Thursday, September 01, 2005

A Classic Dilemma

Aiden e-mailed me a question today, and closed with "I feel like I should have sent this to Red Mage or something." So, that gave me the idea to answer it here and see what everyone else thinks. Here's his e-mail (edited slightly because I've gone mad with power):

I have a question about my WoW priest. I know you have never played the game but you have lots of experience with building characters so I figured you would be the better person to ask. Ok as I said I am playing a priest. Important attributes: Stamina gives more hit points, Intelligence gives more mana, higher crit rate for spells, Spirit improves regeneration rate.

Now I know that most people swear by Stamina. Each point extra in stamina gives 10 more hp. My build, however, looks for equipment that gives Intelligence (which is more important IMPO) and spirit. The way I look at it, instead of surviving 1 extra hit I'd rather have a short down time. Priests come with a shield ability which absorbs X amount of damage before it disappears. With my talent build I can recast this spell on myself every 15 seconds (instead of 30). If I am not in combat (which is to say not getting hit or being hit) I want my spirit to regenerate me. I can cast a spell on myself that heals X amount of health every 3 seconds for 15 seconds. So I can shield myself and keep casting that on me while I run as needed. The nice thing about regeneration is if you haven't cast a spell in 3-5 seconds your mana starts to regenerate. So I can shield, heal, and run if I'm being chased. With high spirit I can run and get to my max hp/mana quicker.

Now some would argue that I should take half and half, half spirit, half stamina, or any other percentage of it. Is the extra 70 hp worth the extra 4-5 hp and 20-40 mana a second?

Now What you have here is a very old and very common dilemma, around since the days of the first pen-and-paper game. Do I play to my character's strengths, compensate for their weaknesses, or pursue the middle ground and try to improve everything a little? In my opinion, there is no one right answer, and a person should just play to their preference. That being said, there are some other considerations that might influence such a decision. In a game like World of Warcraft, you often play in teams (well, in the later stages of the game, at any rate), so, presuming that your team is somewhat balanced, there should be someone else present to compensate for your weaknesses, while you do the same for theirs. On the other hand, in a single-character dungeon-hack, you're all on your own, and I've found that it pays to build well-rounded characters in game like that.

Generally, however, I prefer to play to my strengths. Presumably you chose to play your class for a reason, so why cheapen that by trying to eliminate the characteristics that make that class special? In any event, I'd be curious to know what everyone else thinks.


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