There are benefits that come with taking a brief hiatus from leveling a character, and also drawbacks. One excellent thing: rest bonus! The levels just fly by when you’re getting added XP. I started pugging this evening about half-way through level 28. Two instance runs later, and Vid’s reached another major milestone: Level 30!
The drawback is that the break I took did leave me noticeably rusty and a little unsure of some of my pally tools. (No, I didn’t lose my FoL button, fortunately. I did forget which key + click combination I was using for Divine Protection.) I know it sounds a bit silly, but I have trouble keeping track of the names of paladin things compared to the other classes I have leveled, but it may just be a question of familiarity. I know before I played a resto druid, all the regrowth, rejuv, lifebloom, etc. sounded the same to me. I wondered how druids could manage them. Mind you, at that time I’d never seriously committed to playing an arcane mage. Arcane blast? Missile? Barrage? Explosion? Oh, we’ve got your arcane covered.
But with the pally it’s more Hands/Seals/Blessings/Aura… there are more effects going than you can shake a stick at. I hoped that by leveling as I am, I’d have enough time to acclimatize in between levels but it can still be a bit overwhelming to get something like six new abilities at once. In any case, I now have Divine Favor, which I have macroed to FoL for the time being. My guild’s resident Holy pally, Ambriel, tells me that I will change this to Holy Shock in ten levels.
But that’s not what you want to read about, is it? You want to hear about how I went to Gnomeregan. I’m thinking I should change the blog’s name: “Straight Outta Gnomeregan.”
I logged in and tried to remember what my shiny buttons do. When I felt good and ready, I hopped in that queue. If you ever owned a classic NES, you’ll know what I mean when I say I was doing everything I could to picture this pug working. In the same way you used to blow air in the cartridge, turn the machine upside down, dance in a circle and hop on one foot, I crossed my fingers as I clicked accept. It went something like, “Please not Gnomeregan, please not Gnomeregan…”
You know how the next part of the story goes. We had three druids and a mage. One druid fancied being a bear, the other two were cats. The mage was a smartass, but we’re all kind of like that, really. This druid hadn’t read what Big Bear Butt has written about bear tanking at lower levels. But she wasn’t bad, she was struggling a bit and squishy to heal (relative to other tanks I’ve seen going through Gnomer). But I think her biggest problem was something I’m starting to think of as Pug Diffusion. It seems to happen especially if the tank isn’t a strong personality, or at least they aren’t in a role they’re as comfortable with. Tanks are under a lot of pressure, and it’s a big responsibility, even if a lot of folks don’t take it as such. When a tank seems uncertain or the least bit hesitant in these lowbie pugs, there are usually three other people entirely too willing to seize the reins and go charging off – in three different directions.
My rule is pretty simple. I stick with the tank. Even if they’re going the wrong way. In this case, one cat seemed to know the lay of the land, but would often head in a different direction from my bear. “This way,” and “Here,” and “No go here,” and I’m starting to be glad that the bear ass is easy to keep an eye on. I still managed to lose her in the room where you can clean gunk off an object and get a little present… she was standing meditatively in front of one of the machines, feeding one grimy lump after another into it while the rest of the group waited. I almost want to go back and do the same – I have 19 of those things. I said almost.
The best part of this pug was when we were at one of the circular places…with the robots… and it was as if word had gotten out about the fleshy beings, because we sure got their attention. Each DPSer was tanking their own little pack of mobs while the bear stood in the middle, things were hitting me, him, her, and it felt like I’d stumbled into the Ringling Bros. Vidyala’s Traveling Circus! It became one of those intense, heal, heal, heal, mana potion, oh crap judge wisdom on this and try to swing a hit at it, heal, heal, moments. It was great! At the end, I was completely empty, and everyone lived. I even took a picture.
Not long after this, one of the DPS druids was voted out of the party. He kept needing on every green while people said things like, “Why did you need on that, you can’t even use swords??” I was still staring at the “Vote to kick” pop-up when the motion passed, apparently you only need a majority to do it. This is a major problem with some of these older instances, though… If you kick someone, it’s nigh-impossible to get a replacement in because they start at the very beginning. Assuming they aren’t like me, and bound to get hopelessly lost, they’ve still got to contend with pats, trash that didn’t get cleared, whatever. It isn’t worth it, and the rogue who joined our party agreed with me. After a brief, “Don’t go back and get him, come back here tank,” mini-drama, we went to kill Mekgineer whosits with four of us. It actually may have been the quickest Gnomeregan run I’ve had yet; or it’s also possible I’ve lost all sense of time.
Next, I encountered a dilemma. Our completed Gnomeregan run left me a mere bar of XP left to go until level 30. I’d really like to be level 30 very much. Another run of Gnomeregan much? Possibly… except I get lucky. I recognize that loading screen from the Hallow’s End event. Scarlet Monastery, Graveyard! This instance is short, sweet…and eerily silent. I haven’t encountered this at lower levels, although in 80 pugs I more or less expect it. Nobody answers my hello or says anything at all, some of these people are doing over 100 DPS – at least double what I’ve seen up until this point. We clear through handily, and the only thing of note is that the bear tank is wearing all heirloom cloth gear. I know that at lower levels, feral doesn’t have all the stuff they have at higher, but I think she’d have been easier to heal if she were at least wearing feral gear, if not using a feral spec. But who am I to talk? We cleared the instance in about ten minutes. It was smooth, and nothing eventful happened at all, and now my small pally is slightly bigger. Only 50 levels to go!