Starting Over Is Hard To Do

Bloof Huntard

So my wife and I have returned to Azeroth. Kinda. Starting brand new characters on a brand new server is a great idea on paper. But there are a few issues with it that are making things, for my part, somewhat confused. Since this is a blog just as much about gaming as it is writing, here’s the latest haps in our Warcraftian lives. It’s this or a bunch of petulent whining in my LiveJournal about how all the energy I had yesterday for writing non-stop seems to have slithered away to hide under a couch in Burundi somewhere.

Highs and Lows

When we left World of Warcraft, we had top-level characters. We delved into dungeons, slugged it out in arenas, the whole nine yards. I participated in daily quests to earn some cash while she wondered why in hell anybody would bother role-playing with somebody who thinks being the bastard offspring of the Lich King and Sylvanas Windrunner is an innovative idea that’s bound to get them immortalized in the constellations of Azeroth, or maybe just some cyber-sex. Anyway, what I’m driving at is being maximum level in an MMO tends to spoil you.

Not just because it’s easier to find something to do that isn’t questing or grinding to the next level, but also you can help other characters you create in various ways. Gold, heirloom items, raw materials for crafting, you name it, a character with nothing to do but beat up boss monsters and pounce on unsuspecting members of the opposing faction is likely to have extra resources on their hands. Those resources can easily get funneled into an up-and-coming character that’ll play a different role in group endeavors, have a different story or just be a change of pace.

While starting over on a new server allows you to try a different play experience, find new people to play with or disassociate yourself with bad memories or people made of fail, it also means you’re starting literally from scratch. Doing things the hard way isn’t necessarily bad. I mean, my wife leveled her paladin on the Protection tree, so she seems to thrive on doing things the hard way. But spoiling characters on one server can leave the new one on another feeling like an unwanted step-child. Without a high-level character’s support, a low-level character can feel quite low indeed.

Pee Vee Pee

We rolled on an RP-PVP server. For the uninitiated, that’s “role-playing player-versus-player”. From what I understand, most of the servers of Aion fall into that mold. I’m going to paraphrase my wife’s take on the experience of being on those servers in that game.

Epix: I would be going along doing some kind of quest or gathering X amount of flower Y for NPC Z or some shit, when half a dozen Asmodians would pop out of nowhere and pound me into a quivering mass of bloody Elyos gibblets. That was so much fun! It was challenging and made it feel dangerous for me to even think about leaving camp! I miss that!

I suspect that being on an RP-PVP server, she’s looking for something closer to that experience, being interrupted in handing in a quest by some Alliance jerkoff stabbing the quest-giving NPC, laughing, and then stabbing her for good measure.

Yeah. Sounds like a real treat.

Epix: If you’re going to complain, why don’t you go fight Professor Coldheart with the rest of your Care Bear friends?

Grumpy Bear

She probably wouldn’t actually say that, as I said I’m paraphrasing, but it seemed funny at the time. I love you, darling.

The problem with this is that Blizzard has introduced a system that bypasses needing to quest out in the world pretty much altogether. The Random Dungeon Finder, or whatever it’s actually called, matches your character with a team of others from throughout the various servers clustered in what’s called a ‘battlegroup.’ You can stay in your home city, wait for the system to match you with a group, and work on your tradeskills or roleplay or go get yourself a snack in the meantime. You’re surrounded by high-level NPCs who will flatten any individual opponent looking to shank you on sight, and a concerted effort to break through the guards in order to down the boss-level administrative character means you’ll just get steamrolled while you’re waiting for your metal to smelt.

It seems to defeat the purpose somewhat.

What Is Your Quest?

The question I ultimately have to ask myself is, “What do I want out of playing WoW?” Getting my hunter to 80 was kind of a big deal for me. I worked hard to earn him titles, rewards and sometimes just the notion of “I survived this dungeon with the highest DPS output, and I wasn’t a dick to anybody in the group so they’re bound to invite me along for bigger challenges.” Do I just want to do that again, perhaps with a magical cloth-wearing finger-wiggling class like a mage or a warlock?

Maybe.

I mentioned in the Cataclysmic discussion that I’d be rolling a Forsaken mage, and that’s what I did. I’m liking it, but in the back of my mind I know I’m filling another DPS role. I get some great crowd control and everybody loves a mage’s conjured food & water, but how different will it ultimately be from a hunter, other than not having a furry friend to take all that nasty damage for me? Unless my wife’s playing a tauren or is in bear form.

I’d be waiting for Cataclysm to come out for my blood elf warrior spell breaker which I’d be aiming for a tanking role. Maybe I could roll a warrior on another server to learn the ropes in the meantime? I haven’t played a dedicated tank since before Burning Crusade came out – my first Horde character was a Forsaken warrior. The death knights I’ve played tended towards tanking, but I never got one to max level.

I’ve done a bit of healing in the past, and I’ve enjoyed it. Maybe I should give a hybrid class a fair shake, such as a paladin or druid. And there’s the question of where all of this would be taking place – which server, which environment, etc.

I guess my problem is I’d like to try a bit of everything. Doing that means not sticking with something long enough to get it to max level. And my max level character, whom I like playing both from a gameplay and roleplaying standpoint, has to wait until we decide to play on his server or we get enough disposable income (HA!) for a transfer.

I like contributing to the success of a group. I like getting the kill shot in on a nasty boss. I like people feeling like they can rely on me. And I like helping people not suck. Does that mean I’m better suited for a tanking role than sitting in the back dumping damage on things?

Help me, Intertweeps. I’m having trouble deciding, here.

5 Comments

  1. Alright, here my shpeel. If you want to contribute to a group, play a healer or a tank. If you want to be the heart of a group, play a tank. Don’t do this if you have the following mental conditions:

    *You are prone to having bouts of ego fits.
    *Stress gets to you way to easily.
    *You are kick-happy with other group members.
    *You can’t handle criticism.
    *You can’t handle being blamed for every wipe.

    I am a tank. I love tanking. Love it. The fact that I can sit their kicking in a bosses face while three other people are focused on keeping me alive appeals to what little ego high-school left me. It’s fun. It’s challenging (well, it used to be anyway). And beyond all else, it’s needed. Healing is more difficult. Tanking is more rewarding.

    You’re a smart cookie Josh. You could be one hell of a tank. Go for it. If you are worried about what role you want to play though, and it fucking pains me to say this, go Paladin or Druid. Both of them can handle all three roles – Paladin would be the best suited. I stand by Warriors being the shizznit, but they can only tank or dps. With the other two, you have all options open.

    But before I say that, consider this. DPS is easy to find. DPS is everywhere. Good, smart dps is not. Any doofus with a computer and a connection can spam buttons at an enemy – smart dps knows what they are doing, how it works, and when to do what. That is really, really rare and very appreciated when it is found. If you like dps, ranged or melee, stick with it. Perfect it, own it. Currently I have three caster classes at 80 (mage, warlock, and elemental shammy). I know the differences between them and know how they work, but I am not a great dps player – I may be good, but that’s where it ends. I am a great tank though (not to blow smoke up my own ass). Yeah, I lose aggro from time to time but I do the work a tank needs to do; I know how to lead a group, I study encounters, I know my skills and when to use them, and I keep my gear as top-of-the-line as I can (well, I did, when I was raiding). Tanking is strategy. DPS is an adventure. Healing is forty-five minutes of boredom with fifteen minutes of brown undies time. I love all three roles, but tanking is where it hits for me.

    Hope any of that helps out a little 🙂

  2. Today’s post of mine is actually going to be about dungeon-leveling, so I love the coincidence, and one of the things I was going to discuss was handling multiple alts.

    Especially until about level 30, you can level ridiculously fast in these dungeons. I can usually manage about a full level, *if* I’m fully rested. (Yes, I also on these chars have an extra 20% via heirlooms, but still.)

    So I would suggest rolling a couple of characters, so you can always be building up rested XP. I’m currently leveling 7 alts on my main server, and today was going to work on getting my pally at least close in level to you guys (been trying to push my other 7 alts sub-50% rested, but that takes longer when you’re above level 60, lol).

    Tanking has a lot of benefits (shortest, if not instant, queues for the random dungeon finder). It can be a lot of fun, and I’d love to level up some DPS or heals to go with ya.

    Try everything. Tanking can be really rewarding if you don’t get a group of jackasses that blame you for their mistakes. So can healing (though healing seriously bores me right now).

    Let your rested XP grow on all your chars, and be easily able to stick to your fave 1 or 2. Or level all of them (I hit the one that has the highest rested XP, and move down the list. The mod Altoholic is great for that).

    Another suggestion is a Death Knight. They can be fun to play, and because you go from your starter zone straight into Outlands/Outlands dungeons in a decent set of blues, it’s pretty quick to get them to 80 and start helping out your other alts with cash and stuff.

  3. Me, personally, I hate levelling. The idea of having two alts to level instead of one is awful, plain and simple. That’s the #1 appeal of Wyrmrest Accord.

    There’s also the fact that it’s got a hell of a lot of roleplayers.. TN presumably has quite a few but only Moon Guard really has more than WrA. There’s a lot more shit, but in theory there’s also a lot more variety of guilds that aren’t shit. Most of the stuff on TN is pvp-related (aka mercenaries, soldiers, etc ).

    Oh, and class roles? Healing is by far easier than tanking, imo. Of course tanking in LK was made much easier, but I still think healing is easier. You don’t need to set the pace of the group, and most people will blame a tank for a wipe. I think you’d enjoy it if you didn’t play a priest. This “priest = healer” thing that so many noobs and really old hands have in their minds is stupid. Try a shaman, I think you’d like the playstyle of that one. Or a paladin/druid if you want to try tanking too.

  4. Jason (Yep THE Jason)

    June 6, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    I LOVE being a tank. I concur with what Rick said above. Also I agree with Danielle too. I am not one to have alts. I like to usually develop one character and one character alone.

    I may load up WoW on this new PC I built this weekend and get back into it again myself. I feel the itch. It’s been a year or so.

    Eve Online is great for it’s even pace. WoW will fill that other part.

  5. My biggest problem with healing (I have a Disc Priest, and I’ve tried it on my Shaman) is that it’s dull. I had a friend aptly call it “playing Whack-A-Mole”.

    Stare at health bars, occasionally hit a button. *yawn*.

    I’ll probably play around with it some more when I hit 80.

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