My little paladin provides a pretty great escape from the day-to-day WoW grind. I know that when I started doing this, some people thought I was absolutely insane. There’s no doubt that it is a slower leveling method than just going out and questing, or some combination of questing and instancing when you feel like it. But I’m seeing parts of the game I’ve never seen. (OK, I’d seen Zul’Farrak before, but never been to Maraudon so many times, and I don’t even hate it.) I got distracted yesterday browsing through Wowwiki reading about why Maraudon exists, why the centaur exist, and what Desolace is all about, anyway. It’s pretty interesting.
A surprising number of you in the comments are also very pro-BRD. I’ve actually known other players who named it as a favourite instance. I’ve resolved internally to look forward to it. It’s something I’ve not really done at level (excepting my troll mage, who joined a group in progress not all that far from the end.) It may surprise you to know that I actually enjoy UBRS and LBRS, and consider them among some of the old world instances I quite like. I’ve spent many an hour there, hopelessly lost but having fun – doing the quests in LBRS for the mini-pet, and farming the Dungeon armour set in UBRS. Yes, this may not come as a huge surprise to anyone who’s been listening to me constantly complain about how Vid is dressed, but I’m big on WoW fashion. I came from an RP server, and the well-dressed character is essential. My mage in particular has a bank positively stuffed to the brim with clothes. I acquired the entire Dungeon One – Magister’s Regalia set for her, and then decided that the red and purple Blood Elvish colour scheme wasn’t working for me – so I upgraded it to the Dungeon Two set, Sorcerer’s Regalia. This is a feat, by the way, I wouldn’t recommend for the faint of heart and can barely even imagine doing at level 60 when it was “current.” It was an interminable grind that I only finished because I’d already begun. But the Sorcerer’s Regalia has a blue/purple colour scheme that looks great with Draenei skin, so it was absolutely worth it. Except I’m not an RP server anymore and so I don’t wear… I don’t want to talk about this.
Anyway, I was able to queue for an instance or two yesterday. The first run was Pristine Waters that went pretty seamlessly. In my internet travels I happened across a strategy for Princess Theradras. It recommends that you have two tanks because of how dangerous she is with her knockbacks, fears, etc. I couldn’t help but laugh. I guess it’s a function of how overpowered we are now, even “at level.” Heirloom gear and talents that have been designed for end-game means that I’ve seldom encountered a boss in these instances I would consider truly dangerous, let alone a feat requiring two tanks and an actual strat. She did do the “I’m going to take the tank out of commission and aggro on one of the squishies” thing but I just BoPed the person and we carried on. Heavy AoE damage does make for interesting healing. I have Light’s Grace now so my Holy Light is often fast, but still hardly worth casting unless folks are clumped up sufficiently. I’m still Holy Shocking and FoLing people quickly to get them topped up. I’m starting to get points in the talent that gives me spellpower based on Int, so I need-rolled on an intellect cloak that dropped. It is long, and black, and exceedingly spiffy. I might even go so far as to say it’s longer than your average cloak or cape. It helps to cover up the travesty that are my hot pants.
I’d like to find a more permanent solution for those, though, and perhaps I will in Zul’Farrak, which is where I headed next. I cheered at the loading screen. Zul’Farrak, huzzah! So many trolls, so much XP, great times will be had by all. And they were – we were, that is – right up until we killed Antu’sul. And plate gloves dropped that the tank very much wanted. No problem! I don’t roll against people for my off-spec when it is their main spec. I don’t need tanking gear badly. He needed and received the new gloves upgrade, and I congratulated him happily.
Then he dropped group.
There are so many things wrong with that statement. I mean, fair enough, sometimes people have to go. Sometimes they have to go with little warning. Sometimes they might even have to go, with little warning, after they coincidentally have won a piece of loot they may have wanted. But to just drop group without a word? That makes you a colossal asshat, and it left us without a tank. After a moment of stunned “Are you serious” sort of exchanges, we re-queued. But finding a tank at this level without having already waited our due turn in LFD is about as likely as me spontaneously gaining the ability to fly in old Azeroth. I’ve heard rumours of its possibility, but I’ve still got a long wait.
So we don’t know when a tank is coming. The hunter says, “No problem. Scruffy can handle this.” I’m a bit dubious. (Remember Larry, my friend’s bird pet?) but I agree. I offer to switch to my tanking spec if the shadow priest can keep me healed, but the hunter insists this will be easier. I can heal the pet, if the pet can generally hold aggro. He’s a wolf though, something my limited hunter knowledge tells me isn’t ideally suited to the tanking role. But you know what, he does fine. We move on to give Zum’rah what-for. Zum’rah’s Vexing Cane has got to be one of my favourite items in the game, by the way. It suits me perfectly, although not on this character. If I could make my own WoW item, it’d be something like “Vidyala’s Vexing Mace,” with flavour text, “Now even more vexing than before.”
Nobody dies during these adventures, the trash packs are fairly well-managed, even when we get occasional adds. I’m making good use of Hand of Salvation and Protection and my own personal bubble. It’s a bit more stressful and complicated without a tank, but we’re doing it.
The only real hiccup occurs during the pyramid event. The hunter advises everyone to hang back and let the NPCs do the grunt work. I figure she’s got the right idea, but the mage hears “hang back” and “let the NPCs do the work” and thinks, “Right on! It’s AoE time!” He runs forward rashly and in moments is a mere Gnomish smear on the ground. I’m only able to rez him after more waves have passed, and meantime we manage the packs on our own. I “tank” a few – I am wearing plate, after all, pants notwithstanding – and we don’t have any further problems.
Is it just me, or does anyone else have a hard time taking Sergeant Bly seriously? “How dare you talk to me like that! I didn’t like you anyway!” Really? What are you, three? And you’ve known me five minutes? I busted you out of the big house. Or in this case, the really, tiny, trollish cage kinda house. With the execution-happy overseer. Anyway, it’s really satisfying to plant my big glow-ey mace in that guy’s face.
Soon we’re staring down the Chief, just about ready to pull when an actual tank joins the group. He has a normal name that immediately reassures me, since I find I tend to get less excited about people like “Morerage” or “Pwnzulol.” Although there was actually a druid tank in my group the other day who wasn’t a bad tank named Gotw… I had to keep stopping myself from calling him/her GoTW with the proper capitalization.
We run back to meet the properly named, honest-to-goodness tank because he says there are a few pats between us and him. We kill the pats we run across, with our trusty team of four plus furry friend, and he’s a pally – so of course he ends up just soloing the pats and we meet up in the middle. We go on to kill the Chief and Gahz’rilla without a hitch, although I’m a bit dubious about the hunter ringing the gong to summon him before we’ve cleared even half of the trash in the room. It actually worked out fine, but it could have gotten messy if any of us had been knocked back into spare trash. We also had a brief conversation about the Mallet of Zul’Farrak – as in, “Does anyone have the mallet?” “No you don’t need the Mallet any more,” “omg since when?” etc. I wonder if mentioning this is going to result in people’s searches bringing them here, “Do I need the Mallet of Zul’Farrak Gahz’rilla.” I may as well be pre-emptive.
You do not need the Mallet of Zul’Farrak to summon Gahz’rilla, and haven’t since a good number of patches ago. You can still do the quest to acquire it, but it is an actual mace with stats they added in to make people who still had it in their bank feel that it was of some use. I like this change because I often had to run other people’s characters through ZF and only one of my characters had the Mallet – my priest. Not exactly ideal for that situation.
So after brief pugging strife, Vid has another ZF run under her belt. Now I am absolutely going to do the naming and shaming thing. As for “Mister I’ve Got My Vice Grips I’m Out of Here” Lodoæ, sadly based on my own server of Moonrunner – I hope that ninja-logging from Zul’Farrak made you happy with yourself. It’s not like you’re leveling or anything, so you don’t need XP, right? Hmm, wait, you do. Well, it’s not like you will replace those gloves any time soon, I’m sure they’ll stand you in good stead for another twenty levels or so… wait, they won’t. They’re from Zul’Farrak. And you would’ve had them anyway, if you had bothered to stay and help us finish. So kudos for failing to avail yourself of an great PuG, because the rest of us were awesome. The hunter even said epic heals and they could have been yours, but now you’ll never know.
Scruffy was a better tank, anyhow.