On relativity

I play a lot of characters. Well, maybe not as many as some bloggers that I read, but still. I have 8 on my home server, 4 of which are lvl 85 and the rest in various stages of levelling. Some in spitting distance of endgame, even.

None of my levelling characters are parked. Not even my sole contribution to the alliance pop on my server – a little dwarf warrior who was my first character, and who still has not levelled out of vanilla.

All of this in around a year. You could say that I’m fairly well acquainted with the levelling game. It’s what attracted me to WoW in the first place, and it’s still what I prefer to do rather than grind moar valour for my existing 85s. Gaining power, new abilities, access to new gear, etc… even professions. That’s what sets my heart aflutter. It’s also why I don’t really like heirlooms much, but that’s another post.

A couple of my characters are played in tandem with my gf. She’s an interesting case. 4/7 on FL and she doesn’t consider herself a gamer. Before we got together she never really played games. WoW was a great choice for the two of us, and I really enjoy playing along with her when I can.

Either way, her two levelling characters are fully decked in heirlooms. She’s… less of a fan of the levelling game. Doesn’t play her alts as much either, which can be a little frustrating when I want to play something that’s tied to her progress. (my poor hunter… qqqqq)

Over the past week or two we’ve been playing our pally/druid combo. Last night I actually had to quest a little to catch up with her heirloom-boosted xp. This morning she mentioned that the levelling process was going slowly.

Okay, here’s where I finally get to the point.

We’ve been happily levelling the characters through almost pure dungeoneering, with a little gathering in between dungeons. We only play around an hour a night, and at the tail end of vanilla we’re still seeing at least 2 levels a day.

This is slow?

I remember levelling our first characters together. This was pre-revamp, so the vanilla areas were a bit of a whorehouse. So were the BC areas, at least quest-wise, but they were still fantastic compared to Vanilla. It took us months to crawl up to 80. (followed by a week or two to 85…)

These characters are actually levelling a fair bit faster than the others that I play alone, at least in terms of levels/hour. So what in the world makes it seem slow for her?

Maybe it’s the resto druid thing. Due to the multipurpose charlie foxtrot that is the feral tree, most of a druid’s new skills will be tied into bear or cat forms. Healers (and particularly resto) generally don’t have an enormous number of applicable skills as they level up, compared to a dps or tank. The fact that she doesn’t seem to be getting as many skills as she goes could be exacerbating this.

It could just be that healing isn’t a particularly compelling playstyle in terms of variety at low lvl. By this point with our hunters, my gf had discovered Feign Death and would gleefully use it at every opportunity. She had a shot rotation, cc, disengage, all sorts of cool stuff. As a healer she… runs hots, swiftmends maybe if things are really bad, and tries not to be eaten by a grue. Collection of grues. Ranged grues. With spells. Okay, we’re done with this metaphor.

She’s genuinely a better healer than most that I’ve seen in the dungeon finder. We’ve also been lucky, only getting one truly insufferable tank as we levelled, but runs will generally go smoothly even if the pally accidentally asspulls half the instance while trying to get around behind the half that the tank actually intended to pull. (yes, sometimes I am a nub. last night was definitely one of those times.) She also seems to enjoy healing, but yet…


Healing isn’t really a challenging playstyle for most of the game up to cata. There are particular exceptions – Scholo can be a nightmare, particularly when the tank pulls like they’ve pulled everything up to then. It isn’t like those dungeons, though… this is the first place you’ll find mobs with seriously dangerous status effects, and there are a *lot* of mobs. Someone actually had to explain to the aforementioned insufferable tank that, while a room of 30 mobs were only doing an average of 50ish damage considering blocks/parries/etc, a healer at that point can only really manage about 2-300 hps on average, and 30*50 is around 1500 damage. This really hurts when you only have a health pool of around 2k. Add in some poison ticks and you have a very dead tank very quickly.

Stratholme is also a bit of a nightmare if the tank pulls badly – all of the aforementioned status effects and more, roving patrols, ranged units, neutrals that get pulled in if when the party is careless with AoE – to the point where my characters will generally give up on the RDF in that level range, since the party will inevitably wipe on an early pull after the healer gets eaten and the tank calls the healer a nub for not being able to heal through pulling the entire first quarter of the dungeon by sheer haphazard carelessness.

Okay, so I’ve wandered off the point a little. My gf has been able to handle the above situations, apart from captain numbnuts in scholo. Thing is, though, even in these severe clusterfscks the levelling healer doesn’t have much of a toolbox to call on. Maybe that’s part of the problem. It feels slow because it’s fairly repetitive. It feels slow because the toolbox is rather slim. It feels slow because the early instances are largely not challenging on their own merits, but really become so if the party acts like they’re signing in from a frontal lobotomy convention.

I don’t know. Maybe I should try starting a druid again…

  1. Alida said:

    I do consider myself a casual gamer now :P

    Playing the hunter is fun but playing the druid healer is fun too :D
    They are fun in different ways so i cant really say i enjoying playing my mage/hunter or druid healer more.

    I dont particularly care much about the fact that i dont have a huge number of spells that i can cast as druid healer at lower levels.
    In fact i prefer it this way as it makes it less confusing and less likely that i will end up using the wrong spells where there is better ones available.
    I really wanted an aoe heal though so why i was glad to finally have my first aoe heal as part of my rotation…not that i get to use it that much :P
    When i wanted to use it just to see how it looks i ended having an atrotious percentage of overheal for that dungeon :P

    I will only feel confident in my healing abilities if i can keep my overheal consistently low in HC dungeons but the true test will be zandalaries..if i can pull those off without running away crying i will be happy :D

    I cant really remember how long it took us to lvl up the paladin and mage. Think im just impatient to have flying that levelling seems slow at the moment. Also my alchemy/herbing are on hold as i need to gain more lvls before i can carry on herbing and making more alchemy related stuff :P

    The main reason i dislike levelling characters is that for me the first 20 levels is utter hell where you do not have a mount and have to run around at slow speed and spend hours just getting anywhwere. Im already tired by the time i get to my quest spot that i do not feel like playing more after that…so the parts where i get riding and flying is the parts i like most :P
    After that i like lvling my characters…before riding i permanently feel like deleting the character as its just such a mission getting anything done….if theres big mountain ranges involved with limited paths even more so :P

    • Leit said:

      “after that I like levelling my characters”…

      No offense, but you’ve got one character other than your mage at flying level, and he’s been stuck in Shattrath for the better part of two months. ;)

  2. Arkaine said:

    Dont tell her I said this…

    Most of the guys that I chat to in Dungeons along the way to 79 will tell you that Druid healing is mostly Boring up to Cata…
    This is only because 2 of their Healing “Spells” are Imba up till there…

    After 80 and in Cata Dungeons apparently Druid healers have an absolute blast and are on their toes most of the time :D

    • Leit said:

      You realise you just told her. :P

      Druids have been pretty consistently good in cata as well though, and they seem well sorted in the Zanda dungeons.

      (I was told priest healing is always boring… don’t believe it!)

  3. Alida said:

    We chose to start levelling the paladin and druid healer so my hunter has been parked.
    Was trying to save up on my mage as well to get enough to buy 4 embers to make boots with.
    Plus I dont play as many hours as you so my alts tend to accumulate dust if i need to do stuff on my main character.

    I dont find healing boring. Its just not hard/challenging at the moment. Its a change of pace and i enjoy playing a healer. Will see how well i fair at higher levels :P

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