Choosing Who to Level First

September 25, 2008

As November 14th draws closer, I am as excited as the next blogger about

Wrath of the Litch King

Wrath of the Litch King

the upcoming Wrath release.  As a member of a small guild, the implementation of end-game 10 man raiding provides the opportunity to experience content I never expected to see. As a lover of beauty, the breathtaking pictures of Northrend and Dalaran have captured my imagination. As a lore buff, I find the well developed storyline and recently released Angrathar Wrath Gate cinema captivating.  As a long time player, the new phasing technology and introduction of siege vehicles represent exciting new elements of game play, while the new raid buff stacking represents a major paradigm shift.  

Despite all the positive things to look forward to, as an alt-a-holic, I am troubled.

I have four seventies and a fifth who will reach seventy next month. I love the fact that I can jump into a group and fill any roll.  Need a tank? No problem, I’ll bring Aleathea. Need a healer? No problem, I’ve got that covered with Avetar. Need dps? Would you prefer Kess, the mana battery or Mystre, the polymorphing vending machine? Want to run some old world instances? No problem, let me grab my hunter, Deb.

The thought of having ONE character again is difficult to adjust to. Even more difficult than the concept, though, is choosing which one of my characters to take up first.

After much deliberation, I have narrowed it down to three: Aleathea, Kess, and Deb.  At this point, I am thoroughly stymied. To help me reach a decision, I have decided to organize my thoughts in this post.  If you, dear reader, care to offer your opinion, I would be glad to hear it.

Let’s take a look at the top three choices:

Aleathea, my prot Paladin. 

Experience: Aleathea was my first character and has always been my first



love. She is a fantastic tank for heroics as her threat is through the roof and even our top aoe dps’ers can unload without fear of pulling aggro. Recently she has had the opportunity to step into a raid MT roll and has successfully tanked guild progression kills in ZA and Magtheridon.

Although I enjoy tanking and do very well with content I am familiar with, I do not consider myself proficient at tanking new content. I spent the first two years of my WoW life as a healer and tunnel vision is something I am still working to overcome. Tanking, which requires excellent situational awareness, constant camera view manipulation and extremely fast reflexes is still a challenge.

Pros: Aleathea was my first character and has always been my first love. Tanks are always in demand. The roll is challenging and demands a lot from me – positive qualities in my book. 

Cons: My husband is leveling his tank first. Since there is room for only one tank in an instance, it would prevent me from instancing with him. Furthermore, as mentioned above, progression tanking is not my strong point.

Kess, my shadow priest.

Experience: Kess replaced Aleathea as my main in the beginning of the BC



expansion. As the only raiding shadow priest, she has been a staple in every progression raid (except the ones Aleathea tanked) and has performed exceptionally well. She always scores in the top three on damage done while providing massive amounts of mana back to her party. She is also an accomplished dispeller and CC’er.

Pros: Of all the characters I play, I am most confidant in my ability to play Kess to her full potential. I am most comfortable with this class, and Kess is my character of choice for progression content.

Cons: Shadow priests have been hit hard in the recent Beta builds.   In BC, Kess filled a unique and extremely valuable roll as a mana battery. That roll will no longer be unique and while all hope is not lost I am not yet convinced their increased damage will be enough to warrant bringing her over a pure dps class.

Which brings me to…

 Deb, my BM hunter.

Experience: Let it be stated for the record that Big Red Kitty is directly responsible for her creation. When I stumbled upon his blog last spring, I had never played a hunter, nor did I have any interest in doing so. Despite that fact, his humor kept me coming back for more and I became a devoted reader. When my alt-icidis flared up a few months ago there was no question what my next class would be.

From the day in Darkshore when I tamed Giselle, my ghost saber,

ghost saber

ghost saber

I have been hooked. I have played WoW for over three years, I have leveled four other toons to seventy, but never have I had so much fun playing a character as I have while leveling Deb.  As someone who has always relied on a mana bar, auto shot and the complete lack of downtime between mobs is truly a liberating experience. With BRK and Pike to guide me, I have made my way quickly and painlessly up through the levels, and I can hardly wait to try her in some BC dungeons. I anticipate reaching seventy next month, and there is a part of me that would love to take her straight into Wrath as my main.

Pros: A brand new character in a brand new class would be refreshing. Our guild has no hunters who are regular mains. While shadow priests are crying over the coming changes, hunters are ecstatic. New pets, new pet slots, addition of pet talent trees, fun new class abilities…it’s like Christmas come a month early. I anticipate that hunter will be an extremely enjoyable class to play in Wrath.

Cons: She is vastly undergeared compared to the others. Kess and Aleathea are both Champions of the Naaru whose gear is maxed at their progression level. Deb will barely be seventy with little to no raiding experience and a mix of green and blue gear. 

My main concern, however, is that I can’t be sure if the enjoyment I experience playing her is truly enjoyment of the class itself, or the fact that I enjoy the leveling process.  After spending so much time at end game where it takes forever to accomplish any goal, the pleasure of “dinging” daily and constantly upgrading gear can hardly be over stated.  I can’t help but wonder if, when Deb is also part of the end-game grind, will I still enjoy her or will I wish I’d gone a different route?

One more thing to consider is my focus.   My goal, and that of my friends, is to reach eighty as quickly as possible and get back to raiding. With that in mind, I am not factoring which class does well in PvP or which class is enjoyable to level, into my decision.  Something I AM factoring in is what classes my friends are leveling.  It looks like of those playing the classes  I’m interested in, we have one definite Paladin tank, one potential Shadow priest and no hunters.

So there you have it. Each one has pros, cons and their own unique appeal. 

In closing, I wanted to touch on one final thought. There has been a lot of trepidation from the shadow priest community regarding the upcoming class balancing changes.  We are no longer unique snowflakes. 

I admit, despite having options who I play, I am not immune to fear that Kess will no longer be an asset to her team mates and will no longer deserve a place in the raid.

Matticus from World of Maticus posted something a few days ago that has stayed with me. Addressing changes to the Priest class he stated,

I am a valuable asset because of who I am as a player, not because of what my class can do. If you are working hard right now in BC raiding, there is no reason for you to feel threatened in Wrath.

His words helped ease my concern and reminded me that, regardless of which character I choose to level first, I will continue to be an asset to my friends not because of the class I play, but because of who I am as a player.


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