Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Breakin' It In: A Short History

(Crossposted at )

First off, I want to say hello to everyone who finds their way here. I hope you find some interesting information here that gets you to keep coming, and I hope you're willing to respond to some of the things I post, give me positive feedback, and help me become a better player. And I hope in return I can give you a different point of view and give you some different advice than you hear elsewhere that is neither better nor worse than others, but simply from another perspective.

Now that I've finished all that cheesey introduction stuff, let's get started. I promised this first post would be a short history as to where I'm at now, so here we go.

I started playing World of Warcraft sometime early in 2005. A friend of mine played with all his buddies on some server which name is now lost to me. It was a general server, and they played Horde. Finally convinced that I should join in the fun, I rolled an Undead Mage named Teristya.

I've always been big on the spellcasters, at least in MMOs. I came from the world of Shadowbane, where I played an Aelfborne (read: Half-elf) Summoner (read: Sorceress; no, they don't actually summon creatures), and really had some fun with it when my Dad started playing with me. He rolled a Dwarf Decon (battle priest) and we had many a fun time blasting others into oblivion.

I figured I'd try to emulate the same thing when I came over to WoW. However, stuff didn't last long for me. I tired of leveling by myself, since my friend and his buddies were in the 30-40's range and only increasing the gap day-by-day, and eventually they all quit the game, leaving me entirely alone. I was going to give up WoW too, but by this time my Dad had joined in as well as a lot of friends from home, so instead I rolled alliance on their server. My dad, after all, wanted to re-make his dwarf character. I ended up rolling both a Dwarf Paladin and a Gnome Warlock to futz around with on the Hyjal server.

I ended up having the same symptom, though. All my friend leveled quicker than I did, and my dad lost interest with it much quicker since I was away at college and we couldn't play side-by-side like we used to with Shadowbane. By this time (only about 6 months later than when I started, really), though, I'd made a lot of new friends at college, and found out they not only all played WoW, but had their own guild, too! So, I moved to my now-home of Mug'Thol, and rolled what they asked me to; an orc warrior by the name of Melna.

They asked me to roll a warrior because they said they needed an end-game tank. Okay, guess I'll go level that. I was having a lot of fun with it, but I was also working hard at school and trying to get good grades. Naturally, I ended up taking a couple of long breaks from WoW, mostly around mid-terms and finals. I was only in my 30's when the guild (Havok) came to me and asked me to re-roll a priest. "You're not that high anyway, and we could really use a healer," they said. "Well, okay. Sounds interesting, I've never played a healer," were my thoughts, and so the next character became Nishta, a troll priestess.

I was leveling my priestess at a much slower pace; after all, she didn't really have the firepower to grind well. I was only 22 when suddenly Burning Crusade was looming around the corner. Immediately my guild ran back to me, declaring, "Burning Crusade is coming out! We're going to need some paladins. You're not that high level yet, do you want to reroll?" I rolled my eyes, but agreed anyway. 'Why not?' I thought. 'I liked being a warrior, I liked being a priest, isn't a paladin just the best of both worlds?'

Despite my initial irritation with being asked to roll a character a third time, I got over it rather quickly. One of my newer friends, both in WoW and at college, who we shall call Kaitou, camped out with me at a Gamestop for our copies of Burning Crusade. I remember being one of three women at the release; and the only one who was actually buying a copy of the game for herself and not her boyfriend or son. I took an odd level of pride in that; I'm a professionally trained actor, I take pride in a lot of silly things. =P

As soon as we got back to my friend's place, I immediately rolled my paladin. I had been talking to Kaitou about it and had definitively decided to roll a male Blood Elf paladin. My reasoning had been "Well, hey, if all you guys can roll females so that you 'have something to look at,' then why can't I?" I wanted to name him as stereotypically objectified as possible. Prettyboy was already taken by an Undead Priest on our server, so Prettyboi it became.

I immediately loved the entire Silvermoon City area and the 1-20 Blood Elf leveling areas. After having been through The Barrens and Durotar three full times, it was a nice change of pace. I was also enjoying a lot of the more creative quests. Learning how to master your mana tap racial ability, for instance. I was actually one of the highest level Horde paladins on our server for a while... basically until I decided it was late enough and had to go to sleep. I would never be close to that high spot ever again.

Levelling went slowly. It took me about two-thirds a year to reach 70. In fact, I only reached 70 in August of this year. But I was still proud of myself. Prettyboi had become the single character I'd stuck with, the single character I never lost interest in, and the single character everyone always wanted in a party. It was nice having the utility of both a healer and a tank, though in all honesty, I truly enjoyed tanking far more than I ever would healing. As I breached 50 and plowed through 60, I had realized this, and decided that I was going to dedicate my efforts to becoming a tank. I had no idea at the time how difficult it would be or how few people on my server in particular hated the idea of a paladin tank, thinking them weak or even entirely useless.

Despite the hardships that were coming, I still don't ever regret my decision.

By the time I had reached Outlands, my former guild, Havok, had fallen apart. Our guild leader had grown out of WoW and was close to graduation, and no one was willing to step up to take over the job. We bid him good luck and farewell, and Havok disbanded. It was a shame; we were actually one of the most advanced guilds on our server for a short time... It would have been nice to have been a part of that.

Finding myself guild-less and almost 70, I needed to figure out what I was going to do with myself. Kaitou's former guild (he hadn't been in Havok with me) had also disbanded, so we were both kind of floating around with no direction other than getting me to 70. While tanking through a run of Slave Pens, the group I was with was massively impressed with my skills, and invited me to their guild, Sinister Sacrament. They seemed like nice enough and enjoyable people, and I'd had a lot of fun jerking their chain around on being male (they honestly had no idea; it was rather amusing, at least to me), so I joined up. I got Kaitou an invitation shortly later, and just before I hit 70, they invited everyone to go Zul'Gurub to test out their raiding skills.

Unfortunately, it didn't really go well.

See, Kaitou was actually the only person who had actually DONE Zul'Gurub. No one in the raid, in particular the raid leader, would listen to him about it. A group of 15 67-70's WIPED in Zul'Gurub because of the lack of organization and other general stupidity.

I did rather enjoy /gquitting the next day, though. Kaitou stuck around about 5 minutes after I caps locked announced "I'M A GIRL!" and /gquit. Apparently the responses were hilarious.

Kaitou and I had already found a new guild when we quit Sinister Sacrament. A lot of his buddies from his old guild had reformed into a newer one, and thus, we both applied and got accepted into Merciless. I am proud that I am still a member of Merciless. =) We are a primarily raiding guild that, at this time, is just starting SSC, and I hope some day I can march beside my fellow guildmates into these high-end 25-mans.

My next hurdle, which I have made a lot of progress in, is being able to stay a Tankadin through and through. If I never have to respec Holy... Then I might be a server first in that regard. To my knowledge, I don't know of another dedicated Tankadin on Mug'Thol. Please, if you know one or are one, contact me. I want to learn from you. I want the advice.

If not... Well, I hope I can be an inspiration to other future Tankadins on my server. Or other future Tankadins in general. I've been learning as much as I can, and I'll be relaying that knowledge here.

I still have a lot of history and stories to tell. But those are for another day. I hope you guys stick around. I think I'm going to enjoy doing this.

**EDIT** Edited Zul'Farrak to Zul'Gurub because I mixed up my names. But yes, it would have been much funnier if it had actually been Zul'Farrak. XD Also fixed a couple inconsistencies in statements. Now they're accurate and correct.