Midnight musings: Are we ever accepted?

I keep wondering about so many little things.
 
This holds true in both real life and when playing an online game with others. In life you can be scared or feel uneasy when you do something, afraid it might be the wrong way to do it or not as fluid as others might have handled the same thing. In games you can be scared or feel uneasy when you play certain classes/specializations or wield specific weapons. You might still get the job done but not as fluid as another class/weapon might have and another class/weapon might have done it better or faster.

No Caption Provided

That feeling sucks balls. Especially in RPG's, MMO's and shooters it can be painfully obvious how accepted a class or weapon is compared to others due to the feedback. My standard Halo weapons often include the Assault Rifle and DMR/Pistol. Some people flip the hell out of seeing me wield a AR because they're afraid it doesn't hold up against a DMR. It does, barely, and it's just my style of play (and it has served me more than well). Shooters, especially the unorganized death match kind, can be very lone wolf mode however and it is in MMO's we find the best examples of the social acceptance of weapons/classes. I understand the frustration that comes from one member dragging the group down with a gimped play style but there are a lot of options nowadays to prevent such things from happening. Don't want to talk about that though, my point here is that people can feel very judged (and eventually kicked from groups) or bad about themselves because the fact is they're dragging their groups down or they make their fellow players skittish about their survival chances. 
 
The good news is a lot of games offer balanced options regarding play styles and games like Guild Wars 2 plainly restrict weapon types to certain classes. Even better when a Warrior or Thief equips a Rifle or Bow and suddenly finds a new set of ranged skills on the action bar. No blocked skills because you're wielding the wrong weapon, no gimped damage output because you're supposed to be a melee class instead of a ranged one. There's still a bit of bias towards certain weapons (A melee Ranger with a greatsword should probably not be in the thick of the battle when the boss goes into overdrive, nor should a Elementalist try to take hits from a strong enemy wielding just two daggers) but it certainly allows for more freedom between classes and their play styles. And luckily the acceptance of that play style by others. Guild Wars 2 succeeds in places other team based games often fail simply because it allows people to feel strong and useful despite what their player character is build for. Sure the mechanics in the game could easily be called zerging but the game breaks a lot of the old grouping boundaries while still giving you the feeling you're part of a group. And not being punished for it because every crafting node, experience point or item drop is shared between participating players. 
 
I stand and watch, I see a player wielding a Plasma Pistol and he's positively beating the shit out of people who stick to their Shotgun. I see a Ranger charge at me with a Greatsword and knock me silly. I see freedom and fun, endorsed by developers and players alike. It's time weapon/class/spec became a strategic element in games which forces us to think on our feet and adapt to our enemies style.

I am aware there are games out there which already do this and I applaud those efforts. It adds to the immersion and it allows players to follow their fantasy instead of being forced into certain options to get the max out of their class/race/etc (and who doesn't want to win, right?).
 
Feel free to share any crazy class/weapon/anything combo's you made work in games, I'm sure there's a good story in it!

7 Comments