When I rolled my shaman, I knew she was going to be Enhancement and she was going to stay that way. One spec for one character. Why? Well lets start at the beginning…
I first started playing WoW in 2007, between Patch 2.1: The Black Temple and Patch 2.2: Voice Chat. Not heeding my IRL friends advice, I became fixated on making a gnome Fire mage. I followed my friends and rolled on an RP server. They had been Alliance and were just moving on to try out Horde when I made my first character. Sadly this meant my poor little mage leveled alone.
That was until a level 20 group quest lead to a questing extravaganza across Eastern Kingdoms. One of my group members ended up adding me to their friends list, and I hazily remember meeting them in Duskwood later while questing. For some reason we started RPing. They belonged to an RP guild and since I was guildless, I became a member of The Clerics. Those were the days, IC chat in Guild, OCC chat in officer, and just plain fun.
After many months of leveling, gearing and general awesomeness, I joined my IRL friends on Horde, and haven’t RP’d that much since.
However I developed a fixation with deciding the spec of a character when I made them. I believe it may have to do with the RPing I did on my mage. Most of my characters that I’ve leveled and not deleted have had a goal in mind or little background story behind them that I never really fleshed out. Some examples:
Before going to Horde I wanted to try out a shaman. So I rolled a draenei called Ememdarwar. A bit of a mouthful. But I didn’t know much about the draenei, and didn’t have any plans for her. I ended up getting her to 35 and being absolutely bored of her. She was deleted to make way for a Horde shaman.
I talked with my friends before making the new shaman. What specs were there? What did each one do? I was told that Enhancement shamans could tank, so off I went. I managed to get her to the mid 40s before a friend power leveled me to 55, ready for Molten Core run-throughs. I’ve managed to play this shaman for 2 years before becoming bored. Why? I had a clear goal. She was going to be Enhancement and tank. When I found out she couldn’t really tank, I still had the goal of being Enhancement.
Another character, my paladin. Again, I didn’t know that much about paladins. I knew they could heal or dps or tank. I managed to get her to 19 before giving up. I didn’t know what I wanted her to do.
Skip forward a year or so, and I started another paladin, with the goal of making her a tank. When looking through the available hairstyles, I found one called Shy. I decided that my paladin would be a shy blood elf that would still stand up and fight for the Light, because that was what she believed in. Now she’s level 80, decently geared and has tanked 5 ICC bosses.
Is it remaking the characters that gives me the drive to continue with them? At the start, maybe. But not these days. By making spec goals and little background stories with my characters I’ve been able to level them and have heaps of fun along the way.
My priest I leveled as Shadow until 21, where she became a bank alt. When the first info about dual spec came out, I decided that I really liked the idea of her being a Holy priest. Mending people and waving your hands about with holy magic going everywhere! I quickly leveled her to 40 and leveled her as Holy after that.
I had tried a death knight as many people had, but they were just random characters with no direction. A couple of months ago I was talking to some friends on a different server who played alliance. I made a DK on their server, with the hazy idea that she would be the result of my very first characters adventures into Icecrown. I managed to level her as well.
With all my characters, I leveled them with one spec in mind. It seemed to fit better RP-wise that way. Even though my priest had two specs, I never played Shadow. Even though I can heal on my shaman when necessary, it still feels more natural to pick up some axes and play as Enhancement.
Before dual spec was introduced in Patch 3.1, many characters only had one spec. You made a character with strict intentions about their spec for gameplay and RP reasons, as it was very costly and inconvenient to switch specs. Yes, some people would often switch back and forth (I’m looking at you, druids), but for others it was too much bother. These days I can make a character with a certain spec in mind and not be inconvenienced later when my guild needs a tank, for example. The perceived strictness is gone, however I like to stick to one spec for one character.
Now how am I going to cope with my tank paladin becoming offspec heals in Cataclysm?