This blog started out as my way of having a place to get down my thoughts and suggestions on playing a Feral Druid as a tank.

I also love to just ramble on about whatever, but really, I called it the Big Bear Butt because I loved the bearing, and so figured that was what I’d be talking about.

That has remained true, but for other reasons than I originally thought. It’s the only class I really think I know how to play, and the only class I think about and whip up tests and stuff for.

Over the years, I’ve made a lot of characters.

On my main server right now, this be what I’ve got;

  • 80 Tauren Feral Druid main spec with a Resto chaser.
  • 80 Nelf hunter Beastmaster with a BM off spec. What? One specced for instances, and one for faster flight speed while farming.
  • 80 Draenei Shaman Healer main spec with a “beat the face with a mace” off spec.
  • 80 Belf Pally Retribution main spec with a Prot off spec that, frankly, is used more often. But I’m a supaflyretpally in training! I swear! Jong is mah hero.
  • 75 Human Rogue running as Combat Daggers. Why? I wanted to have the best of both worlds… Combat spec because that’s what Cassie runs as and can advise me, and daggers because I get to play with all the “dagger in main hand” toys when stealthed.
  • 73 Draenei Priest Shadow main and only spec. I’ve got this massive mental block agasint playing this character, and I don’t really know why. She’s been level 73 since two weeks after Wrath was released.
  • 43 Human Mage – Frost all the way, baby. Only play this with Cassie as a team.
  • 41 Orc Warrior – Prot spec all the way, mostly leveled in instances.
  • 24 Dwarf Hunter – placeholder for a Cataclysm something or other, have no bloody idea. 
  • 1 Draenei Hunter – name placeholder for my Cataclysm Troll Druid. Hee hee hee… “Gummybear”. As soon as I saw the Troll form colors, I couldn’t resist.

So, I’ve got two openings for Cataclysm characters in my list, and 8 characters I really like.

Ignoring my placeholders, I have 8 characters, and of those characters I’ve got 11 spec playstyles to know.

Where am I going with this?

Of those 11 specs, there is only one that, when I log in no matter how long it’s been, I don’t have to ask myself, “How the hell do you play this character again?”

And that’s the Bear tank Druid. Not even Kitty, I don’t kitty anymore. If I’m killing, I’m Bear.

Every other class/spec I’ve got, if I haven’t logged in and played for a couple of weeks, when I log in, I look at my button bars for a few minutes, and even more fun, check out my Vuh’Do settings, and try to remember how I used to play it.

The Feral Druid (not Resto spec, either, just Feral side) is the only one I don’t have to do that with.

To me, that helps explain one of the many reasons that when I talk about classes on this blog, I only really talk about Feral Druids. It’s the only one I grok. The rest I enjoy, I can play, and I like to think I can squeeze some good results out of. I do make a solid effort to learn a class, test things and practise skills and get smooth and natural before I ever join a group.

But there is something about my Feral Druid that I connect with differently than the others.

Just last night, been messing around for two weeks now on Rogue and Starcraft 2, I decided it was Prot Warrior time.

I logged in, loaded up my Warrior, and I had to stop and look at every button to remind myself what they do, and how I’d been using them in battle.

“Where the hell is Charge? Oh, damn, I only get that in Combat Stance. Oh, right, stances, damn. Oooh, when did I get a button that lets me break fear every 30 seconds? Sweet!”

Am I the only one running around with more characters than I’ve got mental capability to stay 100% on top of?

I’ve mastered the Bear tank, that’s for sure. So I’ve got one spec of one class I can claim to have mastered. I’m sure others would disagree that I’ve mastered it, but screw them.

For groups, I’m pretty solid with about ten seconds notice on Resto Druid, BM Hunter, and Ret Pally. That’s it. If I want to play reasonably well, tolerably well by my standards in a group, the Shaman on both Healing and Enhancement, the Paladin on Prot, and the Warrior would all need a few minutes of sniffing around to pick it back up.

The Rogue I’ve been playing in groups, but I still don’t think I’ve done more than scratch the surface of what she could do. That’s just embarrassing.

My Mage, I love my Frost Mage, but she’s never done a dungeon. Strictly a duo team player. And my Priest? Fugedaboutit.

Seriously, am I the only one? The only person that has settled for having fun, and stopped trying to master every character I’ll ever play in a group? Not because I wouldn’t like to master them, but simply from having too damn many to pick from at any given time? No matter how much you play, somebody gets put on the shelf for a while.

At this point, I seriously have just one goal before I take a character into an instance with strangers; be skilled enough to be sure I’m not going to embarass myself or make stupid mistakes.

Master the class? Yeah, pull the other ones, they’ve got bells on.

I dunno, maybe I’m too hard on myself. But when I put my abilities as a Druid Tank up in comparison with the other classes I play, I certainly can feel the difference. 

Prot Pallies shouldn’t have to spend a few seconds searching for the Divine Intervention button when they need it, right? They should just know exactly what to hit and when, where it is, and wham. If I can’t, if I have to search my button bars to remember where I put it, I think that says it all.

Anyone else? Do you play one main at elite level and have others you’re good with? Do you play 10 level 80s all dual specced and you’re master of every single one of ‘em?

Or are you somewhere in between?

I think it’s funny sometimes, coming back to a character I haven’t played in a while… it’s like driving a Yugo for two years, and then pulling the GTO out of the garage for a run. “Okay, which one is the gas HOLY SHIT THIS THING IS FAST!!!”

It’s also one of the reasons I like seeing people who really do master their class. I can see someone take their specialty out on the open road, let ‘er rip, appreciate the skill that took, and admire the hell out of it.

32 Responses to “Master a class? I’d be happy if I could remember how to play!”
  1. Nate says:

    I played a Mage from vanilla thru ulduar when I took a few months off. When I came back I switched to a priest bc of the insta-queues to gear back up and I got pretty good with it. But one night the alt 10 man icc needed a dps and I brought the Mage. Even in ulduar gear and focused on crit instead of haste I ended up #2 dps and did almost 500 dps more than I can as shadow in full tier 10. I totally agree with you!

  2. Kaethir says:

    I haven’t played any characters except my main and my first alt for literally a year.

    Most of them don’t even have their talent points spent since the last time they all got refunded.

  3. Urahaira says:

    Please don’t feel bad, I have altitis as well. Currently have 5 80s, 2 in the 70s and 2 40s on my home server of Anvilmar. I play one for awhile, then play something else :P Only my big fuzzy bear is the toon I can play without thinking too hard about what all those pretty buttons do.

  4. Moonra says:

    Gummybear… sweet mate :D

    When I play my alts it confuses me on my main (RestoDruid) when raiding I get times where I want to use my pain suppression, wait wut? (you get the point) but I rarely play my alts, one love!

  5. Mister K says:

    I would have to agree with you. I would say I can play my prot pally without thinking and my Boomkin, elemental shaman, and disc priest within a few seconds but the rest of my toons all take an adjustment period because I just don’t have the amount of time in on them or they didn’t connect with me the same way. I like to be able to fill any role needed so I’m glad I have the options but it takes quite a bit of playtime to get comfortable in a role.

  6. dbodinem says:

    My RL schedule kind of dictated to me that I’d have to be happy questing and doing 5 mans, so I rolled a lot of alts…7 Alli and 4 Horde (2 different servers). 1 Alli toon is a bank alt and the other 6 are all 80-dual specced. I’m respectable on all of them, but certainly not a Master on any of them….The one’s I’m best at: Balance Druid and BM Hunter.

  7. Mentor says:

    I like how many players are creating Cataclysm name placeholders. Me included… look out for Klunk of Kilrogg on the EU realms.

  8. Crackilakin says:

    Feral and paladin are pretty much what I’ve mastered. But because of the way my keybinds are set up, I can usually hop on an underplayed alt, guesstimate what’s important within about 10s or so and run about 80% efficiency. It’s much more noticeable on my tanks, but generally really important buttons are 1-5 ( 5 on the tanks being my taunt. It’s just where I’ve gotten used to having it )

  9. Hana says:

    I can play balance druid, bear druid, and holy paladin without breaking a sweat. I don’t “forget” those specs, even if I haven’t played them in a while. I can play prot paladin and cat druid after a refresher instance. My warlock and warrior though I always forget and have to relearn almost from scratch. -_-

  10. Darth Solo says:

    I’m not like that. I’m a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. When I get on an alt my fingers automatically remember how to push the keys even though they are obviously different between characters.

  11. That is me. I actually have 2 80 Kitty/Bear Druids on different servers. My next closest is a 58 DK banker and a 55 Shammy. I have so much I want to do with my druids, I’m rather meh about leveling more.

  12. Hyst says:

    After some guild issues just before Ulduar launched, I semi-retired my bear and started levelling my alts. I now have ten 80s, one of each class. They are all at about 4200 gearscore, and I am pretty comfortable with them (I can play each without looking at the keyboard every few seconds, and can switch between them without much trouble). I can say that I am at zen with my bear, and close with my warrior.

    Being able to connect is definately a big thing, it took me a long time to get the feel for casters, so they were the ones that stayed at level 20 or so. It felt a lot more natural levelling plate-toons in prot/frost spec, so they were my first alts at 80.

    It took a long time to get my rhythm for casters but once I did, levelling them was painless. I am comfortable with them, and can put out respectable DPS with them, but I don’t think I will ever have a second-nature feel to them like I do my druid.

  13. I have a similar problem (the only two toons I remember to play without having to think about it are my hunter and priest), but I did learn a couple of tricks for helping me keep things straight on all the other alts (ret/holy pally, feral/feral (but formerly resto) druid, blood/frost dk, and resto/elemental shaman).

    I keybind my damage spells in the order I want to use them, aka the two diseases are bound to 1 and 2 for the DK, and I keep my Vuhdo keybinds as consistent as possible to how my priest (and main) is set up. Left mouse click is most-used spell (PW:S for priest, lesser healing wave for shaman, holy light for pally), and right-click is almost as used spell. Dispells/remove ick stuff is alt click and big heal/emergency buttons are ctrl click. Spells I want to keep on the tank (beacon, earth shield…) are keybound to 1, since that’s my penance button on my priest and I have a habit of keeping the tank as my target anyway.

    I still have “oh wait, that does THAT?” moments, but this way I can just jump in and play. Addons like clcret or other move suggestors can also help to remind me.

  14. Adanos says:

    I think most people are where you are 3B, I mean…. most of us have found a class we can call our own, and have made some alts to experience stuff differently, but I dont think anyone can master all classes, there’s a degree of getting used to stuff that cant be achieved without hurting your knowledge of the other classes.

    Im a feral just like you (tank mostly too, though I love mah kitteh too) and I have 5 alts, and only in my holy priest (and the drood, ofc) I dont have to stop for a couple of minutes to recall where stuff is, but on my Ele Shammy, my Retri/Prot Paladin, my Destro Lock and my Fire Mage, I think I can be decent enough, people wont complain about my skills, but I know I cant be as good as with the other 2 chars, lately I’ve been getting better on my Paladin, but it was because I was playing 2 hours a day with it.

    I think Blizzard has done a great job on getting an “unique” feeling in every class, where you really need to work on it to be good, and where a guy who’s been playing a class for a long time will have always a leg up on a guy that hasnt, no matter how good that guy is with another class.

  15. Feorfin says:

    I feel about my combat rogue the way you feel about your bear. I’ve been exclusively running my kitty and bear for about a month and have attained 79 2/3. Almost there! However, every so often I’ll pop on my rogue to farm or grab some quick frosties and it’s like riding a bike, easy peasy. What is really fun is I had 2 sweet daggers just languishing in my bank so I decided to go completely off the road with a 71 pt Subtlety spec. I’ve never used any of the Subtlety tree talents so it’s like having a totally new toon. It’s amazing how different the play style is from combat and assassination, but it’s a total blast.

    On a different note, I have to say you made me smile when you said you were running combat daggers. All the trolls on the rogue forums would be gnashing teeth and beating breasts about your “suboptimal” weapon choices. “Don’t you know combat daggers is dead”? QQ. It still pisses me off that I can’t use my full tool box in combat because of “Dagger only” requirements. I hope they’ll fix that in Cata.

  16. Graimerin says:

    For me its my Paladin. Prot or Holy its a flow a feel I’m just kinda there in it. I have other 80′s 7 more now and have raided at current level and gear on all of them. On the dps toons i feel very mechanical sticking to the rotations while its enjoyable its seems more like an exercise in memorization.

  17. Kaboomski says:

    I only have one main, my level 80 Dwarf Holy paladin. I absolutely love to play him and try my best to master every aspect of it. I have a Retribution offspec, which I sometimes play, but mainly got for Northrend questing. Leveling as a healer is a pain, ugh.

    I also have a level 63 Death Knight I enjoy playing. Never thought I’d admit that, to be honest. But I seem to have a feeling for it, he’s a Blood spec’ed tank. I can pretty much solo anything at my level or slightly above. I even seem to be doing OK in PvP. I laughed my ass off when I beat a level 66 DK 7 times in a row when I was still making my way to Stormwind, to talk to the King. That’s me at level 58, thank you. But have I mastered his abilities? No. Am I skilled enough at playing him so that I don’t embarrass myself? Just about.

    There are only a couple of classes I really enjoy to play, and those I tend to get to know a little. I’ll most probably never master them, though. I plan on having 4 max level characters at some point. My paladin will be the first. My DK second. I can’t decide on my Resto shammy and Disc priest, they’re both around level 24 and still have a long way to go. I already gave up on a druid. My wife plays one, I played it for a while (on and off) but I just can’t seem to get the hang of it. Both in Restoration as Feral, I can’t get it to click. So I won’t.

    But, in all honesty, I haven’t even considered the rest of the classes. I generally suck playing casters (except healers). I loathe tanking (except on my DK). I get frustrated with melee DPS (no exceptions). And hunters? I just can’t seem to get past level 2 with those and I have no clue why.

  18. Rackham says:

    I’ve recently picked up my vanilla resto Druid again after some time playing mostly Horde and I’m also amazed just how much I remember!

    I truly think Druids are just those all around fun class to play. Next up to that would be my Orc MM hunter.

  19. suxxy says:

    Perhaps this is why I have 3 feral druids at 80. I enjoy leveling, but find it difficult to get in the groove. Sure, I have a boomkin, holy/shadow priest and prot warr 80 as well, but feral just ticks all the boxes for me.
    My warr was my first level cap 60, but after playing bear for too long and going back to tank with him… I was the same, too many options, too many darn buttons.
    I rearranged the Warr keys so they matched up as much as I could with my bears.
    eg
    mangle = shield slam
    swipe = devestate
    taunt = taunt
    Maul = aoe /castsequence macro for Thunder Clap / Demoralizing Shout / Shockwave
    charge = charge (with the talent to use in Def stance, though a stance-dance macro would work here too)
    bash = bash

    It’s the only way I can still tank on my warr, by making it as much as possible like a bear… so sue me.

  20. Aloix says:

    I’m definitely a fan of ‘master of one’ vs jack of all. On my main I do try to be good at my offspec, for raiding. I’ve got a main alt, I’m ok with her main spec, OS is barely passable. Alt alt is mediocre at MS and bad with OS.
    With all of them I dps as MS and heal as OS, having some commonality does help a bit in any degree of mastery, IME.

  21. Nimizar says:

    I’ve already decided to roll a second hunter as my worgen, as I’m still significantly better with my hunter than I am with either of my druid’s specs.

  22. Itchi says:

    I have few issues rolling between my 80 “mace to the face” shaman,disc/shadow priest, boomkin, tankadin,and destro lock. I just dont understand rogues xp

    and brokentree, if you havent heard about/already have it…checkout decursive. Works wonders for me on all my toons. Poisons on my druid. Magic on priest, cleanse on paladin.i love it!

  23. Minos says:

    I have a second feral druid on another server, because I was going to play with a couple friends and wanted something I knew I could level fast to keep up with them. I get more confused when I switch from my level 80 bear to level 30something than I do switching to an alt of another class. Where are all my abilities?

    Also, careful about levelling that placeholder. My friend made a name placeholder for a DK before Wrath. Then he got bored, started playing it, and couldn’t bear to delete it.

  24. Rauxis says:

    It’s Druids or nothing for me

    I started out on an EU server in vanilla, got my healer to 70 (in resto specc!), dabbled some time into feral but was not really ready for raid tanking yet (mentally, I got far too nervous whenever something bad happened), and by the end of BC had at lock twink at 70 (wanted to get the feeling of a pet class). With LK looming on the horizon I swapped to an US server, and without even hesitating a moment I created “Rauxis, chosen of CAT”. Two years later I’ve also tried myself on Mage, Rogue, Paladin, DK and Priest – nothing could really hold me for long. I’m even leveling a Boomkin right now, but when the LFD queues became a pain I got a second specc for bear, went into an instance … and “I believe I could fly”. I’m Feral at heart now, with the frequent to change into a tree – nothing else really interests me (and I see a wolven druid in the not so distant future)

    So I can really share your feeling BBB – and it’s not only within WoW, but also when I compare it to other games. I simply love being a Feral

    Rauxis, chosen of CAT

  25. Solitudeone says:

    Haven’t really ‘mastered’ the class as yet, but my main balance druid is without doubt my most fluid character to play. I’m the same with my alts. Have had dozens of trials over the years and down to three I usually play, but always have to stop and think about them for a minute or two when I load them up. I’ve also noticed that the alts I’ve settled on are simular in their playstyle to the druid (spell-casters). This seems to be more suitable for me than feral or restro.

  26. Ely says:

    Well for me, it’s mage then priest. I have many mages, priests, and druids on different realms (i even made a pally healer :0 ) I can play a druid resto/balance as well without looking at buttons. I don’t use key binds on any toon (don’t know how they work anyway ) If i make the toon and set up the bars then I’m good and remember what everything does, but if hubby or the kids make me play their toons I get sooo lost cause heaven only knows how they can play with the way they have their bars set up. And this is on toons that i like playing.

  27. xmolder says:

    My name is Xmolder, and I am an altoholic.

    See, I have this thing. I like to level. Like, a lot. Between leveling and raiding, I’d probably pick leveling unless the content was REALLY COOL. But when I level a new character, I go into it like I’m going to be maining it all the way through the Emerald Dream and back again, which just obviously doesn’t happen. I learn my specs, rotations, glyphs, pets. I make note of all of my cool tricks (pulling Netherspite out of his room with Demonic Circle is currently my favorite, being just a little more awesome than using the Eye of Kilrogg to keep your pet from pathing through adds) and I start gearing up.

    A week later, I’m working on my next toon. See, this isn’t such a bad thing, because I get to see everything in the game! I’ve healed, I’ve tanked, I’ve DPS’d. And I enjoy all of it, so why not try it on a different class?

    Welllll, I realized the other day that, despite leveling from 10 to 70 as a feral druid, if you put me in cat form, I’d probably try to DPS by spamming Mangle. I don’t remember ANYTHING about being a kitty. I know you have to stand behind the enemy, and you have energy instead of rage, but that’s about all. Same goes for my warrior (fury spec, arms is too good to forget eye em oh). I’m even losing touch with my mage skillz, which I’ve had since before my guild got stuck on Nightbane. And that makes me have a sad.

    The one class that I will NEVER forget, though, has to be paladin. I can’t get enough. I’ve got a prot pally on one server, and a retadin on another. Rather than save up for dual-spec and a set of gear, I’m actually considering rolling a THIRD, just so I can heal with one. Ridiculous, I know.

  28. xmolder says:

    Also, with regards to losing track of where your buttons are, I’ve got a bit of a bad habit of just typing “/cast [spell name]” if I can’t find it on my bars. <_<

  29. Sarah says:

    I found the perfect solution to this about a year ago, I map all my abilities to more or less the same places across all toons/specs. Not every ability has a 1:1 relationship, but close is close. All tanks have a taunt, most classes have an interrupt, all classes have a few core abilities that make up a “rotation”. I don’t worry about that relearning period anymore since I can just jump in and start mashing buttons and the details come back to me in a few minutes while I play slightly less efficiently.

    Just the other day I tanked on my paladin who I haven’t tank on in so long my one handed sword skill probably went up 100 points in that one instance (well maybe not that much). Point is I just hopped in and queued and my buttons were close enough to what I am already comfortable with tanking on my druid and death knight that I didn’t have any trouble. Good thing I had consecrate though, not sure what I’d of done without it at the start with all those weapon misses.

  30. Pazi says:

    Having 3 paladins ICC-geared (one KingSlayer) with all specs (2 prot, 1 heal, all have ret as second spec) I feel confident that I know the class in-and-out. I also have 3 hunters mostly-ICC-geared (one is only honored by now) and since my first 70 was a hunter back then and for the longest time my main I am sure that I do pull my weight. 2 druids (not much played but they had their chance to put a foot into ICC), both resto, second spec is bear. Every other class is on 80 besides the warlock I’m currently leveling (71). I can’t play rouges (only leveled him to get me those lockboxes for the insane-title). Mages are way to boring. Didn’t have much time to play my priest (shadow/holy). My warrior (prot) hit 80 and then was never touched again. My schaman had little playtime as 80 (resto and enh, but to be honest I was bad as enh).
    But thats ok, I just like to level and learn the abilities of all classes.

  31. Zy says:

    Like Sarah and some of the other folks I make a point of mapping similar keys in the same spot so when I swap toons the adjustments are in the details. LHW/Nourish/Flash of Light, Mangle/Lightning Bolt/Frost Bolt, ect. It helps out a lot.

  32. endos says:

    my name is Endos and I’m an altoholic…

    3 lvl 80 paladins, one of which is my main,
    1 lvl 66 paladin
    1 lvl 60 paladin

    1 lvl 80 warrior
    1 lvl 72 warrior
    1 lvl 60 warrior

    2 lvl 80 druids, both feral/feral

    1 lvl 80 mage

    1 lvl 80 priest
    1 lvl 60 priest

    1 lvl 80 shaman

    1 lvl 80 hunter
    1 lvl 60 hunter

    1 lvl 80 rogue

    1 lvl 66 warlock
    and multiples of everything under lvl 60… they don’t really count anymore..

    I only play a couple of my toons at top level but I’ve got the capacity to turn any of them into top flight raiding toons except the caster dps toons… for some reason I just don’t “get” caster dps in the same way as I “get” melee classes…

    As Sarah said above, I came to a realisation that if you can realise that many abilities between classes are the same or very similar, half your battle is done in understanding how to play those other classes… mapping similar keybinds is a big part of it from there on in and makes it fairly easy.

    maybe that’s why I don’t get caster dps classes – My first toon was one of my paladins, so I haven’t managed to grasp that I don’t always have to run up and stab/bash/hit things to do damge!

  33.  

World of Warcraft™ and Blizzard Entertainment® are all trademarks or registered trademarks of Blizzard Entertainment in the United States and/or other countries. These terms and all related materials, logos, and images are copyright © Blizzard Entertainment. This site is in no way associated with Blizzard Entertainment®