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Ramblings of a resto druid
Glow is a restoration druid, currently residing on the sunny Oceanic server Saurfang, member of Labyrinth of Lost Souls.
My playing history
(The following is a short version of my travels. It occurs over a 5 year period, so though in its compressed versions it sounds like lots of server-hopping and ‘breaks’ each time I found a ‘home’ it lasted at least a year. In most cases I’ve also raided with my partner, currently a shadow priest on Saurfang.)
I’ve played WoW since open beta, with a couple of breaks for sanity reasons. I’ve played in hardcore guilds and casual guilds – but I’m not really happy unless I’m playing with a group of people who love a challenge, and who take their raiding seriously (but not themselves).
I’ve mainly raided as a restoration druid. I started off as alliance, and raided casually back in Molten Core days on my human priest, Taalia.
Always difficult getting into a raid when the big raid guilds run in a different time zone – so as soon as Oceanics opened up I rerolled on Khaz’Goroth, choosing a nelf druid, as I’d enjoyed playing my tauren druid alt. Glow was lucky enough to join <Time> on Khaz, a great server-first guild. And so she was present on our server-first Ragnaros kill (all of us in our greens and blues, barely 60 for a week) as well as every other server first we pulled out in those golden vanilla days 🙂
The Burning Crusade hit, and with Karazan the only raiding to be had, we hit the 40 man ->10 man ->25 man wall pretty hard, and that combined with a change of GM, <Time> slowly fell apart.
We all went different ways… initially Glow transferred off to Nagrand and raided SSC/MH/BT, but never really found anywhere she was happy, so at some point late in BT days I rerolled horde and levelled a tauren druid, Glowberry. There she eventually founded a 10 man raiding guild and made some great friends hordeside.
After another break, and a brief stint playing an alliance priest on Anam’Thul, Wrath was incoming, so once again Glowberry got the itch to raid again and transferred back to Khaz’goroth, joining another hardcore guild as a healer. Raiding pre-expansion is kind of meh, and power-levelling/heroic smashing in wrath was too easy, as was the raiding. The new Naxx failed to impress her after months of trying to conquer it back in vanilla, the feeling of aoe smashing trash that we delicately picked our way through in the past was too much… it was time to break until something more challenging arrives.
And arrive it did, in the form of Ulduar. We transfer again, this time joining a medium-core 25man guild with some great players horde-side. We worked our way through Ulduar, and a great core of us also spent weekends doing the 10 man heroic encounters over a couple of beers and some very late finishes 🙂 then ToC arrived, and we sat in the same room for weeks on end, working through the instance. Completed ToC and started working on the heroic versions here too. Then around November 2009, with RL pressures mounting and the enjoyment of raiding reduced to standing in the same room for months, it once again was time to give WoW a rest.
This was a long break this time, but whispers of Cataclysm started to pique our interest, and some research of oceanic 10 man guilds recruiting lead us to Saurfang, where it seems a like minded group are working through ICC. Keen to peek inside, and also to flex our raiding minds again we faction-change and transfer to join Labyrinth of Lost Souls. Looking forward to Cataclysm and some challenging content once again!
Why I play
Three interdependent factors define my motivation to play the game:
– I need a challenge
– I need to have goals
– I need to continually improve/progress/learn.
This translates differently into different parts of my play experience.
Needing goals and loving a challenge means I enjoy progression raiding.
Whilst no one *enjoys* wipe nights, I actually quite like them when I can see that everyone is doing their utmost, and we are really getting somewhere. (Infinitely more annoying than ‘wipe nights’ are the nights where, bosses dead or not, someone is afk watching tv while you’re trying to set up a pull.) Logging off after a night of hardmode attempts on a boss when you can see things starting to ‘click’ is a rewarding experience.
Needing to progress/improve my own play also means I try to pump the best I can out of my character. It means I thrive on raiding in a guild with others who feel the same way. I research encounters, strategies, my role, suggested talents, gear, enchants, gems, etc. How I interpret what I read and translate that into my gameplay hinges on understanding *why* we do things in a boss fight, or how my spells and talents actually work. I could never be happy with just following raid leader directions (eg: “run to the other side of the platform when LK starts channelling vile spirits”) I need to know why (“Oh yeah, it’s because those spirits explode if they get to me, I don’t want to be standing where there are 6 of those things”). It’s my responsibility to research the why and how of the game, so that I can make decisions and prioritise on the fly (eg: “it’s okay to run back over that side of the platform if the RL calls for a brez as long as I watch out for the spirits”).
A DK main tank in a previous guild was very ‘anti-alt’. He had his main, and he played that exclusively. Outside raiding, he ran 5 mans if guildies needed them, chased the occasional achievement or just hang around in Dalaran chatting. All on his DK. his philosophy was “The alt dilutes the main”.
I can see his point. I have a few alts*. The weeks when I spend all my time on an alt, and only log onto Glow to raid, I often feel a little slow on my reactions and decisions as I play. It doesn’t take long for that to fall away, but I do feel it. Also – when I spend a lot of time outside of raiding in soloing/pugging on Glow, I rediscover abilities I ‘forget’ about, and can practise using them in non-raid-wipe situations. “Oh barkskin, that would also be useful in phase 2 LDW.”
Having said that, there is undeniable value in experiencing the playstyle, skills and dynamics of another character class/build. Knowing the strengths and limitations of your fellow raiders is a valuable tool in your raiding kit. If you enjoy your alts and are happy to raid with them, it can also give the guild some flexibility when times are tough getting a raid together.
In summary: I’m a fan of the ‘main’. I have one character that matters to me. That’s character I want to be raiding on, gearing up, earning achievements on, and learning how to play well. Alts are fun, but they aren’t the main game for me.
But! I do like the crazy achievements. I do like farming for rare drops and rep grinds. I like to constantly have a goal/project to in the background for Glow, to work on in off-raiding times. When I run out of ‘projects’ is when I tend to resort to levelling an alt.
Footnote: My ‘benchmarks’
My first raiding character was a holy priest. I had decided pretty early on in my experiences in 5 man groups in Stratholme andScholmance that you could pick out the great healers pretty quickly:
1. they were situationally aware
2. they knew how to prioritise
3. they knew their ‘stuff’ (what their spells did, how the fights worked, and how those two things interrelated)
4. They used their abilities reactively AND proactively
At some point I had an epiphany. That didn’t describe a good healer; it described anyone who was good at the game. I challenge myself to live up to my 4 ‘good player’ benchmarks when I play. Of course I often fail 🙂 but that’s where the fun is.
It could be argued that I should add:
5. Is a good communicator.
I’ve played some great raiders that I could honestly not remember EVER communicating with the guild/raid. Admittedly, that was moreso back in 40 man raid days, where it could be argued it wasn’t as important as it is now (in my current 10 man guild). I could expand on this more, and possibly will in a blog post.
* = actually I have between 8 and 10 (don’t make me count) lvl 80 alts. Nothing amazing in that, just wanted to explain that I’m not anti-alt, just pro-main.