One of the neat features of having a WordPress blog is the ability to see what search engine terms people used to find you. I’ve enjoyed browsing them. Most of them are “pugging pally” or “puggingpally” or “pugging paladin,” coming from people who I assume read here once and wanted to find it again. (That’s very nice, thank you.) Others are a bit different though!
To the person who came here by searching “feral dps scarlet monastery,” I’m very sorry. All I can tell you is that I was in Scarlet Monastery, there have been feral druids, and they have been DPSing.
Similarly, to whoever was erroneously sent here looking for “shaman addon,” I really have no idea. Unless you wanted Vuhdo, which is technically named after a shaman.
Thirdly, and my favourite. My friend, who arrived here looking for “scarlet graveyard players just running off and doing their own thing.” You’ve come to the right place. Players in the Scarlet Graveyard will go off and do their own thing, I’m not sure why. It’s a fairly linear instance. It might be because some people like to barrel straight down the middle, rock down the stairs and finish the thing as quickly as possible. Others like to take a more leisurely, “Let’s kill all these ghosts” approach, and never the twain shall meet. I’ve previously referred to it as “pug diffusion” and it certainly applies here. Think of it as the tendency of five random strangers to repel each other in different directions, and try not to let it bother you. The bad news I have for you is that it’s not specific to Graveyard. Graveyard is only the beginning.
One of These Things Is Not Like The Other
I’ve done so much pugging the last few days. So very much. I’ve run Razorfen Downs three times, SM Armory twice, and SM Cathedral, also twice. The first RFD in the list was kind of funny for being a true Pally Power run. There were four of us…and a hunter. I’ll admit here that sometimes I’m fairly quiet in a pug. I’ll say hello, and if nobody feels like talking, Flash of Light bot will just run along behind for a while, throwing some Light around. Such was the first RFD. The RFD I ran after that one was remarkable because it contained the single nicest player I’ve met in my pugging adventures. I’ve decided there’s nothing wrong with naming a good player, so – Arcanelight from Malfurion, you are a credit to your class. (Mage, naturally.)
When I asked him to please not frost nova the packs unless he needed to stop a runner because it makes them switch targets, he agreed and apologized very politely. He decursed that stupid curse that slows casting time without being asked. And as we were heading up the Spiral Ramp of Undead he said, “Keep up the good work guys, we’re almost there!” He brought encouragement, consideration and teamwork. If more folks were like him, this wouldn’t be much of a blog, I’m afraid.
I was really excited to have SM Cathedral appear. Finishing this one instance gives me the Scarlet Monastery achievement (for a lousy ten achievement points… It feels like it should award me with fifty.) I had an exceedingly good tank for my first run. She pulled the tricky trash packs inside the Cathedral like a pro, quite unlike the tank I had for the second run, who actually just sprinted straight in and aggroed about four packs at once. Needless to say, my death-o-meter ticks over one more time. That tank actually dropped the group right after. He may have been embarassed, but he hadn’t said much anyway. I hope he wasn’t too crushed. They’re very tough pulls, especially with those big doors… Actually, can someone answer this for me – the doors. Do they close after a certain amount of time, or only when someone clicks them? Because they kept opening and closing, and I’m not sure if I have the right to be annoyed at someone for closing them all the time, or if they just do that.
A need for doorstops aside…I have to admit, I’m cheating a little bit. A guildie friend has a hunter who is almost the same level as Vid, and we paired up to run RFD and Cath today. So my pug was 1/5th less puggy. In the end it hardly mattered though, since the RFD group contained the world’s most annoying rogue. He was enough pug for anyone. And he was doing less than half the DPS that my hunter and other mage were doing.
“Four more bars until level!” he announced as he joined. We all made polite “well isn’t-that-nice” noises.
Five minutes later – “Three more bars until I level!”
The mage joked, “We should kick him so he has to go and quest to finish.”
He kept announcing what he was doing, and the state of his experience bar, right up until we went to start the escort quest and I beseeched the group, “Please do not start the escort until everyone has it, so that no one gets shafted.” You get three guesses what the rogue did next, and the first two do not count. Yes, I admit unabashedly, we did kick him. Fifteen minutes later the tank said, “Locked chest over here.”
“We just kicked the rogue,” observed my hunter friend.
“Oh,” the tank said, and then after a moment, “It was worth it.”
I’m inclined to agree.
Pay no attention to this woolly construct – of course it didn’t clank, you’re imagining things
There are a few major drawbacks to leveling exclusively with the LFD tool (apart from the obvious ones involving sanity, patience, etc.)
Gear – This would actually apply more to someone not completely twinked out with BoA epics, but I mention it here as a cautionary tale nonetheless. You may think that being in instances all the time will mean good gear, but it is not necessarily so. There will be other people, and they will want the same things, and if you’re like me, you won’t roll on anything lower than your armour class unless nobody else needs it, which means you’ll roll on very little. I did manage to score a pair of plate underwear today with better stats than what I had, as well as a new cloak, and a shield. A shield “of the Gorilla.” Yes, that means it has Strength and Intellect and I really don’t care. It was better than the crummy level 20 shield I had. But I get very few quest rewards and hence, very little guaranteed gear with no competition. This may prove particularly bad when I hit Northrend – because if it isn’t plate, I won’t be allowed to roll on it. I hope all those spellpower plate drops I’ve seen sharded for months will keep me in mind. But yes, don’t think your gear will be awesome unless you purchased it. And don’t assume the Satchel of Mockery will help you either, unless you are playing the more mainstream spec for your class. My hunter friend looked like he’d received a few useful things from it, so maybe it isn’t all bad.
Travel – At this point I’m only biding my time until I hit 40 so that I can go out and collect flight points with super speed. I may even wait until I have Crusader Aura to do this. Leveling the way I have has left me with nearly nothing in this department. I paid a mage to port me to Theramore so I could take a boat to Menethil and nab that flightpoint (I thought I was going to Southshore until I realized that the SM quest is a chain, and the chain begins in Desolace, and forget that.) In essence, you will be very hidebound unless you’re doing some combination of questing/instances. This works out fine for me – I hang around the city, train when I level, check things on the AH, and work on my professions sporadically. I have missed out on a few dungeon specific quests though, simply because they required me to travel and I don’t have the patience or means. Run to Ratchet? No, thanks.
Reputation – You’d think with all the monster killing I do for them, the Azerothian factions would be kissing my hooves! But they aren’t. In fact, I think many of them have barely heard of me. So they charge me more money for my beverages. And I can’t ride their mounts. Without questing, it’s just not easy to build up reputation since old world instances don’t award it.
Time – Even with my increased experience from BoA epics, this is taking much longer than it has to level other characters. I’m not sure what the /played time of a similar character leveled in a more ‘conventional’ way might be, but I am pretty sure it’s significantly less.
That’s not to say that LFD leveling is without its advantages, though!
Goods – I might not always get awesome gear drops, but my bank is bulging with cloth and other sorts of things. Positively stuffed! If I were a tailor I’d be laughing. I may actually use some of this cloth to alleviate the reputation issue from before. I have the same thing with enchanting mats; more shards, dust and essence than I actually need. It’s not always the exact type that I need, but I’ll be selling what I won’t use before too long.
Cash! – I haven’t been keeping an actual tally, but I make a goodly chunk of money just from loot and/or selling greens or mats that I accumulate. But just the money from the instances far outweighs any repair bills I might accrue (at least at this point).
Reputation – Right now, this is a disadvantage. As soon as I hit Outland and Northrend in turn, it will actually be a big advantage. I’ll get rep from doing the instances associated with each faction; in the case of the Hellfire instances that rep will actually contribute to a sizeable discount when it comes to my flying training! Later on, in Northrend, it should be reasonably easy to up my rep with all of the relevant factions just by wearing a tabard. This matters quite a bit less than it once did, since now head and shoulder enchants can be sent to Vid by my main character benefactors. But if I didn’t have that, it would still be a pretty great thing.
Convenience – Gone are the days of struggling along in a healing spec, boring mobs to death while questing, and suffering poor soloability simply because of wanting to play a role in instances. I’m leveling a character purely meant for healing, because I can, and yes I could have done it before using the LFG channel and existing tools, but this is so easy by comparison. I won’t say painless. But easy. And I’m grateful that I’m able to do it this way!
I’m making a last pugging push just to get to 40 – I’m so close! At 40, I think I’ll dual-spec…and I’m leaning heavily towards ret, but queue times will be obscene. I could try tanking, just in time to get groups hopelessly lost in Uldaman, Mauradon, etc. And then I’m going to set some time aside to work on my professions. My enchanting is lagging behind again. After some consideration, I made my second professions Engineering, and dropped Mining. I don’t go out in the world questing any way, and I don’t encounter ore. Engineering seems like one of those fun profs that none of my characters has had up until this point, and it’ll also be dead useful for instancing later on, what with the Jeeves and etc. At least, I hope so. In the meantime I get to occasionally propel a sheep at a mob and watch it go up in flames, and who wouldn’t like that?
So… What do you guys think?