The Daily Grind: What’s the best type of MMO class for hiding scrubs?

    
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Last week, the MOP staff were idly chatting about the early days of MMO, when one of us (who shall remain nameless!) mentioned being a terrible combat player in Anarchy Online – but he found his niche playing a Metaphysicist, which focused more on buffs and mez pets.

I’m sure there are going to be those people who flip out over the idea that not every MMORPG player is a professional-tier player at the tippy-top of his game – there’s always somebody who takes it way more seriously than is warranted – but let’s be honest, the average MMO player isn’t a pro. And that’s fine. Plus, once you start gaming with your little kids, you start looking for classes in games where you can sort of “hide” them while you carry them and teach them the ropes – classes whose role is important but not absolutely critical to the group’s success in some make-or-break way.

What would you say is the best type of MMO class for hiding scrubs or – let’s be more polite about it – less-than-perfect players whom you still want to group with?

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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Zero_1_Zerum

I’d don’t think any class is good for hiding scrubs. If you find yourself wearing scrubs, and want to hide them, what you want is a nice long overcoat.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

While I’m above your average player now and like more difficulty than most do, when I first started to play games I was really young and I was the scrub. An Uncle of mine was my babysitter, and he played MMORPGs while he was supposed to be babysitting, which I wanted to play too to get some attention and do what he was doing.

Pet classes where your pets do a huge amount of the work and take damage for you etc is a great way to start a scrub out. There also was another game that I played this trapper class that would run away and drop traps behind them for the monsters to run over.

The kiting trapper isn’t in most MMORPGs, but most of them do have a pet class, so that’s got to be the go-to class for kids you are introducing to the games. The entire “that’s your huge kitty” or “doggie” thing works great for kids too :P

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Vunak

This is more of an interesting topic when I think about it in terms of PvP and PvE.

In PvP I would say its a lot more difficult to hide bad play because its directly competitive against other players. Mistakes are generally punished much more harshly in PvP than they are in PvE barring mechanics that have to be done precisely or get raid wiped. Weak links are targeted in PvP where as in PvE it is encounter specific.

In PvP if you have a healer that is not playing very well, the enemy team will lock onto that fairly quickly and make plays based on the healer not playing very well. In PvE that same healer may be able to get away with not playing well because an encounter doesn’t have drastic healer mechanics or there are other healers that are picking up the slack .

Its difficult to hide bad play in either modes especially towards the top end, but generally low end PvE is fairly easy to run through, while PvP stays difficult even at low end because you are playing other low end players.

In PvE – DPS/Healers (if a parser isn’t involved)

In PvP – Tanks because generally tanks are not a very detrimental role in PvP.

But every game has their easy classes and more difficult classes as well. Which is where that can definitely shift. For example in TERA it is very easy to hide a less experienced player on a Valkyrie in both PvP and PvE because the class is so straightforward and easy to play with many ways to recover itself if mistakes are made.

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h4

I agree with this analysis and wanted to add a few things. I believe the main reason for DPS/Healer being the easiest to hide in PVE is because those roles often have a lot of redundancy in group content. As in usually, there are multiple healers and multiple dps. In cases where there is only one of each role though, it becomes more difficult to hide as a bad anything.

PVP is definitely tanks. Generally tanks are low priority pvp targets, so a bad player on a tank has a lot of leeway to contribute by using his skills relatively unimpeded. Often times these skills are passive auras which don’t require a whole lot of effort to use. Furthermore, a tank can afford to mess up on positioning, take unnecessary damage, and probably survive long enough to get back into healing range, thus avoiding looking bad through frequent deaths.

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

Thanks for amusing topic which shows one of the things that is wrong with modern society. “Using word scrubs is wrong, I am le offended!” What’s next, you will have to use something like “a person that provides lower than average damage or healing output or lower than necessary item level gear” to not make anyone feel offended? ;-)

Get real, people, and focus on actual topic.

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Robert Mann

Uh… the best answer is “not a class.” Every class with have some issues if a person is playing them out of the optimal, especially in the content where it will matter.

So then, the answer is either different content is best, or that taking aim at a different type of game (which is even better). Honestly, I think that mixing together social aspects with things other than just combat would bring a lot more to the table for many people who struggle with the combat. Some things can be slower paced, easier with a disability, or more manageable for children. So if we actually have a game with more options than “Combat class X,Y, or Z” we have a lot more ability to accommodate different people.

Ending disclaimer here: NONE of those things make somebody a scrub. Not caring about optimizing some FotM rotation and build with gear does not make somebody a scrub. The entire idea that any of this makes somebody lesser is wrong. That is my take as somebody who will go out, build something out of the normal, go do content that is “impossible” for said class or build, and outperform 99.99999% of the people making the claims that it won’t work… with lesser gear than that person has. The only scrubs in MMOs are the egotistical asshats who think they should get to dictate what is right/wrong.

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

The only scrubs in MMOs are the egotistical asshats who think they should get to dictate what is right/wrong.

Yes and no. They can’t force you to play game in specific way and they should not as long as you do not interfere with enjoyment of their game but if you are in a group with certain person which you voluntarily joined – they do have the right to criticize you if you are doing something wrong, after all you are a part of their group ;-) Of course this should always be done in a polite way, saying rude things is not productive.

This, of course, brings another issue with games, such as “forced grouping” in PvE games, which is a BAD DESIGN and should never be used to gate any content. Wanna solo certain boss? You should be able to, without even a chance of someone criticizing your performance unless you specifically ask for that by showing your screenshots or replays of your solo play. Wanna experience raid content? Again, you should be able to without being forced to join a group of players. Just add teammate NPCs and lower the chance of getting a reward compared to doing this in a group of human players but nobody should be gated from doing this if they cannot do it as a part of group of people for many valid reasons.

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Robert Mann

I like some of those ideas, and I agree they cannot force one to (except as part of grouping checks, which are absolutely insane on a regular basis… and inevitably don’t work all that well). My statement was more that merely by attempting to control others so prior to any engagement that they are being stupid and failing, and I stand by that. *See third paragraph for if people engage in group here.*

I also don’t think that forced grouping is an inherently bad design or idea, although it is as implemented. I would say that a game should be designed for it, or not for it, from the start. If a game is putting solo to max level and then “Forced group dungeon/raid is the real game!” I’m 100% with it being an atrocity.

Finally, I agree that running content with a certain expected level of performance is part of things. Thus why I noted that avoiding that content, or better yet finding a game with a wider variety of content where that’s not the designed end goal, is a much better fit if one doesn’t wish to jump through those hoops (I just wish that more games designed for a good journey and story over time, rather than chasing dopamine via RNG drops).

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

I also don’t think that forced grouping is an inherently bad design or idea

It is bad, though, when it involves forced grouping with other players. Good game should be flexible enough by letting people to complete any PvE content regardless of the preference. Think of any dungeon in your favorite MMORPG: why should the game not have an option to, for example, let a player complete it solo without waiting in queue for hours or finding people who will put up with subpar performance of that person?

I am talking about an option, where you, if you enjoy doing it as a group with other human players, would also have an option to group up with these players to complete same dungeon with appropriate difficulty increase and increased chance of getting a unique loot item like fancy mount or cosmetics. If a game story requires a dungeon to be completed as a group because the text mentions several players doing this or the cutscenes show this – you can always add NPC groupmates instead of live players so the story would not be altered, same for cutscenes. There are no negatives in making grouping with other human players completely optional, only positives since as a game developer you will get more money out of people who are willing to complete MMORPG solo and who otherwise would NOT pay you money if, for example, they would be prevented from completing some dungeon or instance if they do not want to play with other players. Sadly many games still do not give such option, FFXIV being the worst example of that.

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Vunak

Ideas like these have literally been killing the MMO genre. Solo everything. Over casualizing a genre that was never meant to be casual.

Having parts of an MMO solo friendly is fine but no MMO should ever be designed around the solo player. Completely and utterly defeats the whole purpose of an MMO. Especially when people start complaining about how they can’t solo everything in the game.

Single player games. Those are what people that want to solo everything should be playing. Not destroying an entire genre that was never meant to be solo.

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

Having parts of an MMO solo friendly is fine but no MMO should ever be designed around the solo player. Completely and utterly defeats the whole purpose of an MMO.

LULz. The ONE and ONLY purpose of “MMORPG” is you have “MASSIVE” world around you. Meaning huge areas and a lot of players. Forced grouping is not a part of that. If you enjoy grouping – you do not even need the game to be “RPG” or have “Massive” part – you can play CS:GO or Dota2, against bots if you do not like PvP or against live players. You can even grind for worthless (outside of the game) virtual items in those games.

Plenty of people enjoy MMORPG simply because they, for example, visit a large city and see other people around them, running around, doing their own things, where you can wave to other player and that player may wave back at you or start chatting with you. This is what “Massive” means for many players.

Also, unlike extremely narrow-minded and selfish people like you, A LOT of people have jobs and families. Something which may, for example, prevent them from playing a game at “prime time” and as a result force them to spend hours in a queue in a dungeon or a raid content, a time they cannot afford to waste or simply not be willing to waste, without ability to do anything else (if they are not interested in crafting or doing other activities). Do you honestly believe it is morally fair to restrict them from experiencing specific boss or chance to get specific reward from killing that boss just because they have real life obligations? What about people who have social anxiety they cannot overcome, or may be disabled in other way which would prevent them from doing things like playing in a group of strangers or finding a group of friends large enough to kill specific boss and get a chance of getting specific reward which is only available in specific dungeon or raid due to BAD GAME DESIGN?

Seriously, selfish people like you genuinely disgust me. It’s all about “me, me, me!” for you, never about “what if we give OPTIONS to people DIFFERENT than me to give a chance to them to experience any content which they may never otherwise be able to experience, while also having an OPTION to experience same content in a group for people who prefer it this way?”.

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Vunak

The entire point of an MMO is to bring people together into a social environment with tons of players around you. Soloing through every piece of content that MMO has to offer completely defeats the purpose of being an MMO.

Its funny you call me selfish when in actuality you are being selfish with asking for everything to be catered to you. How do you not understand that if you reward players the same way solo as you do in a group it completely defeats the groups reason to be grouped?

You call me narrow-minded when that is all you are being. I said having solo elements to a game is good, but it shouldn’t be designed with that player in mind. While you are saying everything should be solo which completely defeats the purpose of group content. The whole majesty of an MMO is being able to group with people and socialize.

Again go play a single player game and stop destroying an entire genre because you have to be coddled and have access to everything and don’t want to have to work for anything.

I just feel bad for people like you, you don’t disgust me but you do perplex me.

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kjempff

I think you forgot what the R stand for in mmorpg.

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Roger Edwards

Here’s a thought. Let’s not use the term “scrub”. It was conceived as a pejorative phrase. There’s more than enough rancour and discontent in the gaming world already. Let’s not normalise such shitty labels and just provide assholes with another stick to beat folk with.

Plus, the more you think about, the more irrelevant it is anyway. Who qualifies as a “scrub”? Are there universally agreed criteria for what makes a good player? Do you then get a certificate? Do bad players fall foul of the scrub police? What happens if you’re an elite player who has a bad day? Are you relegated to the “scrub” league? Can you be reinstated at a later date if your playing improves?

Nope, this is a bullshit term and we should kick it into touch. We have the entire English language at our disposal. Let’s find something less hyperbolic, judgemental and more practical.

oldandgrumpy
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oldandgrumpy

Hunter

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

Any DPS class – nobody really cares what you do in group if they do not run damage meters. You do not need to watch teammate health or manage aggro or position bosses or swap tanking or use damage reducing abilities when tanking and when healer cannot heal you up for many reasons. Just do whatever damage you can and try to not be killed by AoE (which you should always learn about before getting into dungeons unless you are a selfish asshole who thinks “it is fun to discover new things without looking at guides by inconveniencing other people in your group”) and you will be fine.

creationguru
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creationguru

I totally disagree with this statement of having to watch a video or guide to run any content. I should not have to do homework and spoil anything that is new just because people want to rush though content this is just not right and really can make a community feel hostile. Why should only content creators or content rushers get to be the ones to experience something for the first time blind. Most content is not so hard that you need any of this.

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Anstalt

I think there are three ways to approach this question:

1) What is the easiest class / role to play?
If you are a scrub, then playing the easiest class/role is a good way to hide your lack of skill. In my experience, this is the tank role. You have one job: hold aggro. There usually aren’t that many skills for generating threat, so playing it is pretty damn easy. You have immediate feedback on whether you’re doing right: either you have aggro or you don’t. Finally, you are usually the healer’s first priority, so if you die first then it’s usually someone else’s fault.

That said, tanking is a prominent role, so whilst I consider it a cake-walk, it can be stressful.

2) What is the least important class / role?
This is about minimising the effects of being a scrub by not negatively impacting your friends when you screw up. Without a doubt, this would be ranged DPS. RDPS tends to be primarily single target, so messing up tends to just mean lower damage, and that can be easily compensated by other players (or you just accept slower clear times).

That said, despite being the least important, it’s still pretty easy to spot when a RDPS isn’t pulling their weight, so being a scrub is still noticable. Not really hiding.

3) What is the least noticable class / role?
This is all about hiding the fact that you are a bad player, to save you from any embarassment. In my experience, this is pretty much any support role (buff / debuff / cc). Not because these roles aren’t important, but because their roles aren’t easily understood or particularly obvious. I believe this is because a support role is supporting someone else. If a debuffer forgets to debuff, the effects would be more damage on the tank which could be explained as the tank missing their skills or the healer being a bit crap. It’s not obvious that it’s actually the debuffer’s fault. A CC role is a bit more obvious in it’s effects, but it’s also pretty easy to blame other people’s AoE if you don’t manage to lock something down.

That said, I believe that support roles are actually the hardest to play well, despite often being the least noticable. A well played support role just makes everything go tons smoother, but it’s a constant decision-making process to decide who/where/how to support the group properly.

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Adam Russell

Id say bards can get away with sloppy play in EQ. No one cares about his parse, he’s not letting people die for lack of healing, and he isnt losing agro because thats not his job. Used to be that bards were the exquisite puller but most groups dont need singles these days and would actually prefer multis.

That said, there are qualities and tactics to show the best bards, but not so much which are scrubs.