For those who don’t remember, I’d like to point out that I did my own post on this subject three weeks ago, more recently than David Bowers but certainly before Sean. What do you have to say to that, Sean? Stealing posts from me? Where is your God now?
But I want to talk about something that was passingly mentioned in the comments on my recent Death Knights post – that of recognisability of Death Knights or, indeed, other classes.
We all know my opinion on Death Knights and how we should be a little more suspicious of them. Other people have drawn the comparisons to warlocks, and how most people will be very suspicious of them. Additionally, the Night Elves are very much against magic and so would probably feel much the same way about mages as warlocks.
But, alright. I know this is getting down to nitpicky details, but I have to say it.
How can you tell just by looking at someone, in game, what class they are?
Sure, Alex points out in the comments linked above that Death Knights have a hard time hiding, what with having oddly coloured skin and glowing eyes. Now, I’d like to point out that this doesn’t make an undead Death Knight look all that different from your average undead, but by and large, his point is correct.
When it comes to warlocks, being followed around by an imp or a voidwalker, or whatever minion of choice, is a pretty solid hint, but if they don’t have their minion out, and they’re just walking down the street, how do you distinguish a warlock from a mage, or a priest, or of… well, anyone else?
As a night elf, short of actually seeing someone perform magic, another big hint, how can you tell by looking at them if someone is a magic user?
The answer is, of course, that you can’t. The Death Knights give themselves away a little bit, and there are always gameplay signs (like the minions or the spells), but just by looking at a warlock, you can’t tell them from a mage.
So, what does this mean for gameplay? Are we to be suspicious of all cloth-wearers, just in case they are warlocks? Welcome them with open arms, until we find out that they are warlocks? (Please place whatever class you’d rather talk about here.)
Well, honestly, it’s another one of those terrible answers – it depends on the individual. As a rule, I would err on the side of caution – unless you can see some sign that they are the thing that you hate, assume that they aren’t, as you would in real life. (Well, I don’t know if there are any groups of people that you hate in real life, but you can see my point). Unless your character is particularly suspicious. That makes a bit of a difference, as well.
That does bring up another point, though. What are the things associated with ‘disliked’ classes, that you could notice?
Some of these things are obvious – the glowing eyes and pale skin of a Death Knight, the minions of a Warlock (or the fact that they’re dealing with soulstones, or you might recognise their spells in action), any sign of magic spell from a magic-user you don’t like. Then comes a few more thoughts.
Say your character doesn’t like magic users. You, as the player, know that warlocks and mages (the primary ‘magic users’) wear cloth, and the only cloth-wearing class that doesn’t is the priest. Does this mean that you’re going to assume that all cloth-wearers who don’t identify themselves as priests are magic users?
Well, probably not. A lot of roleplayers have cloth outfits for roleplay purposes that they don’t use in combat, and I think it’s pretty safe to say that peasants and so on would be wearing cloth rather than leather or mail/plate. This isn’t a good indicator.
Red robes are commonly associated with warlocks and are usually specced for magic users. Would a character see someone in a red robe and wonder if, perhaps, they are a warlock or a mage?
Although we know that this isn’t the case at all, I can see reason why a suspicious (and most likely, a superstitious) character might take note of that. At the same time, putting on scrappier clothes might make them go, ‘No, a powerful warlock would never dress like that!’, much like hiding your face may cause people to deny that you’re a Death Knight (or, conversely, that you must be a Death Knight, because you have something to hide).
It all depends on your characterisation how much you’re likely to suspect others of things, and how much you’re likely to hide. Just keep this in mind – characters don’t really run around with their classes stamped on their heads. Use visual cues rather than what the game tells you, to determine how you respond to other characters.