Class Warfare … in WoW

No, this isn’t an article about the proletariat rising.  But whatever happened to the Druids’ mutual non-aggression pact of years gone by?

One element of Warcraft’s user community that has always intrigued me is the artificial turf battles that gamers cook up to keep the forums and blogs active.  Part of it disturbs me;  I fear it is proving a philosophical posit that human nature requires each of us to define ourselves and our neighbors by the differences between us and them, not by our similarities.

But mostly it amuses me.

The clearest examples of the division and derision that you will find is aimed at whichever class is momentarily topping damage meters or dominating some aspect of the game-play.  When I first began playing, that was the Warlock class.  … Fear was the ‘I win’ button.  Just so O.P.  Have you ever looked up “warlock” on Wowhead and read the first entry in the comments?  It is a tongue-in-cheek description of the tactics a 25-man raid group may employ to try to bring down a single Warlock in PVP.  The odds did not favor the raid group.

After Warlocks came Death Knights.  If you are not familiar with Oxhorn’s side-splitting machinima series, “Inventing Swear Words” at least watch the fifth and final episode to hear Blizzard developers discussing the next hero class, the Lightning Templars.  ‘That sounds balanced, doesn’t it?’

Then came Paladins and the delicious tears as they fell from grace with Cataclysm.  At any point along this path, the players of those favored classes felt it was their right to be at the top of the game indefinitely and quashed nay-sayers with damage meter output spammed to chat.

The second obvious battle is the one that rages between Warlocks and Mages.  (I do not know how Shadow Priests escaped becoming embroiled in this.  …probably by being lazy in some way.)  Most blog entries written by the resident Mage guru or Warlock guru (link) at WowInsider include a jibe or dig at the other’s expense.  This competition has always been explained as Mages and Warlocks being locked in battle for the same game-play space, that of the ranged caster.

With the new races introduced in Cataclysm, we have also thrown fuel on the old Mirage Raceway competitions and one-upmanship between Gnomes and Goblins.  Now that Goblins are a playable race, and the racial tensions have persisted through the flooding of the Thousand Needles and relocated to Fizzle and Pozzik’s Speedbarge, I expect the players will take this idea and run with it.

And, don’t forget, everybody hates a Hunter.  They are usually described as the easiest class to play and might, therefore, be favored by new or less adept players.  Personally, I don’t know why everyone is so anti-hunter.  I think they are as difficult to play well as any other class.  Moreover, I have seen statistical compilations that show hunters are one of the classes preferred by female players of WoW (along with priests and warlocks … racking up all 3 of the classes that I currently play.  I’m male; Don’t read too much into that.)

On the beneficent side, I once read a charming piece of Druid game-play history.  Apparently on certain servers in the early days of WoW, Druids had a tacit agreement not to attack each other in BG’s or world PVP.  This long-abandoned camaraderie is an obvious fall-out of the neutral Moonglade zone, which Druids of both factions could access relatively early in the game and start intermingling within.  But, I think the non-aggression pact actually was driven by the relatively rarity of Druids at that time and by the challenges of overcoming the then-larger hybrid tax to play one.

I’ve also seen mention of gamers who refused to kill Trolls.  Again, I think it is an issue of rarity.  Trolls are among the smallest minority on both of my servers according to Warcraft Realms.  And a rare thing is worth preserving, I guess.  Especially when dey dance so well, mon.


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