You know, MMO’s aren’t particulary good at theming.
Take the medic class in Star Wars Galaxies. Sure, when the game launched you could be a doctor and sit at the hospital doing doctor things, but today’s medic is more combat oriented. The purpose of having a medic to take into groups is clearly driven by the tried-and-tested gameplay mechanic of having a healer in a group along with a tank and someone to deal out the damage. The medic as it stands today, doesn’t really resemble any kind of medical professional, either in reality or in Star Wars.
This medic class can instantly heal a person who’s running and shooting with a “bacta bomb” or heal an entire group of people in mid-combat with a “bacta spray”. Playing a medic doesn’t feel like playing a medic. It feels like playing an MMO healer with skills like “group heal” and “single-target heal”.
To be fair, playing a healer in fantasy MMOs doesn’t fair much better. You know if you pick a priest in a game that you won’t be doing much praying. You won’t have to attend church or give any sermons. You’re going to run around clicking buttons that make your friend’s health-meter go up.
Then there’s my loremaster in Lotro. All my skills look like magic, but the names of the spells seem to give non-magical explanations for how they work. When I summon a ball of fire out of nothing the spell description says I am merely throwing some “burning embers”. I don’t mezmerize people I just stun them with a blinding flash of light.
Then there’s the runekeeper in Lotro. What a mess! The runekeeper is supposedly reading off of rune-stones to cause different effects upon targets. In some ways, it feels like the designers were going for full-out magic. You shoot lightning from your hands like a sith-lord, or cause ice balls to rain down from the sky. On the other hand, the spells are all explained in terms of just being the effect of words. For example, the descriptionfor “Fiery Ridicule” states:
“The ridicule of a Rune-keeper writes hurts more than a mundane scribe’s ever could… 41 fire damage every 2 seconds”
Am I really to believe that it’s ridicule which is causing this wolf to burst into flames? How exactly is criticizing an enemy related to causing fire damage. Another example, the description for “Chilling Rhetoric” states:
“Written words can have a chilling effect on their victim…. -70% run speed”
In what way is rhetoric related to a run-speed debuff? In what way is rhetoric related to coldness? They should have just called it “slowness spell” and be done with it.