Tag Archives: mage

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).

Gallery

Unconjured Cinnamon Bun Frost Cookies

This gallery contains 13 photos.

This is a guest post of sorts, kindly written for me by my resident mage, Millya. You’ve heard about how I’m really only a sometimes paladin, right? Millya likes to make pastries, and so when I heard that Angelya was … Continue reading

I know something you don’t know…

One mount is only the beginning.

I have a confession to make. I’ve been responsible for a rash of Trial of the Crusader 5-man runs on the Shadowburn battlegroup. It doesn’t sound like too horrible a crime, does it? I actually like the place. It has three bosses, minimal trash – so quite a few opportunities for vendored epics and enchanting materials.

That’s not why I am doing it, though. You see, I queue up for ToC every day (sometimes on more than one character) because I am chasing delicious Champion’s Seals. Since I’ve been spending more time pursuing “before Cataclysm” goals, I realized that I’ve been neglecting the Argent Tournament dailies. Because I like pets, and mounts. And tabards…did I mention tabards?

A quick mental calculation the other day was too depressing… Not counting any tabards at all, I’m going to need something upwards of six HUNDRED Champion’s Seals to get all of the stuff the Silver Covenant and the various factions have to offer.

That’s where ToC comes in. The dailies are great, and I do those too – and since I’m queuing as DPS, I have time to wait. I queue up for the run while I’m netting snobolds, hurling spears at a kraken, or whatever else.

What I hadn’t counted on was the interesting study in pugs it has been to queue for the same instance repeatedly many days in a row.

First of all, I am gaining a new appreciation for comparisons between tanks. Millya is an arcane mage, so her threat grows by LEAPS and bounds (when I don’t have my mage posse with me, which I do as often as I can, because, hello – have you seen the buff it gives mages? But I digress). So the tanks I’ve had have run the gamut. There’s been…

  • The one who said “Can someone else mark these plz I don’t remember”
  • The one who zoned in and said “this place? f*** me”
  • The one who apparently hadn’t found his swipe button and left my hapless moonkin to tank the rogue for a full twenty seconds, even though I sprinted towards him hooting and panicking so that he could get aggro on the thing until I went down in a heap of chubby feathers. There may or MAY NOT have been Starfall involved. That’s all I will say.
  • The one who gave me Vigilance and proceeded to be absolutely awesome. Her aggro was rock solid. I don’t think I could have pulled if I tried. As someone who has grown rather accustomed to the ominous KABOOM of encroaching threat on Omen, it’s pretty nice to just chill out and hit as hard as I like without fear. (By the way, whoever thinks DPS is “relaxing” and easy clearly had their Omen sounds turned off a long time ago, doesn’t run Omen, or just doesn’t care. DPSing can be really stressful for me with a tank who has trouble versus my threat. And no, it’s not always the fault of the DPS. Voss teases me about having my “Omen underneath Recount,” but I usually put it front and centre, right under my feet. If “Don’t pull” means just standing there for a good ten seconds not attacking anything, I’m fairly sure the “It’s not me, it’s you” adage kicks in.
  • The one who said to the healer, “How confident in ur healing are you?”
    “Pretty confident, why?”
    “I’m going to pull all of these”
    “…I don’t think you should.”

So I’ve had some really interesting tanks and groups. I’d gotten out of the habit of pugging much (on any of my characters) so it’s been fun, even if I am seeing the same instance each day. It seems that many people don’t like it, so I feel vaguely guilty. I’m sure that most of them are assigned ToC because I queued for it specifically, and for them it is a random. I never pipe up and tell them that, though.

Instead I say, “Oh look, it’s ToC! Hey, at least it’s a quick one!” Sometimes feigning ignorance is the best policy. (It’s only a white lie!)

With at least six hundred emblems to go, you can bet I’m not going to tell Moonrunner and its associated servers that they’ll be spending weeks in ToC on my account.

Haves and Have-Nots

The first vestiges of Gearscore

I remember my very first instance with my very first character. It was my night elf priest, and it was a big deal! Voss and I had been leveling and leveled along with a druid for awhile. He said, “I’ve been thinking of getting some people together to go to Blackfathom Deeps.”

Long before the days of LFD, I had only read of this mythical place, Blackfathom Deeps. (Confession time: When we bought WoW, we also bought the printed WoW Guide. And the DUNGEON COMPANION. Because I wanted to prepare myself for the dungeons!)

We told him cautiously that it sounded like fun. I started gathering quests to go, but this guy disappeared for a few days, we ended up organizing our own run. Voss and I were both nervous. We didn’t really have much clue what we were doing. We were terrible newbies, but we successfully conquered BFD with our group of adventurers. One thing that I remember very vividly was a remark someone else in the group made at the beginning.

“Lol, you need to get better gear,” he said to me.

As it happens, I don’t remember what my gear was but I’m pretty sure he was right. I shamed him thoroughly though, by replying, “This is my first character.” I knew about the auction house, but I didn’t have much of value to sell. I didn’t have a “big brother” character to send my newbie gold, bags, or items. Most greens my level on the auction house were selling for way beyond my means, and all the herbs I picked went towards leveling my alchemy.

Still, that was a long time ago. Now when I level an alt, they level in style. They start out with bags quickly filled with animal parts and herbs, sometimes appropriate-leveled greens and definitely heirlooms, where applicable. I own pretty much every armour type of heirloom there is. It’s no secret that I like alts. But what happens when you start a character on a different server? It can feel like starting all over again from the beginning.

"I have just one question. What's in the crate?"

Depending on the kindness of strangers

I’m actually pretty fortunate in the fact that my latest alt obsession does have some heirlooms. When I faction-transferred my shaman, I sent her Hordeside on another server loaded down with cloth, herbs, and anything else I thought my Horde alts could make use of – including some heirlooms I bought with Stonekeeper’s shards and what spare emblems I had at the time. (My shaman has since become a draenei again, incidentally, but that’s a whole other story). So my mage has heirloom shoulders, an heirloom weapon, and one of the heirloom trinkets. She’s really not THAT poorly off. I didn’t leave her with any gold when I took the shaman away – I didn’t really think I’d play her that much.

Except now, I have the leveling bug, and she’s getting pretty close. Level 77! I try to log in each day to do a random and earn a few Triumph emblems, because she’s going to need them. There are things that you just need for leveling professions, and if you don’t have a means of providing them for yourself, you have to either buy them or hope someone will help you out.

It doesn’t help that her professions are enchanting and tailoring – pretty self-sufficient, I thought – she crafts gear that she wears, enchants it herself, and disenchants it when she is done with it. But it’s not great for moneymaking because I need all of my own enchanting mats. It isn’t until I need something that I realize how much I take my home network for granted. I have most of the professions covered among my plethora of alts. The ones I don’t have, someone in the guild definitely does. I am fortunate that Rades and his friends have been really helpful to me. One sent me a bunch of Frostweave he didn’t need, as well as some enchanting mats and DEables. Rades gave me some Armor Vellum to enchant so as to not waste my mats (also a means to make funds!)

A crazy (but nice) group of people on that server also took me to the Forge of Souls… at level 75. It was fun being in a place I had no right being, but at the same time I knew I was being carried. I don’t really like being carried, I like to hold my own – but I know that in this situation I often do need a hand. I can’t be too proud.

Secretly, in times of duress, Jikali hides behind her hapless water elemental.

You are more than the sum of your gear

So all of this to say, what? Feel sorry for me? Not even remotely! I’m having a lot of fun leveling a character who can’t lean on my others, or as Rades might say, she doesn’t have silver spoon syndrome. Somehow I find it fitting along with the lore of the Horde and other feelings I’m getting from the experience. Very little is handed to this troll, she has to scrape and save and eke by to earn her existence, but by gosh when she gets to 80 she’s going to have earned it!

She just learned to fly in Northrend the other day – and even though it’s slow flying, it’s flying! If I can get the mats together to make her a flying carpet she’ll be sailing on a rug in no time. I have no idea what she’ll look like when she hits 80, it sure won’t be anything like Vid did. Perhaps the RNG will favour her with drops. Otherwise I think I’ll be doing a lot of farming for crafted gear.

Meantime, if you encounter someone who:

  • doesn’t have heirloom gear
  • is leveling their first character (there are some tell-tale signs, things like asking questions that ‘everyone knows the answer to,’ etcetera
  • is playing on a server other than their own, that you know of
  • or even just doesn’t have awesome gear for heroics

Remember, sometime that person could be you! Help them out however you can, even if it’s just a few bags you’re able to make. Something that is a relatively small investment for you might be proportionately huge for them. Bags alone make a huge difference, and even twenty gold could be a fortune to a lowbie. I suspect my own friends of being too proud and accomplished to take gifts of gold, but have managed to foist a few other small things off on them. Perhaps not as much as I should, though.

Don’t assume that someone is a terrible player just because they don’t ding eighty with ilevel 245 and 264 crafted gear. So the tank has 23K hp…that used to be plenty for heroics. With a good healer, Vid tanked heroic Halls of Reflection with less than 30. Sure, the healer and I both had to work for it, and I’m sure it was more due to her expertise than mine, but it was okay. Give people a chance; you need to go to instances to get the gear in the first place, or the emblems to obtain the gear.

Playing on another server has been an eye-opening experience for me. I intend to be more generous on my server where I have an embarrassment of riches – I can’t forget my homely troll mage scrimping and saving to earn her ugly windrider. I think I actually sort of love the thing now, if only because I know I earned it!

A warm welcome! Actually, it was sort of cold. Because she's a frost mage, get...nevermind.

It’s still pugging if you met in an instance.

Today I had the chance to play my not-so-wee-anymore paladin. I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it. In fact, after a tumultuous couple of weeks in the wow-verse, I’ve been avoiding my paladin altogether. Long story extremely short: I inherited our guild. I’ve been recruiting for said guild, and doing all those guild-ish things, and it hasn’t left a lot of time for pugging when I do get a chance to play. I even made an alt in Single Abstract Noun, and haven’t had a chance to login there since. I really like the idea of hanging out with all of the awesome blogging folks, and it was a blast when I was able to do it, but I don’t know how often I’ll be able to do so. No, it isn’t a “look at me I’m so busy and important” so much as it is “I can only devote so much time to this game and keeping a guild going and raiding take a lot of the time available to me.” I love reading about what other SAN folks have been up to, though.

But more than all of those things, I’ve been avoiding Vid because I just haven’t been in a healing mood. Logging in and staring at her in her heirlooms wasn’t changing that fact, either. I thought about it. My patience (low) and energy (ditto) just couldn’t handle a frustrating pug experience. I was in the mood to hit some things in the face.

It was time to drop my prot spec and make it a ret spec.

A quick google search yielded this thread on the official WoW forums: Paladin Leveling Guide 3.3. There was a ret spec fully mapped out there, level by level. I followed it blindly. I hopped on my unicorn and did a few laps around Stormwind. My horse suddenly has more horsepower! Then I bought ret glyphs, and queued exclusively as a DPS and hopped a flight to Chillwind where I had a paladin quest to drop off. Surprisingly enough, the instance announcement appeared while I was somewhere over Arathi.

An unfamiliar loading screen later and I found myself at the entrance to BRD. This is definitely one of the instances they’ve chopped into tiny, digestible pieces, apparently – because when we reached the end of the run we all sort of looked around going, “Is that it?” It seriously took… it felt like about ten minutes. Maybe fifteen, I wasn’t timing it.

At that point, the tank whispered me and said, “If you want to queue for the next part, drop group and we can queue for it.” I thought he was just yanking my chain, since you can’t form a group with people from other servers; until I actually looked at his name. He wasn’t from another server, he was from my server. But when we formed up again, we couldn’t queue for the next part because I was lower level than he was and it wouldn’t let us. I suggest that we could queue up again for just a random, and he agreed. Sunken Temple came up instantly, and I was quite pleased because knowing the tank, I knew I could get him to come and do my quest to kill Hakkar. Taking Cass’ most excellent advice, I made sure to look up a map beforehand so I knew exactly where it was and could easily say, “It’s just right here, guys! The boss drops good loot!”

Fortunately the group was patient despite what actually is a bit of a gong show of a quest. “Yes, we’re going to get locked in this room. Uh-huh, waves of adds are going to come out and start attacking everyone willy-nilly. If you get blood from this one you have to extinguish the flame here. No, not there. Here. Over here. Right. Here!” So I finished the quest finally, we wrapped up the instance with no problems – the tank was really very good. A tank that makes me happy is one managing the mobs into neat groups. A tank who even does a line of sight pull on the trolls before Jamma’lan! It was great. I even got a proper healing shield! (I know, I was DPSing, nobody else wanted it anyhow.)

When we were done the instance, my new-found tank friend and I talked in party a little bit. Did I have a tanking off-spec, he wondered? Because he would like to DPS an instance. I said that no, I didn’t, but I could queue as a healer and that should get us in fairly quickly.

Twenty minutes elapsed with the pair of us queued as healer and DPS.

“How about we quest while we wait?” he said.

I considered possible answers.

“Yes, I’d love that. Waiting for queues has been so frustrating.”

“Oh no, I couldn’t do that, because I’m not questing, you see. It’s for my blog.”

“Ummm brb, dog aggro.”

You can surmise what my answer was when I tell you that Vid is now level 54. When I logged in to pug yesterday, she was still 49. It sure wasn’t pugs that helped her gain nearly five whole levels, although they did play a role. I quested together with the warrior for a goodly long while, and we were unstoppable. Mobs fell down before us. He would gather entire packs and I would be there cutting them in half with my gigantic two-hander and it was so fast. Pugging has been incredibly fun, particularly in the lower levels when I don’t enjoy the zones as much, it was a refreshing change from the lowbie grind I’ve done so many times. But watching other people level alts at light-speed and pass me by (at present count, no less than four alts in my guild have been rolled and subsequently reached eighty or near to eighty while I languished in my forties, crawling my way slowly forward.)

So with the longer queue times, I’ve still been putting myself out there to pug, but also questing in-between. I went back and finished off much of Felwood last night while waiting in a queue that eventually appeared and dropped me in BRD into an “instance in progress.” I was greeted by groans and general exclamations and complaints against Blizzard. Apparently, the instance I’d joined had just finished, they’d killed the last boss and were completely done. I guess when one member left their group it automatically queued for a replacement? I’m not quite sure. In any case, I had another fifteen minutes to wait until I could queue once more, but another group never did appear, although I was queuing as either heals or DPS. I can only imagine what havoc the new “wait time debuff” will play with my pugging scheme in the case of technical errors like this. It’s not like I joined a pug to be a jerk and then just left. I guess I should be cautious about accepting “in-progress” groups from now on. With a wait time of about twenty minutes to get into a group, and then a fifteen minute debuff if the group falls apart for some reason – it could conceivably be half hour or more before I even get into a viable pug, let alone finish one. So it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that I am going to keep doing some questing to get to level sixty.

Does this mean the end of the Pugging Pally? My husband tells me that “The Questing Pally” doesn’t really have the same ring to it. Of course I’m going to keep pugging, I may even pug more exclusively once more as I head into Outlands where there might be more demand to run the instances, and certainly Northrend will be the same way once I’m there. I just don’t see the point in punishing myself for the sake of my “experiment,” or pure cussed stubbornness. If the experiment was to see whether one could level to 80 entirely using the LFD tool – absolutely, once you hit 15 and are eligible for queues, I have no doubt you could get to 80 entirely that way. Especially if you’re inclined to be a tank, or in the case of many crazy people of my acquaintance,a tank/healer dual-specced, or leveling as a tank with a healer friend, etc. But I don’t necessarily think it’s the most expedient way. Even for a tank with instance queue times, I believe that XP per hour gained is much greater from quests and a judicious combination of instances. I’ve also learned that it’s a little bit boring being confined to the capital city, just waiting for your next pug. I’ve been running around gathering flight points, and doing quest chains, and that’s part of what I enjoy about the game. I like quests. Why did I ever decide I would do no quests?

I wanted to put myself out of my comfort zone and meet people and I’m going to continue to do that. Heck, I quested for hours with someone I had pugged with yesterday, which is technically a quest pick-up-group. And I had a blast! That’s really more the spirit of the endeavor anyhow – level a character a bit differently and have a good time. If my own restrictions have begun to impede that for no good reason, then it’s time to change the rules. I made them, after all.

That said, here are some fun things:

This is the face of someone who's been wearing weenie-roasting forks on her shoulders for 50 levels.

I love the look of plate armour. It’s really nice to wear plate armour. I have nothing against the mail that’s been serving me so well, but as I’ve complained before – it just doesn’t feel very paladin-esque. I suppose neither does the giant battle-axe with the skull on it, but use your imagination, right? The skull is being used in service of the Light.

Have I mentioned how much I really enjoy retribution since I’ve tried it? I’ve set up my Power Auras to let me know when things proc, and Miksscrollingbattletext does the same. I may or may not have been gleefully yelling, “Art of WAAAAARRR” when my art of war procs. You have no proof.

My other favourite thing from around here – search engine terms! These are the ones that made me laugh out loud, along with a sizable number of “Maraudon – Pristine Waters” searches. I’m sorry, I really don’t know as much about it as I should know, having been there a number of times. I wasn’t even spelling it correctly until recently.

tanks rushing looking for dungeaon – They do that. You can ask them politely to slow down so you don’t have water splashing past your face as you try to drink and run simultaneously. They might call you a whiner and be jerks, or they might apologize and say they didn’t realize you hadn’t had a moment to catch your breath. Or they might simply ignore you and continue on regardless, but you won’t know if you don’t try, right?

you’ve got mail sfk – In this romantic comedy gone wrong, Archmage “Wolf” Arugal enters into a correspondence with Sylvanas Windrunner. Unknown to them both, it is in fact Arugal’s crazed worgen who are terrorizing Silverpine Forest and messing with Sylvanas’ people in the region. When they set up a coffee date, he sees her and realizes that she is cute, but dead, and she freaks out when he stands her up and a wolf makes off with her quiver. Eventually circumstances bring her to realize his true identity, and she orders the Forsaken to slaughter him and all of his worgen minions, proving in the end that love does not conquer all. “W-O-L-F.”

my paladin swings so slowly – Maybe he needs coffee? The fast and dirty ret guide I found yesterday said that slow, hard-hitting weapons are actually what a ret pally wants. Correct me if I’m wrong, those who are more knowledgeable in the ways of swinging the Light. And an edit here, thanks to Kring in the comments, I know that a slower weapon isn’t actally bad for a pally tank either! You can read more about that here. This is why I have people who know things!

why didnt i get my achievement for scarlet – Did you do the whole thing? Really, the whole entire thing? Every wing, from Graveyard, Armory, Library, and Cathedral? Because if you don’t complete all of them, you won’t get the achievement, it’s tied to all of the bosses together.

anything good for paladin drop in zul’fa – Yes, and then your tank will drop group after he gets it.

“lfd leveling” mage build
– Now this one isn’t funny so much as I think it’s interesting. I’d personally go Frost all the way – in fact, hang on, I’m leveling a mage right now, and I did go frost all the way! Frost is great for soloing in addition to instancing (for while you’re waiting for that mystical queue to appear) and it’s incredibly mana efficient. Plus, it’s really fun. Don’t glyph Frostbolt either – the slow effect helps a ton while you’re out killing things, and even sometimes in instances. For leveling as a frost mage, I’d use something like this build. Go deep down the frost tree and then pick up arcane after, on your way to 80. It isn’t necessarily an ideal DPS build but should be very mana efficient and control oriented. I put two points in Arctic Reach because I like being able to hit things from as far back as possible, but if you find yourself using Cone of Cold fairly often it’d be worth putting points in the talent to buff that, or in something like Frost Warding if you are doing a lot of soloing or would like to try your hand at PvP as you level up. I didn’t put points in Imp. Blizzard because combined with your freezing/chill effects it will do that thing where it locks all the mobs to the ground, causing them to turn to the nearest melee and try to eat them, regardless of how much threat the tank might have. It’s nice for AoE grinding mobs if you’re out soloing, but kind of annoying in an instance, so take a point there at your own discretion.

Alternatively, I suppose a strong argument could be made for a fire build going through LFD – it’ll give you a lot of damage, but you won’t be quite so survivable if you (whoops) pull aggro from a tank. If you wanted to be fire, I’d go with a spec like this one (I only did it until level 60). Actually, I realized in doing this that I’m out of mage touch (sniffle) and it saddens me. Any magier folks want to take a stab at what they’d recommend for an LFD fire mage? Don’t put yourself out, though, because I imagine the person who googled it originally will never actually see it.

Great work, team!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Story of Hellfire Ramparts, A Drama In Three Parts

Dramatis Personae

“Gankmytaint” – A paladin queued as a healer.

Kali – Intrepid Trollish frost mage, aka yours truly.

Gorlock – a trollish shaman

Greenhots - Inexplicably, an orc deathknight.

Humsomethingorother – Forsaken deathknight

Cumin – Troll hunter of little words

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

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

Act I

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

Moohealz: Oh sh***

Everyone else: Um…?

Moohealz: Give me a minute guys I need to respec

Tank: *ignores the druid and begins pulling*

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

Moohealz: OK NOW GIVE ME A MINUTE PLEASE

Tank: *doesn’t*

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

Kali: Where is my water elemental goingohcrap.

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

Act II

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

Gorlock: Greetings!

Hum the Tank: Heal me please

Gank: ok

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

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

Hum the Tank: ty

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

Gorlock: afk a second guys

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

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

Hum the Tank: *inexplicably leaves group*

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

Kali: No.

Act III

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

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

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

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

Greenhots: OK, who’s the healer?

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

Greenhots: who is healer

Kali: Gank

Greenhots: He has a two-hander?

Kali: *wisely says nothing*

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

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

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

Greenhots: I’m not really getting healed a lot

Gankmytaint: Hey guys, I’m OOM

Greenhots: *pulls anyway, dies a horrible death*

Gorlock: *dies*

Kali: *dies*

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

Gorlock: Rez please?

Greenhots: Who’s the healer?

Kali: Gank.

Greenhots: THEN TURN OFF RIGHTEOUS FURY.

Gankmytaint: give me a sex

Gankmytaint: im also holy

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

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

Gank: Sorry I keep running out of mana

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

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

Greenhots: Not me, u

Greenhots: give me kings again

Gank: *buffs self with Blessing of Wisdom*

Group heads towards Big Orc Guy On Dragon.

Gorlock: Great work, team!

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

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

Greenhots: lay on hands!

Greenhots: *dies*

Greenhots: dumbass pally

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

Nazrudan: *eats the shaman*

Kali: Better him than me. *casts frantically*

Nazrudan: *dies*

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

Kali: *rolls…poorly*

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

Gorlock: Is there more?

Kali: *can barely believe her good fortune*

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

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

Kali: …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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