Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cross-Realm LFG

I find I'm really looking forward to cross-realm LFG. Sure, there are bound to be some issues, such as an inability to filter people based on the reputation of their guild, or if there's a preferred class for an achievement run (I'm looking at you Less-Rabi), but imagine how much better this will be for alts! It's not unheard of to be the only person on the server sitting in LFG hoping to find more people interested in doing Sunken Temple. Or maybe there's only two of you in group and you spend half an hour or more trying to find another three.

But that's just on one server. Cross-realm LFG will open up the entire battlegroup. That's another seven or eight servers perhaps. Even if only half of the other servers have people similarly looking for Sunken Temple at that moment, it'll be enough for a full party. There still may be issues finding a healer or a tank, but it should prevent some of those "LF1M all we need is a dps!" moments when the party has to decide whether or not they can 4-man it or they really do need a fifth.

I suppose the biggest drawback may be finding the healers or the tanks. Let's say that at a given moment on a particular server, there are 2 tanks, 1 healer, and 6 dps looking to do the heroic daily. After the party forms there are 1 tank and 3 dps left over in LFG.

We open this up to cross-realm LFG and there are now eight times the number of people in LFG. There are 16 tanks, 8 healers, and 48 dps. After eight parties form, we are left with 8 tanks and 24 dps without groups.

The number of groups are the same as if they'd stayed separated on their original servers, but I wonder if the wait for dps #48 will be longer than if he didn't have to share with another realm. Those 8 tanks and 24 dps won't get groups until a new healer enters the system, and depending on how long that takes, it could be while. Dps #48 would only be dps #3 on his own server, so in theory he would go with next group to form, but here he would have to wait until the eighth healer to come along.

If his server is starved for healers, it may very well be that even waiting for the eighth healer it would still be faster than waiting on his own server. But if his server has a lot of pugging healers, then he may be waiting longer than usual because his server's healers will be going to other groups first.

I primarily play hybrid classes, so as someone with a tank spec on both my 80s and a heal spec on one of them, I don't think I will have much of a problem finding a group. If anything it'll be easier to get a group since those two roles are in higher demand and now there will be an even larger surplus of dps looking for them.

It does make me wonder though if I will ever pug as a moonkin. I rarely do anyway, though for the moment it's largely by choice. Most of the time I'm forming the group, so I automatically assume I'm going to tank. It saves me the trouble of looking for one. If the system is choosing my role for me, based on what I say I can do, I have a suspicion I'll be chosen to tank as well. It just makes sense when there are less of them.

But running a dungeon is better than not running, which is why I like playing hybrids. It's why I've done things like tank while holy specced on my paladin, or tank while moonkin specced on my druid. (Somehow it doesn't feel as impressive when I say I healed on my moonkin when we lost a healer. It's almost expected.)

I'm curious whether or not Looking For Raid will be cross-realm as well. If there's one thing I envy about Dark Iron (where my feral alt is) vs. Skywall (where my 80s are), it's the raid pugging situation. Skywall's not well progressed so raid pugs for anything other than Naxx have a horrible failure rate. There just isn't a large enough player base that knows what it's doing.

For example: I went to a 10-man ToC pug on my paladin where I knew the raid leader and she was asking that everyone be both geared and to know the fights. We got in there and found out that the OT's idea of knowing the fights was that she got up to Acidmaw and Dreadscale the last time she was there. We gave it a few shots, but she either couldn't or wouldn't follow instructions and a ToC pug is no place to learn how to tank a raid boss. FACE THE WORM AWAY FROM THE RAID AMG!

If Looking For Raid is cross-realm then I might be able to get into a pug raid with people from more progressed realms where pugging ToC or even ToGC happens on a regular basis. Of course, there's always the possibility that those people will be extremely snotty and won't take me because I haven't finished Icecrown on hard mode. Heh.

Edit: It's been clarified that Looking For Raid is realm-only. Ah well.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

[Druid] Did all the bears go moonkin?

This post should have been posted last week, but somehow I forgot about it and left it with the rest of my drafts, but it's still pretty relevant, so I figured I'd post it now.

I was reading an article on about the dearth of bear tanks, and the column looked into why there might be fewer bear tanks. I'm not exactly sure why there are less these days, though the article does give a few reasonable speculations, but it's something I've noticed. On my server, the vast majority of tanks I've seen in pugs have been paladins followed by DKs. I might see a warrior, but I can't remember the last time I'd seen a bear, if ever. If there's a bear tanking for my group it's usually me.

The column presents various reasons why there may be fewer bears than there used to be; same boring bear butt no matter your level of progression, having to fight with rogues and other dps classes for gear vs. the abundance of plate tanking drops, looking like a clown wearing a mix of rogue and druid gear with a hunter weapon slung over your back… But the reason that stands out most to me is the flexibility inherent in the druid class. We are the only class that can be tank, melee dps, ranged dps, and a healer. It's honestly viable to be full-time cat in Wrath of the Lich King.

Look at bloggers Jacemora and Runyarusco, both TBC-era tanks, who now blog about kitty dps.

When Blizzard came out and reinforced during the WotLK beta that it was not going to be possible to be a good cat and a good bear with the same spec I even thought of making my feral alt primarily cat at level 80, just because I remembered having so much fun with it while leveling. Real cat dps? Nice!

So where did the bears go? Well, if bloggers are any indication, the love of being a dps kitty can finally be fulfilled, so ferals who were both bear and cat just because they came part and parcel in the past are now able to go with the form that suits them best, so I would not be surprised if a fair number of them are now indulging themselves as the cats they always wanted to be in TBC but couldn't.

I've mentioned before that there are now a lot more moonkin than there used to be. I hadn't really thought where they had come from before, but now that I do… could they possibly be former ferals? The article points out that the druid population hasn't plunged, so the druids are still playing. They're just different specs.

When TBC came out suddenly a bunch of druids, freed from the necessity of going resto for end game, were feral. Now with WotLK and moonkin being viable, are those druids now shooting their owlkin lasers?

So I decided to check out my favorite armory dataminer and see what data he'd pulled for level 80 druids.

According to this data from August 2009, we are split 25% balance, 36% feral, and 39% resto. By that measure we're still over a third feral, which leaves the question of where the heck did all the bears ago. But, if we look at dual specs, we can start getting a better picture of our level 80 druid population.

The most popular dual spec combination? Balance and Restoration at 31%. Feral and Restoration is close behind at 30%.

Given that almost 40% of the druid population has a resto spec this is not surprising. Unfortunately there is no way to tell whether the feral specs are cat or bear, but there is one more interesting data point.

Percent of the population with two feral specs? A mere 9%. And this is important, because the traditional feral tank keeps two sets of gear; one for bear and one for kitty. If a mere 9% of the druid population behaves as the TBC-era feral tank then it's no wonder that they're so rare!

It's entirely possible that a balance/feral or a resto/feral has a feral tank spec (I do), but due to the fact the gear sets do not easily overlap it's probably less likely that any of them primarily function as a tank for their guild. A feral who regularly tanks probably has a kitty off-spec because it's easier to function as both in a raid where they tank one fight and dps the next (and there's less gear to collect). In the case of a resto main spec, the feral off-spec could easily be for questing and doing dailies.

I do see druid tanks on my server. I can think of at least two progression guilds off-hand that use them, but when it comes to pugging they just aren't out there, which says to me that a bear tank either finds a guild that wants her to tank on a regular basis (in which case we never see her out in the wilds of pugging because she's always in a guild group) or she specs for something else.

What I don't understand is why there aren't more off-spec bears. I generally pug as a bear because it gives me more control. The first thing I do when I open LFG is search for a healer, and then round up the dps to fill out the group. It saves time when I don't have to hunt for both a tank and a healer. And if I'm a dps with a crappy tank or a crappy healer there's not much I can do to save the pug, but if I'm the tank, I can better deal with a crappy healer because of my cooldowns, my gear, and knowing how to play.

Of course, the same could be said for pugging as a healer, which I regularly do on Gillien, and maybe that's what the druids are doing, a good 40% of them. Maybe they're happier to pug as a healer than a tank.

There was a rogue I pugged with and a ring dropped. I wasn't certain it was an upgrade, so I only greeded it. The rogue greeded and won, but then shortly thereafter whispered me asking if it was an upgrade for me. I told him I wasn't sure and that's why I only greeded it. He opened up trade and told me to take it just in case. He said that he really liked bear druids but he hardly ever saw them around. I suppose it was his way of encouraging me to keep playing a bear, but it saddened me that he thought that we were that rare.

This was several weeks before the article ran, so I didn't think about it much, but looking back on it now, I guess bears really are rare. I'm guessing many of them went completely cat, went moonkin (because there definitely are more of us now), or went back to tree; especially because there are so many tanks out there now. I've seen as many as three tanks idling in LFG for the heroic daily at once, tanks are scrounging for guilds to join (my guild has had at least two tanks inquire even when we weren't recruiting for them), and maybe in that kind of environment it's easiest to just respec and run as something else.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Maybe There's Hope for Garrosh

Most Horde players don't like Garrosh Hellscream. First he was this mopey orc sitting around in Nagrand whining about how he wasn't fit to lead and how he was a horrible person, not through any fault of his own, but because he had the shame of being Grom Hellscream's son.

Through a long and involved quest chain we managed to bring Thrall to Nagrand and he felt duty-bound to enlighten the sulking Garrosh and show him that hey, Grom redeemed himself. It's not shameful to be his son. Garrosh gave out a big ol' orc battlecry, buffing all Hordies in the zone with Hellscream's Warsong, and it seemed all was well in the world. Garrosh got his spirit back.

But then the next time we saw him he was talking smack to Thrall about taking out the Lich King and even challenged Thrall to combat. He was bloodthirsty and impulsive, and when we finally got to Northrend we found out he was the Overlord of the Warsong Offensive in Borean Tundra. Not only that, but he was dismissive of Saurfang's extremely valid concerns about their war effort.

Garrosh became headstrong and warmongering, concerned with glory in battle more than practicality and the need to find a peaceful resolution when peace could be found. Garrosh became everything that Thrall wasn't, but Hordies like Thrall, so we don't like Garrosh, and we especially don't like that he's going to become our new faction leader come Cataclysm.

But Blizzard has said:

Garrosh is a character with a lot to prove. I realize there's a great deal of consternation out there concerning the tales of what's to come, but I want to reassure you that we understand that concern. We know where you're coming from.

Why are we still going this route? With all respect, you haven't seen the entirety of who Garrosh is. You've seen a great deal of his faults, certainly, but people grow over time, and you may find, come Cataclysm, that he is not quite the disaster you portend. :)

(Mind you, that doesn't mean he's Thrall, either.)

Now, this is all that people generally consider when they think about Garrosh; just the basics, the highlights. Nagrand was a long time ago. But because I have been leveling my feral druid, I had the opportunity to revisit that quest chain this weekend, and you know? I do think we're missing something of Garrosh, that there is hope for him yet.

Take this dialogue from Greatmother Geyah:

He [Garrosh] just needs to believe in himself. He fears so much... He fears so deeply that if he lets himself go, his rage will consume him and all that would be near him.

Doesn't that sound familiar? Isn't Garrosh's rage at that point now that we're in Northrend? Perhaps Garrosh had a right to fear what he would become.

But at the same time, Greatmother Geyah believes in him, he is described as both strong and wise. The spirits approve of him, and from what we know of the spirits the orcs believe in, they're not exactly a bunch of warmongers either. They must be seeing something that we're not.

And when I talked to Garrosh during part of the quest chain, he had something more interesting to say now that we know what happens in Northrend.

He says: I will not... I cannot become the second Hellscream to damn the orcs.

I think prior to Cataclysm Garrosh will be hit with a wake-up call that will make him more sympathetic to the Horde player. Somewhere between the two extremes of warmonger and mopey warrior is the leader that Greatmother Geyah and the spirits believe in. He cares and at one point he cared so much that he felt that doing nothing at all was better than damning his people.

In Northrend he's may be doing the exact thing he wanted to avoid, and perhaps something will happen between now and Cataclysm that will cause him to realize, "Hey, this isn't such a good idea! We're going to lose out here!" After all, the Lich King has to be enjoying the Horde and Alliance fighting each other instead of him, and Garrosh probably won't like being a player for the Lich King's amusement.

That's a possibility for the future though. In the meantime nothing's going to stop me from doing this:

Maybe it'll help knock some sense into him later.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Halloween Shenanigans

Skywall is a PvE server, so PvP is by choice and complicated by the fact some people hate world PvP and griefers can just wait for their flag to wear off before trying again. But that said, Skywall does enjoy a bit of world PvP from time to time, and we had a good run the other night in Brill, where some Alliance decided to kill the orc matron quest giver so people couldn't get or turn in the daily for fighting the Headless Horseman fires.

There were maybe 6-8 Alliance, and they were decently persistent. I wasn't going to get involved initially, having just ridden back to UC after a Headless Horseman piƱata run, but a former guildie of mine whispered me saying that the Horde could fight them off if they just got organized. Since he was out there, I went there as well. I was on my paladin and nothing helps unorganized PvP quite as much as a healer.

At some point the Alliance realized that too.

I'm not sure if it's because they realized I was healing or because I ran in there with my Challenger title on (thereby marking myself as potentially hot stuff), but it seems that half the time if I was targeting Alliance they were targeting me right back. Pally heals are good though, and so are bubble and Hand of Freedom. Though I got stunned, frost nova-ed in place, and other expected shenanigans, the Alliance weren't organized enough to kill me. Such is free-form world PvP.

They did kill the orc matron one more time after I arrived, but we managed to beat back 2-3 more attempts before they gave up and went over to the Bulwark. I didn't chase them.

I'm not big fan of world PvP, but there a few things that will trigger the Horde vs. Alliance aggression in me:

1) Attacking a Horde settlement with the intent to harass other players. Killing quest givers is annoying. I've had it happen to me as a lowbie, even on my carebear server, so I defend towns if they're attacked for that purpose. (If it's just an Alliance blundering through a Horde town and killing some guards that chased him on the way out I don't really care.)

2) Raiding my capital city. I always work to foil attempts at killing one of my faction leaders. It just makes sense.

3) (during WG or on a PvP server) Attacking first. Generally I will warily regard members of the opposite faction and just make sure they're not going to attack me. I don't go out of my way to do the "it's red, it's dead" thing, but if they attack first and I beat them or I know I can beat them if they didn't take me by surprise, they're on my list for the night and I will kill them repeatedly. This also goes if I witness them attacking other Hordies first. I saw a druid that was trying to kill a semi-afk mage waiting by a meeting stone, so I killed him. And then when he rezzed, I killed him again. I figure if you started it, you should be willing to eat it.

4) (during WG or on a PvP server) Taking my mobs. Okay, they're not really mine… yet… And I don't kill Alliance indiscriminately for them. If there are enough mobs for everyone or they're making an effort to leave some for me, then I leave the other faction alone. Limited number of mobs or an elite quest mob though? They'll have to fight me for it. But if cooperation is beneficial I'm up for helping, even while flagged for PvP. I actually helped an Alliance pally on my PvP server with a quest because it didn't matter who killed the waves of adds as long as they died to spawn the NPC that would accept the completed quest. Both of us needed it and it was hard to solo, so it just made sense. (And we parted without killing each other. I'm not all bad!)

As long as none of those four things happen I'm generally a nice enough Hordie. ;) On rare occasions on a PvE server if I run into a flagged Alliance in some random location I'll take that as permission to engage (because if you flag on a PvE server you must be interested in participating in such things at that very moment), but generally I'm good with the live and let live method.

Now quit raiding Brill. There are some lowbies trying to do a daily.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

[Druid] Omen of Clarity A Necessity in Icecrown

Foofy's post the other day caused me to realize something that didn't originally strike me as odd. The T10 2-piece set bonus for moonkin is: When you gain Clearcasting from your Omen of Clarity talent, you deal 15% additional Nature and Arcane damage for 6 sec as of the latest PTR notes. But Omen of Clarity is in the Restoration tree.

It's a talent commonly taken by druids of all specs just because the occasional free ability usage is nice. It's rare to see a moonkin without it, so tying a damage boost to it doesn't seem unreasonable even if it's in the "wrong" tree, but OoC is not a necessity. Once past a certain gear level the mana back from crits and Innervate (should the moonkin be allowed to keep it) is more than enough. I can vouch for that. I haven't had OoC in my spec for months now.

Back when my 25-man guild was working on Sarth 3D I told my raid leaders that there were other damage dealing talents I could take in the balance tree (which was true), but that I'd have to lose some talents in mana regen/conversation which might affect my throughput. I was told not a problem, we'll stick you in a group with a resto shaman for Mana Tide Totem. Being that we had up to three resto shaman in any given raid it wasn't a terrible burden like I'd be stealing from healers. An arcane mage with good dps was similarly added to the MTT group.

When we moved into Ulduar I didn't change my spec at all, and I found out that I could actually cope without a single mana regen talent. My much loved resto shaman still dropped MTT for me even when he or she didn't need it (such nice people ^_^), but more importantly I found out that under the power of with my own Innervates and a mana pot I was still good to go. Even now that I do 10-mans I have yet to spec back into a single regen talent. I just have not needed it.

Though granted, 5-mans really suck with my current spec. Chain casting Hurricane really hurts, but aside from that I've been doing well. Regen isn't worth much if you don't need it, right?

But I can't see myself getting my 2-piece T10 and not respeccing to pick up OoC. Even if I don't need it to save mana, how could I pass on 15% more Nature and Arcane damage for 6 seconds? It's going to be more than any single talent point gives me unless it has a ridiculously horrible proc rate, which I'm sure it won't.

I'm not complaining that I'll have to respec, it's a commonly included talent point in most moonkin builds anyway, but it does bring me back to Foofy's comment about the fact the bonus is tied to a talent in the Restoration tree, a talent that some moonkin might not even have. Even if a lot of moonkin do take it, it's not a part of our primary tree and it's not tied to something that is intrinsically part of being a moonkin (i.e. dps).

Thursday, October 8, 2009

[Druid] Mutant Druids Have Escaped Felwood

This is our Tier 10 druid outfit, and I can't say that it's made a good first impression on me. We generally have nature-themed tier sets which befits us as druids. During TBC I wore my T2 look-alike moose head proudly until I got my T4. Our vanilla dungeon set looked like a bird, T1 had a tree-ish look to it, T5 was wood and flowers, T6 was another bird, I don't know what the heck T3/T7 was supposed to be… I've referred to it as a caterpillar cocoon on occasions, but other than the green I really couldn't say what the heck it was supposed to have been.

Suffice to say that T3/T7 has been my least favorite tier set for druid, though T9 may be in the running for that out of sheer ugliness (it's the helm really).

Now we're looking at T10, and it's got some wicked wooden antlers on it. Having a second set of horns on my head doesn't bother me, mind you. I like the heads to T2 and T4. They strike me as a natural outgrowth of the outfits themselves. But those T10 horns just look weird. What animal do they come from? Is it my imagination or do we have thorns coming out of them?!

And while I'm boggling at those horns, I also wonder what's with that freaky faceplate? What's with the teeth on those shoulders? Are we supposed to be some mutant druids that escaped Felwood?

Those jaws have a green glow coming out of them, and while the Emerald Dream is no doubt filled to the gills with green, when you think of glowing green auras spilling out of armor… don't you think of (I dunno) demons?

The rest of the outfit isn't so bad really. I can't say anything objectionable about the gloves, chest, or the pants I can't see, but the shoulders and the helm… It's not that I think they couldn't be cool, with a different glow they'd make a fine shaman set, but they just don't scream druid to me.

T9 was the first helm where we couldn't really see our face, but at least we theoretically could see out of them. Now we have a glowy wooden block with what might be holes in them, but none of them well positioned for our eyes. If our armor didn't disappear in forms I'd wonder how we'd hit anything.

In the meantime, I think we need to talk with the Emerald Circle back in Felwood. We might have a few who got corrupted over there.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

One Year Anniversary

My blog hit its one year anniversary on Friday and I didn't know it. Apparently I'm suffering from time lag and still thought I was in September.

I think the blog has evolved a bit as I ended up finding my voice and what I wanted to say. Originally I wanted to be more of an information resource for moonkin, but I'm not Graylo and honestly moonkin dps and gearing is less an art than a science. Math is a frame of reference for me rather than a tool. When someone does theorycraft I want to be able to follow along and understand it. But I am not so handy with it that I can do my own theorycraft. At best I can advise newish moonkin how to gear and do shop talk with moonkin similarly of my level. I know I will never be able to come close to Graylo and that niche is his niche.

When I started my blog I also expected I would talk about my paladin, which is why I called if Flash of Moonfire (as in Flash of Light) and I'm glad I did since I may have actually spent more time blogging about him in recent months than my moonkin.

I subscribe to a lot of blogs, probably too many, and if I see a topic someone else has already gotten to I won't write about it, not unless I have something to say that I think they're missing. It's not very interesting just quoting patch notes without any commentary. But it turns out that one of the things I don't see much written about is PvP, particularly holy paladin PvP, so that made a good source of blogging. I really wanted to get out a series of posts on how to spec, gem, and gear for 3v3 as a holy pally, but ultimately couldn't write it due to time constraints (since I do most of my writing during my downtime at work and I didn't have nearly enough).

So rather than being an information resource about moonkin and holy paladins, this blog has morphed more or less into stories about what I'm doing, how I'm feeling, and my opinions. I still might do more informational stuff. Maybe a moonkin's guide to Trial of the Crusader, or maybe I'll get around to those holy paladin PvP posts (if I can get on a 3s team again). Now that I'm the guild leader of a 10-man raid group it's possible I might delve into raid and guild leadership. But I suppose the biggest indication that I'm doing all right is that even with my "fluff" posts I now have over two hundred of you subscribing to my blog's RSS feed.

You may not always comment or post, but I'd like to say thank you and it makes me happy to know that the articles I write are of some help or entertainment to other people out there. Next time you see a moonkin out there, pretend it's me and give it a hug.

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).