It’s been a common cry throughout the years of WoW that rogues are the most under-represented class in the game. Usually we hovered around the 5% of the player base mark. I have no idea what that figure would be for rogues today. Probably lower if what I hear about the tough time that melee players are having in raids is true. Blizzard has periodically tried to amend this situation, and it seems that they are on a rogue kick once again. We have the new legendary items that are for rogues which are due out some time soon I assume. Personally I find this a tad bizarre, as rogues were the recipients of some awesome legendary items back in Burning Crusade, The Twin Blades of Azzinoth. Why give us more of the same now? Not to speak of the poor other classes who have never had a legendary.
There are other ways of course of making a class more attractive to the greater majority. Watching one of Nils’ latest video efforts I was struck by the fact that rogues now move at normal speed when in stealth. A classic “quality of life” improvement as noted on one of the comments.
But at the end of the day all of these efforts to make a certain class more popular miss the point entirely. It is precisely because of their small player base that makes classes such as the rogue so valuable and also important. Human beings are not all the same. Some of us want to be the popular person swinging their sword at the front of the party, the weight of responsibility resting on their shoulders. Some players instead enjoying helping others, gravitating towards roles that involve healing and providing buffs and advantages. Some like to stand back and hit their enemies from a distance. And a few like to skulk in the shadows, do their dirty work, and then disappear once again.
The fact that few players statistically speaking wish to play a rogue has no bearing on the overall player base. Because the rogue fills a need. It is a class that provides satisfaction to a few. It is the genius of the roleplaying system, (upon which WoW is ultimately based), that brings together a discordant bunch of players and lets them operate as a team, while still satisfying each person’s wish to play just the way that they want to play. Because this game, particularly at the top levels, should be about teamwork.
This has fallen apart due to the ever increasing move towards solo based play, particularly during the levelling process. And attempting to make rogues in this case more appealing to the greater population merely serves to lessen what the class was originally about. This in turn has the effect of making it less attractive to the type of gamer who originally played a rogue. Now rogues even have a self healing ability. Whereas in the past a rogue’s ideal levelling companion was a cleric, now we have no need to pair up with another player during the run to 85.
Great game designers work to create interesting encounters where different classes have a chance to shine, to bring their unique talents to the table. Now it seems that the only real talent needed is the ability to dance around a room in a pre-determined and memorized pattern. Which means that it doesn’t really matter which classes turn up. By reaching this point, the game has lost sight of what originally made it so great.