Friday, September 12, 2014

Class Swapping Dos and Don'ts

When expansions are on the horizon, we look at our favorite classes and at everything that will be changing about our game. A lot of people make decisions about whether they will be changing specs, changing classes, or whether they will be quitting or returning to the game. The difficult part about this is that we never really know how the game will be until we actually play it.

I'm not saying I'm not guilty of jumping to conclusions along with everyone else, but I try to take a step back and just relax. I'm used to my specc being revamped - balance has been mechanically overhauled every expansion since patch 1.12. The changes to talents in mists and removal of the use of a lot of my spells was dramatic. However, the ability pruning and some other coming warlords changes will be the biggest change I've dealt with in all these years so far. It's hard not to think about it, and it's hard not to be upset about it. I'm also not saying the disapproval and skepticism is not okay - it's just that we won't really know how things are going to go down until we experience it.

I think it's unfair to make a decision to class swap based on changes you've read online before the expansion even comes out. Now, if you've been wanting to swap or if you have separate motivation to swap - say your guild needs some healers - that's a different situation altogether. I realize that it's easier to swap classes at an expansion release. Leveling up another class after already leveling your main character is a roadblock to swapping classes and might dissuade you when you really know that you want to change classes.

I mainswapped once, but I knew it was the right decision. I had never been so sure of myself before, and I haven't swapped classes since then. Some people swap classes every expansion, or more. Maybe that works for them - but it's not that simple. It's a huge drain on a guild for someone to play a character and raid with a character for so long, then decide that they want to swap classes. It's a waste of loot drops, and it can cause animosity among raiders, especially depending on how your guild decides to handle distributing loot to your new main.

If you're a non-raider, you still have to handle the situation of gearing up your new main, be it pvp or pve. Some raiders, though, won't even realize that the decision they're making is asking a lot from their guild. I don't view class swaps as something you choose to do overnight. I had to discuss my decision with my officers and I had to wait a few weeks before I could make my swap, even raid on my druid a few times before they let me officially swap so that they knew that's what I wanted to do. Someone might level a new class and think it's their new favorite class, when in reality they're simply enamored with a new playstyle.

If you need to make a decision to swap classes or not, I'd recommend giving it some thought. I've written before how changing your playstyle can change how you feel about the game entirely. The biggest thing we overlook when making this decision based on impending changes with a new expansion is not looking at the big picture. You may look at a bunch of nerfs your class got and think, wow, we're going to be completely gimped. You need to make sure you look at why your class received those nerfs - you easily could have been overtuned and been doing unrealistically more damage than other classes. You may lose survivability or some utility, but other classes probably did too.

It might not be a huge deal for you - maybe you're just in a social guild, or you've been tired of your class for a long time and are using the expansion as an easy way to get a fresh start on an even playing field. But, if you love your class but just think they are getting destroyed in the expansion, you really should play it first. I've been playing a druid for over seven years and I've mained balance for six years. Even I'm having some doubts about how things are going to play out when Warlords goes live - but I can't in good conscious abandon my druid or my love of firing lazers without giving it a thorough testing in game.

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