Tag Archives: life after 80

Places You Shouldn’t Learn to Tank, and My Nemesis

All of my characters generally feel that shoes are for sissies.

In my spare WoW-time when I don’t feel like working on Loremaster or other things for my to-be-main, I’ve been halfheartedly acquiring gear for my troll mage. I say “halfheartedly” not because I have a lack of desire, but because I get excited about it for a day or so – and then I run smack into LFD.

She’s slowly creeping up to an acceptable gear level, which is fine. Incredible magical devastation wasn’t built in a day, after all. I’m going to quote one of my guildies here, because I’m finding his observations to be true.

“Have you guys noticed,” he said, “That the people in LFD have gotten nicer? They’re incredibly nice.” (Brief pause). “They are terrible players. But nice.”

Yesterday I waited my 20-minute DPS queue out patiently. I’d done Direbrew, I’d done a random, and now I wanted to go to Forge of Souls. Happily, I zoned in. Nothing seemed amiss at first, except that the tank was a bit slow to get going. No problem; this gave me time to put up a refreshment table, set up my assist macro, choose a moonkin for Focus Magic, and then tap my two-toed feet. Once we finally started rolling, it became evident that our warrior tank was what I would politely call “new.” But hey, that’s okay! I eased off considerably on the AoE, made sure to silence the annoying casters in the first trash pack. It didn’t matter. The moonkin died. I died. The healer died.

Usually wiping on the first trash is something of a bad sign, but I didn’t say anything. The moonkin piped up in party chat, “I hate training new tanks.” I thought he was just being generally snarky, and was surprised when the tank didn’t reply. It was only as we laboriously worked our way through all of that trash that I clued into the fact that the tank, moonkin, resto druid and hunter were all in the same guild. Uh-oh.

“This tank has no idea what he’s doing and his guildies aren’t helping him,” I told Voss. “Stuff is all over the place. What would you do for this next trash pack?” Voss looked over my shoulder to point to one mob.

“Tell him to charge this one, and the rest will come to him,” he said. “At Bronjahm, make sure that he kites him away from the Soul Fragments.”

I passed this all on – not, I hope – in an obnoxious but a helpful way. Our prospects didn’t seem to be improving as we approached Bronjahm. I blinked in a moment of brief confusion. Our moonkin had gone resto. Spiffy.

Bronjahm with two healers was actually… okay. It took quite a long time, as DBM helpfully informed me when we finished, “Bronjahm down after five minutes, thirty-five seconds! Your last kill took one minute and thirty seconds.” Let’s just say that mana was an issue. I was starting to mildly resent these people for forcing me to compensate for lack of one DPS when it’s not as if my mage has super gear or anything, but I kept quiet. It seemed to be working.

We arduously made our way through the next series of trash packs. The hunter and I were doing what we could, but after all, we were only two. I had a sinking feeling as we stood in front of the Devourer of Souls. Was it even possible for us to pull this off?

Thirty seconds later I had my answer. The tank died about fifteen seconds into the fight. They battle-rezzed him. He died again. This is with two healers, mind you. The hunter was the next with aggro and he died, and kiting didn’t last too long for me. I died, too. At this point, in exasperation, I asked Voss to take a look at his armory to see just what this warrior’s deal was.

A strangled sound came from across the room, as I am navigating my ghost back to the instance. “What?” I ask Voss wearily.

“He’s wearing pants from Shattered Halls,” he replies. “And his gloves are ilevel 100… And his tanking weapon is the Tankard of Terror.”

“Defense? How much defense does he have?”

“…475.”

Meantime, in party chat the moonkin has gone on to say, “Soz, like I said, new tank.”

Now that I have some idea of what’s going on with this guy (you know, his BURNING CRUSADE gear) I reply, “Do you really think that H Forge is the place to learn?”

The hunter says, “Better harder than easier.”

Miraculously I manage to bite my tongue on what I think about that, as the moonkin goes on. “It’s OK, we’re getting him an elixir of defense so he won’t be one-shot like that again.”

An elixir of defense, oh, be still my heart. Never mind that even with it he’ll still be crittable. At this point, I am committed because we killed the first boss. I want loot from the last boss very badly so I’m obliged to stick it out and hope by some divine intervention we’re actually able to kill this boss.

Astoundingly, our tank lives about twenty seconds in, give or take. It seems the two healers are doing okay healing him up until the point where Devourer begins to do his laser beam wall of death thing. The tank stands in it and dies.

Fortunately for him (and me) he has not one but two Rebirths at his disposal. During one of these deaths I am killed, and we’re left counting on the hunter to finish it off. He does, and they resurrect me. I am extremely happy because the Arcane Loops of Anger dropped, and that’s what I had wanted.

I am less happy because the entire run took an hour. It’s an instance with two bosses. It should be the quickest of the ICC heroics. Because I am polite, I thank them for the rez and then leave the group. (You’ll notice I didn’t say “group,” even though I did get loot from it).

The thing is, I am not impatient with tanks who are learning, tanks who are new. We all have to start somewhere, and we’re all new sometime. But there is “new” and there is “How did you even get into this instance with such a frightening lack of knowledge and gear?” Unlike Lara, he was not prepared.

I actually don’t know the answer to that question – I thought that the ICC heroics had gear requirements. I should clarify, I don’t have a problem with running your under-geared friends through instances. I think that’s okay. But when you intend to do that, you should do one of two things:

1) Bring five guildies. Not four. Don’t inflict your friend on unsuspecting puggers. Nobody deserves to spend an hour clearing an instance that ought to take half that time – because you think it’d be best for your friend to learn the basics of tanking in some of the hardest heroics that exist. It’s presumptuous, and it’s rude.

2) If you can’t find five guildies to run Mister Just-Dinged 80, have him assume a less critical role. I’d be far less grumpy about carrying a fury warrior while someone competent tanked, and pretty much nobody cares about off-spec rolls for gear (so long as the person tanking doesn’t need it).

After the Forge of Souls shenanigans, I queued again and joined a friendly group for Pit of Saron. This one was going generally without a hitch, until I saw him.

My sworn enemy.

The horror!

He’s everywhere. It seems somehow fitting that he is also a rogue. Just when you least expect it… BAM. COMIC SANS. (If you don’t get the joke the link above will probably be enlightening).

Chowing down on a bit of stormcrow

I’ll admit it up-front and with absolute sincerity: you guys were right. I wrote a pretty bitter entry last week about how pugs were getting me down; but as with many things it’s usually a safe bet to look at your own actions and attitude before deciding the problem is somebody else.

Oh, don’t get me wrong – the quality of pugs at eighty has been variable. There are jerks out there, it’s just that sometimes they are me. Or more likely to be Voss (just sayin’). Anyway, experimentally the other night when I was having trouble sleeping, I started queuing up for pugs on each of my characters in quick succession. It went a little something like this:

Utgarde Keep: Forget the strudels, have some humble pie.

After writing that last blog post about my beloved characters, I’ve had renewed mage interest. I think It’d be nice for Millya to nab the luscious four-piece mage set bonus before the expansion ends. So I queued her up, and to my surprise the wait wasn’t even that long, soon I was alongside some other good folks in Utgarde Keep. I wasn’t off to a strong start when I found that I couldn’t cast Arcane Brilliance. What the heck, why not? No reagents. It didn’t even make sense, because I’m of the school of preparedness that never has me leave home without a stack of at least 100 of the things. No matter, I just cast the single buffs. But whoops, what’s this? I hadn’t realized I was in Frost spec. Well…Frost is nice for heroics, it won’t be a problem, right?

It wouldn’t have been a problem, except that I’d forgotten a key detail. Frost is my all-out, balls-to-the-wall PvP spec. I remembered this to my chagrin as the tank skirted by a pack of mobs to continue on to the next corridor… Speak (my beloved water elemental) was not so happy to do so. I saw him go charging by and my heart sank. Oh crap… he was set to aggressive. I like him to charge around and attack everybody, you know – when I’m in a battleground.

Wearing only a thin bit of cloth and whimpering, I blinked down the hallway hoping that the tank would notice the pack of angry Vrykul chasing us. Fortunately for me, he did, and we killed them amid my abject apologies. I don’t think the tank was too mad, because he just said “heh,” and that was all that was said the whole instance. The rest passed without incident; I switched back to Arcane mid-way through, actually did decent damage, and finished up. That’s not a knock against Frost mages, incidentally. It’s just that my Frost spec is very PvP-centric, so it can’t put out the kind of numbers I can with Arcane. It was only later when I went to check my mail, incidentally, that I found out what had happened to my arcane powder.

In a fit of summer inventory cleaning – I’d put it on the auction house. I’m still shocked that nobody wanted it!

This is my mage being fearsome.

Violet Hold: So you’re healing, right?

Next up I queued my super moonkin, Shae, for a heroic. I chose only DPS because it was late, and I didn’t really want the responsibility of healing. I joined the group happily as the load screen for Violet Hold came up. Great, Violet Hold! I love this place because my Starfall can’t accidentally pull extra mobs. Not that I would ever do that.

The only aberration as we zoned in was the night elf with the little plus sign next to his portrait. A priest, okay then. He looked sort of…shadowy, for a healing priest. I figured that he intended to drop shadow form and throw out a few heals when necessary, and so I didn’t question him. A few portals in, though, I was starting to wonder. Most of the group was at half health, the tank was even lower. I dropped moonkin form to HoT us all up, and then went back to DPSing. As the instance went on, I realized that he had absolutely no intention of throwing a direct heal, ever. (This was borne out by the stats at the end – all of his healing was Vampiric Embrace healing).

Granted, he still did quite a bit of Vampiric Embrace healing. More than I did with my direct healing. But as healers know, it’s not just how much you healed but rather when you healed that matters. I suppose I could have bitched at him. Frankly, I think queuing as a healer in order to nab a quick queue when you aren’t actually healing is pretty lame. But I wasn’t in the mood for an argument, so instead I took it as a personal challenge. I wanted to do the maximum amount of DPS, while still keeping the group alive. I managed both goals; as we finished Violet Hold a little while later. I mopped the floor with his DPS and I’d been healing. Nobody died, DPS was done, and Frost emblems were collected. It was actually one of the more fun heroics I’ve run in awhile.

This was the best moonkin screenshot I had in my folder: moonkin jousting. Because that's just how we roll.

Then for a final bit Reflection (Halls, that is).

Commonly accepted as the place where many pugs go to die, it’s the instance that Vidyala heals the most. I guess it’s because her gear is good enough (I’m not sure exactly how the LFD system works) and that many people queue for it specifically because of loot they want. So when I say “I’m willing to heal something at random,” someone else out there is saying, “HoR please.” I joined the group to heal (even though I just said that I hadn’t wanted to heal as my druid) primarily because I’m more comfortable healing with Vid than DPSing. The group consisted of another paladin tanking, a warrior and a mage in charge of the DPS. I’m sure there was another DPS there… but I can no longer remember who they were. They didn’t say a thing the whole time!

The pally tank, on the other hand, made sure we knew exactly what he wanted. “Get in the corner please,” he said. Obligingly, we all filed into the little alcove and crowded into the corner as we waited for the first trash. The trash continued with no problem. I’ll be honest here, I love healing HoR. I don’t think any amount of gear would make it boring. There’s never a time when I can sit back, relax, and stop healing. It was great! I even like fighting Falric. When I was first healing that fight at eighty it gave me hives. Now, I like to see that I can fill those green bars back up to 100% even though the healing/damage reduction debuff is increasing all the time. Even the fear that he does isn’t quite so nerve-wracking; it used to bring me within a hair’s breadth of death.

After we killed Falric, our intrepid tank said “CORNER,” and then “SORRY CAPS,” and I had to laugh. I told him, “Tank, you’re making me feel like my dog.” (“Go lie down! No, over there. Do it nowwww.”) The group laughed, but the tank remained firm. The corner was the place to be. After we’d killed more interminable trash waves and Marwyn, the tank paused to tell the mage (I think they were friends) what to expect from the next part. He concluded ambiguously with “experience a bitch.” As we were killing the next trash, the warrior yelled “BLADES OF LIGHT.” Again I laughed and asked him about it, and the ensuing conversation took us through the chase scene. He said, “It’s like Herod!” I asked him if it was a macro or did he just yell it when the mood struck him. He told me it was a macro with Bladestorm but only when he also popped his trinkets and some other ability, because he didn’t want to be spammy or anything. I only saw him yell it once during the instance, which means 1) he’s succeeding at not being spammy, but also 2) bad DPS! think of all of those wasted trinket opportunities.

Unfortunately there was no useful loot for either the mage or our warrior, but we parted with friendly exclamations on all sides.

I actually had this in my screenshots folder. I'm not sure why.

So, just a quick recap. In the first pug, I was the doofus. In the second, compensating for someone being something of a doofus was quite fun, and in the third everyone was nice, it went very smoothly, and no one was a doofus. Maybe it’s the difference in attitude (mine), maybe it’s that pugs are meant to be experienced purely as a “true” pug – no guildies, friends or relations, just you and four random strangers. All I know is that I had a good time, and I haven’t begrudged the time spent in LFD to pick up extra frost emblems for the past week or so at all.

Not on my watch

This is a slightly late Blog Azeroth shared topic suggested by Ecclesiastical Discipline (I knew I couldn’t type that correctly on the first try…) and it’s a doozy:

When should a healer let someone die?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and hope that my history bears me out. That means “please don’t dig through my blog looking for an instance of when I let someone die deliberately,” but in general, my answer is “I won’t.” Wait, it’s coming back to me, that’s not entirely true. There have been certain special circumstances where I did so, but in general my answer stands.

Tossing out heals for pugs since level 17.

I see the role of a healer as a facilitator. It’s part of what makes it so much fun, at least for me. You are a support for the group. When life gets the group down, you are the one to be there cheering them on, and bandaging their wounds. I take that role seriously, and it’s not lightly that I abandon it.

The damage dealers: “Whoops, I did it again.”

That means that when an over-eager DPS pulls aggro, I view it as a personal challenge to keep them alive. I know some healers would challenge me on this, and even some tanks. (You yank it, you tank it!) There are exceptions to this. When I was leveling Vid, my mana was pretty precious. I didn’t have forty-thousand mana to throw around, nor did I have the ability to simultaneously heal more than one person. I have a responsibility to the tank to heal them, and a further responsibility to keep myself alive so that I can fulfill the first. The other three group members take a back-seat to that. So when a DPS needs heavy healing because they pulled, I might do it – but only if it doesn’t put the tank or myself in jeopardy. This comes into play more in heroics at eighty. My restoration druid has so much mana, she hasn’t drunk a thing in weeks. Needing to heal a DPS probably means I’ll stop casting wrath to direct heal someone.

Again, it’s very situational. In a raiding situation, if someone pulls aggro they are likely to be dead. I’ve told you about the fury warrior-turned-warlock in our guild. His nickname is Dirtface, and it’s Dirtface for a reason. In his words, “I play because the ground in ICC is tasty and delicious.” His death is routine. I still try to keep him alive when I’m a healer. During one heavy pull in our last alt raid, our off-tank had to take a phone call. I’m not sure if he was actually AFK or just distracted, but we had a Fury warrior off-tank for awhile. And heck yeah I put Beacon on him. I wasn’t aware that the tank was AFK, I just knew he didn’t have aggro, wasn’t taking  damage, and didn’t need it. Dirtface lived.

The flip side of this (because I am DPSing at least as often as I am a healer) is a very resounding “mea culpa.” As a healer I try to keep the DPS alive. As a DPS – I don’t expect to be kept alive if I pull aggro. Whether the tank is “bad” or not isn’t relevant, it’s my job to manage my aggro. Sometimes I impose on my healers to heal me when I have gone overboard DPSing, and I’m very grateful for their benevolence, but I don’t expect it. Generally if I die, I have no one to blame but myself!

The wall of bricks: “We can handle all of this, right?”

If a tank dies, I get an immediate wash of intense guilt and regret. It always feels like a personal failure, and in many cases it is. The only exception to this is if a tank really was trying to do too much. I don’t mind a tank pulling aggressively, but I’m not apt to “punish” him for it either. I will do my damnedest to keep a tank up through hell and heavy pulling, but if I fail in that case I wouldn’t take all the responsibility on myself. It comes back to the tank and healer relationship. I was fortunate to have considerate tanks when I first started getting my hooves wet healing as a paladin at eighty, and I usually made a point of saying, “Hey, I’m still pretty new,” just as a heads-up. It’s part of the tank’s responsibility to know their healer’s limits.

I know I’ve pugged in with a great tank when they make their first few pulls a bit cautiously, or even ask me what I’m comfortable with. I know what they are doing; they’re feeling out to see how far they can reach with me backing them up. Only after they get a feel for my healing do they start to pull more aggressively, and I love that. In a short amount of time you’ve established a rapport and trust, even just for the 20 minutes you’re in the instance together, and those are always smooth runs. I like being able to trust the tanks I’m with, which is probably why I tend to prefer tanks I know.

A tank won’t die if I can possibly prevent it, unless he is an incredible jerk. I ran into such a tank wayyy back in my Deadmines days, and I checked: even then I didn’t kill him. Because if he dies, it means that other people are likely to die, and that’s not my decision to make.

It’s my off-spec that is Retribution

Occasionally I do run into a situation when someone will expressly ask or expect me to not heal someone. I know I’ve said I won’t let someone die, but there are a few exceptions, and here they are.

  • Avoidable environmental damage, a.k.a. “Why is the ground burning me?” For this I follow a general rule of “Once, shame on you, twice shame on me.” If someone is standing in something that’s killing them and I can heal them through it, I probably will – the first time. This will be followed by a general reminder, “Please watch out for such-and-such” on the ground. A repeat offense might be healed, but definitely not a third. This is a lesson situation. If there’s no consequence for standing in fire, people won’t ever learn not to stand in it.
  • The tank is having a hard time with someone continually pulling aggro and they ask me to “Please not heal so-and-so” or “Just let them die.” I still have a really hard time with this. It’s happened when a DPS thought they could pull groups instead of the tank, which is not the same as pulling aggro. This is a situation in which I feel the healer has to back up the tank, but it’s always a judgment call. Does it really justify withholding heals? In some cases it does. But I don’t like doing it. The biggest reason is because death of any kind in most instances punishes the whole group and not just the recipient. If I let them die, we have to then resurrect them, have them get their mana back, and probably rebuff them which costs me and other party members a reagent in any case.

In short, I don’t like punitive healing. If I’m there healing, I’m going to keep everyone alive to the best of my abilities. Sometimes DPS pulls aggro, mistakes happen, things get messy. I revert to my priorities: self, tank, DPS dead last. Sometimes that means they do wind up dead, and if they don’t I feel I’ve done a good job.

Most importantly, when I’m on the damage dealing side and I pull a bonehead maneuver and the healer has to heal me through something smacking me in the face… I make sure and thank them! Usually in the form of, “Thank you for saving me from my own stupidity, I know it was above and beyond the call of duty.” Because it is; the healer isn’t obligated to heal you through extraordinary damage if you bring it upon yourself. Treasure them and be grateful when they do, and remember it if you’re ever on the flip-side! If more people showed a little love for their healers, there’d never be a healer shortage. It can be an incredibly rewarding role when you’re grouped with great people.

Wednesday Linking Love

This tiny Vid sits on my desk and grins her gormless grin at me when I'm staring into nowhere trying to think of something to write. She even had little engineering goggles... but they made her too top-heavy so they had to be left out.

I’m afraid I don’t have the time this morning to write very much of my own, but such times are great for pointing out posts I’ve enjoyed by other people in the last week or so. Here they are, conveniently in alphabetical order (I don’t think that matters, but even so).

Zal over at Blessing Of Fish wrote a good post about designing a tabard for your guild. It even has a colour wheel, which instantly wins my art nerd over. He points out that with the changes to guilds coming in Cataclysm, tabards are going to be gaining importance and prominence. You’ll want to make sure it looks good right now. Personally, I like the lobster – you know, the one who looks like he’s pinching…? Ah, nevermind.

Rhoelyn from Beneath Two Skies writes the story of poor Archavon the Stone Watcher’s diary. You know, it might be his vault, but I don’t see that it’s done him any good lately. “The Makers are gone. I have been left to watch.” Check it out, it made me laugh out loud.

Kae at Dreambound Druid has some strict ten perspective for folks who might be thinking of scaling down from twenty-fives to tens in Cataclysm. It’s about what ten man raiding is, isn’t, and will be, and whether the grass is greener after all. (Hint: When you’re not over-geared for it, it isn’t necessarily easier. Heroic Lich King, yet to be killed by any strict tens guilds in the world can attest to that.)

Windsoar at Jaded Alt writes about what it’s like to experience class prejudice towards her DK before she’s even been given a chance. I’ll admit, I met my fair share of clueless DKs, but I wasn’t even rude to those ones. You could boil this concept down to “just don’t be rude to people,” really, but it’s an interesting read. The universe isn’t doing much to convince me I should level that DK alt anytime soon!

For all you bloggers, Psynister’s Notebook had some great tips this week about leveling up your blog. You’re willing to grind everything else, right? Why not this?

Frequent commenter and my friend Redbeard from Parallel Context recently started leveling up his draenei paladin as a holy paladin in LFD. If you’ve been wishing for some lowbie pug antics, check out his first trip to Wailing Caverns. Oh, the memories.

Finally, last but certainly not least, Gameldar at WoW In An Hour wrote an article I thought was well worth noting: To Fish, Or Not To Fish? The question isn’t “Should you fish?” (The answer is always a resounding, “Yes,”) but rather, is the fish feast the best buff food for your raiding, or would you be better served to bring along your own? I like to think of it as “default fish.” But it’s always better to make an informed decision than just go the lazy route. Plus, it has a fish chart!

Now, because I can’t help myself. I’ve been sitting on these for a little while.

Search results!

leveling a holy paladin in lfd – Have as many heirlooms as you can, get cozy with your Flash of Light button once you get it, and most importantly bring your sense of humour.

do warlocks have any toes? – I thought this was funny because I just re-read “The Witches” by Roald Dahl last month or so, and one of the ways you are supposed to be able to identify witches is that they have no toes, and force their square feet into pointed shoes like “normal women,” (hah, not this one). Anyway, no word on whether or not warlocks have toes. When it comes to pug warlocks, it’s their lack of common sense that I found most alarming, but that could just be me.

paladin gear on draenei - Looks fabulous. There are a few exceptions, particularly for Male draenei. Here, let me show you.

"I'm a champion of the Light, I don't have time for cuddles."

You see, I see this, and I think:

Built like an armoured car.

I’m not quite sure why.

vuhdo paladin setup, vuhdo paladin, vidyala’s vuhdo, vidyala’s vuhdo post, vuhdo addon beacon of light not showing, make vuhdo show beacon of light, vuhdo beacon of light hot icons, showing beacon on vuhdo – Apparently, writing about how to make Vuhdo work for paladins filled a bit of a niche, if this week’s search results are any indication.

you are fools to have come to this place – I hear this a lot. If only I could remember who it is that screeches it in my ear…?

gnomeregan run time - Eternity. I’m sorry. It’s approximately, “Cancel all your appointments, give up your friends, forever, you’re never leaving.” I’m sure some version of Vid is still there, running in circles with leprous gnomes chasing her.

squishy rogue syndrome – Hehe. I’m not sure why this brought you here, but I’ve heard tell of it myself.

when its time to let your girlfriend go – This is a long shot here, but probably when you feel the need to Google it is a fair indicator. Just be nice, would you?

one light in the darkness pugged – Hah! Good luck with that. We went back to do this for some guildies who’d missed it the first go-round, and it was (if you’ll pardon the pun) a nightmare. You really do have to know what you’re doing and can so easily get screwed over by RNG stuff or people not running away from Malady or people going insane in the brain room or people not freeing people who are being choked by a vine or people brushing up against Giant Green Clouds of Death or killed by adds in the last phase…sorry, was I rambling? Anyway, a pug could do it if you had people experienced with the fight, but we basically had to learn it all over again when we went in with folks who’d never done Yogg before, let alone One Light. Try and do it with guildies or friends if at all possible. And make sure you take Thorim! Freya’s sanity wells might be tempting, but the adds in the last phase still pound hard enough that it’s really hard to just brute-force heal and DPS through them without the ability to take them out of commission entirely.

In Which We are Fools to Have Come To This Place

Vidyala has done a little bit of raiding since hitting 80. I sneak her into things like VoA runs, or the weekly if it’s a place like Naxx or EoE or even Ulduar, now that we’re done getting people drakes there for the foreseeable future. (And I’m happy about this, not because I dislike Ulduar, I think it’s fabulous. I just don’t want to see Yogg’s ugly mug again any time soon).

So I’ve been raiding, sometimes even raid pugging. A few weeks back there were a bunch of us from the guild online and so we organized an ICC run. First I picked up a tank I had seen asking in Trade – his gear was good, it sounded like he knew what he was doing. We had one bearface from within our own ranks so that was at least a single tank covered. I would heal along with our resto druid’s alt… resto druid. I have to confess I’m often a bit jealous of people who know so clearly which class they want to play. Oh, they flirt with alts, but when it comes right down to it, there’s one class they love above all else. So they have a main of that class. And an alt of that class. (See: guild mage who just yesterday moved a new character into the guild…another 80 mage). But I digress. So we had from within our guild, a DK, a resto druid, myself as a holy paladin, and a bear druid.

Now, as any experienced pugger will tell you, these are not good odds. We were greatly outnumbered. We didn’t even have enough of us to make a five-man. But, I put out the call in Trade, LFM for ICC 10, need DPS.

I have never seen so many whispers in my life. Seriously, they filled my screen. And I use an addon (WoW Instant Messenger) that is set up to make a sound when I receive a whisper, so that I don’t miss it. The whispers broke the addon sound. It just gave up. I started to sift through them. A couple of warlocks, DPS warrior, some hunters, a mage, a moonkin. To be completely frank, I set up the group with extreme prejudice. I like mages, and I like moonkin, so they were pretty much guaranteed as long as their gear wasn’t bad. Then I even grudgingly invited the warlock because hey, it’s good caster synergy. By the time I was finished looking people up on WoW-heroes, several minutes had passed. The fury warrior was starting to rage at me, whispering me impatiently. Finally he says, “You could at least ANSWER me,” and I felt a pang of guilt. I told him we were all full on melee DPS – not that I’d take someone who loses their shit over a five minute wait and has clearly never organized a pug where it actually matters who and what you bring. He didn’t reply after that, which is probably for the best.

So our motley crew set out to ICC, after I managed to grab a few fish feasts out of the bank. Vent info was passed out and everyone joined. Our little gnome mage, it turned out, gave me the feeling I would have if I were to play WoW with my Mother. She was sweet and, I think, a bit nervous. “I’m an ar-CAN ma-dge,” she told us all. Now that I think about it, what other class would my mother play? One who bakes, naturally! I was extremely glad to have her along, not the least because she was the only one of us who actually had the skill to USE the fish feasts I’d so thoughtfully grabbed from the bank. Whoops.

The hunter ruined my shot with his need to get ready to shoot Marrowgar in the face.

All in all, the ICC pug went… pretty well. Our paladin tank’s microphone was not working, so that was a bit aggravating. Worse, he was the kind of pugger that’s annoying – not because he says or does anything annoying, but because of what he doesn’t say. I have a mental image of someone sitting at their desk – TV on in the background, alt-tabbed out or with dual monitors browsing another website, music blaring on top of that, and, oh I don’t know, a book in one hand. And a drink. So when you ask them something like, “Alright, so you will taunt after you have x stacks of Nasty Debuff,” you’re met with silence. Both in vent (broken mic) and when you try to type it out in raid. Just when you start to throw up your hands in aggravation after typing “Are you there?” and decide the person must be AFK, they say something noncommittal and short like, “yeah no problem,” or the like. Maybe he took a break to do his taxes.

But apart from minor irritations like that, the whole group was quiet, respectful – and eerily silent. I don’t know if a decent ICC pug is a rare beast, or what, but I got the impression that they were all just really happy to be there and didn’t want to mess anything up or irritate anyone. We proceeded to do Marrowgar, Deathwhisper, Lootship, and Saurfant without a hitch. Really, not a single wipe. Then we hit the Festergut wall.

As one of our guildies remarked, “Pugs remind me of why I am in a guild.” I don’t consider Fester to be a really tough fight – it has a few coordination things and a DPS and healing check… oh, the healing check. Let me take a moment to talk about that. You understand, I didn’t heal this fight with characters in just entry level ICC gear before. I’ve healed it as a resto druid – the heroic version – with two other very skilled healers. I’ve never been OMG spam healing the tank before and had him die. I think in this regard I am remiss – if I’m going to be going any further into ICC, I need to do some paladin specific research about it. But more importantly, I think we might need three healers for our alt runs past that point. The raid damage was stupid, and the tank damage was stupider – and I’m not sure if it’s because the mage was barfing on the warlock or what, but here’s where the pug started to get interesting.

The hunter went AFK on our second attempt. He was locked outside the door just standing there, although it didn’t yet actually say over his head that he was AFK. We kicked him and were arranging a suitable substitute when our resto druid had a pet health related emergency and had to go. But the weekly raid quest was the one where you have to bring back a sample of spore yuck from Festergut and OMFGWHATISTHISITSTOUCHINGME from Rotface. With our odds of downing either boss slim (who am I kidding, zilch) someone suggested we could use the cheat-ey sort of method. Apparently if you engage each boss and run them to the door, having some folks stay in as sacrificial lambs and a few others outside, the spores will hit people outside. Then you go on to do the same thing with Rotface – in theory. We did the first thing, and a number of people had the debuff they needed. Of course, being the only healer I was one of the Marked for Death folks.

We proceeded to Rotface to do the same thing. Here I reveal to you a dark secret… Sometimes, I do things. These things, might not be considered the most intelligent things. For instance, in an effort to save our death knight’s multiple debuffs from death by Rotface, I may have…BOPed him. Which may or may not have removed both debuffs. I really couldn’t say. The best part about this was that he instantly blamed the other paladin with great ire in guild chat. “Why would he do that,” etc., and the best part, “STUPID PALADIN.” I turned to Voss (husband exhibit A, not in the raid, but in the room and in guild chat) and said, “Please don’t tell Shaen – there was a stupid paladin involved, but it isn’t the one he thinks it is. I’m just glad there’s another one here to take the blame.”

Yes, that’s right, I tossed my fellow paladin to the wolves… remember, he’s watching a movie, reading a book, reading websites, and possibly preparing a four-course meal during this raid. He’s very busy and important, so it’s too much of a strain for him to type, “Yes, I understand,” with regards to any fight mechanics. My conscience is clear. A few minutes later, though, said Death Knight came to the realization that there was in fact more than one paladin in the raid… one paladin he’d feel immensely guilty about calling stupid had I, in fact, been the one stupid enough to Ruin Everything. He whispered me to apologize.

The best part about the whole thing though was that after I’d stolen his debuffs so cruelly…the whole raid turned to see the mage – the only other person who’d managed to acquire both debuffs – her little gnomish body entombed in a block of solid ice. Why she iceblocked, we’re still not sure. (Why did I BoP the DK when there was no need? Let’s not go there…) I’m of the opinion that she panicked, didn’t want to screw up and get killed, and was trying to save us all. Unfortunately, iceblocking, much like a BoP, removes the debuffs! We were back at square one.

Astoundingly, we still had people with the Rotface debuff, so we only had to re-do Festergut and we had someone with both debuffs. We did not BoP, iceblock, or in any other way interfere with the delivery of said debuffs. The warlock laughed at us running back and forth down the corridor – as we went to turn in the quest we triggered the Trap of A Zillion Geists. He said, “We are such a bunch of muppets!”

I will neither confirm nor deny his claim. But we got to turn in the quest and earn some extra frost emblems! Around this time, the previously AFK hunter whispered Bearface to apologize for having gone away without a word. He said, “My roommate fell down the stairs, and he wouldn’t shut up!” We aren’t certain whether this means he fell down the stairs and was screaming in pain, or that he fell and then insisted on continuing to talk about it. In any case, the hunter was not so callous as to let a friend down (har) and he must have gone to either help the guy deal with his broken bones, or make him tea to soothe the pain. In any case, he missed out on the raid weekly and earned himself a mention.

I’m beginning to formulate a theory as to the likely composition of any pug raid. It’s not very scientific.

There will be:

  • One lady who could be my Mom
  • One guy who is baked out of his mind (in this case, the moonkin, honest to goodness I saw him hitting a blood beast with his Nibelung at one point)
  • One guy who never talks
  • One guy you wish would never talk
  • One guy who apparently is filled with pug rage and rants on and on about how pugs fail, why all pugs break up after Saurfang, how we promised we’d go further, etc.
  • One guy who goes AFK
  • One guy who Knows All There Is To Know About These Fights and is Happy to Share His Knowledge. His very presence causes capitalization.
  • One guy who will do or say something completely random that may or may not coincide with one of the previous categories. Clearly the Hunter takes this prize.

I’m sure there are more, but fortunately we don’t get them all at one time because we try to have approximately half guild to half pug. All-in-all, it was a successful run, good times were had, and I can’t complain because I cleaned up in the loot department. The first thing that dropped was the Frost Needle from Marrowgar. I know, it has hit, but it was still a huge step-up from Seethe. I never thought I’d get my pally hands on it, though – the group had both a mage and a warlock. As it turned out…They both had Quel’Delar. So I took that. The other thing that dropped was the Citadel Enforcer’s Claymore. The only person who could have used this two-handed beauty – our Death Knight – also had Quel’Delar. So I took that too. Later on at Gunship I also wound up with a mail headpiece whose name I can’t currently remember, but it was better than what I had, even though it bears a disturbing resemblance to a moose skull. I have it hidden. And the run – in combination with my epic trash clearing a few weeks earlier, was enough to make the Ashen Verdict feel more friendly about me than neutral, really. They gave me a ring, and I was very happy.

Finally, our proper raid group (no blues, no n00b paladins in sight) deserves a mention here for having cleared out the last parts of ICC we needed to get these Bloodbathed Frostbrood Vanquishers:

This is the one and only time my druid will actually ride the thing, sadly.

Having killed H. Sindragosa on the 13th, we just had a few oddball achievements to finish. We’re still working on the last of these for people who missed them the first go-around; most painfully (of course) the Sindragosa one where her Mystic Buffet debuff must not stack on any raid member higher than five stacks. Somehow the first time we attempted this we did it almost effortlessly. A repeat has been a bit tougher, but we did it again last night. We haven’t really started serious heroic Lich King attempts because we wanted to make sure to get drakes for people first. I’m sure once we do start working on it more it’ll give me plenty to talk about.

Bear Necessities

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

Rawr.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Note the absence of a giant axe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Duuuude!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Running heroics since I’ve turned 80 has been fun. There’ve been a few kooky characters, like the paladin who used his rocket boots to pull the whole first corridor of Drak’Tharon Keep…wait, that was someone in my guild.

Well, we like to keep it interesting. I waded into a few heroics with tanks I trusted before I actually started to pug them. I’ve never had a character before who hit 80 with semi-decent gear (yes, blues!) Dungeon blues are still ilevel 187 or so, they aren’t bad. A full set of them is fine. I still picked up a few other pieces before I felt confident enough to strike out on my own. Of course it would be Gundrak, which is still fixed in my mind as Hard To Heal even though apparently it isn’t anymore.

I was freaking out a little bit – on the verge of asking the melee to make sure and run out of the poison nova, since nobody bothers these days. I didn’t have time before the tank had pulled though, and of course none of the melee ran out of it. And… it was fine. Many tanks now have something ridiculous like 50 K hp or more. This was a DK tank, and he ran through the instance. My guild laughed because I was getting a constant stream of achievements, starting at [Snakes, Why’d It Have to be Snakes?] through [Less-Rabi]. Yes, I got [Less-Rabi] with a pugged group only a day or so after hitting 80. It’s a bit ridiculous. Why, my other characters had to work for that achievement,  uphill in the instance both ways, etc. Nonetheless, I have it. That tank even went to go and kill Eck, and I think he did it to be nice to me because I’d asked the group at the beginning to be gentle, since I was still a pretty fresh 80. Every emblem counts! It was kind.

I kept running heroics on my own with little happening that was noteworthy. I can squeeze one in on my lunch break usually. But one day, an unexpected load screen arrived… Heroic Forge of Souls. I wasn’t sure . Was I ready for it? The Dungeon Finder tool thought that I was. I took a deep breath and dove in. It was fine. Silent, but fine. Practically no one said anything until just at the end, I piped up and said, “So apparently LFD thinks that I can heal this as long as it puts me with uber tank.” The tank laughed and said he wasn’t uber, had just run these many times. He was a paladin with a ridiculous amount of health and I told him that just having run these many times made him uber as far as I was concerned. I just about had to get a new pair of pants when I saw the load screen. It was a short exchange, but it made the instance memorable for me. (That was the same run I got Seethe, hit or no hit, and it was the tank that urged me to roll on it. TAKE it, TAKE it!)

Since then, I’ve been tormenting all and sundry with heroic ICC runs. Even my husband was a bit skeptical. The heroic ICC 5-mans are no joke to heal, after all. But even in pugs, I’ve been tremendously lucky with groups and haven’t really had much to complain about. My only complaint, if I’m allowed to have one, would have to be this.

The silence. Unremitting silence. People who join without a word and drop group at the end the same way that they came in. It makes me feel a little dirty. I mean, I get that people are running these for their two emblems a day. Most people want as few bosses as possible. I had a tank in DTK skip the raptor boss and I was a bit peeved. (Every emblem counts, remember?). I understand that most people see it as a chore rather than actual fun at this point. But it’s still fun for me. I’ve been quietly gathering retribution and protection gear with the aim to try them out at some point. Even though I’ve seen these instances umpteen billion times, I still have fun running them. But I miss the camaraderie, the bizarre people from pugs of old. I wish I could get these people talking. The closest thing to conversation I tend to see is when a moonkin and a DK get into an argument because The Black Heart dropped in Trial of the Champion.

“Tanking is my main-spec,” they both swear up and down (this because I asked if anyone minded if I took it for off-spec.) “I’ve only been running this place for that and I’ve lost the roll twice,” etc. I passed on it, politely, although I honestly don’t think either of them had more right to it than I did. I told the DK that if he wanted it that badly – maybe he ought to be tanking to get it. I know that if my tank were trying to get something like that I’d be more inclined to back him up and try to get any off-spec rollers to pass for him, but I don’t feel as charitable towards any of the DPS who just happen to “need” that because tanking is their “main” spec.

So that’s what passes for conversation in heroic instances these days. As a paladin, I’m not in a great position to do the chipper “Hey folks!” beginning of instance chatter. I’m too busy making sure I have the right aura, the right seal, buffing everyone (Is there a warrior? Has anyone yet bitched at me to GIEF KINGS PLOX? so I can deliberately skip them?) and so I miss that golden opportunity many times apart from saying hello. I tried to see if anyone else had written about how to get people to talk in heroics (I feel like HoTs&DoTs did but I can’t seem to find the post, unless I’m mistaken). I did, however, find an article on ehow.com, “How To Get Someone To Talk Without Asking Them A Bunch of Questions.” I’ve edited it to apply to a pug, here for your convenience in three easy steps.

Step 1: When you know a pug is bothering someone, don’t start by asking them a bunch of questions. Instead try this, but only after you have memorized it (why not macro?)

Step 2: You say: I love you, pugger, and I know something is really hurting you, and I care enough about emblems to know what is really bothering you. Do you realize that if you won’t make chit-chat with me, and share with me when you plan to pull and what drugs you’ve made use of today, then I’m going to have to guess, and then write about you on my blog. And if you make me guess, I’m going to be a real human and guess negatively because, see, we humans never guess positively. We always assume the worst. And if I guess negatively it’s going to hurt our relationship, pugger, and I don’t want that. It’s going to make people on the internet laugh at you. We’re going to be spending the next twenty minutes together, depending on how much HP the tank has and how quickly he can pull. But I love you, pugger. The only question you have to ask me is, “Do you?”

Step 3: Once you ask  ‘do you’? turn and walk away to the other end of the pug, or drop group! You DO NOT WAIT FOR THE ANSWER (not my caps). You’ve already told the pugger that you love them and care for them and you don’t want to guess why they won’t talk to you, but by walking away you’re giving them the space they need. They can look at the symbol beside your party portrait and think about what it means, that little life-giving plus sign or that stabbey knife or stalwart shield. They may burst into tears or call you a lunatic, after they’ve had space and time to think about what they are going to say. You can say this to adult or children puggers, but children shouldn’t be pugging. But they do.

Tips and Warnings: Don’t get into any pugger’s character’s face. Don’t act like a know-it-all, don’t flaunt your gearscore. Let puggers have their space. The pugger may burst into tears, let them. If they want a hug, they’ll let you know.

Alternatively, you could try to start a conversation about something else, but doing the above is guaranteed to get pugs talking! Probably not to you, possibly about you, but at least it’s something.

So how about you? Do you have any way to get pugs to talk? Do you just not bother, or maybe just not care? I’m going to be making more of a concerted effort to get folks to talk a little, but paladin healing doesn’t favour this, at least it didn’t at my initial gear levels when I had to actually, you know, heal people. I’m used to being a druid – hot, hot, hot – chat, hot hot… But heroic running has gotten smooth enough that I can generally afford to swap out my healing sword for my one-handed axe and level the skill on the trash mobs, so I can probably strike up a conversation while I’m at it.