I often forget how far I’ve come in understanding the druid class (and how far I still have to go). I almost assume that almost everyone else knows the basics of gearing and talenting their druid, despite writing a blog designed specifically to help people with their gameplay. But druids really are multi-faceted and much more complicated for first-time players than many other straight-forward classes (like the rogue, mage, hunter or warlock).
I was reminded of this on Saturday when I went to my aunt’s house to celebrate my father and uncle’s 50th birthdays. My father’s cousin, a woman 35 years older than I, also plays WoW with a 50-something druid as her current main. An enjoyer of the infamous disease known as “altitis,” she has no 70’s and only plays the game about a half hour to an hour each night due to taking more college courses for a degree.
Talking to her, she admitted she was having problems with her druid. Due to my interest in the druid class, we got in a discussion about how she was playing and why things were going so slow for her. In the end, it turned out she was restoration spec, equipping any leather (and maybe cloth) that was an upgrade for her, and trying to kill things in kitty form. She didn’t know how respeccing worked, or what stats to look for.
I did my best to give a quick rundown, but I think I confused her more than helped her. I tried to tell her which stats were important for which spec, and how the druid class, like any hybrid, is a little complicated and requires different gear and talents for different roles. I think I may have accidentally overloaded her with information. I didn’t mention my blog; I’m not sure it would have helped her as much as I would like it to, just confuse and overload her more.
That night, after I arrived home, I offered to heal a heroic Steam Vaults. It was me, two feral druids, a mage and a rogue. After we arrived and people had grabbed the keys, we set off, one of the feral druids tanking. It was a near wipe, with me running out at the end. The tank had pulled with Faerie Fire, and there was no initial aggro to stop my heals from pulling threat. No one could stay under the tank and do their jobs. Another bad pull and we switched tanks.
Again, the same problem. Pull with Faerie Fire, an odd threat rotation, few swipes, and I ate dirt. Everyone else survived, so we tried again after I was rezzed (I was running back, but one of the other druids gave me one). This time, full wipe. We broke up; it obviously wasn’t happening.
I had suggested to the tanks to pull with a tick of hurricane for initial aggro or to use a starfire-moonfire-bear form pull for threat, but it was shaky, uncoordinated, and it seemed the two bears, both in the same guild, were quite used to Faerie Fire pulling. I had even put on some T4 to make my Lifeblooms less intense, and they still couldn’t hold aggro.
In the case of the tanks, they weren’t bad players. They knew how to itemize, what gear to get, and the basics of tanking. They just didn’t know the best way to gain aggro, to hold threat, or how to keep the mobs off a healer whose Lifeblooms gave her a steady stream of threat on all targets.
Every once in a while I see someone in trade chat looking for help on switching over to a Resto spec. I help if I’m not going to busy for a while, but there is so much involved in the druid class that it often does take a long while. Speaking with my cousin brought back memories of my own trip to 70, of the times I dps’d the wrong add, or melee’d from the front, equipped whatever I could get an used attacks after only glancing at the tooltip.
I’ve come a long way since then, but I have a long way to go still. I don’t know the raw healing conversion for any of my healing spells; that’s the next goal. I should get them down just in time for WotLK to come and give me more to learn.
Sometimes, though, it’s good to sit back and gain perspective on how much you’ve learned, how much you still have to learn, and empathize with the fresh-70 tank who doesn’t quite know how to use all his skills to max effect or the Boomkin who hasn’t learned the best spell rotation for mana conservation with high dps and no front-loaded threat or the Tree who spams Regrowth as their main heal.
It’s all too easy when you know what you’re doing to look down on someone who doesn’t. Not everyone can be naturally amazing at a class (though there are those out there), and not everyone knows there are web resources or has the time to root through them. So next time someone doesn’t know what they’re doing, bite your tongue on the word “noob” and help them learn.