I’ve always tended to do things the hard way during my time in the world of Azeroth. Right from when I started, I picked a class that was never going to be capable of holding its own in a competitive situation; the Druid of vanilla was very much along for the buffs, and to spam Healing Touch. God forbid you wanted to be a big furry owl man.
So, at the end of Vanilla, I bowed to pressure, and respecced to Restoration. It wasn’t too bad. With the advent of TBC, Resto Druids became very powerful… almost too much so, so I decided on a change for Wrath. In what was virtually the only FotM change I’ve ever made, I decided to roll a Death Knight. Funnily enough, this change led to the only long term break I’ve taken from WoW, it just never really captured my interest. The problem was, there was a lack of challenge.
Even through Cataclysm, I’ve followed this trend. I played a Resto Druid at release, when they were horribly underperforming. I played a Prot Warrior all throughout Dragon Soul, despite the fact that Prot Paladins and Blood DKs, one of which I already had at maximum level, are arguably the better choices. And most recently, I’ve decided to level up my poor, long suffering, low level Warlock.
Challenge vs Complexity vs Reward
Having only just levelled my Warlock, I’m hugely behind the times on everything going around the Warlock blogosphere. But in my research for the start of this Blog, I came across Cynwise’s Warcraft Manual, in which Cynwise has an interesting mini series on The Decline and Fall of Warlocks in Cataclysm. He states that, in his opinion, part of the reason for the Warlock decline in Cataclysm is the lack of reward for the inherent complexity of the mechanics of the Warlock class. Or put more simply, the fact that you have to work much harder to achieve the results that a class with a simpler rotation can achieve easily. This is not to say that Warlocks are bad, per se. In fact they can be very good. But the workload required to be at the same level as other classes is much higher.
Now, while I agree that this complexity has indeed been detrimental to the class throughout Cataclysm; Warlocks were the least represented class, and are now even scarcer. But, it got me thinking last night. Is the complexity of the Warlock class, conversely to the wider WoW population it seems, what got me interested in Moar DoTs?
What makes the Warlock fun?
Now, I’m going to get it out there now, that this section is entirely personal opinion. To me, I need to feel engaged in what I’m doing to really enjoy it. My attention tends to wander easily, especially if what I’m doing is more muscle memory than actual thought process.
For example, the two characters I have recently (within this expansion cycle) played at end game are my Resto / Moonkin Druid, and my Prot / Arms Warrior. I enjoy playing my alts, don’t get me wrong, but I never feel truly engaged. I can happily watch a DVD on my second monitor while playing anything other than Protection Warrior on Heroic Dragon Soul fights.
Arms warrior particularly, I find a bit tedious. This spec to me is essentially whack – a – mole. You hit whatever button flashes up first, and can do very competitive DPS with very little thought required.
My little Gnome ‘lock is Demonology. And I’m having a blast with it. Managing the DoTs on the target, the cooldown alignments, even pet twisting, my least favourite aspect of the spec. I’ve always loved trying to squeeze every bit of potential out of my characters, and the meticulous timing and execution required to successfully play a Warlock is just a continuation of this.
It might just be that my mindset pushes me toward proving to myself that I can achieve on a less than favourably viewed class or spec. Surely it cannot be just me? Is there anyone else who likes the appeal of being up against it from the world go?