Tag Archives: it’s all fun and games until someone has to go and die

Incredible Heights and Depths

The thing is, I’d run Blackrock Spire so many times on my various level eighty characters. Farmed it, even, if you will. Of all the instances out there, it is one where I know pretty well how to get through – at least the Upper part. Kill the rooms of channeling orcs, open the door, head through the trash to the Rookery, up the ramp on the right – through the room with the mini-boss rare spawns, jump down off the balcony to end up fighting Rend, which opens the door where you can run through to The Beast and Drakkisath. I’d wanted the dungeon one set chestpiece, you see. For my mage, and then my druid.

I had only a vague understanding that UBRS, perhaps, might not be a five person instance. This was my thinking. In fact, UBRS might want just a few more people that are level 60. Like, oh… ten, or so.

So when the pug said, “I think we could get the Jenkins achievement with this group,” I didn’t argue. There was a good chance we could have even done it. Heck, we had four paladins and a shaman. That’s an overpowered group, isn’t it? And we really were a bit overpowered. We mowed down the trash packs, killed the fire elemental guy, and were moving at a brisk clip – right up until the attempt to get the achievement left us splat, five smears on the ground.

Like so. Also, one thing not to say to a pug group that just wiped in UBRS: "Hey, this is going to make an AWESOME screenshot for my blog!" No, I didn't say it!

And after that, well heck, we were already in UBRS, weren’t we? Why not keep going? So we did, for awhile. The shaman wasn’t impressed with the plan, so she dropped group. (Foreshadowing)… We picked up another person immediately and killed Rend Blackhand and his trash. We killed some more trash. It was only when we reached The Beast that I began to have a sinking feeling. “It has 80K HP and a skull!” one of the other paladins said.

Hm, so it did. Somehow, being level 80, I hadn’t noticed this important fact the other times I’d come here. Well, they were game to give it a try, and so was I. Unfortunately being a ret paladin and overgearing the tank led me to commit the ultimate DPS crime – I pulled aggro and went splat pretty early on. The rest of the group managed to get The Beast to about 50% health. Which is pretty good, really! Just about half what you’d expect to need – for a monster designed to be killed by ten people and not five. Or four, really, since one was decorating the ground, but who’s counting?

Okay, so…no Beast. No problem. We’d move on to Drakkisath! We’d already come this far.

We wiped on trash. And then the healer had to leave. So we re-queued, this time with me healing. We accidentally pulled two groups and the tank died. So we tried again and just got the one group, and the tank died. These mobs were about four levels higher than us, at this point. Then he got mad and left, and we re-queued once more.

Incidentally: best undocumented pug change ever. When someone joins your group to replace someone else – they appear where you are instead of at the beginning of the instance. Thank you, thank you, thank you again, Blizz. This is awesome.

Except that where we were, at this point, was a short distance from Drakkisath who we were pretty sure we couldn’t kill, and a long way from LBRS, where we’d been intended to go in the first place. We had to find another tank and DPS, but that didn’t take much time at all. We ran back to gamely start LBRS. Our tank didn’t know where he was going, but I sort of did. We got as far as the spiders before I realized that I really had to go – the whole endeavor had taken, so far, two hours. I suppose the only real benefit was that we were getting XP the whole time. I hated having to leave the group “mid-instance,” as it were, but I’d only scheduled about two hours for the endeavor in the first place.

Hours it takes to struggle through incomplete portions of both Upper and Lower Black Rock Spire: Two

Black Rock Spire wipes: Five.

Black Rock Spire achievements: Zero.

The feeling you get when you realize you’ve been causing your poor pug to beat its collective head against a wall that was intended for twice as many players, and at a higher level?

Priceless.

I’m going to cheat and get my husband’s warrior to go back with me at some later time (perhaps when the mobs no longer offer XP). Even though I didn’t get the achievements, I feel I’ve earned them!

Vid’s also level 59 now. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to finish the Dire Maul and the other instances. I may queue for Hogwarts Scholomance specifically because I like it and I’d hate to miss out on it.

Queen of the Depths

I found some time to do a fair bit of pugging early last weekend. I queued for a random instance, keeping in mind that I’d really like to get the Classic Dungeonmaster achievement – which feat will require me sneaking into Orgrimmar to do Ragefire Chasm… I failed to queue early enough when I was still “allowed” to go there. It turns out that random instances at my level range are not so random. Do you like lava, things that are underground, and Dark Iron dwarves? Because you’re going to be seeing a lot of them if you’re randomly queuing around level 50 and up. I know that three BRD runs doesn’t sound like that much but it actually is if you consider that each of those runs took an hour, minium, but closer to an hour and a half or even more. I stopped watching the clock at some point.

The good news is that I completely finished the whole thing, twice, meaning we killed the final boss. Of the three times I ran it randomly, I only received a Satchel one time – which is a bit of a “duh?” oversight, in my opinion. Maybe I’m missing something obvious, but I don’t think there’s any way to tell which portion of the instance you’ve been queued for until you actually finish it. There’s BRD – Prison, and BRD – Upper City, but because the instance is so vast and sprawling, people tend to just head off in the direction they’re familiar with. If you don’t know much about BRD (join my club) – the place is vast. The wowwiki page says it takes 4-6 hours to clear it completely (I doubt this is the case, anymore) . In a place with so many bosses, the odds are pretty good that you just won’t be killing whichever boss it considers the “end” of the portion you’re queued for, except when that boss happens to be Thaurissian himself.

BRD – I
This first run I was healing. It’s actually interesting to note that sometimes, being queued as DPS gets me an instant group while being a healer does not.  It makes for a nice change, anyway. I’d say I still heal about 80% of the time but that extra 20% of light-based-here-please-eat-my-axe keeps me happy.

For some reason, the tank in this run was incredibly hard to heal. He was wearing heirlooms, and assorted other instance-reward blue gear. His HP was 4076 (at level 54). I don’t think he was pulling with any more zeal than other tanks I’ve run with. He was a paladin. I don’t know if he just wasn’t using his cooldowns much, maybe? His HP seemed comparable to the tanks from my other two runs (I checked afterwards). I didn’t quite have the gumption to mention it or ask him, thinking it might be some defect with me. I have been playing as ret somewhat, have I forgotten how to heal?

Anyway, we did end up wiping on this run due to pulling more or less the entire room of bar patrons onto us. I think it was consecrate that did it. It wasn’t the only hairy “OMG what is this I don’t even…” moment, either. The tank said, “Been tanking for 20 levels and never lost two people on one pull before!” Well, me neither, but your inability to hold aggro versus this DPS meant that I couldn’t quite keep them alive. I hear that healing two tanks is something a paladin can do easily while balancing on their nose and doing flippy-tricks with their weapon, but three, when two are wearing dresses? Probably not.

I find that after having played other healing classes (the one I play most commonly is a druid) my inability to keep up with heavy AoE damage frustrates me quite a bit. OK, it’s not even heavy AoE damage so much as it is “whenever three people are taking damage simultaneously.” Holy Light is quite a bit faster than it was but it’s still not super fast, and with this tank I definitely needed the “oomph” to keep him alive. But the time needed to throw FoLs and Holy Shocks around would see him nearly dying again. I’m really hoping that having Beacon will help to alleviate this. It’s nice to stave off an encounter that started to feel like Certain Doom and have everyone ooh and ah over your healing, it’s not so nice to hyperventilate and feel as if no matter how fast you’re clicking, there’s nothing more you could have done, even with using all of your protective and special cooldowns.

Although the scenery in BRD was amazing, all you get is this picture of my shield.

BRD – II

My second BRD queue saw me with a bear tank, and I wasn’t healing (we had a tree), I was retribution! I got these neat plate legs at the end for my troubles. I like them, they are flashy and red.

I haven’t had a chance to enthuse about this to anyone besides my guild yet, so I will say it here. I absolutely love playing retribution so far. I don’t care if people tease me about being a two-button wonder. It’s really fun. I may have mentioned this in my previous entry (Art of WAAAAARRR) but it bears repeating. Playing melee DPS is an incredibly different experience from all of my ranged characters, and I never really played Fury with my warrior so maybe the experience is similar. It’s just really satisfying to hear a clanging sound and see a monster’s health go down and say to yourself, “Yes, I hit that.” It’s also nice to be able to take a few hits if an angry mob isn’t impressed when I poked him with a battle axe.

I’ll confess, I sometimes zone out a bit during these instance runs. Especially BRD which lends itself to a hypnotic feeling. More Dark Iron dwarves. More tunnels/passageways/whatever. Look, lava! So it took me awhile during this run to notice something.

That’s funny, I thought, who is the other melee DPS? It’s not a rogue – wait, is she hitting things with a staff? I looked at her name, and then I looked over at Recount to see the greeness of it. She was a hunter. For posterity, let it be known, that a hunter meleeing with their weapon (sans pet) in BRD can achieve an average of 80 damage per second. Most other DPS in that run and others average around 500.

Please understand I don’t want to rant on about this person in an “oh what a terribad I’m so awesome at WoW” kind of way, I actually want opinions, suggestions, whatever… What would you have done? Would you message her and try to gently come around to the point – “So are you new to WoW etc.”? Would you take a more direct approach – “You would probably do better DPS if you used your ranged weapon and brought your pet out.” The first one feels condescending to me, and the second, interfering. I remembered someone saying in a blog – some people just don’t care about this game as much to research it, and they are just having fun. So who cares if they aren’t pulling a billion DPS? We’re not in a raid. It’s a 5-man. Our heirlooms can carry a few people easily. We finished the instance, after all. Maybe it was a bit slower, but I had time.

So I took option three. I did and said nothing, and the melee hunter continued to melee her way through BRD happily, I can only presume, with Zum’rah’s Vexing Cane. Let’s just say that I’ve always enjoyed this staff, but its name took on new meaning in this context. What would you have done?

Modeling shiny new leggings that will soon be replaced by Outland greens. But for now they say, "I went to BRD and I stole Dagran's pants, too."

BRD – III

For the third run, I was healing again. There were a pair of mages here from the same guild, clearly leveling together with their hefty heirloom gear, and I was quite happy to have them, mostly because they knew their way around. In our previous run, nobody had the key to proceed to the later levels. (In my defense, why didn’t I have the key myself – I did pick up the quest when we wiped, but I’m already at the point of the instance where killing the required bosses would’ve caused us to go out of our way.) But these two mages both had the key, and so BRD was our oyster. The kind of oyster that takes you two full hours to pry open.

These three runs have more or less merged in my recollection. It’s all a dark blur to me.. I know that I went to BRD, and I know that things were killed. The most notable person in all the runs was the hunter, and I’m still conflicted about that. All of the groups were pleasant. This last group did press on all the way to Thaurissian where the previous one hadn’t, and yet again I scored loot from him. It was one of those random enchantment type-rings that usually end up being questionable, but this one made me so happy I gasped audibly when it dropped. It was an Emperor’s Seal…of intellect. 16 delicious points of it. I was very happy to roll on it, and very happy to win it (sorry, mages, you weren’t running OOM anyway, give me a break. Besides, it has no spellpower, shame on you.)

So after all of that, what do I think of BRD? I’m astounded to report that I don’t think we really got lost. One of the groups hung a bit when we weren’t quite sure how to open a particular door. But overall it was quite smooth. I don’t have many more deaths to add to my total. I am content. I could have been more efficient had I picked up or done pre-quests for this instance, because I think there are a ton and they’re worth a good deal of XP. I’ve even done more pugging since – my first trip to Dire Maul, and a short-lived Lower Black Rock Spire run. Vid is level 58 now. (Yes, so many hours in BRD will do that to you). I took her to Outland and trained Master enchanting as well as the next level of Engineering. It looks as if the materials to craft a flying machine have been adjusted? In any case, I have all the mats lined up and ready to go and I’m very excited. Pugging pally will soon be terrorizing the skies, but not until I’ve finished Dire Maul, Scholomance, and Stratholme, hopefully. I did the quest chain to get the key to Scholo (I know it’s not required any more, but I like having it) and I have the key to the rest of Dire Maul as well so hopefully that should smooth over runs into the other wings. It’s hard to restrain myself from leaping headlong into Outlands, but a guildie mentioned to me that once you are level 60 – you can’t queue for level 60 instances any more, or at least not randomly. I may be queuing specifically for each wing of Dire Maul as I need it, and likewise for Scholo and Strat. Yes, I don’t want to go back to BRD. I conquered it already, see?

Conveniently, it's not just Dwarven sized.

Also, to add – on the topic of gently approaching someone clearly and utterly failing at their given task… When I rolled Vidyala the Second and put her into Single Abstract Noun, I was happily running around Azuremyst assailing moths and other wildlife with my clumsy bludgeon when I received a whisper. “Are you new to WoW?” this person asked. I checked who it was. A level 80 paladin, currently at the Exodar. It only took me a split second to realize – he’d seen the [Lousy Cloth Robe of Greyness] I was wearing. You know how the starting zone just drops…whatever? And if you’re lucky, it drops crappy mail stuff, but sometimes it doesn’t. It hadn’t. My reasoning was…hey, it’s better than nothing.

I said, “Are you asking because you saw me wearing a dress?”
Him: “Well, I was hearthing out and I just caught a glimpse…”

I explained that it wasn’t my first character, but that it was an alt and I had no other characters on this server – plus it had been the only thing to drop. He asked me about the guild, I told him it was a guild of bloggers and blog readers, and he fled away a million miles after politely murmuring “Ohisn’tthatnice.” So, I’m very sorry, SAN, for inadvertently giving us all a reputation for harbouring the worst kind of Failadins and noobs ever.

Even my alternative alternative paladin fails at dressing like a paladin.

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.

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.

Score one for Scruffy.

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

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

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

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

Then he dropped group.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scruffy was a better tank, anyhow.

But I thought this shield was just supposed to give me stats.

I have a pugging paladin conundrum.

I waited more than thirty minutes in the queue for my first pug today. Apparently 40-50 isn’t a popular level range to be at, or pugging in this range is unpopular (What, people don’t want to go to Mauradon? I’m shocked and appalled!) or – I’m not sure what’s going on, frankly, but it makes me irritable. I tend to have a habit of mailbox AFKing on all my characters which makes my /played time an inaccurate representation. I don’t mind chatting with guildies and taking it easy a little bit, generally. But when I get time to log on for a little pally pugging, that’s what I want to do. If I wanted to wait thirty minutes, I’d be going as DPS.

I know, it’s a horrible sense of entitlement. I am a healer, thus I deserve instant queue times. I know that can’t always be the case. But I don’t want leveling Vid to be a project that takes half a year. The character is just over two months old as of this writing. Things were much quicker initially over the holidays. I had ample time to spend with the pugging. My time now is more limited, and I’d like to see a bit of progress.

The way I see it, I have three options. The wait time in queue is caused invariably by lack of a tank. I can either:

1) Suck it up and wait the queue times out, occupying myself with a combination of auction house, running around for flight points, whatever.

2) Abandon the experiment and begin questing, possibly in conjunction with waiting out those queues. Eventually the pug will commence, but I won’t be twiddling my thumbs in-between times and will level much, much faster. This is appealing for that reason, but ignores the “I’m leveling my holy paladin to level 80 using the LFD tool.”

3) Finally pay for dual-spec, figure out what I’m doing, hope I don’t get too lost, and hop in there to do the tanking myself. As with previous option, this negates the “my holy paladin” portion of my commitment, but that seems like a lesser concern to me.

I’ve done a little bit of tanking. My level 78 warrior, before I gave her away to my husband, was actually leveled from forty on as Protection. I didn’t do very much actual tanking with her – I can count the number of instances I tanked on one hand – but I did level with other characters and practice holding aggro from them. I did have macros for things and I did gather up huge packs of mobs and kill them. (That’s my judge of how serious I am about something in WoW. I had a macro for that character? It was Serious Business.) It was pretty fun. The biggest trouble I have with tanking is the intense pressure to be good and also to lead the group. I’d say that tanks have even higher expectations to fulfill than the healers who keep them alive. I gave the warrior away when I realized that I would probably never play her with any regularity – my biggest regret was that we were still on Moon Guard (RP server) at the time, and I enjoyed the character herself but it didn’t seem worth it to waste a perfectly good 80. My husband, by contrast, was so excited to have a second warrior! Another tank! He really is a true believer that the only thing better than a warrior is another warrior.

I did also dabble briefly in bear tanking, which incidentally (at least in my limited 5-man experience) was a great deal easier than warrior tanking. I could lock down solid aggro really quite quickly as a bear, whereas playing a warrior it felt like it took a great deal more work. Of course that’s anecdotal, and I don’t claim to be good at playing either spec or class. The convenience with the bear was that I’d been picking up off-spec feral gear over months of running 5 man heroics, odds and ends that nobody else wanted, and so my tanking set was good. I would’ve let my gear almost tank Ulduar, at the time. I don’t claim that I could have tanked Ulduar but my gear could have.

Anyway, to make a long story short(er), I went ahead and got dual-spec for Vid, made a tanking spec I think doesn’t suck incredibly, found some glyphs, looked at the gear that I had (shortly after having disenchanted a bunch of tanking things… “I’ll never use these for tanking, ahaha.”) So my gear isn’t the greatest, but it may be adequate. I just need to arrange my action bars and then dive in. If the tanking is a horrible failure and seems beyond hope, I can always abandon the experiment of pugging exclusively to 80 and do some questing to get past the 40-50 hump. I’d rather not do that, though. I’ve made it this far! If I can get to Outland, there’s certain to be hundreds of DK tanks who need a healer.

Before reaching this decision, I ran Mauradon (Purple Crystals, naturally) 2.5 times today. The first time was completely fine. We had a very competent paladin tank, he pulled quickly and it flowed well. When you know where you’re going and everything is carefully done, the whole run takes about twenty minutes. It’s the new Scarlet Monastery, Graveyard. Now with more poisons and disease! That stack. Did I mention the way they stack?

I realized, because I am pro like that, that I had not yet trained level 42 (whoops) so I could learn my fancy new cleansing spell that gets rid of magic debuffs also. I’m very excited about this.

Purple Crystal run number one was very easy and uneventful. Number two was likewise, because we had the same tank, although I got the impression that the other people had just come out of some kind of harrowing, soul-crushing pug experience.

“I hope this isn’t like the last group,” the rogue whimpered. I told him that the tank was quite good and he was immediately reassured. You see what I mean about all the pressure being on the tank? You can have three warlocks, a healer with no AoE heals, but if you’ve got a good tank, nobody worries. You can have terrible DPS, people who pull extra packs (that starts to involve the healer a bit more) but if you have a good tank who makes sure to wait for their healer to drink when they need it – you’re generally prepared and won’t have any problems.

Incidentally, I have to digress here: one of my search terms this week was “We had a good hunter,” in quotations. Was it someone looking for examples that such a thing exists? Or were they so shocked when it happened they wanted to see if someone else had experienced it, too? (I jest, hunters. I love you and your furry pets, as long as their names are not “PetWussy.” If you’re that hunter, you can get bent.)

My third Mauradon, the one that accounted for the 0.5, was not so great. Our tank dropped group almost immediately, without a word. Thanks for faking us out, tank! I hope you have much joy in Oculus if you ever get there. So we were left with a Fury warrior, and a feral druid. I asked the druid if he’d be willing to tank (pretty decent overlap in the feral tree, at least this level he should be able to handle it.) He was a little hesitant but agreed to give it a go, but I could tell he was hating every minute of it, and mobs were all over the place. In a few minutes he suddenly “had to go,” was very apologetic, but I couldn’t blame him. I turned eyelashes on the Fury warrior, but no dice. He had no dual-spec and clearly no intention of taking his hands off his great big two-hander.

The group broke up. But before that happened… This is the part of the story when faced with a series of uneventful, mundane pugs, I make sure I have something to write about.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with the first little bit of Mauradon: Now With More Purple Crystals – you’re so lucky! Now picture a circular room. There’s a cavern in the centre, and a ledge that runs all the way around the outside of the cavern. It is possible to just run up to this ledge and drop off – there’s trash at the bottom. Otherwise, you can follow the ledge around the outside of the circle to kill the trash that is there, and a ramp leads down into the grotto.

I thought that the bear tank was going to jump down from the ledge. All of the tanks have done so up until this point. It’s not very far, and it skips some time spent clearing trash. I edged a little closer to the ledge, trying to show him the right way with my subtle inclination towards the grotto. I was about to ask him directly, when a terrible, terrible thing happened.

The imps at the bottom of the cavern saw me.

“DHSLAHHDKSLJ,” they said impishly, and tried to run towards me. Being at the bottom of the cave, they couldn’t reach me, so they did the only logical thing. They headed for the ramp.

Between me and them, I’m afraid there was something like four packs of four mobs apiece. I’m guessing here. I watched the group of imps sprint up the ramp. I watched them run by their fellows on the ledge with an almost comically ponderous slowness. I’m not sure if the rest of the group had any idea what was in store for us, as my face flushed with guilt/shame.

“I know that when monsters run by OTHER monsters it tends to alert the other monsters, but maybe just this one time, they won’t see the other monsters. Or they will, but they’ve got better, other monster things to do…”

The imps were joined by satyrs, and still more imps. The mob train gained speed and momentum, like a snowball rolling downhill in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, ultimately intending to flatten me and my hapless party members.

We all had eleventy billion stacks of poison, instantly. And disease. There were so many icons on the health bars I could barely see them. The poor druid did his best. I really think he didn’t understand what had happened. The fury warrior said, as the group neared us, “Wga!” I tried to keep us healed, I really did. The tank tried to tank all those mobs, he really did.

Our fate was sealed the moment those first imps started to dance towards me. Lying there amid the rubble, the fury warrior clarified his earlier statement. “Wow lol,” he said. “Yeah, wow,” I agreed, desperately hoping that nobody had seen how much it was completely my fault.

Yes, that’s right, I didn’t even own up! Why? I was laughing too hard. I laughed so hard I wheezed, and even writing this I can still see the twenty mobs barreling towards us and I laugh some more. I wish I’d had the foresight to take screenshots. I do feel bad for wiping the group, but I feel I made up for it at least marginally. Since nobody else could find the way back into Mauradon, I ran back and rezzed them all.

So hey, I have sense of direction enough to find my way back into Mauradon twice! It isn’t a fluke. I am completely ready to tank, because if I kill my group horribly again… at least I’ll be able to help us recover from the wipe.

p.s. – I unabashedly stole my “pally tanking tag” from Svenn.

p.p.s. – I caved to peer pressure and joined Twitter. If you’re into that kind of thing.

We have to find your far-flung bodies first.

I found some time to get back on the ol’ pallycorn this weekend. Well, I made time darn it because all of the guild’s alts are passing me disgracefully. My hunter friend is probably almost ready for Outland at this point, and a druid I didn’t even expect is already level fifty-something-or-other. (I did say that I don’t want to race to 80, however, there’s racing and then there’s disgracing).

I logged in and stood in Ironforge clicking a few buttons. OK, this one is Holy Shock(!), this is Holy Light, ah, Flash of Light, you are an old friend. I remember you well. Satisfied that I remembered at least something of my paladin toolbox, I joined the queue for something random. And then I waited. And waited… and waited. I did a few of the Fool for Love quests and went and honoured an Elder – but apparently, that doesn’t give XP (boo). I bought a new shield. It has spirit, but it’s also triangular, so how can that be wrong?

I gave up on Ironforge and decided to begin the business of collecting a few flight points. I had the time to fly to Menethil, run up through Arathi and then Alterac and I was in Southshore when the instance finally popped up. Actually, that’s a bit untrue. An instance popped up in Ironforge, and then again on the way to Southshore. However, those instances were unsuccessful. I must now take this moment to expound upon something that happens to each and every one of my characters.

Lone, AFK DPS, I curse you to an eternity of downranked spells on your action bars you never realize are downranked, tanks that can’t hold aggro, and healers who let you die. If I knew who you were I would write you a scathingly worded exceedingly clever letter but then I wouldn’t send it, because I’m Canadian, and I’d feel too guilty. But really, you keep giving me LFD queue irritation. Cut that out, would you? Take yourself out of the queue if you won’t be around. Get a drink before you queue up. That way the rest of us won’t get hung up with our 4/5 groups again and again. I’m not even sure how it works, it says “You’ve been returned to the front of the queue” but it doesn’t actually feel like it.

So finally my group formed. The loading screen appeared and I said “Oh crap what is this.” I assumed I’d be heading in for another Uldaman, but I was wrong: Mauradon. Something about some purple crystals. Little did I know, that purple would prove to be thematic…

“Hello,” I greeted the group as I stood there for one brief moment, a deer frozen in the headlights trying to remember the paladin things I am supposed to do. Oh right, blessings, that’s what I do! I scrambled to pass those around. These ones  look like casters, and that one’s a tank, oh I’ll just give them all Kings anyhow. And make sure I have my Seal up.  While I’m going through my own little mini-buff drama, one of them remarks.

“This is weird”

I’m thinking, what’s weird? The tank isn’t a tank spec? You zoned in and we’re all naked? All of your action bars are gone?

No, indeed. The weird thing was our group composition. My first time back in the LFD after a forced absence, and Mother RNG gifted me with three – count ‘em – three shadow-flinging, pet-aggroing, Lifetapping warlocks.

What's better than one warlock, after all? (The answer is a mage, of course...)

What ensued was a comedy partly borne of my own rustiness with my buttons, and partly pure warlock hilarity. The first pull left me gasping and struggling, because dear Mauradon (purple edition, I don’t know much about the others) seems to be full of disease. And poison. And poisons that stack. Which is pretty ridiculous, when you think about it.

Tank: “Agh, I have been poisoned!”

Paladin: “I shall cleanse you of this impurity!”

Tank: “Agh, they poisoned me MORE.”

Paladin: “One moment, I can only handle exactly 25 mL of poison at any given time. I’ll cleanse you again…”

So I’m doing that, the pull ends, and all of a sudden everyone’s health bar except mine and the tanks plummets incrementally to nearly nothing. I say, “OMG locks you have got to be kidding me.”

The room erupts in a series of giggles, “lol,” two Gnomish and one human. One of the warlocks assures me that they know they lifetap at their own risk. They’re exceedingly complimentary about my ability to keep them from croaking despite one having aggro and all of them doing their compulsive self-damaging thing.

A funny thing begins to happen. I want to resent them for oh so many reasons. But I’m starting to like the reckless little fel machines. I’m laughing, they are charming me. I tell them that they can lifetap themselves into oblivion so long as they remember that some of us still need to actually drink. I also tell them that three warlocks should come with heartburn medication.

Later, I tell them to forget the heartburn medication – three warlocks ought to come with beer.

We barrel through Mauradon – Purple Crystal Edition with barely a pause, and the group wants to queue up for another but our bear tank is tired of tanking. He decides he’s going to leave, and I’m alone with only warlocks for company.

“Let’s all get our voidwalkers!” one enthused. “Each of them can tank one mob at a time.”

“This is silly,” one of the warlocks said, “I think I’m going to go, guys.”

I’m here to tell you, that warlock peer pressure is a powerful thing. That warlock stayed. And apparently these “more-a-minion-than-a-pet” creatures are an extension of self, because a few successful trash packs later and the warlocks were proceeding into e-peen territory.

“Well, my voidwalker was holding aggro way better than yours, and we killed that mob before yours died.”
“No way, your voidwalker sucked! Mine was awesome.”
“No, I inflict pain and suffering at a much faster rate than you do!”

Is this what a warlock convention looks like? And if so, how did I stumble upon one?

We did eventually pick up another tank. He was… one of those people I don’t quite trust. He kept running on ahead, not waiting for me to drink. At one point, his health was a mere sliver, I was nearly OOM, and then I saw him going. My face looked something like this:

“?!!*WHEREIS HEGOINGHEHASNOHEALTH.”

Tank, predictably, goes splat (as he runs out of range, pulls another group of mobs, and also breaks line of sight just for a cherry on his death sundae). Then he says “And no heals, were you OOM or something? Why didn’t you say something?” Now my face looks like this:

“DIDHEREALLYJUSTSAYTHATISHEJOKING.”

It’s okay though, this tank had a lot of problems. Apparently his relative had just had his arm cut off mere hours earlier so he’s NOT IN THE MOOD FOR BEING MADE FUN OF U GUYS. I don’t point out the improbability of being on your computer playing World of Warcraft if someone near and dear to you just had their arm cut off, but hey. Maybe he was confusing this dramatic event with a movie he’d just watched. And also, he was in a car acccident, and needed to have surgery on his face. And his Mom was hurt by the seatbelt. And and and… I didn’t reply to any of this but some of our group members were sympathetic. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, I do. And if any of it were true, then I am sincerely sorry for having doubted him. But for now, my suspension of disbelief was strongly tested.

We had plenty of time to discuss these things, you see, as when the tank died we wiped. I thought I could follow one of the purple dots back to where we’d come from, but they scattered in all directions (see: pug diffusion). Instead, I just had to follow my own better judgment. Here is a mountain pass, this seems to lead to Mauradon, and here is a cave. In the cave I got turned around a little bit. Only one ‘lock had made it back. And, astoundingly, the second person in the instance was me. Despite my well-documented failure at navigating pretty much anything, I managed to find my way back. I just followed the Purple Crystals. Apparently what old world instances need more of, for my sake, is obvious sign posts and giant, colour-coded walkways. None of the other locks or the tank ever made it in, we ventured inside and killed some trash on our own to reach their corpses and resurrect them.

At this point the group was starting to get silly, so when we finished the instance I bowed out to take myself off to bed. “No, Vid! You can’t go,” the lead lock protested. “You are our glue.” Warlock glue isn’t something I’m really ready to contemplate. Made from an amalgam of squished souls? What’s their viscosity? So his pleas fell upon deaf ears. I’d like to think that the three warlocks stuck together and ran many a Mauradon after that, but I suppose I’ll never know.

Meantime, 100% rested XP and all this running around Mauradon led me to be level 42! I was so bleary when this happened that I logged off thinking I had dinged to level 41, but I was wrong. I did go through my entire stack of beverages, though. I hope I’m at a point soon where I get a new “rank” of beverage because my Moonberry Juice is no longer cutting it. It makes me feel all impressive and paladin-like, a la level 80 Holy Paladin: “Excuse me guys, it takes twenty minutes to fill my mana bar up to full because I just have SO MUCH OF IT. I’m swimming in it. I mean, if only these strudels gave me twice as much mana, I wouldn’t have to eat two of them, just to fill up my enormous mana bar. Also, it’s longer than yours.”

The sad reality is, though, that I think my drinks just aren’t good enough for my level, it’s not that I have a particularly large amount of smarts.

But when I get to level 80? Heck yeah I’ll be a paladin just like the one above!

“Yaaawn. Excuse me, I think I’ll go AFK and grab a drink, maybe a sandwich… my mana bar is refilling. You know how it is.”