Group Questing (Happy HaWoWeen!)

So the title of this post is lame,  I know, but it’s Halloween! And WoW is in the spirit as well:

 

Every now and then, depending on the season of the year, the creators of WoW add cute little touches like these to the landscape, and I thought I’d share this easter egg, err…jack-o-lantern with you guys.

Anyway, this week I focused on observing class (warrior, priest, warlock, etc) distribution and how it affects questing. It turns out that class plays a large role in how a player quests in WoW. There are class attributes that determine whether an avatar is more or less capable of completing certain tasks, fighting a certain way,  and essentially the way a player experiences the world of Azeroth.

In other words,  choosing a class defines a player’s avatar’s role, capabilities, and social tendencies in WoW.

Let me start with an example: My class is warlock, and warlocks are especially good at casting spells and summoning demons (by the way, check out my new pet demon in the picture above. So badass!). But, warlocks are unable to take large amounts of damage, as their armor rating is not as high as other classes. This means warlocks can deal heavy damage with spells while allowing their pet demon to do all of the hand to hand combat and absorb any damage the warlock couldn’t handle.

By contrast, consider the warrior class. Warriors can deal a lot of damage in hand to hand combat. They also have high armor ratings enabling them to absorb higher levels of damage. The downside to being a warrior is that they have a limited arsenal; they can only use the weapons that they carry with them (unlike the warlocks who can cast many spells with different effects).

Thus, the class of an avatar affects how a player quests. Warlocks and other spell casters (priests, shamans, mages) are more capable of going solo on quests, as they are aided by a tanking pet demon or a variety of spells, while warriors and other fighting classes (hunters, rogues, druids) tend to quest in groups to aid each by balancing out each other’s weaknesses.

I would not have considered any of this if I had not noticed my tendencies of questing. I am almost always on solo missions, and when I run into other groups of questers, they are usually warriors accompanied by a single caster.

So by choosing a class, a player is really choosing what kind of quester they will be and how they will experience their time in Azeroth. Of course, players do not need to adhere to their class’s strengths. Any warrior can solo quest, but it is to his/her advantage to have help during quests. Whether WoW players are aware of this or not, it seems to be the general tendency among classes.

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One Comment on “Group Questing (Happy HaWoWeen!)”

  1. bhduros says:

    Eddie,

    I thought your post was very interesting. As someone whose online gaming experiences consist solely of “Words with Friends” and Hangman, I was a bit surprised (although not completely flabbergasted) that such “classes” exist in the virutal gaming world. While the unequal distribution of and varied capabilities among avatars is not revolutionary to online games (as Nintendo 64’s Mario Kart and Playstation’s SSX also employ such uneven distribution, for example), the differences in social roles and tendencies among avatars is certainly charged with many cultural implications.

    A person’s avatar, then, undoubtedly constructs his/her identity (at least in the virtual world of the game). I’m not sure how far you’ve gotten in your research of World of Warcraft or how many people with whom you’ve gotten to interact, but I’d be interested in learning whether or not you think these gamers choose avatars that reflect their “real life” personalities or if avatars are choosen based on the ability to be “someone else.”


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