Friday, July 16, 2010

Why I'll always be a druid. (Part 2: Maybe I can't tank)

Part 1 here if you missed it.

I vividly remember when I first zoned into ramparts as a tank. After buffing up, I remember popping into bear form and seeing the number 10,000. A one with 4 zeros after it in my own character portrait. Just a moment of awe. It's just a fun memory, a happy memory. I might even have a screenshot buried somewhere if I dig around. I wish I could say I remember much more about the run, frankly I don't, it was probably smooth sailing I'm guessing or else I'd remember, or possibly it was so bad that I've just blocked it out of my memory.

I wish I had recorded more of my experiences leveling as a feral druid. I remember it being fun, the most fun I'd ever had leveling. You just feel so incredibly versatile as a druid leveling. For me leveling as feral was one of those experiences where I was amazed with each passing level with how much I could accomplish, and let me remind you this was pre-heirloom!

It was a difficult thing switching my main when WotLK was first released. I didn't want to give up on my mage, I really felt like I was giving up on the class and it felt shameful, but I simply couldn't help myself. I loved my druid leveling up, I loved the very little tanking I got to do at 70 and even the arenas that I ended up doing as Resto. The class just appealed to me, it was a fresh look at the game and I made the decision to level my druid first as my new main, I still leveled my mage to 80, but I've never looked back.

I had a great leveling experience in WotLK, and it's probably attributed to leveling with my significant other. She was a long time paladin, trying her hand at being a mage, and I was a long time mage trying out a druid, it was quite literally a brand new game for the both of us. It was clear once we hit 80 that she was going back to her paladin, but for me I had one more test to determine if I was cut out for this whole druid thing.

Our very first heroic. We spent some time getting together gear and prepping ourselves for the first of many new WotLK heroics. At first it wasn't immediately clear where we should start, unfortunately for me (and my tank ego), we foolishly chose Azjol-Nerub. Logically it made sense to try this first. It was one of the easier regular 5 mans leveling up - incredibly quick, and very little trash. Not so much on heroic. If you get a chance go read some of the older posts on Wowhead. You will find much of the same in terms of people surprised how much different regular was compared to the heroic version.

Well we never killed the first boss. We never even got to attempt the first boss. We wiped, and wiped, and wiped some more on the three "scripted" pulls right before the first boss. Never got pass. Why? Here's what I remember.

I was taking an enormous amount of damage, it was the squishy I've ever felt as a druid. I also couldn't manage to keep aggro on anything, especially those dreaded Skirmishers. It was new to everyone being relatively early to the release of the expansion and we simply couldn't do it. What a terrible feeling. I felt completely defeated.

I really started to second guess myself and my choice to switch my main. I had been so comfortable with my mage and I all of a sudden felt very lost. Obviously I didn't give up though, I stuck it out and after a few days of laying low and refusing to tank anything we tried out a few different heroics with completely different outcomes, and it was most certainly a relief.

In terms of wow experiences, does anything come close to accomplishing something you weren't really sure you could? It's something that's true in real life as well. A little uncertainty in yourself is just part of human nature, not everyone is 100% sure of themselves all the time, right?

There have been so many different triumphs going forward as a tank and more specifically as a druid since my first WotLK tank experience.

Time for some descriptive writing..this should be interesting...=P

I'm standing there in thick reinforced leather - tufts of fur, two horns, and hoofs are all that's visible underneath the heavy armor. The weapon slung across my back weighs three times as much as the rogue standing beside me. My blood-thirsty comrades desire to inflict pain on the enormous dragon a couple hundred yards away grows to the breaking point. The dragon is patient and ominous; incredibly confident, it's many times larger than any of the approaching raid team. It's seen so many groups come and go, none of them worthy opponents. It's wings rise up and spread out doubling it's height and casting a shadow over the whole party.

As I look at my friends, I call upon my strong ties to nature to empower those around me - marking them with the strength of wild unstoppable nature. I look down at my own armor and enchant myself with natures barbed wire, thorns protrude from my armor. The dragon looks on with subtle curiosity.

I get a signal from the raid leader, just a simple nod of his head, it's time.It only takes the blink of an eye, but the sensation is indescribable. It starts deep in my heart, a transformation like no other. Thicker and stronger, heavier beats, way more blood. It spreads so fast, everything following in a similar manner. Physical reinforcements, ferocity, and a deep deep connection to nature overwhelm me. Quicker than it started it's complete. I'm standing on four heavily padded and incredibly sharply clawed paws! My breathing is heavier, but efficient. My desire to attack becomes overwhelming and rage starts to slowly raise. I'm an animal now, I've retained all of my previous battle experience and abilities but have taken on a whole new set as well. It feels so natural, I take one last glance around then fix my eyes back on the dragon.

It's eyes lock with mine. This is certainly different it thinks to itself. No more heavy armor or giant staff, and this is laughable, where's that fools shield. This is going to be fun!

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