Friday, January 18, 2008

And They Call It... Hunter Love

Well I had a post on a different subject slated for today, but I have been inspired by Delos and One Among Many to touch on something I've touched on before in the past, but feel compelled to touch on again: the hunter obsession.

It started with Delos' post about how hunters, more so than any other class, seem to have this weird thing for becoming passionate about their class and making a bunch of alts of the same class. This attracted a lot of comments from people giving all sorts of good reasons, about wanting to try out different specs, different pets (especially with our limited stable space), and just plain liking the class. Then over at One Among Many we have a very nice list of twelve reasons why she personally loves the class.

Now I am somebody who will put a lot of thought into something when she gets excited about it, so I've put a lot of thought into this subject before. Why do I like hunters so much, and perhaps more than that, why is the class so appealing for so many people-- to the point that, for many, it becomes more than simply being "just a class"?

I'm gonna give you the short n' simple answers and then I'm going to put on the detective hat and give you a thoughtful answer.

Short n' simple reasons on why I, Pike, love playing the "hunter" class in World of WarCraft:

1.) It's fun. WoW is a game and is supposed to be fun. I have fun playing hunters in a way that I can't replicate with any other class. Hunters come with fun stuff. Feign Death, pets, Misdirection, being able to see the bad guys on your minimap... what's not to love? Thus, I play hunters.

2.) I'm good at it. See, you have to understand something... I love video games and have been playing them since I was in diapers... but I've always been pretty notoriously bad at them. ...okay, maybe not that bad. But the point is that I was always out-gamed. I never could beat my brother in StarCraft. Nor could I ever beat my friends in Street Fighter or Halo. When I play my hunter in WoW, I know that I am good at it. Not great, I don't think-- I still have much to learn and practice-- but I'm good at my class. I know because other people have told me.

This "I'm good at it" applies itself in different ways. Firstly, I love doing something I can take pride in, and I can take pride in playing my hunter. Secondly, I want other people to see me at my best. If I roll an alt on, say, some friends' server, I usually roll a hunter. Because I know I can play it well and I want to show myself at my best. I leave the experimenting with classes for more safe environments.

3.) As I wrote in a recent essay, I honestly think there is a beautiful aesthetic to the hunter class and I love that aesthetic.

Okay. So those are the "short-answer" reasons that I often throw out to the masses when trying to explain my hunter obsession.

...but is there perhaps a deeper reason? A more personal, underlying, even subconscious reason? Something inherent in the class that just attracts certain people?

Hmm.

*puts on detective hat and pulls out magnifying glass*

A while ago, a guy named Thom Hartmann came up with a theory about the seemingly rising number of kids (and adults) with issues like hyperactivity and inattention. His theory was that it was not some sort of mental disease like so many people thought it was, but rather, the result of putting a different type of person in the wrong environment. His basic idea was that humans have developed from both farming societies, and hunter-gatherer societies, and that people today who show the aspects of an ideal "hunter" personality no longer have an outlet to do what they do best, and that manifests itself in the form of so-called "bad behavior."

Here is a list he came up with of the attributes of a successful hunter:

-They constantly monitor their environment.
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They can totally throw themselves into the hunt; time is elastic.
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They're flexible, capable of changing strategy on a moment's notice.
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They can throw an incredible burst of energy into the hunt. (The theory here compares hunters to the Hare in "The Tortoise and the Hare", which rather tickled me considering the name of my blog.)
-They think visually.
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They love the hunt, but are easily bored by mundane tasks.
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They'll face danger that "normal" individuals would avoid.
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They're hard on themselves and those around them.

Hmm. Tracking things? Needing to be able to monitor situations and change strategies at the drop of a hat? Finding a thrill in doing things other classes think would be too hard, like solo'ing elites? Sounds sort of like a certain class in WoW.

Here's how this particular theory goes on to link these hunter-traits with "bad-behavior" in kids:

- Constantly monitoring their environment: Attention spans short, but can become intensely focused for the long periods of time.
- Able to throw themselves into the chase on a moment's notice: Poor planner: disorganized and impulsive (makes snap decisions).
- Flexible; ready to change strategy quickly: Distorted sense of time: unaware of how long it will take to do something.
- Tireless: capable of sustained drives, but only when "Hot on the trail" of some goal: Impatient.
- Visual/Concrete thinker, clearly seeing a tangible goal even if there are no words for it: Doesn't convert words into concepts adeptly, and vice versa. May or may not have a reading disability.
- Independent: Has difficulty following directions.
- Bored by mundane tasks; enjoy new ideas, excitement, "the hunt", being hot on the trail: Daydreamer.
- Willing and able to take risk and face danger: Acts without considering consequences.
- "No time for niceties when there are decisions to be made!": Lacking in the social graces.

(Full essay here, comparison list here. Very interesting reads.)

So I dunno about you guys, but that last list there was pretty much me almost word-for-word when I was a kid, and to a pretty large extent, even today as an adult. (Heck, I actually really was diagnosed with ADD when I was younger.)

Hmmmm.

Okay, so, the point of this post is not to throw some weird theory that may or may not be true at you. Nor is it to go all super-psychoanalysis on you. The point is that for some of us... for me, at the very least... I really feel like there is perhaps something deep there. I love playing my hunters because as I said way at the beginning, it's fun, it's something I'm good at, and I find it to be aesthetically pleasing. Why do I find the hunter class able to fulfill those three things for me? Why does it fit like a glove the way it does? Is it because somehow, deep down inside, it resonates with me?

...I sort of think so.

And I sort of think that I'm not the only one who feels that way.

And I think maybe that's one reason why the class seems to get so many devotees.

And there ya go, Delos. The "deep" answer. Whether this post has any merit to it at all or is just the wild speculations of some crazy nerd chick, perhaps we'll never know. But you know me, I have fun playing detective and following the trail of things like this =P

/bow

/sits down

/eats a cookie

9 comments:

Baila said...

I hadn't thought much about why I'm enjoying my hunter so much. Actually, hadn't thought about it at all. Certainly fit that description as a kid. Certainly believe we're sublimating ancient behaviors with a lot of our more aggressive games. (Didn't get to the top of the food chain because we're sweet.) But hadn't considered how computer games fit into that...interesting. Thanks.

Euripedes said...

Psychoanalysis of a hunter?

Totally wasn't expecting that when I dropped by today.

Now I'm going to be thinking long and hard about what I like about the mage class...

Is it the whole setting everything on fire? I think its the whole setting everything on fire.

Heheh.... burning....

Tazbutane said...

Another well written and thought provoking essay, Thanks!

Tazbutane said...

Another well written and thought provoking essay, Thanks!

Bobo & SgtPork said...

Thanks for being so thought-provoking, Pike! I'm going to have to look further into Mr. Hartmann's thories . . .

~One Among Many~ said...

Pike - all around great post. Generally a great read though! Loved it.

seansflow said...

Nice post, I have to say I like your banner, I haven't seen it in a while because I have been reading your blog via the rss feed, did you make it yourself? I like the illustrations. :P

Pike said...

@ seansflow -

Yes, I do all my own illustrations =)

Delos said...

Pike, that was awesome and very well thought out. I never expected my /silly post would create such a stir (and not in a bad way either!). Funny thing is, I was initially inspired to write it after reading this post on your lowbie hunter soloing deadmines. So, I guess it's come full circle now hehe.

Ze hunters, zey are efferywhere! *Garbled death sounds from the deluge*