I’m sure many of you have experienced the feeling of becoming bored with your main character. I can’t say I understand though since I’ve been playing a Holy Priest since the game came out. Anyway, it’s easy to see the allure of switching to your alt for raids, which is sitting at a lower item level but has the potential to become raid-ready with upgrades.
Or maybe you’re simply not enjoying playing your main anymore because it feels like it’s in desperate need of buffs (or tuning), and you’re not hitting as hard as you used to.
As an officer and a raider, I can understand why players might want to switch their main character in the middle of a raid tier. But damn, it is frustrating for the rest of the raid because gear has already been awarded, and loot council has set aside upgrades for that specific player. When a player decides to switch to a new character, investments made in them will have to be made again. It could compromise the raid’s progression, especially if the new character is significantly behind the one being replaced.
Ideally, there are three appropriate times to request a main change that will have the least impact on your raid group.
Before a raid tier
Since we’re a few short weeks away from 10.1’s Aberrus, this is a fantastic time to make the move. For example, during the opening weeks of an expansion, we have a player (let’s name him Debussy) who might initially commit to playing a Shadow Priest, but after a week or so of playing, Debussy felt that it would be too difficult for them to play for too little performance gain. After that, Debussy reverted back to a Mage instead. In this situation, the player has only lost a week’s worth of grinding Mythic +0 gear, but at least it’s still before a raid opens.
Early stage raiding
After that, you have early-stage raiding which is also an appropriate time for a main change. During the first two to three weeks of raiding, the player in question might fall out of love with their class or have difficulty doing consistent damage or surviving. It is still early on in the raiding season to accommodate a main change. Most guilds are working their way through normal or early heroic bosses, and the initial gear that has been lost will realistically be replaced on the road to heroic or mythic anyway.
Farm stage raiding
Lastly, farm status raiding is the next best time to carry a new main. Progression has ended, and goals have been achieved, the only thing left to do is to fill out any remaining slots for gear or trinkets that might be of value to the next raid tier. During this time, loot can be funneled in, and even if that player’s character cannot survive any unavoidable attacks, the rest of the raid is in a position to defeat the boss short-handed.
Progression stage raiding
Switching mains in the middle of a progression raid is the worst time to do it. It leaves a sour taste in the mouth because it means that mythic-quality loot and weekly Great Vault gear are being cast aside. Now the player has to go through the process of rebuilding their new character and either get funneled loot from heroic raids (if the raid still even runs it) or hopes that no one in the raid needs any loot from any of the earlier mythic bosses. It is best to wait until progression stops before considering a main change. It’s almost impossible at this point if the raid group has decided to do raid lockout extensions. We started our lockout extensions after we killed Dathea. Our goals were focused on Broodkeeper and Raszageth and it was about 6 weeks until we started our reclears. Anyone that wanted to change during that window would not have been able to get raid gear unless they decided to find their own groups or source gear from Mythic .
That being said, I understand that there may be certain situations where main changes (and role changes) are necessary. For instance, a player may need to fill an important position in the raid right away, such as a tank or a healer. Although it’s understandable, it’s still better to look inside the existing raid to find a temporary band-aid solution rather than trying to recruit, which takes time. By keeping the composition of the raid the same, the raid only needs to find one replacement. By having a main change, the raid will not only need to find a replacement for the player who is main changing but also re-gear them at the same time. Players have the right to play whatever class and spec they want, but the raid leader gets final say on who to invite for composition reasons.
Changing your character once during a raid tier is understandable. Twice? Now that just seems greedy.