Today I had the chance to play my not-so-wee-anymore paladin. I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it. In fact, after a tumultuous couple of weeks in the wow-verse, I’ve been avoiding my paladin altogether. Long story extremely short: I inherited our guild. I’ve been recruiting for said guild, and doing all those guild-ish things, and it hasn’t left a lot of time for pugging when I do get a chance to play. I even made an alt in Single Abstract Noun, and haven’t had a chance to login there since. I really like the idea of hanging out with all of the awesome blogging folks, and it was a blast when I was able to do it, but I don’t know how often I’ll be able to do so. No, it isn’t a “look at me I’m so busy and important” so much as it is “I can only devote so much time to this game and keeping a guild going and raiding take a lot of the time available to me.” I love reading about what other SAN folks have been up to, though.
But more than all of those things, I’ve been avoiding Vid because I just haven’t been in a healing mood. Logging in and staring at her in her heirlooms wasn’t changing that fact, either. I thought about it. My patience (low) and energy (ditto) just couldn’t handle a frustrating pug experience. I was in the mood to hit some things in the face.
It was time to drop my prot spec and make it a ret spec.
A quick google search yielded this thread on the official WoW forums: Paladin Leveling Guide 3.3. There was a ret spec fully mapped out there, level by level. I followed it blindly. I hopped on my unicorn and did a few laps around Stormwind. My horse suddenly has more horsepower! Then I bought ret glyphs, and queued exclusively as a DPS and hopped a flight to Chillwind where I had a paladin quest to drop off. Surprisingly enough, the instance announcement appeared while I was somewhere over Arathi.
An unfamiliar loading screen later and I found myself at the entrance to BRD. This is definitely one of the instances they’ve chopped into tiny, digestible pieces, apparently – because when we reached the end of the run we all sort of looked around going, “Is that it?” It seriously took… it felt like about ten minutes. Maybe fifteen, I wasn’t timing it.
At that point, the tank whispered me and said, “If you want to queue for the next part, drop group and we can queue for it.” I thought he was just yanking my chain, since you can’t form a group with people from other servers; until I actually looked at his name. He wasn’t from another server, he was from my server. But when we formed up again, we couldn’t queue for the next part because I was lower level than he was and it wouldn’t let us. I suggest that we could queue up again for just a random, and he agreed. Sunken Temple came up instantly, and I was quite pleased because knowing the tank, I knew I could get him to come and do my quest to kill Hakkar. Taking Cass’ most excellent advice, I made sure to look up a map beforehand so I knew exactly where it was and could easily say, “It’s just right here, guys! The boss drops good loot!”
Fortunately the group was patient despite what actually is a bit of a gong show of a quest. “Yes, we’re going to get locked in this room. Uh-huh, waves of adds are going to come out and start attacking everyone willy-nilly. If you get blood from this one you have to extinguish the flame here. No, not there. Here. Over here. Right. Here!” So I finished the quest finally, we wrapped up the instance with no problems – the tank was really very good. A tank that makes me happy is one managing the mobs into neat groups. A tank who even does a line of sight pull on the trolls before Jamma’lan! It was great. I even got a proper healing shield! (I know, I was DPSing, nobody else wanted it anyhow.)
When we were done the instance, my new-found tank friend and I talked in party a little bit. Did I have a tanking off-spec, he wondered? Because he would like to DPS an instance. I said that no, I didn’t, but I could queue as a healer and that should get us in fairly quickly.
Twenty minutes elapsed with the pair of us queued as healer and DPS.
“How about we quest while we wait?” he said.
I considered possible answers.
“Yes, I’d love that. Waiting for queues has been so frustrating.”
“Oh no, I couldn’t do that, because I’m not questing, you see. It’s for my blog.”
“Ummm brb, dog aggro.”
You can surmise what my answer was when I tell you that Vid is now level 54. When I logged in to pug yesterday, she was still 49. It sure wasn’t pugs that helped her gain nearly five whole levels, although they did play a role. I quested together with the warrior for a goodly long while, and we were unstoppable. Mobs fell down before us. He would gather entire packs and I would be there cutting them in half with my gigantic two-hander and it was so fast. Pugging has been incredibly fun, particularly in the lower levels when I don’t enjoy the zones as much, it was a refreshing change from the lowbie grind I’ve done so many times. But watching other people level alts at light-speed and pass me by (at present count, no less than four alts in my guild have been rolled and subsequently reached eighty or near to eighty while I languished in my forties, crawling my way slowly forward.)
So with the longer queue times, I’ve still been putting myself out there to pug, but also questing in-between. I went back and finished off much of Felwood last night while waiting in a queue that eventually appeared and dropped me in BRD into an “instance in progress.” I was greeted by groans and general exclamations and complaints against Blizzard. Apparently, the instance I’d joined had just finished, they’d killed the last boss and were completely done. I guess when one member left their group it automatically queued for a replacement? I’m not quite sure. In any case, I had another fifteen minutes to wait until I could queue once more, but another group never did appear, although I was queuing as either heals or DPS. I can only imagine what havoc the new “wait time debuff” will play with my pugging scheme in the case of technical errors like this. It’s not like I joined a pug to be a jerk and then just left. I guess I should be cautious about accepting “in-progress” groups from now on. With a wait time of about twenty minutes to get into a group, and then a fifteen minute debuff if the group falls apart for some reason – it could conceivably be half hour or more before I even get into a viable pug, let alone finish one. So it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that I am going to keep doing some questing to get to level sixty.
Does this mean the end of the Pugging Pally? My husband tells me that “The Questing Pally” doesn’t really have the same ring to it. Of course I’m going to keep pugging, I may even pug more exclusively once more as I head into Outlands where there might be more demand to run the instances, and certainly Northrend will be the same way once I’m there. I just don’t see the point in punishing myself for the sake of my “experiment,” or pure cussed stubbornness. If the experiment was to see whether one could level to 80 entirely using the LFD tool – absolutely, once you hit 15 and are eligible for queues, I have no doubt you could get to 80 entirely that way. Especially if you’re inclined to be a tank, or in the case of many crazy people of my acquaintance,a tank/healer dual-specced, or leveling as a tank with a healer friend, etc. But I don’t necessarily think it’s the most expedient way. Even for a tank with instance queue times, I believe that XP per hour gained is much greater from quests and a judicious combination of instances. I’ve also learned that it’s a little bit boring being confined to the capital city, just waiting for your next pug. I’ve been running around gathering flight points, and doing quest chains, and that’s part of what I enjoy about the game. I like quests. Why did I ever decide I would do no quests?
I wanted to put myself out of my comfort zone and meet people and I’m going to continue to do that. Heck, I quested for hours with someone I had pugged with yesterday, which is technically a quest pick-up-group. And I had a blast! That’s really more the spirit of the endeavor anyhow – level a character a bit differently and have a good time. If my own restrictions have begun to impede that for no good reason, then it’s time to change the rules. I made them, after all.
That said, here are some fun things:
This is the face of someone who's been wearing weenie-roasting forks on her shoulders for 50 levels.
I love the look of plate armour. It’s really nice to wear plate armour. I have nothing against the mail that’s been serving me so well, but as I’ve complained before – it just doesn’t feel very paladin-esque. I suppose neither does the giant battle-axe with the skull on it, but use your imagination, right? The skull is being used in service of the Light.
Have I mentioned how much I really enjoy retribution since I’ve tried it? I’ve set up my Power Auras to let me know when things proc, and Miksscrollingbattletext does the same. I may or may not have been gleefully yelling, “Art of WAAAAARRR” when my art of war procs. You have no proof.
My other favourite thing from around here – search engine terms! These are the ones that made me laugh out loud, along with a sizable number of “Maraudon – Pristine Waters” searches. I’m sorry, I really don’t know as much about it as I should know, having been there a number of times. I wasn’t even spelling it correctly until recently.
tanks rushing looking for dungeaon – They do that. You can ask them politely to slow down so you don’t have water splashing past your face as you try to drink and run simultaneously. They might call you a whiner and be jerks, or they might apologize and say they didn’t realize you hadn’t had a moment to catch your breath. Or they might simply ignore you and continue on regardless, but you won’t know if you don’t try, right?
you’ve got mail sfk – In this romantic comedy gone wrong, Archmage “Wolf” Arugal enters into a correspondence with Sylvanas Windrunner. Unknown to them both, it is in fact Arugal’s crazed worgen who are terrorizing Silverpine Forest and messing with Sylvanas’ people in the region. When they set up a coffee date, he sees her and realizes that she is cute, but dead, and she freaks out when he stands her up and a wolf makes off with her quiver. Eventually circumstances bring her to realize his true identity, and she orders the Forsaken to slaughter him and all of his worgen minions, proving in the end that love does not conquer all. “W-O-L-F.”
my paladin swings so slowly – Maybe he needs coffee? The fast and dirty ret guide I found yesterday said that slow, hard-hitting weapons are actually what a ret pally wants. Correct me if I’m wrong, those who are more knowledgeable in the ways of swinging the Light. And an edit here, thanks to Kring in the comments, I know that a slower weapon isn’t actally bad for a pally tank either! You can read more about that here. This is why I have people who know things!
why didnt i get my achievement for scarlet – Did you do the whole thing? Really, the whole entire thing? Every wing, from Graveyard, Armory, Library, and Cathedral? Because if you don’t complete all of them, you won’t get the achievement, it’s tied to all of the bosses together.
anything good for paladin drop in zul’fa – Yes, and then your tank will drop group after he gets it.
“lfd leveling” mage build – Now this one isn’t funny so much as I think it’s interesting. I’d personally go Frost all the way – in fact, hang on, I’m leveling a mage right now, and I did go frost all the way! Frost is great for soloing in addition to instancing (for while you’re waiting for that mystical queue to appear) and it’s incredibly mana efficient. Plus, it’s really fun. Don’t glyph Frostbolt either – the slow effect helps a ton while you’re out killing things, and even sometimes in instances. For leveling as a frost mage, I’d use something like this build. Go deep down the frost tree and then pick up arcane after, on your way to 80. It isn’t necessarily an ideal DPS build but should be very mana efficient and control oriented. I put two points in Arctic Reach because I like being able to hit things from as far back as possible, but if you find yourself using Cone of Cold fairly often it’d be worth putting points in the talent to buff that, or in something like Frost Warding if you are doing a lot of soloing or would like to try your hand at PvP as you level up. I didn’t put points in Imp. Blizzard because combined with your freezing/chill effects it will do that thing where it locks all the mobs to the ground, causing them to turn to the nearest melee and try to eat them, regardless of how much threat the tank might have. It’s nice for AoE grinding mobs if you’re out soloing, but kind of annoying in an instance, so take a point there at your own discretion.
Alternatively, I suppose a strong argument could be made for a fire build going through LFD – it’ll give you a lot of damage, but you won’t be quite so survivable if you (whoops) pull aggro from a tank. If you wanted to be fire, I’d go with a spec like this one (I only did it until level 60). Actually, I realized in doing this that I’m out of mage touch (sniffle) and it saddens me. Any magier folks want to take a stab at what they’d recommend for an LFD fire mage? Don’t put yourself out, though, because I imagine the person who googled it originally will never actually see it.