The Daily Grind: Does a class’ style or playstyle matter more to you in MMOs?


Consider this my ode to the Guild Wars franchise’s Mesmers. I love everything about them but how they play in practice. I love how they look. I love how their skills look. I love the idea of dancing around with illusions and riddles and light weapons and fancy outfits. But I’ve never loved how they actually play. In Guild Wars 2, I always feel as if I’m working twice as hard for the same effect as my other characters, and in Guild Wars 1, I always felt like a fish out of water, like a PvP character in PvE where I didn’t quite excel. But damn I look good doing it!

In other words, I love the style but not the playstyle.

Obviously, there are bajillions of people who would disagree and who rock their Mesmers – or who might say the exact same thing about, for example, my Holosmith. And that’s exactly the point of today’s Daily Grind! Does a class’ style or playstyle matter more to you in MMOs? Give me your best examples!

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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Dean Dean

You need both for a good experience. The problem is that neither are as customizable as they should be. I don’t want to play generic paladin with generic paladin skills. I don’t care how much the developer likes paladins, if I can’t make it MY character, I’m going to hate it.


Matters a great deal, in MMOs or ARPGs I like to play tanky in your face characters that are either Edge Lords like Reapers in GW2/Death Knights WoW, or Golden Shining Holy Smiter type characters like Paladins in WoW, or Guardians in GW2.

Bruno Brito

Everything. It has to be a decent playstyle and a decent style. But thank god, i like a lot of stuff, so i’m not THAT demanding.

Eric Gray Jr.

After reading through most of the comments and seeing preferences to play style versus overall style; it’s great to see more thinking of the logical long term about a character’s function, over a form that can usually be changed up with a small fashion adjustment.

Yes, I too prefer how a class/job/whatever functions in the usual rhythm of gameplay versus whether the moves they are using is bright enough to be seen from space on the their screen without needing a telescope.

Years ago in FFXIV, when the option to limit unnecessary effects helped during learning how to tank, white mages kept trying to blind the hell outta me with holy spamming. After that patch came around and I swiftly adjusted it, the same whm that I was complaining to in the dungeon runs, was out of the dungeon spamming the Holy animation, trying to be all snarky.

It was simple enough to switch to my dragoon and spam around them Ring of Thorns (old dragoon pole dancing) as they complained about the lights.

“My lights are bad, but yours aren’t while I was tanking to the point of making the mobs drop vulnerability and they became immune? Lol, OK..”Great stuff

Mason Dixon

Style is definitely what attracts me first. If a class doesn’t look cool or have interesting armor sets, it’ll probably take a while for me to try it out. The playstyle is what gets me to stick with something. I played through most of MSQ in FFXIV as a Dragoon, and I loved the dance of hitting my positionals in combination with the flashy moves and cool, spiky armor. But once I got to (casual) endgame content, I found that I was working twice as hard to get that coveted top DPS spot than if I played Dancer or Machinist. I just really like keeping my rotation rolling at all times, regardless of mechanics being dropped on me. Luckily, those jobs also have some flashy moves and my aiming glams are my best.


The moment-to-moment gameplay has to be *fun* – which isn’t to say it has to be “effective” or “optimal” or anything of the sort… :)

But I’m unlikely to play a class whose aesthetic I dislike even if the game is fun – Warframe hits me there – the faceless Giergerish biotech aesthetics of the Frames just don’t work for me. The gameplay is fun enough but I can’t get past the actual Frames.

So… I guess that means Fashion over Function for me when push comes to shove, but there has to be a minimum “bar” of both or I just won’t really be playing the game.


Ultimately the playstyle is why I’ll stick with a class, but the style is what will draw me in in the first place. I like Red Mage in FFXIV, but if it wasn’t so stylish I wouldn’t have given it much of a try.


Play style is ultimately that matters to me but if the fashion lines up then great.


For me it’s never been about style or effectiveness, it’s whether my characters have style regardless. <3

…note: I do say this reality, if was about effectiveness, I would never roll fire based Mages anywhere. Just saying. :(


Style gets me playing in the first place

Gameplay keeps me playing long term

So, I guess you’d say that gameplay is the more important thing, certainly when it comes to retention, but if you don’t have that original style in place to begin with then you’ll be missing me as a customer completely.