This morning, I read Big Bear Butt’s post from yesterday, about his decision to stop trying to force himself to be a bear tank. I won’t quote it or copy it, so go read it if you haven’t already. Basically, he is letting go of his guardian druid, and his hunter will be his raiding main. Sound familiar?
Anyone who has followed BBB for a while – like I have – knows that he has long been both a passionate advocate of bears and one of the foremost progenitors of furry-bottomed face-tanking, in-game and in the blogosphere. With experience comes wisdom, and he has much of both. I found it very interesting that many of his thoughts echo mine with regard to my own druid.
Once Mists of Pandaria launched, I leveled my hunter in about 30 hours. A week later, my druid hit 90 as well. I’m currently working, off and on, on my warrior, who hit 88 yesterday. The hunter was the most fun. There were very few situations that I had problems with, and it was undoubtedly the toon that I am capable of leveling the fastest.*
*This includes choices that I’ve made; I could have leveled my druid as a feral druid, and I could level my warrior as arms, but there’s no way I could have done so with the apparent recklessness and efficiency with which I approached many of the Week 1 situations I found myself in – not with either toon.
Leveling the druid was brutally slow. She’s a guardian, which was what I had planned. For those who remember my post a while back about leveling her to 90 with my Cataclysm gear, here’s the update on how that went: at roughly level 88 1/2, in Townlong Steppes, I gave up the idea. Item level 387 was not cutting it. Level 88 mobs took a minute to kill sometimes. The damage was punishing. I was missing too much, and reforging put my survivability in even more jeopardy. So I gave up the ghost, went back to Stormwind, rotated in what green/blue gear I had collected, reforged and slapped on cheap enchants (yay profession leveling!), and went back for a much, much more reasonable experience for the final 30-ish bars.
Once I hit 90 with her, I ran Direbrew to get the trinkets, and am currently wearing the Brawler’s Trophy. Her gear has stagnated a bit, though, as I’ve been working on the hunter (of course) as well as leveling the warrior.
Leveling the warrior has been interesting and fun. He’s protection, of course, and his gear experience began a little differently than the druid’s. When I was leveling Blacksmithing on my hunter, I procced no less than four very usable ilvl 415 plate blues that were immediately equippable. One or two of them had Crit or Haste on them, but the Strength and Stamina upgrades over my 378 gear were so nice that they were definite wins. When I got to Jade Forest, I was absolutely crushing stuff, which was fun. I’m still wearing a couple of the pieces, and things have evened out as I’ve leveled him, so the rate of kills has slowed down considerably, which isn’t surprising.
Druid tanking is a cousin of warrior tanking, although the warrior tends to have better movement as well as spell reflecting abilities, while the druid has more in-combat healing ability. When I’m on one, I tend to miss the advantages of the other from time to time.
However, one thing that has been on my mind lately is how different they can feel as classes. By feel, I don’t necessarily mean the differences in abilities, but rather the way that I connect with the characters when I’m playing.
As a druid, there was something inspiring about being there with Hamuul Runetotem and Malfurion Stormrage during the battle against Leyara. Hamuul, burned and broken, shapeshifts – in what must be a painful situation for him – and goes “all-for-the-cause” bear-apeshit on her until she’s dead. Come 5.0.4, we bears turned into guardians, like the Guardians of Hyjal. I felt, and feel, kinship with him to a point.
However, as a warrior, there is something so visceral about what is essentially the most physical class in WoW. It’s a humanoid with plate, shield, and sword/axe/mace, leaping into the fray and taking all comers. Listening to the sounds of combat on my warrior, it feels physical: the slamming of shields and swords, the boom of Dragon Roar, the crash of Thunder Clap. And the visuals are great too: the warrior balances on his toes, slices with his sword, slams his shield in his opponent’s face. It feels very personal.
As much as I try, I can’t make that personal connection with the druid.
As feral, I was a cat. I was a hunter pet with free will. As a moonkin, I was a fat chicken, which is a look I have never enjoyed. As a healer… well, that has never felt comfortable to me. And as a bear, things feel visceral to an extent, but not as much as on the warrior.
As a warrior, you have your gear and your colors. You look sharp and ready to go. When the battle begins, the warrior charges in and fights for his life and those of his friends. He proudly continues to display his colors and fights until victory is assured or until all is lost.
There’s something that feels definite and permanent about my warrior. Perhaps it’s because of the shape-shiftiness of the druid. It can be a bear, or a cat, or a chicken, or a stormcrow, or a stag, or an orca. It can heal or rip or call down nature’s elements for purposes either deadly or life-giving. At the end of the day, a druid can potentially be a lot of different things.
On the other hand, a warrior is a warrior. Mine has never fought or killed any enemy as any other spec but protection. He is a rock, covered in plate and flashing steel weapons. He is nothing more, nothing less.
Right now, all of that appeals to me. And the druid appeals to me much less.
I haven’t started a monk, in part, because I am so happy with my warrior.
And so this gets me to my point, which is that I, like BBB, am also thinking of letting go of the druid as a seriously played toon.
The plan for MoP was to raid on the hunter, maybe to tank on the druid if possible, and to enjoy my protection warrior in limited play. But lately I find myself thinking of making my warrior my main tanking character: gearing him, getting him set up with all of the factions, tanking dungeons, and bringing him along if we ever end up running an alt raid.
With warriors, there is no pussy-footing around. We smash. We survive. We do what we have to do. With my druid, I’ve been gearing as a guardian while also trying to heal BGs because I don’t want to PvP as a feral druid. Neither has been the most fun. The warrior has been enjoyable. And that’s what this is all about, after all.
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In closing… I will write an update as things progress. Right now, we aren’t yet raiding. After I finish this post, I’m going to hit up Raid Finder on Mushan.
I’m a little behind where I want to be gear-wise, in part because I took four days off to go visit with family during the second half of last week. I haven’t completed three of the heroics yet, due to issues such as having Scholomance completely reset on us (and disband the group) after killing the second boss the only time I’ve been in there, as well as a lack of luck with the dungeon finder. Thus, I’m not using any of the pre-raid BiS trinkets, but I am otherwise 463-plus in every slot. I have the Sha of Anger boots, the Valor neck, the crafted gloves and chest, the belt from Raid Finder, and Direbrew’s trinket. So I’m in decent shape, but hopefully I’ll be in better shape after this week’s reset is over.
I’m not sure when we’ll start raiding. Right now, from what I can tell, we have one tank, one healer, and some DPS returning from our Dragon Soul team, so we have some definite needs. I’m chomping at the bit to get at it, but we’re nowhere close to being ready, and as my girlfriend pointed out, the expansion is still new and we have plenty of time to get in there and kill all 16 bosses in this tier. I have to confess that I’m a little jealous of the people who are downing Mogu’shan bosses already – my girlfriend’s guild already has two down as of last week’s lockout – but I’ll just have to use the time to prepare myself as much as possible, and to be patient in the meantime.
I’ll write more when I have more!
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Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!
Some thoughts about rage tanks and how making decisions based on early beta info can, at times, lead to undue worry and poorly-made choices…
Protection warriors (Guardian druids are also mentioned)
Matthew Rossi, warrior guru at WoW Insider, posted an update on the states of Protection and Fury warriors in beta last night. It gave me some hope for my warrior*, who is one of three toons that I have who can play a tank spec (I don’t have a DK…).
*My warrior, Droignon, is the only toon I’ve ever brought 100% to max level solely with a Protection spec, and I plan on continuing that trend with him in MoP. So while he’s an alt that I’ve never really raided with before, I’ve enjoyed playing protection immensely, and hope to do so in MoP. I may even use him as a real tank. So the warrior part of this post is pertinent, I assure you!
Early returns on MoP rage tanks have been that their damage was terrible, that they’ve been overly-gutted of rage-generating abilities – passive and active – and have been much more boring to play in beta than they are live. After I posted a while ago about possibly running as a straight PvP/PvE Balance druid for the first time ever in MoP, I played (for a while) with the idea of making Anacrusa a Guardian. However, a little bit of research left me feeling less than confident in the state of Guardians in MoP, and Prot warriors were looking similar. Not coincidentally, both specs use rage as a resource.
Rossi’s article from May 12th, however, gave me hope for both classes, despite the fact that he did not write about druids in his post. While he has serious concerns about Fury warriors on beta, he seems to be pretty satisfied with the updated state of beta Prot warriors. It looks like Prot damage is getting better, rage generation will be less of a problem than originally anticipated, defensive abilities – both old and new – seem to be working well, and the spec seems both interesting to play and very functional.
This is good news – a sigh of relief, actually. And it gives me hope that changes to Guardian / Feral druids in beta will also make that class more exciting to play.
I’m not in beta, so I’m not testing anything myself. I’ll have to do that when the pre-expansion patch drops. Therefore, I have to rely on the expertise of others in these types of cases, and that leads me to my next point.
Making premature judgments (a cautionary reminder – mainly for my benefit – for players of all classes)
Next week, the beta will celebrate its two-month birthday. Well, perhaps there won’t actually be any celebration; however, the date is notable because we’re likely approaching the halfway point of the beta itself, and while nothing is really finalized, we’re starting to get better pictures of how our classes will play. It’s exciting to see spec redesigns turn a corner and start to really come into their own – particularly when they started off looking awful – and it looks like the Protection warrior could be doing just that. I’m hoping that I’m proven wrong with druids, too – perhaps when 5.0.1 drops, we’ll find that Feral and Guardian specs are not just viable, but are also exciting and fun specs to play. Here’s to keeping fingers crossed…
This is a problem, though, in this day and age. I’m not referring to beta testing and player feedback – that stuff is priceless, and I think the games we play are much better, in general, for it. However, from a personal standpoint, I find myself latching onto certain “design priorities/goals” that the development team articulates or demonstrates (or both) in early beta. If it seems like a shitty idea to me, particularly with a spec like Feral druids (i.e. the developers’ constant desire, both spoken and test-built, to tone down special attacks in favor of white – or sustained – damage, which has been going on for years now), the history combined with that idea can make me inclined to abandon the spec, however premature that may prove to be. It’s a trap I’ve fallen into multiple times, although I think that it’s not entirely without merit that I do so. However, early betas are probably coloring my impressions of certain classes more than I should be letting them.
It’s something to think about.
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Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!