I am promising myself that this will be the last time.
Don’t get me wrong, I love leveling Alts. They can be great diversions (as my previous posts can attest!) but I simply don’t have the time to develop new main characters anymore. Secondary skills take forever to level up and old factions are usually long thankless grinds. Oh, and don’t get me started on great titles like Explorer and Crusader. A main character is a huge time investment any way you look at it.
Despite the time spent on my Mains from the previous expansions I have known for the last several months that a change was in the air for me. Taking a new approach to playing has been nagging me ever since I realized I should drop my old physical DPS classes for a caster. As I kept playing my old and developed characters I knew I was just postponing the inevitable. Still, it has been hard to let go and I even leveled my Paladin recently to 85 in the hope that I was wrong. I wasn’t and I know in my heart I need to start again.
This time around I have decided to make the most informed choice possible. Cataclysm is a new start for the game so I am going to make it a new start for me as a player as well. During the last few months I have weighed my options and tested new classes while leveling my old ones. This is what I came up with.
Number 1: Needs to be a Caster
A few months ago I had an epiphany when I realized my approach to class choices had been off the mark since I began playing WoW. It is hard to admit that the classes I have leveled (along with their professions, achievements, faction grinds, etc) don’t provide me with what I need as a player. It kind of sucks actually. It reminds me of the old Dutch proverb that says, “we grow too soon old and too late smart.”
If you have found your way to this blog the odds are that, like me, you solo some or even most of the time. If you can find the fun in PvP (which I did) then there is a gear progression open to you even as a soloer once you get to the endgame. That endgame is Battleground PvP. The gear you can get for just Honor is always a season or two behind but I have found it to be something to work towards. More than that I have found I enjoy the challenge of battlegrounds.
My problem has been that I went about choosing my classes all wrong. Here is the thing; if you want to do battlegrounds with only gear from Honor you should really be playing a caster. Any class that relies on weapon damage as its base damage will underperform compared to casters. Maybe that sounds a bit off, but the epics available for Honor can fill any slot except Weapons and Shields. With this in mind I have known for awhile now that I should move away from weapon dependent classes focus my time on a caster.
That leaves the caster classes: Mages, Warlocks, Moonkin Druids, Elemental Shaman, and Shadow Priests. These are my options for a DPS caster. I used the subsequent criteria to determine which would be my new main.
Number 2: Time Efficient
After becoming a parent my needs as a player have definitely changed. I just don’t have the amount of time to play that I used to so things like prolonged flights and waiting for boat rides can eat up a big chunk of my playtime on any given day. The Mage, who is also conveniently a DPS based spellcaster, solves this problem for me with all those wonderful portals. Druids do have a portal to the Moonglade but otherwise the Mage is the only choice in this category. If you want to get around Azeroth fast it’s hard to beat a mage.
Number 3: Ease of going AFK
My life is very interrupt driven. These aren’t always issues necessitating me logging out of the game but I need to be able to pause and step away from the keyboard with some degree of safety. Originally I leveled a Rogue for this purpose as stepping out of mob pathing areas and stealthing was an effective method of pausing the game. The Night Elf racial Shaodowmeld also grants this ability and opens up my class choice to more than just a Rogue or a cat-form Druid. I decided that if I went with a Night Elf I could also choose to play either a Mage or Shadow Priest and keep my “pause” button.
Number 4: Pet Class
I like pets. Maybe it’s because my first Main was a Hunter but I actually like managing a pet. As a solo player I have found it’s also nice to just have a buddy along to keep me company and help me out in fights. Most importantly, pets are a damage boost to your character that is not based on weapon DPS. Warlocks get a pet at level 1 and Ice Mages now get a pet as early as level 10. I leveled my only Mage in Wrath up to 50 just so I could try out the permanent Water Elemental and I liked it. Warlocks get a greater variety of pets but they can’t be Night Elves so I would lose Shadowmeld if I went with a Warlock.
When I looked at the pros and cons carefully the choice seemed pretty clear to me. By playing a Night Elf Mage I get a class that is DPS focused, is independent of weapon DPS for base damage, can portal to almost anywhere, has a spec with a permanent pet, and that can be stealth-paused via Shadowmeld. There was just no escaping that this is the character that fits best with what I need in the game. In fact it has pretty much everything I could want. I even had that Mage Alt at level 50 collecting dust. At least 50-85 is a lot shorter than 1-85.
As a result I started up on my Mage again and race-changed him into a Night Elf. So far it’s working great and I am getting the hang of how to play him. I am no expert at playing a Mage but as most classes just got a major overhaul with Cataclysm it is a good time to start learning the class again.