Getting up at 5:30 each morning is one of those facts of life I have come to accept. I’ve never been known as a morning person, in fact I am barely verbal before 9 am. However I have managed to adapt to normal society with only the occasional brutal mauling. As a result, I have had to force myself to keep a hard cut-off time of midnight in order to retain any semblance of functionality.
Most nights this is no big deal, as generally everyone is shuffling off to their own warm beds around that time period. Last night however, was one of those nights where I wish I could have had one more hour. As I sit there, staring down the barrel of 12:01, I am standing in Storm Peaks only 4% away from level 80. Pulling the plug was something I had to do, but god it was annoying to not be able to just push through and finish the level off that night.
Tree Huggers Unite
I can’t really say what made me start leveling my druid, but over the last few months it has become my growing obsession. There is a pattern in my alting habits. When I reach a point where I can no longer progress my main, I start spending more and more time playing other characters. After essentially maxing out my Warrior, and Paladin both of which have full epic main and off-spec sets, my attention rolled to another character.
I think my grand intention was to run my druid up to be a healer. Considering at the time Druid healing seemed so ridiculously overpowered as a whole. However this naive ideal was quickly destroyed by the fact that leveling Resto is as enjoyable as being repeatedly kicked in “the junk” rapid-fire, by a hyperactive 6 year old on a sugar rush. That was the king of all run-on sentences, but it was required to relay exactly how horrid that notion was. Having geared for spellpower already, and finding myself feeling retarded in cat and bear forms, the only option left was that of the noble chicken-man.
Decent into Madness
So over the last few months I have been grinding away at leveling my Boomkin with the grand notion of having 3 raid lockouts. Throughout the week I get a truly silly number of raid invites from friends and former raid members, all of which I want to be able to help out as much as I can. However most of the time I am cautiously guarding my raid lockouts to help with official and un-official Duranub content. Having a “throw away” raid lockout like I did in Burning Crusade with my rogue Renjihara was awesome. I could help out the “friends of stalwart” groups who just needed a warm body that was not going to screw things up.
The problem with this proposal is that I detest questing with a passion. However in wow, “quest grinding” is still the most efficient means of leveling. So with my trusty Carbonite in hand, I set out to start burning through quests as fast as possible. This for the most part works, but I am a dungeon runner, it’s in my blood. I leveled Belghast through the outland almost exclusively by tanking instances, so I feel completely out of my element when not in the murky bowels of a dungeon. This however presents a problem.
I am known for NOT pugging. Being a fairly well respected tank with a good network of friends on the server, I have never really HAD to. I can pretty reliably pull together a group of “known good” players from guild, raid, friends, and any of the numerous social channels. Prior to playing up my druid, I have honestly NEVER used the Looking For Group tool. After hearing horror stories from members of my guild, I avoided PUGs like the plague. I figured why subject myself to the frustration when I didn’t actually HAVE to do it.
This issue with the concept was the fact that I chose to level my druid, during a period of “alt drought”. So without a good pool of sub-80 players I was forced to do the unthinkable. I hit “I”, chose a few dungeons and then went about my merry way. Around 45 minutes later the first of many group invites came in, and I was running Utgarde Keep with the unwashed masses. The shocking thing… it was NOT a bad group. We had a few issues with the fact that we were all under geared, but across the board the players were not the “horribad” troglodytes that our mothers warned us about.
Changing Instances, Gear… Attitudes
So as I sit at almost level 80, I have run more than my share of PUGs as a boomkin. And while I have encountered a few horrible players, for the most part they all seem to be seasoned players being forced to level their alternates via pick up grouping. I would have to say the state of pugs at least in the sub-80 range is pretty good on Argent Dawn, and 4 out of 5 groups I have been in have been a rousing success.
Granted, when I ding 80 and can start DPSing Heroics I will probably fall back into my anti-PUG habits, but for the time being I no longer fear the reaper. Along the way I have even managed to add a few names to my friends list, and our guild gained a good Quebecois Warrior/Priest team. When it comes time to level my next character, I don’t think I will shy away from the LFG tool quite as much as I have in the past. I should be able to finish off 80 before the raid tonight, and over the next few days I will start frantically gearing Loamis.