I started playing WoW as a priest. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I’d played healers in other games, I liked the idea of being a “support” person, and everything I read about the various classes suggested that priests were the healers. If you were going to be a healer, be a priest!
My priest lasted until about the mid-40s. We had a group of people we grouped with regularly at the time. They consisted of: a prot warrior, a prot paladin, a holy priest, another holy priest, and an arms warrior.
Oh, we were bad. I mean, none of us really had any idea what we were doing, except that everything we were doing took an eternity. I fostered a dislike of Sunken Temple that stems from that time. There is no instance that should take five hours to run. (I’ve since learned, naturally, that it was “smite” DPS that led to this phenomenon. I actually like Sunken Temple now.) But I’d had enough. There was no need for healers, and in the guild we were in at the time there was an abundance of them at max level as well. “We need a real DPS class,” I declared. “I’m making a mage.”
There’s no business like H2O business
And so Millya was born. I took to maging like a fish to water (or something burning to…something else burning, if you prefer). I leveled her in less than half the time it had taken me to level the priest. She ripped solo through every zone she went to with no trouble. I loved it.
Mil was my raiding character through the end of Burning Crusade, what I raided of it. She was my first character to eighty without hesitation once Wrath came out. It was only once she was at eighty that there was trouble in paradise. We never had enough healers to field runs, even five-mans. I had actually leveled my priest to seventy in my spare time. She was sitting there; getting her to eighty wouldn’t take much time.
I set my beloved mage aside to help out when it was needed, and I have nobody to blame but myself! No one forced me into it, I made a conscious decision. So it was that the first raiding I did in Wrath – setting foot in Naxxramas – was as a priest. I later replaced the priest with a restoration druid, but the decision had been made. Millya had become an “alt.”
I still stubbornly clung to her, though. She was my chef character, my fishing character, my mount collecting character: the character I would play whenever I had a spare chance. I maintained her gear level with emblem gear. If I hadn’t done so, I never would have had the opportunity to transfer servers and join our current strict ten guild as a raider.
It was glorious! There hadn’t been a mage in the guild in a long time, so everyone marveled at strudels, portals, bonus intellect. I loved raiding as Millya again, trying to do the best DPS I could. I finished off Ulduar with her, she who had barely seen Naxxramas – stepped straight into Ulduar hard-modes and never looked back. She was my Firefighter character, she earned a Rusted Proto-Drake. I raided with her through Trial of the Crusader, Trial of the Grand Crusader, and the beginning of Icecrown. But then a problem arose.
HoT like me
We’d lost a few healers, and we were always coming up short. Some encounters favoured two-healing, others we struggled with healing them and we felt that three might make the difference for a victory. Recruiting to allow for enough full-time healers to always have three would mean that we’d wind up having too many riding the bench. At the same time, a mage friend of mine had been looking for a new guild. Two mages wouldn’t be ideal, and I knew he was a really quality player.
What we needed was a hybrid – someone who could DPS when needed, and swap to heals in-between bosses. I’d raided in both roles. I knew that I could do it, and moreover I had the character for it, too. Changing mains to my resto/balance druid, Shaedre, was a no-brainer.
As a balance druid, she brought buffs that the group had previously lacked. Without a warlock we didn’t have 13% additional spell damage. Her resto gear was actually superior to her balance gear initially, so I knew she could hack it to heal content when needed. Millya took a backseat while we went back and finished off Ulduar (we were late to the Algalon game, unfortunately), but still she is my Starcaller.
I mean this literally, because I gleefully wade into trash and cry, “Starfallll!” Shae is my current raiding main and I do love playing her. She’s the one with the Frostbrood drake, earned through weeks of ICC heroic-modes. She got extremely lucky and scored an Anzu mount shortly after we transferred to our new server, too. (Good omens!) When we down Heroic Lich King, she’ll be the one to do it. She’s my character that will finish out this expansion, no question. However…
The little pally that could
There’s this other character I have, you may know her a little bit. She started out as a lark that could basically be summarized by, “Can my patience surmount over 150 instances with pug people?” The answer was yes, but moreover writing about her adventures started this blog, has introduced me to so many awesome people and has been more fun than I could have conceived.
Since we’ve started our weekly alt runs, Vid’s been trotting through ICC happily, and I realized something. I really like paladin healing. Okay, I had a suspicion already, since I quite enjoyed levels seventeen to eighty via LFD. I mean I like it when I’m raiding, too. Suddenly the choice isn’t so clear any more. When Cataclysm comes, I’m not sure which character I’ll most want to experience it with. I suppose it will partly depend on how the classes are changed between now and then, and how it alters my enjoyment of them. (Huge hint: New moonkin art could quite potentially tip the balance. I can laugh good-naturedly, but sometimes being the raid group’s walking, squawking practical joke can get a bit old).
The drawback, though, is that I’m not nearly as comfortable (or skilled) at melee DPS as I am at ranged. A swap from mage to moonkin was pretty intuitive, but a similar swap to retribution wouldn’t be as much so. If I were to play a paladin, it would undoubtedly be as a healer primarily. I remember scoffing when Vid was mid-level, “Oh she’ll never be my main, etc.” You think I’d learn never to say “never.”
Ultimately, it’s going to depend on what the guild needs when Cataclysm comes out. Until then, I’ve had to reconcile myself to the fact that I can’t put too much effort into one character or get fussy about who achieves what and when. Some people have one clearly defined main that they wouldn’t even consider changing. I won’t lie, I envy that a bit! All your achievements and collections in one place is nice. At the same time though, I’ve reallly enjoyed all of the different classes and roles I’ve tried, and I think I’d be worse off for having missed out on them.
I will have to make a choice at some point – just hopefully not any time soon! I remember Cass writing about how her auditions were over. She knew who her main was going to be! I won’t spoil the ending, it’s worth the read. As for me, I suppose I have to admit that Millya’s probably not in the running, simply because she doesn’t have hybrid capabilities and I’m learning that I’m a hybrid at heart. I like being able to fill the role that is needed. For that purpose, a druid and a paladin definitely fit the bill.
p.s. – Big thanks to the generous and talented Loreli of AoD studios for the Vidyala post-it portrait above. I love it! The art for the other characters is my own.