Mages, ten-man raiding, and other things that are awesome.

I’ve been raiding as a paladin now for just over a month or a little bit longer. It’s been an interesting transition, further complicated by the fact that I feel obligated to re-do many achievements with Vid. I thought it’d be fun to provide a kind of update with how things have been going.

DPS: Now With 100% Rear Boss View

For the occasions when we’ve needed a healer to DPS, I’ve been gearing and working on my retribution spec. Thanks to some help from Antigen and our guild’s protection paladin, I even know what to do (more or less). The only thing I can say is that melee DPS is weird, yet oddly calming. I feel as if I have to frantically spam buttons quite a bit less than as a mage. Oh, I’d definitely be failing if I were just auto-attacking, and that’s not what I’m doing, but it is reassuring to know that my character is always hitting if I’m in range. (Thank you, startattack macros). I’m by no means the world’s greatest retribution paladin, but we still managed to kill bosses with me as a ret (I am the ret). It’s been awhile since I’ve had to go ret for a raid and my gear has improved so I imagine if I were to do it again I would be even better.

I got to hit Rhyolith’s feet and run around frantically! I also went up to attack Beth’tilac, which proved to be convenient because I later went up to heal the tank on Beth’tilac. I got to stand there and DPS Shannox, which kind of feels like cheating to me. Even Staghelm from a ret perspective was almost peaceful, but he was still progression then and so I have only healed for our subsequent kills. I think it’s safe to say that I never imagined I’d be melee DPSing in a raid, but it’s fine. 95% of the time I will be a healer; for that other five percent I’m happy to do whatever is necessary.

"What is this I don't even..."

Achievements

Continuing to work on Vid’s achievements has helped me to feel engaged with her, even when I’m not raiding. To me, Vid (as a character) has been something of a sleeper hit. I made her in 2009 for a lark, did the whole dungeon-leveling thing, wrote a blog about it, etc. I never imagined she’d shoulder her way to the front and wind up a main. I always assumed that if I healed full-time it would be as a druid. I was clearly wrong.

As far as achievements go, her pet collection is up over a hundred now, her mount collection is somewhere around fifty. There are a few pets she won’t be able to get for awhile (Midsummer, Love Is In The Air, etc.) but such is life! I finished the Higher Learning achievement with her as I was writing this post. Up next: continuing to kill poor TB foxes and camping the spawn point for Jadefang.

The biggest trouble I have is trying to catch up with achievements as if I’m on a time limit. I want to catch up yesterday and so sometimes my focus wanders as I try to do everything all at once. I finally, finally finished the last Molten Front “unlocking” and so now will do those dailies until Zen’Vorka’s cache sees fit to give up a pet. Meantime, I have to remember that nobody cares about my achievements except me, nobody cares except me (it’s my new mantra).

Blogging

I’ll admit, I did worry a bit that I might lose readers when I switched from raiding as a mage – and perhaps I did. The funny thing is, though, that very little of my content was mage-specific. I wrote the five-man guides (but never updated them for the Zul instances) and a gear guide, but other than that the things I write about are seldom class-specific. Now I’m in this odd limbo where I don’t feel I have anything to teach or say to paladins, nor do I have mage experience in Firelands. It’s tricky how your personal identity can get tied up into your class identity, so I’m trying not to worry about it overly. I’m just going to write about things that interest me, be they mage, paladin, or guild-related, and hope that they’ll be of interest to someone, somewhere.

Raiding

Make no mistake, switching from being a DPS (especially a pure) to a healer is a big adjustment. I heal five-person content a ton but hadn’t healed a raid in about a year. It says something about my guild’s trust in me that they were willing to let me dive in. Especially being somewhat undergeared for Firelands (I did the best I could, but was definitely behind the curve), healing FL was kind of like performing without a net. It’s been a rush, it’s been exhilarating, frustrating, and triumphant. It’s been humbling. I’m still constantly learning how to be a better paladin, but I’m happy with how it’s gone so far. With my usual zeal for gearing, I’ve managed to squeeze every last upgrade out of non-raid content and I can definitely feel the difference. Especially getting a new weapon and the two-piece T12 bonus have made me feel pretty unstoppable in heroics.

The biggest shift is a mental one, and it’s taken some time. I’ve had to teach my brain to recognize mild stress as ‘the norm’ and not freak out and just do its thing. It was funny when we went back one night to eight-man BoT for valor points. Remember, I didn’t do BoT as a healer, only as a DPS. So we’re on Ascendant Council and I lost range on my tank and my brain just kind of zoned out a bit. There was a part of it that thought, “Gosh, tank’s health sure is getting low.” A few seconds later, the other part of my brain screams, “YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE HEALING THAT TANK.” Ohhh right, that’s my thing!

I haven’t done this in current content, it’s just interesting to me how the encounters themselves (and the way I have learned them) are so intertwined with the role I was playing at the time. When it comes to Firelands, I’ve only healed (or melee DPSed them) and so I don’t suddenly forget that I’m healing; all of my knowledge is centered around healing patterns, incoming damage, and needed cooldowns.

Recruiting

It’s been a long time since we’ve had three trial members at once. It’s not something I like doing, really, because each new person takes awhile to integrate into a group. Because of our relatively small number, an influx is especially unsettling and runs the risk of unbalancing the group paradigm. Also, they may not get the kind of one-on-one attention and feedback that we like to give, but I think we’ve managed well enough in this regard. I still reflexively catch myself going to check out recruitment ads until I remember – oh right, I don’t have to do that right this instant! It’s nice. They have been doing well, and of course time is the most important factor here. Everyone will naturally ease up as they get to know each other, given some time.

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Comments on: "Update on Settling Into A New Role" (12)

  1. Miza√Ľki said:

    Honestly, it’s not always needed to have someone to teach.

    I have a lot of pally blogs that I read. I like to see what other people are trying and theorycrafting. My favorite posts though? The posts where they are stream of thought. Where I go with someone as they are working on their characters. Where I read and say to myself, “I’ve felt like that!”

    I just happened to follow the link from Dwarven Battle Medic to this blog on a whim. I’ll be bookmarking it now. ^_^

    • Thank you for the nice comment and for dropping by! Fannon’s great. The paladin community is so nice, really. I imagine it’ll be awhile before I’m into serious theorycrafting or anything but rambling? Totally got that covered. ;)

    • Yep, I agree. As useful as the guides may be (and they probably are, I dunno, I don’t play a mage), it’s posts like these and other ‘narrative’ or ‘discussion’ ones I like reading the most.

      Interesting you say about how achievements let you feel more engaged with a character, as that’s possibly what’s allowed me to abandon most of my characters on another server so easily. The only one I really put much effort into getting ‘stuff’ for was my priest, so that and that she was my first raiding character have makes it a bit harder to abandon her (she has the tiny tree Argent Tournament pet, and she’s human :D ). I suspect if she had a really cool pet like the iron-bound protodrake from Ulduar, it’d be even harder.

      Also, I had the same thought when I did the balloon thing on my goblin :D

      • When I started playing my mage again, I actually put so much time into achievements/etc that I thought I would never be able to play another character, but I was wrong. It’s tough! I wish some of that stuff was account bound, that would solve some of our problems!

      • Heh, I dunno, maybe making these things account-bound would make them less … ‘personal’. Not in the sense of meaning less to you, but meaning less to your character, thus making your characters less individual and more interchangeable. I have the Lil K.T. pet and even that doesn’t seem as fun as some of the more unique character-bound pets my priest has (worg pup ftw!).

        Maybe it depends on how you see your characters. Do you make up personalities for them, or are they simply avatars/costumes representing *you* in the world?

        Speaking of which, I need to spend more time learning the personality of a certain gnome priest…
        http://caerphoto.com/kandice/
        She likes fishing and farming, that’s for sure.

  2. Hey Vid,

    I feel your discomfort (that may not be accurate) with Retribution. I remember when I switched to it for my main spec for my guild, I felt like a monkey slapping at the keyboard and hoping that my procs, well, processed. But I promise you… as soon as you get the rhythm, it’s so easy. You’ve just got to be mindful of your lil bursty cooldowns; use them early, use them often. You can get 2 Av. Wrath/Zealotry phases before you Guardian cools down again, so DESTROY THINGS! <3

    • Hmm, yeah, I’m not sure if I expressed myself well. I actually find ret – surprisingly comfortable? I think it helps that I am always running dailies with it, but I could probably stand to practice more in a group play situation too. Probably the discomfort you read was with me being melee. I still try to cast a fireball at quest creatures, sometimes. Then I go, “Whoops.” But there’s always judgement plus dash of speed!

      • Haha! You know, I remember switching from Fire to Arcane… and loving it. I did pretty well as fire ( pre-raid, mind you. So I don’t really have much room to talk :-/ ) but Arcane is just so full of nuke winning.

        I also find ret a bit comfortable. When I tank, it’s a little chaotic (though I’m still much more comfortable with all the timings as protection) and as ret you only care about not being dead and not pulling threat. It’s such a relaxing role, haha.

  3. I don’t play a paladin, really. Actually, I do have a 85 holy/ret paladin, she’s just good for playing the AH while my main resto druid gets to do the good stuff: raiding.

    I wanted to comment on your feelings of switching to your “not so usual” spec and it is very refreshing isn’t it? I’m a main healer as a restoration druid with feral as my offspec, and on the occasion I’m put on dps duty, it is so much fun! My mindset can change quickly, but sometimes I forget to tear my eyes off the raid frames and refrain myself from calling out heals :)

    As a note…. you can always try BH to stay fresh on your retribution stills. Oh, that brings something else to mind…. always check to make sure your OS is up to date! I had just put in a new UI and was asked to dps for BH, “Sure, No problem,” I tell my raid as I morph into kitty. The pull starts right away and I looked down at my bar….. EVERYTHING IS STILL MY HEALING SPELLS. ‘Doh. I had to open my spell book on the fly and readjust my action bars. I still did decent dps, but, oh boy, that was not fun :P

  4. Just found your blog, so if you miss a few who leave for non-mage activity; you’ll gain the odd visitor.

  5. [...] be thankful for (both in and out of game) but I wasn’t feeling up to expressing it. I’d begun playing my paladin at the start of this tier because I felt that it was how I could best help the guild. I felt that it was best for the guild. [...]

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