April 28th 2010, Spiritual Guidance collunmist Fox Van Allen wrote in response to an email I had sent to him.
Wow. I feel I am probably one of two people that can say anything I want about this article because this is me, I am the guy Fox is talking about. And a side note, TY Fox for your advice and suggestions, I am working on it and will send you a screen shot when I have the Kingslayer title.
Now I am going to ask a couple of friends to buff me with Barkskin, PoM, and any other protective spell they have for the comments I am sure will follow, possibly even put out a call to Dawn to heal me through this. Noob, do research, go play something else, etc.
I am on this web site so obviously I do a little more than just click on WoW and play. I do try to read up on changes to our spec’s, nerfs, proper builds, new rotations, whatever. I have only played since August of last year. Actually a more accurate statement is I only started really playing in late December because that is when I hit 80. I was part of a leveling guild that has been gone awhile now. I never had a chance to do any of the Vanilla, BC, or Naxx raids. All the armor and weapons I ever had were things I crafted or bought in the AH. The pressure has always been get up here and we will get you geared up so you can get in on the high end raids and dungeons. Oh and until patch 3.2 I was one of the goody two shoes healz crowd and have not missed it one bit since I came over to the dark side.
Around level 70 I joined a raiding guild that had been through all of that and was working to all get in on the new content that was coming out. Get to 80, get better gear, get your numbers up, come on what is taking you so long, run Alterac Valley 5 or more times a day. 5 months of not looking at anything but the goal. Level 80. I get here and I am in Greens and a couple of Blues, everyone is doing runs for Triumphs. Some people in the guild who have played for years keep telling me you need better gear, better gems, enchants, look at Wow-Heroes, your score is really low. Don’t waste your honor on PvP gear you have to have PvE. You have to get it up over 2500 to be able to get into anything. You can’t get in on weekly runs because your score is to low.
But we are in the era of the dungeon finder. So even though I am level 80 I start off with Random regulars. Yeah I was not one of those guys that jumped into heroics with no clue and no gear just because I could. I start learning the fights, gathering Triumphs, and start picking up pieces of the 232 set. I keep seeing my numbers improving with every new piece, even the trinkets. The people in the guild with the years of experience compliment me on working hard, keep picking up those pieces from the vendors. replace with higher iLvL stuff if you get anything from drops. 245 is better than 219. Keep going you will get here. I move into heroics and start getting Frosts. There is now a gap in the guild, those that have many hours to play during the day and keep advancing and those that are in it more for the social aspect. I am beyond the social people and still short of the well equipped players. They don’t have enough players on at the same time do organized guild runs so they start pugging. I get to a point where I am confident enough with my numbers to try pugging. I answer a couple of requests for ranged DPS. I get into one and its a total wipe from the first pull. They start looking at people and even though I am around 9th for total damage, in a 25 man ToC run, I get booted because I have a lower score than someone they want to bring in. I try for a few more and hear similar things. Sorry, if your score was only a little higher. Why don’t you get something better than that 200 trinket you have. I don’t know any better, these are supposed to be better players with more experience than I have.
So I enter the complex world of Shadow Priest research. Man what a confusing group we are. Ask 10 shadow priests what they feel is the optimal build or spell rotation and you will get 10 similar but slightly different answers, depending on what patch they started playing a SPriest in. Mostly it varies depending on your play style. Are you the hardcore DPS is everything, burn baby burn, Mind Sear FTW, Woot see that, Oh yeah 14k DPS on that pull. A single target shooter, light them up with DoT’s so that the raid gets the maximum bonus for hit and heals but your numbers are only average. Something in between? So on top of all of that imagine how hard it is for me a relatively new player to hear that “Yeah I know it’s a 264 item and the bonuses may look good but there are lower level drops that are better for you.” Scratches head. But higher iLvL is better because it makes your GS higher, right? And I am not even talking about something dumb like equipping a Mace with Strength and Hit on it. I am talking about items that have the stats we need. Even if it does have spirit on it. When you compare side by side and all of the stats are green +’s it must be better.
I am in a new raiding guild now with very knowledgeable players that have downed LK10 and are working on LK25 now, and thanks in part to Fox and someone in the guild I am asking the right questions and trying to get the correct upgrades. Getting into ToC, ToGC, and ICC is now possible to a limited extent. I do not want to be a carry. I want a spot in a raid group because I earned it. Now one of the suggestions Fox had for me was to hit Pit of Saron for the Nevermelting Ice Crystal to replace the Talisman of Resurgence. It is good advice and I have been hitting it every day for over a week. Got lucky and got PoS as a random one day but so far no drop. Same stuff time after time, if I get the Engraved Gargoyle Femur one more time I am going to scream. I will keep working at it until I have it or something better drops for me.
Anyway. As far as some of the comments go, yes I will agree that Gear, not necessarily GS is something I look at. I will do a quick glance at a tank or healer to see what they are wearing. If I see 264 or 277 gear I know its going to be an easy run, if I see blue 200 gear I know I have to keep an eye on them and have even whispered to see if they know the run. I do not criticize anyone for what they are wearing. We all were there at one time and I am happy to help someone get something better and to help them learn the fights just like I did.
Fox, if you ever write a book, “How I became the ultimate Face Melter” I will find a way to get there for a book signing. TY for the column. And I know they are afraid that if they let you take over Spiritual Guidance more than once a week we would all rule the world from the Shadows.