Since creating my character in World of Warcraft, my plan all along has been to level as an Enhancement spec Shaman and to re-spec Restoration after reaching level 70. I hesitated for a bit because I had gotten used to doing some pretty nice DPS and killing mobs quickly; playing as Enhancement was very fun. However, in the interest of increasing my group and raid desirability I succumbed and transformed myself into a healer.
The first problem that came to light was how horribly under-geared I was as a healer, given that all of my gear was meant for damage output, not healing. So when I logged in the other night, my first priority was to finish off a few quests that reward decent healing items. I wasn’t on for five minutes before I got a whisper from a friend asking if I wanted to go into Karazhan.
After much hesitation, I relented and decided to go. There were a couple of reasons for my hesitation. First and foremost I was worried about my lack of healing gear, and wondered if I’d actually be able to provide a meaningful contribution. Secondly, I was really hoping to run some five-man instances as a healer before jumping into raids so I could better learn my new spec. After being told that I’d be just fine I accepted my invitation to the raid.
I was a little bit nervous, because I had no idea what to expect. Through 70 levels I had very limited grouping experience, and the rare times I was grouped, it was in a DPS role. Now I was headed off to a raid, where I was expected to heal, when I had basically no group healing experience at all. Not to mention the fact that I had absolutely no idea what Kharazan was all about, and just what it was I was heading into.
There’s both an upside and downside to coming into an MMO long after everyone else has played it to death. On the downside, Karazhan has become routine for my guild. The majority of the guild has run through it enough times that they could probably do it with their eyes closed. I however, had no clue as to what was going on. No clue whatsoever. From my point of view, things transpired as such: zone in, start moving, kill a bunch of mobs, kill more mobs, kill a guy on a horse. Oh, wait, that was a boss? We moved so fast that I had no time to look around and soak in the atmosphere of the instance. It didn’t feel like what I think a raid instance should feel like.
I don’t want to make any steadfast conclusions on raiding in WoW after just one brief stint in Karazhan, so I’ll reserve final judgement for a future day. For now, I’m not saying I didn’t have fun in Karazhan, because I most definitely did. I’ve been staring at my screen for an hour now trying to put into words how I felt about the experience, and I’m drawing a blank. I would have thought that I’d have tonnes to talk about after my first raid in WoW, but I just… don’t. I suppose I’ll say that I had fun, but I expected more, and am looking forward to going deeper into Karazhan (we stopped after Nightbane) and seeing some of the other raiding instances that WoW has to offer.
So what’s the upside of coming into WoW long after everyone else? Loot. Of the phat variety. Despite having no DKP with my guild, after three bosses into Karazhan, I was the only person to receive any loot for the simple fact that pretty much everyone else already had better stuff. I actually started to feel a little bit guilty after a while, but frankly that’s a price I’m willing to pay for epic gear.