Where in the Blog is Lodur?

Where in the Blog is Lodur?

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now I’ve had the good luck to join the team over at WoW.com. Today I was originally going to post another installment of It Came From The P.U.G. but instead I’d like to take this morning and do a few things.

First I want to thank everyone! Honestly I wouldn’t be where I am without your support and your readership. It really drove it home last night when I was reading through some comments and email I received where people who applied for the Resto Shaman position informed me they put a caveat in their applications that should I apply, I should be hired instead of them. I mean really, how often do you hear someone say that? “You should totally hire me… unless this other person applies!”. Let me tell you, it doesn’t happen often if ever. All the well wishes I received (and still am receiving) all the congrats and good lucks, it’s overwhelming and really drove home how many truly amazing people I’ve met since I started blogging. I’ve gone from Lodur to Joe and I just want to thank you guys so much for everything.

Second, I went out for some delicious Poutine (yes it’s a food thank you Canada for it!) after my raid last night with a guildie and friend. We were sitting around talking about various things from healing assignments to loot to what I was doing for my birthday this year. He asked a question “So, For The Lore, World of Matticus, Way of the Totem and now WoW.com. What are you going to do with all that?”. It’s a question I’ve received at least a couple times over the last 24 hours. So for those of you asking about what Lodur will be doing now here’s some information.

  • I’ll still be posting here on WoM. It might not be as frequent as before but it will be there. Besides Thespius and Mimetier have been doing a great job and you’ll have plenty to read :)
  • The posts here will be less Resto centric. More pug stories, more raid strategies. For all things restoration specific I’ll be posting them over at WoW.com
  • I’ll still be doing my weekly podcast ForTheLore. Make sure to listen to this weeks episode as my Warcraft section pretty much convinced two people who quit the game to come back.(Or close to it)
  • I will still be posting on Way of The Totem with my story pieces for Lodur.
  • I’m not going to get an ego about it. I love writing, when I started blogging it was to help provide information to people and offer other opinions than what was out there already. I am going to continue to do that, but I wont forget who my friends are.
  • I’m sorry to say that contrary to popular belief this does not allow me to hand out ponies. I wish it did =(
  • Yes I’ll still be looking for reader input. Both here on WoM and for WoW.com. I write for you guys after all is said and done and knowing what you want to read helps a lot
  • Yes I’m still working on my own video game and hope to have a beta test soon for you all to enjoy!

With that you can see I’m not going anywhere, I have plans to be around for a long time here and elsewhere. I just hope I can keep pumping out the quality for you guys.!

Now for some reader input. Ladies and gents it’s that time of year for Dear Lodur. This is your time to shine folks. Send me some questions either here through the contact form or DM me on Twitter and I’ll pick some to showcase.

Once again thank you everyone! Look later in the week for another P.U.G. story and keep on rocking out!

Until next time!

 

(p.s.that picture at the top for the article, yeap that’s me with my metal face :) )

 

 

Lodur Joins WoW.com

Not sure if you’ve heard the news, but our very own Lodur’s signed on with WoW.com and will be providing his usual Resto Shaman expertise in the newly expanded Totem Talk.

Congrats!

Last I heard, he’s also willing to accept suggestion columns for Resto Shamans. Well Lodur, since it is that time of year, here’s what I want to see from you:

“How to seduce that elusive shaman”
”13 uses for totems that will satisfy your partner”
”Tail management for the new guy”

Although, those will never see the light of day.

Also, finally beat Mass Effect 2 and got the super good ending. Now I can spend my time back on WoW.

Quarians are hot. There’s something about masks and environmental suits.

It Came From The P.U.G.!:Voted Off The Island

It Came From The P.U.G.!:Voted Off The Island

For those who might not know yet, my gluttony for abuse knows no bounds. As a result I find myself in a rather large number of P.U.G. groups. At the end of the day I bring you, my readers, the stories of my travels in the random grouping of Azerothian adventure!

This week I bring you a story of a monumental event. Something so earth shattering that babies cried, women ushered their children home and men cowered before it’s terror inducing visage! You may need to sit down for this… ready? Lodur was vote kicked from a heroic group! Now I’m sure there are some questions about what happened and what was the build up. Here goes my tale of woe.

I’ll start by saying yes I was healing, and yes the mace was equipped. I was decked out in my shiny new T10 loot after freshly enchanting and gemifying them. I queue up and promptly my invite button pops up. I join the group and off I am to an adventure… or so I thought. The screen load shows the Pit of Saron and I’m a bit excited. I enjoy healing the place and it beats out Gundrak any day of the week! The instance loads and I’m looking around for the rest of the group. I notice that most of the mobs have been cleared. This is red flag number one. My immediate response, in a joking tone of course

“What did you guys do to the last healer?”

I get a response from the rogue of the group

“Horrible healer we vote kicked him.”

Ok, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Mainly DPS folks have been rolling in as healers to get quick frost badges so it wouldn’t surprise me too terribly if that’s what happened. I see they are over at the Ick and Krick encounter and make my way over. We buff up and pull. Things go smoothly until two things happen. First I notice the prot warrior is taking a whole lot more damage than he should be and his health is only at 29k total. Second thing that happens is the poison nova. The rogue tries to cast Cloak and run but instead becomes a stain in the ground. Not believing that you can release and come back while the encounter is happening , they wait dead. We’re doing fantastic though otherwise until the boss marks the hunter and chases after them. The hunter then proceeded to drag the boss back past it’s threshold point and the boss leashes… at 1%. Ok, stuff happens I’ll just res the rogue and we’ll get started again right? Wrong! As I’m sitting to drink so I can resurrect the rogue, and before the tank is ready, the hunter pulls, runs to us and then casts FD. Needless to say I got squashed with the rest of the group. We run back in and drink and buff and get ready for round two. I inspect the tank and see he’s in some pretty low tanking gear… and a bunch of dps gear. I make a mental note of the fact he’s not defense capped and look to see I still have 7 minutes left on my LFG debuff. Time to soldier on! Before we’re ready again the hunter pulls, this time the tank picks it up and we proceed as normal. The rogue dies again to poison nova but this time we kill the boss.

This happens two more times with various mobs on the ramp leading to the final leg of the instance until finally I say something

“Dude, stop pulling.  I need to drink and you’re wiping the group .”

It was then I noticed something I had not noticed before. All of them were in the same guild. Everyone stopped moving and there we were sitting at the base of the ramp leading to the collapsing tunnel. There’s this long, hanging silence while we sit there and then next thing I know I’m booted from the group!

Back in Dalaran I’m in shock at what just happened. Seriously I got kicked because I called the hunter out on pulling and doing stupid things! I look up at my buffs and notice the debuff was just wearing off and that I can re-queue, but still… wow just wow.

Luckily the next one I get is full of people who communicate and pull sensibly. All from different guilds but all with the same rough gear level. We plow through Halls of Lightning, I get my two Frost Emblems and we part ways.

Seriously I’m alright if you want to do wacky things in a guild run. One of our DPS raiders rolled a healer so when I’m on my tank I like to do silly things (within reason) to mess with her (Hi Jaha!) but we always laugh about it, and I never do it when it’s a non guild run. If there is even one pugger in the group I try my best to behave. But to be kicked for calling someone out on pulling and feigning while watching the group wipe, that dog just won’t hunt monseigneur!

Any interesting P.U.G. stories from this week? Good, bad, awesome or terrible? That’s it for today folks.

Until next time, Happy Healing!

 

Image courtesy of CBS

Are Easier Heroics Better in the Long Run?

Are Easier Heroics Better in the Long Run?

Image Courtesy of Geico Insurance

The patch 3.3.2 includes a few amendments to Heroic Dungeons and how they’re played.  Entire packs of mobs are being deleted.  Bosses abilities are being shortened or being made less frequent.  Fight mechanics are being made easier.  In essence, Blizzard is giving us more opportunities to blow through these dungeons with little to no effort.

I’m an educator at heart.  Seeing as though my life “endgame” is to be at the front of a classroom, it’s important to me that people learn the skills necessary to go through life.  How to write a proper business letter, how to analyze a novel or article, or how to put your thoughts in order and present them in a proper argument.

How does this translate into WoW?  Teaching players how to follow a kill order, how to manage small and large cooldowns, or how to CC a mob.  Remember some of the cardinal rules of this game that we’ve all learned?

  • If the ground changes, get out of it. Pretty standard stuff, except for rare circumstances
  • If the boss starts spinning with his huge weapon, move away from it.
  • If a really annoying mob is causing havoc, CC it. If possible, avoid DoT’ing it.

We learn these the hard way.  And, we have to utilize and execute what we’ve learned in the current content.  Ground changes?  Sounds like Rotface’s ooze pools on the ground.  Spinning mobs?  Marrowgar.  The need to CC a mob?  The mind controls in Lady Deathwhisper.

“You are not prepared!”

With the level of difficulty amongst the endgame content, more and more groups are getting frustrated with the lack of skill within the community of 80s.  I equate this to meeting people in the real world that don’t demonstrate even a sliver of mastery of their native language (slang and colloquialisms are fun choices but shouldn’t be your foundation).  How do you get through school without being able to speak or write properly?  How do you get to start raiding without having a knowledge of the fundementals?

Take Ahn’kahet (AKA “Old Kingdom”) for example.  Jedoga Shadowseeker is the boss that floats in the air, summoning an add to sacrifice.  If she succeeds, she hits a temporary enrage.  I remember wiping to that when people first started doing heroics.  The tank had to manage a cooldown; the healer was spamming big heals. This fight demonstrated the need for DPS to turn up the heat to down the add.  Even I as a healer would Smite/Lightning Bolt the add.

Now, it seems that Madame Shadowseeker only does this once.  Does this just mean everyone blows all their cooldowns (Shield Wall, Survival Instincts, Frenzied Regeneration, etc) to endure her short enrage and then they’re done?  The key to earning respect as a player with me is demonstrate a finesse of your skills, not be all RAWR OMG WTFBBQ DPSPWNAGE!!  You can be great player and still utilize all of your classes abilities efficiently.

“Time is of the essence!”

As these Heroics are being made easier and easier, that means people will be blowing through them faster and faster.  Making the value of the gear that people are getting lower and lower.  Follow this math:

Average of 4 badges (+ 2 from random) = 6 badges per run.

Clearing an instance in 15 minutes means 24 emblems an hour.

A whole set of T9 costs 210 emblems.

210 emblems / 24 emblems per hour = 8.75 hours.

Even if you play 3 hours/day, you could have full tier 9 in 3 days.

Given that, do I think it’s possible to really have a grasp of how to exist in a raid setting, possibly having an aspect of the fight rest on your shoulders?  I won’t say a flat-out “no”, but I’m hesitant.  I learned how to play my class through dungeons and heroics.  A fight like Rotface or Blood Princes is going to confuse players that haven’t had the ability to build an understanding of their class.

Consider it a slightly less horrifying version of a person who just bought their character on eBay that day.  Regardless if you’re a completely new player, or just levelling an alt, I fear that we’re starting to lose the building blocks to being a good raider to the ease of too much convenience.  (Sidenote: Notice I said “too much”.  I’m all for crafting the game so everyone has a shot, but there is a point when it goes too far.  I don’t want to go back to the days of needing to run alts through Karazhan to begin the gearing process for Black Temple.)

It’s like the economy (I know, a touchy subject).  If you start pumping more gear into the game faster, it devalues what’s already out there.  I guess the good thing is that people will be less freaked out by GearScore.  If everyone has a high gear score, more emphasis will need to be placed on player skill.  What good is a high GearScore if everyone has it?

“Lazy Sunday!”

“…WAKE UP IN THE LATE AFTERNOON!”  Sorry, a little sidetracked.  I love that skit.

Anyways, with Blizzard making things easier and easier, I fear they’re going too far.  ICC trash is already becoming AOE-able.  People are complaining about there being too much trash (yet, people complained about Trial of the Crusader not having ANY trash and being too boring).  Oculus is getting even bigger rewards.

I don’t want this game to become “just go in and blow stuff up”.  I like the challenge.  I like the dedication.  I like the workout.  I like the strategy.  Do I know how to create a balance with this?  Of course not.  If I did, I would be working for Blizzard.  I just don’t want the laziest crowd in the game to win over the hearts and minds of the game designers.

Now, I enjoy the mechanic of earlier ICC wings getting easier over time, allowing less progressed guilds to see the endgame content, but the latest epidemic of clueless raiders is troublesome to me.  How do you make the game more appealing to everyone, while still teaching those fundemental rules that we’ve all learned over the years?

What do you think?  Do you feel heroics are being made too easy?  How do you promote an understanding of class and basic fight mechanics amongst your raiders?

Why Slacking Helps You Raid

Why Slacking Helps You Raid

I confess. My raiders and I have been bashing our heads against a brick wall for a couple of weeks. Our heads have been filled by the red mist ‘o wrath. We’d got the first wing of Icecrown Citadel on farm but our next focus, Rotface, ‘brokseded’ us time and again.

The brick wall suddenly came down on Sunday night. We had an experimental snipe at the Princes and then marched into the Plagueworks to slaughter Festergut and have a positive pop at Rotface. So what happened to stop us seeing red?

Change.

What change has that effect, I hear you cry? Did we change players? Did we somehow plunder a trove of 277 gear? Did we hardwire exact playing requirements into our members while they slept? Not at all. We merely tweaked one of our raiding practices: breaks.

I’ve always said they’re important in raids – it gives your raiders a chance to breathe. Sunday night taught us that organised breaks are even better.

Really regular breaks. We announced to our band of brigands at the start of the evening that we’d be calling a three minute break every 30 minutes, and that we’d like them to be sure to wait until then for quick AFKs for drinks and the like.

Wow, every 30 minutes? Those are a lot of breaks, I hear you cry. It’s a wonder we got anything done, right? Wrong.

Give yourselves regular chances to slack – that is, relax – and you’ll come back after the break more focused than had you pushed on and sat for an hour, two hours, wiping. Your head won’t be full of red mists so there’ll be room for useful things like remembering to move out of slime spray.

Movin’ n’ shaking. Several of my guild play in the same room on raid nights. Usually during a break we stare at the computer screens and brainstorm tactics in increasingly stressed tones.

Instead we decided to test out a terrifying concept during breaks: moving away from the computers and out of the room. We strongly recommended to our raiders that they do the same. We found that the simple change in space and environment again helped us to feel fresh and focused when the break was over. Even just moving about and stretching helped relax some tension. If you have time and inclination to fit in a few actual exercises, you’ll feel all the more responsive in the raid.

Time, gentlemen. After each break we announced the time of the next one. Sounds simple, but I think this was the key to the whole break renovation. Raiders need their creature comforts, right? And if they don’t know when a break’s coming then they’ll slide off after wipe 20 and get the drink they desperately need or the smoke to relieve stress. Meanwhile the rest of the group grumbles while waiting for them to return from their unannounced break.

By announcing break times, we’re allowing raiders to plan ahead. It means they don’t need to feel guilty about making the group wait on them. importantly it also gives them some control back over their own comfort. Our lock wants coffee? He knows the next break is in 10 minutes and can hang on until then.

Content breaks. I don’t mean a break in gameplay. I mean mix your encounters up to get the balance right between learning the fights and actually still having fun. You’re sick to the back teeth of bouncing on Festergut? Right, about time you take your raid to meet the Princes. Perhaps later on go to pay Rotface a visit.

You’re not being inefficient by not forcing yourselves to sit there and practice a fight: quite the opposite. Cut yourselves some slack if you’re working hard and not getting anywhere; you might find you slaughter the next encounter you head to and earn yourselves a morale boost. That’s efficiency.

 

These are small changes but could be useful to any raid group out there. You’re a 3 year-old guild running your A team? Or perhaps you’re running a PUG (breaks are not a PUG killer any more than giving your raid a little bit of trust, but such PUG raid myths is a topic for a future post). In my opinion these changes are crucial for any sort of raid group. Why? Let me explain what I think a well-run raid group is:

  • It’s a social activity. If someone in our group is not having fun for some reason we get uncomfortable and more stressed. Then Rotface smashes us more easily, morale plummets, stress goes up. Vicious circle. Having a break allows us to peel ourselves away from the stressful game environment and remember that it’s a social occasion, too.
  • It’s a team sport. Sure, we don’t leave the comfort of our computer desks and run up and down a pitch for several hours. We do work together using tactics, formations and roles to achieve a common aim. Sports benefit from breaks; think of the oft touted stories of football players eating oranges at halftime, or a weight-lifter taking breaks between sets so they can achieve their best for longer.
  • It’s a company. Wait, that sounds a little mercenary – try ‘organisation’. Either work. Like most companies, we expect our members to perform a certain job and they’re paid for successful tasks with emblems – and occasional epic perks. We invest time and effort to skill-up our members so that they can achieve goals, and improve all the time. We provide a safe (and because it’s a game, fun) environment for them to perform their tasks. All of these are good practices for a company, at least according to a particular book (see below) on company organisation. And like any good company in accordance with this book, we’re flexible enough to cut them a little slack to give them room to be their best.

A person will work better, be more focused, if they feel they are trusted and have some space to relax. Running around like a headless chicken or battering your head against one encounter is not healthy. The benefits extend to groups of people, too.

“The difference between the time it takes you to [achieve your next progression] at ‘all prudent speed’ and time it would take you ‘at breakneck speed’ is your slack. Slack is what helps you arrive quickly but with an unbroken neck.”

- Slack, T. Demarco, page 208 (and a book I thoroughly recommend to anyone wanting to change their raiding style)

What do you think? Does this sound like a useful nugget for your raid setup? Have you been wanting to try something like this for a while and been worried that you’d not cover as much ground? Do you think I’m completely wrong and sticking on one encounter until you’ve got it is best? Or, possibly, do you think the wisdom of this vs. encounter battering is dependent on how many nights your group raids?

 

This is a post by Mimetir, a boomkin and restorman of a raid leader on The Venture Co. (EU). You can find my twitter feed here.

Auction House Functionality on the Armory? Yes Please!

Have you guys seen this yet? Bornakk just gave an update on Auction House integration with the Armory website.

Today, we wanted to give you a heads-up about a new service now in development that will let players access the Auction House directly through the Armory website or Armory App for iPhone or iPod touch.

Now if I’m reading that right, it means I don’t have to log into the game to purchase stuff off the auction house. And thank goodness for that. I don’t think I’m the only one for this, but there are some days where I’ll forget to purchase stuff like herbs or flask related stuff. I may not be in position to do so either if I’m not at home. Now I can buy the stuff I need as I’m heading home and it’ll be in my mail box when I log in to raid.

Of course, you have to realize that there is a catch.

It’s important to note here that certain elements of the service will be premium-based, which we’ll go into more detail on once the service functionality is finalized.

If I were to hazard a guess, I would say that browsing stuff on the auction house would be free of charge. The actual purchasing would require a bit of extra cash on your part. Not sure if its going to be subscription based or not. It could be a one time fee (which would be cool too). Anyway, I doubt we’ll be seeing this in the game anytime soon. I’m going to say somewhere in the neighborhood of a Cataclysm release or in the time frame leading up to it.

Zath is Holding Another Contest

Zath, a blog for hi-tech gadgets is holding another WoW competition and he’s giving away some good stuff. Its really easy to enter. All you have to do is follow the guy on twitter, be a fan of him on facebook, leave a comment on his competition blog post, or simply do what I did and just blog about it.

Anyway, here’s what he’s offering up for prizes:

Of all the stuff on that list, I personally would shoot for the USB cup warmer. Whether its coffee or tea, when I finish brewing it, I find that it’s way too hot for me to drink. I let it sit there for a while and then I become so engrossed in work or gaming that I forget about it. By the time I remember, it’s too cold. Does anyone else have that problem?

Why Did You Choose Your Healing Class?

Why Did You Choose Your Healing Class?

why-play-healer

This is a guest post by Professor Beej.

I figure that it’s safe to assume that most of you reading this are healers. What I figure is not safe to assume, however, is exactly what kind of healer you are. Even though Matticus has a plethora of healy Priest goodness here, every other contributor brings something from another healing class. There’s even a Moonkin for good measure.

This crazy amount of diversity among the ranks at World of Matticus got me to thinking a little. The last time you fine folks heard from me, I posted an article titled “Why Play a Healer?”. The responses were many and varied, ranging from the apathetic “Why not?” all the way to “I just like being in control.” There were even a couple of tanks and DPS who threw their two cents in and  told me why they didn’t heal.

It was a very interesting discussion, and one that I think can be continued today very easily, given my train of thought about diversity at WoM. I ask those healers among you now a similar, yet entirely different, question:

Why did you choose your particular healing class?

This is a question I am asking myself a lot lately. At some point in my WoW career, I’ve raid healed on every healing class available except a Paladin. And now, I’m leveling a Paladin to rectify that mistake come Cataclysm.

Maybe.

You see, I am restless and constantly look to new classes to ease that anxiety. I’m not really an altaholic. Even abilities and spells than the one I am playing, I very seldom act on actually starting—much less leveling—a new character.

I started raid healing in Molten Core with my Druid. By the time my guild was working on Nefarian in BWL, I had switched to my newly leveled Priest. When TBC made Shamans available for the Alliance, I shot one to 70, raided through Zul’Aman and Tier 5 and have continued to do so through Wrath. And though I see all the other classes that I’m not playing as having far superior and more desirable

But now, Chain Heal has almost lost its luster and dealing with totems and shocks has nearly become mundane. I am looking at the Paladin to fix this healy-type wanderlust, looking back at the fun I had on the Druid and the Priest back in the day, I can very much see the appeal for grabbing them a few Heirlooms and giving them their first jaunt across Northrend.

Which brings me back to my earlier question:

Why did you choose your particular healing class?

Looking at each particular healing class, each brings something to the table that other classes lack in comparison. The problem is, however, figuring out just what sublime quality makes a healing class “click.” We all have our opinions and biases for and against the other healing classes, our reasons for choosing or not choosing as we did.

Here, you’ll find my take on each of the four healing classes as I try to decide exactly which one of the four is the right fit for me.

Druid

The Druid was my first love and the whole reason I love to heal, although his current incarnation is nothing like it was when I was slinging Healing Touches and HoTs while having to spec Resto for Innervate. While still a HoT slinger for sure, the Druid has some pretty nifty instant and AoE heals. Finally being given a real rez in WLK helps a lot, too. Unfortunately, there’s not a specific niche that the Druid fills, either: they can raid heal; they can AoE heal; they can tank heal. They can do everything and because of that, they don’t really stand out of the crowd.

Nothing about the dual spec excites me. I don’t care for Feral, and the Moonkin’s mechanics have yet to appeal to me. And I am simply terrible at Druid PvP, so there goes that secondary role. The Druid armor looks pretty sweet these days, too, but I would never get to see it because of being shapeshifted constantly, even I do really think Tree form is nice. Still not a real selling point for me, though.

In the end, I think the Druid would only be a backup choice for me, an attempt to regain fun through nostalgia alone.

Priest

The Priest has two real draws for me: I love PvPing on the little fella, and I love being able to specialize—unlike the Druid—in a role for PvE. If I want to raid heal, I can be Holy. If I want to tank heal, I can be Discipline. WLK fixed a lot of what I had started to not enjoy about my Priest. I despise Shadow to the point of never wasting dual spec on it or even leveling that way. And since Cataclysm is going to introduce rated battlegrounds and most of my time in TBC was spent grinding Arenas and BGs with my dwarf, I can see myself quickly falling into that role with him again.

Priest armor is always exceptionally pretty, too. The versatility that I would have with the Priest is unparalleled in the other healing classes, I think, as long as all I wanted to do was heal. Unfortunately, that same versatility is what pushed me away from the Priest at the end of TBC because it seemed Blizzard had no idea where they wanted the class to go.

Shaman

When retiring my Priest from all but PvP, my Shaman became my new best friend. I don’t use the term “easy mode” lightly, but the Shaman seems to have the very best toolset of any healer in the game. Sure, there’s some finesse involved in mana management over long, hard fights, but if things are even remotely under control, pop an Earth Shield on the tank, Riptide him/her, and Chain Heal until you’re blue in the face. Occasionally throw some Lesser Healing Waves when you can to replenish your mana with Water Shield procs. Learn which totems go where in each fight, and you’re avoiding fears, cleansing debuffs, and supplementing everyone in the raid in no time.

Congratulations, you just learned how to Shaman.

Not that many cases are anywhere near that simple, but you get my point. The Shaman’s toolbox is huge—I can tank heal when I have to with ES/LHW glyphs or raid heal with Chain Heal and set bonuses—but I’m still a one trick pony. Chain Heal is the main event. It’s the be-all, end-all of awesomeness. I miss it when playing another class, but I’m also incredibly glad to be rid of it, too. It’s not that it makes things too easy; it’s so good that it makes things too bland.

I think I want my Cataclysm raiding to be spicier. And I only really like about a quarter of the art for Shaman armor sets. Tier 8 was awesome, and Tier 10’s shoulders are neat. Other than that, give me any other healer’s gear to stare at for hours on end, please.

Paladin

My two best friends in the world have played Paladins since release in ‘04. Whenever we have this conversation, they tell me the same thing: Paladins are really good, but they’re really boring. They are even more of a one-trick pony than Shamans, I hear. They’re very good at keeping one target alive indefinitely, and the rest of the raid might as well not exist. Sure, newer changes to Judgment of Light and Bacon Beacon of Light give them some wiggle-room, but watching my buddy heal through a Heroic is like watching a truly talented fiddle player play true Kentucky Bluegrass: the fingers never stop moving and there’s no room for error.

And yet I’m still intrigued. Maybe it’s the lore behind the class. Maybe it’s that I’ve never had a Paladin higher than level 8 before. Maybe it’s my penchant for absolutely adoring tank healing. I don’t know. What I do know, though, is that I am seriously giving the idea of raiding on a Paladin in Cataclysm a shot.

Dual spec will be great, as I love big ole 2-handers. I have the choice of going ret to be able to daily and occasionally PvP, or I could go Holy PvP because Paladins—at least for the first season of new expansion—are ridiculous in Arenas. On top of all that, I love (most of) the armor. With the exception of very few tiers, Paladins have been the best dressed in Azeroth, holding my favorite looks across all the expansions. Tiers 2, 6, and 8 alone are enough to make me work toward a Paladin main.

Decisions, Decisions…

And yet, I’m still undecided. Looking at all the classes from all sides has yet to help me stumble across that single element of a class that makes it click in me that says “I must play this class!” I know some people have that moment. And back in the day, I had mine. Since then, however, I’ve developed quite a “grass is greener” complex. All of the classes are viable now (thanks for that, by the way, Blizzard), and none of the healers totally outshines any of the others.

And that brings me back to my point. You all play your chosen healers for a reason. You weighed the options and came to the conclusion that X class was better than Y because of Z. Now, I ask you to tell me what equals Z for you.

Why did you choose your particular healing class?