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

Posts tagged ‘paladin’

There’s Only One Way to Spell Heals

In Cataclysm, it’s been pretty firmly established that I am playing a mage (primarily) and my Holy paladin is my real secondary character. I have a group of lesser-played alts, none of which have hit 85 yet. It allows me to experience different aspects of the game as it suits my mood. Now that Millya doesn’t need anything from instances, I make sure to pug a heroic as a healer pretty regularly. I’ve also been driving myself crazy trying to get this trinket for Vid but we won’t talk about that. Oh no. I did a whole stint of archaeology over the holiday weekend until I just couldn’t take it anymore and I needed a break.

Then I started queuing for battlegrounds with my guildie Fsob. It’s been a fun experience, I haven’t PvPed with any regularity in ages. And of course, I used to do it primarily as a mage. It’s fun to be able to keep your team mates alive while they kill the other team. Going back into battlegrounds I’ve discovered a few things.

People don’t really change. I’d forgotten about the NERD RAGE that PvP seems to inspire in people. Usually at least once per battle (no matter how well the battle is going for our side) someone is raging in bg chat. “Why are you noobs fighting in the ****ing middle?” and “Way to go you ****,” is pretty much the order of the day. You have to either completely ignore what the people are saying (apart from when they’re calling incoming people) or just maintain a thick skin where nothing anybody says will bother you.

BGing with a friend (or friends) makes for insurmountable fun. When I BG alone as a healer, I usually try to pick a competent looking DPS and stick with them as best I can. The problem is, it’s often a crap shoot as to whether that person notices or cares about what I’m doing, so it often led to frustration on my part. I don’t have this problem when I’m playing (quite literally) someone’s pocket healer. Thanks to slowfall and a chopper I stuck to Fsob like glue and we’d soar off cliffs and rumble down the road, being a pretty devastating team. We used Vent/Mumble (yes, we’re currently sort of in-between on these) to communicate things quickly, like “This rogue is all over me,” or “I’m sheeping the paladin.” It was seriously awesome good times.

PvP can’t get stale the same way PvE sometimes can. At one point we were guarding the flag at Farm in Arathi Basin. There was a warlock on the Horde-side named “Puzzler.” He was a real puzzler, because he charged up to where the three of us were – all by himself, and we killed him in about five seconds. In just about the time it took him to rez and run back, he did this again. Initially we just thought he was a bit slow, but then we realized he was a bot. He’d always run up to the same spot, dismount and begin casting the same spell rotation (shortly before we killed him). It occurred to me that he might as well be an NPC or “mob” instead of someone PvPing, and the difference was incredible. In an environment that changes depending on the players, he was completely static and that made him a joke. He was like a PvE encounter. “The boss will do this at x percent of his health, or he’ll begin to channel this spell.” Sure, real bosses have more RNG. But a real player doesn’t move like that, either. And even if you’ve been in the same BG a hundred times, the people there with you will never be the exact same twice! That’s pretty neat. (a.k.a. this is the stuff I think about while I’m standing at Farm).

In one WSG match, the only people to successfully return the flag (twice) were the two of us. I didn’t know flag running could be so much fun! I think Fsob agreed at least partially, because he said, “This is so much easier with a healer!”

I’m actually trying to adapt my healing to suit a BG as we keep practicing. The nice thing is (from what I can tell) a PvP healing spec and a PvE healing spec really aren’t that different. I ran into a few holy paladins that were obviously great BG healers so I had a look at what they were casting. I still need a good PvP trinket, and I’m pretty sure that PvP gear will help me. Anyway, one thing is for sure, I will be doing this again. I’m going to have to dust off Millya’s PvP set as well and maybe do more mage PvPing. The thing is, it’s not as unique. You can hardly move in a BG for tripping over six water elementals. Yes, I like to be a special snowflake, and I’m okay with that. I’ll be sure to update as we proceed – I might even try arena, something I did for a mere evening back in Wrath. With any luck I’d run into other people with as little clue as I have, and less clue than my arena partner might have. How badly could it go, right?

I don't have a screenshot actually relevant to this post content, because when I'm BG healing it sounds something like, "Oh no, okay, oh what the heck, OH GOD, DON'T DIE." You can imagine it doesn't leave much time for screenshots.

Other minor highlights:

An orc shaman named Mooches that charges up to us at Stables on a Kodo and is promptly annihilated. I see the emote, “Mooches thanks you.”

“What the heck?” I said in Vent. “Why did that orc thank me?” Then I looked closer – I was sporting a pair of bunny ears. I’d forgotten about those achievements! He must have needed a draenei paladin and was just thanking me for being me. Well, I’m okay with that. We saw him again later and I thought we were friends now so I blew him a kiss but he tried to kill me anyway. It seems that what we had wasn’t special after all.

*

I see, “Masterbait has assaulted the Gold Mine!”

“You know, that guy is on our team,” I remark.

“Classy,” Fsob replies. Several minutes later:

“Fsob. I’m healing ‘Masterbait.’”

“You might not want to do that.”

*

“OH MY GOD what are there, eight of them? They’re all killing me!”

“Every single one I’ve targeted has been targeting you, haha.”

*

Facing down an inexorable Tauren paladin in WSG:

“This paladin really, really wants to kill me. Like really badly.” I kited him around the Alliance flag room, back down the corridor, back up the corridor, I bubbled, other people attacked him, he bubbled, he was slowed – and the whole time he just charged on towards me in slow motion. I healed myself, I fled. The whole thing felt like it went on about five minutes. “Seriously, he is STILL TRYING TO KILL ME. Why – won’t – you – just – DIE?” Eventually someone got him from behind and he collapsed at my feet. “FINALLY.” He put up a good fight, though, and he nearly got me several times. Then Fsob stole his wings. Poor Tauren paladin, you put up a good fight!

*

A warrior named “Sniggaz” is raging in raid chat. “CAN WE GET A HEALZ TO LM I’M TRYING TO GET WRECKING BALL.” He continues on for the next few minutes.
“WHERE ARE THE FING HEALZ.”

“I’m not going to be healing him.”

“Really? But he asked for healz. With a ‘Z.’”

“I’m not specced for those. I only give out grammatically correct heals.”

Character Hierarchy: Who’s the boss?

I’m always interested in discussions about which character people consider their ‘main.’ I know people who have two mains, one they raid with and one that is their achievement/collector. Is your main your oldest character? The one you love the most? If you’re an RPer, perhaps it’s the character whose story you are most invested in. Changing mains can lead to mixed feelings and even a confusion of identity. I know it sounds dramatic, but it’s true! My friend Rades has been playing his death knight character primarily since he was unhappy with the hunter changes, but his identity in the WoW community is still pretty strongly a burly green hunter. After all, his blog is called Orcish Army Knife.

Millya's (and my!) first raid ever. I love this screenshot; I can feel the tension I felt at the time being told "Go stand here," while we waited to pull - and to me Millya looks as if she feels the same way. (p.s. Spellfire set and PvP staff, so retro).

I remembered being flat-out shocked when Wrath came out that people would change “mains” at this time. This was naivete on my part, to the tune of, “But you are a priest, how could you level your druid first?” Plenty of people I know switched characters at the beginning of Wrath (from a bear to a paladin! from a priest to a druid! from a hunter to a death knight!) I had to reconcile myself to the fact that people won’t stay the characters you expect them to stay. The death knight was especially rough because we had to wait for him to catch up to us at max level. The new expansion was a valuable experience, though, because when Cataclysm was coming out I knew to expect it and I started the conversation in-guild really early: Who are you going to want to be playing in Cataclysm? Several people seized on that opportunity, and of course now I understand at least partly why. If you are dissatisfied with your class or just want something new, nothing levels the playing field like the gear reset at a new expansion.

I’m continually surprised by how even when you think your main is clearly defined, other characters can sneak up in the rankings and even dethrone the long-time king or queen. Unexpectedly during Wrath, I dropped all of my max-level characters to play Shaedra – a character who was level forty when I was raiding Naxxramas turned out to be the healer I brought into Ulduar. I really fell in love with being a druid, and the character herself (as I was still on an RP server at the time) was a ridiculous amount of fun to play. Her personality was outrageous and she made people laugh, and I think that was a large part of why she became my “main.”

I took many screenshots of Shae because she was fun to photograph. She's posing here with what was actually a feral staff from Ulduar but it looked so neat I used it for screenshots.

As a confirmed altoholic, I have to admit that there’s always a certain shuffle going on with my characters. I had to play a healer because of raid group requirements, and I found that at the time I preferred to be a druid. I’ve since done this several more times. I remember one of my RLs famously remarking, “You can bring anything you want! But, can you bring a healer?” (Sorry, Saif!) It’s not that I didn’t enjoy healing, but at the time I had an awesome partner. It was fun to rock through Naxx with my druid buddy, two-healing everything. We were a great team.

My later experiences with Shae in Ulduar didn’t really match up with that. No one else in our group wanted to/was in a position to heal, so every week we’d be pugging again. There was the priest who asked whether I was a guy or a girl on Vent (okay, I know I don’t have a high-pitched voice, but I think I still SOUND like a woman), there were healers who would DC, there were healers who clearly had no idea what the heck they were doing. In one week’s run, I did sixty percent of the healing, the other healer did twenty (twenty!) and the rest of it came from other sources. On the one hand, it’s kind of fun to feel superhuman. On the other, I’d finish each raid with a crazy tension headache and started bursting into tears for no reason. This is when we realized that we were not succeeding at running a raid group, and I was burned out on being a healer.

My poor Holy priest, she is the epitome of "Always a bridesmaid, never a bride." I have since race-changed her to be a draenei and she really doesn't have a story of her own.

So, I was happy to begin raiding as a mage again when I server transferred and moved to Business Time! They needed a mage. I had kept Millya’s gear at around T9 level because I can’t bear to let my beloved characters languish. BT didn’t really need a warrior but they accepted Voss grudgingly on my good merit (and conjured cakes). The truth is, I played a healer because a healer was needed, but I’m not sure any character was ever my true “main.” They are powerful second-string characters and sometimes I play them, but for me, there’s only really one true main.

Millya's triumphant return to Ulduar hard-modes - i was absolutely floored by some of the scenery in later Ulduar. Please ignore the fact that she is wearing pants, something that would never, ever happen if she had a say in it.

My screenshots folder tells the tale. As I rummaged through looking for good shots of all my characters, I saw the amount of documenting I had done for my behooved spellslinger. There are shots of her in every raid instance, dinging level 70, level 80 – learning how to polymorph people into pigs and wearing the worst Burning Crusade fashion choices. In a way, she’s my least exciting roleplay character because she is me. My other characters are often fun because I deliberately try to make them different – an outspoken booze hound/hedonist, a determined inventor, etc. She’s a bookish intellectual with a temper – not really my most creative decision given my personality. This doesn’t mean I never get confused about the main/alt issue. As recently as this week I’ve thought about playing one of my healing characters because it’s what the raid group needs. This time, fortunately, I faced up to the reality that even if I did it “for the good of the group” I would always miss her. If mages had a healing spec (a la Rift) I would not hesitate! I would chloromance the heck out of my raid group. But that’s not an option.

My feelings towards individual characters is a shifting thing. I haven’t been as excited about Shae since she is no longer a happy tree healer. It’s sad, but true. She’s languishing at level 83. Vidyala became such a favourite that I seriously considered playing her in Cataclysm, but she never quite made it. She is the queen of pugs and possibly an eventual alt run, but she isn’t my main.

Vid-on-ice. Or is that in ice? Anyway, you all know the fight. I guess my pathetic magic had betrayed me.

She is my top pick for when we’re branching out into alt-territory, though! This tier of raiding doesn’t seem very pug-friendly so I’m not sure how much raiding she’ll do, and I’m okay with that. I don’t have time to maintain two “complete” characters. Besides, if I weren’t running LFD pugs, how would I get crazy pug stories to write blog posts about?

Fireballing M.A.G.E.

I knew that when I felt a rush of relief at not having to switch characters to fill a healing slot that it was the RIGHT decision. I don’t want to not be a mage! I don’t know if it’s the class so much as Millya herself. If I could change her class and keep my mounts, titles, and achievements, I might consider changing her to a priest. Barring that, I don’t see it happening. Incidentally, I’ve heard that they are introducing the option to rearrange your characters on the character screen and I am so happy about this. It’s actually okay because Millya is at the top – I deleted my 58 Death Knight just so that she would be at the top. I don’t know why, I am OCD about some things. Now I will be able to put seldom-played alts at the bottom and arrange my other characters in the true pecking order.

How about you? Do you have one main forever? Did you find yourself switching when you least expected it? And why does your main hold the title?

Hello, Paladins.

Hello, Paladins.
Look at your guild tag,
Now back to me.
Now back at your guild tag,
Now back to me.
Sadly, it isn’t the same as mine.

<Business Time>

But it could be if you were ready to put on business socks and apply to mine.
Look down, back up!
Where are you? You’re in a raid instance with the guild your guild could be.
What’s in your hand? Back at me. I have it!
It’s a calendar with an invite to the raid you love.
Look again, the invite is now spellpower plate we’ve been disenchanting.

Anything is possible when your guild wears business socks. (I’m on a pally horse).

Sadly, I forgot to take a better horse screenshot before my horse became an Elekk. (See how easily things become other things around here?)

More plainly, you’ve all heard about my guild. We’re a guild that’s been strict ten since ages ago (April 2009). We’re almost two years old now! We finished out Wrath by achieving Bane of the Fallen King after getting our Frostbrood drakes back on June 1st. We’re currently 10/12 with available content (Al’akir, Nefarian remaining) and will be heading into heroic modes over the coming weeks. We are based on Moonrunner US (PvE, PST) and we raid Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6-9 PM PST.

In a nutshell, we are a tight-knit, small group of adults dedicated to progression raiding on a schedule that actually works with people’s lives. Our members have jobs and other things they are doing, so we pull at start time and not a moment later (or else Voss’ head explodes). When we raid we’re serious about it (I’m really trying hard to avoid making another Flight of the Conchords joke here, so just bear with me). Thanks to incredible stability and very low member turnover, our roster is almost the same now as it was a year ago – no mean feat, I think! The commitment of our members is itself a testamony – BT folks tend to stick around, and we like it that way. We don’t have roster openings very often.

Unfortunately, real life stuff (happy real life stuff such as getting engaged and moving!) is going to be claiming our holy priest in the next while and we’re going to need another dedicated healer (a solid off-spec wouldn’t hurt, either, but we’re primarily looking for a holy paladin.) I’m hoping that since my original blog seemed to attract many awesome holy paladins interested in watching the noob flounder cheering me on, that perhaps some of you still read and might be looking for a great guild. Our current healing roster has two restoration druids, a restoration shaman and a holy priest – so we’ve got no paladin in this role at all. We think a paladin would be just perfect (although if we don’t have luck finding one we might consider a different healing class).

If you have any questions feel free to ask them here, on our website, or you could drop me a line via Twitter or my e-mail (puggingpally AT gmail DOT com). And if you aren’t looking for a guild but you have a friend who might be, please consider spreading the word! I appreciate any mentions or links immensely.

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