Everything I need to know about Wow I learned in the Barrens.

Once upon A time I was looking at creating my very first character. We have all been there. Some of us still have that character, some don’t. Either way many of us have other characters we play at least as much, if not more. I was thinking back last night about how my first character set many long term attitudes within the game.

I was not totally alien to the concept of gaming, but it had been a long time, and the games were pen and paper. I had several friends that also played, but they were busy raiding and had little time for running around helping out a noob. I asked one about it, he told me that I would be more than welcome in guild once I had leveled up. He held the attitude that I would learn my class better if I did not have them to fall back on. So I ran shiny new, unguilded, and pretty much clueless. I read the official class descriptions and decided on a druid. It seemed like the best choice, I did not know what would be expected of me at level 60, but the druid seemed equipped to handle it all.

Now while it was nice to have high level friends on the server, A little more info would have been nice. This is not to say I got no help, as a gift for making level 10 and completing my bear form quest the druid friend of mine swung down to where I was at and made me four ten slot bags. I remember those helping out loads. All I had were two six slotters I had found at the time. I also had not yet discovered what the bank was. At least I made good profession choices with skinning and leatherworking.

I learned everything I needed to know about the game from the game itself. The first thing I learned was that wrath and moonfire were great. I learned to keep my buffs up on myself too, they helped. I learned with bear form I could put one and later two heal over time spells on myself, become a bear and last a long time. Bear soloing was slow, but I could understand it. I reached level 20 and learned cat form. It seemed so different than bear form. It’s could put out more damage, but I found I was dying lots trying to figure it out. I decided bear was better for soloing and stuck with it. I wonder how things would have been different if a higher level druid had stumbled upon me and steered me in a different direction, but it did not happen.

I was looking at talents and thinking that bear form already works well, and I don’t use cat. I made the decision to make my spells better. I think I was specced mostly balance with a sprinkling on resto mixed in. Looking back through the lens of several years of play I know what I was doing wrong, but at the time I just did what worked. I looked at my skills and tried different things till I found something that clicked. Once I found something that worked I stuck with it. In the same way a child learns not to touch hot things, I learned what not to do by trying and failing.

One day as I was happily soloing my way through the barrens I receive a whisper asking if I will go do wailing caverns with a group. I have never been in a group so far, but I will give it a shot. After all, how bad could it be? I might even make a friend or two.

The group was a warrior, a hunter, a mage, a rogue, and myself the druid. I looked at the group makeup and decided (correctly) that I should be the healer. I have never healed anyone other than myself. This is the first time I have ever seen party frames as a matter of fact. It was by far the worst pug I have ever been on. Looking back I can tell the warrior was fury and had no intention of tanking. The general plan seemed to be engaging everything in sight by separate people trying to solo or dual mobs. I kept trying to heal but was going through mana way too fast and they seemed to not understand I needed to drink.

The only one that seemed to know what was going on was the hunter. He trapped things in big blocks of ice so we could deal with them later, he used his pet to pull bad guys off of me when they tried to chew my face off, he even made them run in circles trying to catch him. It was funny in a way, almost like a three stooges kind of funny.

We wiped. After each time the warrior, rouge, and mage would get in party chat blaming it on the noob druid. Yes in fact I did let them die, I only have so much mana and repeated chain pulls without time to drink wore it out. It was also really hard to keep up with three people who were each trying to fight their own fight. They wanted to hear nothing of it. One by one they left. In the end it was just me and the hunter. We went on for a while with me healing his pet while he killed things. It actually went better after the others left. Unfortunately there came a time that the pulls were just too much for the two of us. We called it a day and left.

I learned several valuable lessons from this run, not all of them true.

1. Never ever go on runs with people you don’t know. (I still rarely pug)

2. The healer will be blamed for all wipes. (even if the mage forgets to sheep and instead Aoe’s in 4 extra mobs)

3. I enjoyed healing (believe it or not trying to keep up was fun)

4. A well played hunter is a huge asset to a group.

5. Rebirth is a good spell to have in a group, always carry a few seeds. (never used it soloing, so I saved the bag space)

6. Two people cooperating can do more than five all trying to solo the place.

7. People blog about Wow. (the hunter told me about Petopia and BRK)

8. Tauren can use thunderstomp to piss things off (oops, I just used it for the stun)

9. Standing on top of an ice trap is a good place to be if you are healing.

10. Mark of the wild and thorns can be put on other people as well, and should be.

I went back to leveling solo, never again answering a whisper for an instance with that character. I had learned a few things from the run that would pay off later though. I always tried to buff those around me now that I knew I could. I started reading Wow blogs, first Big Red Kitty and then his blogroll.

About a month after this the friends I had started playing with decided to switch servers. Ours was a bit overpopulated at the time and they decided to go to a shiny new server. Most of them would be transferring characters over once it opened up for transfers, I knew I would not. My druid had made it to the mid thirties. I don’t recall exactly where but I had travel form but no mount. It would be pointless to move him at that level, better to just start over. I liquidated everything I had. Then gave the cash to someone who was transferring later so he could pass it back to my new character.

I went to the new server and stared at the character screen. That is when I rolled the hunter that I still have. I took up engineering and mining because of the other hunters jumper cables. I rolled solo that way for a long time. I always remembered that first pug. I learned to trap, I learned to control my pet, I learned to try to help out others when I can. If you take anything away from this (assuming anyone reads it, lol) remember that the other characters have people behind them as well, treat them as you would like to be treated. If they are new don’t mock them, help them. You might just make a lasting impression on someone.

It took me almost a year to finally get around to leveling another healer, but that is a story for another day.