Polytoons can be Bad

My main is my holy priest. My raid-ready alt is a pro­tec­tion war­rior. I like heal­ing slightly more than tank­ing, but hon­estly I’m happy play­ing either. I’m also glad to pinch hit in a dps sit­u­a­tion every now and then, because it means I have more time to enjoy my scotch.

After a lot of prac­tice, I’ve become good enough to either heal or tank for instances, hero­ics, and raids. The change of pace actu­ally keeps my over­all inter­est level higher. When I brought my tank along for the ride, how I was helping!

Or at least, how I thought I was help­ing. Despite the fact that I’ve become more use­ful to my guild and have more fun play­ing the game, the social ram­i­fi­ca­tions have made me wish that I hadn’t tried it in the first place. There were consequences.

I helped many raids get off the ground. I subbed in as guild Main Tank for a while when ours went loco, and pro­gres­sion didn’t miss a beat. I switched between core healer and core tank as the sit­u­a­tion demanded. It was very fun to play.

Many peo­ple in my guild looked at what I was doing and said, “Wow, how awe­some to be so useful!”

Lots of people.

Eigh­teen months later, my guild has a 10-man raid’s worth of excel­lent poly­toon­ers: a rogue/holy priest, a warlock/healing shammy, two mage/holy priests, a mage/warrior tank, etc. We have far fewer raids stall due to not being able to fill a role. Obvi­ously, this hasn’t been a prob­lem at all for peo­ple who are already good at the game. If any­thing, it’s made our core stronger and more ver­sa­tile, with peo­ple who under­stand the game better.

The prob­lem is that the peo­ple who aren’t good at the game–com­mon in casual/raiding guilds–also try to poly­toon. They’re tak­ing their lim­ited sup­ply of skill and try­ing to spread it across even more char­ac­ters. That well-meaning 10th man is guar­an­teed to be so forever­more. If the player couldn’t fig­ure out how to do dam­age as a hunter, how are they going to get bet­ter when split­ting time between a hunter and pal­adin tank? Answer: a lot of sigh­ing from raid leadership.

I still feel that good play­ers and offi­cers should be ready to plug com­mon holes in a raid. How­ever, don’t con­fuse util­ity with what the team needs to suc­ceed. Make cer­tain that your guild out­lays that mains should always be everyone’s pri­or­ity. Try­ing to intro­duce that thought becomes much more dif­fi­cult after the poly­toon mind­set has grown roots.

More Words!

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4 thoughts on “Polytoons can be Bad

  1. Kikidas

    This is true to a cer­tain extent, yes…

    But occa­sion­ally you have some­one who can’t DPS their way through a sack of wet baby mice wind up being a really awe­some healer, because for what­ever rea­son, heal­ing fits their mind­set and their abil­i­ties bet­ter than DPS­ing did.

  2. GoW Post author

    @Kikidas — I thought more about what you said. (I shouldn’t post when I’m tired.)

    I agree with you. I’ve seen bad heal­ers become good(-enough) dps. I’ve had some­one find suc­cess only on their fourth try at endgame. For some rea­son, enhance­ment shaman just clicked for him. Peo­ple should experiment.

    I’m warn­ing against the case of the per­son who’s fail­ing to move on from their mediocre main while simul­ta­ne­ously work­ing on a “raid-ready alt”. For peo­ple try­ing to find their best match, they’re not going to hang on to the role that didn’t work.

    This is a strike against the “level to max level, then see how well you do in endgame” sys­tem, huh? You play a toon for all that time, and then whoops, you’re no good at instancing/raiding on it.

  3. kikidas

    Hehehe, this is why mul­ti­ple alts all lev­el­ing together is good! One, you’re never out of rested XP and two, when you hit 70, you hit 70 with everyone!

    That’s my excuse for my sta­ble and I’m stick­ing to it.

    The hard part is… some peo­ple think they’re good at what they’re doing. And how do you tell a friend that… uh, you’re ter­ri­ble. ><