Posted by: Kro | April 1, 2010

How To Change Your Main Character.. Mentally

Many of us (in this instance I mean Azerothians) fall very attached to our characters in-game. They are an extension of ourselves in many instances (a situation viewed as part of a process or series of events AND dungeons) and we work very hard to groom them to our exact liking. In their existence they can reflect who we are, and often, for good or bad, who we would like to be.  

I know people who have played the same character since WoW’s inception over five years ago. Some of these players don’t even have alternate characters. With dedication such as this, how can you make the mental shift from one main character to another?

Sure a simple answer is not to care as much and many people fall into this category. I’m not saying its wrong to care less, it’s perfectly acceptable to say its just a game (and it is just a game) but I think we would be kidding ourselves if we didn’t say we cared at least some amount about our online selves.

First you have to get passed the logistics. Does it make sense to swap mains? If you are in a raiding guild from casual to hardcore its important to let your plans be known and be open to discussion. If you are the main tank in your guild you obviously aren’t going to reroll a mage and cripple your guild. This is why logistics are easy. Either it makes sense to swap or it doesn’t. If you can’t feasibly swap you either don’t swap or you stop raiding.

Mentally is where swapping mains becomes difficult. You’ve decided you want to play a new character and it fits with your guilds needs (and you didn’t clean up on loot last week and brag about it). Maybe it was at your guilds urging that you swap mains to fulfill a reoccurring vacancy in role needs. If you are still reluctant because you identify with your current main, you have all this history, and you feel like you are giving up on him/her, my advice is to transition slowly.

It takes time to level an alt, do it in your free time and keep raiding as normal. Find out if the class speaks to you as you are leveling. There is also plenty to do once you hit max level. Gearing up and raising professions take some gold and some dedication.

If you already have an alt and it’s raid ready then obviously you’ve been through these steps. Making the jump and calling a new character your main can still be a gradual process. Even if you are now raiding on your new character you can consider your old one your main still. I like to call this a “Main Vacation” (and no, not with lobster and black bears).

A main vacation is just how you picture your character in your head. Who’s to say Krotei the Shaman, hero of the Alliance, and slayer of the betrayer and deceiver, doesn’t deserve a little R&R after a long campaign. I don’t personally consider my Shaman any semblance of a main any longer but I haven’t lost the experiences I went through with him. After a while, when you are comfortable, a previous main or main on vacation can drift into alt or retired status. Krotei rests comfortably at 71 seeing some action now and then and who knows if someday he’ll make an Eitrigg-esque return to the scene, perhaps with graying horns and a more wrinkled brow.

On the other hand, a main on vacation can stay your main indefinitely. I currently consider my main my death knight Krovoke. As far as my guild is concerned my Pally has been my main from ToC normal and algalon to today working on ICC25 hard modes. I’m not lying to them or myself. I just consider my death knight my main. I raid each night on my paladin enjoying what I do implicitly. I have dkp awarded to my paladin, s/he’s better geared, and time wise played more presently, but if I had to go casual tomorrow and stop raiding I would continue on with my death knight. (curse him not having a healing spec!)

I also have previous mains that I still play today. My druid Krolore who was my main in Vanilla WoW is still played quite often in WotLK just as he was in BC. Krolore does his part as my only character that learned to fish and cook and enchant. He has a vital role further explained in my next mental discipline to accepting main changes.

Stables traditionally make you think of horses (bear with me I’ll connect the dots but I do appreciate your concern about my tangentism). In professional wrestling a stable is a group of wrestlers that perform under the same manager (yes, just like DX and the Corportation!). All of my mains, former mains and alternate characters form a stable. Stabling is my main form of justification and mental ease with swapping mains. I don’t have a true main character I have a stable of characters all with a certain role. Sometimes the storyline shifts and one superstar gets thrown into the ring while the others provide support at ringside, or backstage. Some of my characters have had their glory days pass and some will never be capable of performing in the main event, but rest assured they all have a purpose and they all support each other.

In summary, if you are considering changing mains or it’s being proposed to you, don’t worry so much about letting your character down. Go with the flow, you aren’t deleting all you’ve accomplished you are adding to it.

However if you are one of those achievement counters living by the tally. You are F’d and I can’t help you.



  1. Ive cant say Ive ever seriously thought about changing my main… I was a Horde rogue for so long, melee was All i knew. But then BC was released and I moved to Zul’Jin and became a shaman. A hybrid class where I could heal, be a ranged, or be a melee, and go figure- I couldnt get out of the rogue phase, so I was enhancement. for 2 and a half expansions I stood on the ass ends of mobs in melee range doing my stabby thing. This is what I knew.

    Alas…. Half way through WotLK. I finally abandonned my melee mindset and transitioned to Caster. Becoming an Ele/Resto shaman. To me, this was like changing a main for me. but still keeping my prized possession. My 1 character who I have loved more than any other. My warlock, my mage, my new Dk, and even my rogue, could never be more, or do more for me, like Einahpets/Eiona has ❤

    Alot of this, I owe to you. I could have never imagined, asked for, or wanted a better shaman partner in BC, or a better friend in WotLK. And maybe come Cataclysm, they will buff shamans so much Krotei will call back to you and We will, once again, reign supreme through an expansion. Droppin' totems like pros 🙂

  2. My style has always been to have one main and one well-travelled alt, but that only recently started in Wrath. Now that gear is so easy to obtain, I’ve had a different alt for each tier of raiding (except Ulduar).

    My warrior had best-in-slot gear for Tier 7 and I tanked and healed my way to a Plagued Proto Drake. In ToC I managed to tank, heal, and DPS 10 man ToGC (briefly playing a shadow priest as my “main alt”). In tier 10 it’s been my rogue, who has nicely geared up and is plodding along through hard mode icc10 and some weekend icc25 stuff.

    Playing a rogue or warrior (Tank) is as far away from healing as you can get. That’s not to say I don’t like healing because that would about the furthest from the truth as you can get. It speaks to how much I really enjoy playing my Shaman as a healer. Flipping the bit and using a non-mana resource system and topping the damage meter is a cool change that most people don’t expect.

    Shifting roles makes you a better player, plain and simple.

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