At the end of an expansion and on the brink of a new one, I always find myself looking back and evaluating my experience. The purpose of this reflection isn't to tear apart balance issues, class specific gripes or anything - but mostly to see if I'll be continuing on the same toon.
The question of who will be their main in the upcoming expansion is easy to those who have always only focused on a single character and a little more complicated for altoholics. To add to the mix, I now have the prospect of account wide achievements to consider. All of this has led to many moments of pondering and trying to figure out exactly where I fit in here.
So what exactly compelled me to think about this? Cataclysm has, unfortunately, left me with a bit of a bitter taste in general...and moreso regarding druids. I feel like they messed up with taking away tree form, changing our mastery midway, and finally blanket nerfing us in 4.3. Yes it could've been worse and I'm glad it wasn't. However, "it could've been worse" hardly makes for a compelling statement for illustrating any kind of success. I realise they are fixing a lot of these in Mists but right now, the sugar isn't strong enough to drown the bitterness of bad cooking so here I am. Amidst extreme thoughts of walking away from the game entirely, I've seriously been considering who I should focus on for the upcoming expansion. That's the first reason for this line of thought.
The second has to do with the early retirement of my raid group. Patch 4.3 was disappointing to an already burned out group from Firelands and many of us took a break while others walked away to Star Wars entirely. The raid group was fun and I really enjoyed the weekend schedule of raiding 4 hours per week. Long story short, I'm on the look out for a new home and a fresh start. Reconsidering my main naturally happened when I was looking at recruiting needs for prospective guilds and began to consider guilds who wanted characters other than just druids.
The Bright Side of Account-wide
So here's where account-wide achievements come in. I know the flip side of having this feature in the game as it removes the possibility of a complete blank-slate for alts...but at the moment, I'm really beginning to see the bright side of it a lot more. Even though I consider myself an altoholic, I always have a special place for my druid and my priest. They share close to an equal number of achievement points and they are really the only two characters I've ever seriously raided on. The bane of having two "mains" as it were is that I've always felt a little torn between them. They both have a special emotional meaning for me and whenever I sit one out on the raiding during an expansion, I always feel a little guilty. To add to this, I've lately not been having too much fun as a druid but I've been having a blast blowing things up on my shaman. This shaman, who started out as an alt, got "Destroyer's End" before Melyanna.
Until now, I always felt tied to my druid and priest simply because of the amount of time that's been put into them. None of my other characters come close to the achievements that these two have. And yet, now I find myself being increasingly irritated that I'm writing off my shaman, that I'm actually pretty darn good at (who knew...) simply because of the measly little 1500 achievement points up on the right there that I can't seem to ignore.
In this context, account-wide achievements seem like a boon. I cannot count the number of times I was unhappy with the state of my druid or priest and couldn't just pick up something else I enjoyed simply because they didn't feel "main-ish" enough. It does seem a little shallow of me maybe, but I can be stupid stubborn sometimes. Account-wide achievements will also help with not feeling so torn between the two characters for me. It was sad to log onto my priest after a tier of raiding on my druid, and see a kind of time warp of old achievements stuck in the last expansion on her. And it would make it easier to join a PuG and say "hey I've done this on another toon" and back it up somehow.
I'm not sure who I will pick yet for the next expansion but I do know that for now, I'm on the welcome wagon for account-wide achievements. The way it currently is, titles and mounts don't really go across characters although all of this is ofcourse subject to change. I am alright with this because my real gripe with toons not feeling like mains are the number of achievements points on the corner -- arbitrary as it is, that seems to be what's bugging me. Furthermore, things have changed and I really don't have the time to regrind all of those mounts and reps on a different toon. So in that sense, account-wide achievements go a long way in making it alright for people like to branch out a little and not feel so married to our mains.
I hear what people who aren't excited about account-wide achievements are afraid of, but I think that at the end of the day, there are other things to set old school mains apart from the rest. For my druid and my priest, it will be sporting Feralheart Raiment (dungeon set 2) and Benediction respectively.