Being an “old school” druid without many alts I’ve leveled up very far, I sometimes like to take trips down memory lane. Since the latest Blog Azeroth shared topic is about memories of the olden days, I felt that I should share some of those old memories with you.
First, it actually took me a while to level up to 60. I also didn’t do it solo most of the time, so almost all my early screen shots are of me in a group. Back then, the easiest way to level was to run behind people and heal them. Fortunately, I had a great group of friends & guild members to level with (some of which I knew outside of the game, and some I met in the game). Soloing was possible, but it was also painful, and long. Especially if you primarily picked up loot with caster/healing stats on it. I didn’t see what hurricane looked like until long after I started playing the game. Being a “feral” druid meant that you had feral charge (an 11 point talent). It took about 4 or 5 months for me to level up to 60, though I started playing the game about a week after it first came out. Even at 60, there wasn’t much to do besides healing instances… which I used to do all the time (then again, that’s not so much different from what I do now, lol).
After I hit 60, I started raiding. Back then, druids could only raid as restoration, and the druid community actually asked for STR & AGI to be taken off of our tier sets so that we could heal better. Oh, and raids back then had 40 people! Your tank was pretty much always a warrior. Also, back then, “hybrid” meant “healer”, as all of our paladins & druids couldn’t do much besides healing. My first MC run was actually me getting picked up as a PUG. It was a bit of a PUG raid for quite a while, and having to leave my leveling guild to join the big, harsh raiding guild was actually a really difficult decision.
Back then, Ragnaros was actually hard. It wasn’t all just about killing bosses, but you actually had to WORK for it. Looking at the screenshot of our Ragnaros wipe, we also used to have mid-boss disconnections, even back then. Apparently, lag and DC’s in raids aren’t new by any means. In fact, with more people in the raid instance, and even older server hardware, it’s probably actually a lot better in the 25-mans than it was back then. Also, “tanking” as bear was what you did after everyone else in your raid was pretty much dead… I added our wipe picture just to help me remember how epic and hard those bosses seemed back then.
Were things back then so much better than they are now? For druids, not really. The “old school” druid days weren’t really all that great, unless you really loved being a healer with an extremely limited set of tools (downranked healing touch). While I do have fond memories of those days (and I miss all the friends that I used to play with back then on my first server), I like playing a druid so much more now than I did back then. Being able to switch between 2 specs, both of which are viable for raiding? If you asked me in 2005 if that would be possible today, I wouldn’t have believed you. Blizzard has actually done a lot to improve the druid class over time, even for healing druids. It’s good to remember sometimes how much better the class is now, compared to what it was like back when I had to walk uphill both ways in the lava.
Edit: counting is hard. Re-edited to say “60” everywhere I accidentally said “80”…. I guess it was so long ago that I can’t even count right, lol.