Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Crisis of Identity

Flying through the Vale
Preparing for an expansion is no small task. There are mats to farm for leveling professions or making gold, there's massive amounts of guild organization and there are decisions to be made about characters and roles you want to play. If you read Kurn's Corner, you'll know that there are steps to take when preparing a guild for a new expansion, and having guild members decide what role they'd like to play in the future is one of those steps.

I had to decide; healing priest or bear tank?

Ultimately, I chose to play my bear in the upcoming expansion. I've been having a bit of an identity crisis with my priest lately, and the more I play on my druid, the more I enjoy the game. I love my priest, I even wrote a post about how much I love her, but we've had a disconnect somewhere down the line.

Knight-Captain Kaleri on her Vicious War Steed
I am a good healer. Hell, I'd venture to say that I am a great healer but it just doesn't feel right and it doesn't feel like a challenge. I think that part of the reason for this is the race change of Kaleri from draenei to human back before Firelands, and the other part are the nerfs in Dragon Soul. She's still my priest, but she's not Kal. This fierce little human with a penchant for PVP and Hardmode bosses isn't the draenei I rolled back on Bronzebeard, clumsily fighting through Karazhan, applying to guilds through the mail system, and tailoring her own clothes.

Taila (or Kalbeari, now) has been a steady rock since Karazhan. She's mangled and swiped her way to victory over Malchezzar, Kael'Thas and Vashj. She held the lines while Illidan was vanquished, used the Tears of the Goddess to thwart Archimonde and stood in awe of the Sunwell. Together we've been the shield for the healers and the damage dealers through many battles, and that will be our role in Pandaria.

I leveled Kalbeari to 90 on the beta, and started goofing around in heroics with my friend Sara, a healing priest. Watching Cascade bounce around, or seeing Spirit Shell makes me a little regretful, but as soon as I hit that Incarnation button and become SUPERBEAR, those feelings go away. I watch the boss previews from MMO-Champion and I think, "I get to tank those. My raid will need me to be at the top of my game to survive and take the hits.". It's exciting and scary but I know it will be the challenge I need.

Does the class make the person?

My priest was my safe haven for some time. I created her just before University began, and played her while my struggle with Crohn's Disease was at it's height. I accomplished a lot with her, and many memories are recorded in her achievements and Feats of Strength. I was Kaleri.

My druid was created before my priest but the guild I had joined needed a priest healer (I was later asked not to heal, but to instead play as shadow). Kalbeari was always there when I needed a break from priesting, and I always thought of those two characters as friends of a sort.

Kaleri with the DS raid achievement mount
When I play Kaleri, I am a healer. I support my teammates, I take care of them and they keep Horde and enemies away from me. It's not my fault if someone dies to a loose add, but it is my prerogative to heal the tanks, so they can catch those adds. Healing can be a thankless job, especially when you do it so well no one will know what you had to do to pull it off.

Take Heroic Spine as an example. My job is to heal the tanks and watch the dispels. It's not a particularly hard job to dispel, but if you screw it up the entire raid knows it was your fault. However, if you do it perfectly the raid never has to know that there is a dispel mechanic and you take away that problem for everyone. You rarely get thanks, but there's a certain satisfaction when you can do it that well.

But when I play Kalbeari, I change a little. I have to be a little harder, take more control and be ready to help the raid as I can. Meaning anything from tanking more adds if someone goes down, using cooldowns like FR to the raid's benefit, to battle-rezzing someone or doing as much DPS as possible while I'm tanking. There is so much a bear tank can do right now to help out, it's insane.

Will a new role change me?

I think it will, a little. I feel like I've changed and grown as a person since I first created my characters. I've always been in awe of excellent tanks, and it never ceases to amaze me how a good tank can make or break a dungeon or raid run. I will have to take charge more than I do now, and speak up with more authority if I have to call something tank-related.

I'm afraid that I will feel a little helpless at times, not being able to heal but my priorities will shift from watching the raids HP to keeping an eye on my own. I used to get really antsy watching other healers while tanking but I've started to learn to let it go. How can I be a good tank when I die because I'm too busy watching the raid frames and I miss my cooldown? That can't happen and I'll have to place my trust in the healers, just like our current tanks trust me.

WoW needs more tanks, in particular it needs more tanks who are women. I'm proud to have the ability to switch to my druid and fill those roles.

Mists of Pandaria is approaching and it's nearly time for Kaleri to take a break from fighting monsters and the Horde, and fish by the gates of Stormwind for a time. The world has changed, and so have we.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Transmogolympics: Introducing The Exodar
Image from Amateur Azerothian


I've thrown my hat into the ring for the Transmogolympics! The idea stems from JD at Amateur Azerothian because with the Summer Olympics around the corner, what better way to pay homage than to host a competition of our own?

There are 24 total entrants as of this post. Each entrant must create 10 outfits total, and there are rules about what each outfit has to have to be able to participate. The first outfit is your faction's Flagbearer, because every country always has their flag in the opening ceremony. The rest of the "events" are as follows:
  • Archery – Build an outfit around your favourite bow.
  • Cycling – Build a biker outfit to compliment the Chopper.  It must be either Leather or Mail.
  • Discus – Build an outfit around one of the shield skins seen here
  • Equestrian – Build an outfit to compliment one of the horse mounts in the game.  (Faction limitations apply, so no Orcs on a Stormwind pony)
  • Fencing – Time for some swordplay.  Build your best outfit around the 1h sword of your choice.
  • Javelin – Build an outfit around the polearm of your choice.
  • Hammer Throw – Build an outfit around your favourite two-handed hammer.
  • Wrestling – We’re going to deviate from olympic wrestling and go to the sports entertainment aspect instead.  Using one of the “championship” belts, design your own Azerothian pro wrestler.  Think of the oversized belts, such as the Firemend Cinch seen here.
  • Freestyle – Build your own NPC. Could be an innkeeper, could be the Green Orc Lantern.  Doesn’t matter.

With all that in mind, the very first (and only) outfit I can reveal is my faction's Flagbearer. Each entrant was randomly given a faction, and I drew The Exodar! Fitting for me, since my main (before the race change) and most of my characters have been from the Exodar, I am excited to represent them.

When I picture Draenei in the Exodar, I think rich purples and golds, and of the strong connection to the light that the Draenei paladins have. I went to the Exodar to get a little inspiration, and Velen's guards gave me some ideas. I also traveled up to the Argent Tournament to find out how the Exodar represented itself in the past.

This time, the Exodar representative will look like this:

At home, in the Exodar.

I ended up going with some very recognizable paladin gear, but I wanted to mix and match the sets, so there's some t4, t5 lookalike, and t13 in this set. The shield (not visible in this image, but see the final image in this post) is the one that Velen's guards carry. The tabard is part of the requirements for the Flagbearers, so I chose to make that the stand out, since she's representing her city.

Checking out the Argent Tournament.

My item list is on WoWHead here: Exodar Flagbearer

Head: Glorious Headdress
Shoulders: Pauldrons of the Argent Sentinel
Chest: Justicar Chestpiece
Gloves: Gloves of Radiant Glory
Belt: Girdle of Valorous Deeds
Legs: Justicar Leggings
Boots: Boots of Valiance
Main Hand: K'iru's Presage
Shield: Emperor Shield

Armor type: Plate
Restrictions: Paladin

I hope everyone enjoys the sets that we'll be putting together, I can't wait to see what we've all come up with. Good luck to the other participants!