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WoWSep 13, 2018 4:46 pm CT

So you’ve decided to switch mains this early in the expansion

So, you decided on a character to play as your main in Battle for Azeroth, leveled that character, played it for a while  for whatever reason — a bad childhood, a few too many blows to the skull, Stockholm Syndrome. Then you decided to level a Warrior and switch to raiding on that after you wrote several articles on Blizzard Watch about how you were switching to Death Knight for the lore and because you really liked Unholy and Blood spec.

No? Just me? Yeah, I kind of thought that it might just be me. But I’m sure there are other players out there who are unhappy with their class choice and wanting to switch it up — I know of at least one other player who went to a different class recently after leveling first as something else — and so I figured I’d write this post discussing the pros and cons of making such a switch.

The good news

It’s a great time to switch. One thing that’s a pro in the switching category is that it’s a really good time to do it. The game’s only been out for a month, so you won’t have all that much catching up to do, and with there being a fair few sources of gear out now in World Quests, Dungeon runs, Warfronts, Island Expeditions, PVP, and LFR it should be easy to get yourself caught up.

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Using myself as an example,  I have two 120 Warriors that I leveled after I burned the Death Knight to 120 as fast as I could. While the Death Knight is my most progressed character at item level 350, I’ve managed to get the Warrior on that same realm up to 340 by dint of dungeon runs, then Heroic dungeon runs, World Quests (although finding those breakpoints so that you’re getting better gear from those quests can be a pain), and finally World Bosses and Arathi rares. Meanwhile, my alt Warrior is at 320 entirely from World Quests and two Arathi rare 340 items. Even without catch up mechanics for a new raid, it’s possible to get gear depending on how progressed your group is.

You’ll have more fun playing a class you enjoy. Will you be happier playing another class? I don’t hate my Death Knight — it was a blast to level and I still adore Blood spec, but Blood spec isn’t a DPS spec and I find Unholy a touch overwhelming to play. On the other hand, Arms and Fury I just get. If you find yourself simply not enjoying the class and it’s not going to be a big problem for the most part, you should play something you like. If, for example, you’re the main tank for your guild and decide you’d rather be a healer when your group has a healer surfeit, switching could be difficult. But unless there’s a compelling reason not to switch, playing what makes you happier is always a positive decision.

The bad news

You could mess up your group. One serious con is dependent on how group-focused you are and what the group you run with is like. If you’re out there soloing everything, all your dungeon runs are PUGs, and you occasionally hit LFR, then you don’t need to worry at all about switching. That’s entirely your call. Nobody but you gets to decide what you do with your time in the game.

But if you play with a group, it’s important to consider your role in that group and how flexible they can be waiting for you to gear up. My guild is a small casual group. We’re raiding in normal and we’ll probably get some heroic bosses down before the next raid comes out. So when I said that I was switching from a DPS DK to a DPS Warrior, the general reaction was a resounding chorus of no one caring. But in the past I’ve been main tank, and believe me, the main tank doesn’t switch classes, even to another tanking class, without some discussion with their guildmates. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be able to play what you want, but you might have to accept that making such a decision means you have to step away from your current role.

This really varies based on what the group you play with does. A Mythic raiding guild doesn’t approach character switching the same way as a two-night-a-week co-op group.

You’ll be stuck behind content gates again. Battle for Azeroth does a lot of gating. There are item level gates for content (305 for Heroic dungeons, 320 for LFR) and while other content isn’t strictly speaking gated, trying to do Mythic+ on an ilevel 304 character means either you’re being carried (in which case, you’re dependent on other, more geared characters to make up for your lower gear) or you’re likely not getting to come. Similarly, you can get into raids like normal or heroic Uldir and kill World Bosses with a lower level of gear, but you shouldn’t count on being able to do that.

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Worse, however, is dealing with the various factions you need reputation with. If you switch a month into the game, you’ll feel it when you suddenly have to grind those Battle for Azeroth factions up on a new character. I’m woefully behind on my Champions of Azeroth, for example, and when you get ilevel upgrades to your Heart of Azeroth based on a faction you feel it when you’re behind on that faction. No one wants to grind to revered with the Honorbound, decide they’d rather play a Monk, and then grind to revered with the Honorbound again. Definitely consider if you’re willing to do all the work you’ve done on storyline progression and reputation over again, it can be a significant amount of work.

How to tell when switching is right for you

Sometimes we make mistakes. We think we’re really going to enjoy playing a class, but for whatever reason — the realities of our situation, class changes we didn’t see coming, a desire to play something more or less familiar, finally breaking after years of melee being subject to just horrific conditions and going ranged DPS like a smart person no I’m not bitter — we realize we’re not happy playing the character we thought we would be happy playing. Sometimes it’s just a rough patch and things will be smoothed out with better gear or a balance tweak down the line, but sometimes it’s a fundamental disconnect between what you thought you wanted to do and what you actually wanted to do.

When that happens, switching characters is one way to deal with the issue. It may not be the only way — if you’re playing a healer and find that you don’t like it, you could try a DPS or even a tank spec in certain cases — but if your Ret Paladin isn’t as fun for you as your Beast Mastery Hunter, and you have a guild willing (or in some cases, eager) to lose a melee DPS for a ranged DPS, then switching can actually work out well. Or if you’re a complete weirdo and you go from one plate DPS class to another plate DPS class entirely because of your weird Warrior festish, I guess.

Just me? Yeah, I figured.

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