Thursday, April 3, 2008

In response to Trackhoof

Trackhoof wrote to me earlier and said that, as a recent blog post of his suggests, he is contemplating returning to WoW.

I will confess that even when he left, part of me was hoping that this might still happen. Track, I think you still have a lot left that you can potentially contribute. Your own blog was great, as was your response to Rilgon on his a few hours ago.

Here's the thing. I don't believe World of Warcraft is going to last much longer. I give it a year after the release of WoTLK at the very most.

However, there is still a reason to play this game. Track, as you yourself said to Rilgon, people who make less conventional choices, and who do so for reasons of staying true to themselves, still at times need people around them.

There are going to be other games after WoW, (the most immediate perhaps being Warhammer) and in those games, there are still going to be offspecs. Melee Hunters with Engineering, DPS Priests and Paladins, hybrids of myriad different weird and wonderful kinds.

The common element among all of them would be unpredictability, and in many people's minds, unacceptability. They'd be character or class types that theorycrafting and empirical mathematics supposedly didn't have room for, but that the people using them had somehow been able to make work.

In a game, the straight edge, the predictable, the controllable; you need all of those things to make it work, and everyone knows that. However, just as crucially, you also need chaos, and less rigidly defined character types for those situations that are not anticipated, and cannot be conventionally quantified. Those are times when offspecs can be that missing 5% that provides success where otherwise there would be failure. Sun Tzu spoke of Ch'i and Cheng troops; the conventional and the unconventional.

These people are going to need others willing to support them. They're still going to need some degree of guidance, and more than anything else, they will need the knowledge that they are not alone. That others like them exist, and that said others understand them and the situations that, as an offspec, they find themselves in. They will also need assurance that, as Rakan actually says in the forum, although the more conventional class types do not or will not see it, the offspecs at times genuinely are what can allow the more conventional types to succeed.

Track, as a Survival Hunter yourself, you're one of the people who can be part of that mutual support group, if you choose to be. In WoW, for as long as this game continues to exist, and later, in Warhammer or whichever other game comes after, if you choose to continue to stay with it.

We need people to serve in a wide variety of roles, here. We need people like Alumatine who are able to work out what little hard scientific basis there is for various offspec types. We need people like Bandet who, with his videos, provide hard evidence of what Survival is capable of. We need people like Rakan to be the proverbial voice in the wilderness, and also to occasionally slap the opposition upside the head when they continue to bombard us with their usual prejudice.

And, Track, we need people like you...who are willing to talk to those of us who at times will inevitably waver, due to the incessant call of the mainstream, even when they know that mainstream existence just isn't what they're meant for.

At times we're all going to need some assurance that as painful as being different at times can be, we do it because not following our hearts, not following our conscience...not following what God whispers to us to far worse, to the point of being unthinkable.

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