Shaman Vs Priest – Part 1

April 2, 2009

I have two level 80’s, both are Draenei, both are female, both are casters and both have a respected DPS and Healing spec. Let’s have a bot of a history lesson.

My first level 80 was Bouaza, started just after TBC came out (obviously) and levelled up the majority of the time with a Prot Warrior and a Rogue. We ran instances every night of the week so most of the time we were all in blues rather than quest greens. Levelling as a group was good fun, I was Shadow specced for my questing but would always heal in instances, it was a well composed group and we hadn’t actually planned what we were going to play, everything just kind of came about like that. Once we were all in Stranglethorn Vale in the mid thirties Lisuri joined us and Steller was playing on and off (mostly off) during this time too.  Eventually about six months after we started we were all level 70 and starting on the road to Heroics. Bo switched over to Holy at 70 to facilitate the no need to level and we had fun getting ready for raiding which we started in the October of 2007 with Karazhan, the entry level raid at that time.

As many of the people who know me are aware, I am an altaholic, Argent Dawn is full of characters, some of which haven’t seen any play time in at least a year and I’ve probably deleted as many characters as I have created. I think I’m on my fourth or fifth Death Knight and none has gotten past 60. I also have a personal hang-up about being the only one of my class, weird I know as in a guild environment you’re going to end up with multiples of the same. Normally when I see what other classes can do I tend to have an urge to go play that class. Bo went all the way through Kara and was present for a number of the guild firsts, from our opening night 9 manning of Attumen, through the Curator and all the way to downing Nightbane and Prince Malchezzar.

All the way through the levelling process we ended up with a bit of a meme developing during out instances (after all, that is where we spent a lot of our levelling time). This has continued even unto this day really, I am sure the RNG knows who we are. This trend is that 9 times out of 10 we’d get mail armour pieces dropping. If a Boss had mail in his loot table, we’d see it more often than not. I don’t know whether it is because of this or if the feeling had started when I was trying to decide what character to create, but certainly within Karazhan I was wanting to play a Shaman. I’d played a Tauren one into the low 40’s in Vanilla WoW but we didn’t have a resto Shammy in the guild and I had kind of plateaued with Bo, we were clearing all the content easily enough and Priest was getting a bit boring. So, I started the Shaman Lekktra at the tail end of 2007 with a mind to replacing Bo and adding another healing class/spec to the raid composition. The Prot warrior I mentioned earlier had levelled a Hunter to 70 and brought that character to raids when we had enough tanks on to cover so I knew it could be done.

Fast forward to January 2008, what started out as raiding two nights a week had developed into a four nights a week schedule with every other night spent gathering materials to support our raiding efforts. The rogue mentioned earlier is now the Death Knight Roop and in that first month we got talking and realised just exactly what had happened. I myself had a 30 days /played with my Priest in around a years worth of play and he probably had similar, WoW had taken over our everyday lives and it was all we ever talked about together. At this point we decided to stop. I played out the remainder of my play time by levelling Lekktra now and again, pretty much only at the weekends and spent the other days on other hobbies that took up less time and didn’t take over with the same focus that WoW had. Lekktra had hit the late Forties by this point.

A couple of months later we started an ill-fated casual group play attempt, recruiting those people we had been playing WoW with originally, most of whom are our real life friends. The guild was named <Friday Nite Project> and we planned to play on Friday’s only and just run instances together, we set level caps to make sure that no-one got too far ahead. Things started off well, although my initial Troll Rogue became a Blood Elf Warlock, we had too many people to fit in just one group so we decided to run two and I created an Undead Warrior. The 2 group thing started to flounder so I created a Tauren Druid to fulfill whatever role was required. Friday night play became Friday and Saturday and then things just died off.

I went and play WAR for a bit when that came out and then Wrath hit the shelves, I decided to return to WoW. Roop, Steller and Lisuri came back too. I had started off on another alt, my Hunter Janulian as I still remembered my lack of enthusiasm for the Priest, Bo. After an add-on crash I found myself playing Lekktra again and decided to go back to Shamanism after once again enjoying the experience. Due to some pressure from the old play mates who were already running around Northrend as well as thinking about how much I had already accomplished on Bo I respecced to Shadow and began levelling my Priest in Northrend. It was around levle 65 I switched to healing for a run through Azjol-Nerub, Steller had been healing to this point but wasn’t available so I just respecced to keep us going. We later convinced Steller to try Boomkin and I stayed as the healer. Things stayed this way until we hit 80 and then I switched back to Holy. I did some Heroics, got some gear and then went back onto Lekktra with the same goal, retirement of my Priest. Roop the Death Knight had been created to replace Fermat the prot warrior (not the same warrior from our starting days) and I thought that was my chance to get the alt levelled.

I think it took around two months to get Lekktra to 80, I do know that it was a lot faster than levelling the Priest, not just because I knew where everything was (in fact I did lots of different zones on Lekktra than the progression route I did with Bo) but my playstyle and the Elemental Talent Spec seem to gel quite nicely. Now Bo is retired and Lekktra has taken over as my main.

This post was going to be an analysis of the Priest experience vs the Shaman experience, but as you can see my waffle about the history behind this change in my main has kinda grown into a behemoth all of its own. Therefore I’m going to split this in half and come to the analysis later. I just wanted to lay down my experience with WoW and with the two classes. I realise that they are more different than they appear, although they can DPS and Heal a Priest is primarily a Healing class, whereas the Shaman is a hybrid.

Now I have the Shaman to 80 I’m very glad I made the change, this is the character I should have played at the start, it feels exciting and makes me happy to play it, outside of any factual analysis this sits very highly in how we should play. The Priest, although my first end game character always felt like something was missing. I am lucky enough to now have something that really makes me continued to be excited to play.

Watch out for part 2 soon, it won’t be as much guff as there is in this post!


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