Tag Archives: druid

Bear Necessities

So, you all convinced me. I caved. About the tanking, that is.

Rawr.

What do you mean, this isn’t what you had in mind? Needs more…paladin? She’s only level 17, but she’s tanked Ragefire Chasm about five times. I think it was about five times. She’s got an odd mix of some heirloom gear (feral shoulders) but no heirloom weapon (apart from the caster staff). Pugging at low levels is as hilarious as I remember it being, with a random assemblage of people who have come together to murder relatively low-level mobs. I didn’t make the mistake of missing out on queuing for RFC this time. When I hit level 15, I was right in there! Regretfully, a bear has only a few options at that level. Very few. My “taunt” button is well-loved. I’m beginning to hate hunters with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns. Why must they attack before I’ve even hit anything? Maybe it’s a reflection of the hunter playstyle, which very strongly emphasizes the capability of soloing most things, because hunter and pet are a ready-made team. It doesn’t translate well to group play with other real people from what I’ve seen. I get that your pet could be tanking this instead of me, really I do. But, unfortunately for you, you have ME tanking it, so give me a chance! (Addendum: After I wrote most of this, I saw that Gameldar has written a post replying to some of my bear woes, so if you’re a lowbie bear tank with similar issues, it’s got some good advice in it!)

I don’t even have time to type things to them and berate my groups, because I’m too busy slamming buttons and spinning in circles and taunting mobs. At least once I hit level 16 I gained the ability to swipe things, both with my front AND my back, so that helps with packs of multiples. Most of the groups went decently well up until the last run where things were all over the place and I just couldn’t seem to handle them, so I decided I should quit while I was ahead and parked my fuzzy butt to gain some rested XP.

Highlights of lowbie tanking include:
Glyph of Maul. Thank you, Maul, for helping me with AoE aggro because every person wants to start AoEing before I’ve even reached the mobs, let alone gained enough rage to do anything more than auto-attack them.

At one point I did manage to speak up long enough to say, “OK guys, I don’t have many things I can do yet so please give me a bit of time with the mobs, you’re going to have to bear with me.”
“LOL he said bear”
“Yes, you see what I did there…”

That run seemed to go more smoothly than the others, perhaps because I made them laugh. One thing that I’m noticing though – everyone, everyone just assumes that I am “he.” This may be a function of bear form (after all, they don’t see anything else, it looks like a bear, and tanks are GUYS, amirite?). I wouldn’t remark on this except it seemed quite explicit, “Hey dude thanks for the run,” or “he” is doing this or that. It’s a bit bizarre, but I’m guessing I’m going to have to get used to it. It’s especially strange because my name (to me) is really quite feminine. But I guess that doesn’t matter. If thinking I’m a guy makes them more liable to respect my authoritah, I’ll take it.

Out of the five pugs, only one had one of those really strange sort of “WTF” moment so characteristic of random pugging. There was this restoration druid, you see. Well, I assume he was restoration. He had a plus symbol next to his face. And yet… my health was dropping, inexorably downward, never to recover. I can always count on a mouthy pugger though, someone said, “Heal the tank!” Nothing. In-between pulls, I dropped out of bear form to throw some HoTs on myself, and then pulled the next group. Still nothing. I don’t know what this “healer” was doing really. Someone else yelled at him. After the next pull, with me at about 20% life, I stopped.

“I don’t want to sound demanding or anything,” I said (no sarcasm, I swear, I would never) “But do you suppose you could heal me?” The oddest thing about being sarcastic with these sorts of pugs is that it doesn’t work. At all. Meaning… if someone said that to me, I’d get defensive. These people just seem to take it at face value. “K,” he said simply. As if, “Oh right, I was meant to be doing that. Well, since you’ve been kind enough to mention it, I’ll endeavor to do that in future.” And he did, for a little while. He’d HoT me… get distracted casting Wrath at some mobs… At a point near the end I thanked him for the heals – I was being genuine, although it strikes me as bizarre to thank someone for actually doing the job they were brought to do, but what do I know? I’m now at the mercy of healers instead of tanks, and it’s a strange feeling. Amazingly we finished the run without problems, even though I watched the healer pull additional mobs when I was already struggling and bear-flailing with the mobs I’d MANAGED to pull. I don’t know how that thought process goes.

“Hey look, there’s some guys over there! Let’s add them into the fray! Oh right, I’m supposed to heal. Well, here’s a rejuv, he’ll be fine…wheee, I’m casting Wrath!”

So I’m not sure what’s in the future for my baby bear. She definitely will not level with just pugs, but she’ll likely do quite a bit of pugging. Once I have cat form I think I can swap between the two fairly handily for questing/tanking. It’s funny, because people kept telling me they’re looking forward to “your next project,” I’m not sure if I really have a next “project,” at least not something with an overarching theme. I did do this:

Note the absence of a giant axe.

Yes, that’s right. That isn’t a retribution spec right there. It’s a shield. And a sword. It’s even 537 defense. I know, it’s three shy of an actual raid, but I haven’t done a 5-man. Unless you count Scholomance, which I went and did on my own, so as to not inflict my “tanking” on any other living person. Feeling confident, after Scholomance I ran a guildie’s alt through Blood Furnace. It was fine. He didn’t die, I didn’t die. I’m not sure when I’ll work up the gumption to actually run things at 80. As I told my guild, “I’m the kind of tank that makes healers drop group when they see me.” You know, tanks with less than eleventy-billion HP. (It’s around 27K self-buffed, for the record).

I don’t want to offend any warriors out there, but I think I actually take more naturally to the paladin tanking stuff than the abilities of a warrior. I have an unhealthy enjoyment of hurling a golden-light-shield in the face of mobs. It’s… sort of exhilarating. For now, it’s only my “soloing old instances” spec, but we’ll see where it goes.

Vid has been busy off and on. I never had a chance to write about the pug raids she did! Well, they were half pug and half not. We had an alt run night with five of us that required us to pick up five random people. And oh, such randoms they were. We did Trial of the Crusader, having found a hunter, a rogue, a death knight, a druid and a warlock. It all started out so casually. “We don’t need vent for this,” we decided. “ToC is old news, everyone has a handle on these fights.”

After the first wipe (I had a snobold on me the entire time, up until we died) a brief silence prevailed on Vent. “Maybe we should give them the vent info?” I ventured.

Soon we had most of the group in vent with us, excepting the hunter, who apparently had a moral opposition to being in Vent and just flatly ignored us, the same way he flatly ignored the targets we told him to attack or do anything else the raid leader asked.

The rogue, it turned out, had extensive raid experience, which he proceeded to expound upon at length, in-between trying to give mid-fight directions that were wrong, and being dead last for DPS done. He actually wasn’t too bad once we gently told him that all the talking in Vent was confusing things mid-fight, and he was endearingly earnest. “Good work, guys,” he enthused during Faction Champs. “We’ve got this, we’re doing great!”

But the star of the show really had to be the Death Knight. Apparently he’d never done ToC before, because when we finished Twin Val’kyr he completely lost it when the floor fell out from under us. “Sh** man this is crazy!” he said. We all kind of laughed, but the reason for his exclamations became clearer a few minutes later. I’ve carefully and lovingly smudged everyone’s name except mine to protect the innocent, but this conversation is best read in its original form. The DK asked what tier of gear he should be trying to get, and he was all ready to set off on a quest to acquire Tier 8, before the rogue set him straight, not without the opportunity to link all his hawt gear, of course.

Duuuude!

After this we went on to do Onyxia with more or less the same group, except we brought our epic mage along with us. They kept asking us “Don’t we need more ranged” and we kept telling them, “We’ll be fine, you’ll see.” The fight, however, got messy (That’s a ****ing 50 DKP minus!) and we finished what has to be the longest Onyxia kill I’ve ever personally been a part of… with the tank, myself, the off-tank (feral druid) and our mage being the ONLY people alive. We basically did the final ground phase with only us. There was a hairy moment when I thought I’d been feared into her cleave, but fortunately I wasn’t.

The best loot of the night was definitely Anub’arak dropping the healing shield for me. I’d only dared hope, and now I can only conclude such a disjointed post with fun search engine terms, because I like them.

My top search term for the past few weeks has been variations of:
i seem to have misplaced my pants
i have misplaced my pants

I didn’t know what I was getting into once I disenchanted those puppies. It’s an epidemic, people. Think of the pants.

how blizz deals with ninjaing: Yeah, they really don’t. My best advice to you would be not put yourself in a position where someone can whisk something out from under everyone’s nose. If it’s something rare like a vanity item or BoE, make sure everyone knows to Need on it. If you’re pugging raids you’re somewhat more at their mercy, but if it keeps happening consider organizing your *own* pug raids. Sure, it’s more of a headache, but you’ll have control of loot distribution and know that nobody can ninja anything.

things you know about icc: You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have… no, really. What do I know about ICC? Don’t cast Starfall on Marrowgar trash unless you’re as far as possible from anything that could possibly want to eat your face, ever. And even then you probably shouldn’t (but go ahead and do it anyway, you know I do).

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Hi, I’m Vidyala. You can also call me Vid.

Anea wrote a really great post with some advice for new bloggers. I wish I had followed some of it myself before I went ahead and pushed “publish” for the first time. Some of it I’m still not doing – like post categories. My reasoning was something along the lines of “It’s called pugging pally! It will all, always be about a pugging pally, what kind of category is that?”

Short-sighted, I know. There are some things I just don’t think about because I get too excited and dive right into something. A few I did “properly” – I had a custom header, right from day one! Also a Gravatar. Because I can’t resist the compulsion to draw my characters, anyhow.

The problem I face now, and I’m trying to have a bit more foresight here – is what’s the future for a Pugging Pally? Eventually she’ll be 80, and probably still pug a bit. But she’s not liable to ever be my “main character.”

Actually, I just switched main raiding characters. I still love and adore my mage, Millya – one of a score of Draenei characters I call my own – but it behooved me (har) to be a bit more flexible and I do love me some druid also.

Anyway, I digress. Having made a fairly topical blog I’m uncertain what to do with it. What if I wrote about some things that didn’t involve 1) pallies or 2) pugging? What would I call it? Would anyone who likes reading about ridiculous people – either me, or the ones I’m healing – actually read it? The good news is that no matter which character I’m writing about it’ll involve at least one ridiculous person in that case…But these are questions to ponder as I plod my way to level 80. I’ve actually been doing some pugging with my other characters which is always good for a lark. I had my very first Hordeside pug with my troll mage – she’s now level sixty-one! I wound up in BRD, (this was back at level 59 or so, I can’t exactly recall), but it was precisely where I didn’t want to be. I have nothing against it, I just knew that it was big, and complicated. I zoned in and stood there for a good ten seconds before I realized the rest of the party isn’t here.

Where are you guys?” I asked hopefully. They must’ve just started. They’re just around the corner, right?
“Somethingsomethingthatmeansnothingtome but included the word ‘West.'”

West, right. I can find west. I will just head west. Yeah, not so much. I thought I was making progress – at least I seemed to be nearing the directional arrows on the map that indicated my Patiently Waiting Party.

“I think I’ve got it!” I cried gleefully. “Wait, this looks kind of familiar. Isn’t this the… Am I back at the beginning again?!”

I ‘fessed up in party chat. “I’m really sorry guys, but I have no idea where you are and I’m awful with directions. I can drop group if you want to find someone who can actually find you.”

“Stay where you are, I’ll come get you,” the paladin said. I stayed, and I was ashamed and relieved all at once. The paladin came into sight and I seriously backed up a step. “AH IT’S A BLOOD ELF…waitaminute.”

PvP instincts: I still have a few of them. I’m glad they’re serving me so well whenever it’s important, like in BRD when I’m the same faction, not so much in Sholazar when I’m fishing and get my tail handed to me by a paladin because I was flagged flying over Wintergrasp.

It turned out I was missing something completely obvious – a door I had to go through at the beginning. I’d tried other doors and found them locked. So I’m not sure if this was a door that required a key he had, and I didn’t, or if I had just missed it completely but I suspect the latter.

The pug went really well. The people knew their way through the twisting maze of BRD, and now my troll mage is the only character who actually has that achievement because goodness knows I’ve never found my way to the end on my own. I love leveling Frost, incidentally. I love my permanent water elemental. And oh, my gosh, Troll racials ARE overpowered. Berserking is just like Icy Veins, well without the pushback reduction, but who cares? I had Icy Veins from level one. And now I have a second icy veins. I macroed that to frostbolt with unabashed glee and never looked back.

It’s a strange feeling playing as the other faction when you’re used to being one almost exclusively. I feel the whole timeĀ  like someone infiltrating a secret society they’re not supposed to be a part of. At any moment, the members of the pug I am in may turn to me and say, “Hang on. You LOOK Horde-like but you aren’t really, are you? You’re really Alliance.” And they tug on my troll tusks and my head pops off to reveal (of course) Draenei horns. But they don’t, and all the pugs I’ve run over there have actually been quite nice for the most part. I’m also leveling a Tauren druid slowly. Notice a trend – my two main Alliance characters, a druid and a mage. My characters Hordeside? A mage, and a druid. Because I need an intervention, I may actually do some pug healing with the druid as she comes of age.

That ought to prove interesting. You see, if Vidyala is the spoiled “born with a silver shield strapped to her back” kind of healer, my Horde characters are the complete opposite. My druid is wearing pants, and some dodgy leather vest she ripped from an animal’s carcass, carrying a wooden stick, and precious little else. She has no heirlooms. She does have bags thanks to a friend I have who traded me some money (He gave my Horde characters gold, I gave the same amount to his Alliance characters, as each of our fortunes resided in different places). So she has Netherweave bags, an unaccustomed luxury. I could spend some money to buy her a few greens, but I’m actually interested to see how leveling a character goes without any of these special perks. They say that precious few people who play trial WoW stick with it. As I’m clubbing swoops to death in Mulgore with my wooden cane because I’m OOM, I feel I’m plumbing the depths of exactly why that might be.

Yet somehow, I keep coming back to roll alts and relax, try out the other faction, try out pally healing when half the world says “go ret noob.” Endyme over at (Un)holy Randomness wrote some thoughts about things that drive people to need stress-relief in their game, and coping mechanisms. I know that I definitely turn to alts as a means of stress-relief or just for a quiet place. Although I may be doing that a bit less since I read this post by Gnomeageddon about how WoW is no better than a holiday. In brief; you may go on holiday but your problems are still there when you get back and it’s not always as relaxing as it may seem. I need to remember that.

And the post title is because Ophelie didn’t know my name but she was kind enough to link to me anyhow. And now I need to go through her post and meet many more great paladin bloggers because they all sound fantastic, and I am a mere imposter in their midst. Druid by day? With a side of mage? I also updated my blogroll. I’ve been adding lots of people to it on my Google reader but never updating it here. And yes, please do call me Vid, or Vidyala, it’s all good. I choose all my character names and ensure they are easy to shorten after my first character was named “Lafaera.” It’s not a bad name, but what do you call her? Most people opted for Laf, though I tried to encourage Faera, it was a pain.

Don’t even get me started about the pugger who called me “Laffy Taffy.” There’s a good reason she got a race change and a new name in the process.