Friday, October 2, 2009

[Druid] Round Holes Keep Looking for Square Pegs

I've still been spending time on Darkker. She's my primary outlet for when I want to play WoW and not be on my mains. Since I quit the battlegrounds I've been playing her more or less once a week. I also have a third druid who is too low level to introduce at this point, but part of the reason for having the two of them in addition to Hana is to experience what it's like leveling with each of the specs. Hana leveled balance, Darkker is feral, and the third is a baby resto.

But the funny thing is… instance groups seem determined to mess with both my druid alts. They're round holes that keep looking for square pegs.

Since reaching Outland with a full bar of rested XP, Darkker has been burning her way through quests and instances. I've noticed that healers are extremely in demand (no doubt in part due to the large number of death knights) as I've been randomly whispered at least three times to see if I would be willing to heal Ramps or some other instance. I generally declined on the basis of not having a decent healing set, though one time I just bluntly said I was feral. (Not that I think a feral can't heal a leveling instance, but I was tired and didn't want to type out that I didn't think my healing set was up to snuff because I'd have to heal off-spec.)

I think it's certainly possible for me to heal Ramps/BF/SP/UB if properly geared, but quite frankly my healing set was kinda stinky and I haven't healed anything on Darkker since… I don't know. RFD maybe? I don't remember what I did on that run. If it wasn't RFD, maybe SFK? In any case, I didn't want to endanger the party with a healing set that still included about five pieces of feral gear. I know where my heal buttons are and I know how to heal, I've done it before on Hana during oh-crap moments when a healer died and it was going to be a wipe if I didn't help out, but it's not a position I felt suitable to be in.

I did eventually enter a Ramps and two BF runs, as a tank though, and it's kind of funny how much more sophisticated the pulling in those instances are vs. the dungeons in Northrend. BF especially requires a lot of LOS pulling to get the casters to come over just right. I felt like such a classy tank doing all this LOS pulling, proud of making sure the mobs clumped up where I could get threat on them and they wouldn't run amok around the party (and especially attacking the healer). I just don't get that in Northrend. In Northrend all I usually worry about is threat, and even that isn't much of a worry.

Darkker is specced PvP-cat and I haven't felt the need to change it (especially given that I'm leveling her on a PvP server), but tanking was perfectly fine. The extra mitigation talents are definitely not needed for a leveling instance. She's now looking to do SP and UB and I'm hoping to actually get to dps one of them. Tanking's fun, but I haven't had a chance to dps an instance since I got Mangle and I'd like to see how I do. Of course, I'll probably get a bunch of new whispers asking if I can heal.

My resto druid is ironically having the opposite problem. She got into a budding RFK run where there were three of us and no tank. Out of frustration (because I just wanted to run an instance) I said I would tank if they could find a healer to replace me. They did, and with the exception of the priest (who was leveling shadow) they were terrible. As a resto druid bear tank I was the #1 dps in the party. That's how bad it was.

It wasn't just the not-dpsing part, but the warlock who feared even after we told him not to, who wouldn't use curse of recklessness to stop runners even though we asked him to, and on top of that used his Eye of Kilrogg to scout around and perhaps even purposefully aggroed another pack of mobs since he was having his Eye jump around next to them.

We wiped, priest and I started over with a new group, and we picked up a warrior who wanted to tank and an actual resto shaman so for this one I went kitty. Two people leveling healing spec in the same group? What was the world coming to? We don't even have dual specs available at this level. But this second run was really smooth, no wipes, and I even got a new piece of feral legs for my solo-ing set. My dps was pretty cruddy as a resto kitty, but if the "tank" wasn't using a two-hander I might have beaten him. It's RFK though, so playing off-spec and using two-handers is fine.

And really, it's always been what I liked about being a druid in vanilla WoW. I merrily filled in any role asked of me because spec didn't matter until you started raiding. It wasn't optimal, but it got you through the instance.

But I can't help wondering why my feral keeps getting asked to heal, while my resto spends her instances as tank or dps (she ended up dps-ing SFK as well, her last instance). Does something happen between the old world and Outland? Is it because people are less willing to off-spec heal in Outland? Is the influx of DKs so huge that they outweigh all the leveling healers from the old world? Do all the leveling healers give up before they get to Outland?

My resto druid won't be going to Outland anytime soon, so I don't know what's going to happen to her when she gets there. Maybe she'll be asked to tank still. It could just be a server thing. Maybe her server just has a healer glut and Darkker's does not, but it'll be interesting to see. I might try pushing her to Outland before Cataclysm comes out, just to enjoy the old world content one last time, but maybe it'll be fun to leave her in a strategic place in the old world and see if she winds up in a chasm or the bottom of a lake (okay, maybe that's a bit mean).

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