New Expansion, New Mains – My Struggle Selecting a Main for Battle for Azeroth

With Battle for Azeroth fast approaching, I feel like I am not alone in my thoughts of what am I going to play come next expansion. Naturally a new expansion is the best time to change your main as all of your gear will soon be outdated and often there’s more than just a new level cap that could affect your decision, with class and gear changes aplenty often coming with a new expansion.

I was a paladin main this expansion, specifically a holy paladin for the extra thicc crit heals, but I find myself willing to try other classes and figure out what I want to play in Battle for Azeroth. I believe I will likely main a healer again, as healing is what I have mained in MMOs since vanilla WoW in 2004, but a few ranged dps classes have stealthed into the equation.

My current plans, as I have most classes I want to 110 (on the Alliance side), is to finish leveling my rogue to 110 as she sits at level 79 currently and hasn’t been played since the Legion pre-patch, as well as leveling a warrior from scratch to try to overcome my incapability to do melee dps. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about melee dps that I just don’t like. However, the real journey will begin once Battle for Azeroth launches, as I will likely seek to level all of my 110 characters to 120 and then choose to main the one I enjoyed the most.

However, this is only looking at things from a mechanical perspective and I would be lying if I said that was the only draw to a class that I have. There are two more aspects: class fantasy and roleplay affinity. There is a difference, though these aspects are fairly intertwined. Class fantasy is the whole “this is what I identify with and want to pretend to be” where roleplay affinity is “who do I want to pretend to be.” I will be looking at all of these when I finally decide what I want to main in Battle for Azeroth.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. The following are the classes and specs that are on the list:

  • Paladin – Holy / Retribution (for solo content)
  • Priest – Holy (might try learning Discipline)
  • Mage – Arcane / Fire / Frost
  • Hunter – Marksmanship
  • Shaman – Restoration / Elemental
  • Druid – Restoration / Balance
  • Rogue – Outlaw / Subtelty
  • Warrior – Arms

The last two are likely not going to make the cut unless I fall in love with melee dps as I level them, and even then they’ll struggle to compete with retribution paladin, as I prefer the utility that retribution can bring to the table. Also, the druid is likely a character I will level from 1 to 120 in Battle for Azeroth, or whatever level Blizzard decide to start Kul Tiran humans at as I really liked the whole wicker element to it and the animal forms look FANTASTIC! (even if I don’t plan on being Guardian or Feral… They’re still lovely) However the others are already level 110 and ready for Battle for Azeroth.

So first I will look at the class fantasy. This is actually where the biggest issue comes up: I love the rogue class fantasy. In D&D you will usually find me playing a rogue or a bard (or a combination of the two), so the sneaky rogue class fantasy is what I love. I will do my best to rank the above classes by class fantasy for an overall look at it:

  1. Rogue
  2. Mage
  3. Hunter
  4. Warrior
  5. Paladin
  6. Priest
  7. Druid
  8. Shaman

This is a problem. My top three are literally all pure dps classes, but I enjoy healing the most. Out of the top five there is a single class that can heal. Furthermore, the top class is melee dps! Oh the horror! I have a problem with melee dps at the moment that I am trying to overcome by leveling both a rogue and a warrior, but as it stands right now I still don’t seem to click with melee dps. Now that I’ve said this, let’s extend the issue by going to roleplay affinity. I’ll do my best to list them in order:

  1. Elise Dawnsinger – Musician and freelance agent from Lordaeron. Was adopted by a high elf fleeing south to avoid political intrigue in Silvermoon. (Hunter and Rogue)
  2. Lyra Dawnsinger – Apprentice mage and small business owner. Again, adopted by a high elf but this one was actually living in Stormwind. Was a homeless beggar girl in Stormwind and now owns a small tailoring business. (Mage)
  3. Wicker-medicine-lady – Not yet made because I need Kul-Tiran humans to release. The idea I’m going with is a natural healer and alchemist with some wicker vibes. More on this once I get my teeth into the Battle for Azeroth Alliance side campaign. (Druid)
  4. Clarinne Wakefield – Former farm girl and member of the Westfall Brigade. She’s… poorly educated, but has a heart of gold. Very simple and direct. Family was killed by Defias who burned down her family’s farm when she was a teenager. (Warrior)
  5. Kailyn Moore (not 100% set on surname) – Former Scarlet crusader. Was turned against the crusade in Lordaeron after a group of crusaders and the forces of the Alliance they were fighting were cornered by undead and had to work together. Saw the horrors of the crusade and turned her back on them. Now a scholar and a priest in Stormwind. (Priest)
  6. Meliaa – Shaman from Draenor. Bit of a spiritual guide to her people, but failed them when her people were killed by rampaging Orcs (after having learned shamanism from one of them). (Shaman)
  7. Tilaara – Lightforged vindicator and veteran of the Army of the Light. DEUS VULT. (Paladin)

Once again, the top two comprises of three pure dps classes and the bottom three are all classes who can heal. At this stage I feel like I’m painting a picture of who I would main in Battle for Azeroth. Clearly I should play either Rogue, Hunter, Mage or Druid. They are the top roleplay affinity characters as well as being the top for class fantasy. It feels like a no-brainer. However, it’s this last list that throws everything out the window… Let’s rank the classes in terms of mechanical enjoyment…

  1. Priest
  2. Paladin
  3. Shaman
  4. Hunter
  5. Mage
  6. Druid(?)
  7. Rogue
  8. Warrior

Yep. We’ve pretty much turned the previous tables on their head. Damn you, Blizzard. Making me love the mechanics of classes I have no class fantasy with or will to RP. I don’t really have time to dedicate to too many characters, so there have to be cuts. I’d love to be able to play all eight, honestly, but with work, tabletop and other responsibilities I won’t be able to pay attention to more than maybe three characters. Now, I’m a numbers nerd, so let’s put this into a table…

Character Mechanical Enjoyment Class Fantasy Roleplay Affinity Average Position Overall Position
Hunter 4 3 1 2.67 1
Rogue 7 1 1 3 2
Paladin 2 5 8 5 5
Priest 1 6 6 4.33 4
Mage 5 2 3 3.33 3
Warrior 8 4 5 5.67 7
Druid 4 7 4 5 5
Shaman 3 8 7 6 8

Which gives a final list of:

  1. Hunter
  2. Rogue
  3. Mage
  4. Priest
  5. Druid
  6. Paladin (5th equal, really)
  7. Warrior
  8. Shaman

Again, no healers in the top three when we look into it from a purely mechanical perspective. It would be an easy choice if I wasn’t interested in PvE and, given War Mode coming in Battle for Azeroth, trying my hand in PvP. Honestly, I think it’s going to take some time to decide when Battle for Azeroth comes out and I will seriously have to consider which character I get the feel for, because going through this has only told me that I have literally no idea what I want to do in Battle for Azeroth. It could be druid, as one of the limiting factors of druid was low mechanical enjoyment, but it has been a long, long time since I have played druid (we’re talking The Burning Crusade levels of a long time ago). At the end of the day, it’s all rather inconclusive.

And here I was hoping I’d find some answers… Well, what do you plan on having as your “main” in Battle for Azeroth? I hope you’ve had an easier time choosing than I have!

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