Games this Week... Choosing a Character for Shadowlands

My husband and I have been playing World of Warcraft again, mostly just doing world quests and battlegrounds, waiting for the Shadowlands pre-patch to drop. My husband (then-boyfriend) introduced me to WoW back in college (in 2008!), and we've been playing together ever since (with a brief hiatus during Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria). 

My first character was a blood elf paladin named Laelirin, who I leveled up through Wrath of the Lich King (the latest expansion at the time) before making a new character, leveling up, and so on so forth, until Shadowlands was announced late last year. I have a few max level characters (though not nearly as many as my husband), including my paladin, a troll shaman, an undead mage, a gnome mage, a draenei priest, a blood elf death knight, and a pandaren monk. 

Since resubbing with Warlords of Draenor, with each expansion, I like to switch up which character I main. When we resubbed, I picked up with my last character, the troll shaman, but they had made so many changes since I last played, that it no longer felt like the same class, so I made a monk and played through all of the content, up through Warlords, and then mained monk through Legion. By the end of Legion, I was tired of playing endgame with my monk because I had so many dang abilities that I would get hand cramps during raids and battlegrounds keeping up with my rotation. 

I had been leveling a human mage as a side character, because as a hardcore Horde player, I never played the low level Alliance zones, but then when I got to level 60, I race changed to undead and boosted to whatever the max level for that was at the time. (Once upon a time, if you leveled your characters up to 60 before boosting, your professions would also boost, but that is not the case anymore.) I played through Legion again with my mage, ready to kick butt when Battle for Azeroth launched. 

I enjoyed playing mage a lot, and even made a second mage for the Alliance so I could play through that content with a familiar class. Some people struggle to do well with mage (my husband being one of them), but I don't mind bragging that I'm pretty dang good with mages, and PvP is a blast. 

That said, by the end of Battle for Azeroth, with the announcement of Shadowlands, I wanted to change things up again. I considered playing my death knight, because it's the most thematically appropriate, and even leveled her up to max to see if that's what I really wanted to play, but ultimately, my favorite specialization is Blood, and that's intended for tanking, which I'm not comfortable doing in any capacity except questing. Since we'll be doing a lot of dungeons and battlegrounds, I didn't want to be switching constantly between two specs (I'm very much a pick-one-and-stick-with-it gal; if I want to play a different spec, I make a new character), so death knight was out. 

I'm still pretty burned out on monk and mage, which leaves me with the options of shaman, paladin, race-changing my priest, or leveling up one of my low-level characters. Shaman can be cool, but I'm still not really feeling that. I don't like priest enough to pay for a race change. And I've been wanting to wait to level up any other characters until after Shadowlands so that I can take advantage of their new leveling system. 

So, inevitably, after leveling my death knight, I turned to my lonesome paladin who has been sitting pretty at level 80 in Northrend for ten solid years. I used to play the Retribution DPS spec, way back when, but due to a number of changes they made over the years, it was no longer recognizable to what I remembered, which was disheartening. The other two specs for paladin are Protection (Tank) and Holy (Healer), and as I said before, I do not like to tank. 

I'd never been much of a healer, and I didn't care for priest healing when I tried it because Discipline spec was too hard to do effectively and Holy spec was too boring. But I looked into it a bit more, and Holy spec had shifted more toward an old class build nicknamed "Shockadin", which was a middling-DPS/Healer hybrid back in Vanilla.

One of the big issues I had with playing Priest was having to switch back and forth between Shadow and Holy depending on the situation because as Holy, I couldn't deal enough damage to kill anything while questing around. Again, I very much dislike swapping specs on a character. 

A DPS/Healer hybrid class seemed like the perfect solution for me. I could dish out enough damage to kill mobs on my own, but also pop some baller heals on myself and my party, when needed. So I got Laelirin out of retirement, made some changes to the character, permanently swapping specs, and started leveling her up again, this time as Holy. And somewhere along the way, I decided that she would be my character for Shadowlands.

Honestly, it seems appropriate that Laelirin would reenter the fight now, considering that the gate to the Shadowlands was opened at Icecrown Citadel in Northrend, presumably near to where she's been chilling out for the last ten years. I think seeing the sky shatter and a mirrored version of Icecrown reach down from beyond the veil would be curious enough to get her involved again. 

I realize that I don't need to come up with these justifications for my characters, but I like to. I have backstories for some of them, motivations for others, and reasons why they aren't in the fight right now. For instance, my undead mage was disillusioned by Sylvanas' abandonment of the Horde and the Forsaken and doesn't feel like fighting anymore. My monk successfully defended Azeroth against the Burning Legion and has decided to retire back to Pandaria for the time being. It's how I connect to my characters, even though I don't really participate in the whole active LARP aspect of things like some people do.

Anyway, this was all just a really long drawn out post to let me talk about my characters I've made over the years! I'm looking forward to playing as Laelirin again and joining the Kyrian faction in Shadowlands when the time comes. Until then, I'll be running old dungeons to get some sweet transmogs so that I'm properly attired for launch. ;)