Tag Archives: the dark side

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.

Allegiance: Conclusion

In which we discuss whether we’re Horde or Alliance

You might remember earlier this month that I wrote about whether people had a strong attachment to a particular faction or not, which faction, and why. It had a poll in it, and I promised I’d post the results afterwards. I also asked other people to write on the same topic if they were interested! A few people took me up on my offer to expand their thoughts on the matter:

Gareth over at Altoholic’s Diary wrote about how he started out as Alliance but found out that his heart truly was for the Horde.

Coincidentally, Alas from Kiss My Alas stole my brain (I needed that) and wrote about her experiences Horde-side within twelve hours of my writing about it. Neither of us knew, I swear!

Finally, prompted by some of the discussion in the comments, Kamalia wrote a moving Ode to Orgrimmar.

Who can resist a good pie chart?

There were also many expansive comments. I loved reading all of the different viewpoints. The results of the poll were equally interesting. So interesting, in fact, that I made a chart from them. I’ve colour-coded it for viewing convenience. It is blue leaning towards purple for Alliance folks, red leaning towards purple for Horde, and green for something in the middle. It seems like my readership is fairly evenly split, with a bit of an Alliance bias. Exactly half of respondents either play Alliance exclusively (20%) or identify as an Alliance player although they may have characters of both factions (30%).

The other half play Horde exclusively (8%, somewhat less than the die-hard Alliance folks) or they play both but their heart of hearts is for the Horde (35%). A minority of people don’t have a strong feeling towards either faction and play both equally, or else feel that the factions are irrelevant to their enjoyment of the game (7%). That’s not surprising to me, anyhow, since the “faction” aspect of the game is pretty heavily sold from the very beginning. You must choose before you even make a character, are you for the Horde or the Alliance?

I’m curious why it might be that there are fewer Horde-only people than Alliance-only people. It’s not possible to draw anything conclusive from such a small sample size. I think that many of the my readers are paladins, and the Horde has only one race that can be paladins, so perhaps that’s part of it. Your conjecture or comments are welcome, though!

A few things to keep in mind; this only represents people who read here and felt inclined to vote in the poll. I don’t remember exactly, it was something around 130 people or so. I’m glad that those of you who are Horde don’t mind reading someone who is so unabashedly draenei-oriented. There’s always an opportunity to bail out, though – having Vid’s “quizzical little goat face” up on the header, as Tam would put it, makes it pretty clear from the beginning.

In which we become somewhat more Horde than previously

Meantime, Lara gave me a great idea that our guild is pursuing at the moment. We all made Horde-side alts on our server and we’re going to level and do some LFD together. Having them on the same server is awesome because you can mail heirlooms across factions! They really need to institute cross-server mailings for heirloom items.

Before we started, I thought long and hard about what I was going to make. It had to be a hybrid healer/DPS. I didn’t want another paladin, nor really a druid. I finally decided to make a priest (Pugging Priest?) because even though I have one already, she was one of my first characters and I wonder if I really didn’t give her a fair shake.

So, meet my new Forsaken priest, Mildred:

She has heirloom gear. Skull motif? What skull motif? You'd think I was undead or something.

I had never done the Forsaken zone, or any of the related quests at all, and all of this comparative morality stuff is making me think I should give it a shot from their point of view. (I still won’t poison the draenei in Hellfire though, when we get there). Most of the guild has been happily leveling Horde alts together, and we’re now in the mid-twenties to thirties range. Mildred is going entirely Disc thus far, and I’ve been enjoying it. We did RFC umpteen billion times, Deadmines, Shadowfang Keep, and most recently Blackfathom Deep. One thing worth noting here – being a priest makes it much easier to deal with warlocks at this level than being a holy paladin ever did. I’m just – here, have a renew, and it’s no problem. I remember reluctantly healing life-tapping warlocks while resenting every bit of mana they were taking.

It’s been fun to level these alts as a guild, and I couldn’t really call it pugging since mostly we wind up playing together anyhow. We have a Horde-side guild (with a bank and tabard!) It’s homey, even if it is a bit strange. During one of our dungeon runs I remarked, “This feels weird, because it’s completely foreign, but it’s also completely familiar.” Maybe when we eventually get to 80 we’ll take our little Hordies on a raid or something. You never know!

By the way, in case you missed it, be sure to check out the contest I’m running: The Well-Dressed Paladin, because we all need some more fashion in our lives. I’ve received several entries already and I’ve enjoyed them all quite a bit. It’s going to be fun to share the entries at the end, although choosing the best isn’t going to be easy!

Allegiance

My troll: no matter what else may be said about her, she has impeccable fashion sense. For a circus clown.

My predilection for draenei characters probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise here. Of the Alliance characters I have that are above level twenty, eight out of nine are draenei. I know. But I do have three Horde characters – two Tauren, and a troll. At some point I’d even faction changed my shaman and made her a troll, but I ended up reversing the change and transferring her back to my “home” server. (Blizzard makes a lot of money from people like me). Why did I end up reversing the change? I wasn’t playing her where she was… and I’d started leveling another draenei shaman because it felt strange not to have one.

The fire festival has proven to be a great opportunity to level alts, though, and due to a summer cold I’ve had plenty of time to commit to the mindless grind.¬† I chose to use the time to work at leveling my troll mage, taking her from level 63 to 69 in a few days. The bonus XP was fantastic, and I’ve been leveling through a combination of judicious questing and LFD. The queue times have been a bit longish – I’d say a half hour, on average – which was just enough to break up the monotony.

So having experienced the “pug scene” in Outland recently on both Alliance and Horde characters, what’s the difference? I’d say there really isn’t one. People of either faction are equal parts friendly or business-like or jerkish in approximately equal proportions. It has been refreshing to both revisit my mage roots and relax a bit. There isn’t much pressure on a mage in pugs, apart from “Water please” and “Can I have another stack of water?” I’m absolutely fine with playing vending machine and pumping out some DPS. I’ve been leveling as Frost because it’s a blast.

When I hit level 68 I was so excited – Northrend, finally! Not to mention, this is my first Horde character who has ever “leveled” this far. (Faction transfers don’t count). I remembered that Horde take a Zeppelin to Northrend rather than a boat. Alliance-side, I really enjoy Borean Tundra, so I went to Orgrimmar to catch the Zeppelin that goes there.

My first realization: I didn’t buy a Tome of Cold Weather Flight for this character back when I had an 80 on the same server and could have. Oops – it looks like she’ll be trekking her way across Northrend. But no matter, that was how the game was meant to be experienced, right? Something like that. Within a few minutes I was hopelessly lost in the area around Warsong Hold. Getting lost isn’t really new for me, but it’s something I suffer from particularly when I’m trying to play Horde. I’ve spent long minutes circling in Orgrimmar or traveling around the spokes of the wheel of Undercity… or just plain running into dead ends in Silvermoon. Horde architecture feels so aggressive and alien to me. Warsong Hold is definitely imposing, though, don’t get me wrong. It’s very grand. I don’t recall feeling that way when I went to Valiance Keep. Then again, I didn’t get lost there either!

So I thought, maybe you’re coming at this from the wrong angle. What’s Howling Fjord like from a Horde perspective? A quick portal to Undercity and another Zeppelin trip later and I was about to find out. Here’s where I hit my second stumbling block. Now, I’d had an inkling of this before. My mage was previously resting at level 63, and there’s a reason. I’d been happily questing through Hellfire when I got to Falcon Watch and encountered this quest, Source of the Corruption. Okay, an Apothecary planning something heinous isn’t really news, but the quest text stopped me in my tracks.

Uncorrupted draenei, like this unlucky fellow here, are virtuous champions of the Light. What corruption caused their great race to devolve into the Broken and Lost Ones?

I’ve heard a theory that exposure to fel energies is what caused the mutation. I would like to put that theory to the test.

He’s got a draenei prisoner next to him. Needless to say, it doesn’t take much of a leap of logic to figure out what he’s planning. I didn’t do the quest, although I hear that the draenei dies at the end of it, and I stopped leveling my mage then too. I know it sounds extreme, but the quest and its inevitable outcome really turned me off, and I dropped the mage cold. I know it’s silly, but I felt like a traitor.

Vid, who to the best of my knowledge has never force-fed something fatal to someone else. Just sayin'. Except a sword/axe/pointy object. Does that count?

It took me a few months before I felt like picking up my mage again. This time through Outland, I was really doing mostly instances. I didn’t do very many quests, and I was a happy troll, killing naga and whathaveyou.

Until Howling Fjord, and this quest: The New Plague. With this one, the Apothecary tells you that he needs you to retrieve samples of the plague that the Alliance had gotten ahold of. Okay, I think, remembering the Wrathgate sequence I’ve seen from the other side – well, you’re going to be using it any way so I may as well help you. That is, until I get to the boats where I can find the plague samples. The place is just swarming with Alliance soldiers, and by some perverse decision I don’t understand – most of them are draenei. You can all stop and have a laugh now at the notion of a Troll mage ducking and weaving her way in-between hostile Alliance mobs in a vain effort not to aggro and have to kill any of them. Lucky for me, the follow-up quest is even better – go and test the plague out by throwing it at their fleet! I kept questing here for a little while, and so I did have to kill them and hear that particular death sound that usually means, “You just let someone in your party die.” And I know that it’s bizarre, but I had a really hard time with it.

In fact, I sort of hated it. Other folks lately have been talking about quest morality, and yes, I know it’s virtual, it’s not real. But you start to identify with the characters, races, and yes, even particular factions. Anea wrote about how she didn’t want to kill Thersa Windsong. Rades responded with a post about why Thersa Windsong must die. (Both really interesting posts, incidentally, I recommend them wholeheartedly). But I’m not talking about the morality of a specific quest here, or metagaming – it’s more a general aversion to many quests because of what is probably by now a deeply rooted Alliance loyalty of my own. I know my troll character doesn’t give a hoot about killing draenei or not killing them. She probably likes it, and probably hates the Alliance. This isn’t about her, it’s about me. I don’t think the Alliance are the “heroes” and above reproach, or that everything they do is good. I just think that they are my people. I loved doing the Mag’har related quests as a troll, and I intend to go back and finish out the chain that has Thrall coming to Garadar. I like Thrall. But I’ll always be only masquerading as Horde, even though I can connect with the people who play it. I think I may be ruined forever.

So here’s my question to you (and an excuse to use the poll image I made forever ago)! First of all, the poll.

For the record, my answer would be one of the last ones. I’ll post the results after a week or so, I’m actually quite curious to know the “demographics” of people who stop by. Now for the actual questions we can discuss in comments: Why did you choose the faction you did? Have you changed factions at all throughout your time playing WoW, or would you change if you could (disregarding guild allegiance, if your friends played a different faction, etc.)

And when you play the “other” faction, what do you notice? What’s strange? I still flinch when I see Horde flags and expect guards to come running at me, but I’m getting used to running instances with blood elves and Forsaken. I know that at least one member of our guild has said he wishes we were a Horde guild, and an old friend of mine cautioned me when I first made a Horde character, “You won’t play Alliance again, Horde is a better faction.” What do you think? If you have more to say about this than a comment can hold, feel free to write about it on your own blog and I’ll link any related posts here!

p.s. – Please keep it polite and respectful, since I do expect both Horde and Alliance folks read here. No bashing from either side! I know sometimes these Faction discussions can get heated, and then before you know it you’ve got some kind of Varian Wrynn-Wrathgate situation on your hands, and we don’t want anything like that.

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).

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.