Friday, March 11, 2011

Romilly - Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the PUG

I started playing WoW in early 2010, after finally getting a computer that could support it. Someone sent me a trial after I casually mentioned interest and it was all over from there.

I made a character on a friend's realm (Gnomeregan) and started noodling around with great newbie exuberance. It was a night elf, so I had no shortage of spectacular scenery things to look at. The Teldrassil incidental music remains among my favorites, and I still get giddy if I'm passing through places like the exterior of Dire Maul and it filters back in.

One thing quickly led to another, and one night in a fit of liquor-fueled impulsiveness, I shelled out for the Burning Crusade expansion. I was already turning into a lore nerd, wanted to see what the expansion races looked like, and, sue me, I like the pointy-eared things. I made a Draenei that got quickly forgotten, and a Blood Elf Paladin that quickly became my new main, and I became a Horde player despite the majority of my gaming friends' Alliance leanings.

Meet Romilly.

I straight quested this character to 85 with few exceptions. I knew about dungeons and groups and pugging and all of that, and even started out specced as Protection with the idea that I might want to be a tank. It sounded fun, even if the idea of dungeons were still way intimidating and unappealing in general. I joined a guild of people who quickly outstripped me in level - the one instance I ran with them they wanted me to heal and I was terrible at it. Being perfectly content to explore a world I'd never seen before and level at my own slow, but enjoyable pace, I did so.

I had a more experienced friend suggest I change my specialty to Retribution around level 40 or so, so I did. Partially because it made soloing that much easier, and partially because he said it would give me good dungeon experience without the tanking pressure. It would have worked if I'd queued more, but I didn't.

In strict character terms, this makes Romilly the most slothful and mercenary Blood Knight around. She spend most of the Northrend Campaign doing the scutwork of the Wyrmrest Accord and gaining the trust of some odd-looking walrus people in the Dragonblight. (Oh, and crushing like a schoolgirl on Koltira Deathweaver, but that's for another post). Outland and the classic zones were the same way. Kill this, collect that. Make piles of gold mining and spend them on a stable full of mounts and pets, but no work that requires her to get her hands dirty. What a spoiled little rich girl.

Then, the Cataclysm came.

It was Blizzard's genius, especially in the later expansions, that spurred my interest in 5-mans. At least the breadcrumb quests didn't feel so much like I was just being lead. I jumped into the Nexus in Lich King because after facing Malygos alongside her, Keristraza felt like my best friend and I couldn't just leave her behind. Same when I finally started dipping my toes into Cataclysm dungeons. I wanted to do Throne of the Tides so badly, because I became endeared to Erunak Stonespeaker as an NPC while in Vashj'ir and wanted to save him.

Then one day, I figured, what the hey, and started queuing on occasion as melee DPS. Used the 30-45 min queue times to do things like quest and grind Archaeology and did pretty well cutting people. I got some nice gear and while I was never the top damage dealer when Recount got posted, I knew my spec well enough to not be a hindrance either.

My original spec kept niggling at me, though, and once dual specialization became super-cheap, I picked Protection back up again. And decided, at level 85 ,with no prior experience, that I wanted to be a tank.

And that's where I am now. Figuring out interesting, but complicated stuff from the top down.

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