Choosing your role: tank, dps or healer?

One the most important decisions players make in the World of Warcraft is their selection of class. It’s also one of the first decisions made. Class differences seem to be getting smaller and smaller the longer I play. It seems to be more about class rolls than class, but I digress.

The first class I picked to play was a druid. I enjoyed cat form the most and around level 25  I realised that I was creating a wannabe rogue. I decided to switch the mains instead and created a combat rogue. She is by far my favourite character that I would play more if I could. I do run into issues that I couldn’t have foreseen coming into the game as a complete novice. My problems in descending order are: 1. mouse movement 2. dislocating thumbs and fingers 3.excessive hand movement dictated by certain key press sequences 4. weakness of ring and little fingers 5. repetitive strain

My expertise of different classes from highest and lowest are: rogue, druid, mage, hunter, paladin, warlock, warrior, priest, death knight. It’s fair to say I am biased. The more I know how to play a class, the more I enjoy playing it. I have a preference for melee over casters simply because I really dislike mana-based spells and physical damage appeals. However, selecting class has become less and less of an affinity thing and more and more a practically. No point loving my rogue and not being able to play at all because of it.

I am still looking for solutions and adjustments to make playing all classes effortless and equally viable, but for now, there are definite discrepancies. Assuming optimum set-up for each class, I’d probably say that class roles play a bigger part in choosing a character than class alone.

4. Tanks: Most definitely the hardest. I find that melee classes require the most movement during combat. Tanks are also usually the group leaders and additional responsibility comes additional work. It’s the tabbing from target to target that gets me the most when tanking in druid bear form. I would probably rate the classes from best to worst as: druid (bear), paladin, warrior. Don’t know about the death knight yet.

3. Melee DPS: Definitely up there with tanks as very difficult. A shadowstep rogue in a PvP setting is constant movement. Even in PvE, the most used moves are instant and playing involves a lot of key mashing on quite a grand scale.  The druid cat form is less key-greedy, but moves are still mostly instant and add the shapeshifting keys to the mix and my fingers are again constantly on the move.

2. Healing: Distance tend to reduce the need for movement. In PvE scenarios, I tend to find a nice perch at maximum range from the action where all players are in view. The biggest drawback is the clicking or tabbing to heal various players and it’s always more clicking than tabbing. Healing spells are rather limited and although that provides plenty of hand stability, it also means that I’m using the same joints over and over and over. Not ideal at all. In PvP, constant movement is also a requirement unless you can find a good hiding place to spam Lifebloom from. I don’t have a varied experience of healing classes, but my personal preference so far has been: druid then paladin then priest. Still keen on leveling a priest though, haven’t really played a priest.

1. Range DPS: My least favourite role is possibly the most pragmatic choice. I hated mana-based DPSing when I started. I was always out of mana and detested all the drinking. Having relaxed a little and learned that no downtime is not necessarily a good thing outside the game as it means no rest break for fingers, I’m mellowing and melting. I have dabbled a little with both frost and fire spec mages and once I’ve picked up on the slower rhythm, it’s actually become quite enjoyable. I’m finding that the Moonkin feels better to play than it looks from afar and warlocks breeze through levels at unimaginable speeds. I still don’t like having a pet that requires taming and training in obscure manners, but I must grudgingly admit that hunters are very easy to play, particularly with an all-singing-and-dancing single pet macro. Shadow priests look really cool, but that’s the extent of my knowledge.

If I could start over, I’d probably stick with casters.  I’m not sure which as the classes with pets are just so pathetically easy that I feel stupid not picking them, mages can portal everywhere and since my husband plays a gnome mage they hold a special place in my heart, I still have a natural pull toward druids and all that shapeshifting and priests – again –  just look so cool. As I’ve already started leveling quite a few toons and have a low-level Tauren warrior called Ben, how can I not concider dabbling a little across the board…

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  1. As of 3.1.1 I’d say Paladins are superior at tanking than druids. Threat Management and Avoidance wise.

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