Your Playstyle is not My Playstyle

You either attracted attention, or were left behind to attract more attention. Ow.

You either attracted attention, or were left behind to attract more attention. Ow.

As you might’ve gleaned from my last post, I’ve gotten a few more gripes about the lack of Improved Precise Shot on my Zen Archer that I was in the mood to handle.

But after speaking with some friends, I realized it was more of an opportunity for me to discuss why I play more conservatively than more players than I realized. 

Let me ask you several questions based on my observations over the years. Just make a mental note if you answered “yes” or “no” to each. The questions are in no particular order or emphasis.

  1. After your party buffs, do you surge ahead into a pile of enemies?
  2. Do you tend to attack first, no matter what your class?
  3. Do you tend to use builds that emphasize very high DPS?
  4. Are your builds primarily multiclassed?
  5. Do you tend to always just surge ahead and fight, and not worry about generating dungeon alert?
  6. Have you ever made a character that has a Move Silently or Hide score greater than 20?
  7. If you play a Monk, do you think the finishing moves are too complex or useless?
  8. If you play a mage, do you tend to use your spells without worrying about attracting attention?
  9. If you play a ranged character, do you use Improved Precise Shot at all times?
  10. If you play a Rogue Assassin, do you complain how your Assassinate doesn’t work?

If you answered “yes” to most of these, you really shouldn’t be reading my blog.

Aggro Means Aggression

DDO is designed to kill you. If you carelessly approach a group of enemies without a plan of attack, death is sure to come. Sure, you could be a veteran player of many years and even memorized the location and appearance of monsters. That doesn’t change the conditions of the quest, especially if you have party members that aren’t strong enough yet in experience (player or character) or have sufficient firepower or protections to survive.

There are two type of aggro-magnets I know. One kind is the player that simply isn’t watching the mechanics carefully enough. They may be new to the game or very experienced. They often try a special attack and, next thing you know, they forget a critical mechanic and cry out “Help!” moments before others hear a “ding!”

The second are the zerging, all-knowing, high-speed players that measure XP per hour. They know many quests by heart, set up quest and raids with “know it” in their description, and blast forward. They often can dish out the damage and maximize every single ability and have the best of the best gear. Sometimes they’re often completionist-lovers.

Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with either situation–except when you claim that the way you play is the only way to play and become intolerant to any other ideas.

You Don’t Need to be Perfect at Everything

DDO’s D&D roots mean that some classes will be superior to others at a given thing. You can make a high-DPS fighter with UMD and good Search and Spot but you will eventually meet a challenge you cannot do alone. Many Epic quests now laugh at your True Seeing, requiring a fully functioning Rogue or Artificer to find that door. Your high DPS is useless in part 3 of The Shroud. You will get very, very bloody in many quests if you simply fight without thinking.

What’s “thinking?”

  1. Pulling enemies. You break up a large group and pick them off one by one. Even if you do this only a little, it makes your eventual charge less rigorous. This is the Zen Archer’s job. In a party, I remain stationary, targeting enemies that are being kited or that are targeting others in a party. 
  2. Turning off Improved Precise Shot. Unless you are certain that you can kill all eighteen of the orcs you just hit at once, you’re not only endangering the quest but party members. And even if you can kill off all of those orcs, you’re showing off and being a kill hog. No one wants “leet” players in party because they’re an assassin of joy of whatever you find likeable in a quest’s storyline, including party esprit de corps. The Zen Archer can’t do its job with IPS.
  3. Remembering that you’re in a freaking party. Share the fame. Let people read the story, speak to the NPCs, even grab a collectible. Do some optionals. Do something wacky like letting the Rogue scout, and not leaving the newbie Sorcerer behind as dungeon fodder.

I’m really digressing from my central point. Fighting is what DDO is about. I’m not arguing that. I question how some of you think that what others get out of DDO (or any game) must be the same as what you get out of the game, else, you’re patently convinced that others “aren’t doing it right.”

I am not advocating that any player should make a stealth character, or play only single-classed characters and love it. Nor am I suggesting that you should rip out feats and skills and enhancements that please you and work for your character.

I’m simply telling you to stop your proselytizing about how important you think a skill or feat or enhancement may be. Many players, me included, come to learn and realize what’s cool or useful by experience, not by somebody sauntering into a forum thread to drop in their sage knowledge in clipped, 3rd grade English. In that sense, my blog and the Monk and stealth guides might be filled with “Captain Obvious” information to you. That’s fine. There’s other places you can go to find what you need.

It’s clear I’m not tranquil here. It’s because players that become too godly in their minds just aggro me.

I only have two builds I’ve made. They aren’t necessarily original but they are effective for me and thought it would be nice to share them. My responsibility is to communicate how to play them. Strangely, seems that other builds are more self-explanatory.

I hope your builds work for you. But if you’re going to say that feat X is a must, I’m going to consider what I know about it–and then decide for myself.

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tholgrin
    Aug 26, 2015 @ 16:57:55

    But… but… does that mean your monks *don’t* take Improved Shield Bash or Spell Focus: Divination??

    *insert image of anime child with watering eyes*

  2. saekee
    Aug 26, 2015 @ 17:33:31

    Always great to read your blog! Am on a trip so this is my fix.
    I think a lot of groups would prefer the archers sans IPS because it is a PITA for melees to chase after mobs that are chasing after kiting archers!
    There are other synergies with sniping such as Stand and Deliver which I think is in the shiradi tree as well as the invisi kill tactics of fade and improved invisi (being still does not give you away when these are active).
    I hope to get my monk/ranger/rogue halfling stealth thrower back to epics to team up again!

  3. ComicRelief
    Aug 26, 2015 @ 20:41:02

    What? You mean there are more than just one way to play DDO? Inconceivable!

  4. grimorde
    Aug 27, 2015 @ 03:16:24

    Well said 🙂

  5. DDOCentral
    Aug 28, 2015 @ 02:28:42

    Reblogged this on DDOCentral.

  6. Paula
    Aug 28, 2015 @ 02:36:01

    Thanks for that. I so rarely see people who are not zergists.

    • teachersyn
      Aug 28, 2015 @ 09:06:17

      I’ve nothing against zerging if all in a party are OK with it. Time is precious. But some players forget that enjoyment of the game takes time, and even for vets that know the quests, XP is less important than being there.

  7. TonyN
    Aug 28, 2015 @ 02:52:16

    I solo with my Rogue Assassin and use him as a fighter. I have 3 multiclassed characters but the other 22 are stupidly gimped and they make me happy.

    • teachersyn
      Aug 28, 2015 @ 09:09:16

      Nothing at all wrong with that. DDO would grind to a halt if everyone played like me. Just reminding others that a few of us take a different way that’s not “grinding XP” or maximum damage at high speed.

  8. geoffhanna
    Aug 28, 2015 @ 13:15:21

    1. Yes
    2. Yes
    3. Only on my DPS builds
    4. Yes
    5. No. I hate Dungeon Alert
    6. Yes
    7. No (well, some of them are useless)
    8. Yes. I mean, I do worry about it, but I don’t let that worry stop me from blasting away
    9. Yes
    10. No. Back when I used to play her, 2009? Assassinate worked

    And yet I read your blog anyway. So there. 🙂

    • teachersyn
      Aug 28, 2015 @ 15:53:42

      If only you would be held back by fire or acid, Geoff. 🙂 But you prove that all generalizations are bad. Or is that, too, a generalization?

  9. erdrique
    Aug 30, 2015 @ 15:43:59

    Nicely said bud!! I have no problem with getting advice on some builds but in the end I like to make a character that I like to play. Not how the rest of the power players like to play. There is definitely more than one way to have fun and to play DDO!!

  10. Jammond
    Aug 31, 2015 @ 12:43:03

    As you said, it’s a matter of playstyle. I’m part of a tiny guild… By which I mean 4 of us. We all tend to play at wildly different times, too, which means we primarily solo. All of us. This means when you post builds or ideas, I frequently have to tweak them to suit my needs.

    It also means you’re a lot braver than I am. I flat out refuse to post builds, primarily due to the fact that I just won’t deal with some power gamer telling me I’m doing it wrong, when he lacks or ignores the context of me playing almost exclusively solo. I like reading about how you push aspects of a specific class to their limits and make viable builds. The fact that some are unusuable for me or require me to make different choices (I would kinda HAVE to take IPS, as when forced to deal with a mob, I am always going to have all the aggro anyways), does not in any way lessen my enjoyment of your building and commentary.

    Bottom line, we play differently, for a variety of reasons, and that’s perfectly OK.

    • teachersyn
      Aug 31, 2015 @ 17:43:14

      Up until very recently, not posting builds was my thing, too, mostly because I hadn’t any. But as the enhancement trees came out, I learned enough to make a couple. You got it right that my central goal is to push the Monk class to its limits. The best one isn’t even mine (obviously) and that’s the Shuricannon. But it’s a great example of how the class’s idea isn’t exhausted yet.

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