Thursday, February 23, 2006

WOW - A tale of two characters

World of Warcraft is at an interesting stage at the moment. The guild is growing steadily and we have moved house to a new website which has allowed a greater degree of control and coordination of matters. The main quandry in my mind at the moment is what to do with my characters - Gorthaal (Tauren Druid 60) and Gortessa (Tauren Shaman 60)

Now cynics would suggest that there is little between these two hybrid classes - but they could not be further from the truth! Playing them is a truly diverse experience - and it is that diversity that is causing me to ponder.

Gorth is a feral/resto spec'd Druid and finally has two 90% complete sets of kit for him to tank and heal. Thats great - except the guild has a multitude of L60 Warriors who can take that off-tank position. I never really bonded with the druidic cat form and never seem to be able to pull off the ground based quick moving attack business that it requires. Now in solo ventures, this is not a problem. Gorth is nigh-on indestructible one-on-one with most mobs - I simply outlast them. In a 5-man dungeon run, Gorth is the ultimate team-player, off-tanking or healing or both as required - even kicking into rogue mode sometimes. Tribute Runs in Dire Maul North are easily my favourite dungeon as I get to do everything in my playbook! However, when the numbers increase it appears that Gorth's usefulness decreases. In our Zul Gurub raids I am sometimes FIFTH place healer behind two priests and two full-resto druids. Thats fine - but surely I would be more use doing something else? Well the raid rarely needs another tank, my dps skills are shoddy (and my cat form is ... fragile) and my ranged dps is almost non-existant. So what to do? Stand around and sort of heal? Surely that place in the raid could have been taken up by a mage or a warlock or a shaman...

..which brings us onto Gortessa. TOTALLY DIFFERENT BEAST! Gortessa is like a little pocket nuke that can heal when needed. She has two formats - a max'd mana casting engine of doom armour set and a two-handed splatting machine set. Either way she is hurling massive shocks and lightning bolts left, right and centre which Windfury proc'ing her Fist of Omekk in people's faces for over 1000 damage each proc. It is a bit silly but SO MUCH FUN! I can see now why people get so carried away regarding the Shaman and their set of abilities. An immense amount of DPS packed into an armoured shell, that can heal. And yes, she does heal when needed. Indeed, last night in LBRS it was a really strange feeling to mid-combat (after a scrappy pull) literally sit back from DPS-mode and assume the almost zen-like state of a healer again, if only for a few minutes! The two operations produce a totally different body reaction.

I have been told that when I am healing, I sit back in my chair and for want of a better phrase 'enter a trance' of quick eye flicks and key/mouse strokes. You do 'get into the zone' as you watch the health bars of your charges and the mana bars of your fellow healers rise and fall. You are constantly planning your next heal and making mental triage lists and judgement calls - ie. whilst the rogue is on more health NOW than the warrior, the warrior takes damage slower, so I should heal the rogue next BUT can I afford to slap an instant HoT on the warrior 'just in case' and when should I heal the mage who isn't engaged but might draw aggro....' Mostly it becomes instinct but sometimes you have to make uncertain split second calls.

I was told last night that when I was playing I was a different beast. Heavy breathing, constant toe-tapping and shuffling, little gasps and puffs of breath (I'm assuming when a nice run of criticals came together) and generally far more animated. Playing Gortessa is a much wilder ride. I am there, on the tanks shoulder like a pitbull straining at the leash (and can I say from the bolt-shock-hammer combos I was throwing out yesterday, how good must our tanks be to hold that aggro!) ready to unleash my mana bar in a rain of almight hell on each and every mob that I can see. I did 250k damage in one 11-man LBRS raid and finished third. THIRD. I doubt Gorthaal has done that much damage in his entire raiding career! And I finished third in the healing table as well (although that was sort of by default). It just feels far more dynamic as a character.

So whats the point of this massive missive? Well, I'm coming to the conclusion that maybe Gorthaal is my small dungeon character and Gortessa is my raid character. Thats a bit of a change from what I initially thought about the characters and I'm not sure I like it because the Big G is definitely still my main man!


No comments: