My “plan” for Shadowlands was to take my hunter Sriset through the storyline, align her with Night Fae, retire her, and then focus on leveling first my horde priest Srirajah and then my alliance priest Zarivia. Well, I did the Sriset part and started on the priest part, but then I got so tired of getting my butt kicked on my priests, that I switched my focus to my blood elf paladin Resora. Today Resora is my best geared character and I am loving playing her as a Venthyr retribution or protection paladin.
When it comes to play style, priests and paladins are very different, at least for me. On Srirajah (Raj), I have to keep enemies at a distance when I fight them and keep my Power Word Shield bubble up at all times to reduce damage. I fear them away, blast them back with Shining Force, and then have to smack them with light and shadow up close when those first two abilities are on cool down. I play Raj in discipline spec solo because I like the mix of damage and heals. I’ve tried shadow on her solo but seem to die more often. When I play Raj, I usually expect to die if I’m fighting more than one mob, but I often surprise myself by managing to defeat them all. “All” being max three or four or maybe one big baddie.
Playing my pally Resora is VERY different than playing my priest Raj because Res needs to be up close and personal beating the crud out of baddies, usually several baddies at once. When I’m playing solo on Res, I switch between protection and retribution spec depending on my mood and what I’m doing in game. For solo play I used to do protection exclusively because I always felt it had better survivability. However, as I’ve stretched my wings more on Res, I’ve discovered that retribution is quite powerful and versatile too. Plus, I’m rather fond of her flaming version of Ashbringer because my pally Solunai is the only character I did the Balance of Power questline on, so I feel I earned that particular artifact appearance. I have yet to find a one-handed flaming sword for protection spec, but if one exists, please let me know!
While Raj marks a milestone for me in that I created her specifically thinking I would use her for heals in dungeons and raids, Res marks a surprising milestone I’d never set for myself in that I’m doing rated and unrated PVP on her. My friend Jack asked me if I’d be interested in doing PVP with him on his mage and I said sure even though I was scared. I knew I needed to venture outside my comfort zone, and as Jack is so much fun to adventure with, I’ve done that a lot with him. I knew I wasn’t very good at PVP but I was willing to give it a try because Jack believed in me and because the rewards from it sounded very enticing!
Prior to teaming up with Jack, my experiences with PVP were mostly random battlegrounds and the few times we encountered people from the other faction when leveling with Warmode on. Doing PVP brawls and rated 2v2 with Jack is very different and much faster than doing battlegrounds. Jack obviously knows what he’s doing and always amazes me in PVP, whereas I tend to think I’m more the shiny pally distraction while he melts their faces off on his mage. He has insisted that it takes both of us to do well and I always appreciate his encouragement and faith in me. I think I’ve gotten a bit better in PVP but I don’t know that I’ll ever be as good as Jack. But that’s okay, because I’m having fun and doing the best I can and learning a lot more about retribution spec.
For PVP, I’ve been using some talents that I hadn’t used much before in ret spec and I even have a second action bar set up specifically for when I PVP. Honestly, doing that made me barely recognize myself! But it’s really exciting discovering new dimensions and possibilities in ret spec and branching out in terms of my fighting style. Do I still get murdered often in PVP? Yes. However, I’m having fun with it and I think that’s the most important thing. For me, if I took it too seriously I’d get very mad at myself and probably give up.
I’ve also been doing things on Raj that have made me wonder who I am these days, but not in a bad way. It’s in a “I can’t believe I’m doing this thing that I never thought I’d do” way. Aside from trying heals, a big leap into the unknown I’ve taken on Raj is doing a bit of roleplay. Once again, it was Jack who suggested I try it because he was going to the Aether’s Veil Ball on Wyrmrest Accord with a few of our other Warcraft friends, Alla, Kranna (Suura), and Myro. I wasn’t going to go because I’d never done roleplay before and didn’t want to ruin the experience for other people, but Jack insisted I was welcome and so I fancied Raj up a bit and accompanied Jack.
Although I felt out of place most of the time, I’m glad I went and I had fun. There were tons of people there and so many conversations going on it was impossible to follow them, but I managed not to flee in panic and anxiety. Jack and I were both very happy when our friend Alla showed up and I thought it was cool that Alla and I had inadvertently dressed similar.
When it comes to roleplay, no matter who I’m on, there’s always going to be a bit, or a lot, of Sriness in my character. After all I’m Sri and I’m not good at pretending I’m not. I might have caused some people to break character with my antics, but hey, it’s all in good fun, right?
Overall, my plans for Shadowlands haven’t gone as planned, they’ve actually gone better than I planned! While I’ve been discouraged with my healing abilities on Srirajah, I am impressed with how I’ve been able to do so much content solo on a squishy cloth priest. I’ve hit a few road blocks and ran into one that almost stopped my progress altogether, but fortunately a shiny, glowing, and very familiar pally named Baltim chanced to swoop in and save the day at just the right moment, which allowed me to obtain my Kyrian Covenant mount and continue on the campaign. It’s so nice having friends on the same realm!
It seems unlikely at this point that my plans to take Raj into raid as a healer will happen because I’m enjoying Resora so much. I’ve struggled with melee in dungeons and raids in the past, but I’ve gotten better at staying out of the bad and self-healing as much as possible. I really thought I’d stick with a ranged spec in raids and dungeons forever because it’s less stressful being far back where I can see everything, but Shadowlands and the adventures I’ve had with my friends in it, has brought out a different side to me that’s a bit more fierce and fiery, with some snark and sass tossed in for good measure. 😉
Alternating between squishy Srirajah and hard-to-kill Resora has definitely sharpened my mental abilities quite a bit and proven to me once again, that I’m capable of so much more than I think I am.