This is the story of the last legendary cloak I will be getting and the extremely hard time I had deciding on which cloak to take. There is a lot of history behind the choosing of which cloak to take and of course this post shares some commentary on how the game has played out for this character over the last 6 or so years I have played it. So continue at your own risk. ;)
The last character I will get the legendary cloak on this expansion, being the quest line is going to be removed from the game, is my shaman who managed to snag their cloak this week at long last. One of the first characters I actually started the quest on ended up being the last I got it on.
My shaman started her life simple enough when her space ship, broken and beaten, settled down on Azeroth. She was a fighter and knowing that this would end up being her home for the forseeable future she stepped out into the world swinging a mace, having a gritty attitude and a milkshake that seems to being all the boys to the yard.
She was an enhancement shaman, that is all she ever was. She leveled with a companion, a warlock I refereed to the game. It was fun leveling because of the refer a friend boost and summon. Not to mention leveling with someone was a nice change of pace because I had always leveled solo otherwise. This character was always about fun and I had fun leveling it and had fun playing it. It wasn't until well into wrath that she saw max level and entered the end game gearing process. She geared as enhancement, that was who she was, a fighter, a melee brawler, one that liked to be in the middle of things, if shaman could tank, she would.
I always loved playing enhancement. There was a little dead zone in the rotation and as a hunter main I was not used to that. There was almost always something my hunter could do and I liked that style of game play. I tried other melee and none of them tickled my fancy, to much waiting on things, too many dead zones, slow and boring, but shaman melee was the closest thing to enjoyable melee if you asked me.
When cataclysm came out I leveled as enhancement, geared as enhancement, and was ready to raid as enhancement, but with the change to healing and the guild basically losing all of its healers on or near launch, if I wanted to raid I had to do something about that.
I grabbed a few pieces of green healing gear from quests I had not finished yet, got a few pieces of crafted gear, a few others off the auction house and a PvP piece or two and went to my trainer and learned dual spec. This character never had it, she never needed it. She was a melee DPS, that is all she ever was and that is all she would ever be. Or that was what I had hoped.
I set up my healing addon for shaman healing and went to the net to read a few guides and blogs for more advanced ideas on how best to handle many different healing situations. There really has never been a good place to learn how to heal so I had to jump into a dungeon and the dungeons at the start of cataclysm were no laughing matter in a pug. Not even in the slightest. I've downed heroic raid bosses with fewer wipes than cataclysm heroic bosses in a pug.
I am not really sure if deadmines was the first dungeon I healed but it is the first dungeon I remember healing. Perhaps it was the first one or maybe it was because of how the run was that stood out in my mind. Maybe it was because of the nightmare stories that anyone that had played in those early pugs will tell you that bring that one to the forefront of my mind.
I recall being on vent with a couple of guild members that together randomed into it. They had wiped multiple times on bosses and on trash packs and I listened to them every step of the way until I had to leave and attend to some of that pesky real life stuff. When I came back online some four hours or so later they were in the deadmines. I laughed and said, I can't believe you did not drop that instantly after your last time in there only to be told it was the same dungeon they were in when I left. When they finally finished it they had went thorough over 17 healers as I recall them saying and easily twice as many damage dealers. It took the over 6 hours to complete. A dungeon. 6 hours???
So maybe deadmines was not my first run, but for whatever reason it might be, the deadmines stands out in my mind as the first thing I ever recall healing on my shaman and my story was nothing like their story. Perhaps I got lucky, most likely that would be the reason, but my group went well. We never wiped all the way up to ripsnarl where we hit our first bump in the road. The DPS was just not enough to handle it. We cycled through a few damage dealers and suffered a few more wipes, but me, the tank, and the top DPS stayed there the whole time though the 3 or 4 wipes we suffered while trying to find two more decent damage dealers.
Once we managed to snag some people that were not incompetent, even if that is a strong word for it as these dungeons were brutal and even a competent player could fail if they did not know what to do, we downed ripsnarl and the rest of the dungeon with no incident. One of the people from that 6 hour run said to me on vent, as I was commenting during the whole run, that it sounds like I did a fantastic job healing it and maybe if any of their 17 healers would have been okay it would not have been so hard for them. And so a shaman healer was born.
As the expansion went on I would heal more than I would DPS but I still had the occasion to do damage which my shaman always welcomed because that is who she really was, a damage dealer, but I learned to love shaman healing. When the Zuls came out and they were nightmare runs just like, but not as bad as, the original on release heroic dungeons, I really started to come into my own. I would say I could heal anyone to a timed run, just keep pulling, I will keep you up, and I did. I got so many random pugs their bears.
I started to become a real healer with her during that time. I loved the fact I could CC as a shaman, I could interrupt as a shaman, I had various cooldowns, big heals, and wolf form to get to, or get away, nice and quickly. The zuls are what convinced me that shaman healers were, without a doubt in my mind, the best healer for small group content in the game. I think learning in the release cataclysm dungeons made me a good healer on her. I was not tainted by the end of wrath over gearing everything infinite mana world. I learned to heal when mana mattered, choices mattered, and I think that is why I was so good at my shaman healer. That, and they really seemed OP if you ask me.
Thanks to the very good gearing system in cataclysm, one of the few nice things I can say I liked about it, that not only offered valor gear but the ability to do your 7 "bonus" dungeons in one day instead of one a day over the course of a week, my shaman would cap every single week and was able to keep both her healing set and her DPS set up to par. Perhaps not as much as I would have liked because not all slots were offered with valor, but enough that I could hold my own in any content thanks to that. That stage of gearing had to be one of the best designs in the history of the game in my opinion and I still have no clue why they moved away from it in mists and then took it way further and just removed valor and the gear connected to it. Two incredibly bad decisions in my mind. But either way, cataclysm become the expansion where my shaman healer was born and I learned to love to heal with it.
When mists came out of course I was quick to level my shaman. I loved healing with it now and it was my favorite class to DPS on, at least in regards to melee DPS. I leveled as enhancement and tried to pick up some quest rewards to start my healing set as I did so. When I reached max level I had a respectable quest geared DPS spec and a mix and match healing one, not horrible but in no way ready to roll.
Then the mist lock out system destroyed me. I had started the legendary quest line already but I really could not do anything otherwise. If I geared for enhancement so I could managed to get the quests done faster so I could open up the vendors that would allow me to spend my valor my healing set would fall behind. Added to the fact we needed a healer so I had to heal the raids and then hope for someone not to need the gear I would need for enhancement. I was caught in a catch 22 because of the stupid gating of valor gear. I could not keep both sets up like I did in cataclysm. I needed to choose one and stick with it.
Being I was needed as a healer and at least healer queue times for dungeons and LFR were really good, I figured I would go as a healer. This meant only healing gear with the extremely rare dungeon piece no one needed, but they still yelled at me if I needed on it when no one else did for some strange reason. Hey, if no one needs it I need it for my offspec. My offspec is more important than you getting some enchanting materials. Well, it is to me at least. I got the occasional piece from a raid on the rare moments I came in to heal when needed but my enhancement set was falling woefully behind.
With a full valor bar and no factions opened to spend it on I was kind of screwed. Stupid quests could get me gear I really needed, but I could not do them in a reasonable time frame for an alt because all I had was this healing gear and really crappy leveling gear with few other pieces for enhancement.
I know I should have made the switch earlier but I really did not want to. I knew what needed to be done. I went to my trainer and dropped my enhancement spec and picked up an elemental one. This was completely against my will. It was the first time my shaman would not be enhancement since she was created.
It was not because I wanted to change, it was because of the horrible design blizzard had for the start of the expansion that left me with no option for an alt. If my shaman had been my main and I spent more time on it then it would have been no big deal but as an alt I really did not want to be sitting there opening all the vendors yet again. Never understood why that was not account wide. Once I opened them on my hunter they should have been open for all my characters, but that is another story all together.
So now my shaman was able to quest, albeit at a very decreased capacity because all that spirit from my healing gear converted over to hit when I went to elemental. So I was walking around with an ungodly amount of hit rating, but at least I could quest once more and did not need a second set of gear to do so. It might not have been great gear, but at least I could quest as elemental in my healing gear where I could not quest as enhancement in my healing gear. I didn't like it, not at all, but if I wanted to heal and not spend more time on the character than I should have to for an alt, I needed to be elemental, like it or not.
I moved along a little bit here and there in the legendary quest line from the occasional drops I would get from kills I was in on in the raid or the occasional LFR I did, but it was still moving really slow. The valor collection part nearly killed me, and really did, for a very long time. I could not gain valor because I had nothing to spend valor on, because I never opened the factions. So if I could not spend it, I could not gain it, and I was stuck.
Eventually I used the reputation tokens from the warbringers to get some reputation and spend some valor so I could continue along with the quest. I was then left with needing to do the battlegrounds which, if you were alliance, is not a very fun thought, not at all. It felt like every single horde in the worlds sole purpose in life was to cut my tail off. So faced with the idea of doing that and looking at my priest who was already well along the quest line and soon to have the cloak, my shaman was left abandoned.
No longer was I enhancement because I had to drop it for gearing reasons. I never really was elemental because I used my restoration gear when I DPSed and even at that I would never consider DPSing in a raid with that gear, it was for questing purposes only. I was just a healer. I healer that had been left behind because I was a healer. This is how my shaman, who was one of the first three or four characters to start the legendary quest line ended up being the 12th to get it. She was put on the back burner.
Not so long ago I decided to start it back up and managed to win the PvP games rather quickly, for an alliance player that is. I used to PvP as a healer in cataclysm, so I had some experience with it, but I had no gear and as usual I was put into groups that did not understand the basics like move as a team, fight in the objectives, protect your healer and your healer will protect you, you know, the things that actually win battlegrounds. Took me only 3 tries in the temple to get a win but it took 7 to get the mines which actually is not so bad. It is amazing what we can get used to as acceptable isn't it? Losing 7 out of 8 games should not be acceptable but for this, it is.
I was in the middle of the secrets when they announced that they would be removing the legendary quest line when 6.0 came out and removing it from peoples quest books if they did not completely it once warlords came out. So I figured, this was always one of my most liked characters to play, I might as well get it finished off even if I was not really using it much if at all this expansion.
While I still have a few characters on various stages of the quest line I do not have the impulse to try and finish it on any more of them. Maybe another priest, if it happens by accident, but I will not try. It just happens to be the one furthest along of all my other characters left doing it.
My shaman had gotten left behind, but thanks to ordos and the celestial bosses it was not entirely without gear. Sitting at a 541 item level doing the healing challenge was anything but a challenge but I must admit it was still fun to do even if I was never in jeopardy of failing it.
Then after I was done the question came to mind, the question this post is all about, what cloak should I get?
I can afford to buy extra cloaks, but with me not really using this character for anything lately and having no intention to in the next 5 weeks, I would not waste gold on a second cloak. So instead I need to choose which cloak would be best for me. While the decision turned out to be an easy one, the process to make it made me a little depressed with how things turned out of this character.
The most logical choice of cloak for my shaman healer would be the healing cloak of course but as I only ever healed shaman, for the transmog, and thok, when we needed a third healer, this character does not really need gear for Siege as it does not really do it and I do not intend to do so in the next few weeks.
I have to think of the future for this character, I have to think of warlords and what I will need for leveling. This means no healer cloak for my shaman. She will not be leveling as a healer so what the heck use would a healing cloak be.
I thought about getting the agility one for a while. I would really love to switch back to my original spec. With all the timeless gear getting a start on an enhancement spec should not really be a problem. I got a couple of maces off the brew boss, all the timeless pieces, a second trinket from the shado-pan which I believe is being changed to gold once 6.0 launches, heck, all of that 522 gear if I so wanted to, and I would have a more than ample set of enhancement gear for leveling. Heck, I might even win an ordos piece or two and something off the celestial bosses. If I run the LFR or a flex I could gear up as enhancement for warlords leveling if I wanted to thanks to being able to choose what spec you get loot for now.
It would be one hell of a collection of gear from here, there and everywhere, but it would be okay for leveling and we are going to be replacing everything as soon as we hit 100 anyway. All it would take is a little time being put into my shaman for the next few weeks. Even if I went just with timeless gear, which would be considerable less of a time investment, it would be fine as the starting quests in warlords give 500ish gear.
I really thought deep about going back to enhancement, I really wanted to, but in the end I went with what was simpler. Just like I did the entire expansion on my shaman. I decided on the caster cloak. When 6.0 comes and all that spirit on main gear pieces is gone and so is hit so all that will not be so many lost stats as it is now when I switch to elemental and have 76% hit rating, which is effectively is 61% useless stats. Sure I will still have lame rings, trinkets, neck but I will have the legendary back which is pretty awesome. For anyone not on the beta, let me put it this way, the legendary cloak, on any character at least LFR geared, can and will solo mobs up until 92 or 93. So it is a great leveling tool.
So in the end I decided on taking a cloak for elemental because I already have some decent gear for that spec and that will be my best leveling spec. But somehow I am sad because of all of this. Enhancement was my favorite shaman spec and the only melee spec I ever really enjoyed or was any good at. Shaman healing is something I really like and I wish I had started it sooner, or played it more this expansion because I enjoy it and it always feels powerful. Elemental is an after thought. Something I do not enjoy playing or feel comfortable doing so. Kind of odd how that works. For the sake of ease I end up being the one spec I like least. Makes me wonder what spec I will end up using in warlords?
I decided on efficiency over entertainment and I am not sitting comfortable with that decision right now. Sure, 7K can fix it, but it is the thought process I worry about. How I view the game must have changed in recent years if being efficient is more important than enjoying myself. Makes me wonder.