And now the results of those trials

December 5, 2009 at 7:19 pm | Posted in Characters, Luzara | Leave a comment

When it comes to character selection, the running question for me this year has been “What’s the happiest intersection of what I can play well, given my limitations, my computer’s limitations, and all the rest, and what I like to play?” And in particular, “What—if anything—can I play well enough and enjoy playing to contribute to groups I want to be part of taking on the Icecrown Citadel dungeons and raids while they’re still fresh?” As I’ve written before, I want to be part of the endgame this time, since I wasn’t anywhere close in the original release and had to truncate my efforts at the tail end of Burning Crusade.

Role. To recap, there are three basic roles for characters in group: tanks, dps (“damage per second”, or damage dealers), and healers. DPS splits further, into meleer and ranged. I like all these roles. But I can’t play all of them well.

Tanking calls for a level of whole-situation awareness I can’t count on, and a degree of group leadership I find stressful. I don’t like having to explain an encounter or give orders on the fly. And melee dps calls for fast position changes and constant attention to the orientation of character to all the challenges in a fight, and I’m just not that fast. Both of those are out.

Fortunately for me, it turns out that I like healing and ranged dps. Ranged dps is very much less detail-oriented than melee dps: you pick your target and the game keeps you shooting at it, most of the time. You have much less occasion to move around while a fight’s underway. Healing calls for focusing on the health of party members rather than the surrounding fight, so again, simpler task overall. It can be very, very stressful with a group of people who aren’t paying attention to the basics for their characters, aren’t adequately geared, and so on, but that’s what reliable guildmates are for, to not be a set of problems.

Raid size. Raids come in 10-person and 25-person flavors these days. And 25-person is just right out for me when it comes to anything complex. Simple straight-up engagements, sure. Extended time against multiple packs of incidental mobs plus major boss fights, no. My computer’s weak for it and the sheer complexities of administering the larger group wear me down, and it’s also much more likely that the larger group will have one or more annoying bozos in it.

Finding a guild of good people who prefer 10-person action isn’t all that easy. Broadly speaking, competent players are likely to favor the bigger groups, because the rewards are bigger. But the alternative preference does exist.

Personal potential. Last, and by no means least, I need a character that can work on all the achievements, exploration, and other stuff I want to do just to satisfy my own personal desires. That’s a lot easier for me to manage with some classes than others, since it takes a comfortable mixture of firepower, capacity for defense, visual interest, and overall ambience.

I’ve been overall very happy and thoroughly productive with my troll shaman in Blacksky Company. But they’re very much committed to 25-person raiding, and I found it taking more and more of a toll on me. Enter the Pig & Whistle Society. This is an Alliance-side sister guild to BSC, named after one of the inns in Stormwind where travelers gather to tell their tales. P&W is unusual in having a cadre of genuinely talented players who favor 10-person raiding. So…

I paid for a second faction change for her. Yes, my shaman is again draenei, now named Luzara. The random name generator suggested it and it has a pleasing sound to me, and is easy enough for raid leaders to say without getting tongue-tied. She retains a restoration spec as her primary thing: I do group and raid healing well, and it’s a role not as many people want to take, so it gets me slots. She is, according to guild leaders, set enough that when patch 3.3 comes out and Icecrown Citadel opens up, she’ll be able to join in the fun as one of the raid healers. Now her secondary spec is elemental, the lightning-flinging ranged side of shaman potential, and it’s working really, really well for me. It’s great fun for my solo questing and handy in groups with others are willing to heal.

So here she is, Mark III of my shaman. Hanging out with the Prophet Velen, leader of all draenei on Azeroth:

Meditating among the shamanic shrines in the Exodar:

Rested, equipped, and ready to face the world(s):

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