This game is about gear and power and coordination. The latter mostly falls away with groups of strangers, and the former are required for the best performance of the latter.
Therefore, gear like armor and weapons is paramount. Gear increases the ability for characters to do their jobs – high damage output for DPS classes, high defense for tanks, and high heals for healers.
Gear is accumulated by doing instances like The Nexus; at heroic difficulty (level 80 5-person instances) those Emblems of Heroism can be collected to purchase better items. In more difficult 10- and 25-person raids like Naxxramas, the gear is even better, but the demands are higher.
Basically, the game is designed to encourage players to run heroic instances over and over until they accumulate good enough gear to do the raids, and then rewards them with better gear.
In order to select gear, players have to have a character specification: a “spec”. In the case of hybrid classes like mine, selecting a spec involves selecting a role. For a shaman: elemental, a spell-caster fighter; enhancement, a melee fighter; or restoration, a healer.
For each of these, different gear is required, that is to say, different bonuses are needed. Elemental shaman need gear with spell power and critical strike, which increases the damage done and the liklihood the highest damage output will be reached. Enhancement shaman need hit rating, critical strike rating, and attack power, allowing them to hit more often, get the higest damage, and do more damage with each weapon strike. Restoration shaman need spell power, haste, and mana regeneration, allowing larger heals, faster cast time, and less mana lost (the resource needed to cast spells).
My dilemma is, and long has been, that I love my enhancement spec, especially for doing things on my own, but I have recently started to love healing, as well. I can’t choose.
The problem with this is that accumulating good gear requires a focus, and I have split mine bewteen the two specs. In some cases this is not as much of a problem because I can simply collect more things that drop in instances and raids.
However, in purchasing gear with Emblems of Heroism, I run into problems. I have to select which spec I will improve, to the detriment, obviously, of the other one.
This means that at the moment, my gear is mediocre in both specs, good in neither. If I had focused, it would be getting good at this point. It is not.
And so, periodically I debate picking a focus, at least for the present, and ignoring the other. But I simply can not do it. Every time I try, I start to long for the other, recognizing that healers are more often needed than DPS, that DPS is far easier to do than healing (and less pressure), and that I am stuck.
Right now, focusing on enhancement (melee) appeals because running instances with strangers is hardest on healers, and I need all the help I can get. But if I switch guilds…. healing would be the way to go, no doubt.