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To be or not to be…

I’m worried about the state of my characters.

Now, let me say that I only logged in briefly about an hour ago since the servers went back up, because the patch installer would completely freeze up my entire computer about 2% in and I had to wait for the Mac 4.0 client to go live this morning before I could properly start instal. I’ve still got 10.5GB left to download (edit: well, by the time I post this, it’s only 8.3GB…), and while the almost 1MB/s download speed is pretty damn good for me, it’s still not going to be happening within the next hour or so.

So given all that, I haven’t had a chance to really try any of my characters out. I haven’t assigned Lisan’s talent points, I haven’t fiddled around on any of my random alts. And while the Warlocks are (quite understandably, and I’m right there with them despite hardly ever playing Mellie these days) pissed off about their pets being renamed, I haven’t heard BAD things about pallies – just that they’re quite different.

And there’s the problem that I’m worried about: with all the changes, all the differences, will my characters – Lisan specifically – still be the same characters when I go to play them?

Now, obviously this isn’t as huge a worry as it would be if I RP’d Lis at all. But she is a CHARACTER in my head. She has a story, she has a personality, she has a life, of sorts. But a lot of that was influenced by how Holy Paladins played. And sure, maybe it’s silly, but healing differently… well, I’m afraid it’ll mean that Lis won’t exist anymore. It’ll be this other Dwarf who looks like her, but isn’t her. And that would break my heart, because Lis and I have been through a lot. We went through a brief period of confusion and disorientation when she had that run-in with malfunctioning Gnomish technology (aka – I got sick of the Human model and race changed her), but she was still doing the same things, and before long she (and I) grew accustomed to her new stature and curves, and she even became more herself, if that makes any sense. That character who sometimes slipped out of my grasp and felt too mutable around the edges solidified and became someone I never lost sight of. I knew who she was, really knew.

I’m worried, when I finally log in, set up my bars, re-bind my clique bindings, and get to healing, that I won’t know who that dwarf with the blonde braid is. And it won’t be the end of the world, and it won’t be enough to make me say “I don’t want to heal as a Paladin in Cata” or anything, but it won’t be… Lisan. It won’t be the character I watched struggle and fight her way to Westfall, the girl who set out to heal in melee gear, the girl who has, for the longest time, looked like a mage because I needed heirlooms I could use on more than one of my lowbies, and the others were clothies, and the int (and XP bonus) was good enough to offset the fact that it was, y’know, CLOTH. It won’t be the oft-grumbling little spitfire who always acts like she’ll leave you to die if you’re dumb enough, despite the fact that she couldn’t bring herself to do that.

If she’s not Lisan anymore, I’ll probably have myself a good cry. No, I’m not kidding – these past months, dragging Lis up by her bootstraps, learning how to make her at least somewhat better than average at healing, has made her very special to me, moreso, I think, than any other toon I’ve played. But after I have my cry, I’ll simply take a look at her and figure out who she is. She’ll probably get a makeover and a name change, if not a race change, and she’ll be someone different. I’ll mourn the death of my stubborn, sweet girl, but I’ll turn that memory into something new. Something similar, but unique. And then with that new partner in healing, I will go on to 80 and beyond. With that new partner, I’ll finally get “Starcaller”, and I’ll venture into the new worlds of Cata, and I’ll get my first (and hopefully, if luck is with me, my guild’s first) Deathwing kill. It won’t be the same, because she and I won’t have that history that Lisan and I have, but it will still be good, and while I will quietly wish Lis could be there for it, I won’t let it ruin the joy and excitement and accomplishment of it all.

But honestly, I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that. Because I love my little Dwarf girl. Sure, Speedy the ram isn’t Drika, but she still has Bastian, and Speedyram is a great (newly-discovered) source of joy in my life. The simple whipping of her braid as she casts makes me happy inside, and is the reason why I don’t display any helms, even if they look wicked cool. She’s a little version of me, stuck in Azeroth, in a way that none of my other characters have ever been, even while she’s her own character. It’s so easy for me to slip her on, as it were, because she fits me like a glove. I want to see her journey through Ulduar, I want to see her reach level 85, I want to see her take on Deathwing with 24 of her closest friends and most trusted teammates. I want to continue making jokes about her constant flirting with female Draenei (*coughLizbetSpookygoatAnderiaRaisaOsephalacough*).

So this is my hope, my wish-upon-a-star, my heart’s desire as I wait for this patch to finish installing – that Lisan will still be Lisan. Change everything else, make me go crazy from lack of mana or new stats or new talents… but let Lisan stay herself.

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11 thoughts on “To be or not to be…

  1. A while back, I was worried for Jana for a similar reason. I saw the fire tree talents and I wondered whether fire had become the new frost (the spec useless for PvE). As it turned out, fire is pretty damned awesome and I shouldn’t have worried. I hope it turns out the same for you.

    I do think that there are a contingent of players who don’t “get” what you’re talking about. These are the people who respec between fire and arcane and frost based on which spec is the highest dps, without thought of the consistency of the character. Dual spec worried me quite a bit because it felt like we were losing something intrinsic to the character.

    I think ultimately what will make or break your character is not the exact spells she casts or the playstyle as much as how you feel about the play itself. If you find the changes likeable I think you’ll find it easy to think of your character being enthusiastic for the changes. Similarly, if you don’t feel like your character meshes with the playstyle it may be because you don’t like the way things work.

    I wish you luck! I remember fire’s dark days of 3.3.0-3.3.2 and how difficult it was to live through Jana as a character. Here’s hoping you find the changes to your liking.

    1. Thing is, from what I’ve heard, I’ll probably enjoy the play style, but it doesn’t really sound like it’ll mesh with my idea of who Lis is. THAT’S why I’m more worried than I am with my other characters. My little mage Jonagold got a water elemental and blink, which was like WOAH! but it didn’t really change how she plays. I’m just being paranoid probably, but there’s always a chance…

  2. Like you, my characters all have personalities and stories of their own. In my case, any changes now and to come just become part of their experience. In other words, no, they will NOT be exactly the same. That’s what Cataclysms do. What I am looking forward to is how each will react to the changes, in turn.

    They still have stories to tell.

    (Gawd, if I had the time, this would be a fun blog post. But, no. That would be cheating.)

    1. Lol. DOOOO IIIIIIIT

      But yeah, it’s… turning out to be how I feared, Pally healing. If it seemed… at ALL like just a continuing experience, I would just have it be that. But it doesn’t feel like a continuing experience, at least, not for Holy paladins. It’s completely new. It’s a type of healing that is fun for me, but doesn’t feel at ALL like Lisan. She’s a steady, two or three spells kind of girl. Sure, she’d start using new spells as they became trained, but this complete reversal of everything she knew doesn’t even make sense and there’s so much that’s so different, and while it’s fun, it doesn’t feel like Paladin healing anymore. :/ Not the kind of Paladin she was, at any rate. I’ll probably race change her to a Draenei one of these days – it feels more like their type of healing, imo.

      1. Hm, obviously I haven’t done a full survey of the crew yet so it’s hard to frame my thoughts. I know that if one of my characters suddenly didn’t fit into his or her skin comfortably, I believe that the inner voice of the toon would in fact morph into something new.

        Well, except Flora. She’s already jaded and bitter.

        1. Oh, most definitely. The inner voice I get playing her is changing already, but the thing is… it’s not Lisan. So it’s hard to come to terms with. :/

        2. Weeellll … what I’d do under the circumstances is explore what caused this change in her. This happened with my priest (of course, what actually happened is that the guild suddenly needed an endgame healer, so she went from happy go lucky face melting tinkerer to srs bsns healbot, but IN CHARACTER there was something to look in to! :) )

        3. I think part of the problem I have is that my healing-on-Lis mindset (which will be harder for me to get out of when playing her than anything else to get used to) does not mesh well with the new Paladin healing. I don’t want to end up frustrated and sick of it before the xpac even hits… I’ve got Lis’ name on reserve with a little lowbie, so if I feel like I can rediscover her within the context of Paladin healing, that’ll be awesome, but if not… I already kind of feel who she’s becoming, and it’s someone completely different from who she is, in a very much “a completely different character” sense.

          Relearning how to heal + finishing my leveling + new expansion is enough to deal with without adding “character dysphoria” to the list. ;)

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