For the last four blissful months I’ve been the sole, main spec, Shadow Priest in my guild. That time has come to an end. We’ve just accepted a new Shadow Priest into the guild.
I don’t like them already. They have much better gear than me (and seem to have ridiculous gear luck – 2 pieces from Onyxia 25 in 2 weeks!?), they used to be Horde and they use a stupid 1990s “futuristic” font on their user interface. I know cause they had to submit their UI as part of their application.
Of course, I tell myself that I should be happy. This is an opportunity to learn from another Shadow Priest. Trade tips, swap ideas and annoy the rest of the entire raid by theorycrafting over Ventrillo. Debate whether it’s worth casting Vampiric Touch on Heroic Lord J‘s Nether Portals and Infernal Volcanos or if it’s more DPS to just skip it to try and spam just one more Mind Flay (and really, what’s the difference anyway because my DPS contribution to these burst phases is so small). Or what the hell is the best way to up DPS on Twin Val’kyr? And I’ve only got a few weeks to mess around with this one until we come and try it on Heroic.
Perhaps if I keep reminding myself of all the positives, I’ll actually feel excited.
Raiding in World of Warcraft is like living in a fish bowl. Your whole experience, the sum total of your opinions, are based on the other 24 people you raid with. If you have 1 Warlock in your guild, and they come last every fight, you’re going to be sympathetic to any conversation that includes buffing Warlocks – they so need it after all! Play with 1 amazing Elemental Shaman and you’ll be left wondering why Blizzard decided to buff them with the Onyxia patch and just about ignored everyone else.
So in my little fish bowl there’s a tank of each class, a DPS or two of each pure class, the weird hybrid crowd (1 Ele Shaman, 1 Enh Shaman, a Boomkin) and some healers and me. Ask me “What is the current state of Death Knights?” and I’ll make up some vague response based on what our Death Knight can do. Surely the vice-versa is true. For the rest of my guild, I represent 99% of what a Shadow Priest can do.
Uh uh uh, no longer. Now I can be compared. There are only 2 things that separate me and this new Shadow Priest. Gear. Skill. We’re doing the exact same encounters under the exact same circumstances.
Gear upgrades have never really bothered me before. I’m not the kind of player to dump all my DKP on the first item that drops that could be an upgrade. I tend to gear up at the end of a raid release cycle. Yeah, I know, I’m still wearing my spaceman suit from Ulduar. With a ToGC 25 offhand. Go figure!
Blizzard intend to repeat their level-the-gear-across-the-board with each new raid release. Honestly, it just makes me hate all Emblem rewards including Tier tokens. I love looking at my gear and remembering the fight that delivered it into my hands. My shoulders glow orange (I know, not my favourite colour either) but they’re from Yogg+1 on 10 man and the night we got that I thought it was a pretty damn big deal. I look at my shoulders and recall that sense of achievement. Open up the Achievement panel and I just don’t get the same buzz.
I love that if someone else inspects me (well if they know their cloth gear) they’ll know that I was good enough, and put in the effort, to succeed at that encounter.
Before the Achievement system was introduced your gear was your travelogue of all the strange and wonderful places you’d been. Tamarind totally gets it. And the tricky bosses you had defeated along the way. I’m having difficulty letting that go.
People out there will argue that it’s no different than what happened when Sunwell was released but in my mind it is different. Badge of Justice rewards didn’t pretend to be the same thing. They had different names, different stats and different models. You could inspect someone and see the difference between a Rogue wearing Tier 6 and the Badge Boots (cause perhaps they hadn’t won anything better) and a Rogue wearing all the Badge gear who probably hadn’t stepped out of Karazhan.
So these two things combined (Blizzard’s inevitable gear-resets and another Shadow Priest) have made me determined to push a bit harder to get geared up more quickly when the next raid tier is released. Of course you could argue that the next raid is the final one of Wrath of the Lich King so what difference will it make if I take 1 month or 5 months to upgrade.
Now if only we could make these Trial of the Crusader bosses drop something other than Plate and that stupid robe. I swear I’m going to rage if I see yet another Plate tanking item go to offspec bids next week. WTB 1 Spellpower weapon. Any Spellpower weapon.
I’ve been planning to write a post about the 1-main per expansion “rule”. The best time to change your main is when a new expansion is released because having a new max level cap is the true equaliser. But with the Emblem changes bringing your Alt up to a comparative gear level to your Main is easy and soloable and doesn’t require your guild to go and run old Tier content. So you could switch pretty easily mid-expansion now. Yet the Achievement system makes me much more invested in my Wrath of the Lich King main (my priest) than any other character I have, or could plan to have… so is there really a choice anymore? I know, I know, one problem at a time.
Back to this topic. I raided with the new Shadow Priest for the first time tonight. They successfully ran away from Icehowl and thus earnt an A+ from me right then. Yes, his DPS was higher than mine but we were pretty equal on Damage Done. We won’t dwell on the fact that I was receiving Power Infusion for half the night.
I just have to include these absolutely amazing videos which probably do a better job capturing what raiding Ulduar was/is all about than any Achievement list or piece of armor. Perhaps this is the new way to remember your raiding history. How the author, Invisusira, got their entire raid to walk up the stairs to Kologarn I’ll never know. 1000g each? The promise of gold can do amazing things, you know. Most impressive part of the movie in my opinion. I can’t even get 10 people to face the same way for a screen capture.
[youtube tCG2Q8iQzEE Ulduar: The Movie (Part 1 of 3)]
[youtube yUOaq01rj0E Ulduar: The Movie (Part 2 of 3)]