Friday, September 18, 2009

Meet Darkker

Meet Darkker. This is the feral druid alt I've mentioned a few times on the blog. Isn't she lovely? I admit I've been wanting to take that screenshot for a long time, wearing her Warlord set standing in front of the Dark Portal like she just arrived in Outland. Of course, she's already been there for profession training purposes (heck, she's even been to Northrend to learn recipes), and her hearth has been in Shatt since level 30-something, but visiting the Dark Portal is a proper step forward for restarting her journey as a leveling druid.

Darkker has long been my guilty pleasure alt. Because she's on another server nobody looks for me over there, and I play her so sporadically that even if someone were to look for me there's no guaranteed time I'd be on. I started playing WoW because of some coworkers of mine who actually favored Alliance. I couldn't turn down playing a tauren though, so much to their disappointment I rolled Horde on the same server as them (Skywall), so I could at least wave at them when we passed by.

Then they decided to try rerolling Horde, but on a PvP server. I was reluctant to join them as I already had Hana on Skywall and I hate getting ganked (or PKed as I called it back then), but I did. I wanted to play a druid still, so I figured I'd make another one, but with a different talent tree, and Darkker was born as my feral. Whereas Hana is a peacenik who shuns trouble with the Alliance, Darkker actively looks for it.

The "Dark Iron Experiment" as it came to be called eventually failed and everyone went back to their other servers, leaving Darkker abandoned at level 30-something. I don't recall when or how I started playing her again, but I did, mostly after Burning Crusade started, and I continued to play her in spurts every now and then. She initially spent a lot time in 39 PvP, where she was the favorite WSG flag carrier in an era where 39s still did not have mounts. I didn't have any twink gear, or any enchants other than what I got for free, but I had a lot of fun and at some point the PvP bug took hold. If we'd had achievements back then she would've earned Ironman multiple times over. I was real good at running flags.

I'd spent some months in 30-39 and then Brewfest came out. It didn't have anything to do with PvP, but I decided that I should get Darkker a mount and seeing as Hana already had a kodo I figured Darkker should get something else. At this time, it was possible to get a Brewfast ram mount just by doing dailies. There was even a 60% speed version (now retired). So I did the dailies and earned the proper amount of tokens, but there was a problem. I couldn't ride at 39. So I dinged 40 and ran about on my new mount. That mount would be the source of many whispers in the months to come, as I was almost always the only 49 or later 59 Horde to be riding on one.

When I joined the 40-49 bracket properly, towards the later end of the level band, I remember thinking that it was a mistake to have leveled up. It was Alliance dominated, and the regulars that I remembered from 39 (and who had also moved up to 49) weren't playing much and then stopped all together. This bracket saw me at the height of solo-gearing myself though. I stealthed into Maraudon to solo a rare-spawn elite to get one of the best blue chestpieces for my level and succeeded. I tried to do the same with a boss, even bringing along elixirs, stam food, and a Luffa in my attempt to get a similarly nice pair of blue shoulders, but failed on that one. I also bought a nice mace off the AH and used the Warden Staff as part of my flag-running set up. Though Darkker is not a server with any of my mains to help, she has been nothing if not self-sufficient. She made a fair amount of gold crafting gear while waiting for games to pop.

Sometime before Wrath, Darkker left the 40-49 bracket and ran some instances as a tank or more rarely dps. She tanked all of Sunken Temple, including Hakkar, which may not sound remarkable except if you consider how many people don't really like ST and why they don't like it. The Hakkar encounter is particularly difficult for a pug that's unfamiliar with it since it involves free-for-all looting and people putting out fires instead of mobs. There's really nothing quite like it in the earlier instances and many people don't even do the encounter since it's such a long quest chain.

After some PvE fun, I came back to the BGs with her and settled into 50-59s with a vengeance. I had a full set of level 59 "of the Bandit" and "of the Beast" greens collected from the AH and I put them on. Leatherworking allowed me to make my own +8 stam kits. When I was self-buffed in bear form I hit a beefy 7k (3-4k is the norm for non-twinks). I wasn't much of a twink, still lacking the crazy enchants and stuff, but I would do.

While I'm not sure exactly how long I stayed in 50-59, I know I was already comfortably in the bracket by the time Wrath came out, because I remember how it changed when the death knights came out. With faster mounts than any other class they could have destroyed the 50-59 bracket, flag carriers hated their Death Grip ability to no tomorrow, but people learned to fight them and they eventually became (a little) less common. Granted it was still hard. All else being equal a DK could kill Darkker, but it would take some effort and I could beat the weaker ones. Over time I racked up quite a few WSG and AB achievements, and I have most of the hard ones now (others are just time consuming and I'll get those eventually as long as I keep playing). My favorite to this day was earning my Ironman against a field of 8 Alliance DKs.

I wish I'd had more time to roll around in 59s, geared enough to survive, but not OP, but with patch 3.2 killing the 50-59 bracket the choice to level was made for me, and I guess I've staved off leveling long enough. One notable benefit though? Flight form.

Eat my tail feathers world PvP!


Klepsacovic said...

Um, does her bear form have a beard?

Hana said...

Unfortunately yes. :( All tauren bear forms have a beard regardless of gender. Much like they all have manes in cat form even if they're female. -_-

Pike said...

I have a hunter/druid combo that I am recruit-a-friending currently in their 50s on a PvP server. Cannot waaaaaaait for flying mounts at 60. x_x

Hana said...

I had to train myself to start using my flight form. For the first half dozen quests or so I kept getting out my black war wolf and riding everywhere. >_< But now that I'm in the habit of it it's soooooo much easier flying everywhere, and I feel a lot safer knowing that the window of opportunity that someone can gank me is so much smaller.