For years I’ve read about WoW heroics with both a sense of fear and awe. I’ve read how high the standards and requirements are, how professional the conduct, how unforgiving the judgement. You do a fraction less than the dps expected and you are unceremoniously booted. I never thought I’d be good enough to go in an heroic. I never thought I’d be brave enough.
But the week before last Seashell hit 70 and began to do some Northrend dungeons. All fine – definitely more enjoyable as a Mage that can evocate as opposed to a Shaman that seems to expend mana just walking around (I’m looking at you Luxmi). And let’s not even talk about where Bravetank is on this journey. So Seashell the mage was having fun and performing well.
Then I noticed in my dungeon list that heroic Burning Crusade dungeons were available. I started looking through Atlas Loot at the type of stuff I could get, then went to the kitchen for a towel to wipe the drool off my keyboard. There is something about purple stuff isn’t there? I have had it so rarely in my colour deprived WoW life. I remember squealing over greens. I remember telling the neighbours about blues. But purple – well it’s family celebration time. Even when the stats are lower than my current armor - as is always the way.
“I really want to try an heroic,” I told my husband, “But I’m terrified.” Hard to type the scoffing sound that came next but suffice to say he immediately queued for an heroic – showing that he was the man of the house I think. Within seconds he was in the dungeon and I was sitting over by my computer feeling queasy with nerves for him.
“Oooh it’s got a little icon by my mini map,” he said (reading this over my shoulder by the way he denies the “Ooh” bit). He started fighting. “It’s ok,” he reported. “I think there’s more trash but no different apart from that. People are typing in complete sentences though which is odd.” Odd indeed. I have never come across proper sentences in a dungeon before. It’s usually a collection of cryptic letters that I have to figure out – not even sure I’ve got “nvm” right.
Anyway his first foray into heroics continued. Nothing dramatic or untoward happened. He just treated it like a normal dungeon (which in his case is blizzarding everything in sight and staying behind to loot without a care in the world). He did not get booted, yelled at or spiritually condemned. At the end the final boss dropped 4 things, two of which were purple, none of which suited his class (so usual loot inspired tantrum which I ignored) but he’d done it.
“That’s not too bad,” I thought. “I can do that.” But as is my wont I wanted to do it better (wont and wanted in the same sentence – how’s that for a grammatical showdown?). So off I went to the auction house to buy the very small amount of enchants I can get that are useful and usable at my item level. I also made myself some buff food (I love cooking – makes me feel all Jeremiah Johnson – but without the brutal family massacre). “I will be awesome,” was my basic philosophy. “They will see that I have made the effort, that I’ve gemmed (actually nothing I was wearing could be gemmed but I’d at least checked), enchanted and buffed. I wanted to be the perfect Heroic WoW participant.
So I queued and after a few minutes I was in. “Here goes,” I thought, “This is where I play with the big boys.” (That sounds quite rude doesn’t it? Sorry) After only a few moments one of the dps shockingly announced he was stoned. “Oh my goodness,” I thought. “He will be booted. Heroics don’t condone such laxity.” But no. The tank just replied, “Fair enough.” Fair enough? I looked at my depleted gold balance – I’d spent a fortune in the AH getting ready for this- and started to feel a bit queasy again. We carried on fighting. I checked Recount and I was second. That surprised me. Before going in I had been scared I wouldn’t hit the right dps. I’d tried researching to see what that should be in level 70 Heroics but hadn’t found the magic number. But my fear that I was well below it appeared unfounded. Then suddenly I noticed a bunch of mobs running towards me. That’s usually the sign the tank is dead. And indeed that was the case. I blinked around the place a bit and somehow managed to stay alive. With the mobs dead the healer started ressing the tank, saying, “Sorry I was trying the new belt on.” Again I couldn’t believe it. I always wait until a really quiet moment or when I’ve left the dungeon to put new gear on. But the tank just did a smiley & all was forgiven. This was so not what I was expecting.
And so it continued. It was all very laid back. Mistakes were made but no one freaked out. It was far from the pro – cutting edge – no mistakes tolerated Heroic I’d been expecting.
And this turns out not to be an exception. I’ve done about half the Burning Crusade heroics now and pretty much without fail I have seen worse performance than in normal, but greater tolerance of it. What is that all about? Have I misunderstood heroics, or is the standard and performance I was expecting only now to be found in end game heroics? At the very least my fear has been put to bed - I can go in them, perform at the required level and get my hands on lots of lovely purples much to my family’s great pride. It’s just so not what I was expecting!