Tag Archives: 40-50

It’s still pugging if you met in an instance.

Today I had the chance to play my not-so-wee-anymore paladin. I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it. In fact, after a tumultuous couple of weeks in the wow-verse, I’ve been avoiding my paladin altogether. Long story extremely short: I inherited our guild. I’ve been recruiting for said guild, and doing all those guild-ish things, and it hasn’t left a lot of time for pugging when I do get a chance to play. I even made an alt in Single Abstract Noun, and haven’t had a chance to login there since. I really like the idea of hanging out with all of the awesome blogging folks, and it was a blast when I was able to do it, but I don’t know how often I’ll be able to do so. No, it isn’t a “look at me I’m so busy and important” so much as it is “I can only devote so much time to this game and keeping a guild going and raiding take a lot of the time available to me.” I love reading about what other SAN folks have been up to, though.

But more than all of those things, I’ve been avoiding Vid because I just haven’t been in a healing mood. Logging in and staring at her in her heirlooms wasn’t changing that fact, either. I thought about it. My patience (low) and energy (ditto) just couldn’t handle a frustrating pug experience. I was in the mood to hit some things in the face.

It was time to drop my prot spec and make it a ret spec.

A quick google search yielded this thread on the official WoW forums: Paladin Leveling Guide 3.3. There was a ret spec fully mapped out there, level by level. I followed it blindly. I hopped on my unicorn and did a few laps around Stormwind. My horse suddenly has more horsepower! Then I bought ret glyphs, and queued exclusively as a DPS and hopped a flight to Chillwind where I had a paladin quest to drop off. Surprisingly enough, the instance announcement appeared while I was somewhere over Arathi.

An unfamiliar loading screen later and I found myself at the entrance to BRD. This is definitely one of the instances they’ve chopped into tiny, digestible pieces, apparently – because when we reached the end of the run we all sort of looked around going, “Is that it?” It seriously took… it felt like about ten minutes. Maybe fifteen, I wasn’t timing it.

At that point, the tank whispered me and said, “If you want to queue for the next part, drop group and we can queue for it.” I thought he was just yanking my chain, since you can’t form a group with people from other servers; until I actually looked at his name. He wasn’t from another server, he was from my server. But when we formed up again, we couldn’t queue for the next part because I was lower level than he was and it wouldn’t let us. I suggest that we could queue up again for just a random, and he agreed. Sunken Temple came up instantly, and I was quite pleased because knowing the tank, I knew I could get him to come and do my quest to kill Hakkar. Taking Cass’ most excellent advice, I made sure to look up a map beforehand so I knew exactly where it was and could easily say, “It’s just right here, guys! The boss drops good loot!”

Fortunately the group was patient despite what actually is a bit of a gong show of a quest. “Yes, we’re going to get locked in this room. Uh-huh, waves of adds are going to come out and start attacking everyone willy-nilly. If you get blood from this one you have to extinguish the flame here. No, not there. Here. Over here. Right. Here!” So I finished the quest finally, we wrapped up the instance with no problems – the tank was really very good. A tank that makes me happy is one managing the mobs into neat groups. A tank who even does a line of sight pull on the trolls before Jamma’lan! It was great. I even got a proper healing shield! (I know, I was DPSing, nobody else wanted it anyhow.)

When we were done the instance, my new-found tank friend and I talked in party a little bit. Did I have a tanking off-spec, he wondered? Because he would like to DPS an instance. I said that no, I didn’t, but I could queue as a healer and that should get us in fairly quickly.

Twenty minutes elapsed with the pair of us queued as healer and DPS.

“How about we quest while we wait?” he said.

I considered possible answers.

“Yes, I’d love that. Waiting for queues has been so frustrating.”

“Oh no, I couldn’t do that, because I’m not questing, you see. It’s for my blog.”

“Ummm brb, dog aggro.”

You can surmise what my answer was when I tell you that Vid is now level 54. When I logged in to pug yesterday, she was still 49. It sure wasn’t pugs that helped her gain nearly five whole levels, although they did play a role. I quested together with the warrior for a goodly long while, and we were unstoppable. Mobs fell down before us. He would gather entire packs and I would be there cutting them in half with my gigantic two-hander and it was so fast. Pugging has been incredibly fun, particularly in the lower levels when I don’t enjoy the zones as much, it was a refreshing change from the lowbie grind I’ve done so many times. But watching other people level alts at light-speed and pass me by (at present count, no less than four alts in my guild have been rolled and subsequently reached eighty or near to eighty while I languished in my forties, crawling my way slowly forward.)

So with the longer queue times, I’ve still been putting myself out there to pug, but also questing in-between. I went back and finished off much of Felwood last night while waiting in a queue that eventually appeared and dropped me in BRD into an “instance in progress.” I was greeted by groans and general exclamations and complaints against Blizzard. Apparently, the instance I’d joined had just finished, they’d killed the last boss and were completely done. I guess when one member left their group it automatically queued for a replacement? I’m not quite sure. In any case, I had another fifteen minutes to wait until I could queue once more, but another group never did appear, although I was queuing as either heals or DPS. I can only imagine what havoc the new “wait time debuff” will play with my pugging scheme in the case of technical errors like this. It’s not like I joined a pug to be a jerk and then just left. I guess I should be cautious about accepting “in-progress” groups from now on. With a wait time of about twenty minutes to get into a group, and then a fifteen minute debuff if the group falls apart for some reason – it could conceivably be half hour or more before I even get into a viable pug, let alone finish one. So it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that I am going to keep doing some questing to get to level sixty.

Does this mean the end of the Pugging Pally? My husband tells me that “The Questing Pally” doesn’t really have the same ring to it. Of course I’m going to keep pugging, I may even pug more exclusively once more as I head into Outlands where there might be more demand to run the instances, and certainly Northrend will be the same way once I’m there. I just don’t see the point in punishing myself for the sake of my “experiment,” or pure cussed stubbornness. If the experiment was to see whether one could level to 80 entirely using the LFD tool – absolutely, once you hit 15 and are eligible for queues, I have no doubt you could get to 80 entirely that way. Especially if you’re inclined to be a tank, or in the case of many crazy people of my acquaintance,a tank/healer dual-specced, or leveling as a tank with a healer friend, etc. But I don’t necessarily think it’s the most expedient way. Even for a tank with instance queue times, I believe that XP per hour gained is much greater from quests and a judicious combination of instances. I’ve also learned that it’s a little bit boring being confined to the capital city, just waiting for your next pug. I’ve been running around gathering flight points, and doing quest chains, and that’s part of what I enjoy about the game. I like quests. Why did I ever decide I would do no quests?

I wanted to put myself out of my comfort zone and meet people and I’m going to continue to do that. Heck, I quested for hours with someone I had pugged with yesterday, which is technically a quest pick-up-group. And I had a blast! That’s really more the spirit of the endeavor anyhow – level a character a bit differently and have a good time. If my own restrictions have begun to impede that for no good reason, then it’s time to change the rules. I made them, after all.

That said, here are some fun things:

This is the face of someone who's been wearing weenie-roasting forks on her shoulders for 50 levels.

I love the look of plate armour. It’s really nice to wear plate armour. I have nothing against the mail that’s been serving me so well, but as I’ve complained before – it just doesn’t feel very paladin-esque. I suppose neither does the giant battle-axe with the skull on it, but use your imagination, right? The skull is being used in service of the Light.

Have I mentioned how much I really enjoy retribution since I’ve tried it? I’ve set up my Power Auras to let me know when things proc, and Miksscrollingbattletext does the same. I may or may not have been gleefully yelling, “Art of WAAAAARRR” when my art of war procs. You have no proof.

My other favourite thing from around here – search engine terms! These are the ones that made me laugh out loud, along with a sizable number of “Maraudon – Pristine Waters” searches. I’m sorry, I really don’t know as much about it as I should know, having been there a number of times. I wasn’t even spelling it correctly until recently.

tanks rushing looking for dungeaon – They do that. You can ask them politely to slow down so you don’t have water splashing past your face as you try to drink and run simultaneously. They might call you a whiner and be jerks, or they might apologize and say they didn’t realize you hadn’t had a moment to catch your breath. Or they might simply ignore you and continue on regardless, but you won’t know if you don’t try, right?

you’ve got mail sfk – In this romantic comedy gone wrong, Archmage “Wolf” Arugal enters into a correspondence with Sylvanas Windrunner. Unknown to them both, it is in fact Arugal’s crazed worgen who are terrorizing Silverpine Forest and messing with Sylvanas’ people in the region. When they set up a coffee date, he sees her and realizes that she is cute, but dead, and she freaks out when he stands her up and a wolf makes off with her quiver. Eventually circumstances bring her to realize his true identity, and she orders the Forsaken to slaughter him and all of his worgen minions, proving in the end that love does not conquer all. “W-O-L-F.”

my paladin swings so slowly – Maybe he needs coffee? The fast and dirty ret guide I found yesterday said that slow, hard-hitting weapons are actually what a ret pally wants. Correct me if I’m wrong, those who are more knowledgeable in the ways of swinging the Light. And an edit here, thanks to Kring in the comments, I know that a slower weapon isn’t actally bad for a pally tank either! You can read more about that here. This is why I have people who know things!

why didnt i get my achievement for scarlet – Did you do the whole thing? Really, the whole entire thing? Every wing, from Graveyard, Armory, Library, and Cathedral? Because if you don’t complete all of them, you won’t get the achievement, it’s tied to all of the bosses together.

anything good for paladin drop in zul’fa – Yes, and then your tank will drop group after he gets it.

“lfd leveling” mage build
– Now this one isn’t funny so much as I think it’s interesting. I’d personally go Frost all the way – in fact, hang on, I’m leveling a mage right now, and I did go frost all the way! Frost is great for soloing in addition to instancing (for while you’re waiting for that mystical queue to appear) and it’s incredibly mana efficient. Plus, it’s really fun. Don’t glyph Frostbolt either – the slow effect helps a ton while you’re out killing things, and even sometimes in instances. For leveling as a frost mage, I’d use something like this build. Go deep down the frost tree and then pick up arcane after, on your way to 80. It isn’t necessarily an ideal DPS build but should be very mana efficient and control oriented. I put two points in Arctic Reach because I like being able to hit things from as far back as possible, but if you find yourself using Cone of Cold fairly often it’d be worth putting points in the talent to buff that, or in something like Frost Warding if you are doing a lot of soloing or would like to try your hand at PvP as you level up. I didn’t put points in Imp. Blizzard because combined with your freezing/chill effects it will do that thing where it locks all the mobs to the ground, causing them to turn to the nearest melee and try to eat them, regardless of how much threat the tank might have. It’s nice for AoE grinding mobs if you’re out soloing, but kind of annoying in an instance, so take a point there at your own discretion.

Alternatively, I suppose a strong argument could be made for a fire build going through LFD – it’ll give you a lot of damage, but you won’t be quite so survivable if you (whoops) pull aggro from a tank. If you wanted to be fire, I’d go with a spec like this one (I only did it until level 60). Actually, I realized in doing this that I’m out of mage touch (sniffle) and it saddens me. Any magier folks want to take a stab at what they’d recommend for an LFD fire mage? Don’t put yourself out, though, because I imagine the person who googled it originally will never actually see it.

No, you Kings me, then I’ll Wisdom him and me, you can Sanc yourself and I’ll Kings you. Got it?

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.

That's right, I killed my way here!

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.

Score one for Scruffy.

My little paladin provides a pretty great escape from the day-to-day WoW grind. I know that when I started doing this, some people thought I was absolutely insane. There’s no doubt that it is a slower leveling method than just going out and questing, or some combination of questing and instancing when you feel like it. But I’m seeing parts of the game I’ve never seen. (OK, I’d seen Zul’Farrak before, but never been to Maraudon so many times, and I don’t even hate it.) I got distracted yesterday browsing through Wowwiki reading about why Maraudon exists, why the centaur exist, and what Desolace is all about, anyway. It’s pretty interesting.

A surprising number of you in the comments are also very pro-BRD. I’ve actually known other players who named it as a favourite instance. I’ve resolved internally to look forward to it. It’s something I’ve not really done at level (excepting my troll mage, who joined a group in progress not all that far from the end.) It may surprise you to know that I actually enjoy UBRS and LBRS, and consider them among some of the old world instances I quite  like. I’ve spent many an hour there, hopelessly lost but having fun – doing the quests in LBRS for the mini-pet, and farming the Dungeon armour set in UBRS. Yes, this may not come as a huge surprise to anyone who’s been listening to me constantly complain about how Vid is dressed, but I’m big on WoW fashion. I came from an RP server, and the well-dressed character is essential. My mage in particular has a bank positively stuffed to the brim with clothes. I acquired the entire Dungeon One – Magister’s Regalia set for her, and then decided that the red and purple Blood Elvish colour scheme wasn’t working for me – so I upgraded it to the Dungeon Two set, Sorcerer’s Regalia. This is a feat, by the way, I wouldn’t recommend for the faint of heart and can barely even imagine doing at level 60 when it was “current.” It was an interminable grind that I only finished because I’d already begun. But the Sorcerer’s Regalia has a blue/purple colour scheme that looks great with Draenei skin, so it was absolutely worth it. Except I’m not an RP server anymore and so I don’t wear… I don’t want to talk about this.

Anyway, I was able to queue for an instance or two yesterday. The first run was Pristine Waters that went pretty seamlessly. In my internet travels I happened across a strategy for Princess Theradras. It recommends that you have two tanks because of how dangerous she is with her knockbacks, fears, etc. I couldn’t help but laugh. I guess it’s a function of how overpowered we are now, even “at level.” Heirloom gear and talents that have been designed for end-game means that I’ve seldom encountered a boss in these instances I would consider truly dangerous, let alone a feat requiring two tanks and an actual strat. She did do the “I’m going to take the tank out of commission and aggro on one of the squishies” thing but I just BoPed the person and we carried on. Heavy AoE damage does make for interesting healing. I have Light’s Grace now so my Holy Light is often fast, but still hardly worth casting unless folks are clumped up sufficiently. I’m still Holy Shocking and FoLing people quickly to get them topped up. I’m starting to get points in the talent that gives me spellpower based on Int, so I need-rolled on an intellect cloak that dropped. It is long, and black, and exceedingly spiffy. I might even go so far as to say it’s longer than your average cloak or cape. It helps to cover up the travesty that are my hot pants.

I’d like to find a more permanent solution for those, though, and perhaps I will in Zul’Farrak, which is where I headed next. I cheered at the loading screen. Zul’Farrak, huzzah! So many trolls, so much XP, great times will be had by all. And they were – we were, that is – right up until we killed Antu’sul. And plate gloves dropped that the tank very much wanted. No problem! I don’t roll against people for my off-spec when it is their main spec. I don’t need tanking gear badly. He needed and received the new gloves upgrade, and I congratulated him happily.

Then he dropped group.

There are so many things wrong with that statement. I mean, fair enough, sometimes people have to go. Sometimes they have to go with little warning. Sometimes they might even have to go, with little warning, after they coincidentally have won a piece of loot they may have wanted. But to just drop group without a word? That makes you a colossal asshat, and it left us without a tank. After a moment of stunned “Are you serious” sort of exchanges, we re-queued. But finding a tank at this level without having already waited our due turn in LFD is about as likely as me spontaneously gaining the ability to fly in old Azeroth. I’ve heard rumours of its possibility, but I’ve still got a long wait.

So we don’t know when a tank is coming. The hunter says, “No problem. Scruffy can handle this.” I’m a bit dubious. (Remember Larry, my friend’s bird pet?) but I agree. I offer to switch to my tanking spec if the shadow priest can keep me healed, but the hunter insists this will be easier. I can heal the pet, if the pet can generally hold aggro. He’s a wolf though, something my limited hunter knowledge tells me isn’t ideally suited to the tanking role. But you know what, he does fine. We move on to give Zum’rah what-for. Zum’rah’s Vexing Cane has got to be one of my favourite items in the game, by the way. It suits me perfectly, although not on this character. If I could make my own WoW item, it’d be something like “Vidyala’s Vexing Mace,” with flavour text, “Now even more vexing than before.”

Nobody dies during these adventures, the trash packs are fairly well-managed, even when we get occasional adds. I’m making good use of Hand of Salvation and Protection and my own personal bubble. It’s a bit more stressful and complicated without a tank, but we’re doing it.

The only real hiccup occurs during the pyramid event. The hunter advises everyone to hang back and let the NPCs do the grunt work. I figure she’s got the right idea, but the mage hears “hang back” and “let the NPCs do the work” and thinks, “Right on! It’s AoE time!” He runs forward rashly and in moments is a mere Gnomish smear on the ground. I’m only able to rez him after more waves have passed, and meantime we manage the packs on our own. I “tank” a few – I am wearing plate, after all, pants notwithstanding – and we don’t have any further problems.

Is it just me, or does anyone else have a hard time taking Sergeant Bly seriously? “How dare you talk to me like that! I didn’t like you anyway!” Really? What are you, three? And you’ve known me five minutes? I busted you out of the big house. Or in this case, the really, tiny, trollish cage kinda house. With the execution-happy overseer. Anyway, it’s really satisfying to plant my big glow-ey mace in that guy’s face.

Soon we’re staring down the Chief, just about ready to pull when an actual tank joins the group. He has a normal name that immediately reassures me, since I find I tend to get less excited about people like “Morerage” or “Pwnzulol.” Although there was actually a druid tank in my group the other day who wasn’t a bad tank named Gotw… I had to keep stopping myself from calling him/her GoTW with the proper capitalization.

We run back to meet the properly named, honest-to-goodness tank because he says there are a few pats between us and him. We kill the pats we run across, with our trusty team of four plus furry friend, and he’s a pally – so of course he ends up just soloing the pats and we meet up in the middle. We go on to kill the Chief and Gahz’rilla without a hitch, although I’m a bit dubious about the hunter ringing the gong to summon him before we’ve cleared even half of the trash in the room. It actually worked out fine, but it could have gotten messy if any of us had been knocked back into spare trash. We also had a brief conversation about the Mallet of Zul’Farrak – as in, “Does anyone have the mallet?” “No you don’t need the Mallet any more,” “omg since when?” etc. I wonder if mentioning this is going to result in people’s searches bringing them here, “Do I need the Mallet of Zul’Farrak Gahz’rilla.” I may as well be pre-emptive.

You do not need the Mallet of Zul’Farrak to summon Gahz’rilla, and haven’t since a good number of patches ago. You can still do the quest to acquire it, but it is an actual mace with stats they added in to make people who still had it in their bank feel that it was of some use. I like this change because I often had to run other people’s characters through ZF and only one of my characters had the Mallet – my priest. Not exactly ideal for that situation.

So after brief pugging strife, Vid has another ZF run under her belt.  Now I am absolutely going to do the naming and shaming thing. As for “Mister I’ve Got My Vice Grips I’m Out of Here” Lodoæ, sadly based on my own server of Moonrunner – I hope that ninja-logging from Zul’Farrak made you happy with yourself. It’s not like you’re leveling or anything, so you don’t need XP, right? Hmm, wait, you do. Well, it’s not like you will replace those gloves any time soon, I’m sure they’ll stand you in good stead for another twenty levels or so… wait, they won’t. They’re from Zul’Farrak. And you would’ve had them anyway, if you had bothered to stay and help us finish. So kudos for failing to avail yourself of an great PuG, because the rest of us were awesome. The hunter even said epic heals and they could have been yours, but now you’ll never know.

Scruffy was a better tank, anyhow.

“This place was designed to get players familiar with raid snares and effects. They went a little overboard.”

So I bucked up, went ahead and tanked my first instance as a paladin the other day. First I hemmed and hawed, and wasted time in Ironforge for a bit. Did I have water? Yes. Were all of my abilities on my bars? Yes. Was I ready for this? I didn’t know. I queued specifically for Scarlet Monastery: Cathedral because I wanted an instance I knew well, that was very linear and hard to get lost in, and also I was highish level for it so it’d be a little easier on me in terms of not going splat if I made a poor pull.

I think it went pretty well. Nobody died, the people at the end said “good group” even though it was one of those eerily silent runs. I’m beginning to understand now why tanks are so seldom chatty. Or if they are chatty tanks, they’re either a) very, very good or b) very, very bad. I just can’t concentrate on “ohwhereisthatmobgoingheythatone’sacastergetoverhereyou” as well as “How about that local sports team?” I often have to repeat things to my husband that are said in guild or raid chat because he misses them entirely. It all begins to make sense.

So I tanked, rewards were reaped, the queue was instantaneous (no kidding). However – I don’t think I’ll do it again most probably. Not for some time, if ever. This is for a few reasons.

1) It’s just so stressful to me. My heart was pounding and I was tense the whole time. Yes, I know, it would probably get better if I practiced it but I’m not sure if I want to. It isn’t what comes naturally to me, and honestly just wasn’t a lot of fun. Understand I’m not saying “Tanking is no fun! How can you tanks do this,” etc. but rather, tanking isn’t very much fun for me. Not in pugs. Maybe later on, with friends, if I cobble together a tanking set and am at 80 – then sure. It’s not that I couldn’t learn to do it acceptably well. But why do something that isn’t fun?

2) I made this character to play as a healer while leveling. Sure, it doesn’t mean I can’t try other things, but predominantly she’s a healer. That’s what I’d like to do, and I’m having a lot of fun doing that.

The only argument for tanking is that my tanking pants are actually just that – pants. With only a slight gap at the top. My healing pants are shorts. I managed to score a pair of plate healing legs(!) from a Helpful Satchel today, so I have honest-to-goodness heavy plate boots.

With shorts. I look like I wandered off of a nudist beach and stole a tank’s boots and made off with them.

But not before I welded them so that they don’t cover my hooves, and are in fact plate leggings. Because that’s how we draenei roll.

Scarlet Monastery was a few days ago, and since I just wasn’t feeling the tanking thing, I resolved to login when I had some time and just wait out the healing queue. I wasn’t disappointed at all – in one “pugging session” I ran Maraudon Purple Crystals (twice), Maraudon Orange Crystals, Zul’Farrak, and finally Maraudon Pristine Waters. I’m level 46 now, and about halfway to forty-seven. The Purple Crystals Punishment should be over – since the instance is now green to me, I doubt I’ll get it very much. It’s good to get so much pugging done. The bad thing about it is that much of it starts to blend together in my mind. A pug is a pug is a pug, right?

I’ve determined that I’m not a fan of Purple Crystals. The title is a quote from my tank when someone complained about the instance (“Not this place AGAIN?”) and I remarked that it had diseases, magic effects, and stacking poisons. The rogue added, “And roots and snares!” (At least one of the roots is a magic effect though, I know ’cause I’ve been dispelling it). I don’t mind doing a lot of dispelling, really, except that it was seriously draining my mana. There was a very marked difference between the earlier Purple runs and the Orange run I did later, as well as Pristine Waters. I barely had to drink at all during the latter two runs. The good news now is that I have a new rank of water! The time before you can drink new water but desperately need it is so frustrating. If they want to speed up leveling (or leveling via pugs), they should just increase the amount of mana returned from the various ranks of waters/beverages.

I run into a fair number of people who are leveling just using the LFD, honestly. They’re not all writing blogs about it but many are doing it. The tank during our Orange run was very insistent that he needed to get to Celebras for his quest. We’d actually killed this boss during earlier explorations I’d done (a pug that wandered from Purple into Orange) and I had no idea there was a quest involved. Further research reveals the convoluted and somewhat sordid history of Maraudon. Father and mother of the centaur? I had no idea.

Anyway, so some folks are still taking the time to do pre-instance quest chains, other folks laugh and say “Questing? Who does that anymore?” I’d like to do some of them but often end up with little time to pug at all, and less time to do quest chains. I am going to try to do the ones for Sunken Temple, though. I like them. Beginning with Yeh’kinya and his screecher spirits, the next step requires Zul’Farrak and I usually forget this and end up having to go back after the fact. So if I start doing that now, I’ll be set. There’s also a class-specific quest for Sunken Temple soonish. I know the mage version rewarded a very worthy trinket, I’m not sure about the paladin version though. I’ll be sure to write about it when I do know, although I’m certain there are paladins wiser than I who may comment and already know!

This has been a fairly dry post, I’m afraid, mostly because nobody has done anything ridiculous in any of my pugs. They’ve largely been quiet and relaxed. Actually, the Zul’Farrak pug was the most fun I’ve had in awhile. First of all, I love ZF as an instance. I’ve always liked it. It was the first instance I honest-to-goodness healed back on the day with my priest. Someone from my guild at the time asked if I’d be willing to heal it, though I was only level forty, and I agreed. I remember it as a vague blur up until the part with the event at the pyramid – I really had no idea what was going on, and my guildie was yelling, “DRINK!” and I drank in-between pulls. It was thrilling and scary, and it’s still one of the game moments I remember most. It’s a far cry from waltzing in yesterday and pulling all of those mobs at one time – though the tank did surprise me and I had to use Lay on Hands. I’ve been back many times since the first time I went there, I’ve been run-through, I’ve run other people through, I recently stealthed through with my druid just to reach the Elder by Gahz’rilla’s pool. And I still get a thrill of anticipation reaching the top of those steps to hear the executioner yell, “Let the executions begin!”

Good company also doesn’t hurt. The tank was really nice and competent. At the end, the whole group stuck around pulling extra trash just so that I could finish the Troll Temper quest that someone had thoughtfully shared. It’s a far cry from the “me me me” attitude you run into sometimes in these places, and I was pretty grateful. It’s definitely helping add to my general feeling of “Gosh, I like Zul’Farrak.”

What do you remember from your old-world instances? Do you have favourites, and if so, why? Is it something in particular that happened there, or you just like the ambiance, or a particular quest? Tell me about it!

I tend to really enjoy troll instances. I’m looking forward to Sunken Temple as well. And if this has been a dry entry in my pugging career, rest assured, it’ll pick up soon. After all – I’m not so many levels away from starting to pug with the Death Knights.

p.s. –  I misspelled “Maraudon” as “Mauradon” all through my last entry and my entry’s tags. You’re all very kind not to have pointed it out and laughed at me. And to think I kept wondering, “Why do people keep calling it ‘Mara’?”

p.p.s. – Recent search terms people have used to find this blog:

sadism and masochism – I don’t think it’s the kind you were thinking of.

where is graveyard if you die in blackfathom – Surprisingly not far, I think, but I didn’t wipe there so my memory is vague.

paladin mystical pauldrons of elements – Yes, wear these if you are a paladin healer. If not, they are not meant for you, oh retribution or protection paladin.

blackfathom deeps: i cant jump the stone – I’m sorry. You need to get some platforming practice. It sort of feels like you’ll be jumping too late, but you aren’t. Try using your mouse to move (hold both buttons down) instead of WASD to do this. It might help if you are only using your left hand to hit the all-important jump button.

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.

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.