I’ll start with an aside thought: No MMOs nor the characters inside of them seem at all concerned that the entire player population is running around armed and freely shooting anything other than the townsfolk. No weapons regulations, no hunting licenses, no sideways looks as one slams down a staff and summons hellspawn right across from the cheese shop.
Anyway, last night I was canoodling about in Guild Wars 2 (which, oddly enough, has become my haunt as of late as I wait for TSW’s Tokyo and LOTRO’s Update 13), trying to get myself to stick with one alt and failing miserably. I like the idea of the Necromancer for her pets, but her weapons are so limited and lackluster and not that fun to use. The Ranger is tons of fun, but I often lament that she really needs the option to use a rifle in addition to bows/axes for ranged damage. The Thief’s dual pistols are great fun to use, but I worry that it won’t be enough to carry my interest through the entire game. It probably all circles back to the fact that the Engineer is such a perfect class for me that any alts will seem subpar in comparison. Maybe I should just level another Engie and how silly is that.
It made me think of how much I enjoy having a character that uses guns in games. We don’t always get that, because most fantasy titles haven’t developed that technology despite creating architectural wonders and having potions that revive the dead. But gunpowder and lead in a barrel? Impossible!
The MMOs that have had them, I’m all over classes that use them. My Hunter in WoW loved her rifle and refused to use a dirty bow, ever. Even though the rifle wasn’t that great of a weapon in Warhammer, my Engineer stubbornly used it most of the time. Star Trek Online had better guns than the show did, including those heavy assult machine gun things, and that actually made me like ground combat. And with WildStar coming up, I have a decent selection of three gun/pistol/ray doohickey-using classes. Man, I still haven’t decided on a class yet. Trying to convince myself to do Medic as my first and leave the Engineer until later.
Why are guns in MMOs fun? For me, it’s the combination of getting your blows in before the enemy closes the gap, the strong visceral nature of the look and sounds, and the ease of combat that doesn’t require a lot of movement or the need to constantly stay in close range. It accesses a part of me that’s existed from childhood, the part who is giddy to go running around saying “pew pew!” at the bad guys. Something about using guns makes us feel cool, even if we’re dorks sprinting through laser tag with glowy lights on our chest.
Archery doesn’t have that same feel for me, even though it’s always been quite popular in RPGs and MMOs and among the Hunger Games devotees. A whispy, quiet arrow can’t compare to the KA-POW! and smoke and flame of a rifle. Plus, it’s harder to come up with a large variety of good-looking bows as it is to create awesome gun designs.
So give me my right to bear arms and get outta the way. That boar is looking at me funny-like.