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I hit 90 last week on the paladin.

The funny thing is that the reputation concession to alts (i.e. 100% rep gains if you buy a token at Revered) has resulted in some strange behavior on my part. I still don’t like the paladin very much; I chose it as my first 90 because of other considerations, like how it was my only toon with max Archeology (mainly the BoA weapons). Combat as Retribution still feels clunky, especially if I miss with Crusader Strike. Exorcism, Judgment, Crusader Strike, then either Inquisition or Templar’s Verdict, then… wait for procs. Having a 6-second window to Flash of Light after a mob death is infinitely worse than a warrior’s intuitive and satisfying Impending Victory.

Regardless, since I am 90 though, I find myself doing all the dailies that I can. Not just because they are dailies, e.g. the sense that I fall further behind in my future, hypothetical endeavors, but also because I am already near Honored (or well into Honored) with these factions. It feels a waste to start leveling someone else up before getting the 100% rep boost. And thus I continue playing a class I no longer love, earning rewards I can’t use (Coins, Valor, Spirits of Harmony), for the possible betterment of a new main I haven’t even chosen yet.

Obviously I’m getting some form of entertainment, but it is not at the desired level.

On Sunday, I ran ~4 heroics with guildmates and walked out with 8-10 pieces of gear; I zoned in there with maybe two pieces of 450 quest blues and the rest crafted PvP gear. Ended up getting two Strength 2Hs, boots, chest, plus a smattering of tanking drops. As far as I could tell, my DPS on the runs was just shy of 40k, which I am assuming is decent.

Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something. In which case, let me tell the universe: make Retribution more fun.

Over the Hump

Okay, so maybe things aren’t looking all that grim after all.

Just like with FTL, and just like with PlanetSide 2, I have gotten over the WoW “dissatisfaction hump” to emerge on the other side. I am still annoyed with the pitiful AH situation and Blizzard’s related policy of indefinite realm life-support, but I am (finally) having some – dare I say it? – fun. It was a close thing, though. In fact, I feel somewhat guilty for rewarding game design that contains dissatisfaction humps at all.

As mentioned before, I started out playing my namesake paladin in Ret leveling mode. The rotation seemed unbearably clunky, and I wasn’t having fun. Indeed, it was not until yesterday that I started feeling comfortable hitting Exorcism on cooldown, instead of the much more elegant proc-rotation that Exorcism was tied to back in the day.

With that feeling “off,” I tried to transition to my Elemental shaman, mainly because she is my resource toon (Herbalism + Mining). The Elemental rotation hasn’t changed much, but Blizzard increased the missile speed of Lightning Bolt and somehow that was throwing me off all goddamn day. Well, that, and the fact that mobs were no longer dying in a single LBx2-FS-LvB rotation, meaning that I ended up having to hardcast several Lightning Bolts into mobs’ faces.

In a fit of desperation, I settled for my warrior, as she was the Blacksmith and thus the only toon capable of making some blue weapons.

Oh. My. God. Was this where Blizzard was hiding all the fun?

Simply put, the warrior was amazingly fun. Every 90 seconds I was rounding up 5+ mobs and Brostorming (ah, memories) them all to death. Even when I didn’t have the cooldowns up, I would frequently round up at least three mobs at a time because why not? Impending Victory, just like Victory Rush before it, turns the Hybrid Tax on its head with a cheap, 20% HP heal every mob death leading to an unending chain of corpses that ceases only when the zone is depopulated. Nevermind Charging every 12 seconds. Or how the stance redesign means you don’t have to worry about weaving stance requirements into all these cool buttons.

Hrgh. I kinda want to start playing right now

At the moment, I am back on the paladin simply because that character is my historical main. And, you know, I was informed about all these new BoA heirloom weapons and Az is the only toon with 500+ Archaeology. In fact, that is sort of where I am right now: spending probably 3 minutes reading about WoW for every minute playing. Which, of course, is exactly how I played the game for 4+ years.

What Have They Done to Me?

I have a lot of positive feelings towards Blizzard’s 4.3 patch, primarily because of Transmogification. But… why? It has been 50 (!) days since I quit WoW. So why do I get excited about dressing up an avatar in a game I no longer play? Is it a function of my ~7700 hours of play time? Or perhaps unfulfilled dreams of legitimately using Ghoulslicer on every character that can equip 1H swords? I like cool armor as much as the next guy, but I behave this way in no other videogame, even ones that have item sets. Maybe it’s an MMO thing?

Anyway, imagine my consternation when the paladin PvP set was revealed:

Paladin Season 11 PvP Set

...holy shit...

con·ster·na·tion   [kon-ster-ney-shuh]
noun
a sudden, alarming amazement or dread that results in utter confusion; dismay.

Prior to today, I was a big believer that paladin T6 was the best paladin set in WoW, Judgement be damned. I never legitimately raided Black Temple or got any of the tier set, but I did do quite a bit PvP in TBC (since that was all there was to do) and Season 3′s Vengeful Gladiator’s Vindication set was just as good as the real thing (or arguably better, if you prefer the red recolor to the normal blue). So my sort of fantasy tank set would have been Vindication + Bulwark of Azzinoth + Ghoulslicer. According to Wowhead, the whole thing would have looked like this:

Shut up. It looks WAY cooler in my head.

But Blizzard, defying years and years paladin-degrading precedence, has come out with a PvP (!) armor set that not only makes the PvE one look like a total joke, but honestly steals the whole goddamn Deathwing show from every other class. The only sets that come as close as this one is the Priest T12 and Priest Season 3. Between this new PvP set and the fact that they are putting older Season PvP gear back on vendors – letting me complete the Vindication set and/or get the priest set on an alt without scraping together a BT raid group – you have no idea how goddamn tempting it is to spend $15 on a dress-up simulator.

The only thing stopping me? My nine alts, seven of whom are level 85, are trapped on low-pop Alliance Auchindoun with full heirlooms, max level professions with most non-ultra rare recipes, and approximately 450,000g in liquid wealth. I am not paying $55 per character to move them and a max of 50,000g, nor am I interested in straight-up rerolling without the benefits my ~7700 hours of seniority entitle me. So until Blizzard gets their head out of their ass and tweak the server/faction transfer service price-points (seriously, would a weekend deal kill them?), all this renewed interest and goodwill is going to waste.

Which, given the ridiculousness of my desires in the scheme of things, is perhaps win-win anyway.