Switching Mains at Expansions
If you’ve been following the druid community lately, there’s been an overwhelming number of players threatening or completely confirming they are changing their main character for Mists of Pandaria. I’m going to guess that’s happening in a lot of other circles as well, since the game mechanics are changing and each class’ playstyle gets bumped around. Hell, you may even spot a warlock out in the wild!
To date, I’ve switched classes every time an expansion came out. From Vanilla into Burning Crusade, I went from a shaman to a rogue. I was a pathetic player in Vanilla, so it should come as no surprise that my talent points were all over the map (remember when you could do that?) and my gear looked like I foraged it from dead noobs. I honestly had a guildmate convince me “if it has bigger numbers on it, it must be better, right?” My point here is that there was no saving that character – I needed to start over.
I didn’t realize that I needed to do that, though, until the expansion dropped and I found literally hundreds of characters all trying to do the same quest I was on. I don’t like crowds. They skeeve me. If there’s a mob of people, you can pretty much guarantee I’m not in it. All of a sudden I’m running with a mostrous pack of idiots and I’m the only one dying repeatedly. Clearly something was wrong.
I chose a rogue when I re-rolled, mostly because I was jealous of my friend’s ability to stealth, and he had quit the game, so our 4-man guild (seriously…) currently comprised of 2 shamans, one warrior, and a mage. I decided that I was sick of being exactly the same as the other shaman, so I filled the rogue hole, and really liked playing a rogue.
The thing that was the most interesting about re-rolling though, was that all of Azeroth was basically abandoned. There were a few blood elves trying to level up, but other than that, the place was completely empty. Everything that moved was there simply for my killing amusement. That was a happy time!
I played Subtlety, and got very addicted to Shadowstep, which would -poof- me behind the mob and let me ambush at least 50% of its HP. Toss in the Assassination armor set, troll berserking, and I would attack at lightspeed after that initial smash. That was unbelievably fun.
I sat out Wrath, so I can’t say much about that. I had my first child as that expansion was coming out, and I wasn’t sure I would be able to prioritize well. Since i was basically giving up sleep in order to play, and the baby was taking all of my sleep anyway, it wasn’t working out well.
I came back on right as Wrath was ending, I believe Ruby Sanctum had already arrived, but it’s not like I was raiding anyway, so it didn’t matter. I dashed through Northrend leveling (again, empty except for a couple gankers in Sholozar Basin) and did some heroics at that point.
When Cata dropped, I did push my rogue up through to 85, but Subtlety was so horribly broken that it wasn’t viable even for questing. I tried Assassination spec for a while, but was never very good at it, and didn’t really enjoy it. I needed another main. I figured I should pick either a Druid or a Paladin – not because they’re both hybrids and allow for more playstyle options than other classes, but for the simple reason that the game seems designed for them. I’m not kidding.
Take a look at some of the numbers posted regarding class populations. Druids and Paladins are always at the top of those lists. Most likely, that’s because either the class is that easy to play well, or because it’s that fun to play. I already had a pally alt lying around that I didn’t like, and Druids had cat form which was basically a rogue anyway, so I picked that.
Where I’m going with all of this is that when a patch drops, people who were stuck grinding on their main want a fresh experience. Choosing a new main is a fresh thing to do, and it can give some breathing room while the hordes of other players compete for targets during kill X of Y quests. Usually, the low level zones are empty and leveling can be a blast.
MoP is going to be a little different from other expansions, though. There’s a very large number of players who want monks. That means all the monks are going to be leveling through the low-level zones. Remember how Death Knight-centric Hellfire Penninsula was when Wrath dropped? It’ll be like that, except all over Azeroth, Outland, Northrend, and Cata, and on both faction sides. You won’t be able to spit without hitting five monks trying to form a dungeon group.
Forward-thinkers are leveling their alts now, while Dragon Soul is nerfing itself into the dust, and Diablo 3 is still coming.
Me? I’m hoping that the attempts to preserve the joy of bearcatting will actually work out. If they don’t, I’m reasonably geared for boomkin. Failing that, I’ve got that rogue still, but he’s down at sub-346 iLvl. If all of that collapses, though, I’ve got an alt or two parked midway up the leveling game.