Once upon A time I was looking at the character creation screen for the first time. 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 started as Horde, although I play Alliance now. I still remember the first character that made it high enough to actually get talent points. He was a Tauren Druid named Atauren (cheezy, I know)
I was not really new to the concept of gaming, but it had been a long time. Then again the only online cooperative I had played was Team Fortress. The last time I had played anything even resembling wow the games were pen and paper.
I had a friend that also played, but he was busy raiding and had little time for running around helping out a noob. I asked about it once. He told me that I would learn my class better if I did not have him to fall back on. So I ran shiny new, unguilded, and pretty much entirely clueless.
After reading 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. At the time I did not even know blogs existed.
Now while it was nice to have a high level friend on the server, A little more info would have been nice. I would have asked questions, but did not even know enough about the game to know what to ask.
This is not to say I got no help. As a gift for making level 10 and completing my bear form quest the friend of mine (who also played a druid) swung down to where I was at and made me four ten slot bags. I remember those helping out loads.
If I remember correctly 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 ok profession choices with skinning and leatherworking. Skinning and herbing would have been better, but once again I was a noob.
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 that when things get too close you can always try and cave in their head with a stick. (works in real life too, I prefer pool cues. but that’s a tale for another blog)
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. Now there is no doubt that 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. Everything seemed to see through my stealth and the combo points made little sense.
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.
The reasoning behind my leveling spec at the time went something like this. Bear already works good, no need to waste points there. I don’t use cat form, no point putting them there. I guess I will improve my spells.
So, there I was , leveling as a bear. Ignoring cat, with my talents spread between balance and resto. No wonder it took me forever to kill stuff.
Then came the day that I received a whisper asking if I would 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 had never healed anyone other than myself at this point in my wow career. Now that I think about it I think it was the first time I ever saw party frames.
Until just recently it was by far the worst pug I had ever been on, and it still rates in the top ten. Looking back I can tell the warrior was neither specced for or had any intention of tanking. The general plan seemed to be for the mage, warrior, and rogue to all pull separate mobs and try to solo them. I kept trying to heal but was going through mana like water through a pasta strainer 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 mobs 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. Not only did I run out of mana constantly, but often they would pull in two or three directions out of line of sight from each other.
It was really difficult trying to keep up with three people who were each fighting their own fight. They wanted to hear nothing of it, it was all my fault for letting them die. One by one they left. Once the three of them were gone it actually became fun.
It was just me, the hunter, and his pet. 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. His mend pet (channeled back then) and my hots were just not enough to keep his cat alive. 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 pug pretty often now, but for years I did not)
2. The healer will be blamed for all wipes. (even if the mage breaks his own sheep and the hunters ice trap, then pulls an extra pack of mobs)
3. I enjoyed healing (believe it or not trying to keep up was fun, part of the reason my main is now a priest)
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. (since I never used it soloing, 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, not even to say no thanks.
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, through Big Red Kitty I found the Big Bear Butt. As I read their sites and made my way through their blogrolls I learned a lot more about the game. My spec changed, my play style changed, and I had a lot more fun because of it.
About a month after this the friends I had started playing with decided to switch servers. I don’t know all the reasons for why but we went to the shiny new server of Gnomerragan. Most of them would be transferring characters over once it opened up for transfers, I knew I would not. I would simply reroll.
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. On the plus side it came to nearly the 100g I would need for my basic land mount at 40 on the new server.
Back at the character creation screen again I looked at it in a new light. Remembering how much fun it looked like on that day in Wailing Caverns I rolled the first of my many Hunters. 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 still reads my sorely neglected blog) 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. You know him as Morham, but that is a story for another day.
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