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

Mage Revival

I don’t know if anyone else’s guild works like this, but ours seems to go in phases of popularity. I swear, for awhile there all I saw when I logged in was druids. Or paladins, druids, and warriors, which actually gave rise to the phrase “warrior warrior,” later adapted into “mage mage.” Anyway, I think it starts when someone has a lot of fun playing a class. Other people see the fun happening and think, “Wow, look at the fun they are having! I’ve never tried that class/I haven’t played my character of that class in awhile,” and suddenly the guild roster is positively awash in blue mage names.

I love it. People talk about leveling specs on the forums, gear levels, pugs giving us a hard time about when to use Time Warp (seriously, what IS it with this? When I am in a pug I’m just happy if all my fellow group members generally know where their keyboard is and are pressing buttons. I don’t ever give people crap about when they are going to use something like Time Warp, I’m just happy they know where that key is located and opted to press it. These people who get all bent out of shape because I used TW at the start of Jin’do must spend their lives angry because their expectations are pretty high. P.S. You don’t usually get TW at all on that fight because I’ll use it on Zanzil but absentmindedly forgot. WAY TO GO, MAGE). Anyway, I digressed a bit there, because my original point was:

1) Mages are awesome

2) Mages are contagious.

I’ve now been raiding as a mage again for several weeks, an endeavour that has not been without its minor mishaps but by and large has been awesome. Last night we beat our Baleroc record by a whopping one second so I feel that I contributed positively to that. Groups being held back don’t beat records, do they now?! There has definitely been a learning curve as I realized that I know very little about what DPSers are doing in most of these fights after healing them for months. It’s a good thing I’m not giving the fight explanations.

“So, um, on this one you’ve got to… I’ll be – Look, I’ll level with you, all I do is take a feather. I know that’s very important. And then I chase Voss around in circles. I look at the fire and make sure not to get hit by it. But mostly I see this green bar. It looks pretty much the same as it does on the other fights. So why don’t you just – I’ll be over here. The green bar and I.”

No, I’m not slighting healers. It’s just that I had to re-learn my role for DPSing, while at the same time growing accustomed to a new spec. Initially, gear was definitely holding me back because I was unwilling to relinquish my T11 4-set until I was able to get 4-set T12. Well, last night I got it, and raided for the first time! It was awesome. I’m almost at the same gear level now with Millya as I was with Vid; actually better because I got both a weapon and an off-hand last night. Three piece heroic tier gear in the amount of time I’ve been raiding is a bit ridiculous. Vid had one piece of heroic tier! I’m actually glad she didn’t have more and that I kept passing on stuff in favour of the other healer (I knew I’d be DPSing for H Rag anyway) so that when I switched it hardly mattered or affected anyone else’s gear level at all. But yea, verily did the loot gods look down upon Millya and smile, beam and begin to throw mage gear in her general direction. I know that doesn’t necessarily matter, but it is pretty nice. I’ve been fortunate.

Another story from the mage front; actually it requires some backstory first: One of our former raiders invited a work friend of his to play WoW, and so he joined our guild a few months back. He was completely new to the game, I think he’d played LoTRO or something but had never played WoW before. I seriously love him. He will ask questions like “I’m dueling this guy and he disappeared, how do I kill a guy like that?” (Freaking rogues, right?) Or he’ll say, “Hey, this Argent Tournament thing is pretty fun! Have you guys ever tried this?” (Oh, if only he knew). There’s something pretty awesome about knowing a person as they experience this game for the first time. We’re all so embroiled in the nuances, or jaded by the long grinds and hours we’ve poured into it, that sometimes I think it’s easy to lose sight of that magic – these “worlds we inhabit together,” as Metzen put it.

This guildie is level 84. It’s taken him a good long while to get there, and there’s no “end” in sight soon because he got distracted doing Loremaster (first of Outland, now I think he’s going back to do Kalimdor/Eastern Kingdoms). He’s not in any rush to “finish.” He’s just enjoying the journey and seeing what the world has to offer. He’s also the only one who laughed when I got the “My Sack is Gigantique” achievement the other day, so I love him for that too. (Come on, I spent 1000 G on that joke!) Anyway, so that’s to introduce you to my guildie, that’s the back story. The actual story is that I logged in yesterday and was running a dungeon as Millya (needed to get the last VP for those tier gloves!)

He said, “What are you up to?” and I told him, “Killing some trolls, taking their stuff,” (he laughed, how can I not love this guy?) and then he said, “You know I didn’t know that was an alt of yours.”

“Oh no? Actually, she is my MAIN!” I replied with great glee.

“Oh yeah,” he said, “I thought you were different people when you were playing Vid and Millya.” (Pause) “I always thought Millya was friendlier.”

I laughed and said I was sorry if I’d been a jerk when playing Vid, and he said no, you were nice, just Millya was friendlier. He’d clued into the connection between my characters when I asked Voss to make Millya the guild leader again the other day (so annoying not being able to do guild leader things on the appropriate character). So he had gone to work to ask our mutual friend if I was the same person. I had a good laugh relating this story to Voss, who just shrugged.

“Playing Millya makes you happy, so you’re friendlier.”

I don’t want to harp on about this, but Shintar mentioned that I had been a bit negative about Millya before switching. I tried to think back and remember this and I couldn’t (I know I could read blog entries, but I didn’t). What’s interesting about keeping a blog like this is that it’s highly filtered information. You only know as much about me as I choose to tell you, and also, I only tell you what I believe to be true. In other words, it’s possible for me to hide things from myself, convince myself something is true, or try very hard to convince anyone reading that something is true. What’s funny is that I’d written about “how playing my alt was hurting my raiding” only a few short weeks before I switched, and I’d been playing Millya non-stop (and loving it, honestly). I tried to spin it around and say “Oh well, I guess I was playing my alt for a reason!” but I’m afraid I lied – mostly to me, but by extension, to you guys.

We had an interesting thread on our private guild forums the other day where we talked about /played time and tallied up our totals for all to see. I liked it because it was interesting to see how much people have played (and which characters), but also because the inevitable, “I don’t know how I should feel about this number,” came up and there was no shaming, only agreement that we enjoy this game and have enjoyed those hours, too. I don’t tally up the time I spend reading or doing other hobbies and I don’t feel any guilt about those – why should I? As with WoW. So what was interesting about my numbers was that they were completely skewed. I’ve played 141 days as a mage. My next closest character doesn’t even come close, clocking in at a mere 50 (my druid) and poor Vid way behind at only 39 days played. I have played more as a mage than my other characters combined! My next closest character is almost 1/3 the time. I think that’s eloquent in itself.

The truth is, when we needed another healer, I sincerely felt I could help in that regard. I didn’t dislike playing a mage at all. The other other truth is, though, that I have sometimes been frustrated as a mage because I always feel I’m not as good as our other Super Mage, and that everyone is always comparing me to him (to my detriment). It’s tough to be in the shadow of someone you truly respect and you know is an exceptional player. I think that I’m a pretty good player, but not like he is. So there’s that. At the time, we also had our ridiculously good warlock and I was having a hard time keeping up with the two of them. It stung. I guess it was an ego thing. And I’ll be completely honest with you – I wanted to avoid the issue of The Legendary.

Fortunately, Dramawrath didn’t really cause any in our guild. At the time, I felt like an argument could have been made for either myself or our awesome mage, (who is indisputably an amazing DPS and also does a lot for the guild). Our shaman is also stupendous and ended up being second-in-line by virtue of guild seniority and steadiness. I hope we’re able to make one for him, too. He’s almost done with the cinders portion of the chain. I think I am no slouch of a DPS and I also do a lot for the guild. But I think it meant more to our other mage. (And I know he’s going to read this and if he’s reading it I want him to know this has nothing to do with you and everything to do with me. I wanted you to have this, and I still do. You deserve it.) He said to me when we talked about it that he would rather not have it, if it was going to cause drama. I couldn’t agree more. I have the kind of personality that unfortunately can be avoidant. Especially as a leader I have to consciously push myself to confront issues sometimes when I’d rather pretend they don’t exist – or maybe, when I’d rather just duck out of the way altogether, as I did when I switched to my paladin for one very specific tier.

I will admit, privately on the internet in front of everyone, there’s a part of me that’s a bit sad about the Dragonwrath. Caster legendaries don’t come along all the time, it’s a pretty neat thing to have, etc. etc. I was watching at Blizzcon when they announced that they would do a legendary staff, and I cheered so loudly. I see other folks getting theirs or read about their progress on blogs and I feel a slight pang. But I don’t regret my decision because I think having me as a healing paladin did help us in this tier. Yes, I missed playing my mage, and I am happy to play her again. Perhaps sometime during the next expansion I’ll see if I can solo any of Firelands and get an outdated Dragonwrath. The more essential thing, to me, though, is not Dragonwrath itself, and I’d actually like to invite you to think about that for a moment.

There are many Dragonwraths. Yes, it’s an “orange” item, but every raid group is making one (or more). Some raid groups will have several. It’s not Dragonwrath that matters at all. That staff is a visual representation of the teamwork and devotion of ten to thirty people. They painstakingly gathered all of those cinders, those embers, those shards, to put that together. I’m deliberately leaving out the “and then gave it to you” part here. Because in a way, that almost doesn’t matter. It’s an achievement that everyone can be proud of. That team work, that drive, it’s humbling and awesome. Braving the challenges of the Firelands night after night, through tension and tedium, elation and success, that is what’s truly legendary. I’m proud of the guild for doing it (we’re about one week away from completing it) and I couldn’t think of a better wielder of that honour. I’m really glad he will have it, and I’m also really glad to be a mage again (although it’s not like playing a paladin was bad). After all, I’m friendlier, which is probably a good thing!

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Comments on: "Mage Revival" (10)

  1. MAGE IS BEST CLASS.

    THAT IS ALL.

    (jibbi4life)

  2. Having a new player like that is so rare. I can’t remember meeting a brand new player other than in pug runs where I usually give tips on the dungeons or roles. It’s refreshing to be reminded you were that person once and how new the world looked to you.

    I recently rolled a new mage and have been enjoying it so far… could it be because of Millya? Haha. This will be my first cloth wearing toon that I’ve really enjoyed playing and it feels more natural than any other caster dps classes I’ve tried. I was just telling a guildie last night how much more awkward it is playing boomkin on my druid than playing my mage, and that I honestly enjoy my mage more.

    I think this is really indicative that I’m going to end up switching back from boomkin to kitty, because I just suck at playing boomkins and don’t enjoy it at all. I would be more of a hindrance as a boomkin than if I were a feral because I know that spec and play it better. I’m basically in the same boat you were in when you took Vid because your raid group needed a healer. Mine needs ranged, but we recently acquired a new lock and hunter so it may not be an issue anymore if I switch my offspec to feral, or god forbid, a resto spec for pvp :)

    Grats on loot, and good luck on H Rag! I’ll be working on him too and it looks like a nightmare….. (what endgame boss isn’t!?) /cheer

  3. People must be starting to finish Dragonwraths left and right by now — you, me, and Windsoar have all made posts about it on the same day!

  4. I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately, my “alter egos.” My poor tank girl has been sitting out for a bit–playing her is sometimes too much like my real life work, and while I can rock the real life stuff, it’s only because those humans around me are too scared or initimated to tell me otherwise, or love me too much — somewhere in the middle most of the time. Playing the healer–great when it works, stressful when it doesn’t– but my main girl, the shaman who never-says-stop-enhancement– gotta love that tenacity (pats self on back). What I read in this post is clearly “function” without the “dys.” That is a wonderful feeling no matter what world, and clearly you and your guild have it in spades!

  5. You covered a lot of ground in this post, and there’s a lot of it I want to respond to. Let’s see what I can remember while I type.
    First the idea that our blogs are really only artistic interpretations of our lives and gaming is a powerful admission. We all know this to some degree, but like you said, it’s possible to hide that from yourself sometimes. I’ve edited things many times to make them more honest (or less – more interesting, then, usually). I’ve reread some of my old stuff and wondered about whether or not my reporting on events was 100% accurate since I can barely recall the event that triggered it. It’d be very interesting for us to open our blog’s closet from time to time to let some skeletons out. I certainly enjoyed you doing so, even if it was a tiny, mostly friendly skeleton.

    As for class cycles, I think you’re mostly right, though I’m not sure “fun” is the most common motivator, though I’m sure in some cases it is. Numbers Envy is probably one, and is certainly why I did a mage as my “new” character when I was testing out Burning Blade. Necessity is another, as you pointed out with your healer. People who are more willing to fill empty roles will play virtually anything. Actually, I’ve just had a thought. I wonder if some people who speak out against alts do so because they don’t feel the tug of responsibility to fill other roles. That needs more thinking.

    New players are wonderful. I’m really enjoying playing with my new RL friends, doing some of the activities they hadn’t done much of before. Our first BGs were a real experience, and now the wife of the couple is chomping at the bit for blood while the husband, like me, feels a lot of the frustration of failure, which turns him off (as it does me after a losing streak). I’ve been able to show off some places and things that to veterans are no big deal, but still get ooohs and aahhhs from them. It’s nice to be able to see the awe that we’ve lost.

    As for the legendary, well. I don’t think my guild’s going to be making one, to be honest, but as for the mage in your guild getting it, I think his response says it all. Gear’s not that important, certainly not more important than bonds. My buddy and I have passed on things a lot to make that point, but some people still can’t get it. Seems like he does, which is a good place to start.

    Nice post!

  6. You know, you made me go back and reread those posts now, just to see what the wording really was. ;) It’s less explicit than I seemed to remember, but I can still see where my interpretation came from. Basically I read them as “I have to force myself to play my mage all the time to play better in raids, even though what I really want to do is gear up my paladin”, and “I’ve got an excuse to play my paladin in raids too, yay”. However, looking back at the same text now, with the knowledge of what you said in the last couple of weeks, I see the other side of it too: how the admission that you were switching to a paladin main didn’t actually sound that excited and there was indeed a lot of “it’s the best for the guild” going on. What can I say but, you really managed to convince me at the time!

  7. I hope you get to make your staff, or at least get started on it. :) I’m sure it’ll be pretty useful through 4.3, and spending a couple of hours to knock out FL to gather mats might be an easier way to get valor than dungeons?

  8. I think there’s something to the idea that class choices are contagious. My first toon was a hunter, but when I finally got him to 85 and got sick of playing him, my next toon was a druid. After I rolled my druid they started popping up like crazy in our guild, and then when our guild splintered and all the cool people came over to our new guild, you couldn’t spit without hitting a druid. We had four druids (one of every spec!) in our 10m Lich King kill last September. After the big druid binge it was prot paladins (OMG SO FUN), and now it’s resto shammies. I’ve since moved on to playing a disco priest, so we’re inevitably in for a disco priest invasion shortly…

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