The Daily Grind: What’s the least effective character you’ve played in an MMO?

    
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Red Mage is pretty unambiguously the worst class in Final Fantasy XI right now. The old trick of the class (enfeebling magic) is now pretty much useless, and everything else that the class could do is done better by another job. This goes doubly for melee, where the job lacks sufficient accuracy to hit things past a certain point and generally has to waste a lengthy period of time buffing itself into being somewhat useful despite its lackluster nature. So why was a melee-oriented Red Mage my first job to the level cap?

Well, it looked cool.

I never had any misunderstandings about the job’s utility; I knew I was picking the worst way to play the worst possible job, so I harbor no real ill will. There are a lot of characters that I’ve played knowing full well that I was playing to less than the full potential – Necromancer/Warrior in Guild Wars, Engineering captain in a Tactical ship in Star Trek Online, every single character build I ever made in The Secret World. But what about you, dear readers? What’s the least effective character you’ve played in an MMO? Was it intentional, and if so, why?

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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Kaoy
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Kaoy

Presently, I am playing Tree of Savior having a round of this myself. Meet the Bokor. Part of the Cleric tree of classes, labeled as a damage dealer. Only deals damage to targets that are cursed, when about 1 out of 3 equal level targets will resist the curse skill on a 9 second cooldown. The curse skill itself has an extremely pitiful AoE, making it hard to land on more than 3-4 targets most of the time. Also, they have the WORST bang-for-your-buck of any damage dealer in the game as their only means of maintained damage output is tied to spamming a skill that has very poor mana efficiency.

Add to that their whole shtick is summoning zombies, but that they can only summon zombies by killing mobs in a small circle they can only cast every 60 seconds. Compare to the Necromancer (a similar class in the Wizard line) who can “carry” corpses with them and summon their full team of skeletons with a single click of a button and you begin to see why most people consider the Bokor a C-list class.

I have 6 characters right now. Five are Clerics, and all 5 have 2-3 circles of bokor. Just watch the first part of this video to see why:

All aboard the zombie train!!!

Celestia
Guest
Celestia

ManastuUtakata Celestia All is forgiven.  Here’s a hedgehog wearing a hat.

Celestia
Guest
Celestia

ManastuUtakata Celestia MikeMinier Yes, I still follow two WoW podcasts though I haven’t seriously played the game for years.  I think the Legion class flavor updates look absolutely fabulous across the boards.  I hope it helps keep their players happy and brings in some new folks, too.

AGx
Guest
AGx

I suppose I’d have to say Red Mage as well. When I played FFXI, however, Red Mage was a pretty amazing class. It was still lackluster in melee but it was incredibly useful in most other areas: Healing, buffing, debuffing. It was even useful for it’s magic damage. I left the game around  after the ToAU expansion and from the sounds of it the class just got left in the dust. Such a shame because I did, and still do, love the idea of Red Mage.

ZenDadaist
Guest
ZenDadaist

Bah, I love taking weird/oddball combos and making them damn well work!
No expense spared. It’s rare that I end up with a character that’s so
useless I can’t at least pull my own weight. Not without deliberately
handicapping them in some completely nonsensical way like not equipping
any gear or spending any skill points or whatever. Some of my most
successful characters have been combinations that at first glance seem
to be poor choices (e.g. my Nanomage Enforcer in Anarchy Online, effing
unstoppable that one.)

The closest I get is with a
first character in a brand new game, before I understand how all the
stuff really works as opposed to what a tooltip tells me it does. I
often end up making at least one terrible decision based on poor
knowledge, but it’s rare that things stay broken. Especially in newer
games where there’s less choice in the first place, and resetting or
otherwise undoing a character progression error is often trivial. 
An
example would be my first Rift character – a Cleric I rolled shortly
after release. I picked Cabalist as her primary soul becasue that
sounded the most interesting to me (I mostly hate healing). Then picked
Purifier as a secondary as I progressed through the starter area so that
I’d have some emergency shielding. Don’t even recall what I picked
third in the end because I didn’t put any points into it. For the
longest time I stuck to Cabalist/Purifier even when I’d gone through and
obtained all of the other souls, simply because I liked the concept.
Shield up, AoE nuke before my shields failed. Loot. Rinse. Repeat.
Worked well enough for open world questing but when it came to anything
tricky or a single-target boss fight it fell over pretty spectacularly
:p Funnily enough nowadays with all of the massive changes both Cab and
Puri have undergone, I wonder if that build might just work once more…

Styopa
Guest
Styopa

Nordavind Styopa I’m not sure I buy that.

There are PLENTY of roleplaying game systems out there, and some of them have survived substantially unchanged for decades.  Because book publishing is expensive, and customers are loathe to drop something that works and spend $150 on the next thing’s rulebooks, I think that hurdle compels RPG designers to think much more carefully about their mechanics.  

Yes, I’m aware that even D&D is in its 5th edition…then again, that’s pushing it’s FORTIETH year, 5 changes.  As compared to MMOs where you get rules tweaks, sometimes substantial, with every single patch.  The BRP system has umpteen-gajillion variations but those are simply variations on a generally-consistent 40 year old rule set.

No, I believe the cause is mainly twofold:
– devs that don’t care as much about the mechanics as the content (this is also evidenced in so many games that have to rejigger loot/abilities as they raise the level cap; well thought-out systems should already consider scaling – and well-scaled systems scale smoothly, and
– the compulson in every MMO that pvp be “fair”, whatever the hell that means.  I think some of this is economic, as developers want their game to be all things to all people so they want to have a red vs blue balance  so the pvp’ers get what they want out of the game.

Nordavind
Guest
Nordavind

Styopa Thing is, until you throw a huge pile of players into the mix, you can’t.

Raging Berserker
Guest
Raging Berserker

Hmm, it would have to be a Swordmaster in Warhammer.  They had nice flashy moves, but they paled in comparison to the Ironbreaker in tanking ability.  During the beta I had heard they were under powered compared to other tank classes in the game, but ignored the noise and played one regardless hoping Mythic would improve them over time.

Peregrine_Falcon
Guest
Peregrine_Falcon

My Archery/Trick Arrow Defender in CoH.
During a Zombie invasion I had to constantly backpedal from a single zombie that I couldn’t kill.
*sigh*

Tethyss
Guest
Tethyss

Necro Mage I guess I’ve heard everything then….no wait.  DK’s were the most overpowered, self-sustaining tank/dps class ever introduced in WoW.   Sure maybe you couldn’t tank end bosses as well but you did everything else better.
Most experienced players I talk to admit that at the time no one knew this which is why mediocre players (most of us) never stood out to support this fact.
This was also muddled by the spec stacking problem in early expansion raids and we went from 40 to 25 players.
Still, DK’s in the right hands were deadly — and a very cool starting area with quest line.  Ask any skilled veteran of WoW.