Wanting to post occasionally but not having any real adventures to share, I decided to do a series of posts discussing the things I’ve enjoyed most in the MMOs I’ve played, interspersed with my list of most desired. I’m going to start with my three favorite classes.
Magic is why I came to the Party
Classes are one of the most important elements for me in any game. If I can’t find a class I really enjoy playing, my visit will be extremely short lived. After all, that class represents my persona in the game and defines the role I’d be expected to play in a group. My preference for the first character is going to be a magic caster of some sort. Running around a fantasy setting capable of magic is why I come to the party. I’ll branch out from there if I create secondary characters OR if I find the magic classes available aren’t to my liking or personal play-style. But that’s only happened once. There’s only one game where I didn’t find a magic casting class that I enjoyed enough to progress as my main, and that game was Age of Conan.
My Three Favorite Classes
Let’s get to it. No further preamble required.
3. Asheron’s Call 2 Enchanter
My AC2 Enchanter will always be special to me. It was the birth of my Saylah persona in MMOs. Oddly enough, I began my AC2 journey as an Archer. I specifically wanted a class that could progress to some degree, playing alone. I was still green in the genre and what I’d witnessed before playing AC2, was a sometimes crippling dependency on other players. If I couldn’t do what needed doing when others were around, then I was shit-out-of-luck. I didn’t find that very appealing given my horrendous work schedule which often included weeks and weeks of business travel and strange hours.
The wonderful thing about AC2 was this didn’t mean that I had to leave magic behind. I could combine the Archer with a magic class (Enchanter) and become the solo friendly Archanter, I felt would better suit my needs. However, as I learned more about the Enchanter, joined a wonderful guild, became part of a static trio, hit the levels where grouping was the rage and participated in my favorite instances, I changed to full-on Enchanter and never looked back.
The AC2 Enchanter was a magic caster who possessed inanimate summonable objects as pets. The first one you received just taunted to help hold aggro while you attacked. The rest did damage and that damage progressed as you attained the higher level pets. This is what allowed me to switch away from Archer and still maintain a decent level of survivability.
• Mesmerize – put target to sleep
• Confuse – similar to a fear mechanic
• Root – hold target in place
• Tattercoat – reduce target armor and resistances
• Spines (?) – increase party armor/defense
• Axe Orb – highest DPS pet
What I enjoyed most about the Enchanter was the group role. I wasn’t the highest magic caster, that honor went to the Sorcerer. Enchanter was crowd control and de-buffing, two things you couldn’t do higher level instances or raid content without. I thrilled with the ability to control the pace of combat, the necessity of being actively cognizant of our surroundings at all times, the ability to save bad pulls or players who’d moved too far in one direction or another and de-buffing the current target for increased damage, all while doing damage myself. This was no press 1-2-3-4 rinse repeat class. You had to know what to do, when to do it and ACTUALLY DO IT.
2. Age of Conan Bear Shaman
AOC was the first and remains the only game where I couldn’t find a caster class that I enjoyed. Before launch, I just knew I was going to play Demonologist. I got into the game, tried it and quickly found that it wasn’t for me. After that I proceeded to try all of the casters and became increasingly concerned when I didn’t like any of them. Remembering how much I enjoyed leveling a Druid in World of Warcraft, I decided to give the Bear Shaman a try. I could off-tank, heal and do damage using mechanics that were different enough from the WOW Druid to make it all feel new again. I rolled a Bear Shaman just to give it a try. It was love at first sweep (inside joke for other Bear Shamans). *Smile*
Defining Abilities – didn’t play it high enough to know end game
• Blessed Claws – heals caster and anyone who attacks the cursed target
• Grizzled Hide – increases party defense
• Renewal – player resurrection
The Bear Shaman animations were great – really great. When I applied my buffs, the avatar flexed its back and shoulders, roared and a translucent silhouette of a bear formed around it. I hadn’t even killed anything yet and I felt BAD ASS. Here again, the combat was very engaging. I couldn’t just face roll a pre-defined set of skills to win. You had to do damage, combos when available, heal yourself, heal others and de-buff targets. Like the Enchanter, situational awareness was paramount to being good at playing the class. The required awareness kept me engaged in every fight, which in turn made it exciting, entertaining and fun! The AOC Bear Shaman was full of win!
1. Warhammer Online Bright Wizard
The Bright Wizard is my favorite MMO class. Hands-down, I’ve never enjoyed a class as much as I did playing this one. I’ll come to a few notables that were close but not top three. Even my once beloved WOW Warlock, the class I played the longest, doesn't compare with the BW. Going into WAR I had the Sorcerer in mind. Then I saw the BETA videos from Brent, of the blog formerly known as Wall of Text and I had to try that class. From the videos at least, it looked like the real-deal glass cannon.
• Reign of Fire – fire-based AOE
• Fiery Blast – targeted fire-based AOE
• Detonate – unleash damage on hexed target plus DOT on them and all other enemies in range.
If you’re going to kill, kill with style, must have been the moniker for the developers who designed this class. She was awesome in every sense of the word. The BW was very fragile and easy to kill, her own spells capable of damaging kick-back. But alive, she was a lethal force you had to keep in check.
With few exceptions, I’ve leveled characters on PVP servers so I know what in-world battles feel like in MMOs. WAR’s open RVR was just an extension of that to me. I’ve NEVER played a caster class that could push back the enemy line and scatter packs of opponents like the Bright Wizard.
As much as I enjoyed the interesting twists to the skill design for this class, it was the animations AND the character’s inflections while casting, that put it over the top amazing to play. I’m channeling Reign of Fire – I don’t just stamp my staff on the ground like the WOW Priest Holy Nova. No, I lean my whole body into it, my muscles tensing and my face grimacing with the exertion and energy required to call down a fiery hailstorm of destruction on my opponents.
I cast an instant spell and there’s more than the obligatory hand thrust forward in casting. I activate a hex with Detonate, another instant cast, by snapping my fingers, which in turn ignites the spark of fire now consuming you and yours, my head tips to the side and a smirk appears on my face saying, your ass is mine. That was the Bright Wizard. It was a magical summation of interesting skills, real glass cannon implementation and stylistic animations that included facial expressions and attitude.
I’ve played games I enjoyed more than Warhammer Online. I’ve experienced PVE content I found more engaging. I’ve experienced open world PVP that was considerably more stable and was so exciting, that it went on hour after hour even though there were no rewards being handed out for participation. But I’ve never enjoyed a class more than the WAR Bright Wizard.
Other Notable Mentions
- World of Warcraft Warlock – My signature character from WOW. I played the Warlock long before it was considered over powered in the live game. By the time she was being engineered into top DPS and contender for the most hated opponent award, I was already burned out and playing alts.
- Warhammer Online Warrior Priest – In the frontlines combat healer was a lot of fun to play. This is what I thought the WOW Paladin was when the game first released but it wasn’t and unfortunately for my son, who rolled one at launch, it didn’t become one until we were done and gone. The WP had to do damage in order to heal and could survive an onslaught, occupying many opponents in the process. I loved bum-rushing the healers which kept them busy healing themselves and two to three others had to come over to get me off, leaving the real objectives more vulnerable to our attack.
- World of Warcraft Paladin Tank – It’s one of the easier classes to tank in terms of spell rotation but it looks good doing it. *Smile* The animations are smooth. You react, the target reacts – it’s the type of combat that I don’t get bored watching which makes it appealing for me. “I’m going to look good while kicking your ass, hang on now let me buff, debuff, cast a heal and… we’re off again.
- Aion Enchanter – Paladin–like class with great buffs, crippling de-buffs, heals and decent melee damage. It’s a frontlines fighter which keeps the combat very engaging. Yes, you can macro some aspect of it but the chains require situational awareness which kept the combat fresh and entertaining. Take this class and put it in a game with less outright grind and I’d play it again.
That’s my list of the MMO classes I’ve enjoyed the most. There are classes that had a more memorable signature move or mechanic. However, the overall picture of how the class played coupled with the entertainment-factor, these were my top picks.