Sunday, October 30, 2011

Can't Stand Up For Falling Down

I totally did not come up with this post just so I could do this link.

Monks of Pantaloonia
The whole monk thing used to mystify me, I confess. Everywhere you went in fantasyland there they'd be, hopping and jumping and throwing shapes, hurling themselves on the ground like possums. They'd hold out their quivering palms like traffic policemen at a minor road accident and expect you to drop dead from fright not laughter.

And now they are pandas and somehow that's supposed to be a silly bridge too far? 

I thought fighting monks were pretty ridiculous when I first encountered them back in the 1970s. Martial arts were absolutely everywhere back then; on tv, in comic books, on the big screen, even in the charts. Even I had a set of nunchuks, although since the wood bits flew off the end every third revolution when the screw fitting unwound they made for more slapstick than violent assault.

Hey! I saw you blink!

I'd pretty much forgotten all about monks by the time I came to MMOs so it was a little disconcerting to step out of the main gates of Qeynos to find bare-chested men lying all over the ground. It was a popular class, for sure. I even had a monk of my own, aptly nicknamed the Drunk Monk because I created him on one of the Zek pvp servers and only ever played him when I'd been drinking.

Thousandth time's the charm
Kunark brought a whole new level of monk silliness. Seven foot tall lizards that spun on the balls of their clawed feet and swiped at you with their tails. Thousands of them, hissing, swiping, spinning and falling down. It took an EQ monk hundreds, thousands of attempts to raise his Feign Death skill and for months wherever you went in Norrath all you heard was the sound of Iksars falling down and getting up again, grunt, hiss, thud.

Zen garden with fox
I never took to the monkly life until I played my first Disciple in Vanguard and then suddenly it all clicked. A martial artist whose every punch and kick put heart and health back into his companions. The perfect combination of melee and healing I hadn't known I'd been looking for all along. It would scarcely have seemed silly at all, if he hadn't been a three-foot high fox, pirouetting on his hind legs.

That led indirectly to my playing a Bruiser in EQ2. I'd tried a gnome monk and a kerran bruiser before but neither stuck. It was only when I stepped out into The Commonlands as a three-foot high ratonga (that's a rat with attitude) that again it all clicked into place. Ninety levels fell like rain.

OMG! What happened! Were you mugged?
The Disciple remains my favorite ever class in any MMO and if anything could induce me to try WoW again it might easily be a melee-healing Panda. (Although the panda part could still be a sticking point. If it was a melee-healing squirrel it'd be a done deal). A character that can kick ass in close combat while keeping all his friends alive and fall flat on his back and giggle his whiskers off if everything goes south, well what's silly about that?


  1. Oha, I didn't even know The Monks before this, but what I heard from and read about them in 5 minutes sure makes them interesting. Onto my list of bands to explore eventually (tm).

    And I can only agree that the Vanguard Disciple is probably one of the most fun and best-designed classes I played in any MMO. Of course, I have no idea how they play at high levels and cap, because I never made it there, but... details. The idea of maybe having a Disciple class in WoW is the one real thing that interests me about the next expansion. Though I have this nagging feeling they will change it a lot in the next half year. I can't see how a melee healer would work in WoW's raids.

  2. The Monks are the definition of "ahead of their time". Someone at work told me about them a couple of years back and when I watched those German shows on YouTube my jaw literally dropped.

    Very happy to know that at least one reader actually checks out the music links, too. I know they're not entirely appropriate to a blog about MMOs but I don't have time to do more than one blog!

  3. Black monk time is well worth a buy if you are interested in them. I'm pleasantly surprised I'm not the only person who enjoys them.

    On topic though, I played a froglok monk on my wife's account before I knew any better because I thought it seemed hilarious to be a frog. I don't think Panda's are a sticking point at all but the people who do ragequit over it should have quit a long time ago.

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  5. Appropriateness is overrated. Besides, music is almost never inappropriate.


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