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Why I love my warriors

The always-readworthy Spinks has an outstanding post up over at Welcome to Spinksville about why people love their warriors.  She quotes responses from a post on the Blizzard warrior forums where warriors talk about why they love the class.

There’s a common thread through most of the four pages of replies over there, and as Spinks notes, it’s not the game mechanics:

Here’s a few snippets, sorted into categories. The most interesting thing to me is that no one has mentioned the mechanics — not a single person said that they liked the rage mechanic. I bet hunters and warlocks would have mentioned their pets, death knights would have mentioned runes, rogues would have mentioned the energy ticks and finishers, shamans would have mentioned the totems, etc. But nope, mechanics are not part of the warrior appeal.

Truer words have never been spoken.  Yes, the warrior class in general has some cool mechanics–Charge and Intercept do keep getting mentioned–but overall, the warrior players that I know that are “hardcore” about the class, including yours truly, aren’t in it for the button-pushing.  Yes, warrior tanking is probably the most active and engaging of all the tank classes, because we don’t have a fixed rotation like paladins and we have more buttons to hit than beardruids.  But there’s significant problems too…Heroic Strike spam for threat is just silly IMO, and Shield Block has morphed into a neither-fish-nor-fowl bastard of an ability that Blizzard has no clue what to do with to balance it.

No, the appeal of the warrior is much more visceral than “o hai, cool stuph.”  It seems to strike an emotional chord in people that provokes an attachment few if any other classes have.  It’s about the look and feel and sound, how the toon looks in high-end armor wielding two two-handed weapons or a giant shield.  It’s about watching and hearing your character use their shield to backhand some poor bastard straight into the graveyard, or Bladestorming their way through a pile of enemies.  It’s the thrill of tanking, standing in against large numbers of foes and surviving, about being the focal point of the entire encounter…about being The Man (or The Woman).  About having no magic, no pet, no range, no Light…it’s just the character, their items, and their own ability keeping them alive and getting the job done.

I’ve never heard other classes’ players get as rawly emotional about what they play as warrior players do about their characters.  (Hunter players, in my experience, have been the closest, with priests in third place.  I think the pets draw hunter players, and hardcore players of priests just love healing.)  It’s odd, but I understand it.  Some people “get” it, and some don’t, and that’s cool.

Besides, any discussion where I get to drag out this little piece that I wrote many years ago, back in my Everquest days circa 2000, is a good one.  Behold…”The Warrior.”

I am the Warrior.

When you see me, I will, most likely, not be attired formally. I will be encased in my steel. It will be dirty, bloody, and battered. I do not have a quick tongue or eloquent speech. I know nothing of the manners of the King’s court, or the ettiquette of the formal ball.

I am known by many names. Tank. Meatshield. Fighter. Brawler. Corpse.

I am the Warrior.

I have not the capability, nor the inclination, to hide. I cannot strike from stealth with devastating blows, then fade into the darkness. I cannot incinerate a foe from twenty paces away. I cannot deal death from a distance, safe from the return attacks of my enemy. In order to kill, I must close with the enemy. I see his eyes. I smell his breath. I taste his fear. And he tastes mine.

I cannot bend Nature to do my bidding. I cannot tap into the Nether and force it to do what I command. I cannot study the arcane and master it to my control. I command nought but my mind, my body, and my will. It is by those, and those alone, that I stand or fall.

I have no friends on my journey. No walkers of the void, summoned from the Nether as servants and bodyguards. No loyal beasts of the plains or woods, to defend me and comfort me in my pain. My sole companion is my weapon. I must care for it better than any hunter has ever cared for his beast. I must master it more than any warlock has ever mastered his demon. Without me, it is useless. Without it, I am nothing.

I cannot heal. I cannot shield. I cannot call upon the gods and see my prayers answered. I call to the spirits of my ancestors in the heat of battle, and they are silent. My only ability to protect is to offer myself, my blood and bone and sinew, as a sacrifice. To draw the attacks of our foes. To take the blows that would kill a lesser being, and continue to fight on.

I cannot kill with the speed and grace of the rogue, the suddenness and shock of the hunter, or the flamboyance and power of the mage. When I kill, it is a slow business. Slow and bloody for all concerned, myself included. I fight on, pummeled and battered so that my companions may receive the glory of the kill and the wreaths of victory. If I die and they yet live, it is an expected sacrifice.

I come in all races, all sizes. I fight under a thousand flags, on a million battlefields. I am dismissed by the highborn, scorned by the noble, lectured by the priest, and forgotten by the peasant. Until the time when the trumpets of battle sound, and those who would destroy them come forth. And then the cry goes up…”Where, oh where, is the Warrior?”

Pray to your gods that I continue to answer that call.

Few do answer the call. Fewer still survive. It is a long and hard road, this way of the Warrior. Along it lie pain, and fear, and death. Scant rewards and scanter gratitude. At the end, for most, is an anonymous grave on some windblown battlefield. If they are lucky.

And yet, I fight on. I do not even know why. Perhaps for glory, perhaps for fame, perhaps for money, perhaps for my country, perhaps for my family. Perhaps it is simply all I know how to do. But fight I will. Whether you appreciate it or not. Whether you even notice it or not. I will be out there, on the battle lines. Fighting. Killing. Dying.

I am the Warrior.

Death is my business.

Be it yours…or mine.

9 responses

  1. There’s a lot of truth in this. Warriors are cool because of what they are; they’re the first class I play in any game, generally speaking, and while in WoW I often have trouble with them, I always always always come back around to them.

    Conversely, I really dig the mechanics of Death Knights and logically they should be a favorite class for me. Pets, sword, powerful abilities… yet, somehow, I never get one past the low 60s.

    October 29, 2009 at 09:05

  2. This is brilliant – and inspiring (though, on the DK end, aha).

    October 29, 2009 at 11:28

  3. Pingback: The Warrior | Bash My Face In

  4. Rem

    Wait … you wrote this? I read it in some transformed and translated form probably half a dozen of times and … it’s yours? Wow! *bows deeply to the Panzercow*

    October 29, 2009 at 14:19

    • Yep, ’tis mine. I originally wrote it back around 2000 when I was playing a barbarian warrior in Everquest (also named Linedan, courtesy of the random name generator). I posted it on my guild forums, it got ignored, I forgot about it.

      Then came 2006. Somehow I remembered I’d written that, so I drug it out, tweaked it ever-so-slightly for WoW, and posted it on the Blizzard warrior forums. It got ignored except for a couple of “lololol rp nerd” comments, so I forgot about it.

      Months later, during the run-up to, or the early part of, Burning Crusade where it felt like we as a class were taking 2x4s to the knees constantly (rage normalization, etc.), somebody else apparently found it and reposted it…and that time, it got something like 13 pages of replies. Another writer had tacked an extra set of paragraphs–pretty good stuff, IMO–onto the end of it. The comments were probably 60-70% positive, which shocked me, considering how intolerant the class forums normally are of anything that has the faintest whiff of roleplay about it.

      October 29, 2009 at 15:38

  5. MazokuRanma

    Just wanted to leave a comment to say that piece is fantastic. I don’t actually have my own warrior yet, but I intend to at some point. Right now I’m stuck trying to decide if I want my alliance one to be human, or wait for worgen and Cataclysm. My horde warrior is in limbo between orc and tauren. Race is a pretty important selection for any toon, and I simply can’t make up my mind yet. That story has certainly gotten me more interested in making a decision and trying it out though.

    November 1, 2009 at 16:39

  6. Tyben

    Your post reminded me of another, that you and your readers might enjoy, about the spirit of being a warrior.

    November 4, 2009 at 09:42

  7. Priw

    I’m really glad I found this post, because I don’t feel so alone anymore in my love of the warrior. I have a Night Elf Fury Warrior on Suramar US, she was my first character and is still my main. I just love her, can’t think about changing to another character. I usually tell my friends that the thrill of playing her is that there I am, with two 2-handers, beating a boss to death. I’m a killing machine. When Flurry procs, I also feel like a machinegun. And I don’t care if ocasionally I take damage, because I have the stamina and armor to take it. Sometimes, you’re the last melee standing. I feel powerful playing a warrior.

    When I started playing WoW, and I didn’t know much about the classes, I told my friend who invited me to the game that I wanted a class in which I’d be able to beat people up, kick ass and take names. He pointed me to the warrior. No regrets here.

    November 6, 2009 at 15:41

  8. Pingback: The Warrior | Bash My Face In

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