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

Just over a week ago now, Canadians were preparing for our version of stuffing ourselves silly and being thankful about it. Thanksgiving! (Yes, it’s the same holiday as in the U.S. pretty much, except ours is a little earlier). We’d acquired a turkey, friends were due to arrive, and as with any major holiday – I happily took a welcome excuse to do some baking. The centerpiece of my endeavour was to be pumpkin cupcakes. Voss, who doesn’t especially like pumpkin, asked if I could perhaps bake something else on the side for him. Some cookies, maybe? (Insert big pleading eyes here.) Chocolate chip cookies, maybe? It doesn’t usually take much to get me to do more baking, so of course I agreed.

And here I paused. For years now, I’ve been experimenting with lower fat baking. It’s possible to do and still have recipes taste good. My low-fat chocolate chip cookies are pretty decent – but they tend to be a bit harder, definitely “dippers.” You have to be so careful with the dough not to overmix it. I hesitated. Did I want to make the “healthy” recipe – or did I want to go back to my tried-and-true?

I haven’t made this recipe in years. It was faithfully copied from my Mom’s recipes when I first moved away from home a decade ago. I looked at that recipe, carefully written out. It has twice as much butter as the other recipe. I know they aren’t as “healthy” (if any cookies can be considered healthy). The thing is, butter serves a specific role in baking, just like all the other ingredients do. It helps with texture, establishing both moisture and crispness. It’s possible to make things with much less of it (I hardly use it at all in “regular” cooking) but in baking it’s a tough thing to do away with.

I made my Mom’s recipe. They weren’t as pretty to behold as their low-fat counterparts. I watched them cooling on the rack a bit uncertainly – they’d flattened out more than I’d expected. I wasn’t sure how they were going to be.

I took one bite of that first cookie and the taste of it exploded in my mouth. It tasted of a hundred happy moments mixing with my Mom, adding vanilla, adding eggs. It tasted of licking the beaters of the electric mixer (raw egg be damned! I came through childhood just fine). It tasted of the time that our old, long-departed cocker spaniel opened a container of cookies and helped himself (one by one, at his leisure!) It tasted of home. It just tasted right, and in that moment I didn’t care that the cookies had twice as much butter as the other kind. They were perfect.

I have to admit, I’d been having a tough time getting into the Thanksgiving mood. For awhile now, I’ve been labouring under an indecisive funk. I wrote all about how I felt playing retribution all the time. I’d even planned to write a “Thanksgiving” Warcraft post that never materialized because I just felt like I was going through the motions. The thing is, I have a lot to 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. What I didn’t consider deeply enough was whether it was what would be best for me.

For years, I’ve been making chocolate chip cookies as a treat that are “better for me,” but they aren’t RIGHT. I’d rather eat them half as often but enjoy them twice as much. Or actually, what I’m trying to say – in an extremely roundabout and cookie-based way – is that last week, I took Millya into Firelands for the first time. (It’s appropriate if mage metaphors include baking, you know).

The first raid, I was really nervous and I definitely didn’t play my best. There’s an element of wanting to “prove I’ve still got it,” and focusing on that led to a few bonehead maneuvers. But it was okay. The second raid, I was feeling more comfortable, and I really let myself exult in the feeling. I love being a mage. I love everything about it. I love blink, I love firing spells off like a deadly turret, I love conjuring cakes for everyone and seeing my mirror images sprinting all over the place and even my stupid flame orb wandering off on its own to explode and attack, seemingly, nothing. I love my serious little goat woman and her wild hair and earnest horns. I love wearing a dress. I’m crazy about it. I always have been. I missed it when I was a priest, and a druid, and now a paladin. I missed it because it was the right thing for me to be and I never should have lost sight of that.

“You always preferred your mage,” a few guildies have told me gently. I’ve received more than one whisper from people saying they’re happy to see my mage again, and that it feels “good” to have me be a mage. It does feel damn good. I am still feeling pangs of guilt, as our discussions about two versus three healing came to an uneasy commitment, and I know that me leaving that team leaves us one healer down and bloats the DPS roster. If we need to, we’ll have to recruit another healer in the next tier. It is selfish of me – I’ve admitted I was wrong to switch characters. Not because I can’t do it. I think I was a pretty good paladin, and a pretty good healer. But it’s not what I love the most, not like my esteemed paladin friends – who live and die on paladin news and are really, some of the best folks I know. I was proud to be among them, and it has nothing to do with the class. I don’t want to attribute too much meaning to a video game, or a virtual persona, but there is a thin line between what you play and who you are.

I don’t want to have to write another entry like this in one tier, or two. No matter how much I think “I could help out” as a healer, I shouldn’t do it. When I stepped into that second raid, my eyes actually momentarily stung, I was so happy. The familiar sensation rolled over my finger tips as I spammed two like my life depended on it. This character is home. I regret the inconvenience it causes my guild and my guildies, but I need to be selfish about this. It was silly of me to think I could be as happy playing anything else. Every time I’ve switched has been to try and fill a niche or role we’re lacking, but I’m no good to anyone if I’m playing something but secretly and sadly miserable. Thursday’s raid was an absolute blast, and I don’t know if it’s because good moods are infectious or what but it felt like everyone had a better time. We have a secret paladin turned warlock going back to his paladin and I think he’s as happy as I am to trade his robes for plate. (He probably didn’t tear up about it because he’s far too stalwart for that, but I’ll bet he sang a song). I remember that this is the right thing to do every time I wonder what reputation grind I need to be working on (re-doing) now and then I remember, I don’t need to be re-doing any of them because I’ve already done them. This is my main we’re talking about. I’m baaaaack.

Oh, and P.S. – The cookies are going to be a rare and occasional treat, but when I make them, you better believe I’m going to make my Mom’s version.

P.P.S. – I used eight images in this blog post, but I probably had twice that many I could have used. More evidence.

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Comments on: "Revelations (That Are Not Actually About Cookies)" (29)

  1. WHELP ON HEAD!

    Also, I am so glad to hear that you went back to your mage.

    Play what makes you happy!

  2. I’m so glad you’re back on your Mage! It sounds like everyone (yourself included) will be much happier in the long run. The wow blogosphere needs a new Mage writer (hint!). ;)

    Having to two heal encounters sucks but is necessary at times, unfortunately. I think you made the right call switching to your Mage to DPS rather than your paladin. Bonus: ranged dps too!

    (btw: I sent you an email with the post, not sure if you got it?)

    I also had a great thanksgiving too- I was so full I thought I was going to throw up.

    • Yeah! I actually have a draft started, my hard drive crashed over the weekend and I spent Sun-Mon getting a new one, reinstalling OS, trying to get all my programs again, etc. A huge pain. I liked your post though!

  3. And this is why I never play what’s most useful for other people. :)
    I still reroll a bucket load though. I think I’m a Shadow Priest at the moment? Hate the playstyle though! I need to be a Mage or a Warlock methinks.

    • That is a wise policy. I know that like me, you still struggle with the “achievements/pets/blah” thing too. What happens when your playstyle doesn’t match your ‘main’? Which can unfortunately happen. :(

  4. I absolutely know how you feel here, and I’m very happy for you that you got to go back to what you enjoy best. As someone who tried to swap to a feral tank at the beginning of Wrath as well as to a playing fulltime as Holy in Cataclysm, there’s really no feeling like the one you get when you’re able to play what you’re most comfortable on, what fits you pretty much like a comfortable hoodie.

    I can play other things here and there, but at the end of the day I’m always going to be my crazy space goat lady with big goggles and a penchant for bonking things with a shield.

  5. “I’ve admitted I was wrong to switch characters. Not because I can’t do it. I think I was a pretty good paladin, and a pretty good healer. But it’s not what I love the most, not like my esteemed paladin friends – who live and die on paladin news and are really, some of the best folks I know.”

    We’re not called Acquaintanceadins for a reason. *Of course* we’re awesome.

    You weren’t “wrong” to switch characters. You made a change for the good of the raid, and it ended up not being something you were able to stick with indefinitely. It was done for the right reasons, and you toughed it out as long as you could, but it wasn’t a perfect match. There’s no shame in trying.

    You’ve realized that you should play what you enjoy playing. That’s a lesson worth learning. You’ll never have to look back and wonder if things would have gone better if you had been willing to make a change for the raid, or if you’d enjoy something more than the mage. Instead of kicking yourself over making the wrong decision, or regretting not sticking with your mage, you should be patting yourself on the back for trying so hard to help out.

  6. Oh, and make sure that if you do pick up a new healer, it’s someone who enjoys playing their offspec. :P

  7. While sad to lose a paladin comrade, you sound positively giddy. And that’s an awesome thing. I know the end of this tier of content is hard and challenging and soul-draining (and not in the warlock sense of the words) and if you can be HAPPY with what you’re playing, I imagine it might not take quite as much out of you as it would otherwise. So good for you and I will smack you upside the head from two timezones away if you think of switching again. ;)

    Your post made me think about how my guild has enough healers at the moment, but we’re looking for a hunter. For the first time this expansion, I have the opportunity to raid as Kurn — if I did a lot of work to gear Kurn up appropriately.

    While part of me thinks “oh, I could totally do that!!! And it would be better for the guild if I JUST stuck to raid leading as a DPS and handed healing lead off to someone else and if someone’s life wasn’t in my hands while I call something out on Mumble!!!”, the other part of me realizes (somewhat sadly) that while it would be like coming home on Kurn, I haven’t raided current content as a hunter seriously, on a long-term basis, since Vanilla. Sure, I stepped in to SSC and even BT on the hunter in BC, just to help out on a couple fights when we were short DPS, and sure, I cleared ICC 10, at least, on my hunter in WotLK. But I’m too far removed now to think about swapping things up remotely seriously.

    It doesn’t mean that Kurn’s not still my main, at least to me, but it means that my own comfort level wouldn’t be anywhere near where it should be to be a competitive DPS right now, whereas my healing comfort is exactly where it should be. While there would be pros and cons to doing it, both personally and for the guild, it ultimately comes down to where I feel I can make the biggest difference for my guild, and I think it’s as a healer and healing lead and maybe, if I wanted to give up one of the two roles (RL and healing lead) that I play in a raid, maybe it should be raid leader instead of healing lead.

    Reading “who live and die on paladin news” brought it into focus for me a bit more. I DO that. I don’t know if it’s out of habit or what, but I ate, slept and breathed paladin news during Cata’s beta and even today, I wrote up a post about the potential WoG nerf (which, as it turns out, was merely an oversight).

    Totally love my hunter, still feel good on my hunter… but I’m so much more competent and invested on the paladin that a switch for me would be a very bad idea.

    Thank you for the post and I’m really, really pleased to hear how happy you are to be pewpewing away once again. :)

  8. The familiar sensation rolled over my finger tips as I spammed two like my life depended on it.

    It sounds so good to have you talking like this again, Vid. Making jokes about your class is a good sign that you’re doing the right thing. Because, really, didn’t you miss spamming the 2 button? :)

    • I’m actually regretting the Razer keyboard I got (mechanical) because it makes it a bit more physically demanding to spam two. ;) Really, though, I embrace the two! An old DPS buddy of mine used to call it “the zen of two.” I look askance at DPS who do NOT have their primary nuke bound to two.

      (But, yes. I missed it, I really did).

      • Glad to hear that you did the right thing. :-)

        Also, my primary nuke/attack is R on all my characters. :-/

      • Glad to see the happy Vid back… and now I want those cookies – and I’m a savories man!

        My primary nuke is always on 3, rather than 2. But that is because 2 is where taunt always sits – so it is usually a ‘need to get access to it quick support role button’ – so it’s cleanse on my holy pally.

      • I accept donations, if you’re having issues with that keyboard.

        The light-up keys would be great at 4 AM.

      • Imakulata said:

        I had a nice moment of misunderstanding there.

        Reading Cynwise’s post… Hm, an arcane mage joke? Also, shouldn’t it be “spamming two buttons”?

        Vidyala’s post… Oh, so she has the main nuke actually bound to two buttons? Reminds me of Ragnarok Online where some people actually had potions (which didn’t have a cooldown like in WoW) bound to two buttons so they could spam them faster but why would someone do it in a game with 1.5s GCD limiting the speed?

        Gameldar’s post… So it was actually not a typo? I. e. the button “two” instead of two buttons? Blimey… (I used to have fillers on 2/3 but since I bought Razer Naga, I moved my “oh noes” buttons from ~/1 and the rest of keybindings were moved left so I use those two for my filler/DD spells in DPS specs.)

  9. I am glad you went back to your mage. If it makes you happy. Then do so . We shouldnt have to stick to one said class. Sure we help our guild the best we can but in the end what makes raids feel a lot less like thankless jobs is playing the class we love.

    With that said, I cant wait for the fire mage upgrades they are doing… But i know now that i would play the fire mage regardlessly because i just find it so much fun and relaxing.

    Have fun in blizzcon Vid :D /hugs

  10. I felt the same way when I was able to start raiding with Kamalia as my main again in Cataclysm after having raided ICC with my boomkin. I’m glad that you’ve been able to switch back to your true at-heart main again. :D

    I’ve long been of the opinion that when it comes to homemade cookies and other baked goods, “healthy” and “dessert/treat” don’t belong together. In my mind, it’s far better to really, truly enjoy the full-fat, full-sugar version made occasionally than to try to convince myself that I’m satisfied with the reduced version made often.

    Can we see the rest of your Millya pictures sometime, please?

  11. Sometimes you just need to say, screw what’s best for everyone else, I want the cookie that I love. I’m really glad that you made the decision that was right for *you* because I know it can be hard to stand in front of your guildmates and go “hai guyz, I can’t suffer for you” even when you really *want* to.

  12. It’s the freckles.

    Just sayin’…..

  13. YAY!!!

    Welcome back to magehood. They’re BUFFING us next patch, it’s gonna be exciting.

    I’m about to go fly on Alysrazor now. OMG it’s SO MUCH FUN.

    I look forward to more posts.

  14. Have only did to say, although I suspect you know already: you did the right thing. *Everything* that we do id part of who we are, so why shouldn’t you express yourself freely in your hobby?
    I approve the return to Millya wholeheartdly. :D

  15. […] doesn’t have anything to do with what I find fun. It isn’t a case of just being in the wrong role for me. I like both the roles, I think I could probably execute both quite well. But […]

  16. I’m glad you’re happy. :)

    I think you might be selling little Vidyala a little short in this post though. Just before you made the switch I seem to remember a couple of posts about how mage-ing was stressing you out and how you were effectively spending most of your time on your pally anyway because it was so much more fun at the time… so I don’t think it was “just” because you wanted to do what’s best for your guild.

    I suppose the lesson here is that there’s a fine line between needing a bit of a break from playing your main and actually wanting to switch mains for good.

  17. Totally agree that you should do what’s best for you. I’m happy for you … and, admittedly, happy for myself as well if it means that Adgamorix will be playing on and blogging about his paladin again. ;)

    I do miss my mage at times but … when I do go back to one for a little while, it quickly becomes obvious that healing on a paladin is in fact *right* for me. (partly evidenced by the fact that I have .. um .. 5 of them now that are holy?) Too bad it took me three mains to figure that out. heh.

  18. Lovely post. I’m very glad for you that you found out what you really enjoy, and are going back to it.

    But!

    I want to know the rest of the cookie story–did the buttery cookies send Voss into cookiegasms?

    And the second sketch (charcoal) is my very favorite. So pretty!

  19. […] was reading Vidyala’s post about returning to her mage, and Cynwise’s post about losing the desire to play the warlock […]

  20. As cynwise stated previous posterous doesn’t do tracebacks! So here is my manual version:

    http://gameldar.posterous.com/character-player-identity-and-community

  21. […] instinct is to spell it like the onion, sorry, Vid) on the day that she posted that she had started raiding as a mage again, because that was what she wanted to do. It seems hypocritical of me to say that I admire and […]

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