I feel a bit guilty sometimes that search engines lead people here looking for older pug strats, particularly places like Pristine Waters (Don’t stand near the silencing dinosaurs, generally run in what feels like a circle until you come across the scariest earth elemental you’ve ever seen). My approach to instances in general might generously be described as “organic.” Fortunately, I do know of some more methodical and kind folks – Cass over at HoTs & DoTs has been putting up lowbie instance guides for awhile now, the latest for Maraudon Purple Crystals. So if you came here looking for any clues to Maraudon, she’s the one to talk to. I just stand too close to packs of imps and pull half the instance, that’s my strat.
Pugging at this level is starting to feel like a bit of a slow slog. I don’t mind the Pristine Waters runs, they’re pretty quick. I’ve had two more since my last entry. The groups were generally quiet and pleasant, nobody complained, although I can learn how to do the longer Blessings any day now. Refreshing blessings, and coordinating blessings with other paladins is a pain. I know Pally Power does help (I’ve been using it!) but I’ve seen even the paladins in our ten man group doing the same shuffle. You know how it goes.
“No, you should do Kings because I have Imp. Wisdom,”
“Can I get Might?”
Someone gave me Wis instead of Might.”
“Can I get Kings instead of Wisdom?”
“I still don’t have Might!”
It reminds me of this classic bit of geekery.
“ARE YOU GIVING BLESSINGS? BECAUSE I HAVE THIS ADDON THAT REALLY HELPS ORGANIZE BLESSINGS.”
“You’re not there, you’re getting drunk!”
Actually, the part where someone asks for Kings instead of Wisdom is a complete joke on my part, because there’s no raid we run that has any less than two paladins these days. Some days it’s three! If we had our two pally tanks, our ret paladin, and our holy paladin all in the same raid it could conceivably be four. Don’t even get me started about the druids. But when can you have too many of those, really?
So anyhow, Pristine Waters runs are starting to taper down. Today I had two Sunken Temple runs in a row. The first one, I mistakenly queued for before I was finished doing the quest I wanted to do. I’d intended to run up to Jinth’alor and fetch this egg to put the essence of a God in. I forgot myself and queued instinctively, so soon I was in Sunken Temple instead, killing undead trolls with wild abandon. The sense undead ability is really working for me here – it helped me figure out where the troll mini-boss we had missed was located. The first group was like clockwork, no problems.
I enjoy such runs at the same time as I’m thinking, “I can’t write anything about this, I may as well just write, ‘The LFD is a great success, everyone is pleasant and kind and you will have fun using it, the end.’”
Then I got my next Sunken Temple group. Before I had done so, though, I sprinted up to the top of Jinth’alor with my trusty unicorn. Something I’ve read and heard in various places has been niggling at me. “Holy paladins can solo anything,” it says. “It may take awhile but they’ll prevail in the end.” I’m sure that I’ve heard this before. My normal instinct is to say, “Oh, I need to kill something? Let me just respec,” but in this case I didn’t. “Let me see what will happen,” I thought, if I just try to show these trolls how a Holy paladin swings the Light.”
Geeze, guys! All of my Holy paladin mentors have been holding out on me. You didn’t tell me we were WELL-NIGH INVINCIBLE, able to leap tall troll ziggurats in single bound. Or did you, and I just wasn’t listening? I was taking on packs of mobs (sometimes unintentionally) all of them 2-3 levels higher than me, and emerging from the fight barely scratched and with full mana. Understand, I wouldn’t queue as DPS or anything… It still takes a bit of precious time to get the job done, but it’s pretty fun. I rolled through the cave killing trolls (Holy roller, har) and got that egg myself. I didn’t need no stinking offspec. I even took a picture.
So, egg in hand, I went back to Tanaris to turn the quest in and queued up for another random, taking a chance that it’d be Sunken Temple. It was, but not as fun as the other groups I’ve been in. The tank of the group was clearly the least confident/assured player. This had actually been the case in the previous instance as well, but he’d been a bit more vocal. “I don’t know this instance really well, you guys,” he confessed. It turned out that I do know the instance pretty well, and so I’d helped to guide him through, telling him if the mobs feared and so should be pulled back, or not to try and tank those ghosts because they’d just ignore him anyway. It worked. This group was having none of that. Two of the DPSers were feeling confident – a priest – I want to say Shadow priest, but she didn’t have shadow form and was still casting Holy Fire… some weird hybrid? Her DPS wasn’t great. The other “gogogo” guy was a Fury warrior. He took great pleasure in charging into combat ahead of the paladin tank, leaving him with the unhappy task of regaining aggro instead of just gaining it. I resent these types of players most because they put me in a position of, “Well, I could punish this person by just not healing them, but it would slow down the run and probably lead to death, when I know I can keep them healed fine,” but also, “Healing them makes them think that acting that way is OKAY when it just isn’t.” But the tank was too slow and a bit meek to take control of the situation himself.
Accordingly, we fumbled along fine. The Fury warrior got himself killed at one point going down the stairs when he should have gone up. I rezzed him primarily because I knew it’d be faster than waiting for him to run all the way back. ST has a heck of a corpse run tied to it.
The thing that really made the run a doozy though (okay, the two things).
1) People just not listening – I asked politely if we couldn’t ensure that we killed Hakkar before we went after Eranikus. I know that since Eranikus is the last boss, people tend to drop group at that point. I said “I’ve got this quest so we can do Hakkar too,” and the Fury warrior said “Cool story lol.” I’ve seen this statement around – it’s something like “This is what you say to someone who presents irrelevant information for no reason,” I guess. I responded, “It IS a cool story because it means we get an extra boss,” and I actually know Hakkar to drop some fairly badass loot. But the pally tank had no idea what I was talking about re: Hakkar and the Fury warrior was just rushing on ahead anyhow and plainly didn’t care.
2) I could have dealt with that, although it means I’ve got to pug another group and convince them to kill Hakkar – I’ll likely get handed ST again before I hit level 50 – but it’s the next part that’s just mean. After having said “We clear all dragons,” the fury warrior ran ahead, leaving dragons behind, to engage the two guardian dragons before Eranikus. When I asked him to stop, he wouldn’t. I was still hoping that I could convince the group to come kill Hakkar after we got Eranikus, but this warrior had other ideas. He pulled Eranikus, we killed Eranikus… and he immediately dropped group as a wave of dragons came towards us. I had some notion that I could keep the tank alive through the onslaught, and I could’ve possibly, but unfortunately he just wasn’t making enough aggro for that to be possible. I couldn’t heal myself through tanking all of those, even using my bubble and a BoP. We died horribly, but not the warrior, the priest or the shaman – they made sure to drop group and teleport out before that happened.
At the risk of turning this into the “Wah, people are so mean blog” (didn’t you know pugging pally stood for that?) I was pretty unimpressed with their conduct. It’s obvious that the warrior knew what was going to happen if we didn’t clear the dragons. I guess he just wanted his Satchel of Incredibly Helpful Goods. I shouldn’t be derisive – that satchel has given me some nifty boots lately.
Anyway, I’m sure I’ll go back to ST to finish the quest, and it’s no big deal in the end. As I wait out a twenty-second long sleeping debuff in the depths of Sunken Temple, I have time to think: I really can’t wait to hit Burning Crusade content. Older content is nice for its nostalgia value, and it’s been fun and all, but I honestly believe that Blizz was still learning about how best to design instances at these levels. I suppose people tired of all the level eighty instances that tend to be faster and more linear might disagree with me – but they’re really the type of instance I prefer. Zul’Farrak is my favourite pre-60 instance because I know where I’m going. There’s more places to go than just a straight line, but it has some pre-defined events and locales that make it easily navigable. I guess that’s not what you want from a big, sprawling cave instance – but they had to take their big sprawling cave instance and split it into three parts for purposes of LFD. Don’t even get me started about BRD, the only instance I can get lost in before I’ve barely set foot in the door. Yes, I know, it takes a special kind of person, I am that person. As further proof: My parents dropped by to give me a present for my birthday this afternoon: A GPS. No kidding. Now I’m getting real-life addons! I’m excited about it, but sadly, it won’t keep me from losing my way in BRD.
To end on a positive note, I wanted to thank everyone who took the time to comment on this entry. I had a lot of fun reading about the characters you have, which one is your “main” and why. I ran out of time to respond to each response individually but rest assured I did read them and appreciate that folks had written them. Unsurprisingly, there are quite a lot of “give me holy or give me death” paladins out there. Or is that “give me holy and our runs will never end in death?” I’m sure I got that confused somewhere.