Thought for the day.

Two-handed swords, axes and polearms nearly always look cool in MMOs, which is great for warriors and the like, but I play clerics who are very often restricted to wielding a two-handed mace or hammer; no idea why, I can’t really picture a bishop explaining it either:

“Ah, my son, we don’t cut and hack our fellow man, for that is a cruel and hateful thing. However, blunt force trauma to the head, well that’s a little bit like Jesus, isn’t it?”

This arbitrary restriction would be fine if it wasn’t for the fact that every two-handed hammer I’ve encountered in an MMO looks like a small paperweight taped to an umbrella, and every mace like a baby porcupine with a curtain rod shoved up its bum.

11 thoughts on “Thought for the day.

  1. FraidOfTheLight

    Are you a Radio 4 fan (perhaps the Today programme, and The News Quiz) by any chance? :-)

    Following on from the earlier post about damage types, I’d hope that a mace consisting of a porcupine on a stick should do Prickly Damage or something like that?

    Hmmm; porcupine on a stick. Sounds like some kind of street food delicacy.

  2. Melmoth Post author

    Not sure about damage type, but the main advantage of a porcupine on a curtain rod is that the combination makes it very easy to draw your weapon at quill.

    (And yes, I tend to have Today and The News Quiz on in the car in an attempt to distract me from my desire to kill the inconsiderate drivers around me. My lack of jail time thus far proves that it must work, to a degree.)

  3. Caspian

    I call such things a ‘Bok Stick’ in that when you deliver a weighty blow to some poor creature’s cranium, I always imagine yelling ‘Bok’!

    I do vaguely rememeber reading in first edition AD&D (yep, that long ago) that the reason clerics used blunt force trauma is so that it didn’t cut the skin and shed blood… Not sure that works out that well in all circumstances…

    Have to agree with The News Quiz; The Now Show is also rather splendid, but then you probably knew that already…

    Right, I’m off to bok-stick a porcupine – the irony!

  4. Melmoth Post author

    the reason clerics used blunt force trauma is so that it didn’t cut the skin and shed blood

    Well not with a porcupine on a curtain rod, that’s for sure; the most you’re likely to do is T-cut their armour for a deeper, richer glossy shine.

    And good, uh… lord, no blood from blunt force trauma? I’m picturing AD&D clerics being more akin to morris dancers armed with feather dusters – even a well meaning ‘Bok’ sounds a little too… zealous.

    “Have to agree with The News Quiz; The Now Show is also rather splendid”

    Indeed so! I’m not in the car when they’re normally scheduled, but thankfully the BBC comedy podcast features both of them, so I tend to squeeze that in between all the MMO podcasts to which I’m subscribed.

  5. Pardoz

    You can blame the clerics-with-clubs on Gary Gygax: “The original reason for allowing clerics blunt weapons only was one of game balance, and I used Bishop Odo of Normandy as the exemplar–no shedding of blood.”

    The “no shedding of blood” would seem to be based on Gygax’s having read (or been exposed to) Douglas & Greenaway’s English Historical Documents, which puts forth the theory that Odo’s clerical status forbid him from using a sword to explain his appearance on the Bayeux Tapestry, which shows Odo, holding up a club, encouraging the troops from the rear ranks and the annotation “Hic Odo Eps (Episcopus) Baculu(m) Tenens Confortat Pueros” (“Here Odo the Bishop holding a club strengthens the boys”).

  6. Melmoth Post author

    encouraging the troops from the rear ranks […] Here Odo the Bishop holding a club strengthens the boys

    [Insert priest sex innuendo here]

  7. FraidOfTheLight

    @Melmoth: BBC podcasts are the perfect accompaniment to driving; I find they also work well for cooking and other household tasks.

    @Pardoz: Bishop Odo was presumably doing this so that no-one would try to shed his blood, which would have revealed that he was, in fact, a shape-shifter. Or I could be getting him mixed up with someone else.

  8. Pardoz

    @Melmoth – And here I was so proud of myself for not having gone there. *tsks*

    @FraidOfTheLight – More, I think, using his Tapestry (he commissioned it) for a little good PR. Even by the clerical standards of the time he was a right scumbag, by all accounts. Well, either that or he just wanted to mess with the descendants of the pathetic Saxons a thousand years later by inspiring a rather silly game mechanic.

  9. Kiryn

    I am often saddened by this, as well. I absolutely adore polearms, but my favorite classes are always the healing kind. Even in games where some versions of the healing classes are able to equip polearms (such as paladins in WoW) the polearms never have the correct stats for the role I want to play. Such a shame.

    I’ll never understand why there are such strange class weapon restrictions. The reason why only maces in WoW have healing stats is because that’s the one weapon all of the healing classes can use. The healing classes have no reason to want to wield anything other than maces because no spellpower versions of these weapons exist. But if these classes could equip whatever weapons they want to, what’s the harm in creating some really cool-looking polearm with spell stats on it? A priest wouldn’t be swinging a polearm at their enemy in melee any more than a feral druid would.

  10. Melmoth Post author

    Indeed so. I could understand it from a thematic point of view if it weren’t for the fact that most MMOs seem to share the exact same theme: priests wield maces, warriors can wield anything, mages wield a staff, rogues have daggers and swords, and hunters have a bow. If the theme is to ‘be just like every other D&D-based Diku MUD cliché’, then more power to them. Otherwise, I think companies need to start questioning why they’re giving only certain weapons to certain classes, and restricting certain classes to specific weapons.

    LotRO actually does this quite well; most classes in LotRO, although having their ‘iconic’ weapon, will still allow you to pick up several other weapon types if you so choose. They generally encourage you to use the signature weapon by giving small damage bonuses and such for using it, but it’s not enough to make it the only choice, outside of the very edge of hardcore raiding, at least.

  11. nugget

    GW lets you more or less wield whatever you want as well.

    Even for casters – though that tends to be more situational. For example, for general PvP, even on my monk as protection or healing, I go with sword and board. And ooh what a lovely fiery shiny sword it is too. *swoon* You could toast marshmallows nicely on its fieriness!

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