing for me. Specially since by the end of the last expansion I was feeling very unhappy with my performance playing as a Monk. Then when the latest expansion hit I switched to Machinist and haven’t regretted it one bit. :)

    If it worked like more traditional MMORPGs I’d be very unhappy now. In fact that is a mistake I did in the past and if I end up in another MMORPG with a more traditional class-based system I probably won’t do it again.

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  3. So, ESO is kind of unique with how it handles alts. Once your first character starts gaining champion points, all characters on that account – even newly made ones – have those points available immediately. This means a few things – first that each character you play after getting the first one into the CP system feels stronger, and that you only have to do the really really awful CP10 – CP160 grind ONCE. Does it save a LOT of time? No, but it certainly makes the game feel more alt-friendly.

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      1. It’s not how long it takes, but it is the time you’ll feel the weakest; it almost feels like there’s something off with the scaling, but I think it’s really that you’re out leveling your gear much faster, and it’s harder to fill in because there’s not much focus on crafting for those levels. Once you hit CP160, you can start equipping end-game gear, and although you can still get upgrades via better sets, mostly you get stronger as you get more CP, but the world around you stops scaling up.

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