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!

4 thoughts on “Polytoons can be Bad”

  1. 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. @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. 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. ><

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