I’m a Linebacker…Sorta…

Larisa started it at the Pink Pigtail Inn  At the very end she talks about how account-wide achievements might detach us from our character avatars, pretty much diluting or even destroying the point of an RPG.

I agree with this…sorta.  More or less, the gist of it.  I love my characters, they are parts of me and I can’t bring myself to delete most of them because they’ve become friends in a sense.  But that’s not really a great comment to leave — “Hey, I agree with you,” — so I didn’t leave a comment.

Then Borsk posted on it.  His post is interesting and steps off from Larisa’s; a move I think we all ought to do a little bit more, instead of having 20 similar opinions running about.  Hopefully, I can do it this time. :)  I’ll sum his up (since he sums up Larisa nicely):

As a carpenter opens his tool box and sees a hammer, a saw, and a drill, I see my Shaman, Rogue, and Warrior. At the end of a job, one doesn’t appraise the individual accomplishments of each tool (nails hammered, walls painted), but that the house was completed and looks fan-damn-tastic.

…Looking at it from a sporting perspective, an NFL owner is the RTS player, the Linebacker on the field is the RPG player. Where the owner can show his management genius by piloting both a successful NFL and NBA franchise, the Linebacker gains nothing by trying to also be an elite Quarterback. The skill sets and traits necessary for both are very different and some may say the same about DPS vs. Healing. To me, it’s all playing WoW (going back to the Carpentry analogy).

…I guess it comes down to how you view yourself as a player. Are you a Linebacker or a Carpenter?

My first reaction was I am a Linebacker.  I do care about my characters separate from each other.  Each toon has a different “personality” to it, if only slight differences.  Even toons of the same class differ; Ama feels more aggressive and feral (which is why I may switch her to a kitty-bear) whereas Xenychte is still a bit child-wonder and happy and peaceful and caring (she’s going to be a boomkin-tree).

But within my guilds, I feel like a Carpenter.  While I prefer to play my warlock, I will switch over to my druid if we need a tank or heals.  This is actually what got Ama her experience in raiding; we needed heals for the regular group and tanking for the B-Team 10-man, rather than more DPS.

So I said to myself, “Screw it, I’m a Goalkeeper.”

So What’s A Goalkeeper?

I’m going to use personal experience here.  If you’ve read some recent posts of mine, you’ll remember I love soccer, and I most often identify with the goalkeeper position, even though I’ve done almost every position.  If I were a complete Linebacker, as Borsk puts it, I wouldn’t try to play any other position, since running a lot like a Midfielder doesn’t really help me in goal, and kicking like a Forward isn’t that necessary since GKs tend to have big foots anyway.  A Defender might be the closest position that would help me, but even then, I have a unique tool — my hands.

But I didn’t stay a Goalkeeper.  (But I wanted to, I admit.)  I wasn’t a Goalkeeper to begin with, either.  I was a Defender.  Then I became a Goalkeeper.  Then I got pushed up front to be a Foward / Striker.  Then I slid back to Midfielder and spent almost equal to GK’s time in that position.  And finally, I reached out to become a Referee.  All these positions made me more like a Carpenter.  I honed different skills for each, and each position has its own purpose.  The four player positions still have to work together, like the carpenter tools, but the Referee, I guess, is like the safety goggles or dust mask you use when putting together a wooden treehouse.  Yeah, you could build the treehouse without using the safety goggles or dust mask, but you might poke your eye out or breathe in some wood dust and life would suck a little more after that.

I still identify most with Goalkeepers. Despite having played three other positions and performing one outsider position.  Though, you could almost split Referee into Center and Line, since they have different jobs, but we’ll keep them the same.

You could say I love my warlock because it was my first serious toon.  Goalkeeping wasn’t my first position, though.

You could say I love my warlock because I’ve spent the longest time on her.  Goalkeeping probably spent a little less time than Midfielding, though.

I love my warlock because she feels closest to me.  She is my avatar, a human female with long brown hair that’s mostly straight but still has the remnants of years of French-braided-for-soccer waves.  Unfortunately, she’s not an engineer, and if she were, I would definitely have her wear some blue goggles to get closer to my real glasses.  She has no piercings and I like it that way.  She’s kind (I hope), generous (I think I am), maybe a little brash (I probably am), a little naive (duhhhhhhrrr), and loves to not suck at what she does.

I love Goalkeeping because if you let me choose which position to play, instead of saying “We need a Striker,” I would pick GK and I would feel most comfortable being the GK. Not just playing the GK but BEING the GK.

However, I do realize that the positions are tools to win a game.

So I’m a Linebacker Who Does Carpenting On The Side

When I was bumped up to Striker, I used the previous skills I had learned as a Defender and a Goalkeeper to improve my Striker performance. I knew the ways Defenders liked to defend, herding you out to the sides instead of down the middle.  Defenders don’t like to kick the ball across the goal & center, since that exposes the goal for a prime shot.  I knew on corner kicks a defender or the GK will be at the poles, and then rest will mark up a player.

I knew as a Goalkeeper on penalty kicks that where the standing foot got planted, the direction of the toes told me the direction of the ball (except the hips & how you hold your weight tells it better).  I knew what moves faked me out as a GK.  I knew the corners of the goal were the deadliest places to shoot a ball (though, everyone knows that).  I knew that rushing a striker early sometimes caused them to flub the kick and I could catch it or deflect it.

So when I was a Striker, I wasn’t uber aggressive, nor was I the best dribbler, nor was I ridiculously fast, but I knew where to strike.  And from being a GK, I had a big foot, so people got out of my kick’s way, generally.  As a goalkeeper getting slammed by strikers with momentum, I was good at holding my own against defenders, even guys.  I was deadly on penalty kicks, since I knew the toe trick.  I’d purposefully plant my foot in the other direction and I learned to kick differently.  After hundreds of goal kicks, getting the ball to curve on a corner wasn’t that hard to do (still a bit tricky).

And when, on occasion, I’d return to guard the goal box, I had the Striker tips to help my goalkeeping.  I knew Strikers would come at me to fake me out.  I knew they would dawdle on the box edges to draw me farther out  I knew they would watch for my legs to spread apart wrong.  I knew to watch for the last-second cross.  I could almost see them coming down the field and see the passing strategy unfold before me.  I could direct my defenders a little better than before.

I’m a Goalkeeper in WoW, Too

I was a solid warlock for a long time.  A year and a half, actually.  Then I leveled my druid and spent at least all of Ulduar and most of ToC being a tree or a bear.  I still warlock’d around, but I was mostly learning healing and tanking.

When I finally did go back to full-time warlocking, everything changed. I felt more aware of my surroundings.  I felt like I could do more to help the tank out, either by positioning differently or by adjusting my rotation for climbing threat. I felt I could help the healers out more by timing my Lifetaps or Haunts better (sometimes I would clip my Haunt specifically to get the health return now rather than later).   I would drop the summoning stone earlier before being asked, and then I would drop it when the raid was almost full, so that I wouldn’t have to resummon the stone as everyone chain-AFK’d.  I learned the good classes to put a SS on, and even to ask the RL or healing lead whom he preferred it to be on (sometimes a tank got it or a DPS who died a lot).

I’m still learning things I can do to help the raid as a whole. I originally hated the Dreamwalker encounter because it was so frenetic and chaotic.  Now I love it, because it requires the DPS and tanks to work together while the healers do their thing.  (Much like raids normally are having the tanks and healers work together while the DPS does their thing.)  I learned that as an affliction lock I kind sucked at killing things right away.  While I still switched to the Blazing Skeletons when they came out, they were nearly almost dead by the time my DoTs got around to ticking.  The geists were always more efficiently killed by the melee DPS.

But I was good for the Aboms, since my DoTs combined with the tank whacking away would kill it just in time for the next Abom to come (until it speeded up later, anyway).  My Rain of Fire circle combined with a DK D&D or a pally Consecrate was perfect for killing the Rot Worms.  And I helped kill the Zombies while the hunter kited them, even grabbing some of the back ones and kiting them to him as the previous one died.

I wasn’t topping the meters, I bet.  But I did my part, and I felt surprised and happy when I accidentally died to a Zombie melee hit once, and the RL immediately asked for a battle rez on me.  Me?  Really?  I’m essential?  Wow, gee, thank you!  It’s more probable that we needed my DPS to add to the rest instead of asking everyone to pick up my dead slack, but I still felt good after that.

Enough Rambling, the Conclusion, Please

If I had to choose one, I’m a Linebacker.  I get into my characters, I prefer casters over melee, I give them personalities.  I go after different mounts and pets because it will suite this toon better than that one.  I give them names with meaning as opposed to what sounds cool or gets generated.  I go for questing by the raw quest log before I turn to Wowhead to get it done.  I like taking screenshots because the world is pretty, not just because we killed a guy.

But I realize the merits of being a Carpenter, and I think branching out into Carpentry improves my Linebackery.  Which is a bit of a Carpenter thing to do, I guess, but the purpose is a Linebacker thing.

So I’m a Goalkeeper.  A Linebacker-Carpenter.

Whatever I am, I like playing WoW.

My Stance on Account-Wide Achievs

I like Borsk’s suggested hypothetical achievements.

Citadel Siege Master- Complete the requirements for The Frozen Throne (25 Player) as all 3 raiding roles.

Surgeon General – Defeat the following encounters while playing as a healer.

Alt-Aholic – Have 4 characters at level 80 of different classes.

Things that suggests what you did as a Carpenter in the game. The achievements as they are now are how Linebackers like them — each toon works for his own.  Carpenters can bend the system through using Bind-on-Account items, since you can use your main tool to upgrade your newer or lesser used tools.

But having an achievement like Surgeon General would help with forming PUGs.  It proves you’ve at least done the encounter (though, I would point out that doing it from one POV doesn’t mean you automatically know how to do it from a different POV).

Having Alt-Aholic means you might even know what you’re talking about when you’re on your shaman telling the rogue off for doing low DPS.  Even something like “Crisis Quartet” indicating you have one of every healer at 80 or “Pew Pew Pew” indicating you have all the caster DPS (warlock, mage, moonkin, spriest, ele shaman…am I missing any?) at 80, would be okay with me.

What would not be okay with me would be taking Linebacker achievements and making them account-wide. Like reputation achievs — that’s a lore-like thing.  Basically lore-like things — things you would use if you were to go and roleplay your toon with — aren’t okay for account-wide for me.  Defeating a boss is a lore thing, but defeating a boss as a certain role as opposed to another role isn’t.  After all, bosses aren’t supposed to respawn in a story if you kill them when you play a healer.  Dead bosses are dead, at least until they become Undead, then maybe it’s okay to go an tank the Undead boss, and then they’re Dead Undead, which is generally dead enough.

Gods forbid we ever get a feline Scourge boss.

So, if you could turn to your toon and ask him or her about an achievement and it would make sense to your toon (“I’m exalted with the Argent Crusade” or “I defeated Arthas” or “I’ve maxed out 4 weapon skills”), then leave it alone, let it be character-wide.  But if your toon would go, “Wha?” when you ask whether you’ve done it as a tree druid or a warlock, then that’s okay for me to be account-wide.

So what kind of WoWer are you?

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4 responses

  1. I like the Goalkeeper parallel. That’s a position that I never wanted to play (in hockey, never played Soccer), so I commend you for that. Most of my time is spent torturing said goal-tenders.

    This is a great take on the concept and a good read. :)

    20 Jul 2010 at 15:34

    • Thanks! I had hoped I didn’t just reiterate someone else and make a 2k wording of “I agree with this.” :)

      I was an aggressive defender, but I lost all my mojo whenever I tried to play offense aggressively.

      20 Jul 2010 at 16:32

  2. I like your idea of achievements based on your party role! And there is even precedent with the Oculus achievements for riding the different drakes. That would be very interesting.

    Your analogy of experiencing the other soccer positions helping you as a goalkeeper makes a lot of sense too. I started as a DPS and then branched off into healing, and it’s funny how many different things you pay attention to when performing a different role. I’ve yet to perform as a tank or melee character in raids, but I’m sure if I ever do it’ll once again be a huge eye-opener.

    20 Jul 2010 at 16:17

    • Actually, Borsk thought of the role achievs first, I think. It was one of his hypothetical ones, anyway. But yeah, you’re right — Oculus already did it, a little bit! Nice catch!

      I got positioning largely from tanking. Oh my goodness. Even during an encounter, figuring out that if you pulled adds by accident, they would take this path, and getting yourself so that if you did accidentally pull adds, the tank could pick them up the quickest & easiest. Learning which adds to DPS was largely from healing, since healers have to deal with the aftermath of certain add types surviving longer.

      I’ve yet to try melee DPS, though. I tried kitty in 5mans (& didn’t like it due to tank dancing), but in raiding, not yet.

      20 Jul 2010 at 16:36

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