Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's a bird, it's a plane...'s a flying human dwarf!

As widely reported, the race change feature finally went live yesterday, and I jumped at the chance to convert Lightus the Paladin over to a more nobler, if shorter, race.

Not that I'm too much into the arpee, but from a role-playing perspective, I saw my human as more of a Holy-type - so when he transitioned over to a Protection/Retribution dual spec, I started to think of him more as a stronger and tougher fellow.

I debated a bit over the Draenei racials (+hit and insta-heal) vs. the Dwarven ones (mace expertise and Stoneform), but I decided that I liked the look of his current gear on the stouter race better, and Stoneform provides a nice mini-tanking cooldown.

Pictured: I celebrated the successful transformation with epic flight skill and a "need" roll on the Culling of Stratholme drake. :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Look Back

One of my favorite writers over at wrote today's Breakfast Topic: Back To Where You Once Belonged, where he talks about his journey over the last year. From tanking in The Burning Crusade, through the current Wrath expansion as DPS, to his recent return to tanking. At the end of the article he asks the readers, "where are we now?" Are we doing what we thought we'd be doing? Hmm... I'm a sucker for nostalgia, let's rewind...

The Burning Crusade
From level 10 through 70, Exelus was Enhancement through-and-through. We were plowing our way through Karazhan, and I spent a lot of time staring at Omen, riding the tank's threat wave and praying I didn't get a lucky string of Stormstrike/Windfury crits. It was an art, maximizing DPS while staying under threat. I still remember my first raid invite like it was yesterday: I was totally freaked out, but the exhilaration of it all sucked me in for good. I also remember doing ~600 DPS and marveling at our Warlock doing 1,000 DPS!

Back then, PvP was the shortcut to gearing-up ("welfare epics"), so I begrudgingly spent a lot of time in BGs L2PvP. Sadly, that intense grind turned me off to PvP, even to this day. I still get the heeby-geebies when I think about Eye of the Storm. /shudder

At some point, the guild wound up short on healers... and due to a horrifyingly bad Hellfire Ramparts experience trying to offspec heal with Ex's "resto" gear, I decided to raid-gear my tree rather than respec. Ciribrus became a Resto Druid, and a whole new world of gameplay opened up to me: standing in the back, keeping my party-mates alive. These were crazy times... remember the concept of "heal aggro?" When a single early heal could literally send an entire mob pack running right towards you, with no way to dump threat (this was before Shadowmeld worked in combat!). The Hypnotist's Watch and Sporeggar cloak became staples of my heroic healing kit.

Wrath and the Transition
We were finally clearing KZ with regularity, and taking our first pokes into Zul Aman when Wrath was released, and we all set off to level from 70 to 80. We marvelled at the new zones, and bemoaned our loss of level 70 epics. I swear I lost a little bit of my soul when I replaced the PvP epics I had previously worked so hard at. Lesson learned, gear is just a temporary tool, nothing to get attached to!

Then, as I was losing my epic Enhancement gear to quest greens, something strange happened. I started noticing (/gasp) caster gear. At some point, it dawned on me that if I collected caster gear, I could possibly be more effective in a dual role someday. So sometime in the 70s, I respec'ed Elemental for the first time, and started lolbolting.

It was weird. I stood in the back, and resisted the urge to run into the fray. It was, admittedly, easier. And more in-line with my aging reflexes, too. :P

Early Raiding in Wrath
As guildies started arriving at level 80, the new meta game of gearing up for raiding began, and I struggled to reach hit cap with blues and random low-level epics. Elemental was borked (couldn't get past 1,500 dps!), but I stuck with it and Blizzard eventually fixed us. :)

By the time we had enough critical mass to start Naxxramas, we found ourselves predictably short on healers, but this time I resolved to stick with Exelus, thus beginning his healing career. By now, Resto shaman tools had grown more sophisticated, too (more powerful Earth Shield, Riptide, supporting glyphs), and therefore more interesting to play.

These days, Exelus splits his time between DPS and healing heroics/Ulduar/Colosiem/etc., which suits both needs to blow stuff up and lend a hand when called upon. It's yin-yang thang, and it's a ton of fun.

The Recap
So a year ago, did I ever imagine Exelus would become a caster DPS with a healing offspec? Certainly not. Did I expect my Boomkin/Resto Druid would languish at 72 with no real incentive to level? Nope. (/sad) Leveling a Retribution Paladin all the way to 80 (toying with both Holy and Prot offspecs) ever cross my mind? Never!

But that's part of the fun of this game, it evolves, just like real life. :)

Viva la journey.