Tag Archives: go ahead and tap that vein warlocks

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!

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.

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.”