I found some time to get back on the ol’ pallycorn this weekend. Well, I made time darn it because all of the guild’s alts are passing me disgracefully. My hunter friend is probably almost ready for Outland at this point, and a druid I didn’t even expect is already level fifty-something-or-other. (I did say that I don’t want to race to 80, however, there’s racing and then there’s disgracing).
I logged in and stood in Ironforge clicking a few buttons. OK, this one is Holy Shock(!), this is Holy Light, ah, Flash of Light, you are an old friend. I remember you well. Satisfied that I remembered at least something of my paladin toolbox, I joined the queue for something random. And then I waited. And waited… and waited. I did a few of the Fool for Love quests and went and honoured an Elder – but apparently, that doesn’t give XP (boo). I bought a new shield. It has spirit, but it’s also triangular, so how can that be wrong?
I gave up on Ironforge and decided to begin the business of collecting a few flight points. I had the time to fly to Menethil, run up through Arathi and then Alterac and I was in Southshore when the instance finally popped up. Actually, that’s a bit untrue. An instance popped up in Ironforge, and then again on the way to Southshore. However, those instances were unsuccessful. I must now take this moment to expound upon something that happens to each and every one of my characters.
Lone, AFK DPS, I curse you to an eternity of downranked spells on your action bars you never realize are downranked, tanks that can’t hold aggro, and healers who let you die. If I knew who you were I would write you a scathingly worded exceedingly clever letter but then I wouldn’t send it, because I’m Canadian, and I’d feel too guilty. But really, you keep giving me LFD queue irritation. Cut that out, would you? Take yourself out of the queue if you won’t be around. Get a drink before you queue up. That way the rest of us won’t get hung up with our 4/5 groups again and again. I’m not even sure how it works, it says “You’ve been returned to the front of the queue” but it doesn’t actually feel like it.
So finally my group formed. The loading screen appeared and I said “Oh crap what is this.” I assumed I’d be heading in for another Uldaman, but I was wrong: Mauradon. Something about some purple crystals. Little did I know, that purple would prove to be thematic…
“Hello,” I greeted the group as I stood there for one brief moment, a deer frozen in the headlights trying to remember the paladin things I am supposed to do. Oh right, blessings, that’s what I do! I scrambled to pass those around. These ones look like casters, and that one’s a tank, oh I’ll just give them all Kings anyhow. And make sure I have my Seal up. While I’m going through my own little mini-buff drama, one of them remarks.
“This is weird”
I’m thinking, what’s weird? The tank isn’t a tank spec? You zoned in and we’re all naked? All of your action bars are gone?
No, indeed. The weird thing was our group composition. My first time back in the LFD after a forced absence, and Mother RNG gifted me with three – count ’em – three shadow-flinging, pet-aggroing, Lifetapping warlocks.
What ensued was a comedy partly borne of my own rustiness with my buttons, and partly pure warlock hilarity. The first pull left me gasping and struggling, because dear Mauradon (purple edition, I don’t know much about the others) seems to be full of disease. And poison. And poisons that stack. Which is pretty ridiculous, when you think about it.
Tank: “Agh, I have been poisoned!”
Paladin: “I shall cleanse you of this impurity!”
Tank: “Agh, they poisoned me MORE.”
Paladin: “One moment, I can only handle exactly 25 mL of poison at any given time. I’ll cleanse you again…”
So I’m doing that, the pull ends, and all of a sudden everyone’s health bar except mine and the tanks plummets incrementally to nearly nothing. I say, “OMG locks you have got to be kidding me.”
The room erupts in a series of giggles, “lol,” two Gnomish and one human. One of the warlocks assures me that they know they lifetap at their own risk. They’re exceedingly complimentary about my ability to keep them from croaking despite one having aggro and all of them doing their compulsive self-damaging thing.
A funny thing begins to happen. I want to resent them for oh so many reasons. But I’m starting to like the reckless little fel machines. I’m laughing, they are charming me. I tell them that they can lifetap themselves into oblivion so long as they remember that some of us still need to actually drink. I also tell them that three warlocks should come with heartburn medication.
Later, I tell them to forget the heartburn medication – three warlocks ought to come with beer.
We barrel through Mauradon – Purple Crystal Edition with barely a pause, and the group wants to queue up for another but our bear tank is tired of tanking. He decides he’s going to leave, and I’m alone with only warlocks for company.
“Let’s all get our voidwalkers!” one enthused. “Each of them can tank one mob at a time.”
“This is silly,” one of the warlocks said, “I think I’m going to go, guys.”
I’m here to tell you, that warlock peer pressure is a powerful thing. That warlock stayed. And apparently these “more-a-minion-than-a-pet” creatures are an extension of self, because a few successful trash packs later and the warlocks were proceeding into e-peen territory.
“Well, my voidwalker was holding aggro way better than yours, and we killed that mob before yours died.”
“No way, your voidwalker sucked! Mine was awesome.”
“No, I inflict pain and suffering at a much faster rate than you do!”
Is this what a warlock convention looks like? And if so, how did I stumble upon one?
We did eventually pick up another tank. He was… one of those people I don’t quite trust. He kept running on ahead, not waiting for me to drink. At one point, his health was a mere sliver, I was nearly OOM, and then I saw him going. My face looked something like this:
Tank, predictably, goes splat (as he runs out of range, pulls another group of mobs, and also breaks line of sight just for a cherry on his death sundae). Then he says “And no heals, were you OOM or something? Why didn’t you say something?” Now my face looks like this:
It’s okay though, this tank had a lot of problems. Apparently his relative had just had his arm cut off mere hours earlier so he’s NOT IN THE MOOD FOR BEING MADE FUN OF U GUYS. I don’t point out the improbability of being on your computer playing World of Warcraft if someone near and dear to you just had their arm cut off, but hey. Maybe he was confusing this dramatic event with a movie he’d just watched. And also, he was in a car acccident, and needed to have surgery on his face. And his Mom was hurt by the seatbelt. And and and… I didn’t reply to any of this but some of our group members were sympathetic. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, I do. And if any of it were true, then I am sincerely sorry for having doubted him. But for now, my suspension of disbelief was strongly tested.
We had plenty of time to discuss these things, you see, as when the tank died we wiped. I thought I could follow one of the purple dots back to where we’d come from, but they scattered in all directions (see: pug diffusion). Instead, I just had to follow my own better judgment. Here is a mountain pass, this seems to lead to Mauradon, and here is a cave. In the cave I got turned around a little bit. Only one ‘lock had made it back. And, astoundingly, the second person in the instance was me. Despite my well-documented failure at navigating pretty much anything, I managed to find my way back. I just followed the Purple Crystals. Apparently what old world instances need more of, for my sake, is obvious sign posts and giant, colour-coded walkways. None of the other locks or the tank ever made it in, we ventured inside and killed some trash on our own to reach their corpses and resurrect them.
At this point the group was starting to get silly, so when we finished the instance I bowed out to take myself off to bed. “No, Vid! You can’t go,” the lead lock protested. “You are our glue.” Warlock glue isn’t something I’m really ready to contemplate. Made from an amalgam of squished souls? What’s their viscosity? So his pleas fell upon deaf ears. I’d like to think that the three warlocks stuck together and ran many a Mauradon after that, but I suppose I’ll never know.
Meantime, 100% rested XP and all this running around Mauradon led me to be level 42! I was so bleary when this happened that I logged off thinking I had dinged to level 41, but I was wrong. I did go through my entire stack of beverages, though. I hope I’m at a point soon where I get a new “rank” of beverage because my Moonberry Juice is no longer cutting it. It makes me feel all impressive and paladin-like, a la level 80 Holy Paladin: “Excuse me guys, it takes twenty minutes to fill my mana bar up to full because I just have SO MUCH OF IT. I’m swimming in it. I mean, if only these strudels gave me twice as much mana, I wouldn’t have to eat two of them, just to fill up my enormous mana bar. Also, it’s longer than yours.”
The sad reality is, though, that I think my drinks just aren’t good enough for my level, it’s not that I have a particularly large amount of smarts.
But when I get to level 80? Heck yeah I’ll be a paladin just like the one above!
“Yaaawn. Excuse me, I think I’ll go AFK and grab a drink, maybe a sandwich… my mana bar is refilling. You know how it is.”