So lots of people have been blogging about Patch 3.3 perhaps being the greatest patch of all time for World of Warcraft. The combination of the long-awaited end of the Arthas Lich King storyline and one of the absolute most revolutionary gameplay mechanics changes have combined to make quite a patch. In fact, I believe only 3.1 stands even remotely close, with Ulduar being a very well-designed raid and dual spec being added. But the new LFG trumps dual spec by a nose because it has reinvigorated the game for so many people, whether they are trying to keep up on their mains or level alts. You can now find low-level instances almsot as easily as farming badges, which is now ridiculously easy. Plus we're given a reason to play in the heroics again, most of which are good fun. No offense to the great quests Blizzard comes up with, but WoW is all about instances and they design them very well overall.
Basically I've played a little each day almost since the patch hit, which was unheard of in ym busy schedule before the patch. I can fit in 30 minutes to run a quick LFG on Ekat and get Frost emblems as well as Tier 9 level gear. I actually haven't had time to run a single low-level instance on the three leveling healers because I've been so busy with Ekat and Navar. Nevertheless, I have heard good things from other leveling players and Navar can find a group instantly for his level-appropriate normal WOTLK dungeons. It is so much faster to level doing one quick instance a day for 20% of a level than it is to grind quests. I suspect Navarionae will be 80 before any of the rest of the AE Team gets much more attention.
Oh and before I forget, a blurb on the new Northrend Kaluak fishing contest. I know this gives a nice heirloom 5% ring, but I'm stunned at the sheer number of players interested in a fishing contest again. Very nifty and subtle add for those of us who make some money and have some fun with the minigame that is fishing.
So back to the point: there was a very unexpected side effect of the new LFG. See if you can tell what it is...
Yes indeed, Ekat is now proudly Holy and Discipline dual spec. Remember that I leveled her all the way to 80 as Holy, so I'm not feeling all that gimped by not being shadow. I basically came to the realization that I do not want to waste time gearing for an offspec. I don't particularly like DPS'ing in raids and instances, but I would do it to get a spot. Now that healers can click their fingers and have a group, there is absolutely no motivation to stay shadow. I'll miss Shadowform looking cool and I'll be a hair slower on the few dailies I do now and again, but these are minor points compared to the fun and versatility of finally seeing Penance.
In my first few days as a Discipline priest, I definitely have to adjust to not having Circle of Healing. However, Penance is such an overpowering spell and not having any CD on Power Word Shield is a boon for 5-man healing. In the raids I have run since going Disc, it has been a blast to feel actually effective at tank healing. Holy can tank heal for sure, but not to the same extent as Discipline thanks to Penance (even knowing you have Guardian Spirit every 1 minute). About the only thing Holy has that Discipline does not is the Spirit of Redemption. That's actually a big deal sometimes, but then again...I can flip between Holy and Disc at will so I haven't really lost it. The captain of the AE Team is definitely living her dream, being the most versatile healer she can be and playing the best healing class in the game. After all, that's why Blizzard gave us TWO healing specs, right?
In the end, this really should not surprise me. I have always felt out of place as a DPS in a group. I hate the feeling of being totally replaceable, and love the pressure of being a backbone of the group. I fail, we fail. I want a challenge, and tanking and healing is that challenge. So while I'll gladly level a toon with a DPS spec when I'm questing, that will not be as important now that you can level primarily in instances and battlegrounds. This allows players like me to reach our full potential I believe, and helps us do what we want to do in the limited time frames we have to play. So thanks Blizzard, for finally giving me the push to go Holy/Disc.