I have a pugging paladin conundrum.
I waited more than thirty minutes in the queue for my first pug today. Apparently 40-50 isn’t a popular level range to be at, or pugging in this range is unpopular (What, people don’t want to go to Mauradon? I’m shocked and appalled!) or – I’m not sure what’s going on, frankly, but it makes me irritable. I tend to have a habit of mailbox AFKing on all my characters which makes my /played time an inaccurate representation. I don’t mind chatting with guildies and taking it easy a little bit, generally. But when I get time to log on for a little pally pugging, that’s what I want to do. If I wanted to wait thirty minutes, I’d be going as DPS.
I know, it’s a horrible sense of entitlement. I am a healer, thus I deserve instant queue times. I know that can’t always be the case. But I don’t want leveling Vid to be a project that takes half a year. The character is just over two months old as of this writing. Things were much quicker initially over the holidays. I had ample time to spend with the pugging. My time now is more limited, and I’d like to see a bit of progress.
The way I see it, I have three options. The wait time in queue is caused invariably by lack of a tank. I can either:
1) Suck it up and wait the queue times out, occupying myself with a combination of auction house, running around for flight points, whatever.
2) Abandon the experiment and begin questing, possibly in conjunction with waiting out those queues. Eventually the pug will commence, but I won’t be twiddling my thumbs in-between times and will level much, much faster. This is appealing for that reason, but ignores the “I’m leveling my holy paladin to level 80 using the LFD tool.”
3) Finally pay for dual-spec, figure out what I’m doing, hope I don’t get too lost, and hop in there to do the tanking myself. As with previous option, this negates the “my holy paladin” portion of my commitment, but that seems like a lesser concern to me.
I’ve done a little bit of tanking. My level 78 warrior, before I gave her away to my husband, was actually leveled from forty on as Protection. I didn’t do very much actual tanking with her – I can count the number of instances I tanked on one hand – but I did level with other characters and practice holding aggro from them. I did have macros for things and I did gather up huge packs of mobs and kill them. (That’s my judge of how serious I am about something in WoW. I had a macro for that character? It was Serious Business.) It was pretty fun. The biggest trouble I have with tanking is the intense pressure to be good and also to lead the group. I’d say that tanks have even higher expectations to fulfill than the healers who keep them alive. I gave the warrior away when I realized that I would probably never play her with any regularity – my biggest regret was that we were still on Moon Guard (RP server) at the time, and I enjoyed the character herself but it didn’t seem worth it to waste a perfectly good 80. My husband, by contrast, was so excited to have a second warrior! Another tank! He really is a true believer that the only thing better than a warrior is another warrior.
I did also dabble briefly in bear tanking, which incidentally (at least in my limited 5-man experience) was a great deal easier than warrior tanking. I could lock down solid aggro really quite quickly as a bear, whereas playing a warrior it felt like it took a great deal more work. Of course that’s anecdotal, and I don’t claim to be good at playing either spec or class. The convenience with the bear was that I’d been picking up off-spec feral gear over months of running 5 man heroics, odds and ends that nobody else wanted, and so my tanking set was good. I would’ve let my gear almost tank Ulduar, at the time. I don’t claim that I could have tanked Ulduar but my gear could have.
Anyway, to make a long story short(er), I went ahead and got dual-spec for Vid, made a tanking spec I think doesn’t suck incredibly, found some glyphs, looked at the gear that I had (shortly after having disenchanted a bunch of tanking things… “I’ll never use these for tanking, ahaha.”) So my gear isn’t the greatest, but it may be adequate. I just need to arrange my action bars and then dive in. If the tanking is a horrible failure and seems beyond hope, I can always abandon the experiment of pugging exclusively to 80 and do some questing to get past the 40-50 hump. I’d rather not do that, though. I’ve made it this far! If I can get to Outland, there’s certain to be hundreds of DK tanks who need a healer.
Before reaching this decision, I ran Mauradon (Purple Crystals, naturally) 2.5 times today. The first time was completely fine. We had a very competent paladin tank, he pulled quickly and it flowed well. When you know where you’re going and everything is carefully done, the whole run takes about twenty minutes. It’s the new Scarlet Monastery, Graveyard. Now with more poisons and disease! That stack. Did I mention the way they stack?
I realized, because I am pro like that, that I had not yet trained level 42 (whoops) so I could learn my fancy new cleansing spell that gets rid of magic debuffs also. I’m very excited about this.
Purple Crystal run number one was very easy and uneventful. Number two was likewise, because we had the same tank, although I got the impression that the other people had just come out of some kind of harrowing, soul-crushing pug experience.
“I hope this isn’t like the last group,” the rogue whimpered. I told him that the tank was quite good and he was immediately reassured. You see what I mean about all the pressure being on the tank? You can have three warlocks, a healer with no AoE heals, but if you’ve got a good tank, nobody worries. You can have terrible DPS, people who pull extra packs (that starts to involve the healer a bit more) but if you have a good tank who makes sure to wait for their healer to drink when they need it – you’re generally prepared and won’t have any problems.
Incidentally, I have to digress here: one of my search terms this week was “We had a good hunter,” in quotations. Was it someone looking for examples that such a thing exists? Or were they so shocked when it happened they wanted to see if someone else had experienced it, too? (I jest, hunters. I love you and your furry pets, as long as their names are not “PetWussy.” If you’re that hunter, you can get bent.)
My third Mauradon, the one that accounted for the 0.5, was not so great. Our tank dropped group almost immediately, without a word. Thanks for faking us out, tank! I hope you have much joy in Oculus if you ever get there. So we were left with a Fury warrior, and a feral druid. I asked the druid if he’d be willing to tank (pretty decent overlap in the feral tree, at least this level he should be able to handle it.) He was a little hesitant but agreed to give it a go, but I could tell he was hating every minute of it, and mobs were all over the place. In a few minutes he suddenly “had to go,” was very apologetic, but I couldn’t blame him. I turned eyelashes on the Fury warrior, but no dice. He had no dual-spec and clearly no intention of taking his hands off his great big two-hander.
The group broke up. But before that happened… This is the part of the story when faced with a series of uneventful, mundane pugs, I make sure I have something to write about.
For anyone who isn’t familiar with the first little bit of Mauradon: Now With More Purple Crystals – you’re so lucky! Now picture a circular room. There’s a cavern in the centre, and a ledge that runs all the way around the outside of the cavern. It is possible to just run up to this ledge and drop off – there’s trash at the bottom. Otherwise, you can follow the ledge around the outside of the circle to kill the trash that is there, and a ramp leads down into the grotto.
I thought that the bear tank was going to jump down from the ledge. All of the tanks have done so up until this point. It’s not very far, and it skips some time spent clearing trash. I edged a little closer to the ledge, trying to show him the right way with my subtle inclination towards the grotto. I was about to ask him directly, when a terrible, terrible thing happened.
The imps at the bottom of the cavern saw me.
“DHSLAHHDKSLJ,” they said impishly, and tried to run towards me. Being at the bottom of the cave, they couldn’t reach me, so they did the only logical thing. They headed for the ramp.
Between me and them, I’m afraid there was something like four packs of four mobs apiece. I’m guessing here. I watched the group of imps sprint up the ramp. I watched them run by their fellows on the ledge with an almost comically ponderous slowness. I’m not sure if the rest of the group had any idea what was in store for us, as my face flushed with guilt/shame.
“I know that when monsters run by OTHER monsters it tends to alert the other monsters, but maybe just this one time, they won’t see the other monsters. Or they will, but they’ve got better, other monster things to do…”
The imps were joined by satyrs, and still more imps. The mob train gained speed and momentum, like a snowball rolling downhill in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, ultimately intending to flatten me and my hapless party members.
We all had eleventy billion stacks of poison, instantly. And disease. There were so many icons on the health bars I could barely see them. The poor druid did his best. I really think he didn’t understand what had happened. The fury warrior said, as the group neared us, “Wga!” I tried to keep us healed, I really did. The tank tried to tank all those mobs, he really did.
Our fate was sealed the moment those first imps started to dance towards me. Lying there amid the rubble, the fury warrior clarified his earlier statement. “Wow lol,” he said. “Yeah, wow,” I agreed, desperately hoping that nobody had seen how much it was completely my fault.
Yes, that’s right, I didn’t even own up! Why? I was laughing too hard. I laughed so hard I wheezed, and even writing this I can still see the twenty mobs barreling towards us and I laugh some more. I wish I’d had the foresight to take screenshots. I do feel bad for wiping the group, but I feel I made up for it at least marginally. Since nobody else could find the way back into Mauradon, I ran back and rezzed them all.
So hey, I have sense of direction enough to find my way back into Mauradon twice! It isn’t a fluke. I am completely ready to tank, because if I kill my group horribly again… at least I’ll be able to help us recover from the wipe.
p.s. – I unabashedly stole my “pally tanking tag” from Svenn.
p.p.s. – I caved to peer pressure and joined Twitter. If you’re into that kind of thing.