My main character in WoW is a Night Elf priest.
Those "in the know" snicker at my choice because I lack fear ward. Fear. You know that ability they said would not factor in much in the Burning Crusade expansion? Yes that same ability that still causes numerous wipes all the way to 70. That Fear. On the priest forums anytime a player with a night elf posts about inequity in priest class racials, someone playing a dwarf will inevitably say "you should have chosen your character based on stats than looks" or "you should have done more research". Why? Well, night elves have something called Elune's Grace in comparison. Don't laugh.
The reason why I bring this is up is, as mentioned in a prior post, I'm playing Lord of the Rings Online open beta. When it came time to choose a character, I read what each class could do, and chose one. The descriptions are brief, but from playing WoW and other MMORPGs I know what a tank does so, for example, I knew I didn't want to choose Gaurdian.
But that leads me to the point of my blog entry today. Are players really expected to go do heavy research online or in the manual before deciding on what class they want to play in a game? And what if the only information I can gather is from closed beta? How does that disclaimer go "Your gameplay may change."? How would I know, at my initial character creation screen, that I would someday be a dungeon raider and be slotted based on a decision I made months ago?
When I created my priest I knew I wanted a Night Elf, yes based on looks and their homelands. I was playing in a fantasy world. Roleplaying in a fantasy world. I figured my choice of race was important for the roleplaying aspect. I never even came across another priest using fear ward until I was well into 60 and started raiding. When someone says I should have done research, basically they are saying I should have had access to a crystal ball.
Since I frequent a few mmorpg forums, and regardless of what game is being discussed, I always come across someone asking "What class should I play?" "What race should I play?" and what's the answer always given? "Play what is fun for you!". And that's what I want to do, I want to be able to choose a character from a game's brief description and have some fun. But MMORPGs aren't made to keep you happy for a few sittings, they last for years and things change and there is no way to tell someone in a brief description that what looks fun now will also be fun later.
So as I look at whether to decide on a Lore-master or Champion or Minstrel, I keep wondering how much research should I put into finding out what the better choice would be?
But then I think, as the Warren Buffet the billionaire said, "If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians."
...And of course that line of thinking allows me to jump in and play instead of scoping gaming sites for opinions.
23 hours ago