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Changing Mains: Pros and Cons

September 20, 2010

Cataclysm is coming, the World of Warcraft is in for a shake-up. But despite all of Deathwing’s disturbances, the cities and zones of WoW aren’t the only things that are changing. Many people choose the release of a new expansion to evaluate their play style and often change mains, as it’s a chance to start anew, without being set back too far from the rest of the population of WoW (e.g. in terms of gear).

First of all, let us define what is meant by a person’s main. From WoWWiki:

main is a player’s primary player character. Sometimes this is the first character the player created and played, but often it is not. Generally it is the character that sees the most play time and investment of resources—and often is the highest level, or best geared—out of any other active characters on the player’s account.

So why would you want to change your mains?

The Good:

It gives you a chance to try something new. Playing one class for so long means that, despite how much you may love that class, it has the potential to grow stale eventually. By switching mains you bring a fresh, new style to your gameplay, which could even make your play time more enjoyable. This is usually the main reason why people change mains, because they’ve become bored with their current play style and want to try something different.

You increase your ‘WoW knowledge’. By having a specific character as a main, you spend a lot of time intimately learning its strengths and weaknesses, what situations it excels in, what scenarios it is lacking in. By switching mains, you further broaden your WoW knowledge, by thoroughly knowing more than just one class. In addition, if you’re changing roles, you get to experience a completely new side of fights. In the past you may have been a ranged DPSer, just sitting back and pew-pew’ing from afar, but now that you’re changing to a healer you’ll have to focus more on your team mates and their health rather than the boss’s.

If you do decided to change mains, having a previous main makes it a lot easier to start a new one. Compared to someone starting completely from scratch, your new main (whether already a high level or just starting out) will have it easy when you start. This makes the leveling process a whole lot easier, with items like heirlooms that make the leveling faster, or even just copious amounts of money that makes life a little bit easier at the earlier levels.

Finally, if you have decided to change mains, the release of a new expansion is the best time to do it. Everyone will be subject to the leveling process and having to start gearing up their characters again, so you’ll be affected much less if you start a completely new character now rather than in to a progressed expansion. Even if you’re just changing your main to an already-80 but lesser geared alt, the gear difference no longer matters with the release of a new expansion.

The Bad:

Bear in mind that changing mains is never an easy thing to do, and there are a significant number of disadvantages alongside all the advantages.

First of all, especially if you’re starting a completely new class, you may feel a bit out of your depth. For the most part, unless you’ve played that specific class in the past, you won’t know how to fully utilise the character to its maximum potential. Some things that you used to be able to do on your old main with ease may now seem a lot harder. Don’t worry, it’s all part of learning the new role. It may feel ‘clumsy’ at first, but your skills with that class will improve over time! If you’re feeling especially worried about how you’re playing, go check out some blogs related to that class – they can be a huge help when starting something new. But remember, you don’t need to start with guns blazing at 100% efficiency. It takes time, but as long as you’re having fun there should be no problem.

The other main drawback is that you lose all your hard-earned achievements. This is one that can hurt. Remember all those long hours you spend grinding rep just to get your “Ambassador” title? Or those hard-fought, hard-mode battles you persevered through to get your Frostbrood Vanquisher? Or even that 16,000g you forked out for your Traveller’s Tundra Mammoth? Yeah, you’ll still have all of those, but not for use on your new main. (Unless, of course, you go back and do it all again with the new character.) If you’re starting a completely new character, you’ll be starting with no achievements, no mounts, no mini-pets. And even if you are promoting an alt to your main, chances are they’re probably not as well ‘stocked’ in terms of achievements of mounts as your past main was.

Before deciding to change your main, weigh up the pros and cons. Decide if this is really something you want to do, because of all the advantages but despite all the drawbacks. If you decide that you do really want to go through with it, the release Cataclysm is one of the best times to do it. And remember, if you don’t like your new main and feel a sense of longing for your old one, you can always go back!

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 28, 2010 12:03 pm

    I have a feeling with the trend the community has taken in WotLK, making achievements a bigger deal than I personally think they should be, a lot of players will be very reluctant to main switch because of that.

    Welcome to the blogosphere by the way and good luck with the blog! =)

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