What to Play in Mists of Pandaria?

Posted: September 21, 2012 in Mist of Pandaria
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With World of Warcraft’s latest expansion, Mists of Pandaria, only 3 days and 10 hours away (as of the time of this writing), I’m finding myself in a bit of a pickle – I’ve yet to choose a class and spec that I intend to play. For some, this choice may be simple. Perhaps you only have one character at the Cataclysm max level of 85, making it the most sensible choice to level. I’ve managed to get every class leveled to max which completely exacerbates my indecision. Should I stay on my Death Knight to keep dishing out the diseases and protecting my face with blood shields? Should I revert to my previous main and lay down some holy wrath or healing on my Paladin? Any other class is also an option, except my poor abandoned rogue. I don’t much care to pay for a server transfer to get him on the same server as my guild. Maybe I should make a list:

The Factors

  • Fun – Which spec do I enjoy the most?

I really enjoyed playing my Frost Death Knight in Cata, but the changes making frost presence the best has slowed down the game play a bit and is a little less fun. I might have to try out unholy. I’ve found that overall I’ve never really enjoyed ranged specs quite as much as melee, though the changes to Warlocks are bringing me around a little. Adding Holy Power to Paladins killed them for me in Cataclysm, if I wanted combo points I’d play a rogue. Although, if Arms Warriors are still as fun it could be a worthwhile choice. So far, DK, Warrior and Warlocks are winning this section.

  • Guild Needs – It’s less beneficial to play a monk tank if we have 3 of them already (we don’t). A better spread of specs is often better for the power of the team, along with the loot distribution.

Currently my 10m guild has a Monk tank and a Paladin tank covering the tanking roles for main tanks, though, no specs with off tank options have been chosen. For healers we have a Paladin, Shaman (tentative for first couple of months) and Priest. We have a dps mage, priest, shaman, hunter, and rogue. The only holes in our loot spread are plate dps and leather caster (monk healer possibly, or the mythical boomkin). Plate dps, moonkin or the healing monk are the smartest for group composition.

  • Which is Most Prepared – I’ll level a bit faster, and get to dungeons / raid quicker, on a character that has better gear now.

This section comes down clearly to my Death Knight. He is most geared for tanking, damage, and PVP by a large margin over my other characters. He has a 406 item level DPS set, 403 tank set, and 390 PVP set (not that the PVP set matters much for leveling on a PVE server). The other classes are all between 370 and 385 item level, nearly all of their gear will be replaced in the first zone – the DK might be wearing some of the same gear up to the second zone if the gear scales similar to Cataclysms.

  • Which is Strongest – Playing a spec that historically and currently is underpowered might not be the best choice overall.

While researching the different classes, I’ve seen this come up often as players choose their new toon. It does make sense for a player to not want to come to raid with something that is sub par. But what specs are usually weak? Subtlety Rogues, Frost Mages, and maybe that’s all. Even those are viable on some fights occasionally. Everything else rotates in power from patch to patch. Though, I’ve seen mages and rogues top the charts on sites like World of Logs more often than anything else. This category isn’t really helpful for me.

  • Which do I Perform Best With – Do I really want to play a class I’m terrible at?

In Wrath I made a shaman with the intent to play it as enhancement, I was so bad at that rotation (see: Terribly low dps) that it wasn’t fun or productive and I switched to elemental. As a general rule, I play melee classes better than ranged. Unless I’m healing I’m a little more likely to zone out while I’m pewpewing from a safe distance. Being mixed up in the fray brings out my A-game. I used to be very good at Holy Paladin healing in Wrath and early Cataclysm, and though it’s been a while since I played that spec, I’m sure I’d be better on it than any of the healing classes. Except, just maybe, the monk. The idea of healing from Melee is what tempted me to Holy Paladins, the Monk healer just might inspire the same productivity out of me.

I Really Over Think Things Sometimes

In this case though, the though is fairly important. It is difficult to switch mains in a raiding guild without causing problems in the group composition. If we have 3 healers, I can’t very well decide I don’t feel like DPSing on my DK and switch to a terribly under geared Resto Druid mid expansion. Switching mains usually requires some coordination with the guild, the player whose role is leaving or I’m switching with, and working to get this new class up to par with the guild. My guild is hoping to start raiding within 2-3 weeks of launch, this gives me a little bit of time to become more sure of my decision, but I do want to be dungeon geared and raid ready in line with the rest of my compatriots.

So which class and spec should I play? The Death Knight seemed to come up on top of most of my categories above, but I’ve played it for a year and a half now and might be getting a little bit tired of its mechanics – particularly the newer slower frost presence. A Warrior would be good for loot distribution and a Warlocks summoning stone would be very welcome since Blizzard nerfed guild perks into the ground. I’m still undecided! Maybe the readers could offer some advice in the comments!

  1. […] What to Play in Mists of Pandaria? […]

  2. […] and to now. Mists of Pandaria is a solid upgrade and addition to World of Warcraft. If you read my last post, or feel like going to read it now, you’d have seen that I was indecisive regarding what […]

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