We’re living in interesting times.
The new expansion for World of Warcraft is just around the corner, and the 5.0.4 patch that will bring us new talent specs is less than two weeks away.
I am… not prepared.
I haven’t made any effort to get prepared, either.
Specifically, prepared to tank as a Guardian Druid Bear RAWR RAWR bash all the things tankity tank tank.
I could have spent my time these last several months doing research, beta testing things out, providing feedback to the devs, all that sort of thing. If I had, I’d be going into this expansion ready and able to take advantage of every gearing and playstyle opportunity that is heading our way.
I chose not to.
I decided, rather than spend my time these last few months as an unpaid beta tester and help influence the direction of the game, I would spend my time having fun in the live game I’m paying for right now.
While others were beta testing, providing valuable feedback and pointed guidance to help improve outr class and future gameplay, and coincidentally preparing themselves with the knowledge they gained, I’ve been busy.
I’ve been running Dragon Soul and Firelands raids with our guild when I can, playing with my family in old instances, and having fun with a bunch of you in Icecrown Citadel.
I’ve been pursuing achievements, leveling alts I’ve never tried before, completing pet and bucket list goals, just living the high life with my wife and son.
Everything comes with a choice… and a price.
That price will soon have to be paid.
The fun I have had along the way has been great, and I regret none of it.
My Mage dinged level 84 last night, and I can proudly say that I leveled as Fire spec every. single. squishy. day. I only bought Dual Spec last night because I wanted to answer the question posed by the immortal Chris Knight, “Hows it feel to be frozen!”
It’s true, ice is nice! But I’m still burning for you, babe.
When the expansion goes live, I am going to return to doing something I haven’t done in a long, long time.
I’m going to return to raiding… on my Druid.
As a tank.
At least, that is the plan right now. I’ve been asked to be one of the tanks for the raid team I’ve been a part of, on my Druid, but whether or not that goes live depends a lot on the team, who levels what first, who wants to do what, that kind of thing. The team I’ve been healing for has two really awesome tanks right now, and as far as I know there hasn’t been a meeting I’ve been a part of to talk about our future plans, so I really don’t know who, if either of them, were planning on playing something else rather than a tank at first.
I’m not trying to vague things up here, I just don’t really know what’s going on. I’m not an officer, a raid leader, or any of that. I am joe player, one each, and I just offered to play whatever part I was asked, asked who I should level first to be ready for the team, and I was asked to level my Druid to tank.
I’m cool with that. It was either my Druid, my Hunter or my Priest, and frankly, I want my Druid leveled to 90 and having fun first. There is so much more I can do with my Druid, for everyone.
Yes, I may even start posting Bear tanking things again here.
God help me, I’ve got a big mouth and I write about whatever I’m doing in the game at the time. Whether or not anyone would care is really irrelevant. It hasn’t stopped me posting anything else, why start now?
Putting aside future raiding and my state of preparedness or not, Imagine with me for a moment what the new expansion will really mean for us as small family or solo players.
I am at heart not a progression raider in the way it used to mean. There is too great a necessity to devote long hours on multiple evenings, time I spend away from computer a lot more than my online status may suggest.
Let’s just say I’ve been surprised to find my character still logged in and afk twenty-four hours after I left to take care of something “just for a minute”.
For those of us who do not raid regularly, or who enjoy playing solo or with just a few family members, level 90 is going to give us a lot of distance from Cataclysm content.
What ICC and Ulduar and Naxxramas are to us now, Bastian of Twilight and Blackwing Descent soon will be. Plus of course the heroic versions of Cataclysm instances.
Right now, a group of three LFR geared players can fairly easily clear most normal Cataclysm dungeons, especially if one of them is a tank.
Once we’re level 90, and geared appropriately from that, all of Cataclysm will open up to us like a pretty flower, and the gate won’t be gear or DPS or HPS, but management of the mechanics.
I’m really looking forward to those days to come.
I’ve found that with the right team, I do love challenging the new content and really pushing forward to do the best I can, but I also love taking a group into close to current content, stuff that WAS the baddest of the bad very recently, and just taking the time to laugh, to joke, to explore and sightsee our way through the content, beating up bad guys as we go.
When Ulduar was current content, I only got in there in raids a few times. When I did get in there, I was focused entirely on performance. I was watching the boss, the trash, and the other players to ensure I was doing my best to help the team win. I wasn’t looking at the graphical design of the architecture.
Likewise every other current raid I have ever done.
It isn’t until content is ‘old tier’ that I’ve able to go in and take my time playing tourist and simply enjoy the artwork, the designs and the amazing attention to detail that has gone into the game.
From something as simple as the floor in Gundrak in front of Moorabi that is so gorgeously detailed with elephants it could be a special collector’s edition china plate, to the room of Algalon in Ulduar that transforms into a stunning galaxy of light and color when the encounter begins, it’s breathtaking… when you are able to take the time to enjoy it.
As much fun as it is to progress in raid content, for me there is more satisfaction to be found in playing tourist, taking the time to stop and smell the rot in Sindragosa’s lair. For a place featuring an All You Can Eat buffet, ew. Dragon bits and bits and bits!
At a time when my thoughts should be turning to catching up with Guardian Druid gear plans, talent specs, ability synergy and active mitigation to tank a progressive raid group, I find myself instead already looking forward to when I can look back, and form cross-server reader raid groups to take down Bastian of Twilight and Firelands, to smile at the dragons and admire the electricity sparking down Onyxias’ side.
I am not prepared… but that’s okay. We gonna have us some fun!