The “Jack of All Trades” Dilemma

Straightforward and to the point, I’m going to start this post with some advice. Play what you love.

Something interesting came up today, while I was healing an Old Kingdom PuG with the lovely Leyola. Originally, I was lounging around in Dalaran with the boisterous Bashertin, and saw a few messages in the trade and lfg channels wanting heals for Old Kingdom. Leyola, still a good way into her 72nd season, could potentially heal it, and I was in the mood. So why not? I whispered the group leader, telling them I was on my way with a resto druid.

While game went through its loading process, I whipped up good old WoWHead to check out the instance info, since it had been a while since I last ventured into that dungeon. Levels 73-75, it had suggested. I began to have second thoughts regarding the appropriateness of both the level and gear of my Night Elf for the instance. Those chilling words words from Illidan, “You are not prepared!” suddenly rushed into my head. I warned the group that I was undergeared and underlevelled, being both a level under the suggested range as well as having the gear equivalent of a fresh 70; approximately 700 spellpower and a below average amount of health and mana.

The Pally tank shrugged. “Whatever,” he said. “We’ll adjust as we go. Might as well try.”

We dawdled along through the dungeon as expected. The run went as smooth as it could, despite numerous individual deaths during the bosses and pulls (as expected). This was a great run, and I enjoyed healing. The kicker though, was the two individual whispers I got when it was all over, and I left the group.

“Thanks for the awesome healing. We couldn’t have done it without you.”

“TYVM for coming! I’ll add you to my friends for the next time we do an instance.”

Leyola is just an alt, yet she gets such praise from groups due to her ability to heal. In my entire time with Bashertin, I really don’t think I’ve gotten as many compliments on my DPS. Attribute this to the fact that DPS is a group responsibility, but the fact remains that I have an ability to heal as well. This seeped into the guild as well, having received accolades for healing guild runs with efficiency.

“Bash, we need some healers. Think you can get Leyola up to 80 and help us heal Naxx?”

Let’s switch back to my life, because this is the reason why I wrote up this post in the first place.

I’m Asian, and by stereotypical nature, I happen to be smart. I obtained very good marks in High School, across a wide variety of subjects. I got accepted into all the colleges/universities that I applied for, and the family praise was just as stereotypical.

“Oh, he should be a doctor.”

I could be a doctor, but I don’t want to. It’s the “Jack of all trades” dilemma. When you’re capable of doing many things well, it is often asked of you to do things that are optimum benefit. You may not like it, but you’re damned good at it.

Well, 4 years later, and I’m about to graduate at the University of Toronto with a degree in Forensic Science. No doctoring here. Instead of preventing people from dying, I’m investigating people who are dead. Instead of administrating blood tests, I’m analyzing blood samples. So on, and so forth.

What happened to the doctor thing? I was capable. I could have been something that provided me all the financial stability anyone could ever ask for. But I didn’t go through with it. I didn’t like being a doctor. I loved Forensic Science. It’s not because of the glamor and romance of the the show, CSI (sorry matticus, I actually don’t like the show at all!), but the hunkered-down laboratory aspects of analysis, and working with the justice system via expert witness testimony. These avenues were enthralling, and I choose to do it, despite being skilled in a lot of other things too.

The situation has reared its head again in WoW, and currently I have 3 toons that I play, and play well (for completion’s sake, I tanked with Wimzig through BC content all the way up to 69 with no problems, and lots of praise as well). And guess what? I will still keep blogging about Frost Mages, and I will still keep raiding with my mage as my main. Leyola remains second fiddle with Wimzig in tow.

Of course, if and when Leyola reaches 80, I won’t mind throwing her out there if the guild is short on heals for a heroic run or heck, even a naxx run. I love the guild too much to hold it back whenever we hit a snag in progression or general activity. It’s just that when given the choice, I will be logging into Bashertin at every available opportunity.

Why? Because I love the thrill of riding the threat wave with my Water Elemental by my side. I love the utility of being able to port and make tables and counterspelling and spellstealing. I love the survivability of Ice Block and Ice Barrier. And no amount of rolled lifeblooms or critted Frost Strikes could change that.

I tell you now, denizens of the internether. Do what you love, and do it well. Don’t let anyone dictate who you ought to be if you don’t like it. You will end up burnt out in a dead-end situation, feeling like you’re doing a chore, while everyone else is enjoying themselves.

This is my belief in life, and once again, WoW conveniently reaffirms it.

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6 thoughts on “The “Jack of All Trades” Dilemma

  1. I think there is a severe lack of healers and tanks on every realm.

    Im only 73 but i literally log into a whisper every 5 minutes “You a healer?” i dont even need to ,put my name on LFM anymore and io have to admit i rather like being so wanted haha

  2. I swear I didnt read your blog before I wrote my recent one, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Although you seem to be DPS first, then heals, then tank. I prefer tank, then heals, then DPS (I love AOE’ing with my frosty, but I find instance DPS boring).

    Anyways, I think HOW you get there is way more important than the end result, thats what sets us apart. I don’t play for loot, I play cuz I enjoy what I do.

  3. That’s a really good comparison. I had a similar expectation, my parents sent me off to college with strong hints that they wanted me to become a foreign language interpreter. I started the program, but I just didn’t enjoy it. It was high stress, and I am not the kind of person who finds myself comfortable thrown into other cultures… and other people’s personal issues (interpreters deal with a lot of legal and medical information that I just wasn’t comfortable with). I changed my program to philosophy and loved every minute of it. Not very useful in the job market, but it’s better to have a low paying job and a good life then to make tons of money doing a job that makes you sick with stress or just unhappy.

    And in WoW terms, thanks for justifying my obstinacy in speccing my mage arcane for PVE. I happen to like arcane. 😛

  4. I absolutely love your blog because it’s thoughtful and interesting. I really enjoyed this post a lot.

    My main is a level 80 Affliction Warlock, but my runner-up is a Holy Priest. My Priest gets praise after praise whenever I go into instances with her because I try to be a competent healer. But no, you’re very right. DPS is a group responsibility and most often, people fail to realise individual contribution.

  5. I wanted to get into forensics – untill my marks weren’t good enough – but it is facinating, I used to bore people with decomposition stories from the forenic case study books. Its much more interesting then being a Doctor..
    and yes – Everyone loves a healer.
    I don’t want it to be my main the whole duel spec thing is going to worry me because they will all assume all healing capable classes will have a healing spec as one of their specs a default and there will be much more pressure because it will be easier.

  6. Luck for me that I always wanted to be a healer.

    My GF had similar problem, she has a tank alt and did very well with it. Yet she sticks to her hunter.

    Luck for her, if the group needs healer, they will have to take her too. Of course I don’t demand her in because I’m such a supportive BF but because she is a really good hunter, not just DPS-wise, but chaintrapping, deterrence-tanking and such wipe-preventing moves.

    So if one wants to follow his own way instead of the “proper” way, it’s better to have someone who already see what the rest just will see later, that your way is better.

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