Tag Archives: 30-40

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.


Today’s Pug: Brought To You By The Letter “P”

One of the neat features of having a WordPress blog is the ability to see what search engine terms people used to find you. I’ve enjoyed browsing them. Most of them are “pugging pally” or “puggingpally” or “pugging paladin,” coming from people who I assume read here once and wanted to find it again. (That’s very nice, thank you.) Others are a bit different though!

To the person who came here by searching “feral dps scarlet monastery,” I’m very sorry. All I can tell you is that I was in Scarlet Monastery, there have been feral druids, and they have been DPSing.

Similarly, to whoever was erroneously sent here looking for “shaman addon,” I really have no idea. Unless you wanted Vuhdo, which is technically named after a shaman.

Thirdly, and my favourite. My friend, who arrived here looking for “scarlet graveyard players just running off and doing their own thing.” You’ve come to the right place. Players in the Scarlet Graveyard will go off and do their own thing, I’m not sure why. It’s a fairly linear instance. It might be because some people like to barrel straight down the middle, rock down the stairs and finish the thing as quickly as possible. Others like to take a more leisurely, “Let’s kill all these ghosts” approach, and never the twain shall meet. I’ve previously referred to it as “pug diffusion” and it certainly applies here. Think of it as the tendency of five random strangers to repel each other in different directions, and try not to let it bother you. The bad news I have for you is that it’s not specific to Graveyard. Graveyard is only the beginning.

One of These Things Is Not Like The Other

I’ve done so much pugging the last few days. So very much. I’ve run Razorfen Downs three times, SM Armory twice, and SM Cathedral, also twice. The first RFD in the list was kind of funny for being a true Pally Power run. There were four of us…and a hunter. I’ll admit here that sometimes I’m fairly quiet in a pug. I’ll say hello, and if nobody feels like talking, Flash of Light bot will just run along behind for a while, throwing some Light around. Such was the first RFD. The RFD I ran after that one was remarkable because it contained the single nicest player I’ve met in my pugging adventures. I’ve decided there’s nothing wrong with naming a good player, so – Arcanelight from Malfurion, you are a credit to your class. (Mage, naturally.)

When I asked him to please not frost nova the packs unless he needed to stop a runner because it makes them switch targets, he agreed and apologized very politely. He decursed that stupid curse that slows casting time without being asked. And as we were heading up the Spiral Ramp of Undead he said, “Keep up the good work guys, we’re almost there!” He brought encouragement, consideration and teamwork. If more folks were like him, this wouldn’t be much of a blog, I’m afraid.

I was really excited to have SM Cathedral appear. Finishing this one instance gives me the Scarlet Monastery achievement (for a lousy ten achievement points… It feels like it should award me with fifty.) I had an exceedingly good tank for my first run. She pulled the tricky trash packs inside the Cathedral like a pro, quite unlike the tank I had for the second run, who actually just sprinted straight in and aggroed about four packs at once. Needless to say, my death-o-meter ticks over one more time. That tank actually dropped the group right after. He may have been embarassed, but he hadn’t said much anyway. I hope he wasn’t too crushed. They’re very tough pulls, especially with those big doors… Actually, can someone answer this for me – the doors. Do they close after a certain amount of time, or only when someone clicks them? Because they kept opening and closing, and I’m not sure if I have the right to be annoyed at someone for closing them all the time, or if they just do that.

A need for doorstops aside…I have to admit, I’m cheating a little bit. A guildie friend has a hunter who is almost the same level as Vid, and we paired up to run RFD and Cath today. So my pug was 1/5th less puggy. In the end it hardly mattered though, since the RFD group contained the world’s most annoying rogue. He was enough pug for anyone. And he was doing less than half the DPS that my hunter and other mage were doing.

“Four more bars until level!” he announced as he joined. We all made polite “well isn’t-that-nice” noises.

Five minutes later – “Three more bars until I level!”

The mage joked, “We should kick him so he has to go and quest to finish.”

He kept announcing what he was doing, and the state of his experience bar, right up until we went to start the escort quest and I beseeched the group, “Please do not start the escort until everyone has it, so that no one gets shafted.” You get three guesses what the rogue did next, and the first two do not count. Yes, I admit unabashedly, we did kick him. Fifteen minutes later the tank said, “Locked chest over here.”

“We just kicked the rogue,” observed my hunter friend.

“Oh,” the tank said, and then after a moment, “It was worth it.”

I’m inclined to agree.

Pay no attention to this woolly construct – of course it didn’t clank, you’re imagining things

There are a few major drawbacks to leveling exclusively with the LFD tool (apart from the obvious ones involving sanity, patience, etc.)

Gear – This would actually apply more to someone not completely twinked out with BoA epics, but I mention it here as a cautionary tale nonetheless. You may think that being in instances all the time will mean good gear, but it is not necessarily so. There will be other people, and they will want the same things, and if you’re like me, you won’t roll on anything lower than your armour class unless nobody else needs it, which means you’ll roll on very little. I did manage to score a pair of plate underwear today with better stats than what I had, as well as a new cloak, and a shield. A shield “of the Gorilla.” Yes, that means it has Strength and Intellect and I really don’t care. It was better than the crummy level 20 shield I had. But I get very few quest rewards and hence, very little guaranteed gear with no competition. This may prove particularly bad when I hit Northrend – because if it isn’t plate, I won’t be allowed to roll on it. I hope all those spellpower plate drops I’ve seen sharded for months will keep me in mind. But yes, don’t think your gear will be awesome unless you purchased it. And don’t assume the Satchel of Mockery will help you either, unless you are playing the more mainstream spec for your class. My hunter friend looked like he’d received a few useful things from it, so maybe it isn’t all bad.

Travel – At this point I’m only biding my time until I hit 40 so that I can go out and collect flight points with super speed. I may even wait until I have Crusader Aura to do this. Leveling the way I have has left me with nearly nothing in this department. I paid a mage to port me to Theramore so I could take a boat to Menethil and nab that flightpoint (I thought I was going to Southshore until I realized that the SM quest is a chain, and the chain begins in Desolace, and forget that.) In essence, you will be very hidebound unless you’re doing some combination of questing/instances. This works out fine for me – I hang around the city, train when I level, check things on the AH, and work on my professions sporadically. I have missed out on a few dungeon specific quests though, simply because they required me to travel and I don’t have the patience or means. Run to Ratchet? No, thanks.

Reputation – You’d think with all the monster killing I do for them, the Azerothian factions would be kissing my hooves! But they aren’t. In fact, I think many of them have barely heard of me. So they charge me more money for my beverages. And I can’t ride their mounts. Without questing, it’s just not easy to build up reputation since old world instances don’t award it.

Time – Even with my increased experience from BoA epics, this is taking much longer than it has to level other characters. I’m not sure what the /played time of a similar character leveled in a more ‘conventional’ way might be, but I am pretty sure it’s significantly less.

That’s not to say that LFD leveling is without its advantages, though!

Goods – I might not always get awesome gear drops, but my bank is bulging with cloth and other sorts of things. Positively stuffed! If I were a tailor I’d be laughing. I may actually use some of this cloth to alleviate the reputation issue from before. I have the same thing with enchanting mats; more shards, dust and essence than I actually need. It’s not always the exact type that I need, but I’ll be selling what I won’t use before too long.

Cash! – I haven’t been keeping an actual tally, but I make a goodly chunk of money just from loot and/or selling greens or mats that I accumulate. But just the money from the instances far outweighs any repair bills I might accrue (at least at this point).

Reputation – Right now, this is a disadvantage. As soon as I hit Outland and Northrend in turn, it will actually be a big advantage. I’ll get rep from doing the instances associated with each faction; in the case of the Hellfire instances that rep will actually contribute to a sizeable discount when it comes to my flying training! Later on, in Northrend, it should be reasonably easy to up my rep with all of the relevant factions just by wearing a tabard. This matters quite a bit less than it once did, since now head and shoulder enchants can be sent to Vid by my main character benefactors. But if I didn’t have that, it would still be a pretty great thing.

Convenience – Gone are the days of struggling along in a healing spec, boring mobs to death while questing, and suffering poor soloability simply because of wanting to play a role in instances. I’m leveling a character purely meant for healing, because I can, and yes I could have done it before using the LFG channel and existing tools, but this is so easy by comparison. I won’t say painless. But easy. And I’m grateful that I’m able to do it this way!

I’m making a last pugging push just to get to 40 – I’m so close! At 40, I think I’ll dual-spec…and I’m leaning heavily towards ret, but queue times will be obscene. I could try tanking, just in time to get groups hopelessly lost in Uldaman, Mauradon, etc. And then I’m going to set some time aside to work on my professions. My enchanting is lagging behind again. After some consideration, I made my second professions Engineering, and dropped Mining. I don’t go out in the world questing any way, and I don’t encounter ore. Engineering seems like one of those fun profs that none of my characters has had up until this point, and it’ll also be dead useful for instancing later on, what with the Jeeves and etc. At least, I hope so. In the meantime I get to occasionally propel a sheep at a mob and watch it go up in flames, and who wouldn’t like that?

So… What do you guys think?

Bones and Brambles

These aren't the bones of the party members I didn't heal, honest.

I ran Razorfen Downs for the first time the other day. I’ve since been hoping it doesn’t pop up again, not because I didn’t like it or my run was awful, but because it guarantees I’ll have an hour-long run. By contrast, today I had a spare hour or so to do a bit o’ pally pugging, and I ran Library and then Armory. The length of time is the same, but the difference is that I could have stopped after one if I hadn’t felt like continuing.

RFD was so uneventful that it really left me with nothing much to say. It’s like Razorfen Kraul, redux – the most exciting part was the skeletons all dancing atop a giant pile of bones. The Scourge makes a sinister appearance here with a bit of foreshadowing, and we got to fight our first (but certainly not our last) Lich. I was thinking about this briefly today during my runs, as I was wondering what I’ll do with the holy spec at end-game. I’ll want to have a spec that’s focused on healing 5-mans, undoubtedly. But – will Vid pug raids? I suppose only time will tell.

Meantime, I’m actually beginning to feel that whoever implied that holy pally leveling would be painfully boring was very wrong. Sure, I only have two healing spells so far, and no HoTs, but the utility that a paladin brings is pretty complex and engaging. For instance: (no pun intended), at the beginning of a run I have to buff each group member with an appropriate Blessing. This requires a certain understanding of other classes, what they value, and who is present in the group. If there’s one or more warriors, I give the melee Kings because I assume the warrior will be using Battle Shout. Since I have improved wisdom now, I tend to give that out to casters (and myself) instead of Kings. If there’s another pally, I’d hope that they’d use Kings/Might accordingly. And that’s all in the first ten seconds or so. After that, the tank pulls. He/she might be under level for the instance and so one of the DPS is pulling hard – a great opportunity for Hand of Salvation. The tank gets rooted? (Plenty of Frost spells that do this in RFD, by the way). It’s Hand of Freedom time! I’m still learning this myself but I have plenty of “Oh crap” buttons available to me. I can use my signature pally bubble. If that’s on CD and I don’t have Forbearance, I can use Divine Protection. I realized I’ve been using Hand of Protection for myself – but this isn’t the right call; since it is a targeted spell, I should save that for the overzealous DPSer if need be. Meantime, between aiming my Holy Light to hit as many group members as I can, choosing a mob to put a Judgment on, and using Hammer of Justice to stop runners – I’m generally kept plenty busy.

When I’m not drinking, that is. Which reminds me, I added a new stat to the sidebar there: “Beverages consumed.” I’m not sure if anyone necessarily cares about this besides me, but it is an interesting testament to unique requirements of pug-specific leveling. That’s an average of about 9.51 drinks per instance. Needless to say, with all the instancing that I do, I can’t go in without plenty. I would use them all if I weren’t buying more all the time, too. I generally run with at least 60 stacks of whatever in my bags, and I have no problem sitting and drinking for only a few seconds if I have to while the tank checks things out – I’d rather use more drinks than run out of mana at a crucial time.

That said, it’s safe to surmise that the only real ‘mana’ problem Vid has is frequent visits to the restroom.

Don’t mind me, I’ll just duck behind this bush

This reminds me that I wanted to mention a few add ons I use that are specific or at least related to my pugging. I also started work on a series of posts – a lowbie pally healing guide, for anyone else who might want it. I’m going to take my time with that, it’s more of a side-project for any brave souls who might find it useful eventually.

Meantime, here are a few add ons that may help any aspiring pugger.

Free Refills: Recommended to me by a guildie, this is a fabulous add-on. You set it up for whichever reagents or other things you need to maintain. In my case, I tell it that I always want to have 60 Moonberry Juice to hand. When I visit any vendor who sells what I want, it automatically purchases enough to bring me up to that set amount. No clicking, no fuss, and more importantly, no forgetting. I use this at 80 with my other characters as well; to make sure I’ve always got enough Arcane Dust and reagents for teleports and portals.

SellJunk: Another great add-on, really for leveling period and not just pugging. I’ve found it particularly useful when I leave an instance, my bags laden with boar fur, dog toes and whatever else I saw fit to bring out of there. It puts a new button on the vendor interface that just says “Sell Junk,” when you click it, it automatically vendors all of your grey items. I’m all about time saving. I know that there are other add-ons that will sell these without having to click a button, but I prefer to have the choice. Firstly, because I notice them all there in a list of things I sold, and secondly so that I don’t accidentally sell some neat grey item I wanted to keep.

Baggins: Inventory management has always been an issue for me, and it feels like my bags will never have enough space. I like Baggins because it assigns categories to your stuff and visually delineates them: “Trade Goods,” “Equipment,” etc., in addition to the standard colour indicator for item rarity. It still feels “baggish” to me, which is the problem I had with add ons like TeaBag (har har). It just ends up looking like this huge mass of squares that makes me want to hyperventilate or throw my arms up in the air and just sell everything so I don’t have to look at it. I’ve been pretty happy with this add-on but I know there are plenty of other ones out there – if you think you’ve got a better one, don’t hesitate to suggest it in the comments!

Pally Power: I’ll admit, shamefacedly, that I downloaded this because everyone insists it is a paladin ‘must-have,’ but I don’t use it and have no idea how it works. Some guildies told me that it doesn’t work until you have the greater, 30 minute version of the Blessings, but I don’t know if that’s true or not. Figuring out what to do with it is on my “to-do” list, especially if it can save me some time at the beginning of an instance. For now, it’s taking up screen real-estate but not doing me much good.

“U got a weapon, dont u?”

As for my instance runs, nothing happened in RFD. SM Library was reasonably smooth up until the end when the bear tank revealed a tendency to run around the corner while the rest of the group was gawking slack-jawed at some loot. It was the first time I regretted my strong Loot Morales, because some really badass cloth BoE pants dropped. I did not need on them and let the warlock have them. My gear isn’t a problem, anyhow, and he seemed so excited about them that he immediately began Lifetapping in celebration.

The same Library run included this conversation between the shaman and the tank:

Shaman: “oom”

Tank: “melee”

Shaman: “ele”

Tank: “u got a weapon dont u?”

Shaman: “I’m a caster, wearing cloth, and you seriously want me to run in and hit things with my dagger?”

This tank has figured out the secret, clearly, to all of us whiny caster types. Forget about drinking, we have no time for that! All of you, just run in and hit things with your weapon! It has a DPS rating on it, doesn’t it? My intrepid attempts to both Judge and melee throughout that instance, by the way, amounted to a whopping 3.1 DPS. I think this is the physical equivalent of having a really pissed off cockroach hopping on your toe. It’s no big secret that meleeing is not exactly the best use of our time.

But a note about people and Recount. I run the mod myself, mostly because I have it with my characters at 80… not because the DPS that people are doing at level 20+ actually matters. But some people feel that it does, and they make sure the rest of us hear about it. So I’m using a sly way of deflecting would-be e-peeners with their Recount scores. You know the ones I mean. They’re doing over 100 DPS at level 35 and by gosh they want you to know. They want you to know very badly. So they spam the recount scores in order to boast. Or maybe so we can tell our friends (or our blog) about them. And I go ahead and I STEAL that spotlight. I immediately and gleefully call attention to MY HOT DPS.

“That’s right, you all fear my 3.1 DPS!” Generally people laugh, nobody says anything about Mr. Super E-Peen, or tries to make anyone else feel bad about their lower DPS, or whatever. But more importantly, it moves the conversation away from the Recount anyhow – all part of my cunning plan. Go forth, healers, and make sure everyone knows: Your DPS is the most important number there.

At Least She’s Got a Shield

Armory is a pretty great little instance, I like it. It has some fun pulls, fireworks, this guy at the end with no shirt but a massive helmet (what’s his shtick?). It has much going for it. I also like any instance with a locked door at the end, for the simple reason that no stupid running mob can charge in there and aggro him. By the way, that IS what happened in one of my aforementioned SM runs, and it definitely happened again today. This time we killed him though.

If I’m ever inclined to complain about the way my gear looks again, please remind me to shut up, after I direct your attention to my poor tank from today. Name cropped to protect the innocent… I don’t think she’s choosing to look that way, she’s a victim of  the unfortunate way that Blizz made mail armour look on females at this level. I actually have no idea if her player is really a woman. But… but.

Just looking at her makes me wince. She’s blocking sword swings with what now? I may not know whether my underwear goes on the inside or outside of my pants, but at least I have pants.

I think she's going for a Wonder Woman look.

SM: Did you know it can also mean ‘sadism’ and ‘masochism’?

My SM-go-round has indeed progressed now from Graveyard to Library. I was so stunned by this turn of events, in fact, that initially I didn’t know where I was. I stumbled blindly down the stairs and almost into the first pair of Scarlets. They were happy to see me.

Fortunately no paladins died as a result of this overzealous exuberance, but let this be a lesson to you: sometimes, to blog about the stupid pugger, you must become him/her.

I was quite happy to trade Graveyard for Library, because it’s an infinitely more interesting instance. I can’t help remembering how epic all the SM instances felt to me the first time I saw them, and before I really knew much about what instances were. Now, they’re still pretty short but definitely more challenging than the previous ones. There are opportunities for LoS pulls, tightly packed trash, runners, mayhem! My runs for the most part went quite well, except for one thing; SM seems to be bringing out more jerks than the other instances. I’m not sure why this is. I’m not going to detail every single PUG I have at this point, because it would take me years to write this blog and they wouldn’t be happy ones. Instead, I will summarize: I ran SM Library five times since my last post. Of those five times, these are the interesting things that happened:

Some people don’t understand the concept of ‘don’t pull crap when your healer is nowhere near you.’ Or rather, the same tank who kept attacking and then turning his back on mobs to run to more mobs and getting dazed (to say nothing of making that shield he’s carrying less than worthless) – that same tank couldn’t grasp that when it comes to the narrow corridors just before Doan, it’s maybe better not to run to the left and act like you’re going to fight those mobs – and then head over to the right to get THOSE mobs… leaving your healer trying to reach you, but on the other side of a big pillar. On the occasion, I remarked, “In retrospect, it might not have been such a good idea to pull all of those mobs and then break LoS with your healer.” The tank said nothing, the mage laughed though. (No matter which guise I’m wearing, I love my fellow dress-wearing people.)

So there was that guy. In a different run, I realized I have not yet set up my Vuhdo bars to show pets. This is a gripe I have with Vuhdo, btw. I love it in most other respects. But why is the option to show pet bars hidden away in some sub-sub-option menu that I can’t remember? And why can’t I change things while in combat? It’s easy enough for me to keep spamming Flash of Light while I browse through healing addon menus, and I’ve done it before with others. Vuhdo is kind of like my Mom. “Pay attention to what you’re doing!” or maybe better- “What do you mean you can’t find it? If I stop what I’m doing to go and look, and it’s there…”

Anyway, so I realized I wasn’t displaying pets when one of the people in the group emoted /crying. I looked around blankly. What? Then I realized, “Hm, it’s the hunter who is crying. Oh, look at that, his pet has low health. Perhaps I let it die. I knew I was forgetting something. But I can’t open Vuhdo to make it display pets. I’ll just target it manually, and…WHAT. THE. HELL.”

My friends, that pet did not receive a heal. Not at that moment, and not for the duration of the instance. Why? I’m going to tell you now. That innocent-seeming, non-descript Darkshore tiger’s name?

“PetWussy.”

And that about sums up my SM Lib experiences so far. The fifth one I actually did today, and it marked a turning point in my pugging career: I got irritated enough that I dropped group. Yes, I left the pug. Why? Well, it was an accumulation of things.

It started with the warrior who, while well-meaning, didn’t really know what he was doing. And the whiny mage. We were on the second pull and he was bawling, “WHY U GO SO FAST I NEED MANA.”  He’s apparently labouring under the illusion that tanks give a crap about the DPS’ mana – I can’t even get them to care about my mana! I suggested that he might want to try drinking before engaging the mobs, so he can top up while we’re fighting. He said, “I don’t have time, but thanks for the advice.” If you don’t have time to sit and drink after combat drops, there’s not much I can do for you. But whatever, I roll with it.

In the little courtyard there, things start to get mildly hairy. The hunter and the warlock are bound and determined that we should move fast, very fast, despite the warrior’s ineptitude at handling this speed. Yes, they are pulling for him. I hear tanks really like that, right? One less thing they have to worry about.

So we’re dealing with trash packs the tank hasn’t even seen, I presume. Like the Scarlet priest that latched onto me after the warlock pulled him but he liked my healing aggro. The poor thing thought that Smite is a viable option, and so he was trying very hard to kill me. Smite. Smite. I’m thinking, “The tank is going to see this mob here casting at me. Any time. Annnytime now.” It’s when he starts to move towards Houndmaster Whosits there that I get a bit twitchy. I suppose that I could have healed the group with an angry caster on my back, but really, should I have to? I ask to have the mob removed from my business area. The group manages that and we carry on, blundering through the instance. I’ve fixed my hotkeys a little bit so it’s easier for me to cast Hand of Salv and Blessing of Protection, and I’m glad I did because this group needs it. The mage tanked at least half of it, at least the ones he wasn’t frost novaing in the middle of nowhere.

Meantime, the hunter is still experiencing SM rage. “Pull, fuck,” he says, and “Fucking GO,” among others. I can only imagine what he’s like in heavy cross-town traffic. The warlock tells him to chill out. The hunter tells the warlock, “Bro, you can go eat a fat dick.” Things are heading south fast. I didn’t say anything about this at the time, figuring we’re almost done the instance, I’ll just wait it out. But then we hit The Last Room.

I’m beginning to loathe this room. Between the mobs that silence, runners, tightly packed groups  – and let’s face it, PUGS – this room is rife with potential for disaster and it doesn’t disappoint. We’re finishing off the second to last pack, I think things are going well, and then I hear it: “You will not defile these mysteries!”

Mysteries? We aren’t defiling any mysteries! At least not until we’re done dealing with your flunkys… But of course, someone couldn’t wait that long. Someone thought we’d get done faster if they pulled Doan while we weren’t yet “done.” Someone was very wrong, and I add another death to my sidebar.

I say, “Seriously, who pulled Doan while we were still fighting the last trash pack?”

Warlock says, “You.”

“Oh really. From the middle of the room, I pulled Doan? He must have liked my face.”

Warlock: “lol he did.”

I decide to balance the weight of the oh-so-valuable Tumultuous Necklace [Of The Monkey] I expect to get at the end of the run, and just cut my losses. Before I’ve even run back from the graveyard, I type back, “It was either you or the Tourette’s hunter that pulled him, and I have better things I could be doing with my time. Enjoy pulling the last room and the boss with a different healer.”

Yes, I ragequit a group for SM Library. It doesn’t bode well for the future. In my defense, it was nearly lunchtime.

No, I’m Really A Paladin, I swear by the Naaru. Oh, you aren’t supposed to swear by the Naaru? Well sh**.

In other news, the armory has all these cool new features! I’ve added an RSS feed to the sidebar to show you all the badass things I do, like becoming a professional expert or equipping some awesome loot. Which I actually don’t do; the lastany loot I was excited about was this ugly green belt in Blackfathom Deeps. I’m not sure if the code for including an image of a character works in WordPress, but I’ve taken a picture for you all anyway.

I have a confession to make. I’m not a paladin at all.

At least, you’d never know it to look at poor Vid, in her awkward ‘Am I wearing my underwear over my pants ‘ pants (at least they’re mail) and her hand-me-down shaman gear. There is no spellpower heirloom plate. The boots are cloth, I’m reasonably certain the wrists and gloves are cloth. She’s got weenie-roasting forks on her shoulders, and she can’t even say “They help me keep in touch with the elements,” because the only element she knows anything about is randomness. Possibly an element of stupidity.

In all of my Holy glory, I’m afraid I look more like Stormwind’s bag lady, Queen of Dumpster Diving. I’m sure half the pugs I do don’t know the difference – they probably just figure I’m the world’s worst shaman – never drops totems – and the other half just wants me to give them Any Blessing Other Than The Blessing I Just Gave Them.

My biggest motivator to make it to 80, really, is just so that I can put on clothes that fit more with my notion of the shining paragon of virtue I envision paladins to be. Outland still lies between me and that goal, though – I can’t wait to see what kind of radioactive colors I can put on when I’m level 58! Unfortunately, my weenie-forks and vest will be with me all the way. Unless I snap and go ret before then, which I vow I will not do, if only for the sake of pure, cussed stubbornness.

Oh, the shame.

It’s okay, I’m a rogue. You’re not supposed to notice.

I think that in the end I only ran Gnomeregan about five times, total. I could go back through my blog entries and count, but I’m going to say it doesn’t matter and it was about five times. I thought that was bad. It IS an instance that takes a significant chunk of time.

I had not yet been introduced to monotony in the way that being level 30-32 has introduced me to monotony leveling a character through the LFD tool.

“Scarlet Monastery Graveyard” syndrome is typified by a few key symptoms. Let me enumerate them for you.

  • Spontaneous narcolepsy at the keyboard
  • Group apathy regarding: drops, conversation, the run or any of the mobs in it
  • Tendency to whimper, “I’ll – rip – the – secrets – from – your – flesh!” in a creepy singsong.

If you or any of your family members or loved ones begin to exhibit any of these signs, don’t wait, seek aid quickly. Preferably by deciding against leveling a character exclusively through the LFD tool in the first place. Leave yourself an “except if I start to see red in the form of Scarlets one too many times” caveat.

The phenomenon is best summed up by a fellow I grouped with while pugging the other day. It was my fifth Graveyard run and he observed (not to me, but about me)… “I’ve had the same healer for this five times today.”

You don’t say? That’s funny, because I’m a healer. And this is the fifth time I’m doing this. Wait a minute…

I really had grouped with him five times, I guess. I didn’t recognize him at all, except vaguely I knew that we’d run together the previous time. I sheepishly admitted that I hadn’t realized we’d grouped together as many times. His answer? See the title post. He wins at witty repartee.

The rogue went on to say, “I’m loving the new LFD tool! It makes leveling so fluid!”

The words were still hanging there in the air, in a little speech bubble, as the tank blundered into Scarlet Room No. 1 and pulled the whole thing. I had to laugh, but in the end he was right; none of us died, all of THEM died, and so really that is pretty fluid. I remarked wearily, “Five runs in a row, I’m getting a little tired of this place.” Again, though, Mr. Stabby McStab had me beat.

“Only five?” he said. “This is my eleventh.” But he sounded happy about it.

So needless to say, I don’t have quite the pug endurance I normally would at the moment. Five graveyards at a time is approximately my limit, no matter how smooth the groups.

I’ve duly noted hints and tips about warlocks, spirit tapping, and their dependence on doing so. I’ve officially put them on the “benefit of the doubt” list for the time being. I’m sure I sounded meaner than I really am – it’s not that I have a problem with healing people who need it. If more tanks were using a shield, I’d be likely to have more time to spare for beleaguered, low-level ‘locks.

For now though, I have to tell you about another warlock I encountered. I’m not sure this one ever life-tapped at all. That wasn’t his problem. His problem seemed to be some mixture of recklessness/cluelessness. All throughout the instance (I watched him doing this, though perhaps he thought no-one would notice) he kept pulling mobs. He’d sneak ahead, target something – send his pet in to attack it, immediately begin wanding and then type into party chat: “Help!”

This wasn’t an isolated incident. I watched him go to a completely different area of the graveyard and do it. Pet, wand… “Help!” Wanding, incidentally, made up the bulk of his attacks for the instance. Maybe the word has gotten out about me, he was too afraid to Lifetap to get any mana, and so wanted to conserve everything he could.

“I didn’t just shoot this ghost in the eye with my magical wand! Someone help me!”

At one point our tank disconnected. The possible OT was AFK. It was just myself, rogue, warlock. I was just asking if the other warrior might agree to tank so we could finish the instance, when the warlock charged down the steps. The rogue and hapless healing pally followed.

Encountering the first batch of undead there, the warlock began wanding. “Help,” he cried, unexpectedly.

I was healing him. I was. I was healing his pet too. And the rogue. For a moment I thought we might pull it off, but too many of them were on me, dividing my healing between them and mostly me. Perhaps I should have been a better healing pally turned tank. I was running out of  ‘I have a ghost in my unmentionables’ cooldowns (damn you, Forbearance).

“I’m going to die,” the warlock said, in his first flash of understanding since we’d met.

He was right. Moments later, the rogue and I are still struggling to eke by, and the warlock is typing in party chat. “Can someone rez me?” We hadn’t yet died ourselves.

I’m sure it’s nothing about warlocks in particular. I just keep encountering them, that’s all I’m saying!

People keep telling me that they’ve been inspired to level a lowbie alt this way after reading here. I have only one thing to say to this.

What is wrong with you people?! Really? You read this and it makes you WANT to do it? We need a support group or something.

The plus side is, though, that there are other people writing things in a much more systematic and helpful way than I am. Natarumah wrote this Instance Leveling 101 guide. Cass over at HoTs & DoTs has been mapping Gnomeregan for the directionally challenged. I might try to compile some lowbie holy pally things, since the sum total of knowledge I found on the topic when I searched can essentially be boiled down to: “Lowbie Holy pally healing? Don’t/lol noob/go ret,” etc. I have switched to judging Light to help the DPS heal themselves instead of Wisdom to give me mana to heal them, and that seems to have been helpful so far!

This next part has nothing to do with being a pally or pugging, so feel free to skip it if that’s all you’re into. Some folks might recall that when I’m not punishing myself mercliessly trying to progress beyond SM: GY, I mess things up with the power of the arcane/frost/fire, even frostfire, for a stint.

I haven’t really made a fuss about hiding my identity here – anyone who cared to armory Vidyala would know my guild anyway. We like ten-person raiding, hard modes, and general tomfoolery. Possibly shenanigans. We’re looking for a ranged DPS right now. That’s it, just one awesome DPS. Preference given to one whose skills have progressed beyond wanding a mob and screaming “help,” – you should have a macro to pop your trinkets first and THEN wand the mob. Drop me a line if you have any questions about the guild, or the macro. I make a great wanding macro.

I ain’t afraid of no ghost.

It turns out that insomnia and the new LFD tool are uniquely suited to one another. Instead of using Warcraft as a glorified chat engine, standing in a capital city and staring at the mailbox, I can actually while away some time until I’m tired enough to sleep.

Scarlet Monastery GY – Hello? Is this thing on?

My first pug of the evening was accompanied by a feeling of great hope. Could it be possible, I thought, that I have out-leveled interminable Gnomeregan runs?  Yes, the random dungeon finder answered. A thousand times yes!

Now I can spend my time doing the same Scarlet Monastery run over and over again instead. This was another ‘silent one.’ I had a panick-y moment during the initial SM GY; I realized, thanks to the warlock… that it seemed like my Flash of Light was not healing. A few confused and muddled moments later and I realized it was healing – it was just healing ME. My clever keybound macro was too smart for its own good, and it interprets /cast Flash of Light as /cast Flash of Light on the pally, and not the life-tapping warlock who probably deserves to die anyhow.

I need to digress a moment to talk about the lifetap thing. What is with warlocks who do this? I’m giving most warlocks the benefit of the doubt here, I haven’t run across too many yet in my LFDing. At 80, I’ve met ‘locks who are unobtrusive in their lifetapping. I’m genial about tossing them a HoT. Here, warlock, do borrow my mana. My leaves can handle it. My mana is infinite, please partake of it. This is as a resto druid. I’m no longer playing a resto druid, and I’m also not level 80. THIS warlock drained herself dry casting in one pull, meanwhile, you can imagine that futile FoL spam (due to dealing with my broken macro) left my mana gasping, I hoped the tank would actually stop when I asked him, and sat to drink. The tank was a pally, and he sat to drink too. Everyone sat to drink! We had a little party there among the corpses, just drinking away.

The warlock? She lifetapped until she’d nearly killed herself, and then she just stood there.

What did I do? I don’t have a HoT. I couldn’t even get all my mana back in the time I had to drink. The tank jumped up and flailed off in some opposite direction, and I followed him. The last glimpse of her I had – she was bandaging. Which brings her up slightly in my estimation since she clearly recognized that she was on her own with her LT habit. What, warlock, you’re too good to drink like the rest of us? You thought you’d save some time? Or you took a look at my mana bar, and mistakenly thought that it was your bitch.

Apart from the warlock, the whole group was fairly forgettable, because nobody spoke beyond ‘hello.’ I should note here that I’ve been thinking about this post that Elnia wrote over at Pink Pigtail Inn in which she compares the new LFG tool to pornography. It’s a thought-provoking read which I won’t attempt to summarize here. I wonder if it holds true at all levels? What about if you are trying to get to know the people in your group? My biggest regret about the cross-server system is that I keep meeting people who seem really nice but have no method of adding them to my friends list or similar, and likely will never encounter them again. So to me the impersonal nature is a major drawback, but is it still casual thrill-seeking? And if so, am I a sort of pugging porn star?

With that in mind, I made a concerted effort to engage my next random SM group. It took them a little while to open up, but we did get to chatting. Someone remarked that it was quite a competent group, and I said that it was the tank who was making me happy. I’m not even sure that the tank (a warrior) even really knew what I was talking about. Early on in the instance he’d been LoSing some groups around the corner. And he said he was going to do it! And called it by name!

I said, “It’s so nice to have a tank who really knows what he is doing. You said ‘LoS pull’ and my heart went pitter-patter.”

His response: “Huh?” I think he was too busy concentrating on tanking to pay too much attention. Anyway, we all had fun and everyone wanted to queue for another together, so we did, and had a quick and painless Stockades run. I think the tank may have queued us for it specifically, because of the weird level-diversity glitch with a pre-existing group. I’m at the point where Stocks doesn’t grant much, XP-wise, but it was a fun run regardless. The tank had just re-rolled Alliance and this was his first tanking character, but he’d obviously been paying attention to other tanks because he was one of the best I’ve encountered playing Vid thus far.

After that group broke up, I was relatively close to 31 and so I queued again. Once more, SM Graveyard, this time with a spastic paladin tank who rushed in and aggroed the entire first room past the hallway. Chaos ensued, and like the sick person I am, I was pleased. “Now THIS is a group that’ll give me something to write about,” I enthused in guild. It’s possible I have a sickness.

Anyway, we all died horribly and we were running back, when one guy says “Rez please.” I immediately think of Tam’s refusal to rez one such asshat, but SM GY is so short, and my convictions are weak. The time it would take me to belabour the point would be at least half the length of the instance. Paralyzed by indecision, I don’t respond. The tank is a pally, after all. He could also rez. And I didn’t say I wouldn’t rez him, either. But little do I know, in a twist of delicious fate, the problem is going to take care of itself.

“Rez please!” he insists. I’ve just run back into the instance and made it to the room full of Scarlets we didn’t kill. A charming gnome skeleton decorates the ground.

“You released,” I tell him. “Only your skeleton is here. I can’t rez you.”

But apparently, meantime, he’s been trying to run back. “Why u guys close the door??” he says.

I say nothing.

“**** you closed the door, I can’t get in!” he goes on. Nobody says anything in party chat. I’m killing myself laughing, silently. He’s got to be trying to get into one of the other instances in SM…the ones that HAVE doors, some of them locked.

“You guys are ***holes, why u close door?!” Mister Rez Me has finally had enough, and he quits the group in a fit, presumably to wander Tirisfal as a ghost, forever. I think it’s a fitting end.

The rest of the run really isn’t great, because we’re talking about a paladin who is ‘tanking’ with a massive 2-hander equipped. We finish and I’m still snickering to myself, but only one measly bar away from hitting 31. I queue one more time, and I’m in a group with not only the same not-so-great pally tank, but also the warlock from before. (She barely life-taps, though, have I won some sort of silent power struggle?) I hit 31 and decide it’s time to stop tempting fate, since clearly the late-night crowd is making for slim pug pickings.

I’m looking forward to the next chance I get to pug – hopefully I’ll be into the rest of the SM instances soon! I really enjoy them all, and although Graveyard is fast and easy, after 4x runs per session it’s going to get old fast.

Ambriel (aforementioned holy paladin from my guild) says he wouldn’t make a very good blogger re: pugs because he would just say, “The run was fine. The end.” I could summarize this evening’s pugs in a similar fashion, perhaps a haiku:

pug kills many ghosts

sadly, the door eludes you

next time run instead!