I ran Razorfen Downs for the first time the other day. I’ve since been hoping it doesn’t pop up again, not because I didn’t like it or my run was awful, but because it guarantees I’ll have an hour-long run. By contrast, today I had a spare hour or so to do a bit o’ pally pugging, and I ran Library and then Armory. The length of time is the same, but the difference is that I could have stopped after one if I hadn’t felt like continuing.
RFD was so uneventful that it really left me with nothing much to say. It’s like Razorfen Kraul, redux – the most exciting part was the skeletons all dancing atop a giant pile of bones. The Scourge makes a sinister appearance here with a bit of foreshadowing, and we got to fight our first (but certainly not our last) Lich. I was thinking about this briefly today during my runs, as I was wondering what I’ll do with the holy spec at end-game. I’ll want to have a spec that’s focused on healing 5-mans, undoubtedly. But – will Vid pug raids? I suppose only time will tell.
Meantime, I’m actually beginning to feel that whoever implied that holy pally leveling would be painfully boring was very wrong. Sure, I only have two healing spells so far, and no HoTs, but the utility that a paladin brings is pretty complex and engaging. For instance: (no pun intended), at the beginning of a run I have to buff each group member with an appropriate Blessing. This requires a certain understanding of other classes, what they value, and who is present in the group. If there’s one or more warriors, I give the melee Kings because I assume the warrior will be using Battle Shout. Since I have improved wisdom now, I tend to give that out to casters (and myself) instead of Kings. If there’s another pally, I’d hope that they’d use Kings/Might accordingly. And that’s all in the first ten seconds or so. After that, the tank pulls. He/she might be under level for the instance and so one of the DPS is pulling hard – a great opportunity for Hand of Salvation. The tank gets rooted? (Plenty of Frost spells that do this in RFD, by the way). It’s Hand of Freedom time! I’m still learning this myself but I have plenty of “Oh crap” buttons available to me. I can use my signature pally bubble. If that’s on CD and I don’t have Forbearance, I can use Divine Protection. I realized I’ve been using Hand of Protection for myself – but this isn’t the right call; since it is a targeted spell, I should save that for the overzealous DPSer if need be. Meantime, between aiming my Holy Light to hit as many group members as I can, choosing a mob to put a Judgment on, and using Hammer of Justice to stop runners – I’m generally kept plenty busy.
When I’m not drinking, that is. Which reminds me, I added a new stat to the sidebar there: “Beverages consumed.” I’m not sure if anyone necessarily cares about this besides me, but it is an interesting testament to unique requirements of pug-specific leveling. That’s an average of about 9.51 drinks per instance. Needless to say, with all the instancing that I do, I can’t go in without plenty. I would use them all if I weren’t buying more all the time, too. I generally run with at least 60 stacks of whatever in my bags, and I have no problem sitting and drinking for only a few seconds if I have to while the tank checks things out – I’d rather use more drinks than run out of mana at a crucial time.
That said, it’s safe to surmise that the only real ‘mana’ problem Vid has is frequent visits to the restroom.
Don’t mind me, I’ll just duck behind this bush
This reminds me that I wanted to mention a few add ons I use that are specific or at least related to my pugging. I also started work on a series of posts – a lowbie pally healing guide, for anyone else who might want it. I’m going to take my time with that, it’s more of a side-project for any brave souls who might find it useful eventually.
Meantime, here are a few add ons that may help any aspiring pugger.
Free Refills: Recommended to me by a guildie, this is a fabulous add-on. You set it up for whichever reagents or other things you need to maintain. In my case, I tell it that I always want to have 60 Moonberry Juice to hand. When I visit any vendor who sells what I want, it automatically purchases enough to bring me up to that set amount. No clicking, no fuss, and more importantly, no forgetting. I use this at 80 with my other characters as well; to make sure I’ve always got enough Arcane Dust and reagents for teleports and portals.
SellJunk: Another great add-on, really for leveling period and not just pugging. I’ve found it particularly useful when I leave an instance, my bags laden with boar fur, dog toes and whatever else I saw fit to bring out of there. It puts a new button on the vendor interface that just says “Sell Junk,” when you click it, it automatically vendors all of your grey items. I’m all about time saving. I know that there are other add-ons that will sell these without having to click a button, but I prefer to have the choice. Firstly, because I notice them all there in a list of things I sold, and secondly so that I don’t accidentally sell some neat grey item I wanted to keep.
Baggins: Inventory management has always been an issue for me, and it feels like my bags will never have enough space. I like Baggins because it assigns categories to your stuff and visually delineates them: “Trade Goods,” “Equipment,” etc., in addition to the standard colour indicator for item rarity. It still feels “baggish” to me, which is the problem I had with add ons like TeaBag (har har). It just ends up looking like this huge mass of squares that makes me want to hyperventilate or throw my arms up in the air and just sell everything so I don’t have to look at it. I’ve been pretty happy with this add-on but I know there are plenty of other ones out there – if you think you’ve got a better one, don’t hesitate to suggest it in the comments!
Pally Power: I’ll admit, shamefacedly, that I downloaded this because everyone insists it is a paladin ‘must-have,’ but I don’t use it and have no idea how it works. Some guildies told me that it doesn’t work until you have the greater, 30 minute version of the Blessings, but I don’t know if that’s true or not. Figuring out what to do with it is on my “to-do” list, especially if it can save me some time at the beginning of an instance. For now, it’s taking up screen real-estate but not doing me much good.
“U got a weapon, dont u?”
As for my instance runs, nothing happened in RFD. SM Library was reasonably smooth up until the end when the bear tank revealed a tendency to run around the corner while the rest of the group was gawking slack-jawed at some loot. It was the first time I regretted my strong Loot Morales, because some really badass cloth BoE pants dropped. I did not need on them and let the warlock have them. My gear isn’t a problem, anyhow, and he seemed so excited about them that he immediately began Lifetapping in celebration.
The same Library run included this conversation between the shaman and the tank:
Tank: “u got a weapon dont u?”
Shaman: “I’m a caster, wearing cloth, and you seriously want me to run in and hit things with my dagger?”
This tank has figured out the secret, clearly, to all of us whiny caster types. Forget about drinking, we have no time for that! All of you, just run in and hit things with your weapon! It has a DPS rating on it, doesn’t it? My intrepid attempts to both Judge and melee throughout that instance, by the way, amounted to a whopping 3.1 DPS. I think this is the physical equivalent of having a really pissed off cockroach hopping on your toe. It’s no big secret that meleeing is not exactly the best use of our time.
But a note about people and Recount. I run the mod myself, mostly because I have it with my characters at 80… not because the DPS that people are doing at level 20+ actually matters. But some people feel that it does, and they make sure the rest of us hear about it. So I’m using a sly way of deflecting would-be e-peeners with their Recount scores. You know the ones I mean. They’re doing over 100 DPS at level 35 and by gosh they want you to know. They want you to know very badly. So they spam the recount scores in order to boast. Or maybe so we can tell our friends (or our blog) about them. And I go ahead and I STEAL that spotlight. I immediately and gleefully call attention to MY HOT DPS.
“That’s right, you all fear my 3.1 DPS!” Generally people laugh, nobody says anything about Mr. Super E-Peen, or tries to make anyone else feel bad about their lower DPS, or whatever. But more importantly, it moves the conversation away from the Recount anyhow – all part of my cunning plan. Go forth, healers, and make sure everyone knows: Your DPS is the most important number there.
At Least She’s Got a Shield
Armory is a pretty great little instance, I like it. It has some fun pulls, fireworks, this guy at the end with no shirt but a massive helmet (what’s his shtick?). It has much going for it. I also like any instance with a locked door at the end, for the simple reason that no stupid running mob can charge in there and aggro him. By the way, that IS what happened in one of my aforementioned SM runs, and it definitely happened again today. This time we killed him though.
If I’m ever inclined to complain about the way my gear looks again, please remind me to shut up, after I direct your attention to my poor tank from today. Name cropped to protect the innocent… I don’t think she’s choosing to look that way, she’s a victim of the unfortunate way that Blizz made mail armour look on females at this level. I actually have no idea if her player is really a woman. But… but.
Just looking at her makes me wince. She’s blocking sword swings with what now? I may not know whether my underwear goes on the inside or outside of my pants, but at least I have pants.