Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Roll vs. Role

I've ranted before about people who are all about the stats, rather than getting into the rather immersive experience of Online RPGs. In tabletop gaming, these folks are (or were) referred to as "Munchkins," but they seem to have taken over much of the community. Developers like Blizzard seem to cater to these sorts of people, putting tiers of gear that are ever slightly better than the previous tier, provoking a frenzy of activity in their games. Then again, "computers" are called that for a reason, their strength lies in doing arcane calculations, despite the fact that we use them for many other things, like making pretty pictures and chatting with friends. I'm not above trying to maximize my stats, but for me it's more about surviving an encounter or area, than squeezing that last bit of DPS out my stuff.
Used under CC.
Two conversations I had on Twitter this week coalesced into this poster I made using Creative Commons photos from Wil Wheaton and Lisa Brewster. In the first, @Baybdoli and @theeriver were debating the merits (or demerits) of WoW's 5.3 patch, and stat changes to PvP gear. Now having special stats (resilience) on gear for different aspects of the game rubs me completely the wrong way in the first place; but apparently, the PvE Raiders think the PvPers don't "work as hard" to get their gear and therefore shouldn't be able to stroll into Raids in that shit. Really? I'm guessing truly hard-core raiders don't ever see people trying to get into their groups in PvP gear anyway, so what does it matter?

This reminds me of the rant I heard from a raid leader about people getting the Violet Proto-Drake from doing all the Holiday Achievements. "They don't really earn it because it's not like they're raid rewards like the Black Proto-Drake." He still hadn't gotten a Proto-Drake at the time, because he was stuck with us scrubs, second or third tier raiding. Meanwhile . . .
Yep! That's my WoW main and namesake "Rowanblaze." Isn't she cute on her Proto-Drake? It took over a year of patience and work, doing things I wasn't normally inclined to do, like PvP. You bet I earned it. I don't think my raid leader ever got a +310% mount in WotLK. When Cataclysm came out, I was sitting pretty, automatically getting the Master Riding skill thanks to my violet friend. Of course, I no longer play WoW, so a lot of good it really did me in the long run.

The second conversation happened just this morning. @FerrelES was lamenting his lack of prowess in the combat side of the Tabletop RPG sessions he serves as the Game Master. He favors "story and intrigue." He worries that his combat interaction with the players isn't up to snuff, though. I think his players keep coming back because they like his style. He has nothing to worry about. It is, after all, a Role-playing game, not a Roll-playing game.


  1. This is ultimately why I get into trouble in EVE. Everybody is a critic when it comes to your ship fit, or if you're not earning money in the most efficient fashion. In fact, the same is true in almost any PvP arena. I guess the competitive nature brings out the latent munchkin in everyone.

    1. Yet another reason for me to stay away from EVE. It's just not my type of game.

  2. Whether you Munchkin or not, at least for me, depends on the game system. D&D (I started way back when the AD&D books were just entering print) and GURPS style games lead toward power gaming. The system itself focuses on powers and gear over character. Ars Magica, Amber, and the like actively encourage character over power. That seems strange for Amber but I always found it to be true.

    An MMO is just power gaming. It's all about your stats, abilities, and gear because nothing else is permanent. Go out and off Onyxia one day and not only was she still out in the cave, she was still standing in the Stormwind throne room. Very hard to develop any kind of continuity or idea of story progression so the focus shifts to what you can control. Once that becomes established it encourages people who are drawn to that style of play and things are reinforced.

    1. Yes, C-RPGs tend toward the stats, especially online games. Sadly, I never got into tabletop games as a kid, and no standing group now. I'd be a n00b anyway.

    2. I know individual GMs will give points for good RP. And a few systems have it built in, like the Firefly/Serenity RPG that came out a few years ago.