Just to be clear for those visiting from search engines… the post title refers to an article about playing World of Warcraft.

MMO Champion dropped a feral bombshell on us this last weekend, showing a video of a wonderful item effect for Feral Kitties.

There will be a staff in the next expansion, Fandral’s Flamescythe, that, when equipped, will cause your Druid Cat form to transform into a gorgeous flaming cat when engaged in combat.

The video highlights this item in use… and it’s stunning.

How do we get this incredible item? Is it a quest chain, or a crafted Legendary for Druids, or some such thing?

No, my friends, it’s not. It’s an epic drop from a raid boss in Firelands, Majordomo Fandral Staghelm, and therein lies the heart of our discussion.

I’m not going to act all stupid and incite a flamewar between raiding players and those who focus on other aspects of the game. Every aspect of the game has it’s own special rewards, and if you want the reward, then you play that part of the game. I’m not looking to ask who is excited at seeing this item go to raiders only or something like that.

PvP, Crafting, Archeology/Fishing/Cooking, Raiding, Exploring, playing together as a guild, killing critters… there are a lot of special items that you can only get by taking part in activities outside of questing. If I were to ask a raider vs non-raider question like that, it would be pandering for pagehits on a polarizing position, a pathetic ploy to pursue.

People who raid and want it are excited, people who don’t raid and want it are disappointed, but hopefully looking forward to the day when Firelands is old content that non-raider 5 person groups can farm for the fun toys they want.

Where I’d like to go with this instead is to muse on how working hard as part of a group to get something while it is still viable adds spice to the game that long outlasts the item itself.

There was another item that was arguably designed for Ferals that I once lusted after. It was also an item you could only get as a raid drop, except at the time Druids couldn’t equip polearms. This particular item was a staff.

I’m talking about Terestian’s Stranglestaff, which dropped from “that demon guy what you used to kill in Karazhan behind the secret door, the one with all the imps that you needed Seed of Corruption for”.

Yeah, you know who I mean. :)

I was a Feral non-raiding Druid, a fresh member of a guild that DID raid, and I wanted that staff. I lusted after those tentacles writhing on that pole. Err, this went in an uncomfortable direction all of a sudden. Hold on, swerving to avoid gratuitous tentacle sex references.

I wanted that staff not only because it was awesome for Ferals, not just because it looked freaking wicked… but also because wearing it would have been a readily identifiable tentacle-waving symbol that I had entered and experienced Karazhan while it was current with a bunch of friends.

I’d have a visible reminder of having done something fun with the guild, a shared experience with souveniers. 

A fun part of the MMO experience, for me, is simply talking with other players and swapping stories, reminiscing about the fun we have had along the way.

Over the years, even though I’m not a raider, I have been fortunate enough to have friends who either formed raid groups with me, or who invited me along as a hired gun. Er, borrowed claw. 

So, I’ve raided Onyxias’ Lair, Molten Core, Blackwing Lair, AQ20 and ZG 10 when they were current. Not 5 times a week, and not every week, but I did enter them and see them when they were what people had to talk about for current events. I was part of the conversation, and to this day I can bring forth my own “Do you remember when…”. I carried away the only thing you really own with a video game; the memories of fun times. 

Same with Burning Crusade, although for the most part my time there was in Karazhan, Gruuls Lair, Magtheridon’s Keep and a very teensy bit of Serpentshrine.

With Wrath of the Lich King, I got to see Naxx, a good bit of Ulduar, some Trial of the Crusader and Icecrown Citadel. Not on the leading wave of raiding, not consistently and certainly not all the way through, but I got to take part and build those shared experiences with friends.

Does that make me leet in any way? No. But what it does do is bring to mind all of the good times, and when looking back on things, a whole lot of the good times was taking on difficult challenges, and getting drops for overcoming those challenges that I was proud to wear.

I knew at the time, the same as you, that wearing Tier gear or having a Stranglestaff didn’t make me special, I wasn’t posing in front of the Ironforge AH hoping some0ne would gawk in admiration, tears of awe shining on their faces.

What they did was serve as visual cues, little reminders that, “Yeah, I did that, and I remember when we killed that son of a bitch Curator for 3 months before the Tier piece finally dropped that I wanted.”

This staff from Fandral Staghelm will be very cool. It’s a sweet idea that I love Blizzard for adding to the game, a neat goal for Ferals to look forward to.

I’m a little sad knowing that a lot of players who would dearly love having a flaming kitty form will not get to experience it until a long time after Firelands has been out, because they just can’t raid, or they can’t raid on their Druid. I’m likely one of them, getting my Druid raid worthy is a seemingly impossible task. Maybe one day.

At the same time, and even knowing that I likely won’t be able to get it myself, I like knowing that part of the pleasure of having it will be the satisfaction of overcoming a challenge as a group, and having something to chat about in the future. When you see someone pop kitty and flame on like Ghost Rider, you’ll know that they saw Fandral and took part in killing that worthless, traitorous, sniveling little bastard.

Ahem. Sorry. 

I love the items I have earned from questing, from exploring, from Archaeology and crafting, the pets I’ve found and the mounts I’ve had drop.

But there is something to be said for items that you can only get at the conclusion of kicking the hell out of a challenge as a group, and seeing that purple you want drop while you’re still riding that adrenaline high.

Plus, hey, remember when?

24 Responses to “The Struggle makes it Sweeter”
  1. Savvy-Savvage says:

    /gleeful profanity that at some point in the future will end with a rational thought out mature and carefully phrased round of begging for a flame bear.

  2. Neil says:

    Meh. I’ll wait for the staff that transforms my aquatic form into a giant fiery seal.

  3. Vidyala says:

    This is interesting and actually touches on things I’ve been thinking about lately. You’ll see a lot of people talk about loot as if it’s a dirty word, or say “it’s just pixels” as a way of denigrating anyone who actually seeks to upgrade their character with new pixels. The fact is, we’re all “just pixels.” These words are just pixels, but they can still hurt someone real if I choose to be unkind with them. That staff was “just pixels” but it reminds you of a time when you tackled those other pixels with your friends (also pixels).

    The pixels may be imaginary, but the friendship and respect and mutual effort that result in acquiring them – those are real! I treasure all of my pixels, and sure, I like to get them. I like when my friends get them too. I’m afraid I’ve veered off in another direction here, but I think it’s related! ;)

  4. Zwingl says:

    Holy Freakin’ Firey Feline Batman!

    Ok, I want one. I want one bbbbaaaaddddd…..

    *coughmypreciouscougn*

    That is just about the neatest thing I’ve seen yet. I can only imagine what they can do to the other druid forms.

    Zwingli

  5. I first started playing WoW in BC, and I was part of a very casual, very friendly, and not especially skilled guild. We raided a lot of Kara. I mean, that’s the only thing we ever raided, except for one or two brief trips into Zul’Aman. We killed Illhoof generally every single week, and not one week did I see that staff drop. I was a bear druid at the time, so I definitely understand your lust for those writhing tentacles.

    XD

    I solo’d the place soon after I hit 85 for giggles and of course, it dropped.

    Of course, I kept it. It reminded me of the fun times we had in there, wiping horrifically on the trash.

    But I really really REALLY wish it had dropped when it was still viable.

    <3 Gneisha :3

  6. vinetail says:

    I know exactly what you mean. For me, it’s Jin’do’s Judgment. It reminds me of how I used to be the kid sister tagging along whenever there was an empty healing spot, even at level 55. I am never, ever selling that staff. Too many good memories.

  7. Fal says:

    Quel’sar spent Vanilla trying to prove a Pally could tank her and still jam the sword in the dirt. Never happened first or second new and improved Ony kills and I got lucky. Still have it in the bank

  8. Thom says:

    I’m thrilled for ferals. It’s a fun item, it’s got a nice place in lore. Now it just needs to gradually corrupt the druid who is foolish enough to use it, leading to an epic quest for redemption … er. Maybe that’s the wrong lore.

    On a mostly-unrelated note, can you imagine the rage when this staff goes to a hunter? Seriously, I might help my guild ferals track down and kill any hunter that bids against them on this staff.

    Nooooo, theorycrafting said it was best in sl!

    Or we’d just have to get another staff. But that’s way too easy.

  9. Meebs says:

    I’m so excited about the awesomeness that is fire kitty, but as a bear I’m hoping for fire bear too. At least I’ll be extra excited for those one tank fights.
    On a side note, I wonder if this is the start of a new trend of cool Druid form transforming goodies. I know our feathery friends would like a little love too. :)

  10. Perdissa says:

    This news was so awesome, my bear stopped hibernating in his cave, and I have brought him up to level 83 now.

    He’ll probably not be able to join raids in firelands, but damn, just when I thought we don’t see cool stuff in wow anymore, something like this comes along and blows me away.

  11. Tsudrats says:

    True words. It’s what the staff represents that is significant not the pixels it’s made from. I don’t have a problem either with the idea that some loot is available only through particular experiences. If I choose to not level tailoring I don’t get a flying carpet or the raptor stuff from arch, do we hear people complaining there? No, however, put something into a raid loot table and the story does change.

    I’m almost tempted to make my tree a kitty and go find me a flaming staff :D

    wonder if my tree would burn down accidentally?

  12. Syl says:

    It’s the hard challenges and tough struggles that make for epic win feelings and great memories. :) I’ve written a rather lengthy article about that last year, so I fully agree. that’s why it’s so important that there is a balance between effort vs. reward in games, cost vs. value. this unfortunately has become more and more unbalanced to me in WoW after TBC. welfare epics and co. might be shiny for 5 minutes, but they rob you of that feeling of win. :(

  13. Who says you cant get the bear butt raid ready? You got all the right rep dont you? A few crafted pieces and you are on your way…

  14. Caliea says:

    So… completely OT, but I’m curious…. What do you think people will be looking for if they come to this page after searching “struggle” and “sweeter”?

    My mind is coming up with all sorts of inappropriate and odd things…

  15. Shaikki says:

    But why doesn’t it make flaming bears as well…

    Raiding bear is sad.

    • Thom says:

      Raiding bears should at least get burning eyes and fire coming out of their mouths. Seriously.

      Actually, I’d love it if it worked on all druid forms. The Burning Boomkin and the Tree on Fire (!) would both be amazing. Aquatic form might be a little weird though.

  16. ChunkyPenguin says:

    I am a raiding bear and would too love a flaming bear form however, i do kitty dps on occasion and even though my guild shouldn’t be raiding firelands soon, i will be pugging it as often as possible for that staff.

  17. The Dewd says:

    I’m a kitty at heart but I do tank for the guild when needed. I’ve been mostly playing alts because our guild lost a lot of folks to RL issues a few months ago. Folks are starting to trickle back in and with the nerfing to T11 content coming in 4.2, I have hopes of being a flaming kitty before 5.0 comes out. (Admittedly, I had my eyes on the Stranglestaff back in BC when we were lucky to down 1 or 2 bosses a week in Kara – and that was after having the worst luck EVER when trying to get keyed in Black Morass, including disconnects, lag, and the like.) I wound up doing Arena in Season 2 just to get the pineapple on a stick – and still have both that and the Stranglestaff in my bank to this day.

    If nothing else this staff shows me that Blizzard has finally proven to the druid community that they actually have been listening to all the complaints about being trapped in an unchanging form. Sure, we got new fur colors based on our hairdos but the form still looks almost the same. We can’t use Nogginfogger or any of those other fun toys because as soon as we shapeshift it breaks the buff. I’m hoping that this is a sign of things to come for everyone else, too. Maybe next will be bears or moonkin that get something like this – and not just a one-off item for feral cats.

  18. mahiah says:

    I saw that staff this morning on mmo, and I think I started to drool on my keyboard. Hot Kitty! Meooooooooooooow! I WANT!!! ok, so I dont generally get worked up over specific loots.. there haven’t been many things in game I’ve actually strived for (and gotten). One item I wanted, and strived for, for a good solid year.. was my finkle’s skinner. I have it to this day, and will NEVER get rid of it. If I get lucky enough to ever win this staff, it would be a keep forever treasure as well. ^_^ AND! so help me if I go in, and there’s a hunter there, who thinks they need it too! RAWR! and then some!

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