A Change is as Good as a Break

Cataclysm Burnout.  The firey expansion has unleashed a wave of death not just on Azeroth but on its inhabitants.  Many people are quitting the game.  Its possible that its not more people quitting, just people quitting more visibly of course, but there are a number of long term players who are struggling to find the fun in Cataclysm.  Most have one or two particular niggles they can place a finger on and a whole bunch they can’t.

Thats not my Retribution Paladin, its rotation is too Rogue-like
Several classes in Cataclysm have changed beyond recognition.  Retribution paladins are one.  Restoration druids are another.  Arcane mages are still sad to see their spec not working in raids, and have to choose either Frost or Fire.  Hunters have a whole new resource system.  Death Knights have only one tanking tree.  There are probably more.  The difficulty here is that players who have loved their class for a long time aren’t enjoying it any more.

I’ll talk about retribution, because thats what I know.  Retribution has changed beyond all recognition and is now one of the most complex rotations in the game, right up there with feral druids.  Mostly because retribution paladins are feral druids.  With sparkles.  The rotation is similar in many ways – the use of combo points, fillers and finishers, the need to maintain a damage buff using the same resources as your damage abilities.  Its done a little differently, but not so much that levelling my feral druid doesn’t give me an eerie sense of deja vu.

So whats wrong with that?  Nothing really.  But its so very different from what came before.  Retribution needed to be made more complex as a rotation, but I can’t help feeling short changed by the Rogueification of my paladin.  Its not even that I don’t like the rotation.  I enjoy playing it.  Its the same feeling I had about priests at the end of TBC when I decided my paladin would be my main but for the opposite reason.  I left my priest because there were basically no changes to the class and I felt I didn’t want to keep hitting the same buttons for another couple of years.  I felt short changed by the expansion.  I feel that again with retribution, despite the fact that they did what I wanted.  They made the rotation more complex.  They balanced us in PvE and PvP.  But they did it using combo-points with sparkles and that was just lazy.

For many paladins, it was just too much.  They don’t like the new retribution (check out Unholy DKs for a simple but fun rotation these days).

Changing mains
When I decided to change from my paladin to my priest, the feeling of having been short changed definitely contributed, but I never would have made the change for that reason alone.  I started on my priest because that was what the guild needed, and found I enjoyed healing and particularly enjoyed the priest class again.  Wrath broke healing, Cataclysm fixed it.  I know some people who disagree with that, but I think they got it pretty much right.  I always felt the mana change in healing had not been good for the game – it changed the game into one of ‘who has fast enough reactions’ instead of ‘who can make smart choices’.  That one change affected raids far more than I think the developers anticipated.

As a quick note, people ask me why I didn’t go healing on my paladin.  The answer is that my paladin isn’t my priest.  When I heal, its always been with my priest.  If I try to heal on other classes all I can think is ‘Prayer of Healing would be better here’ or ‘I miss Binding Heal’.  I got used to the priest toolbox and I prefer it to any other class I’ve tried to heal on.  And I’ve played Akandra so long I know where all the spells go.  I’m pretty sure my buttons are in much the same place they were in TBC because if I put them anywhere else I end up using the wrong ones.    The priest class is similar to the one I left, but better with changes that fit in well with the class.

Where was I?  Oh yes, so I changed my main to fit in better with what the guild needed and it was a possibility for me because they fixed healing and tarted up the priest class nicely.  It gave me a better feeling than my short changed paladin.

Breaking up is hard to do
Its hard to change your main.  Very hard.  Especially if your an achievement hunter.  I remember struggling over whether to change to Morrighan and I struggled over whether to change to Akandra again.  But sometimes, change is the best thing.

I’ve mentioned that I didn’t change class because I disliked retribution particularly, but if you really do dislike it, change is the way to go.  I mentioned a few classes above because I know that many players are unhappy with those classes.  You can see it every day.  Those changes have taken the class they have played, in many cases since Vanilla, and made it so different they feel lost.  I talked about having kept my healing buttons in the same place for years on Akandra.  Well on Morrighan my buttons all had to change drastically because only a couple of them are used in the same way any more.  Theres nothing wrong with the classes (except for arcane mages) – they just aren’t the same.  For some players, these changes are too much and they are losing the fun in WoW.  I know a few people who are struggling with this right now.  At first they found it hard to put their finger on what exactly was wrong, but in most cases they just don’t like the way their class has changed so drastically.

The solution is to make a change.   If you’ve fallen out of love with your retribution paladin, then you should stop playing it and try to find something you do enjoy.

How to change your main character/role
Theres a lot to consider when making this change.  If you raid and want to remain in the same group, you need to consider the requirements of your raiding team as well as your own sense of fun.  You need to think about whether you are changing your role, your character or both.  You need to think about the transition period and if you want to try out your new choice.

Firstly you need to decide are you making the change just for you, or are you willing to be flexible to fit in with the raid group you are a part of?  If you want to keep raiding you firstly need to look and see what your raid group needs.  Have a chat with your officers to see what you can and can’t change to within the group.  If the group has too many mages, they aren’t going to want another one.  If melee is full, you will need to look at the other roles.  If theres a shortage of healers, would you consider healing?  Are there any other players who would like to change role also?  If your mage wants to heal and you want to dps then theres a solution.  It might be that the guild can’t accomodate you right now because what you want to do is oversubscribed – in that case if you are willing to wait have them put you on a ‘waiting list’ where you get the next available slot.  This also gives them time to recruit and can be a good way to make a change.

I mentioned roles there, because your second consideration is do you want to change role? Either on your current character or with another character? I mentioned my reasons for changing both role and character above, but for many people who are very attached to one character changing role can be a solution. Don’t like druid healing? Go boomkin.  Thats harder if your a hunter, for example, but its a consideration for hybrids.

Once you’ve made the decision to make the change, you also need to think about the process.  Is your new character ready for what you want to do with it?  If not you need to get it ready.  If you want to go melee but that will leave your guild short on healers, then I would suggest a transition period during which you heal when needed until a replacement is found.  Theres no point changing your character only to be unable to raid on it because there aren’t enough healers any more.  Discuss with your guild if you could ‘try’ your new main in a raiding environment to see what you really think about it if you aren’t sure.  This works fine as long as you explain to the team why those alts are suddenly raiding.

One of the biggest reasons people struggle to change mains is because of the achievements they have on their main.  But this can actually be a reason to change!  If you already have over 9000 achievement points, then a new main will give you something to do.  If you are an achievement hunter, this is obviously something you enjoy, so embrace the change to start again.  Set yourself some time to gather achievements/titles/pets/mounts on your new main.  See if people will come with you for old content for guild achievements.  Farm the new quest achievements in the new levelling zones allowing you to see all the new content.

What you should not do is just ignore your feelings about your class and hope they will go away.  They won’t unless your chosen class/spec is broken right now.  And most class/spec combinations are viable at the moment.  Even those that are broken may take a long time to fix.  If you think your class/spec is not viable at the moment make sure you read up on whether Blizzard thinks its broken.  If Blizzard don’t think its broken, then they won’t be changing it.  Blizzard have acknowledged the problems with an arcane mage, but they aren’t going to roll back the changes to retribution.  You can see all of the hate posts you want about new ret – its here to stay.

These are just some observations based on people I see playing the game at the moment.  Some of these I’ve talked to about their feelings, some not.  But its clear in every raid when people are feeling this way.  The people who have made the change are a lot more positive in those raids than those that haven’t.  They enjoy them more, they are better at raiding, they are enjoying the game.  So think carefully and if the drastic changes to your class are why you don’t enjoy WoW any more, then think about whether its time for a change.  Your new main could make the game fresh for you all over again.

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3 thoughts on “A Change is as Good as a Break

Add yours

  1. Thanks for this post. I have been struggling a lot of late to feel the desire to stick with the game due to issues with my guild and have been pondering changing my main. I am starting to think that a fresh start on a new server with a new main may be the ticket.

  2. Nice post. For various reasons, I have found the various class changes with each expansion hard to stomache, so my solution has been to change classes each time. I went Hunter in TBC, warrior in Wraith, and just started playing Cata for the first time as a feral druid. I am sticking with the tanking role though, as I enjoyed the experience in Wraith. Leveling from scratch each time was a neat way to see the content from a different perspective, doubly so with Cataclysm. All the best, Ghretta

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