Friday, October 2, 2009

The Past vs. The Present

When I first began playing D&D, I wanted to be a fighter. You know, so you could fight with a sword, kill things and in general act like one of those knights you'd see on the movies as a kid. The kid who introduced me to D&D -a boy named Rob- had his own fighter whom he'd so eloquently named Sir Robert, and boy did I want that.

So there we were, rolling up our first characters. He had the old blue box D&D set, so our choices were along the lines of Dwarf, Elf, Mystic, Fighter, Cleric, Thief. You probably know the drill: roll 3 six-sided dice once each time for Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution and Charisma. Well, I rolled an 18 for Wisdom, and Rob told me "Oh, that's good. You should be a Cleric; they need high Wisdom."

"A Cleric?"

"Yeah, they're like a priest."

Images of the priests at church walking around in a dungeon fighting dragons appeared in my head, and I passed. "I want to be a fighter," I told Rob.

He shrugged and we set my character up as a not-too-strong (but very wise) fighter.

That character, Sir Michael, didn't last too long when the first room we went into had ::cue dramatic music:: 5 Red Dragons!

Oh well.

However, somewhere along the line, I began to warm to the idea of being a Cleric. Especially when I found out that no, it wasn't like Father Jim going around blessing people, but more like Friar Tuck (without all the rotundity). That, I could deal with. When I started playing D&D in college, I soon discovered that "Cleric" was the sort of character class that nobody really wanted to play but every group needed to have one of, so I bit the bullet and became the group Cleric. In fact, in the current game I play, I'm still a Cleric, although I have double dipped and have an Elven Wizard as well (it was another class that nobody wanted to play, so you know the drill).

I think you can see where this is going.

When I first downloaded WoW and set up a character, what class did I choose? The Priest, naturally. As I inquired about it, I was warned that the Priest class in WoW is a bit different than that in older editions of D&D. (D&D 4E has the Cleric set up more like the D&D 3E and WoW Paladin, but I digress.) I quickly discovered that yeah, the Priest is different. No armor -only cloth for you, bucko- more heavily reliant upon spells, and best when attacking a single enemy with spells at one time. The WoW Priest is far more fragile than any D&D version, and is typically right at the back of the line with the Mage and the Warlock. You won't see my Priest invoking the name of his Deity and charging into battle anytime soon.

Do I like the priest?

Well, yes and no.

Oh, I like putzing around with the spells a bit, and the Priest seems to be a popular character when groups are forming ("Looking 4 Priest 4 Grp 4 Ragefire Canyon"), but the Priest is definitely the Yang to the Yin of the Mage. That takes some getting used to, and soloing with a Priest means I have to stop a lot to heal/regain mana. For a guy who's used to charging into battle and inspiring the troops with a few well timed invocations, that can be frustrating. (As a contrast to the WoW Priest, early in my current D&D 3E Cleric's career, he bull rushed a group of goblins who were about to overwhelm one of the party's Rangers. Stupid and dangerous, yes, but it succeeded, and so the Cleric now has it in his head that he can do that and it'll just work for him. Playing a character from an pampered upper class background can be fun that way.)

So, I put the Priest on a shelf for a while, and decided to try the Paladin. Murtaugh here mentioned that the Paladin is probably closer to what I'm used to playing as a Cleric, and he's right to a big extent. The Paladin can get in there, invoke the Gods, mix it up, and still take enough of a licking to keep moving on without much healing or mana regeneration. Of course, the Paladin very similar to the D&D 3E Paladin (and is somewhere in between the 4E Cleric and Paladin), so if you've ever played the part of the classic Holy Warrior, this is the class for you. Considering the amount of damage the Paladin can deal out, I have to wonder how much more physical damage a Warrior of comparable level can inflict.

I think that I'm going to have the Paladin as my primary class, but I won't mind dragging out the Priest ever so often for a spin. I also have to admit I'm curious about the Hunter class, as I don't know anyone personally who plays one, but the WoW version of the Ranger does have a certain appeal to a guy who likes to solo a bit.

Hmm... Maybe a Tauren Hunter...


  1. Holy wall of text, awesome!

    It's good to see your thoughts about how the various classes took some inspiration from the older RPG styles.

    You are right about the WOW paladin being a split between the classic DND paladin and cleric - leaning more heavily one way or the other depending on how you spec your character.

    Warriors of comparable level do just about the same as you would if you were retribution spec, assuming of course, the warrior is specc'd for damaged.

    I have a level 60 hunter. They do solo very well, but I found I didn't much care for the play style of laying traps and constantly running away to get range on things. I'm more of the up in your face laying the smack down kinda player.

  2. Aha, so you DO have a Hunter then. I should have guessed. Is there a class you haven't tried?

  3. I have not made it past level 12 on a warlock, or level 17ish on a mage. I just don't do the ranged damaged classes.

  4. Hunters are pretty OP actually, especially if the pet is done right. Mages are fun, glass cannons, but as I'm slowly being reminded of recently, they don't go toe to toe with many things very well.

    Paladins and Druids are very choice, especially if your into PVP in anyway. Also, both make excellent tanks or healers for finding a pick up group is always easy.

  5. I don't have a lot of experience playing the Ranger/Hunter type, but I have had experience soloing. Heck, that's what NWN is, for the most part.

    Hmm... That could be another blog entry, right there: soloing vs. groups.