I did something momentous today. I paid for a realm transfer for my first ever character Terema (from Darkspear to my main server Defias Brotherhood). Terema is a Ret Paladin (although she did some levelling as Prot because she looked so cool with a shield & I liked to pretend I was tanking when I was on my own – once gave my non combat pet a stern row for pulling). She has been 4 blocks away from 85 for forever. When I got Seashell my mage to 85 a few months ago I felt a huge stab of guilt for poor Terema over on Darkspear stuck in Uldum & wondering what on earth she had done wrong to make me leave her in that way. Then yesterday I got my elemental shaman Luxmi to 85. This was a particularly bitter blow to Terema (I think) since Luxmi was my second ever character & had always been chasing Terema’s tail. But now she’d finally overtaken her. I could almost hear Terema railing at the heavens at the injustice of it all. So today I took the plunge & finally paid for the transfer & within the hour there was Terema on Defias Brotherhood.
I immediately logged her in & asked for her to be invited to the guild. I feel very much alone these days if I don’t have that scrolling green text on the left hand side of my screen. Even if I’m not joining in the conversations because I’m somewhat occupied being beaten to a pulp somewhere I still like to read it (probably the reason I am being beaten to a pulp come to think of it) – it keeps me entertained.
But I also had work to do. Terema had let herself get into something of a state down in Uldum. She appeared to have spent all her money on fun camel rides since she only had about 150 gold to her name. Then I remembered one of the last things I did with her was upgrade her flying so she could get a swift gryphon (she hasn’t got any other fancy mounts – she still rides her old Pally horse – she’s a purist is Terema – plus the laziest mount farmer you’ll ever hope to meet). Profession wise she’s “capped” at 450 so needs some training. Her mining is in the 200s. Even when I was regularly playing her I got totally bored with mining and to my husband’s horror would just run past sparkling nodes promising him I’d go back to them later. I never did. Yes she’s a lazy miner too. This is all starting to make me think she’s been perfectly happy doing nothing in Uldum. She’s probably hooked up with a Ramakhen priest or something.
I then checked out her achievements. Oh they brought a tear to my eye. The innocence of it all. The overall number is low (much lower than Seashell) but they’re in things like Exploration and Quests. Terema has explored most of the areas in Eastern Kingdoms, Kalimdor & Northrend. For some reason the Outland ones are not showing as completed but most of them are. She has also done many more quests than Seashell. This is all because Terema levelled the old-fashioned way when I first started playing the game. She actually did all the quests in the area, and then diligently moved onto the next area & did all the quests there. I have not done this properly with any other character after Luxmi – who got up to early Northrend that way, but then stopped there. The reason for the dramatic end to all questing on all my other characters (and Luxmi in Northrend) was my discovery of dungeons – or at least discovering LFG and finding the nerve within myself to enter dungeons. But Terema is almost a dungeon virgin (that sounds like something a masochist admits on the phone when booking an S&M appointment doesn’t it?).
Terema’s first ever dungeon was Blackrock Caverns. Obviously I died at the chains right at the start. I had no clue what was going on. I found the whole experience mind boggling & terrifying. It was during that dungeon I also discovered how hard I personally find dungeon melee dps to be. All the way through I kept on losing my target & getting confused. This continued in other dungeon runs until after one particularly bad performance in Throne of Tides (how the hell was I meant to know Ozumat was above me!!!!) I found myself on the receiving end of a “ L2P” & that was it. I decided Terema’d go back go being a quest only character (I tried to convince myself there was nobility in that choice- not just me slinking away with my tail between my legs). I just didn’t have the confidence to do the dungeons at that level as melee.
But today I felt differently. It’s probably because I’m a bit quested out at the moment. I had to do all of Deepholm yesterday with Luxmi to get Therazane rep so I can get the shoulder enchant & I really didn’t fancy running all over the country again with Terema at everyone’s beck & call. But also I’m a lot more experienced in level 80-85 dungeons now (not good of course – but experienced)- albeit at range. I felt like I could give it a go. I wanted to try again.
The first thing I did to prepare (see I do prepare sometimes – never works but I do try) was check out Icy Veins to remind me of the correct Ret rotation. I remember taking my first break from Terema awhile ago & when I came back discovering there was this whole new Holy Power system (I forget which patch that was). It changed the game for me dramatically & I never really got my head around it. So today I tried again to familiarise myself with it all and of course with the stats I needed to prioritise. This in turn sent me off to the reforger to try & get my hit up to 8% – it’s still a little under but I’m getting there. I finally looked at the AH for any gear upgrade I could afford. Shockingly there was nothing there for my remaining 10 gold so I gave up on that. And then I queued.
I was too scared to queue for a random Cata in case I got Grim Batol (pathetic I know- but that place is scary). So I decided to sacrifice the JPs and pick a dungeon. The one I picked was The Stonecore. I have done that & Vortex so many times on both Seashell & Luxmi that I thought it would be a safe one to try
After a 20 minute queue I got in. Oh my god- the first pack was horrendous. And I hate Millhouse. Despite having tried to line my abilities up on the action bar in a way that mirrored the Icy Vein rotation I was absolutely baffled once in the heat of battle. I could not work out when to use Zealotry. Then there was Inquisition & Templar’s Verdict too. They all seemed to flash at the same time. I kept on quickly rereading the tooltips but that meant I wasn’t fighting. It was awful. My dps was just over 3K. I used to do that with Seashell just by turning up and smiling (admittedly she has a very powerful smile – gets her teeth whitened every month). It was all so embarrassing.
As the dungeon progressed I got into it a bit more but I also kept on getting confused when I couldn’t find my totems. I had played my Shaman so much the previous day I was still in Shamanic mode. Indeed I lost a great deal of time trying to turn into a ghost wolf. Just didn’t happen for me. At the end I was last on the dps list – 4K ish while the next one up was 6k. But we hadn’t wiped. That was something. And they hadn’t booted me. That was even more.
I logged off when I had finished & immediately went to get a Pally add-on for rotations. I had used CLR before so I re-downloaded that. The next dungeon I tried was Vortex. This time I was being told what to do every step of the way by my CLR friend. Obviously this was easier and my dps got into the 5ks. Not great I know- but it was getting higher. Then amazingly I hit 85 (level not dps). Those 4 blocks were done! Finally finally Terema, my oldest character, was up there with Seashell & Luxmi. It was a good feeling and even though her dps was atrocious I felt proud of her.
My last dungeon today on Terema was Lost city of Tolvir. By now I had Guardian of Ancient Kings so had a little pal ready and willing to help me at all times (actually for 30 secs with a 5 min break in between – very good terms of employment there- would love to try negotiating that in work…). I put the ability with Zealotry & Avenging Wrath & made a little vow to myself that whenever available I’d remember to use my cool downs. I’d also finally got my head around the need to keep Inq up and to use TV on 3 holy powers etc. You know- the basics of playing a Ret Pally! It was all starting to click. I felt myself moving away from the range frame of mind to melee. I mean I was actually remembering I needed to fight alongside the tank as opposed to waving at him from the other side of the room. The dungeon went well & I started breathing again.
But I’m still finding it all very different of course. I so easily lose who I’m fighting. I’ve tried zooming out & it helps a bit but sometimes I find myself just mashing F to try to find something to hit. I also can’t quite see when Zealotry is off cooldown- sometimes it sparkles when it’s not available (great technical knowledge I’m showing here I know – I’m amazed Elitist Jerks haven’t come aknockin). So I’ve just had another add-on downloading spree – downloading ZOMGBuffs & Cooldowns to see if they can help. I’m just about to log in & try. It seems I need far more add-ons for melee than ranged. Everything seems to happen so much faster when I’m melee. When I’m ranged there’s time to observe & assess. But everything is a whirr as melee. Physically when playing melee I find I’m almost hunched over my keyboard. If I could climb in the screen and pummel the boss myself I would.
But god it’s exciting. It’s the best afternoon I’ve had on WoW in ages. I know people might disagree but it’s felt to me like there’s more to it than when I play ranged. I’ve had to think about the buttons & what to hit (ok- I’m being told by CLR- but I am thinking about why it’s telling me that- before long we will be having healthy debates on the rotation I’m sure). I feel like I’ve had to really work at it today & every single increase in my dps has felt almost magical. And the fact this has happened with my most cherished of characters Terema, the first one to stand in Northshire Abbey & wonder what on earn this game could bring her, is the most magical thing of all.