The Daily Grind: How often do you play outside your comfort zone in MMORPGs?

During the first couple of years I played MMORPGs, I was a pretty timid gamer in terms of my comfort zone for actual content. It took me a good while (and a lot of pressure from guildies) to mentally gear up to kill people and cut off their heads for my collection in Ultima Online. In EverQuest, I picked an alt to force myself to practice pulling (pulling was more of a skilled thing back then). In Camelot, my puller was my main. And by World of Warcraft, I was main tanking for my guild. (She’s up in the screenie above, circa 2004. D’awww.)

It seems like a silly progression now, I’m sure, but I had to force myself to play out of my comfort zone to get good at new things — and to appreciate them. Now, in my two main MMOs, I’m playing up-close-and-personal tanky melee as a matter of habit, when as a teenager I would have made a beeline for the nearest healer class to hide. (Although I still like healers too!)

How about you? How often do you play outside your comfort zone in MMORPGs?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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34 Comments on "The Daily Grind: How often do you play outside your comfort zone in MMORPGs?"

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Zen Dadaist

When I’ve got bored of playing my usual go-tos, favourites and within my comfort zone? :p I’ll pick a class/powers/skills/race/whatever combo that wouldn’t ordinarily appeal and give it a go.

In terms of activities, well I’m fine with doing most things in a game. I’m not a big fan of playing the healer but I do it from time to time. I’m picky about the PvP I like and sometimes I get dragged into PvP situations outside of my comfort zone if its for the good of my guild/faction/group.

shazanti
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shazanti

I can tank and I can heal but I don’t enjoy classes that focus purely on either. It’s been an oh so very long time but… I used to have a little black book of the login information for a lot of folks in my EverQuest guild, because I was the go-to girl for, well, taking their place (and since I was a Necromancer, my character was seldom raid critical, heh). ‘Hey Shaz can you log in Tank X/Cleric Y, we’re short and need them for this raid’ (or ‘Tank Z really needs/wants this chest piece, can you switch characters and loot this with them?’). Yes, I really was offered player information for either of those explicit purposes by a LOT of people, even though I never asked for it myself. Looking back on that now, that seems like it was such a different world.

So, playing a pure tank or a pure healer would be outside of my comfort zone, but I have enough experience to know I don’t enjoy it as a main, so I won’t be going there. (I do enjoy classes that can DO either, provided I’m not pigeonholed into ONLY doing one or the other. I really dislike being highly restricted in a role, whether it be tank, heal, dps, whatever.) Other comfort zone… well, I tend to dislike PvP, particularly open world PvP, but I’m eagerly awaiting Camelot Unchained because I loved PvP in DAoC. I’m hoping lightning strikes again for me, there.

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rafael12104

How often? It is hard to quantify, but pretty damn often.

I like trying new things even if they aren’t my strong suit and that can put me out of my comfort zone.

I also don’t like PvP, but I have no aversion to it and will partake when needed even though I wouldn’t call it comfortable.

And ironically, tanking was outside my zone when I was too afraid to fail to give it a try. But now, I’m a tanking juggernaut and I’m less comfortable when others are tanking the show. Lol. I laugh at myself for that, and just keep my mouth shut and let others tank they way the want.

Bottom line, play how you want, but if you want the most out of the MMORPG experience, you need to be able to adapt and evolve your game play.

I was once a PvE, dps only, dude. Only PvE and no I wont go through that PvP zone to complete a quest. An now? Need to kill some reds for an acheeve? No prob. Want to go try that really hard new content? Let me tank!

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Pandalulz

As far as PVE roles go, I started as a Protection Warrior tank in Vanilla WoW, so it’s all uphill from there. I did finally decide to step into healing with a White Mage when I went FFXIV because I found Paladin to be boring, and discovered, that as I expected, that was super relaxing in comparison.
But I hate PVP with a passion and that also stemmed from rolling tanky classes that can’t hurt anything and have no real use in PVP (I liked WAR’s PVP for that very reason). And while I used to test my limits in the olden days, now I’m so turned off on it, that I don’t go anywhere near it, even the controlled arena style stuff.

tethyss
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tethyss

Prot warriors did well in PvP for a while. They were great flag carriers in WSG, for example. It changed a bit after they gutted the skill trees.

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Slaasher

Historically I have always played a ranged caster so being a tank was a foreign concept. In the past couple of years however I have been slowly dipping my feet into the tank pool and the water is fine!! But it took me awhile to get there. My assumption being that I would suck at close combat… I guess.
Going back a few more years I guess it was the concept of pvp.
I was not a pvp fan and quite intimated by it. The concept of being killed by another player seemed to be humiliating. However games that had pvp arenas like RIFT, SWTOR and TSW got me into it. I soon realized that dying in pvp is just part of the game (especially when you’re learning) and once I got over the mental “fear” of dying and it became not so big a deal, I REALLY enjoy it. To the point that a game having good combat mechanics for pvp is very important to me.

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Utakata

I think anytime I step into a PuG or group instance situation, I am playing way outside my comfort zone. :(

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Khalith .

Playing outside of my comfort zone really means playing anything but a tank and it really depends on how curious I am or how the class looks in action. In SWTOR for example I never wanted to play a Powertech DPS but after seeing someone in my raiding guild do crazy damage with it I tried it out and absolutely loved it.

Another thing out of my comfort zone is pvp as I tend to lean more towards cooperative play than competitive play, but finally I pushed myself to try it in FFXIV and it’s been all I’ve been focused on since I’m trying to get the mount related achievements that are available currently and I saw one that I really wanted.

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Chestnut Bowl

Playing outside my comfort zone means tanking. In FFXIV — the only MMO I play regularly nowadays — I’ve gotten PLD and DRK to 60 and my WAR is at 58, but no matter how hard or how often I try… I just can’t get into it. Tanking makes me too anxious and I don’t have any fun while I do it. After I get WAR to 60, I’m not sure I’ll touch my tanking classes for a long time.

The other way to leave my comfort zone is to socialize: that’s a ‘no’.

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Little Bugbear

Normally I play healer, but as I’ve grown up I have become far more aggressive in my game play. I don’t only play healers anymore, and I try to take roles with more responsibility.

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vinicitur

How often do I go outside my comfort zone? Never!! And that is because I got jaded pretty fast doing pugs in lotro. I mean, it was fun at first. Helping people out so they can advance in their epic story line and complete some dungeons but EVERYTIME I would get one of those gamers who would bitch about everything:Dungeon run isn’t fast enough or complaining that a certain player is not perfectly geared etc.

It got to the point that I would just log off when asked to group for dungeons. Now I mostly do ad hoc grouping in GW2 or help out someone who needs assistance finishing a map, jumping puzzle etc.

Xijit
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Xijit

The way the market has gone to shit in terms of vibrant, engaging virtual worlds with extended progression curves and high end game play that does not relegate itself to min-max raid grinding supplemented by gamble box exclusive stat boosts … I am constantly playing outside my “comfort zone.”

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Cervator

I’m a total carebear and rarely PVP, and if so it’ll probably be in a battleground or similar setting, where PVP is expected. However, one time as a relatively low level druid in the forest between The Barrens and Darkshore in WoW I coincidentally came across a solo alliance player around my level, fighting some random mob, not having noticed me.

I decided to step out of my comfort zone and do my duty for the horde – cat form stealthed up behind my target, thinking it would be a relatively fair fight with me getting the upper hand somewhat via element of surprise. Target wasn’t particularly hurt after finishing the mob. Honor and all that, which is what I find is missing in most the ganking style PVP.

Then I critted something fierce and murdered the poor person in seconds without ever getting a chance to fight back – And I felt so bad!

Never did anything like it in the years since, just fighting defensively if needed. Had more fun anyway as a slightly higher level travelling through areas then getting swarmed by lowbies, batting at them gently but trying to escape narrowly each time. Fun was had by all.

flatline4400
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flatline4400

Hehe, my first EQ alt (druid main) was a monk for pulling, too. Tough and unforgiving job!

After that, I made a cloth caster (necro) and then a tank (SK). So yeah, I guess I like to mix things up now and then. It’s fun to check out other playstyles in a familiar framework.

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starbuck1771

All the time. I love melee combat for DPS however I also do ranged, tanking , and casting. Even in shooter type games I always try to go outside my comfort zone.

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Robert Mann

As soon as I get bored with the leveling process in most of them. It is then that I rush out to try something crazy, and see what I can do before getting myself killed. Which sadly usually just means trying to kill more of the same at once, or attacking things higher level. It’s really not that different.

As for new and different builds, never bugs me.

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imayb1

I kind of approach things the opposite direction from you, Bree. When I start a game, I try everything. Then, I find my comfort zone and settle into the things I like. If I discover something new about the game or the devs significantly alter a class or play-mode, I’ll give it a second try.

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MesaSage

I’m bad at healing classes but I try them periodically. I just don’t seem to have the mindset for it. Raiding would also fall into that category and it’s not something I like to do.

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Schmidt.Capela

Skill-wise, all the time. Not just in MMOs, but in just about every game I play, I go searching for elements of gameplay where I’m not exactly proficient; tackling those is more challenging, often providing me with more enjoyment, at least until I master that aspect of gameplay.

(Playing DPS in group content is kinda an exception. Not for being challenging, though; I find playing DPS in group content to be unbearably boring.)

When it comes to subject matter, though, I don’t. I don’t play evil characters (with a few exceptions that hinge on holding onto how it’s just a game, either by breaking my immersion or by not taking what is happening seriously), I tend to only play outlaws if they fit the “rogue with a heart of gold” mold, I don’t play slavers, and a bunch of other similar things.

I also don’t engage in non-consensual PvP. In nearly two decades playing MMOs, in some cases FFA PvP MMOs, I never attacked another player without provocation (i.e., the other player attacking me first) unless we had both agreed beforehand to fight. And this has only strengthened across the years; nowadays, if another player can in any way attack me without my explicit consent, or if I receive any kind of handicap for choosing to not let other players attack me, then I just don’t play the game.

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PSDuckie

Yes. Definitely yes.

My comfort zone in MMOs is ranged DPS, preferably with a pet. That said, there have been a few games where I’ve mained something else:

  • In City of Heroes (may that game rest in peace) I mained a Dark/Dark Scrapper. I tried Blasters and Masterminds, but they just didn’t seem to be as fun as the Scrapper.
  • In RIFT I mained an Archon, and that’s still my favorite class in RIFT.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, I’m maining a Ninja. Just like with the Scrapper in CoH, I find the Ninja class to be extremely fun. I’ve tried Summoner and Black Mage, but I’ve decided to stick to the Ninja.
  • In Final Fantasy XI, I’m maining a White Mage. Completely different.
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Oleg Chebeneev

Probably the closest would be flying outside safe sectors in EVE ONline into the pirate infested lowsecs as a noobie

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Every now and again I roll a male character.

Does that count?

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Shiro Madoushi

What’s the point of playing a mmo if you are going to limit yourself to activities you are comfortable doing? You can do that with a chat room and your favorite single player game.

quark1020
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quark1020

I suppose i could. I mean, I never had the hangups Bree had and I don’t really have a “comfort zone”. I’m willing to do anything the game has to offer. If I have exceptions, its rogues and desert zones, but I’ll plow through if there is a reward I want at the end.

As for rogues, they’re not really my preferred style of play and those are usually popular anyway, but I would play one if my friends ask me to… As a matter of fact, I’m making one now for a Pathfinder campaign one of my friends is hosting (Pen&Paper version of course!).

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Esoteric Coyote

Normally when the game forces me, then I’ll complain to myself how much I dislike it. Eventually I’ll adjust and then say, I don’t know why I was complaining…

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wratts

I definitely have comfort zones, can ranged DPS all day and feel like I know what’s expected in almost any MMO. Tanking would be my step outside, mostly because it seems like the gear checks are highest there and groups are the most judgemental of any mistakes. I enjoy doing it, but feel like I need to know the content from another perspective first. Healing is sort of the same, though people are more forgiving and the gear/skill checks usually seem lower

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Koshelkin

My comfort zone in MMO’s are support classes and tanks, so I kinda almost never have to go out of my comfort zone.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

i’ve rolled classes that can spec tank only to have people try to dictate to me to spec into it so that i can do dungeons which i don’t like to do.

it’s like yo i don’t have the gear even if i did respec and i don’t even fucking like doing dungeons so eff off effers!

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Schmidt.Capela

That is why I have a personal rule in MMOs: anyone that tries to dictate how I play ends in my ignore list, and if that person is an officer or above in my guild I will immediately /gquit.

adadfor3
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adadfor3

I’m a terminal altaholic. As such, I try every class. If I just can’t get into a play-style, I’ll put it down. I enjoyed all the classes in SWTOR. Almost all of the classes in WoW…except the Druid. For whatever reason, I just could not get into the class. Which is surprising to me as I love being out in nature.

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agemyth 😩

Playing DPS in a group setting in games that I know most other players have damage meters watching out for someone who might be below whatever their expectation is for DPS. I despise DPS meters though I understand their usefulness in higher level play and in trying to optimize one’s own or a guild’s DPS output. Heroic and low level Mythic dungeons in WoW are not “high level” with the average ilvl of players out there now.

Also, the handful of times I tried to do some low intensity RP in EQ2 player run events. I tense up like I’m playing a horror game and a monster might be behind me. Sometimes I end it by just alt+F4ing in the middle of a conversation and I feel like a jerk.

Karma_Mule
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Karma_Mule

Rarely, this is my escape to be entertained and comfortable, so going outside my comfort zone is antithetical to what I look to gaming to provide.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

anytime i do dungeons i guess?? i generally only do them with guildies and i refuse to grind them.

hurbster
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hurbster

Every time I enter a PvP area…

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