Tag Archives: cross-faction fun

So you want to be a…

"Look Raist, bunnies!" Alternate caption: "Noblegarden is the only holiday that allows you to crap an egg into a friend's hand and have it look festive.

We all play Warcraft because we like to kill internet dragons and be dwarves, trolls, magic users, holy warriors, and destroyer of woooorlds, right? (OK, maybe we aren’t destroyers of worlds, but you get where I’m going with this). But one of the fun things about WoW is that you aren’t always limited to the form you originally chose.

No, I’m not talking about $25 USD for a race/gender/faction change! Although I’ve been there and done that, believe me. (Female draenei to male draenei back to female draenei again, night elf to draenei, draenei to troll, troll to draenei… Let’s just say Blizzard has made gains when it comes to my indecisiveness and leave it at that).

But what if you want an inexpensive way to mix it up a little? WoW is chock full of items you can have fun with. After my last post, Liala said, “I had no idea you could be a belf or a skeleton!” She asked if I could write a blog post about all the fun things you can be. A disclaimer: I am not the queen of the shapeshift. Regrettably, having fun with various shifts is not conducive to being a druid – druid shape shifting breaks most altered forms. For a good chunk of the expansion my raiding character was a druid, so I didn’t really get to take full advantage of the opportunities.

Wowwiki has a very comprehensive page about this – it’s organized by “thing you want to be,” and has links to the various items. So if you’ve always wanted to be a basilisk and need to learn how, that’s where you should go. I’m just going to touch on a bunch of the shapeshifting items that I have or know about, and where you can obtain them. Sometimes they are limited to a specific zone or holiday; for the most part I’m not going to go over those.

"You knew this was the city of mages, but this is ridiculous!"

Underbelly Elixir

Where to find it: Small green vials, scattered throughout the Dalaran Sewers on the ground

Effect: Varies (see below)

Duration: Varies, average ten minutes

Nature: Consumable

I’ll never forget the first time I found one of these bad boys. The flavour text is ominous. “You sure about this?” Sometimes the elixir will shift your shape. Sometimes it will have an effect on the environment around you. Regardless of what it does, it’s fun to play around with!

Results of potion drinking: May vary.

You can be turned into a pink hornet and actually fly around the Dalaran sewers! Just be careful with this one; if you head out into Dalaran proper you’ll be “grounded” the same as if you were on a flying mount, although I was able to make it to Krasus’ Landing. Noodle with his potion wasn’t so lucky as to gain the ability to fly – but I’ll bet his fishing was awesome!

Hey, a whelpling has to eat too, you know.

These are some of the effects the elixir has. When you are a whelpling and fishing, you have a tiny fishing rod in your claws!

Millya always feels vaguely disoriented when disguised as a blood elf - how do people keep their balance without a tail?

Orb of the Sin’dorei

Where to find it: Heroic Magister’s Terrace (possible drop from all four bosses)

Effect: Transforms the user into a blood elf

Duration: Five minutes

Cooldown: 30 minutes

Nature: Item (Unlimited)

When Voss and I were farming Heroic MgT for the Hawkstrider (and phoenix pet) we’ve had several of these drop. Much like the transformation effect in Culling of Stratholme, you’ll be transformed into a Blood Elf of the same gender as your character, with physical features determined based on what your character looks like. (e.g. if you have draenei hair style number 12 or whatever, you’ll have a specific blood elf hair style to match, and it will be the same unless you change your own appearance.)

This transformation effect is nice because it doesn’t require a trinket slot as some of the others do. (I don’t imagine raid leaders are too pleased with people swapping out their real trinkets to fool around just before a pull). So you can be a blood elf guilt free! Except for the guilt of being a blood elf, which has a magnitude all its own. I’m just saying.

This is for people who haven't chain-run Sethekk Halls trying to get Anzu and aren't sick of arrakoa all around!

Time Lost Figurine

Where to find it: It’s dropped by Terrok up in Skettis. You can’t just fly up, find and kill him, though. Terrok is summonable at the end of a quest chain, and also summonable without the quest but with the requisite items. If you’re set on getting this you’ll have to look it up – it involves some grinding, and he’s not guaranteed to drop it. It’s beyond the scope of this short guide to explain all the steps involved.

Effect: Transforms the user into one of three arrakoa models

Duration: Five minutes

Cooldown: 30 minutes (Note: This item IS a trinket and must remain in the trinket slot for the effect to stay active. Druid shapeshifting will break it).

Nature: Trinket (Unlimited)

I was lucky enough to get this on my druid when I was farming rep with the Sha’tari Skyguard. I wish I could consolidate all the things like this that I have onto ONE character. But no matter – being an arrakoa is sort of cool on occasion. They have a variety of emotes as well as casting animations, although I found out today that you can’t sit on a chair/bench as an arrakoa. They move into “sitting” position but just stand there.

"You've stopped breathing..."

Noggenfogger Elixir

Where to find it: You can purchase it from Noggenfogger himself after completing a quest chain. (Note: It starts with “The Thirsty Goblin” and there are several steps after that for which you’ll have to do a bit of running around).

Effect: Varies, one of three:
Slowfall effect (15 seconds)
Shrinking effect (10 minutes)
Skeleton effect (10 minutes)

Duration: See above

Cooldown: None. You can just keep chugging them until you get the effect you want; the effects also stack.

Nature: Quest Reward (Consumable)

It’s worth noting that the skeleton effect can also be used as ten minutes of underwater breathing, so it has a situational use as well! As I mentioned in a previous post, I hadn’t acquired this myself until very recently. I never bothered to finish the Thirsty Goblin quest because getting that dew-laden gland was a huge pain and the drop rate seemed silly. It’s pretty fun and worth doing, though!

Did I take the potion that said "Drink me?" Or was it "eat me?" I thought the rabbit thing was earlier. I'm so confused.

Dartol’s Rod of Transformation

Where to find it: This is part of a series of Alliance-only quests in Ashenvale called Raene’s Cleansing. You receive the rod so that you can communicate with the furbolg. It was changed a few years ago so that at the end of the quest chain, you get to keep the rod.

Effect: Transforms the user into a furbolg.

Duration: Three minutes

Cooldown: One minute. Yes, this means you COULD ostensibly be a furbolg ALL the time.

Nature: Quest Reward (Unlimited)

Unfortunately, I completed this quest (I think) back before it allowed you to keep the rod at the end, so it’s not something I have. My furry friend Noodlestein was generous enough to pose with me. It doesn’t turn you into a giant furbolg, though – Millya’s under the effects of Noggenfogger in the above image.

Voodoo gnome party!

Pygmy Oil

Where to find it: Created by any alchemist from Pygmy Suckerfish (fished out of any Northrend pool and inland water, along with other fish). El explains where to get the fish and how to make the oil here.

Effect: Drinking the oil actually makes you progressively smaller. At around 6-10 oils you will obtain the buff “Pygmified,” transforming you into a pygmy gnome. It’s always a female gnome!

Duration: Ten minutes

Cooldown: None

Nature: Consumable

Being a pygmy gnome can be pretty fun, but I find that being a gnome for too long throws off my rhythm. The mask is fearsome, though, and apt to intimidate people I’m sure.

"How can this be? Flesh is not...stronger..."

Iron Boot Flask

Where to find it: Sold by Rork Sharpchin (Alliance) or Olut Alegut (Horde) for 10 Relics of Ulduar. Both of these fellows reside in the Stormpeaks.

Effect: Using the flask will transform you into an iron dwarf, as shown above.

Duration: Ten minutes

Cooldown: 1 hour

Nature: Item (unlimited)

This item alone is actually necessary for an achievement in Ulduar: You can get But I’m On Your Side! if you kill the Iron Council while under the effects of this transformation.

"So guys, I have an important question for you. Are you ninjas, or pirates? If you're not pirates, you're dead to me."

Savory Deviate Delight

Where to find it: Raw deviate fish are now rewarded sometimes from the Northrend fishing dailies, formerly you had to fish them in the Barrens. Just the raw fish isn’t enough, though, you have to know someone who has the recipe for Savory Deviate Delight and get them to fry up some fish for you. Barring that, if you want to farm it, the recipe has a chance to drop from any mob in The Barrens. I’ve seen it on the AH for about 600+ gold. People sell the cooked fish themselves for about 1 gold apiece on my server.

Effect: Eating the fish will transform you into either a pirate, or a ninja. It’s random! You never know what will happen! Your gender will still match your character’s gender.

Duration: 60 minutes (or until you shapeshift into anything if you are a druid but I’m not bitter nooo).

Cooldown: None (You can keep eating them if you just can’t stomach being a pirate…or a ninja).

Nature: Consumable (crafted)

I had a Tauren friend who said his raid group used to make him eat these because he took up too much space otherwise and they couldn’t see past him. It was sad because he liked being a Tauren so much…but he had to be a human. At least if you are going to be a human, make it an interesting one, right? (“Yeaaaaargh!”)

"Go wild in a bubble for 5 minutes!"

Super Simian Sphere

Where to find it: The bad news is that this fun trinket is a random world drop from either Icecrown, Storm Peaks, or any of the Northrend dungeons or raids. (I got mine while I was doing Hodir dailies in the cave).

Effect: It turns you into a monkey…in a bubble!

Duration: 5 minutes

Cooldown: One hour

Nature: Trinket (unlimited)

This is a great trinket for druids if you’re lucky enough to get one. As in my screenshot above – the buff continues to apply while you are in flight form, so you can fly around the world and completely baffle everyone you meet (for five minutes, anyway). You can also do the mount-special commands to spin loop-de-loops and have random people whisper you, “HOW ARE U DOING THAT. WHERE DID U GET IT?”

That’s not really an endorsement, I know.

For Gnomeregan!

Gnomeregan Pride (Horde equivalent is the Darkspear Pride).

Where to find it: This is a reward for finishing the quest chains to liberate Gnomeregan and the Echo Isles, depending on your faction. The event is still going on right now but it’s a limited thing… you won’t be able to get your hands on it forever, so finish those quests while you can!

Effect: Turns you into Gnomeregan Infantry or a Darkspwear Warrior.

Duration: 30 minutes

Cooldown: Four hours

Nature: Quest Reward (Unlimited)

I was pretty excited when I realized this would be an item you could keep around all the time. Unfortunately for me, my mage is a…troll, and I usually would choose being Draenei over being a gnome – but hey, it’s fun to play around sometimes! Just watch that four hour cooldown and make sure you use this item when you’re ready to make it count. (Maybe in PvP to make yourself hard to target…? I don’t know).

Magic Eaters.

Magic Eater

Where to find it: You can fish these up in Dalaran, and they don’t require any cooking!

Effect: One of two effects:

  • Wild Magic turns you into a basilisk, locust, whelp, or wisp, and prevents you from casting or attacking for 1 minute.
  • Well Fed gives +30 Stamina for 1 hour, plus randomly one of: +60 Attack Power, +30 Critical Rating, +30 Haste Rating, +12 MP5, or +35 Spell Power.

Duration: One minute or one hour, depending.

Cooldown: None

Nature: Consumable (Raw)

The picture above was taken while I was fishing in the Dalaran fountain for coins. A blood elf and I were taking fishing breaks every now and then to eat these – he got turned into a basilisk, and I, a wisp. It was a fun way to break up an otherwise un-fun fishing grind.

Be careful with these fish; if you’re a druid you can shift out of the  transformation but otherwise, you can be stuck unable to cast for a minute – not something you want to do in the middle of a raid unless you’re in the middle of a break.

Those are all of the items I have personal experience with. There are others that I consider either too rare or arduous/limited to acquire, but perhaps still bear mentioning:

Deathbringer’s Will – A drop from 25 person Saurfang, this hotly contested trinket will require you to be a melee DPS to even DREAM of sniffing it. I think it’s like the DFO for melee people… But if you do happen to have it, you know that the proc from it can randomly turn you into a Taunka, Vry’kul, or an Iron Dwarf.

Orb of Deception - Dropped by rare spawns in the Dire Maul arena (from what I can tell, I don’t have one personally) – this is a trinket with a 5 minute disguise and a 30 minute cooldown. It’s useless for a Draenei because it will just transform you into a Blood Elf, anyway. Get the eminently farmable Orb of the Sin’dorei instead! For other races, it could be interesting. It’ll transform you into your corresponding opposite faction race:

Gnome <–> Tauren
Human <–> Orc
Night Elf <–> Undead
Dwarf Male <–> Troll
Blood Elf <–> Draenei

I can only assume that when Cataclysm comes out, it will transform a Worgen to a Goblin and vice versa! As with similar items, your gender remains unchanged.

Frenzyheart Brew – If you are friends with the Wolvar (and that means you killed an Oracle…for shame) you can get this item as a drop from the Ripe Disgusting Jar, and then you can change yourself into a Wolvar!

Gordok Ogre Suit – I’ve never made one of these myself – it requires going to Dire Maul and acquiring some special items. It’s a consumable item lasting ten minutes, and frankly I don’t know much about it, but the Wowhead comments are pretty thorough as usual, if you’re interested in it.

So there you have it – some of the easy and fun ways to change your appearance, sometimes with limits, and sometimes without! There are a ton more (Hallow’s End is coming up, and the Hallowed Wands are always fun!) but usually the seasonal ones are fairly self-evident. I hope this proves useful for someone, in a way that won’t make raid leader’s heads explode the world over. (“Why did my whole raid just transform into ogres?!) I also owe some thanks to one of our guild’s paladins – he posed for and with me for a number of my screenshots. Thanks, Noodley!

As druids learn early on, remember: shapeshift responsibly! (No talbuks were harmed in the taking of this image. No, really).

Allegiance: Conclusion

In which we discuss whether we’re Horde or Alliance

You might remember earlier this month that I wrote about whether people had a strong attachment to a particular faction or not, which faction, and why. It had a poll in it, and I promised I’d post the results afterwards. I also asked other people to write on the same topic if they were interested! A few people took me up on my offer to expand their thoughts on the matter:

Gareth over at Altoholic’s Diary wrote about how he started out as Alliance but found out that his heart truly was for the Horde.

Coincidentally, Alas from Kiss My Alas stole my brain (I needed that) and wrote about her experiences Horde-side within twelve hours of my writing about it. Neither of us knew, I swear!

Finally, prompted by some of the discussion in the comments, Kamalia wrote a moving Ode to Orgrimmar.

Who can resist a good pie chart?

There were also many expansive comments. I loved reading all of the different viewpoints. The results of the poll were equally interesting. So interesting, in fact, that I made a chart from them. I’ve colour-coded it for viewing convenience. It is blue leaning towards purple for Alliance folks, red leaning towards purple for Horde, and green for something in the middle. It seems like my readership is fairly evenly split, with a bit of an Alliance bias. Exactly half of respondents either play Alliance exclusively (20%) or identify as an Alliance player although they may have characters of both factions (30%).

The other half play Horde exclusively (8%, somewhat less than the die-hard Alliance folks) or they play both but their heart of hearts is for the Horde (35%). A minority of people don’t have a strong feeling towards either faction and play both equally, or else feel that the factions are irrelevant to their enjoyment of the game (7%). That’s not surprising to me, anyhow, since the “faction” aspect of the game is pretty heavily sold from the very beginning. You must choose before you even make a character, are you for the Horde or the Alliance?

I’m curious why it might be that there are fewer Horde-only people than Alliance-only people. It’s not possible to draw anything conclusive from such a small sample size. I think that many of the my readers are paladins, and the Horde has only one race that can be paladins, so perhaps that’s part of it. Your conjecture or comments are welcome, though!

A few things to keep in mind; this only represents people who read here and felt inclined to vote in the poll. I don’t remember exactly, it was something around 130 people or so. I’m glad that those of you who are Horde don’t mind reading someone who is so unabashedly draenei-oriented. There’s always an opportunity to bail out, though – having Vid’s “quizzical little goat face” up on the header, as Tam would put it, makes it pretty clear from the beginning.

In which we become somewhat more Horde than previously

Meantime, Lara gave me a great idea that our guild is pursuing at the moment. We all made Horde-side alts on our server and we’re going to level and do some LFD together. Having them on the same server is awesome because you can mail heirlooms across factions! They really need to institute cross-server mailings for heirloom items.

Before we started, I thought long and hard about what I was going to make. It had to be a hybrid healer/DPS. I didn’t want another paladin, nor really a druid. I finally decided to make a priest (Pugging Priest?) because even though I have one already, she was one of my first characters and I wonder if I really didn’t give her a fair shake.

So, meet my new Forsaken priest, Mildred:

She has heirloom gear. Skull motif? What skull motif? You'd think I was undead or something.

I had never done the Forsaken zone, or any of the related quests at all, and all of this comparative morality stuff is making me think I should give it a shot from their point of view. (I still won’t poison the draenei in Hellfire though, when we get there). Most of the guild has been happily leveling Horde alts together, and we’re now in the mid-twenties to thirties range. Mildred is going entirely Disc thus far, and I’ve been enjoying it. We did RFC umpteen billion times, Deadmines, Shadowfang Keep, and most recently Blackfathom Deep. One thing worth noting here – being a priest makes it much easier to deal with warlocks at this level than being a holy paladin ever did. I’m just – here, have a renew, and it’s no problem. I remember reluctantly healing life-tapping warlocks while resenting every bit of mana they were taking.

It’s been fun to level these alts as a guild, and I couldn’t really call it pugging since mostly we wind up playing together anyhow. We have a Horde-side guild (with a bank and tabard!) It’s homey, even if it is a bit strange. During one of our dungeon runs I remarked, “This feels weird, because it’s completely foreign, but it’s also completely familiar.” Maybe when we eventually get to 80 we’ll take our little Hordies on a raid or something. You never know!

By the way, in case you missed it, be sure to check out the contest I’m running: The Well-Dressed Paladin, because we all need some more fashion in our lives. I’ve received several entries already and I’ve enjoyed them all quite a bit. It’s going to be fun to share the entries at the end, although choosing the best isn’t going to be easy!

Allegiance

My troll: no matter what else may be said about her, she has impeccable fashion sense. For a circus clown.

My predilection for draenei characters probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise here. Of the Alliance characters I have that are above level twenty, eight out of nine are draenei. I know. But I do have three Horde characters – two Tauren, and a troll. At some point I’d even faction changed my shaman and made her a troll, but I ended up reversing the change and transferring her back to my “home” server. (Blizzard makes a lot of money from people like me). Why did I end up reversing the change? I wasn’t playing her where she was… and I’d started leveling another draenei shaman because it felt strange not to have one.

The fire festival has proven to be a great opportunity to level alts, though, and due to a summer cold I’ve had plenty of time to commit to the mindless grind.  I chose to use the time to work at leveling my troll mage, taking her from level 63 to 69 in a few days. The bonus XP was fantastic, and I’ve been leveling through a combination of judicious questing and LFD. The queue times have been a bit longish – I’d say a half hour, on average – which was just enough to break up the monotony.

So having experienced the “pug scene” in Outland recently on both Alliance and Horde characters, what’s the difference? I’d say there really isn’t one. People of either faction are equal parts friendly or business-like or jerkish in approximately equal proportions. It has been refreshing to both revisit my mage roots and relax a bit. There isn’t much pressure on a mage in pugs, apart from “Water please” and “Can I have another stack of water?” I’m absolutely fine with playing vending machine and pumping out some DPS. I’ve been leveling as Frost because it’s a blast.

When I hit level 68 I was so excited – Northrend, finally! Not to mention, this is my first Horde character who has ever “leveled” this far. (Faction transfers don’t count). I remembered that Horde take a Zeppelin to Northrend rather than a boat. Alliance-side, I really enjoy Borean Tundra, so I went to Orgrimmar to catch the Zeppelin that goes there.

My first realization: I didn’t buy a Tome of Cold Weather Flight for this character back when I had an 80 on the same server and could have. Oops – it looks like she’ll be trekking her way across Northrend. But no matter, that was how the game was meant to be experienced, right? Something like that. Within a few minutes I was hopelessly lost in the area around Warsong Hold. Getting lost isn’t really new for me, but it’s something I suffer from particularly when I’m trying to play Horde. I’ve spent long minutes circling in Orgrimmar or traveling around the spokes of the wheel of Undercity… or just plain running into dead ends in Silvermoon. Horde architecture feels so aggressive and alien to me. Warsong Hold is definitely imposing, though, don’t get me wrong. It’s very grand. I don’t recall feeling that way when I went to Valiance Keep. Then again, I didn’t get lost there either!

So I thought, maybe you’re coming at this from the wrong angle. What’s Howling Fjord like from a Horde perspective? A quick portal to Undercity and another Zeppelin trip later and I was about to find out. Here’s where I hit my second stumbling block. Now, I’d had an inkling of this before. My mage was previously resting at level 63, and there’s a reason. I’d been happily questing through Hellfire when I got to Falcon Watch and encountered this quest, Source of the Corruption. Okay, an Apothecary planning something heinous isn’t really news, but the quest text stopped me in my tracks.

Uncorrupted draenei, like this unlucky fellow here, are virtuous champions of the Light. What corruption caused their great race to devolve into the Broken and Lost Ones?

I’ve heard a theory that exposure to fel energies is what caused the mutation. I would like to put that theory to the test.

He’s got a draenei prisoner next to him. Needless to say, it doesn’t take much of a leap of logic to figure out what he’s planning. I didn’t do the quest, although I hear that the draenei dies at the end of it, and I stopped leveling my mage then too. I know it sounds extreme, but the quest and its inevitable outcome really turned me off, and I dropped the mage cold. I know it’s silly, but I felt like a traitor.

Vid, who to the best of my knowledge has never force-fed something fatal to someone else. Just sayin'. Except a sword/axe/pointy object. Does that count?

It took me a few months before I felt like picking up my mage again. This time through Outland, I was really doing mostly instances. I didn’t do very many quests, and I was a happy troll, killing naga and whathaveyou.

Until Howling Fjord, and this quest: The New Plague. With this one, the Apothecary tells you that he needs you to retrieve samples of the plague that the Alliance had gotten ahold of. Okay, I think, remembering the Wrathgate sequence I’ve seen from the other side – well, you’re going to be using it any way so I may as well help you. That is, until I get to the boats where I can find the plague samples. The place is just swarming with Alliance soldiers, and by some perverse decision I don’t understand – most of them are draenei. You can all stop and have a laugh now at the notion of a Troll mage ducking and weaving her way in-between hostile Alliance mobs in a vain effort not to aggro and have to kill any of them. Lucky for me, the follow-up quest is even better – go and test the plague out by throwing it at their fleet! I kept questing here for a little while, and so I did have to kill them and hear that particular death sound that usually means, “You just let someone in your party die.” And I know that it’s bizarre, but I had a really hard time with it.

In fact, I sort of hated it. Other folks lately have been talking about quest morality, and yes, I know it’s virtual, it’s not real. But you start to identify with the characters, races, and yes, even particular factions. Anea wrote about how she didn’t want to kill Thersa Windsong. Rades responded with a post about why Thersa Windsong must die. (Both really interesting posts, incidentally, I recommend them wholeheartedly). But I’m not talking about the morality of a specific quest here, or metagaming – it’s more a general aversion to many quests because of what is probably by now a deeply rooted Alliance loyalty of my own. I know my troll character doesn’t give a hoot about killing draenei or not killing them. She probably likes it, and probably hates the Alliance. This isn’t about her, it’s about me. I don’t think the Alliance are the “heroes” and above reproach, or that everything they do is good. I just think that they are my people. I loved doing the Mag’har related quests as a troll, and I intend to go back and finish out the chain that has Thrall coming to Garadar. I like Thrall. But I’ll always be only masquerading as Horde, even though I can connect with the people who play it. I think I may be ruined forever.

So here’s my question to you (and an excuse to use the poll image I made forever ago)! First of all, the poll.

For the record, my answer would be one of the last ones. I’ll post the results after a week or so, I’m actually quite curious to know the “demographics” of people who stop by. Now for the actual questions we can discuss in comments: Why did you choose the faction you did? Have you changed factions at all throughout your time playing WoW, or would you change if you could (disregarding guild allegiance, if your friends played a different faction, etc.)

And when you play the “other” faction, what do you notice? What’s strange? I still flinch when I see Horde flags and expect guards to come running at me, but I’m getting used to running instances with blood elves and Forsaken. I know that at least one member of our guild has said he wishes we were a Horde guild, and an old friend of mine cautioned me when I first made a Horde character, “You won’t play Alliance again, Horde is a better faction.” What do you think? If you have more to say about this than a comment can hold, feel free to write about it on your own blog and I’ll link any related posts here!

p.s. – Please keep it polite and respectful, since I do expect both Horde and Alliance folks read here. No bashing from either side! I know sometimes these Faction discussions can get heated, and then before you know it you’ve got some kind of Varian Wrynn-Wrathgate situation on your hands, and we don’t want anything like that.

Bear Necessities

So, you all convinced me. I caved. About the tanking, that is.

Rawr.

What do you mean, this isn’t what you had in mind? Needs more…paladin? She’s only level 17, but she’s tanked Ragefire Chasm about five times. I think it was about five times. She’s got an odd mix of some heirloom gear (feral shoulders) but no heirloom weapon (apart from the caster staff). Pugging at low levels is as hilarious as I remember it being, with a random assemblage of people who have come together to murder relatively low-level mobs. I didn’t make the mistake of missing out on queuing for RFC this time. When I hit level 15, I was right in there! Regretfully, a bear has only a few options at that level. Very few. My “taunt” button is well-loved. I’m beginning to hate hunters with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns. Why must they attack before I’ve even hit anything? Maybe it’s a reflection of the hunter playstyle, which very strongly emphasizes the capability of soloing most things, because hunter and pet are a ready-made team. It doesn’t translate well to group play with other real people from what I’ve seen. I get that your pet could be tanking this instead of me, really I do. But, unfortunately for you, you have ME tanking it, so give me a chance! (Addendum: After I wrote most of this, I saw that Gameldar has written a post replying to some of my bear woes, so if you’re a lowbie bear tank with similar issues, it’s got some good advice in it!)

I don’t even have time to type things to them and berate my groups, because I’m too busy slamming buttons and spinning in circles and taunting mobs. At least once I hit level 16 I gained the ability to swipe things, both with my front AND my back, so that helps with packs of multiples. Most of the groups went decently well up until the last run where things were all over the place and I just couldn’t seem to handle them, so I decided I should quit while I was ahead and parked my fuzzy butt to gain some rested XP.

Highlights of lowbie tanking include:
Glyph of Maul. Thank you, Maul, for helping me with AoE aggro because every person wants to start AoEing before I’ve even reached the mobs, let alone gained enough rage to do anything more than auto-attack them.

At one point I did manage to speak up long enough to say, “OK guys, I don’t have many things I can do yet so please give me a bit of time with the mobs, you’re going to have to bear with me.”
“LOL he said bear”
“Yes, you see what I did there…”

That run seemed to go more smoothly than the others, perhaps because I made them laugh. One thing that I’m noticing though – everyone, everyone just assumes that I am “he.” This may be a function of bear form (after all, they don’t see anything else, it looks like a bear, and tanks are GUYS, amirite?). I wouldn’t remark on this except it seemed quite explicit, “Hey dude thanks for the run,” or “he” is doing this or that. It’s a bit bizarre, but I’m guessing I’m going to have to get used to it. It’s especially strange because my name (to me) is really quite feminine. But I guess that doesn’t matter. If thinking I’m a guy makes them more liable to respect my authoritah, I’ll take it.

Out of the five pugs, only one had one of those really strange sort of “WTF” moment so characteristic of random pugging. There was this restoration druid, you see. Well, I assume he was restoration. He had a plus symbol next to his face. And yet… my health was dropping, inexorably downward, never to recover. I can always count on a mouthy pugger though, someone said, “Heal the tank!” Nothing. In-between pulls, I dropped out of bear form to throw some HoTs on myself, and then pulled the next group. Still nothing. I don’t know what this “healer” was doing really. Someone else yelled at him. After the next pull, with me at about 20% life, I stopped.

“I don’t want to sound demanding or anything,” I said (no sarcasm, I swear, I would never) “But do you suppose you could heal me?” The oddest thing about being sarcastic with these sorts of pugs is that it doesn’t work. At all. Meaning… if someone said that to me, I’d get defensive. These people just seem to take it at face value. “K,” he said simply. As if, “Oh right, I was meant to be doing that. Well, since you’ve been kind enough to mention it, I’ll endeavor to do that in future.” And he did, for a little while. He’d HoT me… get distracted casting Wrath at some mobs… At a point near the end I thanked him for the heals – I was being genuine, although it strikes me as bizarre to thank someone for actually doing the job they were brought to do, but what do I know? I’m now at the mercy of healers instead of tanks, and it’s a strange feeling. Amazingly we finished the run without problems, even though I watched the healer pull additional mobs when I was already struggling and bear-flailing with the mobs I’d MANAGED to pull. I don’t know how that thought process goes.

“Hey look, there’s some guys over there! Let’s add them into the fray! Oh right, I’m supposed to heal. Well, here’s a rejuv, he’ll be fine…wheee, I’m casting Wrath!”

So I’m not sure what’s in the future for my baby bear. She definitely will not level with just pugs, but she’ll likely do quite a bit of pugging. Once I have cat form I think I can swap between the two fairly handily for questing/tanking. It’s funny, because people kept telling me they’re looking forward to “your next project,” I’m not sure if I really have a next “project,” at least not something with an overarching theme. I did do this:

Note the absence of a giant axe.

Yes, that’s right. That isn’t a retribution spec right there. It’s a shield. And a sword. It’s even 537 defense. I know, it’s three shy of an actual raid, but I haven’t done a 5-man. Unless you count Scholomance, which I went and did on my own, so as to not inflict my “tanking” on any other living person. Feeling confident, after Scholomance I ran a guildie’s alt through Blood Furnace. It was fine. He didn’t die, I didn’t die. I’m not sure when I’ll work up the gumption to actually run things at 80. As I told my guild, “I’m the kind of tank that makes healers drop group when they see me.” You know, tanks with less than eleventy-billion HP. (It’s around 27K self-buffed, for the record).

I don’t want to offend any warriors out there, but I think I actually take more naturally to the paladin tanking stuff than the abilities of a warrior. I have an unhealthy enjoyment of hurling a golden-light-shield in the face of mobs. It’s… sort of exhilarating. For now, it’s only my “soloing old instances” spec, but we’ll see where it goes.

Vid has been busy off and on. I never had a chance to write about the pug raids she did! Well, they were half pug and half not. We had an alt run night with five of us that required us to pick up five random people. And oh, such randoms they were. We did Trial of the Crusader, having found a hunter, a rogue, a death knight, a druid and a warlock. It all started out so casually. “We don’t need vent for this,” we decided. “ToC is old news, everyone has a handle on these fights.”

After the first wipe (I had a snobold on me the entire time, up until we died) a brief silence prevailed on Vent. “Maybe we should give them the vent info?” I ventured.

Soon we had most of the group in vent with us, excepting the hunter, who apparently had a moral opposition to being in Vent and just flatly ignored us, the same way he flatly ignored the targets we told him to attack or do anything else the raid leader asked.

The rogue, it turned out, had extensive raid experience, which he proceeded to expound upon at length, in-between trying to give mid-fight directions that were wrong, and being dead last for DPS done. He actually wasn’t too bad once we gently told him that all the talking in Vent was confusing things mid-fight, and he was endearingly earnest. “Good work, guys,” he enthused during Faction Champs. “We’ve got this, we’re doing great!”

But the star of the show really had to be the Death Knight. Apparently he’d never done ToC before, because when we finished Twin Val’kyr he completely lost it when the floor fell out from under us. “Sh** man this is crazy!” he said. We all kind of laughed, but the reason for his exclamations became clearer a few minutes later. I’ve carefully and lovingly smudged everyone’s name except mine to protect the innocent, but this conversation is best read in its original form. The DK asked what tier of gear he should be trying to get, and he was all ready to set off on a quest to acquire Tier 8, before the rogue set him straight, not without the opportunity to link all his hawt gear, of course.

Duuuude!

After this we went on to do Onyxia with more or less the same group, except we brought our epic mage along with us. They kept asking us “Don’t we need more ranged” and we kept telling them, “We’ll be fine, you’ll see.” The fight, however, got messy (That’s a ****ing 50 DKP minus!) and we finished what has to be the longest Onyxia kill I’ve ever personally been a part of… with the tank, myself, the off-tank (feral druid) and our mage being the ONLY people alive. We basically did the final ground phase with only us. There was a hairy moment when I thought I’d been feared into her cleave, but fortunately I wasn’t.

The best loot of the night was definitely Anub’arak dropping the healing shield for me. I’d only dared hope, and now I can only conclude such a disjointed post with fun search engine terms, because I like them.

My top search term for the past few weeks has been variations of:
i seem to have misplaced my pants
i have misplaced my pants

I didn’t know what I was getting into once I disenchanted those puppies. It’s an epidemic, people. Think of the pants.

how blizz deals with ninjaing: Yeah, they really don’t. My best advice to you would be not put yourself in a position where someone can whisk something out from under everyone’s nose. If it’s something rare like a vanity item or BoE, make sure everyone knows to Need on it. If you’re pugging raids you’re somewhat more at their mercy, but if it keeps happening consider organizing your *own* pug raids. Sure, it’s more of a headache, but you’ll have control of loot distribution and know that nobody can ninja anything.

things you know about icc: You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have… no, really. What do I know about ICC? Don’t cast Starfall on Marrowgar trash unless you’re as far as possible from anything that could possibly want to eat your face, ever. And even then you probably shouldn’t (but go ahead and do it anyway, you know I do).

Minus One Tail, Plus Tusks

Last week I did something radical to one of my characters.

She used to look like this, and live on the same server as my other characters.

The artist formerly known as a Draenei.

Now she looks like this, and lives on a different server entirely.

Now with 100% more tusk.

It was an interesting experience, really. I have a friend who plays Horde on this other server. I wanted a level 80 to hang out with him and seldom have the opportunity to level my Horde mage there (she’s level 62, I believe). My shaman hasn’t been doing much. She has professions that are fairly independent of my other characters – Inscription, for the fancy shoulder enchants, and Alchemy, but she’s my second alchemist. I knew that if I transferred her I’d still have my priest to make flasks and transmute one gem a day. So she was a likely prospect. I’ve been only logging her in to transmute gems for weeks, and I do actually enjoy the shaman playstyle. If I put her in a situation where she is my only and primary level 80 character, she’ll have a chance to shine.

The preparation took a few hours. First, I looked at the faction change information on the official website. She’s even more ideal than I had thought. I never bothered to do the Argent Tournament stuff with her so it won’t matter that it gets reset. She’d be trading an elekk (we hates them) for a raptor. Seems fine to me! I decide I’m going to do it, and start loading up her bags with things that she will need, plus a few gifts for my Horde characters. She gets a sizeable portion of herbs, enchanting mats, and a ton of Netherweave and Frostweave bolts for my tailor over there. Once I’ve given her every conceivable thing she or the others could need, I start filling bag slots with Alliance-only recipes and pets. Kaching!

The actual process of faction changing is as quick and seamless as the server transfer is, although it should be noted that you can’t do both at once. I faction changed her first, and then server transferred, and the delay was pretty minimal.

This place looks nice. It could use some more red Horde flags to spruce it up though...wait.

When you arrive “on the other side” you begin in  your faction’s capital city, so in my case Orgrimmar. I can only imagine what a bewildering experience this would be if you haven’t ever dabbled in playing the opposing faction. I know my way around Orgrimmar pretty well, but what I was really excited to see was Dalaran. I hopped on my new, blue raptor and zipped on over to catch a Zeppelin to Northrend!

First impressions – I had no idea that Warsong Hold was so massive. I felt genuinely awed as the zeppelin came in. Of course it isn’t the same experience as first coming to Northrend; I got onto my flying mount to explore, but still. One thing that’s messing me up as a “new” Horde character is flight points. Flight points are automatically transferred as far as I understand, based on your level. e.g. if you are a level 60, you’ll have the flight points you’d expect to have in Azeroth, both Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms, but not all the Outlands ones yet. As a level 80, I have all the flight points I’d expect to have (and let’s be honest, I’ve missed flight points in Northrend before – just found one on my druid main in Zul’drak last week) so I probably have more than I usually would. But every time I go to a city or town I don’t know where they ARE. It is for this reason, and this reason alone that I flew to Dalaran on my mount instead of hopping a flight.

Arriving in Dal, I gleefully sprinted to the Horde area to check it out. I remember when Dalaran was new and I was exploring, I tried to run in there only to be rudely punted out so many times. Now I could finally poke around and see it properly.

It’s interesting, especially as a study of contrasts between the “Alliance only” area and the “Horde only” area. People had made jokes before about “The Filthy Animal” to me. (Horde faction wins at self-deprecating irony). But I actually really like the “inn.”

Whoa.

This was a bit of a shock, though. These innkeepers are seriously KEEPING the INN.

I like the massively sized, “lodge” type feel of TFA. You get the sense that large groups of people could and do meet here, and it feels more tribal, not in a “look, our decor involves tusks and spikes way” but in a “We’re all in this together and nobody gets special perks” kind of way. So I quite enjoyed exploring there, figuring out where the emblem vendors are – where everyone is standing around looking at gear, nothing too unusual there – and the portals to the capital cities. They’re very conveniently located. I feel like it’s pretty expedient to hop back to Dalaran and run over the portals. I’m not sure if the Alliance run is really longer but it feels longer.

So what do I think of the Alliance exclusive part of Dalaran now that I’ve seen the Horde? I think that I need to stop trying to run into it on my raptor. It does feel that Alliance got the lion’s share here (har), which actually makes sense to me given Dalaran’s lore. But again, it isn’t necessarily “more” or “better” so much as it is different. Alliance-side has the towers and it’s all connected – you can run up the stairs in The Heroes’ Welcome and then make your way over to the emblem vendor, or hang out in the Beer Garden (not something I do anymore since being on a PvE server, but we used to go there to RP sometimes). It feels more individualistic – small tables where you can sit with a few other people, and opulent in the decoration (We’re talking about a place called “The Heroes’ Welcome” here, it has more than its fair share of pretension).

One thing to note that was pretty interesting, apparently as a shaman that faction transfers, your totem quests are reset. Not that you don’t have totems, you still do (whichever totem “counts as an air, fire, earth, water” totem) but you haven’t done that faction’s quests to acquire the originals. Some orc hanging out in Dalaran said to effectively, “Hey slacker, there are some things you haven’t learned yet about being a shaman. Like, you know, that whole totem thing? Kind of important.”

What’s nice about this, though, is that the original quests have been updated to give level 80 equivalent rewards. So they’re saying, “Go find so and so at the top of stupidly high, treacherous place where you will fall many times,” but giving me thirteen gold to do it. Suddenly, shaman totem quests are looking all right! I spent some time working on them, although I’m not quite done the water one. It has all that continent hopping and I got lazy.

Incidentally, troll totems? Simply awesome, they look so right.

Of course I hardly wasted any time before diving in to do some pugging. I wanted to get my two-toed feet wet and collect some emblems as soon as I could. I’m experiencing some of the “low DPS blues” in random heroics. I can’t actually say whether this is a Horde thing, because there’s too great a disparity between this character’s gear and my Alliance “mains.” Another thing is, I swapped Heroic Presence for Berserking. Berserking is awesome, but losing that 1% hit hurt me at this gear level. I even had to gem for hit, and I hate doing that. Even so, understand when I say “low DPS” I mean she does around 2800-3000 on average. Her gear is some crafted 200 epics, a few 226 pieces, and some 219s out of the ToC 5-man. I’d take her to Ulduar comfortably. And yet, the pugs have been an absolute grab bag of oddity.

Not rude, really, just…Head-scratchingly strange. My first random heroic was a Nexus run. Perfect. It’s not a complicated instance, it’s one of the “easier” heroics. We got through it right up until almost being at the tree boss, he was the last boss left before Keri… and the tank just left, without a word. The healer quickly followed suit. This battlegroup isn’t like my other, though – the pug scene is brisk. A new tank and healer arrived almost immediately, as puzzled as we were. “You lost your tank and heals?” the tank asked.

“Yeah,” I told him, “And I don’t really know why.”
“But you were almost finished,” he says. And it doesn’t make any sense to me, either. Sure, we aren’t doing 6K DPS apiece but things were dying. We finish the run without any further hitches.

A different pug finds me in Utgarde Pinnacle, this time we get as far as Skadi, but the “problem” is more evident. We’re not moving fast enough for the healer. “Gogogo,” he says, and “Hurry up guys, I want to get some Subway lol.” I bite my tongue and resist telling him that we can’t really hurry – we can DPS as quickly as we can DPS, and that’s all we can do. That’s what the “PS” stands for. After Skadi, he too drops group without a word. Yet another person nearly at the end of an instance who can’t be bothered to wait it out. We did get a new healer and finish the run, but I remain mystified.

I suppose my shamanic DPS just isn’t good enough for some tank/healer prima donnas, but generally the pug experiences have still been fine. I bought a piece of Thrall’s T9 gear with my hard-won emblems. I realized only after the fact that the gear looks differently – so I won’t get to enjoy the shaman boat shoulders and skirt favoured by Nobundo. In fact, having one less Draenei makes me sad in general.

There’s only one solution!

She has no weapon in this picture because she has to share with Vid.

A new shaman alt is never a bad thing, right? That’s what I thought.

Great work, team!

Last week when I had the opportunity, Vid was extremely busy with pugs. The queue times were pretty much instant, so it made for some fast and furious pugging. First I went to Mara – Orange and decided to take a stand against tank asshattery.

“OOM,” the moonkin said. “Yes, wait please,” I echoed.

“its fine,” the tank said, running ahead to attack the – water elemental boss-type thing. With a sigh, I jump up from drinking and sprint after him and start healing. I was at about half mana anyway, so it was okay, but I prefer to have a bit more going in. You never know what’s going to happen.

“Please don’t pull when your healer needs mana,” I repeated.
“I told you it was fine,” he says.
Feeling more belligerent than usual, I told him shortly, “It was fine because I came and healed you anyway. Or did you think that healers are merely decorative?”
“I had lay on hands so quit your whining,” he said, and he marks the second pug in which I have apologized to the rest of the group, but left because I won’t put up with people who not only have a God complex but are also jerks about it. I could’ve voted to kick him but finding tanks takes an eternity and I just didn’t want the hassle, so I left.

Immediately after, still a bit stung, I joined a group to find an unfamiliar load screen. Could this be… Sunken Temple? It was indeed, and glorious fun was had by all. The tank said, “Let’s makes this a quick run, ok?” and I agreed. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever done ST so fast, we didn’t stop (or need to stop) the entire time. Chain-pulling pally tanks make me so happy. I can only hope that other ST groups I join know their way around as well.

I capped off the pug session with an uneventful Pristine Waters run. Vidyala is 48 now, creeping ever closer to the 50-60 range. You all know what that means… Death Knights. Soon.

Funny enough, this entry in my pugging annals isn’t really about Vidyala, but it does involve a paladin, and pugging, so I hope you’ll bear with me. I haven’t really changed names to protect the innocent, except my own, and I couldn’t remember the troll hunter’s name so I gave him a name in honour of Tam.

The Story of Hellfire Ramparts, A Drama In Three Parts

Dramatis Personae

“Gankmytaint” – A paladin queued as a healer.

Kali – Intrepid Trollish frost mage, aka yours truly.

Gorlock – a trollish shaman

Greenhots - Inexplicably, an orc deathknight.

Humsomethingorother – Forsaken deathknight

Cumin – Troll hunter of little words

Moohealz – a Tauren druid. I may have made that name up.

A bunch of other people whose names I’ve forgotten, alas, they will be named only by role.

Act I

Scene: The entrance portal of Hellfire Ramparts. Our actors gather to pit themselves against foes of untold multitude and strength.

Moohealz: Oh sh***

Everyone else: Um…?

Moohealz: Give me a minute guys I need to respec

Tank: *ignores the druid and begins pulling*

Utter chaos ensues, though no words are spoken for a good minute or so. Somehow the group survives the first pull, but the druid is yelling.

Moohealz: OK NOW GIVE ME A MINUTE PLEASE

Tank: *doesn’t*

Within moments, two DPS are lying dead on the ground. The only remaining, live party members are the tank (but not for long) and the druid himself. Various swears. It looks as if the group might manage to survive even this pull, until Kali sees something that makes her blood run cold. (She’s a frost mage, too, so it takes a lot).

Kali: Where is my water elemental goingohcrap.

The water elemental scoots around the corner and begins to shoot at a new pack of orcs. Half the group has ragequit by this time as a mob of orcs rushes towards our two-toed cloth-wearer and she flees for her life as only a frost mage can, leaving her water elemental behind to bear their wrath. She laughs so hard at the sorry debacle that it takes her a few minutes to resume working on professions, before she can queue once more for Hellfire Ramparts. There’s loot there to be had!

Act II

Scene: The same instance portal, now with a fresh group of cheery adventurers. Another DK tank (surprise) we’ll call him Hum, and a healer by name of “Gankmytaint.” Kali expects great things from this young worthy. She will not be disappointed.

Gorlock: Greetings!

Hum the Tank: Heal me please

Gank: ok

Hum the Tank: I’m dying over here where’s heals?!

Gank: Sorry, I’ll try 2 pay more attention

Hum the Tank: ty

The group actually continues in this vein with reasonable success until Watchkeeper Guy And His Two Henchmen.

Gorlock: afk a second guys

Watchkeeper What’s-his-name: “Heal me, quickly! Ah man, what the heck? I just hired those guys, what’s with all the turnover—” *dramatic death*

Kali: Look, cloth shoulders! Dis is great, mon.

Hum the Tank: *inexplicably leaves group*

Gank: I can absolutely tank this, can someone keep me healed?

Kali: No.

Act III

Amazingly, it only takes about a half minute to find another Death Knight tank. I hear those guys are really rare at this level…

Greenhots, the Orc DK Tank: Hey Gank, ur main is from my server, blahblah lists all my characters incomprehensibledudespeak

Gankmytaint: hey no kidding, u r the blahblah more dudespeak

Greenhots: Oops, I’m in the wrong spec, brb. *hearths out to DK treehouse*

Greenhots: OK, who’s the healer?

Gorlock the Shaman: Hey guys, I’m back from AFK, what’d I miss?

Greenhots: who is healer

Kali: Gank

Greenhots: He has a two-hander?

Kali: *wisely says nothing*

Greenhots: OK, let’s do this! *immediately loses aggro on several mobs while water elemental tanks them*

Greenhots: lol I need to remember how to play this toon

Kali: Yes, an instance is absolutely the best place to do that! <– didn’t actually say this

Greenhots: I’m not really getting healed a lot

Gankmytaint: Hey guys, I’m OOM

Greenhots: *pulls anyway, dies a horrible death*

Gorlock: *dies*

Kali: *dies*

Gankmytaint: *proceeds to finish off pack of mobs after most of party has died, and does not die*

Gorlock: Rez please?

Greenhots: Who’s the healer?

Kali: Gank.

Greenhots: THEN TURN OFF RIGHTEOUS FURY.

Gankmytaint: give me a sex

Gankmytaint: im also holy

Gankmytaint: I mean sec. *switches, only now, to Holy spec, but gear remains a two-hander*

Conversation and combat proceeds in this vein for a few more trash pulls, now outside of the corridor leading to last two bosses. Fortunately the pause gives most of party time to type various versions of “LOL” and “ROFL” because OHMYGAWD YOU GUYS HE SAID SEX! and other witty repartee.

Gank: Sorry I keep running out of mana

Greenhots: Then put up mana seal and buff yourself with wisdom.

Gank: *put up Seal of Wisdom, buffs tank with Blessing of Wisdom*

Greenhots: Not me, u

Greenhots: give me kings again

Gank: *buffs self with Blessing of Wisdom*

Group heads towards Big Orc Guy On Dragon.

Gorlock: Great work, team!

Kali: (I can’t tell if he’s being sarcastic or not, but I don’t think he was.) <– didn’t actually say this, either

Greenhots: *loses aggro on orc and mage nearly dies. Nazrudan descends from the sky!*

Greenhots: lay on hands!

Greenhots: *dies*

Greenhots: dumbass pally

Kali: omg the tank is dead omg omg he’s coming for me.

Nazrudan: *eats the shaman*

Kali: Better him than me. *casts frantically*

Nazrudan: *dies*

Gorlock: Rez please? *Needs on ring with int, sta, spellpower and spirit*

Kali: *rolls…poorly*

Gorlock: Wow, guys, that was fun! *observes that the rest of the group is not near him*

Gorlock: Is there more?

Kali: *can barely believe her good fortune*

Group moves on to attack Omor – miraculously, not a single member dies during final encounter. Much rejoicing! A spellpower mace that the “holy” paladin with the two-hander does not roll on drops.

Gorlock: *need rolls on mace* Woo! Great group, everyone. Be well.

Kali: …

Hey, I got some cloth shoulders out of it. And I laughed so hard that my sides hurt after. I act all exasperated with it but actually it was hilariously fun, and I only feel mildly guilty about making a blog entry out of the mishaps of another “holy” pally. This stuff writes itself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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