Well Mist of Pandaria has been out for just over two months now. Of my 6 level 85 characters at the end of Cataclysm, I immediately leveled my priest as my new main. I was, to say the least, very tired of healing on the shaman after the long time spent in Firelands and Dragon Soul coupled with their underwhelming performance in the majority of fights. In truth I had kept to the shaman with our group because, well, raid composition for one, and since I was always wanting to DPS with my enhancement spec and we lacked a hunter in our group I was free to build a pretty decent off set of gear. I still pugged my holy paladin and priest as often as possible and hands down always preferred their healing through both raids. Given the option to switch my main for the new expansion, I chose to play my priest. I might have chosen the paladin if we didn’t always have a paladin healer with us but I’m sure glad I opted for the priest so I could be a PANDA! I cannot explain the amount of joy it brought me to finally race change my character to a red furred female panda once I decided the human reputation bonus was no longer worth it because I decided that dailies must die. It was also a near mandatory change for my shaman once I had started on that character because a male draenei saying “I cannot cast that yet” etc was getting really old…I would love my paladin so much more if he too could become a Pandaren but alas, they do not know the Light.
Despite their inability to become Pandaren though, my Druid was my second character to hit 90 mostly because I wanted to take advantage of Inscription and make myself an Inscribed Jade Fan. However levelling as a thunder chicken I felt was particularly painful. I’m sure I don’t understand the finer points of being a Balance druid but I don’t think I’m a particularly bad player either; given that, I had a difficult time doing more damage while solo questing even in level 90 gear. Now I remember why I spent the entire last level and a half in one of the four normal dungeons as a healer… Shado-Pan Monastery, as much a I loathe that dungeon, does provide about 1 million xp at level 89 if you’re still rested. So I hit level 90 with the druid, and beyond that did my Tillers daily quests until exalted and made my inscription cool down so that I could make myself a BoA staff. Until I can figure out how to do more than 20k dps as a moonkin so that killing a single mob doesn’t take 45-60s each time, the druid will probably be healer only and had better hope he gets some good drops out of his LFR and normal modes.
So if the druid was my second 90, my paladin hit 90 less than three days later. Retribution was by and large the same, though slightly improved in my opinion this expansion. Not so much time spent waiting for a button to press like it was in Cataclysm. Granted I did grind the last two levels in a single session with another member of my guild but still, questing as a ret pally was fairly simple and effective. Damage output was good with a plenty of self healing to throw around for some harder mobs though that still didn’t make it any easier for the plethora of rare spawns in Panderia.
I took a short break from leveling after reaching cap with the Paladin and Druid so closely together and instead focused on oh-so-many dailies. Particularly I did all the Tillers quests until I reached exalted with both of those characters as well. Is that odd to have three different characters exalted with Tillers relatively early into the expansion? Personally I don’t think so. I used their farms to plant more mats for my main to achieve Master of Ways and the dailies are short, relatively painless (with the exception of the cursed Fatty Goatsteak) and are an easy source of Valor and Lesser Charms (note: they lowered the charm reward to 1 per Tillers quest as of 5.1 – I guess even Blizzard could see these dailies were too easy). I held off on most of the other rep until 5.1 so that I could take advantage of the Grand Commendation tokens. This includes reaching exalted with any of the reps on my main because really, dailies can die.
With my priest not needing a whole lot out of the LFR versions, the Paladin quickly running through the LFR modes with a healer queue, and the Druid agonizing to play it wasn’t long before I needed more fun to do. The Shaman leveled very quickly, similar to the paladin, although I suppose I was quite comfortable as Enhancement and having a mix of normal and heroic Dragon Soul gear left me in a good spot to begin the grind to 90. As with all my other characters so far, I usually hopped into a random dungeon so I could at least complete the in dungeon quests for even more xp. I decided this time though that I was going to have elemental as my dps spec at level 90 instead of enhancement. I’m quite tired of trying to collect and carry two sets of gear. Additionally, as this character was now just an alt instead of my main, I did not expect to get too many off-spec agility drops since hunters were common in most groups. Besides, I’d yet to play elemental, and though shaman of all specs seemed to be pretty underpowered for most of Cataclysm, the few elemental shaman I knew seemed to really love their characters. Well, this was a great decision on my part because I absolutely LOVE playing an elemental shaman now! I enjoy it enough to the point that I decided this character would be a dps main spec and resto off-spec and I would gear/gem/reforge accordingly. While I would like to see more of what I’m capable of doing as a shaman healer if properly gemmed for spirit instead of haste, I don’t think I’m quite up to par on resto shaman as I am with my priest and pally healers.
So why do I need 4 level 90s this early into the expansion? Well, as my main character, the Priest is my current raiding character. At the time of this post we are 10/16 bosses into normal modes with my 2x/week raid team and, beyond the dps trinket that drops from the Sha in Terrace of Endless Spring, my priest doesn’t need any gear from LFR. Our backup healers haven’t really been raiding enough to have a great dps set so I’ve been healing every fight. Shadow just sticks around so I can go do a few dailies here and there or maybe play in the Brawler’s guild.
tl;dr: The priest only comes on for AH duties, daily profession cooldowns, and raids.
I am equally confident in my abilities on my paladin as I am on my priest, and so as soon as the paladin got any reasonable amount of gear I began whoring – I mean pugging him around in MSV during the early weeks whenever possible and LFR to continue rounding out his gear. With a 479 ilvl for his holy set, he’s my go to fill-in for any groups that need a healer. His gear would just about be complete if I had the reputation to go buy the wrists. Overall he’s been the luckiest character in LFR having a 3 pieces of tier (one off the Sha of Anger) and, as of two nights ago, all of the usable Paladin Sha touched weapons (two caster and one dps) Oh, and the Sha gem, can’t forget that either. Bastard. If only Pandaren could be Paladins…
So while the Paladin is my pug healer, the elemental shaman is my pug DPS. This character is probably the most fun at the moment (maybe I’m finally getting tired of healing ALL the time) and the fact that Pandaren CAN be shaman is a great plus. Look at the cute little dance! The shaman has been doing pretty well in the gear department as well especially since I only need to collect one set of gear although I am looking to make a proper resto set for max spirit.
So three characters, all geared… I get to raid on my main, I’ve been able to fill in with my shaman for another guild that is practically my co-guild now after raiding most of heroic Dragon Soul with them after my team went on hiatus, and my paladin throws himself into our guild’s alt-run. That leaves me no characters left to pug with! Might be time to start working on another character again…