... there was Light.
More specifically, there was Holy Light. And Flash of Light. And Beacon of Light and Judgement of Light and- oh yes, even Seal of Light.
I leveled as Protection, 1-64, back in Burning Crusade, and I was a newb. I didn't carry water or food, I tried to put together a spec that could simultaneously tank and heal, I didn't know what gems were or how to use them. I played the game for the RP. For a while, because my storyline demanded it, I was unspecced comepletely and wandered around Stranglethorn meleeing things to death.
Things changed. My guild needed healers for Karazhan, and I was slowly, ever-so-slowly, moseying my way to 70. I respecced at 64 and limped to the level cap, where I had my first raiding experience.
I remember the night before, I was so nervous that I had nightmares of green bars that just wouldn't fill. I'd tried healing the easier heroics, and failed with grandeur. But I was determined- determined- to help my friends and learn how this whole healing thing went.
Never got past Kara, with the exception of one (surprisingly decent) Zul'Aman PuG. I never amounted to much in BC, I never learned my class... but it gave me the raiding bug, and I've yet to fully shed it.
When Wrath hit we put together a raid group. A real raid group, composed of all RPers in our guild, scheduled for January to give us all a chance to finally- finally- limp to 80, and begin our forrays into The End Game.
Naxxramas made raiding easier to get into, made it possible to learn what it was to be a raider, for those of us who'd never done it before. And I began to realize that there were resources out there, and I began to study and learn how to be a Holy Paladin.
And then came Lazers.
Being the only reliable healer in our raid was taking it's toll. Week after week, people switched to alts, and yet I remained- forever holy, forever paladin, tank healing my way to victory and spellpower plate loot with a Prot off-spec that hadn't been touched in months as we destroyed Trial of the Crusader 10-man having never finished Ulduar.
I had a brief flirtation with my death knight, but melee plate just wasn't holding my attention... and my long ignored enhancement shaman was just sitting at sixty, waiting to be picked up.
So I picked her up. I brushed her off, bought some BoA gear, and dual specced her. At 70, I went from Enh to Ele. At 80, I found a raid guild I had PuG'd with on my holydin and they leapt on the opportunity to have a shaman- and a then-rare elemental one, to boot!- on their raid team.
I was a steady, permanent fixture of their raiding situation for six months before the guild had a third (or fourth?) drastic split. I'd stopped raiding with my roleplay guild because it had long grown frustrating, and all the drama going on in my raid guild was deeply distracting and upsetting. So... I left, and went back to my roots.
Re-Rolling for Great Justice
Being as Role Play had largely vanished from my server, I up and awayed and found a new place to be... and re-rolled a paladin for role play purposes.
At first, I leveled her idly, and spent much more time RPing in Stormwind than I did out questing or tanking dungeons. And yes, I was a tank. A tank with no directional sense, but an absolute determination to take aggro, keep aggro, and not die. I swore to myself I'd never spec 'this one' holy, and was going to be a tankadin forever since tanking was the one role I hadn't seriously tried.
And I was a good tank, but as I slowly, slowly clawed my way to 70... I realized the reason I hadn't seriously been a tank before was that I am capable of getting lost in an instance I have done on heroic at least thirty times. I realized I didn't like the pressure of it. I realized I was spending more time fretting about the green bars than I should have been. And... I missed my 20k Holy Light crits. The class had changed since I went shaman-ing. And while Chain Heal was awesome, and lightning was delicious- I wanted to play with Beacon and I wanted to get a 30k mana pool.
I went Holy and didn't look back.
And, of course, despite being on a role play server... on a role play character... with little in the way of progression and in a role play guild with no formal raiding...
I immediately began to min/max. I had a gearing plan. I ran heroics until my eyes bled, and then ran some more. I healed anything and everything and I loved it. I moved my shaman over, too, with the intention of sating this abrupt need to raid- without splitting my attention between servers.
Now, here I am, in the quandary of having a work schedule that prohibits me from most raiding groups and guilds, on a server that really is more about RP than PVE (which I love, don't get me wrong!) and I'm feeling the bug...
This is my story. I have never done a Hard Mode. I have barely gotten past Festergut and Rotface on 25-man, and I feel damn proud of having gone that far with a PuG on a backwater RP server where I spend more time RPing than doing end-game content.
Yet despite my obsession with RPing, I know what I'm doing. I spend (too many) hours every week reading raiding blogs and holy pally blogs and shaman blogs; I know where I want to be, in 25s, in 10s, in a raid group that doesn't consist of names I mostly don't know... but one can't have one's cake and eat it, at the same time. This is about Holy Paladin-ing and blowing stuff up as a shaman; about chain heals and divine storms and everything in between. This is about choosing between storylines and writing- and working as a team with 9 or 24 other people. Or somehow, getting both!