Embracing the Dark Side

I never thought I would see the day. You know, when I first started this journey on my character, I’ve always envisioned myself as that of a career healer. It was my purpose. I was to heal, to sustain, and to cure players. Restore them back to full health. I have tried the dark arts before but it was beyond my skills and comprehension. And yet, with the guild expanding to a include PvP, I noted we had a fair number of healers already. And so, I activated a dormant side of Matticus that I thought I had suppressed forever. I vowed never to use that side ever again unless I had a significant reason to do so. But the time had come.

I went Shadow.

It was amusing at first. I already had a full set of 264 healing gear and a full set of 264 shadow gear. Within the span of minutes, I turned myself into a potent weapon. For those moments, I was no longer the shield of the guild. I was now the sword. The transferable gaming knowledge I picked up over the past 10 years came flowing back. The art of chain stunning and disabling from playing hundreds of hours of DoTA. The stacking, force firing and position playing from Guild Wars. The willingness to attract the ire of 6 opposing horde players and keeping them busy for that one second at the blue gate graveyard in Strands of the Ancients so that my team mate could capture that graveyard. Everything came rushing back. I was a whirlwind of death. Targets were identified and crushed with ruthless efficiency (unless they were resto druids, then it was just plain ruthlessness).

And you know what I discovered? I can’t get enough of it. Double tapping players with Shadow Word: Death is too much… fun.

Do not worry. You won’t be seeing shadow related posts here anytime soon. I am not quite qualified in that regard just yet. For me, the time has come to learn the dark arts. By doing so, I allow myself to play both roles in our raid as necessary and won’t be quite as restricted when it comes to roster flexibility. I have much to learn.

I will strive to learn everything I can and be the best at it. Yet, I know that it is truly impossible to master something. Here’s the thing I’ve noticed when it comes to trying to master a class. I mean, if I were to graph learning the skills to master a class, I would draw an asymptote. After all, although one can always get closer and closer to mastery, one will never reach it.

Have to admit, it is a welcome pace from healing. Except I have a disgusting 24% hit from all the spirit stuff I’m packing.

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.


  1. To take a break from healing I found myself rolling a warrior tank and like it. I also rolled a paladin tank and like it more!

    I feel dirty 🙁

  2. Welcome to the Dark Side, face melter. Enjoy your cookies. 🙂

  3. Zusterke –

    How could anyone POSSIBLY like those dirty Paladins more than Warrior tanks ?!?

  4. Shadow is a scary world. I only went shadow once, and it didn’t seem like it was my cup of tea, but maybe I didn’t really put the effort in to actually learn it. *shrug* Maybe I’ll give it a whirl again at some point.

    PvP in general, I much prefer being the sword. My enhance shaman loves it…..

  5. This is kind of funny, I did the same thing. I had been specced Disc/Holy since some time after I hit 80. I have never really PLAYED Holy…but thought, may be a raid could use a disc/holy depending on the encounter. After the 4.01 reset, I went immediately into Disc… but held off on my 2nd tree. I finally went Shadow, just for the heck of it. IT is fun. 🙂

  6. I’m definitely thinking of going shadow on my offspec for both priests when I get them high enough to get dual-spec. I’m not much of a DPSer in general, but it could be fun occasionally, and there’s always times when there’s too many healers.

  7. This is really funny – I did this *last night*! We *finally* got our LK10 kill (I know, we’re months behind, we’re a PVP guild, it’s ok).

    After that fight and just before Wintergrasp I said “brb, respec” and grabbed shadow to replace my holy spec. I had played shadow while leveling, but since hitting 80 I’d been nothing but heals on that toon.

    I haven’t had that much fun in Wintergrasp in *ages*. I’m just running in my healing gear with a couple dps-ish accessories thrown in for good measure. I’m probably not maxing out my DPS but oh man was it fun; I think I’m hooked!

    Thanks so much for the awesome blog, Matticus, longtime lurker here. 🙂

  8. Oh, phew! I thought you’d turned Horde.

  9. Only 24% hit? lol Mine is over 30%
    I Held off on my offspec after the patch, raids stopped happening due to lack of interest, so finally I decided I was safe going bk to shadow/holy, I’ve had a couple of weeks to enjoy it,Double Shadow Word: Death is awesome hehe….
    Today we raided and I needed to be disc again /cry Picked up boots for my dps set…they had hit on them haha…

  10. Same thing happened to me recently, though it wasn’t because of PvP – it was just boredom during a raid night and me tossing out that I wouldn’t mind staying shadow the entire ICC clear. And all of a sudden, I was really, REALLY loving it. Me and shadow never clicked before, but it was such a welcome change to finally not be complete and utter fail at it, as well as getting a different viewpoint of fights.

  11. I saw that in Dalaran and was soo confused. After following you from back in SSC days I couldn’t remember an actual time where you had said you had gone to a dps spec.

    With that however Allete is now ret, and isn’t it scary for us that have been healing for years and years we walk into a dungeon and end up topping the dps charts. I had never dpsd on a ret pally in my life but in half holy half ret gear I was doing more dps than some of my fellow party members in full t10.

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