"So, Mr Cainam. It seems that you've been living two lives. In one of them you are a pigtailed gnome mage. You sign up for raids, bring full consumables and rain arcane death down upon the denizens of such places as Naxxaramas and the Obsidian Sanctuary. The other life is lived in heroic instances where you go about as a paladin tank and have defeated every instance inside of Northrend. One of these lives has a future, Mr. Cainam, and one of them does not."
I'm not sure when it happened, but at one point I stopped thinking of my Paladin, Girarde, as an alt. In the grand sense, I suppose he still is but in many ways I think of myself as really having two mains, and not a main and an alt. And having two mains does tend to complicate things, both in good and bad ways.
The Good: Sofea and Girarde are as different as night and day. Truly at the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of play style. Sofea is about killing you quickly, kiting away and buying time. Girarde is about engaging at point blank range, drawing strength from his opponents attacks and outlasting his enemy. With WoW no longer possessing the level of challenge that it once did, having to master two play styles has kept the game much fresher for me than it other wise would.
Having a Tank has also made it much easier to find "work." I see many more calls ut there for a Tank than DPS. I've enjoyed being the tank for my small group of friends (and letting our regular Tank relax a bit) and I've also enjoyed tanking for various groups of guildies. It's meant a lot more group play for me and a lot less soling, which I'm not as big a fan of.
The Not as Good: If you were to put Sofea and Girarde together, man they'd really have a nice set of achievements. Together, they are a champion of the frozen wastes... but separately Sofea doesn't have the heroics and Girarde doesn't have the Raids. When world events and holidays come up, I have to choose who gets the achievement, as it's unlikely I'll be able (or have the desire) to grind two toons through it. So in that sense, they both kind of feel incomplete.
The biggest pain is having to grind out the same things. First it was for both of them to get to level 80 and do all that content twice. Then it was running the same dailies over and over on different toons so that they could get the same rep. So there has been some redundancy to deal with.
I also wonder if I'm being fair to my Guild. I mean there are not many upgrades available outside of raids for Sofea, but I really haven't pursued them at all. Most of my gear has come from raiding. Is that fair to my fellow raiders? I consider myself to be "low man" on the loot council totem pole, and rightfully so. I contribute to Raids, I'm not our Top DPSer (what mage is?) but I tend to perform in the middle of the meters. Could I be higher? Could I be bringing more? Maybe.
Girarde's issue is that he is starting to outgrow the role. The upgrades in heroics are becoming fewer and farther between. The heroic instances themselves are getting easiser. Yes there are still achievements to go after. (Curse you Less-Rabi) But Girarde is ready to start tanking raids himself. I've done some Naxx 10 with him, and most recently some VoA. I'm ready for more with him, but I don't think there are many more opportunities for him. The alt-runs we've been doing have been great, but as our little group totals out at 7 people, it's hard to count on it for a reliable source of raiding. And QSS, while a great guild, does not seem to be in the market for another Tankadin. Even if it was, then what would be come of Sofea.
All in all I'm happy with how things are working out. It's a balancing act and at times, I have to stop and remind myself that you can't have everything. Girarde will never be a Loremaster, Sofea is not going to have an excess of shards for her enchanting. It's all part of the trade off.
But when all is said and done I know that I must be enjoying myself because I've not gone out and leveled another toon...