Second 80

June 5, 2009 at 1:02 pm (Navel-Gazing, Raiding, Warlock, WoW General)

Well, the pally hit 80 yesterday.  Now to figure out how to gear him.

One of the reasons WoW is as successful as it is is that it doesn’t, generally speaking, have a very high learning curve to play.  You start with a couple of abilities, and you gradually add to them as you level.  You don’t need to immerse yourself in the minutiae of exactly how much of XYZ statistic you need to level, and have a good time doing it.

Until level 80.  When suddenly, I (whose only class I can claim exhaustive knowledge of is the warlock) am going to have to figure out how to weigh statistics I haven’t spent more than five minutes considering, like armor penetration versus expertise versus hit (yeah, as a caster, I know about hit, but not its relative priority in this context).  And, in the tanking context, weighing defense (I was crushed to discover that adding a 22 defense rating enchant didn’t take my 524 defense to 546, and have me ready for heroics!  Whoops.) versus block versus parry versus dodge versus stamina.

The only other time I had two classes at the level cap, in TBC, the non-warlock one was a shadow priest.  Which is about as close to a warlock (particularly an affliction warlock) as you can get, in both playstyle and aesthetic.  I learned some of the key distinctions (crit not helpful (remember this is TBC),  much less hit required, and stack spelldamagespelldamagespelldamage), and was ready to rumble.

Now, the reality is, my paladin will never be my main raiding character.  For starters, my guild (for all that they’re an awesome bunch who isn’t freaky-hardcore about raiding, though they obviously take it seriously) recruited me as DPS, and in particular, recruited me as a warlock, a class I know almost intuitively, and can switch more or less effortlessly between the different specs and playstyles.  I’m almost always near the top of the damage meters (our other destruction warlock is always *at* the top of the meters, but that’s okay, I’ll slip a little strychnine in his Kungaloosh, and he won’t be for long – just kidding Sulay!).  So if I suddenly said “Hey, I know I’m a good DPSer and all, but I want to learn to tank/heal/underwater-basket-weave, so take my undergeared butt to Ulduar, please”, I envision the rumbling, sepulchral voice of my guildmaster hemming and hawing while he tries to think of a nice way of telling me I’m on crack.  But also, I’m enough of a perfectionist that when others are depending on me, I’d rather be a good warlock than a mediocre paladin.  And I don’t have enough “WoW” space in my head to follow two classes with the sort of intensity with which I’ve always followed warlocks.

Plus, oddly, we’re kind of drowning in tanks, and I’d sooner chew my own leg off than heal.  Last time I healed anything on my paladin, it was Scarlet Monastery, and I panicked and DI’d the (warrior) tank.  Mid-pull.  I promptly reassessed my ambitions and resolved to tank.  More my speed.

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