Your Mother Was a Hamster

There still seems to be a curious tendency to make fun of the 'taunt' ability found in World of Warcraft and other MMORPGs. It is absurd, some people still complain, that a character can get a mob's attention merely by insulting the legitimacy of its parentage. And yet there is no mention of being able to stomp on the ground to cause an electrical charge to surge through opponents, slowing them down. Or throwing your melee weapon at a target, yet have it remain wielded. Or to send a shockwave of energy that damages and stuns all targets up to 20 yards in front of you.

Azeroth is a magical land. Frostbolts, shadow bolts, and fireballs fly all over the place, yet none of this is pointed out as absurd by people who boggle over the taunt ability. I am not sure why there is this disconnect between accepting magic as commonplace but failing to rationalise it for a more mundane class. Although the warrior isn't a magical class as such, there is no reason why one cannot have vestiges of magical ability available to use. A warrior taunting can easily be explained as causing a mind compulsion effect on the target, forcing it to view only the warrior as a threat for a limited time.

Yes, it is absurd to think that insulting a 200 year old dragon by farting in its general direction would cause it to attack you instead of an obviously bigger threat to its existence. But it is just as absurd to think that pointing your finger and shouting 'frostbolt!' will cause a frozen bolt of magic to fly towards an oversized, sentient cow. It's time to stop the silly one-sided observations. Let's believe in taunt in the same way we believe in the rest of the magic.

4 Responses to “Your Mother Was a Hamster”

  1. Zoso Says:

    Perhaps people are more willing to suspend their disbelief over stuff that would be awesome if real (magical lightning bolts) than something that would be a bit rubbish if real (the magical ability to make someone punch you).

  2. Elf Says:

    And, of course, 'taunt' has an ordinary meaning that lends itself naturally to the absurd comparison.

  3. Taunting | Kill Ten Rats Says:

    [...] am enchanted by this notion of taunting as magical mind control rather than simply insulting an ogre’s mother. One aspect [...]

  4. Melf_Himself Says:

    The reason I don't like taunting is not due to the "unrealistic" nature of it.

    It's because the mechanic seems to make games degenerate into stale / easy gameplay. This goes for WoW and most any other MMO you could name.