WoW Translated to English
So for that past few weeks I’ve been getting recognition for contributing the community blogs at Gamerlimit.com. I’m honored to think that my writing is noteworthy in the eyes of someone other than myself. One thing that confuses me though is how little can be understood or even related to by “outsiders” of the WoW community. The teacher in me is motivated, even compelled, to attempt to make the information digestible to all. As a result I have decided to craft a post about WoW from the perspective of various gaming icons. Hopefully I can shed some light on the mystery that is my blog content.
If you throw WoW game play into a beaker and boil it down to extract its most basic elements you would find three things: Doing Damage, Undoing Damage, and Attracting Damage. Super Mario would understand these elements quite easily. In his world, he does damage by stomping on people, shooting flames, and even throwing hammers at his opponents. Super Mario undoes damage by picking up mushrooms to grow, thus giving himself a buffer to deal with getting hurt. If he gets hurt, he shrinks, and can undo damage again with more power-ups. As far as attracting damage, there are some enemies that just meander brainlessly, but we can all remember a few pain-in-the-neck bad guys that follow Mario around. Certainly Bowser (or whoever is the enemy in the particular version) is attracted to Mario in the way that he focuses on hurting Mario, and Mario only, during the fight.
Let’s start with the easiest WoW concept to relate to: Doing damage. We’ve already talked about how Mario gets this job done, but virtually every game other than Brain Age is about conquering a foe via some means of force/finesse. Every class in WoW (things like Warrior, Priest, Mage, Rogue) has some means of configuring itself to primarily do damage. A “DPS” (Damage Per Second) class has the sole purpose of outputting as much damage as possible where needed. They aren’t designed to take a hit, for the most part, because there is someone else in the group for that, which we’ll cover later. Anyone familiar with Real-Time Strategy games can understand a what a DPS is. Much like in an RTS game, WoW has a variety of DPS units to choose from. Once configured to be a DPS class, the character loses some of its ability or potency to undo damage. Maybe you don’t fancy RTS games? Well how about Call of Duty? You’re not going to strike fear into the hearts of your enemies with your Medic. A Medic is meant to undo damage, and would NOT be considered a DPS. The guy in your unit with the machine gun however…
Speaking of Medics, WoW has a variety of them, so to speak. Classes that specialize in undoing damage are called “Healers”. There are four different classes with the ability to be configured into a healer. They refill the lost health of the members of the group. Some of them specialize in reducing incoming damage, while others specialize in healing many people at once. Most games you play will NOT involve a lot of focus on undoing damage. Games like Final Fight (side scrolling combat games) will have wonderful food on the ground to refill your depleted health bar. But no one will be given the task of uncovering health items 100% of the time. WoW has food too, but unfortunately you don’t get a chance to chow down mid fight. This is where having group members that specialize in healing come in handy. To many gamers that find their thrill in being able to out-gun their opponents, the idea of being a healer seems kinda sissy. Yeah, I’ll admit it, being the nurse in the fight is all kindsa sissy. When an enemy comes to attack me, I turn tail and run. Most of the glory goes to the DPS that do the top damage anyway. Whether you think healing is “cool” or not is inconsequential though. At least you understand them to some extent now.
Something that is “alien” (I apologize in advance for the punishment my jokes may inflict) to many non-WoW players is the concept of a Tank. The purpose of a Tanking class in WoW is to attract all enemies to them. These enemies believe that this is the most threatening (though not always logically) person in your group and needs to be eliminated first. In other types of RPGs, such as the Final Fantasy series of games, there is no need for an individual party member to attract all damage to himself. Most characters in Final Fantasy type games can take a few hits and keep on going and if all damage were to be directed at any one person they would likely die quickly. The reason you have to have a Tank in your WoW group is that most classes can’t survive prolonged damage. A Tank isn’t just a punching bag though. In order to survive they must utilize their skills to reduce incoming damage. They must also use their skills to keep the enemies focused on them. If you don’t play any type of RPG, then consider this scenario: You’re playing Halo (1,2, 3 whatever) and your group is trying to protect their home base in a capture the flag game. Master Chief would certainly NOT want to be a Tank. Even if it was possible to attract all damage to himself, he’d be dead before you could say “Killing Spree!” Imagine if there were different types of units you could control in Halo, instead of just a gunner. If there was one that could serve to absorb damage, but not be able to put out large amounts firepower, this would allow your normal gun-toting units to annihilate the Flood without much resistance. This is how a Tank works in WoW.
You with me so far? Ok let’s bump it up a notch.
Most popular game types have a vernacular that goes along with them. I always feel out of my league while playing Street Fighter 2, when my brother says things like “Ok, and now you can cross up and cancel into a super which will get them OTG so you can juggle them and then when they land you can just use your UOH after a quick DC.” Just to be fair, I’m pretty good at Street Fighter and Tekken type games. I can easily defeat most non-tournament level players. In fact, I’ve been playing Street Fighter regularly for over 15 years and have won a few small scale tournaments. I bought the SFII HD Remix on my PS3. I don’t buy anything for my PS3, but I got that. I still find certain jargon intimidating. With that in mind, it makes perfect sense to me that even very experienced gamers would not be able to make sense of even this seemingly simple instruction: “Tank the mob over here so we don’t get LoSd to the healers. After these two trash pulls we can buff up do a few attempts on this boss.” I am going to try and relate a few of the key vocab words found in many WoW posts to games you’re likely more familiar with.
Tank – Like a military tank a tanking players can take a hit. Their also a very threatening target and will be the focus of the enemy’s attacks.
DPS – These guys are the ones that get the hurting done.
Healer – If someone gets hurt done to them, they fix the boo-boo.
Threat/Aggro – In games like Halo, Counterstrike, and Call of Duty these would be the guys in multi players matches that have the most kills. EVERYBODY wants a crack at this guy, and many will focus on them. A player in WoW with a high amount of threat (hopefully the tank) becomes the focus of the enemy mobs.
Mob – A “bad guy”. A non-player enemy. Bowser, Gannon, Dr. Wily, Shredder, Sephiroth, etc.
Pull – To begin a fight against non-player enemies.
Buff – A power-up. Increases your awesomeness. Camouflage in Halo would be a “buff”. An invincibility star would be a “buff” in Super Mario games.
Mana – Magic isn’t free. Mana is your money. Even Link can’t just use magic indefinitely.
AoE – Area of Effect. Many abilities have a radius in which they are effective. Just like a grenade.
Noob, Newb, Newbie – LOL L2 know what “noob” means, newb.
That’s pretty much it. With this “cipher” of sorts you should be able to glean some understanding of a WoW based post.