Monthly Archives: February 2010

But I thought this shield was just supposed to give me stats.

I have a pugging paladin conundrum.

I waited more than thirty minutes in the queue for my first pug today. Apparently 40-50 isn’t a popular level range to be at, or pugging in this range is unpopular (What, people don’t want to go to Mauradon? I’m shocked and appalled!) or – I’m not sure what’s going on, frankly, but it makes me irritable. I tend to have a habit of mailbox AFKing on all my characters which makes my /played time an inaccurate representation. I don’t mind chatting with guildies and taking it easy a little bit, generally. But when I get time to log on for a little pally pugging, that’s what I want to do. If I wanted to wait thirty minutes, I’d be going as DPS.

I know, it’s a horrible sense of entitlement. I am a healer, thus I deserve instant queue times. I know that can’t always be the case. But I don’t want leveling Vid to be a project that takes half a year. The character is just over two months old as of this writing. Things were much quicker initially over the holidays. I had ample time to spend with the pugging. My time now is more limited, and I’d like to see a bit of progress.

The way I see it, I have three options. The wait time in queue is caused invariably by lack of a tank. I can either:

1) Suck it up and wait the queue times out, occupying myself with a combination of auction house, running around for flight points, whatever.

2) Abandon the experiment and begin questing, possibly in conjunction with waiting out those queues. Eventually the pug will commence, but I won’t be twiddling my thumbs in-between times and will level much, much faster. This is appealing for that reason, but ignores the “I’m leveling my holy paladin to level 80 using the LFD tool.”

3) Finally pay for dual-spec, figure out what I’m doing, hope I don’t get too lost, and hop in there to do the tanking myself. As with previous option, this negates the “my holy paladin” portion of my commitment, but that seems like a lesser concern to me.

I’ve done a little bit of tanking. My level 78 warrior, before I gave her away to my husband, was actually leveled from forty on as Protection. I didn’t do very much actual tanking with her – I can count the number of instances I tanked on one hand – but I did level with other characters and practice holding aggro from them. I did have macros for things and I did gather up huge packs of mobs and kill them. (That’s my judge of how serious I am about something in WoW. I had a macro for that character? It was Serious Business.) It was pretty fun. The biggest trouble I have with tanking is the intense pressure to be good and also to lead the group. I’d say that tanks have even higher expectations to fulfill than the healers who keep them alive. I gave the warrior away when I realized that I would probably never play her with any regularity – my biggest regret was that we were still on Moon Guard (RP server) at the time, and I enjoyed the character herself but it didn’t seem worth it to waste a perfectly good 80. My husband, by contrast, was so excited to have a second warrior! Another tank! He really is a true believer that the only thing better than a warrior is another warrior.

I did also dabble briefly in bear tanking, which incidentally (at least in my limited 5-man experience) was a great deal easier than warrior tanking. I could lock down solid aggro really quite quickly as a bear, whereas playing a warrior it felt like it took a great deal more work. Of course that’s anecdotal, and I don’t claim to be good at playing either spec or class. The convenience with the bear was that I’d been picking up off-spec feral gear over months of running 5 man heroics, odds and ends that nobody else wanted, and so my tanking set was good. I would’ve let my gear almost tank Ulduar, at the time. I don’t claim that I could have tanked Ulduar but my gear could have.

Anyway, to make a long story short(er), I went ahead and got dual-spec for Vid, made a tanking spec I think doesn’t suck incredibly, found some glyphs, looked at the gear that I had (shortly after having disenchanted a bunch of tanking things… “I’ll never use these for tanking, ahaha.”) So my gear isn’t the greatest, but it may be adequate. I just need to arrange my action bars and then dive in. If the tanking is a horrible failure and seems beyond hope, I can always abandon the experiment of pugging exclusively to 80 and do some questing to get past the 40-50 hump. I’d rather not do that, though. I’ve made it this far! If I can get to Outland, there’s certain to be hundreds of DK tanks who need a healer.

Before reaching this decision, I ran Mauradon (Purple Crystals, naturally) 2.5 times today. The first time was completely fine. We had a very competent paladin tank, he pulled quickly and it flowed well. When you know where you’re going and everything is carefully done, the whole run takes about twenty minutes. It’s the new Scarlet Monastery, Graveyard. Now with more poisons and disease! That stack. Did I mention the way they stack?

I realized, because I am pro like that, that I had not yet trained level 42 (whoops) so I could learn my fancy new cleansing spell that gets rid of magic debuffs also. I’m very excited about this.

Purple Crystal run number one was very easy and uneventful. Number two was likewise, because we had the same tank, although I got the impression that the other people had just come out of some kind of harrowing, soul-crushing pug experience.

“I hope this isn’t like the last group,” the rogue whimpered. I told him that the tank was quite good and he was immediately reassured. You see what I mean about all the pressure being on the tank? You can have three warlocks, a healer with no AoE heals, but if you’ve got a good tank, nobody worries. You can have terrible DPS, people who pull extra packs (that starts to involve the healer a bit more) but if you have a good tank who makes sure to wait for their healer to drink when they need it – you’re generally prepared and won’t have any problems.

Incidentally, I have to digress here: one of my search terms this week was “We had a good hunter,” in quotations. Was it someone looking for examples that such a thing exists? Or were they so shocked when it happened they wanted to see if someone else had experienced it, too? (I jest, hunters. I love you and your furry pets, as long as their names are not “PetWussy.” If you’re that hunter, you can get bent.)

My third Mauradon, the one that accounted for the 0.5, was not so great. Our tank dropped group almost immediately, without a word. Thanks for faking us out, tank! I hope you have much joy in Oculus if you ever get there. So we were left with a Fury warrior, and a feral druid. I asked the druid if he’d be willing to tank (pretty decent overlap in the feral tree, at least this level he should be able to handle it.) He was a little hesitant but agreed to give it a go, but I could tell he was hating every minute of it, and mobs were all over the place. In a few minutes he suddenly “had to go,” was very apologetic, but I couldn’t blame him. I turned eyelashes on the Fury warrior, but no dice. He had no dual-spec and clearly no intention of taking his hands off his great big two-hander.

The group broke up. But before that happened… This is the part of the story when faced with a series of uneventful, mundane pugs, I make sure I have something to write about.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with the first little bit of Mauradon: Now With More Purple Crystals – you’re so lucky! Now picture a circular room. There’s a cavern in the centre, and a ledge that runs all the way around the outside of the cavern. It is possible to just run up to this ledge and drop off – there’s trash at the bottom. Otherwise, you can follow the ledge around the outside of the circle to kill the trash that is there, and a ramp leads down into the grotto.

I thought that the bear tank was going to jump down from the ledge. All of the tanks have done so up until this point. It’s not very far, and it skips some time spent clearing trash. I edged a little closer to the ledge, trying to show him the right way with my subtle inclination towards the grotto. I was about to ask him directly, when a terrible, terrible thing happened.

The imps at the bottom of the cavern saw me.

“DHSLAHHDKSLJ,” they said impishly, and tried to run towards me. Being at the bottom of the cave, they couldn’t reach me, so they did the only logical thing. They headed for the ramp.

Between me and them, I’m afraid there was something like four packs of four mobs apiece. I’m guessing here. I watched the group of imps sprint up the ramp. I watched them run by their fellows on the ledge with an almost comically ponderous slowness. I’m not sure if the rest of the group had any idea what was in store for us, as my face flushed with guilt/shame.

“I know that when monsters run by OTHER monsters it tends to alert the other monsters, but maybe just this one time, they won’t see the other monsters. Or they will, but they’ve got better, other monster things to do…”

The imps were joined by satyrs, and still more imps. The mob train gained speed and momentum, like a snowball rolling downhill in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, ultimately intending to flatten me and my hapless party members.

We all had eleventy billion stacks of poison, instantly. And disease. There were so many icons on the health bars I could barely see them. The poor druid did his best. I really think he didn’t understand what had happened. The fury warrior said, as the group neared us, “Wga!” I tried to keep us healed, I really did. The tank tried to tank all those mobs, he really did.

Our fate was sealed the moment those first imps started to dance towards me. Lying there amid the rubble, the fury warrior clarified his earlier statement. “Wow lol,” he said. “Yeah, wow,” I agreed, desperately hoping that nobody had seen how much it was completely my fault.

Yes, that’s right, I didn’t even own up! Why? I was laughing too hard. I laughed so hard I wheezed, and even writing this I can still see the twenty mobs barreling towards us and I laugh some more. I wish I’d had the foresight to take screenshots. I do feel bad for wiping the group, but I feel I made up for it at least marginally. Since nobody else could find the way back into Mauradon, I ran back and rezzed them all.

So hey, I have sense of direction enough to find my way back into Mauradon twice! It isn’t a fluke. I am completely ready to tank, because if I kill my group horribly again… at least I’ll be able to help us recover from the wipe.

p.s. – I unabashedly stole my “pally tanking tag” from Svenn.

p.p.s. – I caved to peer pressure and joined Twitter. If you’re into that kind of thing.

Hi, I’m Vidyala. You can also call me Vid.

Anea wrote a really great post with some advice for new bloggers. I wish I had followed some of it myself before I went ahead and pushed “publish” for the first time. Some of it I’m still not doing – like post categories. My reasoning was something along the lines of “It’s called pugging pally! It will all, always be about a pugging pally, what kind of category is that?”

Short-sighted, I know. There are some things I just don’t think about because I get too excited and dive right into something. A few I did “properly” – I had a custom header, right from day one! Also a Gravatar. Because I can’t resist the compulsion to draw my characters, anyhow.

The problem I face now, and I’m trying to have a bit more foresight here – is what’s the future for a Pugging Pally? Eventually she’ll be 80, and probably still pug a bit. But she’s not liable to ever be my “main character.”

Actually, I just switched main raiding characters. I still love and adore my mage, Millya – one of a score of Draenei characters I call my own – but it behooved me (har) to be a bit more flexible and I do love me some druid also.

Anyway, I digress. Having made a fairly topical blog I’m uncertain what to do with it. What if I wrote about some things that didn’t involve 1) pallies or 2) pugging? What would I call it? Would anyone who likes reading about ridiculous people – either me, or the ones I’m healing – actually read it? The good news is that no matter which character I’m writing about it’ll involve at least one ridiculous person in that case…But these are questions to ponder as I plod my way to level 80. I’ve actually been doing some pugging with my other characters which is always good for a lark. I had my very first Hordeside pug with my troll mage – she’s now level sixty-one! I wound up in BRD, (this was back at level 59 or so, I can’t exactly recall), but it was precisely where I didn’t want to be. I have nothing against it, I just knew that it was big, and complicated. I zoned in and stood there for a good ten seconds before I realized the rest of the party isn’t here.

Where are you guys?” I asked hopefully. They must’ve just started. They’re just around the corner, right?
“Somethingsomethingthatmeansnothingtome but included the word ‘West.'”

West, right. I can find west. I will just head west. Yeah, not so much. I thought I was making progress – at least I seemed to be nearing the directional arrows on the map that indicated my Patiently Waiting Party.

“I think I’ve got it!” I cried gleefully. “Wait, this looks kind of familiar. Isn’t this the… Am I back at the beginning again?!”

I ‘fessed up in party chat. “I’m really sorry guys, but I have no idea where you are and I’m awful with directions. I can drop group if you want to find someone who can actually find you.”

“Stay where you are, I’ll come get you,” the paladin said. I stayed, and I was ashamed and relieved all at once. The paladin came into sight and I seriously backed up a step. “AH IT’S A BLOOD ELF…waitaminute.”

PvP instincts: I still have a few of them. I’m glad they’re serving me so well whenever it’s important, like in BRD when I’m the same faction, not so much in Sholazar when I’m fishing and get my tail handed to me by a paladin because I was flagged flying over Wintergrasp.

It turned out I was missing something completely obvious – a door I had to go through at the beginning. I’d tried other doors and found them locked. So I’m not sure if this was a door that required a key he had, and I didn’t, or if I had just missed it completely but I suspect the latter.

The pug went really well. The people knew their way through the twisting maze of BRD, and now my troll mage is the only character who actually has that achievement because goodness knows I’ve never found my way to the end on my own. I love leveling Frost, incidentally. I love my permanent water elemental. And oh, my gosh, Troll racials ARE overpowered. Berserking is just like Icy Veins, well without the pushback reduction, but who cares? I had Icy Veins from level one. And now I have a second icy veins. I macroed that to frostbolt with unabashed glee and never looked back.

It’s a strange feeling playing as the other faction when you’re used to being one almost exclusively. I feel the whole time  like someone infiltrating a secret society they’re not supposed to be a part of. At any moment, the members of the pug I am in may turn to me and say, “Hang on. You LOOK Horde-like but you aren’t really, are you? You’re really Alliance.” And they tug on my troll tusks and my head pops off to reveal (of course) Draenei horns. But they don’t, and all the pugs I’ve run over there have actually been quite nice for the most part. I’m also leveling a Tauren druid slowly. Notice a trend – my two main Alliance characters, a druid and a mage. My characters Hordeside? A mage, and a druid. Because I need an intervention, I may actually do some pug healing with the druid as she comes of age.

That ought to prove interesting. You see, if Vidyala is the spoiled “born with a silver shield strapped to her back” kind of healer, my Horde characters are the complete opposite. My druid is wearing pants, and some dodgy leather vest she ripped from an animal’s carcass, carrying a wooden stick, and precious little else. She has no heirlooms. She does have bags thanks to a friend I have who traded me some money (He gave my Horde characters gold, I gave the same amount to his Alliance characters, as each of our fortunes resided in different places). So she has Netherweave bags, an unaccustomed luxury. I could spend some money to buy her a few greens, but I’m actually interested to see how leveling a character goes without any of these special perks. They say that precious few people who play trial WoW stick with it. As I’m clubbing swoops to death in Mulgore with my wooden cane because I’m OOM, I feel I’m plumbing the depths of exactly why that might be.

Yet somehow, I keep coming back to roll alts and relax, try out the other faction, try out pally healing when half the world says “go ret noob.” Endyme over at (Un)holy Randomness wrote some thoughts about things that drive people to need stress-relief in their game, and coping mechanisms. I know that I definitely turn to alts as a means of stress-relief or just for a quiet place. Although I may be doing that a bit less since I read this post by Gnomeageddon about how WoW is no better than a holiday. In brief; you may go on holiday but your problems are still there when you get back and it’s not always as relaxing as it may seem. I need to remember that.

And the post title is because Ophelie didn’t know my name but she was kind enough to link to me anyhow. And now I need to go through her post and meet many more great paladin bloggers because they all sound fantastic, and I am a mere imposter in their midst. Druid by day? With a side of mage? I also updated my blogroll. I’ve been adding lots of people to it on my Google reader but never updating it here. And yes, please do call me Vid, or Vidyala, it’s all good. I choose all my character names and ensure they are easy to shorten after my first character was named “Lafaera.” It’s not a bad name, but what do you call her? Most people opted for Laf, though I tried to encourage Faera, it was a pain.

Don’t even get me started about the pugger who called me “Laffy Taffy.” There’s a good reason she got a race change and a new name in the process.

We have to find your far-flung bodies first.

I found some time to get back on the ol’ pallycorn this weekend. Well, I made time darn it because all of the guild’s alts are passing me disgracefully. My hunter friend is probably almost ready for Outland at this point, and a druid I didn’t even expect is already level fifty-something-or-other. (I did say that I don’t want to race to 80, however, there’s racing and then there’s disgracing).

I logged in and stood in Ironforge clicking a few buttons. OK, this one is Holy Shock(!), this is Holy Light, ah, Flash of Light, you are an old friend. I remember you well. Satisfied that I remembered at least something of my paladin toolbox, I joined the queue for something random. And then I waited. And waited… and waited. I did a few of the Fool for Love quests and went and honoured an Elder – but apparently, that doesn’t give XP (boo). I bought a new shield. It has spirit, but it’s also triangular, so how can that be wrong?

I gave up on Ironforge and decided to begin the business of collecting a few flight points. I had the time to fly to Menethil, run up through Arathi and then Alterac and I was in Southshore when the instance finally popped up. Actually, that’s a bit untrue. An instance popped up in Ironforge, and then again on the way to Southshore. However, those instances were unsuccessful. I must now take this moment to expound upon something that happens to each and every one of my characters.

Lone, AFK DPS, I curse you to an eternity of downranked spells on your action bars you never realize are downranked, tanks that can’t hold aggro, and healers who let you die. If I knew who you were I would write you a scathingly worded exceedingly clever letter but then I wouldn’t send it, because I’m Canadian, and I’d feel too guilty. But really, you keep giving me LFD queue irritation. Cut that out, would you? Take yourself out of the queue if you won’t be around. Get a drink before you queue up. That way the rest of us won’t get hung up with our 4/5 groups again and again. I’m not even sure how it works, it says “You’ve been returned to the front of the queue” but it doesn’t actually feel like it.

So finally my group formed. The loading screen appeared and I said “Oh crap what is this.” I assumed I’d be heading in for another Uldaman, but I was wrong: Mauradon. Something about some purple crystals. Little did I know, that purple would prove to be thematic…

“Hello,” I greeted the group as I stood there for one brief moment, a deer frozen in the headlights trying to remember the paladin things I am supposed to do. Oh right, blessings, that’s what I do! I scrambled to pass those around. These ones  look like casters, and that one’s a tank, oh I’ll just give them all Kings anyhow. And make sure I have my Seal up.  While I’m going through my own little mini-buff drama, one of them remarks.

“This is weird”

I’m thinking, what’s weird? The tank isn’t a tank spec? You zoned in and we’re all naked? All of your action bars are gone?

No, indeed. The weird thing was our group composition. My first time back in the LFD after a forced absence, and Mother RNG gifted me with three – count ‘em – three shadow-flinging, pet-aggroing, Lifetapping warlocks.

What's better than one warlock, after all? (The answer is a mage, of course...)

What ensued was a comedy partly borne of my own rustiness with my buttons, and partly pure warlock hilarity. The first pull left me gasping and struggling, because dear Mauradon (purple edition, I don’t know much about the others) seems to be full of disease. And poison. And poisons that stack. Which is pretty ridiculous, when you think about it.

Tank: “Agh, I have been poisoned!”

Paladin: “I shall cleanse you of this impurity!”

Tank: “Agh, they poisoned me MORE.”

Paladin: “One moment, I can only handle exactly 25 mL of poison at any given time. I’ll cleanse you again…”

So I’m doing that, the pull ends, and all of a sudden everyone’s health bar except mine and the tanks plummets incrementally to nearly nothing. I say, “OMG locks you have got to be kidding me.”

The room erupts in a series of giggles, “lol,” two Gnomish and one human. One of the warlocks assures me that they know they lifetap at their own risk. They’re exceedingly complimentary about my ability to keep them from croaking despite one having aggro and all of them doing their compulsive self-damaging thing.

A funny thing begins to happen. I want to resent them for oh so many reasons. But I’m starting to like the reckless little fel machines. I’m laughing, they are charming me. I tell them that they can lifetap themselves into oblivion so long as they remember that some of us still need to actually drink. I also tell them that three warlocks should come with heartburn medication.

Later, I tell them to forget the heartburn medication – three warlocks ought to come with beer.

We barrel through Mauradon – Purple Crystal Edition with barely a pause, and the group wants to queue up for another but our bear tank is tired of tanking. He decides he’s going to leave, and I’m alone with only warlocks for company.

“Let’s all get our voidwalkers!” one enthused. “Each of them can tank one mob at a time.”

“This is silly,” one of the warlocks said, “I think I’m going to go, guys.”

I’m here to tell you, that warlock peer pressure is a powerful thing. That warlock stayed. And apparently these “more-a-minion-than-a-pet” creatures are an extension of self, because a few successful trash packs later and the warlocks were proceeding into e-peen territory.

“Well, my voidwalker was holding aggro way better than yours, and we killed that mob before yours died.”
“No way, your voidwalker sucked! Mine was awesome.”
“No, I inflict pain and suffering at a much faster rate than you do!”

Is this what a warlock convention looks like? And if so, how did I stumble upon one?

We did eventually pick up another tank. He was… one of those people I don’t quite trust. He kept running on ahead, not waiting for me to drink. At one point, his health was a mere sliver, I was nearly OOM, and then I saw him going. My face looked something like this:

“?!!*WHEREIS HEGOINGHEHASNOHEALTH.”

Tank, predictably, goes splat (as he runs out of range, pulls another group of mobs, and also breaks line of sight just for a cherry on his death sundae). Then he says “And no heals, were you OOM or something? Why didn’t you say something?” Now my face looks like this:

“DIDHEREALLYJUSTSAYTHATISHEJOKING.”

It’s okay though, this tank had a lot of problems. Apparently his relative had just had his arm cut off mere hours earlier so he’s NOT IN THE MOOD FOR BEING MADE FUN OF U GUYS. I don’t point out the improbability of being on your computer playing World of Warcraft if someone near and dear to you just had their arm cut off, but hey. Maybe he was confusing this dramatic event with a movie he’d just watched. And also, he was in a car acccident, and needed to have surgery on his face. And his Mom was hurt by the seatbelt. And and and… I didn’t reply to any of this but some of our group members were sympathetic. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, I do. And if any of it were true, then I am sincerely sorry for having doubted him. But for now, my suspension of disbelief was strongly tested.

We had plenty of time to discuss these things, you see, as when the tank died we wiped. I thought I could follow one of the purple dots back to where we’d come from, but they scattered in all directions (see: pug diffusion). Instead, I just had to follow my own better judgment. Here is a mountain pass, this seems to lead to Mauradon, and here is a cave. In the cave I got turned around a little bit. Only one ‘lock had made it back. And, astoundingly, the second person in the instance was me. Despite my well-documented failure at navigating pretty much anything, I managed to find my way back. I just followed the Purple Crystals. Apparently what old world instances need more of, for my sake, is obvious sign posts and giant, colour-coded walkways. None of the other locks or the tank ever made it in, we ventured inside and killed some trash on our own to reach their corpses and resurrect them.

At this point the group was starting to get silly, so when we finished the instance I bowed out to take myself off to bed. “No, Vid! You can’t go,” the lead lock protested. “You are our glue.” Warlock glue isn’t something I’m really ready to contemplate. Made from an amalgam of squished souls? What’s their viscosity? So his pleas fell upon deaf ears. I’d like to think that the three warlocks stuck together and ran many a Mauradon after that, but I suppose I’ll never know.

Meantime, 100% rested XP and all this running around Mauradon led me to be level 42! I was so bleary when this happened that I logged off thinking I had dinged to level 41, but I was wrong. I did go through my entire stack of beverages, though. I hope I’m at a point soon where I get a new “rank” of beverage because my Moonberry Juice is no longer cutting it. It makes me feel all impressive and paladin-like, a la level 80 Holy Paladin: “Excuse me guys, it takes twenty minutes to fill my mana bar up to full because I just have SO MUCH OF IT. I’m swimming in it. I mean, if only these strudels gave me twice as much mana, I wouldn’t have to eat two of them, just to fill up my enormous mana bar. Also, it’s longer than yours.”

The sad reality is, though, that I think my drinks just aren’t good enough for my level, it’s not that I have a particularly large amount of smarts.

But when I get to level 80? Heck yeah I’ll be a paladin just like the one above!

“Yaaawn. Excuse me, I think I’ll go AFK and grab a drink, maybe a sandwich… my mana bar is refilling. You know how it is.”

Arise, my champion! Arise and fight once more!

Poor, young pally. She worked her Flash of Light button so hard to reach new heights! She pugged and pugged until she was half of the way to level 80, and now she’s been benched. What kind of reward is this? Is this what she worked so hard for?

I haven’t given up on my pugging pally, but I’ve had to take a slight break. Between the demands of current raid content and some real-life things I’ve had to attend to – alts are definitely the first place where my time gets cut. I’ll be back at it, healing again soon – now with three buttons. Shock and awe! (I’m sorry, I’ve never been able to figure out the ‘wowhead preview’ tag for WordPress, so I can’t do the hover-over links. But that’s Holy Shock, if you don’t want to click it. I don’t blame you, really).

So I hit level 40! It took one Uldaman run to push me over from 39, basically an entire level’s worth of XP, some of it rested. Uldaman is a big place! It’s one instance I had actually run at-level, back in the day, though my memories of it were pretty vague. I really like it. I enjoy the Titan lore. The group I was with made sure that the same person was looting both pieces of the staff needed to activate the Indiana Jones style door. I think my favourite part is the little buildings on the ground, although I also enjoy the construct and pedestal circular room. And I like putting a consecrate underneath all those scorpions.

I like less the silencing aura that the one boss does, with the kind of whirlwind things. (I’m glad I’m able to provide such quality info to people. “You know, it’s that one guy, who does the stuff…with the thing? Then the whatsit hit me and WHOA.” I was just watching green bars! I’m sorry!) This ‘whirlwind silencing thing’ was okay for the second run, when I knew about it and knew how to avoid it for the most part. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but much like Ignis’ trash, the dust devil effect seems to pick a person and chase it. It’s avoidable, though. At least I avoided it on the second run through, not so much the first. Thank you, Lay on Hands, for saving my tank’s bacon!

My holy pally mentor assures me that soon I will have 40  yard judgments and I eagerly await this day, so it won’t require me to run up into near-melee range to be silenced and struck at and suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous and angry bosses.

The other thing I really like about Uldaman is that it keeps making people teleport out of it. Let me explain. It seems it’s a benchmark instance. I leveled to 40 in it (technically after, when I was turning in a quest in Ironforge.) On my first run, our tank hit level 40. He teleported out in the midst of spasms of pure joy, and I could practically hear him cackling all the way to the bank. “Plate, plate plate plate,” he was no doubt singing. Or perhaps he’d queued for the group ON TOP of the banker, anticipating this happy occasion. It’s even funnier if you imagine the way we change gear actually requiring us to take the old gear off, first.

Human sprints up to the banker. “My armour, good sir!”

Immediately begins removing old, scorned mail armour, dropping it willy-nilly all around the bank.

“Yes, just one moment, I’ll get your… Oh my god, what are you doing? Put some clothes on! What is this I don’t even…”

“I SAID GIVE ME THE PLATE.”

Anyway, he teleported back to the instance gleefully announcing his stats now, how much defense he had, what his HP was. We’d meantime been pulling trash packs with myself, my hunter friend, a ret paladin, and his bird pet. I won’t say that it was dicey, because it actually wasn’t really. A carefully applied trap and a heavier-clad DPS made it okay. But the bird? The bird was tanking and he was never meant to be tanking. And so it was that in response to our tank’s unabashed excitement, I responded grumpily, “Whatever your stats are, they’ve got to be better than Larry’s here.” I’m such a beacon of light. (Har, you see what I did there.) He laughed good-naturedly, still wrapped in the warm fuzzies that can only come from protecting your torso in half a ton of solid metal.

As for me? I’m suffering plate envy. Oh, I know, I don’t really need the extra armour, and my BoA gear is really good, and I am thankful for what I have and don’t I know there are people who never get to wear more than a dress to go into battle and in my day we’d wear that dress until it could stand up on its own uphill both ways and by gosh we LIKED IT… But I just want some shiny pally armour. I keep seeing it drop in random heroics and the like, and I whimper a little when it’s crushed down into a commonplace old shard. Precious spellpower plate, I will give you a home!

I’m also eyeing some of the BoE gear my guild sells on the AH, in preparation for the time I’ll be able to use it. “I could just buy it, it’d be for a good cause, nobody would know I’d spent that money on an alt who’ll probably never need anything better than heroics gear, right?” Well, they will now. I’ve always made an effort to craft and assemble gear for my characters when they hit 80. It’s surprising just how much you  can amass before you ever set foot in an instance. But this time I’m hesitant, largely because I know the gear will become irrelevant so quickly, and there’s a good chance that Vid’s gear might be decent already because of instancing through Northrend. Ostensibly, anyhow. I should probably save my money and just hang in there for now.

I’m actually not even sure about dual spec, despite subjecting everyone to a poll they didn’t want to take – although overwhelmingly people seem to think I should assume the heavier duties of a paladin and give tanking a go. I’m going to follow Rhii’s advice and wait to see if I feel like really doing anything else, or possibly save dual-spec for when I’m 80. Since I’ve barely played Vid at all lately, it probably isn’t the time to try out something completely new, but I will consider giving tanking a fair shake at some point.

That reminds me, did anyone else see this video posted on WoW.com? It’s a song called “Altoholic” by Emberisolte. What I found interesting was that there was a fair amount of debate in the comments, because of the lyrics – quoted here, I cut a bit in the middle, and emphasis is mine:

You change your class, like a druid changes forms

Yeah you, have the most alts that I’ve ever seen

And you seem to think that’s the right thing to do

I should know that you can’t really play

You’re a ‘lock then a rogue, a mage then a priest

You’re melee then ranged, use mana then rage

You really want to play WoW, but I’ll bet you really don’t know how

Now, I know it’s just a song. I don’t think it was intended to offend. It’s a bit of a good-natured jibe at the people who really can’t settle on any one character, and so have no idea what they’re doing with any of them. I’ve known a few. And it’s easy to do! You get caught up in the shiny, exciting new-ness of a character, or a playstyle, or whatever. And if having a multitude of alts is wrong, well… I’m guilty as charged! I wouldn’t claim equal facility with all of them, by any means. At level cap, I have: my mage, druid, shaman, and priest, listed in order of my interest in them. For a time the priest was my raiding character, and for another stretch of time I raided as a druid. I also leveled a warrior to nearly 80 and then ended up giving her to my husband. Vid will be the first melee, plate-wearing class I’ve leveled to 80 when she reaches it.

There are obviously a few common threads with my characters. Discounting the druid’s potential for tanking/melee DPS (She’s specced balance and resto), they’re all 1) ranged and 2) casters or healers. There’s a strong argument that focusing on one character exclusively makes you a better player. I don’t disagree with this. If you’re always tweaking your main, theorycrafting, analyzing your gear/gemming/enchants and making sure your rotation is solid – of course you’re going to be awesome with that character.

I also think that having knowledge of other classes makes you better able to understand their strengths and capabilities in a way that just hearing about them does not. Trying out different classes has made me a much stronger player overall. I know that learning a paladin if it had been my first character would have been a bewildering mess for me. I even do a better job with classes I already know – as my mage alt can attest. Yes, I said mage alt. Yes, my main is a mage. Of course I need another, whatever do you mean?

I digress, though. My mage, unfettered by any prior commitment to leveling in pugs, is roaming the countryside causing mass devastation. I can say with absolute certainty that she is better than I was when leveling my current main. And she doesn’t actually have BoA gear or any other fancy bells and whistles. She’s Frost, and she is absolutely in control. Since I’ve puttered around with her, I’ve died only once, and it was because I blundered into the warlock mount quest guy in the Shadow Hold in Felwood. (There’s at least five mobs in there, I swear, it all happened so fast. And I nearly pulled it off!) But anyway, judicious sheeping + water elemental + frostbolt and/or blizzard for some AoE grinding has been incredibly fast. And this is applying knowledge I’ve gained since having leveled my main. I doubt I could’ve leveled a boomkin as I did, without having first played a mage. It’s not that different, except as a mage it was easier.

I seem to have lost my point. My point is, I don’t think you could play every class in the game with equal skill unless you devoted every waking hour to WoW or research about WoW. But you can play many quite competently, and a few very well, and many of the things you learn can easily be applied to other classes and it doesn’t make you a horrible or fail player. In fact, it just might make you a better one.

Will I ever be an awesome Holy pally like my guild’s holy pally, Ambriel? Quite likely not.

Could I aspire to do as well, if Vidyala were my main? Sure, I’d be playing her all the time.

Will I be “good enough” to have fun with the content I want to do with her? I think I can say without hesitation, yes.

That’s quite enough for me. Especially if it means I get to wear spellpower plate.