Today, I bring you an “it came from the PUG” story with a happy ending.
Our setting: The Nexus. I was there on my enhancement fail!shaman Sakula, who is geared…modestly, let’s just put it that way. Can’t recall offhand if he’s got any greens left, but he’s just gotten his second piece of base T9 and is otherwise mostly rocking item level 187/200 blues and the occasional 200 epic.
We all zoned in, and as always, I scanned my party frame to pick out the tank. It’s a reflex that comes from having two hunters–on them, the very first thing I always do is target the tank and make him/her/it my focus target so my Misdirect macro works properly. I saw that our tank was a female blood elf paladin…and she had 22,600 health.
I moused over her, and my tooltip told me she was prot spec. I looked, figuring she had her ret gear on…nope, that’s a shield and a one-handed mace. Hmm, this is cool. Maybe we can get her some upgrades! I mean, sheesh, it’s Nexus, right? We’re not exactly talking heroic Halls of Reflection here. So I dropped target on her and went back to making sure my totems were set the way I wanted them.
Next thing I see is the party healer, a tree druid, say: “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”
Ah, it never fails. A tank with less than 40k unbuffed health walks into a heroic, and people start crapping themselves. Before the first pull, before the tank had a chance to prove themselves, the tree took one look at the tank’s gear and immediately thought “fail.”
To her credit, the paladin stood her ground and said, “Is there a problem?” or something similar. Oh yeah, you go pallytank. The druid didn’t say anything. The paladin, honor apparently satisfied, turned around and headed off to pull the first drake.
And so, off we went toward the Halls of Stasis. The only other comment the druid made the entire time was, a couple pulls in, another snide comment to the tank: “Could you at least buff yourself so I have something to heal?” Oh, this guy’s a real douchetree. One Blessing of Kings later, she was up to about 24.5k health, and on we continued.
We took the usual route through Nexus, and other than the undergeared-worse-than-me mage dying twice on Grand Magus Telestra trash, it was a solid, unexceptional heroic Nexus run. The paladin tank did a solid job holding agro and other than one somewhat cocked-up trash pull where agro went wonky (causing us to scramble like hell, me to bring out the spirit doggies early, etc.), everything hummed along in the fine boring manner you’d expect.
20 minutes later, we stood in front of Keristrasza’s corpse. And I couldn’t resist, after seeing the “undergeared” paladin tank shut up Mr. “you’ve got to be fucking kidding me” Treebag with a great tank job. I turned to the paladin and said “Great tanking, Renai, thank you.” Other than a “thank you” from Renai, want to know what the two replies I got were?
Rogue: “lol easy with tricks”
Druid: “pfft great heals more like” *drop group*
Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to ignore the druid, or to personally compliment the tank before she dropped group. So I’ll say it here instead, and hope there’s a 1-in-1000 chance it gets back to him/her/it: Renai of Suramar, I salute you for a job well done. And, most importantly, I salute you for standing your ground in the face of Non-Overgeared Tank Hate, and for shutting down the haters.
Meet your friendly Panzercow’s fifth level 80 character…Sakula the troll enhancement shaman, from the guild Supercow (or, as he says it, “SUPAHCOW!”, complete with exclamation point).
Sakula was the beneficiary of me going on a bit of a WoW binge on Sunday. He started the day, before I left for church, about 250,000 xp short of level 79, wearing half mid-70s blues and half quest greens (nothing higher than ilevel 174), swinging 91 dps mainhand and 93 dps offhand green fist weapons. He ended the day, a little after midnight, at level 80, with the two 143 dps epic weapons you see in the picture above–Greed mainhand, The Fleshshaper offhand–his first piece of T9 (shoulders), and a rack of new ilevel 187 and ilevel 200 blues.
It really wasn’t that hard. I scattered a few normal random dungeon runs through the leveling process, breaking up the grind of questing. The last part of 78 was done in Sholazar, and at 79, I headed over to the Argent Vanguard in Icecrown and worked through the Argent Vanguard, Crusader’s Pinnacle, Crusader Bridenbrad, and Shadow Vault lines as quickly as I could. It is very easy to rapid-fire those quests in sequence and roll up mad xp, especially if you’re wearing at least one heirloom piece. Combine those with normal dungeon runs that were good for 10-15% of a level per run, and the Ladies’ Troll spent no more than five hours at level 79.
I have to say, I am really liking this whole enhancement shaman thing. I had a very hard time leveling Sakula…up until about level 50, it felt like a giant grind. He felt hugely underpowered. I was having to stop and drink every few fights, his DPS was bad, he was getting his ass kicked and nearly dying constantly. It felt like trying to level a warrior in bad gear, only without the toughness of the warrior class, and with mana issues on top of all of it. But around level 50–maybe when I picked up Shamanistic Rage–things started to turn around, slowly. By the time Sakula arrived in Hellfire Peninsula, the grind had eased up a bit. And come Northrend, with his faithful spirit wolves on three-minute cooldown and a pretty nice chunk of nature’s fury (and two weapons) in his hands, he wasn’t having much trouble with doing quests.
And now at 80, in instances? Fun tiems! The new Fire Nova is awesome in a can. Combine that with Maelstrom Weaponed Chain Lightning, and I can sort of hold my own on those constant crazy AOE pulls you get in random PUGs. Plus…he’s a troll. Trolls are cool! Trolls be flippin’ out, mon! He talks to the spirits and the loas…and apparently, the spirits and the loas usually tell him to beat the shit out of things.
As much as I like Moktor, and as much as I find the death nugget class interesting (and despite my frequently ragging on it, I do find it interesting), Sakula may displace the orc bitch as my undergeared non-raiding alt of choice. I’ll probably be randoming him to gear him up while looking for help on how I should glyph/gem/enchant him for enhancement, and then thinking about whether I want to dual-spec him, and if so, do I give him a second DPS spec as elemental…or do I cowboy up and actually, finally, after five years, give one of my characters a healing spec and dive into the terrifying world of keeping health bars full?