I’m not sure what it is about Druid blogs, especially resto Druid blogs, but they all seem to be so.. well.. nice. I first noticed the phenomenon around this time last year while I was stuck down in the Falkland Islands for 6 months. Visiting blogs like Resto4Life, 4Haelz, Leafshine – Lust for Flower and Bringin’ The Wood were all the blog equivalent of sitting down by a nice warm fire and putting your feet up, as are new (to me) blogs like Wild Growth. Sure, there are other non-druid blogs with the same cosy atmosphere (Hi Larisa!) but you definitely get the impression that no-one’s allowed to start a resto druid blog until they fulfil some sort of “you must be this nice to post” test.
And I think I know why.
You could certainly make the case, and I’m sure others have, that there’s a trend for certain types of people to roll certain types of characters. At the risk of making a sweeping generalisation, control freaks roll tanks, people who care roll healers and people with Attention Deficit Disorder roll dps.
Oh look, a pony!
But a resto druid isn’t just any old healer. No, sir! They’re Druids who turn into trees and heal with the spring-pine clean power of nature! Can you get any more hippy than that? There are folks who gather at Stonehenge every summer solstice who care passionately about their fellow man, mourn the loss of the environment and can play folk songs on their own hand-carved banjos and I’m willing to bet when they log into WoW, the chances are they’re not playing lolknights called Aarthaaz.
But here’s another angle. I’m not really what anyone would call a roleplayer, except for when I’m on The Mighty Jingles. It’s not my fault, his magnificence simply cannot be contained by mere mortals. And yet… I do find myself adopting the mannerisms of the toons I’m playing at any given time. When I’m on Henriksen, my trusty Dwarf Hunter, I don’t take no crap in guildchat from them hippy elves! On no-one is this tendency to act like my toon more pronounced than when Shinano sprouts leaves and starts spreading the scrummy natural goodness around. I find myself playing like a lentil-eating, tree-hugging, butterfly-kissing hippy. And I love it.
TREE DURID IS 4HAELZ!
I simply cannot be depressed when Shinano picks up her roots and does the Tree Waddle. When she /cries, the whole world cries with her. When she /dances, spontaneous parties break out around her. When she /cheers, she means it. If someone dies on her watch, I feel genuinely guilty. Not so when I’m healing on Aluriel. When someone dies on Aluriel’s watch, it’s generally because I let the asshat die as a lesson to teach him what happens when he keeps Deathgripping mobs off the tank. Aluriel is a priestess, she understands that sometimes you have to sacrifice an asshat for the greater good. Not so Shinano, she believes that even lolknights have the right to Rejuvenation and Swiftmend. There’s no conscious decision that I should play this way on Shinano, it just… happens. I can’t help it, my inner hippy takes over whenever Shinano sprouts leaves.
Cat Durid is 4 FITE!
It gets worse. Shinano is dual-specced Restoration/Feral DPS. One of my personal pet hates is people who constantly hit the jump button while doing… anything. It is my fervent desire that all bunny-hoppers die in a fire somewhere. And yet… whenever Shinano slips into Cat form… I.. this is hard for me to admit… I turn into Tigger. I bounce. I sometimes also type “Rawr!” in /s. I nearly went as far as tying it into a Feral Charge macro. I do have a macro that yells “WEN CAT DURID IS FITE, DO NOT ASK FOR HEELZ OR NINERVATE!” I become uncontrollably… perky. I’m not proud of it, I know I need help. The thing is, well… let me try to put things into some sort of context.
Everyone who plays will have had those “Zomg this is COOL!” moments, and I don’t mean from when you completed some amazing content, I mean when your class allowed you to do something that just smacked you right between the eyes as downright awesome and you knew right that instant that this was the class for you. I can remember precisely two such moments on Calli, and she’s my Main. With Shinano on the other hand…
HEEL BARES DURID! BARE DURID AM STORNG FREND!
I’m level 36 and a hunter’s asking for one more dps for a Scarlet Monastery run. He’s starting to get a little desperate so I figure I may as well try. I tell him I’m a feral druid and I realise I’m a little low level, but as long as they don’t want me to do the Cathedral I think I could be okay, and I promise not to pull random aggro as I can always stealth past higher level mobs. Astonishingly he doesn’t reply with “lol noob”, he does in fact play a level 60 druid on his main and is happy for me to join the group. The rest of the group, who are level 40 or higher, don’t share his confidence but they’ve been waiting for an age to get going so no-one goes as far as to leave the group in disgust at my noobishness.
Problem number one arrives when I arrive at Southshore in Hillsbrad and the paladin points out that at level 36 I have no mount so they’re going to have to wait ages for me to get to the instance. ”Not a problem”, I reply, “Swift Travel Form is only 20% slower than a level 40 mount, and I know a shortcut.” The hunter with the druid main sends a friendly emote into party chat, I’m starting to like this guy. The rest are curious to know what this shortcut is I’m talking about, but I just tell them “Sorry, druids-only”, before taking a right turn as they all pass the Silverpine Forest border ahead of me, jumping into the lake and switching to Aquatic Form. I scoot across the lake, pop back into Swift Travel form and make it to the instance entrance in second place, avoiding aggroing the mobs outside by shifting into Cat Form and stealthing cautiously past them all. The last guy arrives at the Monastery wondering how long he has to wait for the noob druid, to which I reply “I’m in yur instanze, killin yur mobz!” and explain about my various travel forms. Everyone has a good laugh, and the atmosphere lightens considerably. Apart from the Hunter, none of the other guys really knew much about druid versatility and they were genuinely surprised and amused. Then disaster strikes. The tank has to leave, he’s really apologetic about it, but simply has to go.
So there are four of us stuck at the Scarlet Monastery entrance with no tank. Some of them have dps friends who could offer their services, but no-one knows any tanks. Then I get a whisper from the Hunter/druid.
“You want to try tanking maybe?”
Is this guy serious? I’ve never tanked an instance as a Bear in my life, and I’m only level 36, I don’t have Dire Bear form, just regular old Bear form. The rest of the group are all at least four levels higher than me, I’ll never hold aggro!
“You’ll be fine, we’ll just go easy on the dps at first, the paladin healer’s pretty good, we’ll keep you alive.”
I reluctantly agree to give it a try if they can’t get another tank within five minutes, and sure enough, five minutes pass by with no tank arriving. So the hunter proposes the new plan to the rest of the group and to my everlasting astonishment, no-one falls over laughing and they all agree that I should try to tank it. And so a fresh dps is recruited and we head into Scarlet Monastery with the noob level 36 Bear tanking for the level 40 group. And tank I did.
I won’t say we never wiped, because we did, but nowhere near as many times as I imagined, and never because the tank died or lost aggro. I tell you, aggro stuck to me like bearshit does to bears’ asses. It was a revelation to me and the other three guys in that group who’d never run with a Bear tank before. The Hunter with the Druid main just exuded a smug “I told you so” aura all through the dungeon. I wish I could remember that guys’ name.
“It’s Just Those, Bear Necessities, Mother Nature’s Recipes…”
Levelling and playing as a druid was filled with those ZOMG! moments. Ever been killing Satyrs in Felwood and accidentally aggroed a stealthed patrol, who aggroed another group while you’re fighting yet another group? Yep, done that. Survived it too. Eight mobs on me, but nothing that shifting in and out of Bear form while making judicious use of stuns, roots, swipes and heals can’t fix. On any other character in vanilla WoW I’d have been dead meat. Or in stealth and running for the hills screaming like a cheerleader.
I’d just hit 60 mere seconds ago and Shinano’s about to head to the trainer and respec Resto. Back in those days a level 60 druid was a healer or they were very lonely. The call goes out in guildchat for a healer for Scholomance. I can come as soon as I get back to Moonglade to respec.
“Where are you now?”
“Don’t respec, it’ll take ages for you to get back to Eastern Kingdoms from Kalimdor. Just head to Scholo and heal as Feral.”
Excuse me, have you taken leave of your senses?
“Nah, you’ll be fine.”
By some miracle we make it to Headmaster Gandling with no-one dying, then the tank gets ported and disconnects and the (Blackwing Lair geared) warlock becomes the new tank by default. Somehow, by a combination of the warlock drain-tanking and my spamming every heal in my very limited feral book, the boss falls over dead with no further casualties.
We’re in Karazhan and fighting Prince Malechazaar when an infernal drops right on my head and toasts my leafy arse into charcoal. We now have only one Holy Paladin healer halfway through Phase 2. This place is by no means on farm status, things do not look good. Then the Bear tank does something amazing. He warns the Paladin to start spamming maximum rank Holy Light, pops out of Bear Form, Barkskins himself, combat rezzes and innervates me and carries on tanking as if nothing had happened.
I get Tree of Life form for the first time and squeal with glee at the new Tree emotes. I swear you’d have thought I was a thirteen year old girl.
And you haven’t lived until you’ve done Karazhan with 10 druids.
You can try stuff on a druid that any normal person would think was as mad as a box of frogs, because on a druid you can get away with it. Druids rock. Hard.
So to my furry and leafy brothers and sisters, keep on enriching the blogosphere with your friendly presence. I’m not sure why it’s a better place because of you all, but it is. I will close simply by allowing the legendary Alamo to have the last word on the subject:
Durids is make best frends. When people has lonely time, durids will haf sum laffs with lonely peeples! Durids, u are my frends, and I likes you! almost like as much as bosoms!
DURIDS IS 4 haf FUN TIME WIT FRENS every1 is like a fun time durid!!