Tag Archives: class discussion

Identity Crises

If you’d told me a year ago that I would start a blog about WoW, I would probably have believed you. I enjoy writing, and I enjoy WoW. If you’d told me additionally that my “public face,” as it were, would be a paladin? I probably wouldn’t have bought that. I’d leveled a paladin only to level 20, and (I’m sorry) I hated it. I was retribution, and I was awful. I’d given up on being a paladin. I suppose for the folks who aren’t altoholics, it’s easy to have a class or role that is “yours,” that you most identify with.

The sheer volume of awesome druid blogs out there seems indicative of this to me. It’s a class that many people just fall in love with, and it becomes their passion.

My husband is like that. He’s a die-hard warrior, to the core. He’s a little disheartened and frustrated by warrior changes (or lack thereof) this year, but his loyalties are still very clear. He’s the unfortunate subject of much teasing about it, since he 1) loves warriors, and 2) hates paladins. That my blog is about paladins sort-of-kind-of makes him die a little inside. I leveled a protection warrior to try it out, sometime last year, but as I neared eighty with her I realized I just wouldn’t play her all that much. At the time he was bored and looking for something to do – so I transferred the character to his account. He finished leveling her (now a  him) with much excitement. So yes, he has two level eighty warriors. Because in his opinion, the only thing better than one warrior is two warriors.

I’ve never really been that way about one specific class. I started out playing as a priest, abandoned around level forty-five to make a mage, and then never looked back. There is definitely a part of my personality that is one-hundred percent mage. I dove into battlegrounds at level seventy to acquire my giant, pink PvP staff. It was a blast. I was sort of good at it, even. A much more veteran friend of mine said, “Vid, I’ve never seen someone with 5K HP f*** so many people up.” 5K was abysmally low at the time. My PvP strategy largely centered on getting lost in a crowd of people and snipe-killing from relative safety, and if I had no other choice, I’d just go kamikaze. Needless to say, Alterac Valley was my place. I had a blast, and I concluded: being a mage is awesome.

Then last year, I began to level another character along with some guild friends at the time. Nobody else in the guild was at their level and they had transferred from Horde-side. So I thought, “I have a level twenty-eight druid! I’ll try leveling her.” The druid was actually the very first character I had created, but I abandoned her fairly early on in favour of the priest. The reason why, I believe, is just that it was very complicated and I had no idea what I was doing since I was new to WoW in general. The different forms all had these mysterious things I should be doing, attacking in caster form felt weak, my gear was awful. When I came back to the druid later, I think I was much better prepared to play a hybrid class. I’d tanked a little (prot warrior), ranged DPS (mage), and healed (priest). I understood each role and form a little better. I was also loaded down with heirloom gear, and the luxury of bags and gold. Leveling my druid at that time was a completely different experience.

I loved being a druid. I leveled as Balance. I enjoyed it so much that it actually caused friction – the group of leveling people were staying around the same level so that they could group together, but I didn’t want to be held back. I steamrolled past them and began leveling my shaman alt to stay with them as a sort of placeholder, because I wanted that druid at level eighty. I had a feeling she would be my “main,” if I could swing it. Along the way, I dual-specced and made a restoration spec. I still remember vaguely flailing around and asking a resto druid friend her opinion about specs, glyphs, and spells to cast. I really had no idea what I was doing, but it was so much fun. I stubbornly did the quest for epic flight form once I was able, rather than just purchasing it. I worked to get my Lower City reputation high enough to do heroic Sethekk Halls for a chance at an Anzu mount. Being a druid and I were meant for each other. When I had the opportunity, I made my restoration druid my raiding main (swapping her in for my priest healer).

Yet still I pined sometimes for my mage, she of the fireballs, the one who could bring strudels and smarts! I made sure to try and keep her gear as up to date as I could – running daily heroics for emblems. When we made the decision to transfer servers and join a raiding guild, I needed a break from healing. I applied with my mage because then I could not be forced into a healing role. Understand, it’s not that I don’t enjoy healing. I think it presents challenges different from those of a DPS, and it’s a lot of fun. But it stops being fun when it’s a chore. I healed our previous raid group because it felt like nobody else would. No one wanted the responsibility, so I shouldered it. We often had to pug a second healer, because there was no reliable other regular healer to do it. One of the other druids did dual-spec and learn how to resto to help on fights where two couldn’t pull it off, and I appreciated it, but the pressure of being ‘the healer’ got to be a bit much for me.

Relaxing into mage DPS was an awesome feeling. I started reading mage blogs and theorycrafting quite a bit more, trying to up my game. I focused on my gear and set bonuses. I did struggle a bit as our raid was fairly melee-focused in terms of buffs (rogue, hunter, ret paladin, enhancement shaman, actually at one point two hunters). But then we started coming up against content that sometimes wants three healers. Valithria Dreamwalker. Sindragosa with her ridiculous debuff. I started wondering if I wasn’t being a bit of a waste. Some people are just extremely passionate about DPS, or healing, respectively. I really and truly love both. Doesn’t it make sense for someone who can play and likes to play both styles, to have a character who can do so? I thought so.

My choices were:

  1. Sofira the Priest: terribly poor gear, still in Tier 7 from when that gear was good
  2. Callios the Shaman: decent elemental gear but laughable resto gear, and I don’t know the playstyle very well
  3. Shaedre the Druid: had kept gear reasonably up to date, pugged a few ToCs, and I loved the healing style but was unsure about Balance.

I had to try out Balance and see how I liked it. A few things about it had bothered me in the past – how stationary it was, its reliance on proc buffs making it too subject to RNG (Your eclipse procced just before Festergut made you yak up your lunch? Too bad.) And yet. The possibility of being a true hybrid was alluring. The buffs that a moonkin brings to a raid are also incredible. Previously I hadn’t liked moonkin compared to being a mage, but I was willing to give it a shot.

To my surprise, I found that the nuances of a DoT + nuke based class are pretty interesting. Keep in mind, I’ve been an arcane mage for many months. I kissed my DoTs goodbye when Fire just wasn’t keeping pace. So managing even a few DoTs is something new to me. Weaving the DoTs in-between eclipse procs is also new. Treants and Starfall cooldowns. Moonkin DPS felt urgent and engaging. “Solar eclipse! Spam spam spam wrath,” followed closely by “Lunar eclipse! Cast Staaaarfiiiiire.” Periods of Starfire are slower and give me time to look around while I’m hitting the button, as well as glancing at my DoT timers to plan when I’m going to refresh them. Using Starfall without pulling half of Icecrown is a feat just by itself. (I love that spell so much, I do. I wish I had a little more control over it. So if you see the big chicken squished against the wall with the stars over her head and feathers crossed hoping she didn’t just tick off Marrowgar through to Deathwhisper? That’s me.)

I think the decision to once again “change mains” was a good choice for me. We recently recruited a very excellent full-time resto druid so my role is squarely DPS with a side of “resto sometimes if needed,” but I’m perfectly fine with that. Being able to step up and heal when our group needs someone to do so, even 10% of the time, is 10% more than I was able to do so as a mage, as much as I love mages.

Meanwhile, I guess in essence, I’m most druidic or mageish, but I have a healthy dose of priestliness and shamanism too. And lately I’m feeling a good deal of solidarity with my paladin friends. Because this is, after all, about a pugging pally – sort of. I sometimes wish I could be the person who is so passionate about one class that it’s an easy choice to devote their blog solely to that one class, but I just don’t see it happening. I really do enjoy my little pugging pally, though, and in a universe of infinite time I’d like to learn restoration shaman. I wonder sometimes whether my guildies plan to make a character switch at the expansion. It’s often a time of minor upheaval like that – people get bored with their classes or have wanted to change for awhile and just seize the opportunity, and you just hope that role distribution lands more or less the same on the other side. I’m not even sure what I will do. Maybe I’ll be ready to explore being a shaman more fully, or stick with my druid until the bitter end, or even (gasp) be a paladin. I’ll be interested to see who else is planning on making a change (if any).

Are you someone who loves one class above all others? Or do you find yourself switching it up all the time? Does more than one class claim your allegiance? Are you a closet tree, or a proud paladin? I love hearing about why people like the classes that they do, because I can find so many things to like about so many different classes.