Challenge 24: Class Fantasy

This fortnight’s challenge from Z and Cinder is right up my street as my idea of the Priest class fantasy and Blizzard’s are essentially poles apart, possibly on different planets too. When it comes to my favourite class, I think that original idea of Priests in WoW has muddied the water. Remember back when each Priest race had special spells (and everyone wanted a Dwarf Priest for Fear ward) and to me, starting playing back then, there was the class fantasy but also an individual flavour depending on your race. Snow might be a Priest but she’s a Priestess of Elune first and foremost. Her class hall should be open and wild and full of moonwells not a rather dull space ship.

There aren’t many “famous” Priests wandering around and nor is there much detail especially when compared to the amazing Mage Hall or the wonderful Druidic area. In fact when it was first released I wrote this in a fit of pique and my feelings haven’t changed. The spell changes have also annoyed me, partly because I loved using Mind Vision in PvP and I fail to understand why when I can still use Shadow spells to Mind Control someone of a cliff, I shouldn’t have access to Fear or Mind Vision just because I’m Holy. I’m also not a fan of the moulting Owlcat which is the Priest class mount although I’m not sure what kind of flying creature I would associate with Priests unless they made race specific Spirit of Redemption type models which could carry you like this:

Of the other class halls I’ve accessed so far, I admit to a liking for the Monk temple however I want to be able to get to the Wood of Staves without mountaineering. I think they were helped there though by the idea that Monks came originally from Pandaria/from the Pandarians and that the original Temple/home of the Monks got destroyed through the weapon quests so using the Pandarian start zone does make sense. It’s also lovely and expansive.

I also love the Druid Class Hall and admit to being totally jealous of all the moonwells and the Night Elf buildings which my Priest would absolutely feel at home with.

I think part of the issue with Class fantasy is that we have had years of envisioning our own idea of what our characters are, the world in which they choose to surround them and what their class means to them. Then Blizzard come along and go, “oh class fantasy” and totally change everything we’ve imagined, the spells we love and try and squish things into little boxes. I think it works best with classes like the Druids (limited races, clear theme from the outset) and Death Knights but completely falls down with others including the Priests.

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A Tale of Two Druids

On returning from our holiday, we used our free boosts on a Druid each. It’s class we’ve both played a lot, possibly I even have more play time on Druids than I do Priests as I tended to raid on the Priest, PvP on the Druid in vanilla so I was a bit taken aback by the “class familiarization” tutorial.

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I know that level 100s running around without a clue as to how to play the class isn’t a good thing but this little training school scenario doesn’t change that, especially since it forces you into playing dps. It does however explain some of the quite frankly weird behaviour I’ve seen from undergeared level 100s in the Broken Isles scenario, they must be brand new characters.

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However like a well trained Kitty, Heartsease ripped and shredded on command, stopping only to mourn the loss of “pounce” as a spell in it’s own right, oh and to quibble about being told what to do by a Human. Having survived the Broken Isles scenario (and possibly got more Alliance killed than the Burning Legion so far…people without stealth really shouldn’t follow stealthed cats into hordes of Demons) and sorted out a transmogrification, I was at a bit of loose end.

Then I remembered our Troll Druids, abandoned on the same server at level 30.

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It didn’t take long to sort out their bars, respec where needed and head off in search of the nearest Demon Invasion. A few short hours later, they’ve gone from level 30 to 59, made quite a lot of gold from selling the contents of their lock boxes since a level 10 item sells for the same as a level 100 one and are now hoarding boxes with a view to opening at what level they reach before Legion comes out.

Just as I intend playing my new level 100 Druid as feral, my baby Troll is a kitty too and playing almost from scratch is helping me get my Druid groove back.

We haven’t paused for many quests but one of the few chains we managed to complete between invasions was the Camp Taurajo one. Let’s just say it made defending Westfall from the Demons a tad tricky.

Thoughts on Flying

A lonely impulse of delight  
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;  
I balanced all, brought all to mind,

An Irish Airman Forsees his Death – WB Yeats

At the beginning, I was massively critical of the introduction of flying mounts. I thought it would herald the end of world PvP and encourage people to gank alts without fear of reprisal even though it was limited to Outlands at that point. Indeed as the Burning Crusade progressed, we saw a sea change in people’s attitudes. Prior to the introduction of flying, on my server at least, most of the alt slaughtering was done to make you log your main for some world PvP because people correctly assumed that if they killed your level 20, half your guild would turn up. However with TBC, lower level characters in Hellfire would be attacked and when the cavalry arrived, the aggressors would die once (if you managed to sneak up on them) before ressing, mounting and flying off into the sunset.  There was a classic moment in Wrath where myself (Holy Priest) and Mr Harpy (Prot Warrior specced purely for PvE) went to rescue a guild mate’s low level Warlock. A Ret Paladin and a Frost Mage had been beating him up repeatedly all across Hellfire Peninsula. We arrived and without even stopping to look at our specs, Mr Ret Paladin runs off leaving the Mage to our tender mercies. This (sadly) is now a pattern that’s been repeated across expansions. People are used to being able to take to the air to avoid PvP and whilst Blizzard have started to address with it with items like the Hardened Shell, it’s asking a lot of people especially those who play on PvP servers to potentially remove their safety net. I suspect most people are semi okay with the idea of being killed by the opposing faction whilst leveling, gear, spec, which faction has the most people questing in any given area all factor into the equation but it’s a totally different ball game at the level cap.

What started to sell the idea of flight to me was those hidden treasures lurking in the hills. Beautifully detailed scenes that could only be viewed from your very own flying mount, for example Challe’s nursery in the mountains of Nagrand was my first major “ooh” moment of TBC. Exploration in WoW has always been a huge part of the game for me, my Priest made it to the Troll village between Winterspring and Darkshore long before Naxxramas mark 1 was released and mountaineering in Dun Morogh always held a fascination for her. For further discussion on why not being able to fly would effect exploration, I’d strongly suggest reading this as the Wyvern’s Tail goes to the subject in much more detail.

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Then as if to cement the use of flying mounts, Blizzard added them to the pet store. I’ve only bought one myself, the Fey Dragon and I won a Heart of the Aspects in a screenshot contest but at a quick count there are seven  mounts available on the battle.net store as we speak and all of them are flying mounts. Yes, a couple of them would work okay I would imagine on the ground, the Swift Windsteed being a prime example of this but purchasing all of them would set me back £125. That’s a lot of money to spend on something which might not be fulfilling it’s true purpose in all current content for the life of the next expansion.  Sure, Caveat Emptor applies to most things in life but with competition out there it could backfire fast.

Unfortunately allowing us to use flying mounts on the ground is not really compensation for the removal of flying itself and in fact I’d go as far as to say it’s got the potential to be annoying. I get sea sick watching the Heart of the Aspects bounce along the ground in battlegrounds and the thought that everyone is now going to be outdoing themselves trying to hide quest givers under the biggest wing spans they can manage whilst leveling is not something I’m particularly looking forward to.

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That’s bad enough but couple it with the fact that Blizzard have stated that only our most used mounts will make the stables in our Garrisons and I’m starting to become decidedly grumpy. Yes, I can have Spike my Ironbound Protodrake in my stables but only if I ungainly stomp across terrain crushing small flowers and making bunnies freeze with fright.

Then of course there is the threat that this will become a permanent fixture whether across the whole of Draenor or perhaps in certain areas.

and we will play it by ear from there out.

Keeping everyone on the ground especially post level cap also requires a decent balance between tanks, healers and dpsers. Having to ride everywhere solo becomes painful if healers are only capable of weak dps and mobs hit like trucks. Obviously until we get the beta, we can’t do more than speculate with this but based on some of the things the developers have said already this does make me a little nervous. It also raises some interesting questions for material gathering. All my Druids are herbalists… probably no surprise there and I fully agree that fluttering above the ground pulling up flowers by your teeth is cheating but having to ride through twenty vicious mobs to pick one herb isn’t that appealing either. I found myself wondering if this ties into the Garrison idea. Why would say Herbalists actively pursue collecting their own materials when they could nurture their garrisons and let NPCs do it for them. Making gathering more of a chore could potentially make the Garrison a lot more appealing especially to people with limited time on their hands. That’s before we even touch on archaeology with it’s tendency to space out the digs at the four corners of the map.

Finally we come to the elephant in the room…. Flight form. I quested for it twice, I earned it as much as I earned my Benediction and it’s a part of what I love about my Druids. Without the ability to spiral swiftly into the air and then turning, plummet straight back to earth, falling like a stone, I’m not a proper Druid. Would I ever waddle along in bird form if my wings were clipped? Of course not, that would be adding salt to the wound. In fact it’s because of my Druids more than anything else, I sincerely hope that Blizzard do add flying to Draenor once we’re at the level cap. Exploration can be done on foot, bought pets can be ridden on the ground but take the sky from me… and I’ll never find serenity!

In conclusion, whilst I’m fine with the idea of no flying whilst we’re leveling, I think I would be concerned if we couldn’t ever fly on Draenor. The game and indeed the player base have changed since flying was added and that convenience has become the norm, rightly or wrongly. Perhaps we as players do deserve some tough love and the Proving Grounds before Heroics and no flying is the Blizzard version of no supper and having to write “There is a fine line between having an active imagination and misbehaving. Pretending to be Gretel and locking your teacher in a cupboard because she’s going to eat you is most definitely the latter” 500 times. However these days I’m an adult. The delinquent inside is firmly locked in a cage within my mind and she only escapes when alcohol makes the bars go hazy. Sure, I could play better but it’s the carrot not the stick which Blizzard should be employing here. Make us want to get better don’t grind us down with the sense of our own failure, especially if this entails being repeatedly ganked because there is no escape and chased into pack after pack of mobs (I play on a PvE server, am perfectly capable of holding my own against fair odds and am practiced at disappearing if it’s not so I’m not massively bothered about myself).

Perhaps those pesky flight masters will soon be retiring to Gallywix’s Pleasure Palace made rich by all the toll money.

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Personally I do take flights because that’s my blog reading and my making another cup of tea time plus my sense of direction is dubious at best and I’m likely to end up miles away from my actual destination. Not to mention the handy fact that if you take a ride, you can’t end up out over deep water, drowning but still I’d like the choice to fly myself.

The Druid inside Me

Hi my name is Erinys and I’m addicted to playing Druids. I didn’t realise quite how bad my problem was until I started taking screenshots for this post but it seems that Druids are one of my go to alt classes. Therefore in chronological order, I’d like to introduce you to my furry, feathered and often squawking friends.

Briarrose1
Briarrose senior was my third character to end game and she was born out of guild drama and general stress. I wanted to spend time away from guild chat and what better way to do that than to level a character who wasn’t guilded. Mr Harpy already had two Druids at level 60 by this point (his first two characters) so I had a good understanding of the class and I loved being able to mix it up in pvp. In fact my greatest moment in a battleground was probably the game in which when facing a same server Horde Premade, my little Druid held the Blacksmith against around seven decently geared and decently played Horde through abuse of feral charge, bear healing and sprinting off to heal up out of line of sight and bouncing back moonfiring.

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Briarrose the younger was my first ever Tauren and again dates back to “vanilla”. I have to admit I actually miss the original Tauren cat form (because I’m weird like that) and spent ages when they brought in the new colours trying to find a catform I found acceptable for her. Briarrose has been Feral for ever and will probably stay that way even though I’m not hugely taken with any of their catform alternatives.

tabby

Tabby only reached level 10 and has spent the rest of her existence on a pretty much dead server. I don’t however have the heart to delete her.

tansy

Tansy is a Moonkin and a ganker. Her hayday was in Wrath when she could bring squawk and awe justice from the skies to evil Horde. I think Cataclysm and then MoP pretty much broke her heart because it’s become impossible to slaughter someone as you fall past them with your parachute cloak up. She was also rather fond of Wintergrasp even though the imbalanced population on her server made it “interesting”.

kimimela

My Troll Druid was made because everyone needs a Troll in their lives. She’s another Boomkin because moonfiring stuff, especially Gnomes and Goblins never gets old.

teasel

Teasel is Resto through and through. That’s the way she leveled and whilst she does have dual spec, the second one is also Resto. I have to admit though, had Treeform still existed as a permanent form, she might well have been another Moonkin. I leveled her towards the end of Cataclysm and primarily through PvP and it’s definitely been fun comparing her to my original Druid Briarrose. I miss feral charge as Resto for sure and also I don’t think the damage in cat/bear form scaled at all from where it was back then. Originally you could use cat/bear to kill in PvP saving your mana for healing, even against DPS classes if you did it right. I’d be very surprised if that was possible now.

mentzelia
Finally my baby Worgen Druid, my Harvest Witch, Mentzelia. My plan for her (once she escapes Gilneas which she needs to do before Hallows End) is to level as Feral just because I haven’t done that for so long.

My goals for this week then are to make that final push to free Mentzelia and are to find a proper transmogrification for my little Tauren Briarrose.