Never A Mage: It's A Scoundrel's, Thief's, Rogue's And Sniper's Life For Me

It's been a few years since I first started to suspect I might have a problem. I played the Mass Effect games as an infiltrator. I played the Dragon Age games as a rogue. I tried Guild Wars 2 as a thief and dabbled in World of Warcraft as a rogue. I tried Star Wars: The Old Republic as a smuggler. In Fallout 3 and New Vegas I always levelled up my sneaking and speech ahead of everything else. Even in BioShock I tended to crouch and crawl carefully, keeping to shadows, in search of my next destination.

Clearly, I have a preferred way to play. But recently I've been realising that my preferences have become my habits and that my habits have become a comfort zone I've become walled into unintentionally.

It's certainly not that I can't play games where skulking isn't allowed. I've done my share of brute melee smashing, as in God of War, or of cover-based non-stealthy play as in Uncharted. But whenever I'm given the choice, I go straight for sneaking, stabbing and sniping. And games that emphasise some kind of slow, careful choosing -- like the Assassin's Creed or Metal Gear Solid series -- somehow call to me. It's as if I have inadvertently programmed myself to feel that in all situations, the best defence is to go unnoticed.

But when does a preference become a problem? For a long time, my ingrained habits were just quirks, with occasionally funny results. For example, during the six years I played EverQuest II, my main character was an Assassin. And out of four characters I eventually had in regular rotation, all but one were of similar classes. The last (actually my most-played alt) was a high-DPS healer who by all rights should have been extremely effective in both solo and group situations. But under my control, she had a nasty habit of constantly trying to flank her enemies, instead of standing still to cast spells. And, for that matter, an equally nasty (if amusing) habit of routinely plummeting to her doom from high places, because healers don't have Safe Fall.

It took one of the League of Legends designers watching me play his game at E3 to point out that I always play like a rogue for me to realise how true it is. In games like The Secret World the impulse to get behind my enemy and stay out of reach serves me well. But in other games, not so much.

Over time, my natural inclination has become a box. I never did much enjoy playing wizard or sorcerer types, but I've let "not my favorite" become "never," and that's not a good way to play. Not only am I limiting my own experiences, but I may not be giving the games I play their fullest chance to shine. There are times when a two-handed sword, a shotgun, or even a big old fireball are probably more effective (and much easier) ways to fight.

So I'm setting myself a new rule: time to break out of my mould. The next game I play where I can select a class or play type, I'm not allowed to pick the roguish one. I'm not giving myself permission to pick sneaking, stabbing, or sniping. It's time for me to step out of the shadows and try something new.

And after I roast myself with my own fireballs, or prove to be a terrible defender, I can go back to what I know. But it's like the broccoli of gaming: I have to at least try one bite. And who knows? Like real broccoli, I might just turn out to like it.


Comments

    Well, what about a ranged mage?

    Heh I'm EXACTLY the same. Always preferring to sneak around and pick enemies off one by one and levelling those abilities first in all games. I love stealing everything that isn't nailed down too. I remember coming across the nuka cola shack in fallout 3 and NEEDING to steal every single bottle in the place

      that's not too bad, I steal and pick up every single thing in Fallout 3. At one point I was overburdened purely from cutlery.

    Like most things though Kate, applying unnecessary limitations (IE: playing stealth when caster is more viable) could be considered more of an achievement, even when the end result is intrinsically similar.

    That's not to say I disagree with you, my playstyle is very much the same, but there's something to be said about self-regulation in that regard, too.

    I DO however, disagree with your stance on broccoli. Eugh!

    If you enjoy the sneaking/rogue/sniper classes why not just play them? Or play them first then change it up on the 2nd/3rd play through. I enjoy the sneaking classes most aswell. Something about the added difficulty of not being detected adds to my enjoyment.

    Whilst I play these classes first to enjoy everything a game has to offer I will then go back and just butcher my way through the game with a Warrior/Mage/run and gun style to it (Works well with games with multiple endings).

    I just recently reloaded DX:HR, aiming for the Ghost achievement. that game fits this mode of play almost exactly. My habit turned out to be: sneak through and eliminate everyone, real quiet.

    This time, due to the ghost achievement as my target, I'm forcing myself to forego elimination and go for pure stealth. It's still fun, and turnign out to be a much faster way to play.

    Next time: Combat rifle and shotgun. BOOYAAH!

    Cool story. What's your favourite food? That'd be interesting too.

    I think our avatars would get along quite well, because I do a similar think with the opposite play style.

    In any team game, I play the role of "Human Shield" or "The Bait". Draw attention, duck and weave or just tank long enough for my team-mates to either escape, or take the advantage.

    Unfortunately, since I don't always communicate this as being my intent (or, other just don't believe someone saying they're willing to be the guy that dies a bunch), it tends to end with me rushing in and dying while my team-mates remain out of sight, waiting for an opportunity to strike, and telling me how much I suck.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with sticking to an archetype. I tend to play a bit of everything, but my preference will always be tank characters who usually get up in everyone's face and use a shield (or defensive power of some sort) to protect themselves. I like the play style, and I admit I've always guiltily liked how those kinds of characters make me feel typically heroic, like I'm the star of the show.

    I play almost purely stealth or magic. Never up front melee types. I even play F3AR and RDR the stealthy way. Knifing my way through both games is incredibly hard and impossible in some places.

    I nearly always play rogue type characters. In Dragon Age I played a dual wielder

    You should try out a mesmer in GW2. They can stealth and also make decoys of themselves.

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