You may have seen other posts around the place this week from the Blog Azeroth Secret Santa. This year's was organised by Ophelie from Bossy Pally and when Santa visited me, I found this post from Gazimoff of Mana Obscura! Enjoy!
been wracking my brains trying to come up with something to talk about.
There was the idea of new druid forms, but I struggled to get beyond
siege engine Mammoths. I was going to try a geeky play on words for
Tree before I found out that xkcd had beaten me to it.
I contemplated something about Gilneans being Gentleman Druids, all
Earl Grey and Eton Mess complete with an image in my head of a bear
wearing a top hat and monocle, carefully drinking from a bone china
teacup. Pinky finger out of course.
In the end I settled on something I could actually talk about, even if it meant digging through my own Warcraft history.
I’ve never played a druid properly (getting to 60 on refer-a-friend
then mothballing the character doesn’t count), so I thought I’d talk
about my experiences playing alongside them. These days having a druid
in the group is great, especially if they’re dishing out Moonkin Aura
like some kind of jolly avian Santa. It wasn’t always the case though:
my perceptions of the class started off skewed and went downhill from
in Vanilla I saw druids as a multipurpose swiss army knife, a filler
for the cracks and gaps in our raid. With a team of 40 people to
organise the arithmetic was simple: each class gets five slots to
distribute as they saw fit. Hybrids were largely seen as making up the
numbers, occasionally allowing a priest to go shadow or a warrior to
bezerk out for a while. The ‘hybrid tax’ seemed to reinforce this view.
It looked to me like druids were intended to be inferior to other
classes, paying the price for their flexibility in reduced threat
generation, damage or healing output.
only natural that this inferiority gave rise to players who went on a
crusade to prove this wrong. The raidgroup I was in while we progressed
through Molten Core and Blackwing Lair had their share of druids
determined to show that they were able to compete with pure role
classes. This usually took the form of bear main tanking on progression
nights without being properly geared. Needless to say we wiped a lot.
The move into Burning Crusade
laid the foundation of the now well-known mantra ‘bring the player not
the class’. You can trace the changes from Scholomance and Stratholme
class raids through to the rigid 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raids as
the starting point for this. Every class needed to play their given
role on an equal footing, be it healing, tanking or dealing damage. It
took a while for perceptions to fade but it began to feel like the
hybrid tax was on the way out.
the game has changed so has my attitude to Druids and other hybrids.
Dual talent specialisation has made them one of the most useful classes
to have in the guild – almost all are either capable tanks or effective
healers regardless of their main spec. I think the attitude of druid
players has also mellowed into one that’s prepared to be flexible in
order to help the guild succeed.
my cozy DPS bubble, druids seem to be in a great position at the
moment. Veterans of the class seem to be reasonably comfortable at 85,
while newcomers are trying out the class for the first time with the
new Worgen and Troll forms. Levelling changes also mean that a lot of
the traditional problems with getting a druid to Outland and beyond
have been ironed out. It’s enough to even make me consider giving it
my inexperienced outsider’s eye, Druids have fought battles with game
design and player perception, battles that have changed Warcraft for
the better. I can’t say if the druid players of old agree, but the
increase of bear tanks and tree healers means that raids are more
likely to happen and that LFD queues are shorter. For this and more
besides, we all win.