On playing what you love and loving what you play

Yes, I know. Long time no post. I’ve just… well, felt like I didn’t have much to say. I’ve been playing the game, I’ve been poking around on the PTR (the new instances are quite fun), I’ve been building transmogrification outfits for each of my characters so I have them all ready to go when 4.3 hits, I’ve joined a guild (although it’s a bit of a fail guild, but nobody’s perfect) and killed Ragnaros… I’ve just not been posting about it.

I was reading Vidyala’s post about returning to her mage, and Cynwise’s post about losing the desire to play the warlock class.

Not for the first time, I feel that when I started playing this game? I got damn lucky.

I started playing World of Warcraft at the end of April 2005, on the urging of an online friend who said the game was fun and I should try it. I knew nothing about the lore, nothing about the factions, nothing about – well – anything. My friend played a night elf hunter, so it was decided I would roll a night elf as well, so I could catch up to his level and we could play together.

What class, though? Reading through the manual didn’t help me with the decision. My friend suggested that a rogue might be fun for me. I wasn’t sure, but I figured hey, I can always create a different character afterwards if I don’t like this one.

So I launched the game. Ooh, cinematic! Pretty! Oh hey, that dwarf looks nifty… and ooh, a night elf. Pretty. Wait… what is she…

Really?  Screw a rogue, I want one of those.

Cue frantic rifling through the game manual. Druids can shapeshift. Okay, a druid it is, then.

I changed the character’s appearance until I liked the way she looked, told my friend my character name, and pressed “Enter World.”

“I thought you were going to play a rogue?” said my friend.

“I changed my mind.”

I wasn’t a terribly good druid – at least not for the times. “Druids heal,” everybody said. I didn’t want to. I wanted to be a cat. I wanted to be a bear. I argued with friends, I argued with my guild, I argued with anybody who would listen. I knew I could be a good tank if they’d just let me try.

(It didn’t help that some of the warrior tanks in my guild displayed spectacular amounts of cluelessness when it came to tanking and how it worked. I still remember this one time we were trying to kill one of the green dragon bosses in Duskwood – I think it was Ysondre, but I’m not sure – and the tanks died shortly after the last transition phase. A good portion of the raid got nommed, and then, due to healing aggro, the dragon went right for me. I switched to bear form, repositioned her, and what was left alive of the raid killed her. The main tank of the guild commented, later, that the reason I could do that and not somebody else was “she taunted first.” Showing complete ignorance of not only the way healing aggro works, but also of the way taunts work. Which you’d think he’d know, as a tank.)

When Burning Crusade was released and druids could actually tank, I was overjoyed. The very first thing I did on release night was take my feral gear and go tank Hellfire Ramparts. I’ve been tanking ever since.

It’s now many, many years later. I have a lot of alts – two hunters, a warlock, a priest, a warrior and a paladin at 85, a death knight at 84 and climbing and a mage at 80 who’ll be leveled once I’m done with the death knight. The only classes I don’t yet have are shaman and rogue (which is funny considering how close I was to rolling one when I started playing).

The druid I created the first day I launched the game? She’s still my main character.

Sometimes I don’t play her for ages, either because I’m stuck (no raiding guild and no way to progress further without one, for instance – that happens sometimes) or simply because I’d like a change of pace. But she’s still my main, and she’s the character I love the most. I’ve tried switching mains – it didn’t go well, at all. I missed my druid. Even when I rerolled on a new server at the tail end of vanilla, when server transfers didn’t exist – I created a hunter, figuring I would enjoy the change. Yeah, no. I got that hunter to level 10 and promptly left her there and created another druid.

She’s remained a feral tank pretty much since – well, saying “since the start” would be a lie, because I had to (ugh) heal in vanilla, but since the very first day of Burning Crusade. I’ve switched to healing once or twice – mainly during Wrath, because the guild wanted one extra healer for one boss fight and I had a healing set collected – and hated every second of it. These days I just don’t collect caster gear. Problem solved. My second spec is feral DPS – it’s fun, but ultimately it’s my offspec for a reason. I gear it as an afterthought.

I’m a feral druid. I tank. It’s what I do — and I don’t think that’ll ever change.

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