This post is coming a little later than I wanted it to, but since Cynwise posted “On Revelations” before a field trip, I ended up forgetting about it until just recently. I originally wanted to reply to Cyn's post in the comments but it ended up morphing into something much larger.
Reading Cynwise and Vidyala’s stories (here and here) about what they enjoy playing, and figuring out what they want to play was very interesting to me. I play a priest, and have played her for a long time; first as shadow back when we only did 1400 dps but returned mana for the mages and warlocks, and now as a healer. I also play a druid tank, who has been around as long as the priest. I've had many internal battles over which character I wanted to play, but there's just something about those two roles that I can't quite get anywhere else.
I played a really big support role in Burning Crusade, and I had requests from people to have me in their groups. I liked that. I liked the feeling of being needed, of contributing in a very real way to killing the boss – regardless of my 1400 dps. My sense of accomplishment came from seeing the mages at the top of the meters and knowing that without me, they wouldn’t be there. When the changes to shadow priests happened (where we actually did decent dps) I couldn’t handle it. This was not the class I signed up to play, nor the playstyle I wanted - I fell out of love with shadow priests.
I didn’t know what to do, or how to dps anymore so I did the next best thing; I started healing. It’s hard to pin down exactly why I started healing instead of moving to say, my druid tank. I think it had something to do with how I identify myself in game. I’m Kaleri, a priest. Kaleri is who I am and I wasn’t ready to take on a leadership role as a tank.
I find I generally gravitate to a healing or tanking role over dps, and I think Cynwise nailed it with:
"... I feel like I'm playing a critical part - the critical part - in the success or failure of an activity." I was nodding along and I had to stop and think about which characters I play and enjoy the most. I have Kaleri (priest), Kalbeari (druid tank, pvp healer) and then a myriad of other characters.
Kalaura (my paladin) is holy because I didn’t want to play as retribution, but I’d never say never to her being protection at some point. Unlike my shaman, I like healing with this character. It’s a really good challenge for a priest to switch to a paladin and I enjoy that sort of thing.
My poor hunter who I rescued from deletion from my mother’s account is my farming character that I occasionally run a couple dungeons on during the week. I do like dpsing on her, but not in a larger group setting. I also enjoy collecting new hunter pets. I camped out Ghostcrawler a few months back and the thrill of pet taming is a whole other blog post I could write.
The other characters I can’t really get into. Maybe its because they are pure DPS classes and for me that means giving up a lot of control. Or maybe five level 85 characters are enough for me. I don’t like neglecting any of them.
I think it comes from the inherent need for myself to have some kind of control over what is going on. I need to be healing or tanking to feel like I'm really contributing. That's not to say I don't like healing or tanking, I love those roles. I am enjoying my prot warrior very much, and she's level 65.
Take my shaman. I have a great time smashing things with windfury, but I get anxious when the healer in the group can’t seem to do things right. I’ve been getting her resto set in order so that I can queue for dungeons that way – even though I dislike the shaman-healing model - because I know I’m good at it and that I can do it. I also don't like waiting for the absurd DPS queues. But are those reasons enough to play her as full-time resto with enhance as her offspec?
I occasionally get a little wanderlust when it comes to my priest. I considered leveling Kalbeari first in Cataclysm because I wanted to do something new. When Mists of Pandaria was announced, I had the same thought; I can swap to another class come Mists of Pandaria but I can't shake the feeling of "I want to stay with/as Kaleri". I have a lot of memories with Kaleri and most of my in-game accomplishments have been with her. The announcement that (certain) achievements might become account wide made it a little easier to think about.
Mists of Pandaria brings a brand new class to the table in the Monk. This class really appeals to me because it seems like a true support class (akin to my BC shadow priest). Contributing DPS and healing? I can't wait to test that out.
Play what you enjoy, play what makes you happy.
Vidyala made the difficult choice of moving to her paladin from her mage and then returned to it because that is what she loves to play. I admire that so much, first because she moved away from her mage to be able to contribute to her group in a different way and second because she didn’t stay in a role she didn’t prefer over her mage and she was confident enough to say so.
I’ve been seriously considering swapping to another character for our alt raid. Our usual composition is; two mages, two priests, two druids (one resto, one feral – that’s me), one pally, one warlock and one warrior. It’s a challenge and I feel like I need to switch because I have a lot of characters that could help. I could gear up my shaman and heal or melee DPS. I could faction change my paladin and heal. I could bring my hunter. I could go feral cat and melee dps.
As I was thinking about all the things I could do to help, I never stopped to think about what I want to do.
I want to play my druid as a tank in Firelands; I don't want to dps. I don't mind healing, I prefer tanking. The rush I got from single tanking Shannox (by accident, on regular with 38 freakin' stacks) was like nothing I've felt in a long, long time. My druid gives me "that" feeling.
To quote Cynwise:
There's a pride to being the one to tank Drek, to tank the nightmare pulls of H-MgT well, to be the one where if you don't do your job right, you wipe.
|*The song lyrics are from "Home" by Eward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes. I thoroughly recommend a listen|
What do I enjoy?
It's hard to say. My characters offer different roles and perspectives so it is hard to pin down which one I really enjoy the most. I know I'm attached to Kaleri, and I see her as my main but at the same time I feel like I could be a druid. I could be a tank, why not?
I have fun on Kaleri; I love being the only healer who goes up top on Heroic Beth'Tilac, I love being the healer that can keep the tanks alive, I love penance, I love Divine Aegis, I love being a part of the healing team in my guild. Healing dungeons and raids when Cataclysm first debuted was a great time for healers. There was so much more to healing than just "filling the bars" and I think I've lost that feeling of accomplishment that I felt earlier on.
As long as I still have the sense of playing a big part in a raid, I'll stick with Kaleri. She is where I feel at home. If I ever stop having fun on my priest it will be time to drop her, but for now I still feel like there are things I can do on Kaleri that no one else can, and that makes me feel awesome.