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The Lost Art of the Enchanter

Playing an Enchanter on EverQuest’s TLP Agnarr server has reminded me of how much the art of the Enchanter class has been lost on modern MMOs.

Enchanters fill a role that doesn’t really exist anymore. It’s the role of crowd-control spells and support. The class also fills a strange role of jack-of-all-trades with its charm spells to make enemies fight each other, thus creating quite a DPS boost for the group.

Content in EverQuest, and pretty much all older MMORPGs, relied on someone in the group making it so that “adds” wouldn’t overwhelm and kill the group. The role was crucial because monsters in the game were actually a real threat and couldn’t (under normal, non-twinked, non-powerleveled circumstances) just be AoE’d and DPS’d down imemdiately.

I’ve really enjoyed the past few days of felling like my contribution to a group is more than just DPS rotations. I like that there’s a feeling of coordination.

I like classes that fill a vital role. I’m a believer that a game should really support all classes fulfilling a unique role, and most if not all of them a vital role to some extent. The Enchanter is that class. It can be a DPS indirectly by charming, it can provide the best mana regen buff and a great attack speed buff, and it can mesmerize the adds that come so that the group can focus one down at a time.

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  • Sanz says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Didn’t play them much. Not my style. But boy did we need them.

  • pkudude99 says:

    I never played EQ, but in EQ2 my favorite class by far and away was the Coercer which used an Enchanter base. Charms, stuns, mezzes, silences…. I could solo even-level dungeons before they made dungeon bosses immune to CC of any kind 🙁

    Worst kill vs death ratio of any character too, as the playstyle just begged to be pushed to see what you could and couldn’t get away with. Man I loved that class.

    • Keen says:

      I never played a Coercer, but I do recall them being very handy when I played EQ2. 🙂

      • pkudude99 says:

        Before the big CC nerf in a dungeon group a Coercer could hold a boss enemy to 7 attacks every 80 seconds. Healers got bored if a Coercer was in the group.

  • Bhagpuss says:

    This is absolutely one of my top issues with modern MMOs. Drives me nuts. I might post about it today if I have time although god knows I have banged on about it often enough already.

    It’s not just Enchanters, either. It’s the entire lost art of crowd control and the whole tactical aspect of combat gameplay. The whole process of building a group around the range of skills you could find among the classes available has vanished. Yes, you wanted an Enchanter, but there were never enough Enchanters to go round so you had to improvise, and EQ gave you the tools to do just that.

    We sometimes used to run dungeons with a Necro as primary crowd control. I did a lot of crowd control as Cleric. We had a superb Shaman who could handle pulling, tanking and most of the CC if I did the main healing and when I played my Beastlord later on I did more crowd control than I ever did DPS in groups. Etc. Etc. Etc.

    Fill in your own experience – every group was unique. I literally never heard of the concept of “The Holy Trinity” until I’d been playing EQ for five years – we needed a dozen or more roles filled every group and we only had six slots so do the math!

    Anyway, yes, today’s MMOs are, universally, like Snap! compared to Poker. Simplistic doesn’t begin to cover it. That’s why everything these days is about learning the dance steps. Without that there wouldn’t even be the illusion of complexity. We used to improvise every time the music started and it was a million times better that way.

    • Keen says:

      Agreed. I have all those same memories of putting in classes and making it work with the dynamic complexities those classes offered mixed in with the fights in a dungeon.

      Even today in a much-diluted version of EasyQuest, we had a Ranger tanking. Before that, my Enchanter pet was tanking for 2 hours and did so with exceptional ease.

      You nailed it with the dance faking complexity. It’s an illusion created to mask homogenization, and we’re all quickly tiring of the dance.

  • Topauz says:

    My friends and I have talked about this a bunch of times. EQ just required more strategy and thought then most current games. I played a ranger and use to kite in outdoor zones as crowd control. I duoed with a friend with a pali/wiz combo. It was so much fun to figure out different ways for us to take down mobs. Other then some scripts that you have to follow, today’s games are all just about straight dps.

    • Keen says:

      Exactly! I played A LOT of EQ this past week — an unhealthy amount. While sitting in this almost 20 year old game, I had the thought today, “Why is this fun for me? Why am I sitting here in a dungeon camping this spot with a group of people and having more fun than I’ve had in any MMO in a decade?”

      The only thought that came to me was that this seemingly simple group camping a spot had more complex and edge-of-my-seat gameplay than any MMO.

      EQ has problem solving built into its fundamental mechanics.

  • Proximo says:

    I kinda half miss this from WoWs old days too, where you’d have mages and warlorcks cc mobs, though it could also be immensely frustrating when someone accidentally hit the sheep…

    • Keen says:

      Vanilla had a lot of this. I remember on more than one occasion having to cheat death and come up with ways to get around challenging content, whether it be cleverly avoiding fights or CC’ing mobs with a rogue or wizard. UBRS was a really great example.

  • Sanz says:

    Agreed. Don’t forget the rogue with FD pulling.

    Modern games to me just feel like a Zerg.

  • Sanz says:

    Whoops. Monk with FD pulling. Been a long time.

  • Isey says:

    Enchanters are my fave. The only downside to them is that you always want/need one, but don’t really want/need 2.

    I haven’t gone back to Agnarr after doing the 1-30 run multiple times on the other three TLPs released in the last year or so, but glad to see people still loving it. I think if they released a krono-free server I would go back.

    As you mention – its boggling how many people are having so much fun in that game. You really have to have the historical perspective I think to really understand it.

    • Keen says:

      I was in a group the day with 2 enchanters (I was one of them). Each of our pets did more damage than anyone else in the group. Together our pets out-damaged the entire group combined. We could have actually duo’d the entire camp.

      In this era, two enchanters are insane damage. 😀

  • unkjohn says:

    Played an enchanter, druid and paladin in the beginning for years it seems. Always a challenge and fun, shaking hands just before a pull, runs to zone or literally crying after a death. Honest trains were the best part of the game to me, even if it meant bailing.

    But never could my enchanter pet out damage most other classes, even two back then wouldn’t stand a chance against a couple of reds on them. That’s why I stick to Uthgard, tried getting back into the new servers but the diluting and adjustments, teleports everywhere, zombies standing in the store, super leveling weekends, etc. just killed the immersion for me.

    It’s really not EQ anymore. Hopefully Pantheon will be, and stick to their guns and not listen to the whiners.

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