For this entire expansion, I have been a one-trick-pony. My paladin was my only leveled and geared character, with holy being her only leveled and geared specialization. There’s a lot of reasons for this, all of which deserve whole blog posts of their own so I won’t get into them now, but the end result is that I have been without alt up until this point in Battle for Azeroth. As much as I love my paladin, I’m glad this is changing.
Thanks primarily to a little zone named Nazjatar, I have pulled my monk and my mage, two of my oldest and most favorite alts, out of obscurity. It took about a week of work – world quests, dailies, and even a few Timewalking dungeons – but I’m now a good chunk of the way towards actually being able to bring them into endgame content. Both started at around ilvl 290, outfitted purely in questing greens. I managed to push up my monk to ilvl 394 and my mage is only a few points behind at ilvl 391. And man, can I feel the difference.
Playing a paladin as I do, and one that can heal at that, I tend to throw myself around pretty recklessly in-game. I’m definitely that person pulling every mob I need for the quest all at once and then slowly hammering them down, mostly because my plate armor allows me to do so. I’ve got a million ways to stay alive and, regardless, stuff just plain doesn’t hit me that hard. As it turns out, that experience is not at all universal.
When I first started gearing up my monk, the very first thing I did was pull a bunch of mobs like I would on my paladin. Big mistake. A few moments later, I was smooshed on the ground like a sad gnome pancake, wondering where I went wrong in my life. As it turns out, both my monk and my mage are a bit more squishy than my paladin. Actually, scratch a bit and put a lot.
At first, I was a touch irritated by just how vulnerable my alts were. Even when I put them in the basic Benthic gear, they would easily wipe if I pulled more than two mobs. How am I able to just zone out, listening to a podcast while I grind my quests? After a period of readjusting however, I began to get back into my rhythm. Old survival habits returned. I still died, don’t get me wrong, but it was happening a lot less.
What was even better was that with every gear upgrade, I could clearly tell just how much more powerful I was becoming. My spells hit harder. My health pool increased. I lived longer. I’m so used to the imperceptibly small raiding gear increases that I was completely floored by how obvious my alts’ gear increases were. Logically, when you upgrade 100 ilvl points in one item change, you’re going to see a difference. Emotionally however, I was completely surprised.
My end goal, as always, is to be able to raid on these characters but I’ve found myself enjoying the steps towards raiding far more than I expected to. I know exactly how many of a certain thing I need to gather or how many quests I need to complete to get an upgrade. When I do finally score that new item, it’s immediately apparent how much better it is. No RNG, no incremental increases, just pure exponential progression.
The next major step on the docket will be to actually start venturing into more serious group content again. For some reason, I always have a bit of a mental hurdle here – I know the dungeons and raids on my main like the back of my hand and yet running the same content on my alt feels like unfamiliar and dangerous territory. That being said, it’s a hurdle I’ve overcome each expansion on multiple characters, so I’m sure I can do it again. The gear grind must go on!