August 16, 2011

The hatred of roles

One thing that seemingly crops up regularly in forums is a rather pervasive, and misguided, attempt by certain individuals or groups of individuals to sit back and bash specific systems within a game. It's almost as universal as breathing these days when it concerns video games. One of these almost reviled by a select demographic of gamers is the roles systems that many MMOs typically espouse to.

Now, if you were to hear how people tell these stories, the majority of misinformed opinions typically go along the lines of "roles (or the holy trinity as it is often called) is an outdated system that promote elitism and hurts games." To call that line of thinking bullshit would be an understatement. I am not saying that roles are necessary in all things, in fact I do feel that a game should be playable at any time solo up to a point. However, I've seen these people go so far as to try and proclaim how outmoded these systems are by stating that people don't assume roles in real life. Okay, here's where I call you on your bullshit.

First and foremost, in almost everything these days, people are assigned roles within jobs and things of that nature. They might not be described as tank, support and DPS but you are assigned a role. Everyone from the fast food employee to someone working at Wal Mart is assigned a role. Generally they are assigned the role they are best at, though some businesses think it is hilarious if they keep swapping people around. Mostly retail, but there are many other types of jobs.

Of course, I've seen people sit there and say things like military don't have roles. Okay, now you're just an idiot if you believe that train of thought. Military is probably the strongest example of roles in real life. Just using the army alone, you have your infantry, your water brigade, your medical, your mechanized infantry, your artillery and many other facets. That's complex roles but every group has their own specialized career they do to handle and continue to employ to assist them in their jobs and their unit. In most cases a military unit operates as one giant team, and unlike say a retail store, people not participating in that team effort can lead to the rest of their unit actually being killed.

Hell, I've seen one person even try to state that sports do not have roles. Well hell you are just being purposely ignorant there. I can sum up American football easily in both offense and defense. Center is your Tank, linemen are your support conducting crowd control, and the backs are your DPS, driving forward with the ball to get more into enemy territory. In fact, almost every sport out there assigns people specific jobs to do and coverage. This is the heart of team play, and you can't even deny that everyone is assigned a role, and if they don't do that role, the team pretty much falls apart. Deny it all you want but that's pretty much the truth.

The problem is the self entitlement issues. Today's gamers are raised on the notion that they are special and better than everyone else and thus anything that promotes that they are equal and on level terms with another player is a bad thing, which is ironic considering MMOs are about people being on an even term with others and working together for a mutual goal. In this respect a game where they can't be the lone savior of everyone and require the aid of others goes against any grain of thinking they have. In short, it's an elitist attitude because something that requires working as a team and relying on others to achieve a mutual goal is pretty much against the common baked in concept that everyone gets in today's games that they are the lone hero capable of doing anything they choose.

It also is an entitlement issue as well, plain and simple. People feel they should be able to do everything themselves. Being a part of a team kills that idea, and since teams generally try to get people to work as a team, or dungeons require people to work as a team to succeed, this goes against every grain and fiber of peoples belief structure when it concerns their entitlements. In fact, there is a number of people that find it rather insulting that only those who work as a team to defeat the hardest stuff get the greatest rewards and there has been a very vocal group that believes they should be entitled to equal rewards for practically no effort.

They come up with worlds of solutions of course. Most of them just basically revolve around being able to bum rush bosses till they die. Basically the early Champions Online model of game play. No strategy, no thinking involved, just keep zerging the boss and win through attrition no matter how many deaths you gain. It doesn't work out well in retaining people looking for a challenge, and there are more people who prefer to be challenged than those looking for an easy victory.

It does astonish me when people get a case of the ass when 95% of a game is devoted solely to them and the 5% that's devoted for teaming they demand needs to be soloable. But like I said earlier, they will call raiders elitists, and I am far from a raider anymore, but I have to say, people that demand the game to be soloable are just as much elitist if not more so, especially when they try and say that a system that works is outmoded and then try to state it doesn't apply in real life. Play in the rest of the game that was given to you but quit trying to destroy the enjoyment of those who want to play as a team and seek a challenge from that experience. The game doesn't have to 100% cater to the wussy game style of everything handed on a silver platter to the people that say that they have a job or real life non-sense.

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