Thursday, August 17, 2006

Another Self-Indulgent WoW Post

You may recall that I once “called it.

Well what I didn’t call is this.

For those of you that don’t dip your quills into the Azeroth well let me explain the significance of this. Since the game began, since back in beta actually, the key difference between the Alliance and the Horde has been their two sided classes. Alliance has paladins, and Horde has shamans. This has lead to nigh unto endless debates about their comparative balance. As someone who has played a Shaman to 40, and a Paladin to 60 (60 is the current highest level) let me say that neither is unbalanced. I’ve tried to explain my experience to players on either side, but stupidity and needless rage abound in the online world so I haven’t made any progress.

I actually kind of liked the separation. The two classes fill the same societal role, but are adjusted to the differing societies of the respective factions. A Paladin is a holy warrior, a leader and a hero of the civilized sophisticated society of the Alliance, and a Shaman is the spiritual leader and hero of the primal tribal society of the horde. The two classes are also equal opposites balance wise. The simplest explanation of this is that a Paladin is an immovable object, and a Shaman is an unstoppable force.

All that being said I’m not opposed to the merger, for several reasons. First, and most importantly, I’ve been in a difficult situation for a while now. I have a lot of friends in my guild, I really enjoy just hanging around with them, and we have an established raid system. I also have come to realize that the class I would enjoy playing most, in PVP and into the endgame, is Shaman. My guild is alliance, shaman was only horde. This means that I’ll finally be able to play a shaman without abandoning my guild. The other reason I enjoy this is because it proves a theory I had about the back-story of the game. If you read the story behind blood elf Paladins you’ll see that they haven’t attained their holy powers by being righteous people. They’re using a giant dimensional machine to literally steal holiness. I’ve been saying for a long time that the in game essence known as “The Light” is just another source of energy in the world, and not inherently good. Now I finally have proof. It also raises the question of who is more evil: Blood Elf warlocks who use demonic powers or Blood Elf Paladins who use stolen holy powers. In the end that’s a discussion that amounts to the wholesale kitten slaughter, so I won’t waste your time on it, but it’s interesting to think about.

While this newest development has lead to a lot of solutions it’s caused a problem as well. I now know that all of my characters are destined for “alt” status, so I’m not longer that driven to achieve with them. I still enjoy the game, but in order to do the trickier high end things (Like Blackwing lair which my guild is cramming down our throats) you have to want it. And I do want it, but I want it as a shaman. It gives me a sort of unproductive ennui about playing one of my current characters. This could play to my favor because I won’t get significant withdrawal when I’m sans-desktop during the moving phase of Project Exodus, but it makes raiding into more of a chore then a conquest. Especially BWL, but that’s an entirely separate rant.

In the meantime I’ve begun gathering gear for my Shaman. On opening day I’ll be the best equipped level 12 in the world.


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