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Picking a class with Polygon

Polygon have published an article on how to pick the right World of Warcraft main for you which seems very apropo considering it's the main thing I'm thinking about in-game at the moment. I think my decision is more or less made, but I thought it might be fun to go through their headings and see what my current thoughts are:

Why pick a Main?

I like having one, honestly! I like to consolidate my play time, achievements and goals onto one character. I play a lot of WoW, but not enough that I can be splitting my efforts; especially not in the early days of a new expansion. Alts are for content lulls further down the line. I've got more level capped alts now than I've ever had before, but that's mainly due to putting in a lot of effort on my Legion main early on.

Factions

For Gilneas! For the Alliance! It has to be. The article calls the Alliance, "stable but boring" with "a relatively young and untested king". Firm but fair, I suppose.

Class fantasy, and, Pick a class, not a specialization

This is really important for me. While my guild, Waypoint is pointedly Not an RP Guild, it does stand on that threshold and occasionally write fanfic. Lots of the older Waypoint alumni have carefully considered head-canon backstories for their characters, myself included, and that all feeds into class fantasy for me. At one point I was strongly considering maining an orc warrior, just because it fit the story of an Orgrimmar native going off to war, blindly following the orders of his Warchief.

Picking -- or rather not picking -- a specialization is also important. I like to heal, and I like to not die while doing over-the-top pulls in world content, so the hybrid classes than have a healing and tanking spec are favourites of mine. Here's a hint: I'm likely going to be picking two of them for my BfA journey.

Ignore the numbers

The article talks about sticking with a class even if they're not flavour of the month, saying that Blizzard strives for overall class balance and you'll be happier if you take the rough with the smooth over time. I guess that's largely true, even if sometimes it feels like balance is a long time coming sometimes (or not at all, on occasion). This, I suppose ties into picking a class based on the feel and fantasy of it; rather than it's raw output. I agree with the article here, but I understand that for a lot of players being the latest and greatest is an important considering, and there's nothing wrong with wanting to melt faces.

As for personal numbers, I do like to have Skada in dungeon and LFR runs, but I'm not obsessed with throughput, honest! I don't play at a high enough level for the numbers to be a massive concern. Normal-mode raids (and the occasional heroic stomp once vastly overgeared) were the limit of my participation in Legion, and most of my raid time was in LFR. So I can get behind ignoring the numbers.

Pick your own talents

I'm on the fence about this one. I just got finished saying I'm super-casual and the numbers don't matter at my level of play, but on the other hand, I like to be optimised. I like to know I'm doing the best I can, given the content I'm running. So I often look at Wowhead or Icy Veins guides for my spec and pick talents based on their advice. I do, however, sometimes pick something sub-optimal if it's really cool looking. I couldn't give up A Murder of Crows when I playing my Survival Hunter, even though it's not the best choice in that row. It was just too much fun to use. So I suppose what I'll do, in pratice, is take the optimal build from a guide, and then apply my own Rule of Cool to it until I'm happy. That seems like a reasonable compromise.

In conclusion?

...that's all Polygon have to say on the subject. I broadly agree, especially with picking a class vs. picking a spec. Most of the advice boils down to pick something you find fun and it's hard to argue with that. If you're making a choice based on external factors -- like knowing your guild requires a niche filling to compete in progression -- then you don't really need a fluff piece article from Polygon to tell you how to proceed.

As for my own class choices for BfA, I'll be making a post in the next week...

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Battle for Lordaeron

Warning, slight spoilers ahead! In fact, this entire blog is probably full of spoilers for World of Warcraft content. If you haven't played through the Battle for Lordaeron scenario yet and want to avoid spoiling it, you might want to skip this post.

Last night I logged onto Scruff, my worgen druid, and reported to Mathias Shaw immediately. Anduin may be a complete wet blanket, but he's still the leader of the Alliance, and when the Alliance goes to war, Scruff answers the call. Especially because Genn Graymane would be in attendance; as a proud Gilnean, he's Scruff's true king. 

Wow, that was a brilliant scenario, and peppered with fantastic cut scenes. And it finally gave me, as an Alliance player, something to be excited about for the future. Sure, the ending wasn't exactly what the Alliance was aiming for, but we still made some progress, more than we've managed for a while. Allies have rallied, and Jaina arrives in style and fury. Best of all, Saurfang, a great hero and symbol of honor and hope for the Horde, is now sharing a bunk with Hogger in the Stormwind Stockades. And yes; Lordaeron is now scorched earth, destroyed by Blight. That's less good, but look at this way -- the Alliance didn't lose anything (this week), and the Horde sacrificed a city.

While it was great fun, and firmly cemented my desire to continue playing for the Alliance, it did highlight the inherant issues with storytelling in a setting where your playerbase is split between the two factions. Neither side is allowed a true victory; one city is swapped for another; Slyvanas escapes with her life; no matter what happens, the balance will be maintained. Honestly, the best time to do away with the faction divides would have been during Legion, as that would have fitted very nicely into the theme of the expansion. I can't see it happening now. 

So instead, let's double down on some faction pride. I'm shelving my Horde alts for the forseeable future, and I've pretty much decided on the characters I'll be taking into Battle for Azeroth first.  

For Gilneas! For the Alliance!

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Arr, shiver me free-to-play timbers!

I've only been playing Maplestory M a few days and already I've got it bad. After levelling a dark knight to 50 (I believe the level cap is 120, or maybe 150) I decided to try a Corsair, which is a pirate themed ranged/pet class. She's now level 40, and has a better weapon -- potentially -- than the dark knight who is ten levels her senior.

You see, Maplestory M has a fairly traditional grind-tastic mechanic for levelling your equipment as well as your character. By consuming unwanted items and special "powders", you can rank up your equipment, boosting its stats. Then, by using an incredibly rare and expensive reagent, you can boost the overall quality of an item, and thus begin the ranking up process all over again. I managed to pick up a base gun with perfect stats quite cheaply from the player market place, so she's all set. Getting a perfect base item is very, very important, as while the difference between perfect and suboptimal items stats starts out very small, by the time an item is fully upgraded the deviance can be huge.

I learned all of this by watching a variety of YouTube videos, every single one of them hosted by the kind of person who insists on starting every video with a prolonged heyyyy guyyyyys, so I'll spare you all by not linking to them.

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Here's a picture of a moonkin

This is Scruff, my worgen druid, who has served as my main since the events of Mists of Pandaria. As you can see, he spends some of his time as a moonkin, but I mainly enjoy playing him as restoration, and since patch 8.0, I've been dabbling with feral, too. 

Last night I teamed him up with the Rogue, who wanted a run through the Cathedral of Eternal Night. so I threw on my new Darkshore WQ staff and queued up as a healer. It's been a while since I did any healing on him, and patch 8.0 has brought some changes, and the group was a little unsure of themselves -- but we crushed the run in the end. Afterward, the Rogue and I headed out to Argus and and did some world quests together and I remembered why I love my druid so much again. 

Aside: I've spent weeks agonising over picking a new main, and of course -- and I've said this all along -- I'm going to end up continuing to play Scruff, aren't I? He's got all the professions levelled, and all those nice Exhalted Legion reputations, and and and...

Tonight the last part of the War of Thorns should unlock on the US servers, so I'll be back on the druid and paying Lordaeron a visit. I'm really hoping this gives me, as an Alliance player, something to get excited about. The Horde have had such a lot of drama over the last few weeks, and the Old Solider cinematic was fantastic. By contrast King Anduin continues to be an ineffectual drip and Tyrande / Malfurion have always, always been supremely dull. Honestly, I really hoped Malfurion would finally meet his end last week. If the tree had been saved and the elf killed I would have been much happier with that outcome, but alas. 

Anonymously quoting a guild-mate, because I think she's echoing what a lot of people are feeling:

I legit don’t know what, story wise, would make me feel good to play any of my toons again. Alliance side, we’re victims of a brutal slaughter with no real hope for any kind of meaningful retribution, and horde side we’re the perpetrators of that. Ugh. Just. Yeah. Bad feels.
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