Druid leveling – Vanilla Style!

Today’s “voices from the community” post is a trip down memory lane, written by Nyda <Legacy of the Void> from Perenolde (US). We think this story will resonate with a lot of the people who leveled up in Vanilla, oh so many years ago!

World of Warcraft was my first MMORPG. Pulled into the rich graphical environment by work colleagues, I found myself quickly caught up in this intense world. Admittedly, I began in the starting area with very little knowledge on how to proceed through this game. All I knew was that I fully intended to see the things that I had heard being talked about in office chatter. Thus began my journey from 1-60 as a Night Elf Druid.

Quest lines were boring and interesting at the same time. The furbolg on the hill, whose necklace I needed to steal, turned out to be a mighty foe indeed, granting me a whispy run more times than I considered fair for the tender level of my baby Druid. Far from being an expert on my class, I conserved mana as much as possible and was prone to killing things by whacking at them with my staff. It was laughable that my staves skill was maxed out all the way through the leveling process.

Outside of quests, it somehow seemed natural to me to heal in dungeons, though from 1-50 all of my points were in the Balance tree. I had decided early on that I should just fill in every point in the first tree until I got to the next, not understanding that there was a specific tree for each role a Druid could fill. It wasn’t until I reached level 50 that I was gently told that I was healing with the wrong spec and directed to the forums for answers. That’s when I discovered talent trees! Amazingly enough, healing became much easier after that.

So my leveling career went. And I say career because it took me 40 days played to make it to 60. By the time I reached level 50, I had to survive the break-up of my very first guild. It was emotionally draining in a way I never expected. I was quickly recruited by an admired Druid in a very large guild on our server. He was one of the icons, one of the Druids standing on the bridge in Ironforge wearing a full set of Wildheart (swoon!). The dramatic evening of the guild break-up and recruitment into a new guild resulted in an empty bottle of wine in real life, my beloved character sitting in the bar in Ironforge for the night and an entire log of inebriated comments being posted on the realm forums the next day. The drama over, I became firmly entrenched in leveling and eventual raiding.

With the change of spec to restoration, I found leveling to be even more grueling than it was before. I had learned enough to understand at 50 that casting would result in more damage than melee, but I also had a tendency to drop into bear form when the going got tough with mobs. When I finally reached 60, it became an endless commitment to attunements, coffer runs, jailbreaks and the occasional stealth run into BRD for a Barman Shanker. It was fun to be a Druid! I learned that UBRS and LBRS should never be pronounced as ubbers or lubbers and that being the “bomb” in MC was a VERY bad thing for everyone around you. Every fight in BWL had to be fought facing a corner with my camera pointed down to avoid lag. (to this day, I still don’t really know what the inside of BWL looks like, the walls were nice though!) Decurse and innervate became my best friends and I still managed to out heal every healing class but the almighty paladin.

The job of getting from level 1 to level 60 was long, tough and filled with unexpected real life emotions but it was well worth it. There was a camaraderie in this game that I haven’t experienced since 2005. We knew who we played with on both sides and we loved every minute of it. Well, except for being used as PvP bait….I mean, really…who would love that? :)

7 Comments

  1. Posted May 11, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    That’s so familiar! I did the same thing with the staff, or mostly dagger, omen procs :D all the way to 60 and beyond. Now I get to whack things with my dagger again, but it doesn’t do anything except maybe omen proc… I don’t even know haven’t tested it or had a reason to test it :x

  2. tkc
    Posted May 11, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    My druid didn’t get started until TBC. Remember, back in the day you could chain pot and my hunter, my main, was burning through mana pots like a mage junkie. This was expensive. I needed a herbalist/alchemist and I needed one quick.
    I had troubles with druids before and almost always deleted them around level 10. They were just too weak. A guildie told me, “Wait till 20 and kitty form.” So I did. Wow, what a difference kitty form made. So I started leveling furiously. I could chain pull like a champ. I’d have to stop only to cast a few heals to top off the health bar and then the kitty terror was on its merry way. My hunter, a leather worker, kept him in gear. 9 days played later he was 70. And here was the cool part: herbalism can be done in flight form. My hunter’s mana pot addiction was taken care of and I sold everything else for a tidy profit. This druid was buckets of win.
    Then came the tell from a raid leader. “Can you heal with your druid?” I originally said no but the short of it was that if I switched him to resto then he would get gear. I was sent to Resto4Life for instructions and some crafted gear was sent my way. I got the key to Kara and got my first taste of raid healing. It went well enough as we went with three healers so that I could get carried. Oh, and it rained resto-druid gear. I picked up 9 items, 8 for the resto spec. After that I subbed for the progression raids and main healed the Kara alt run. My hunter was still my main but when it got right down to it, DPS was a dime a dozen and a geared healer who had a clue was golden. Slowly but surely the druid got all the raid invites and hunter was retired.
    Wrath came out and life was roses in Tree of Life form. I healed my way to 80 and made a fortune off of alchemy/herbalism doing it. I did some raiding but stayed out of the progression raiding. It seems I wasn’t the only one and the progression raiders decided to leave and form their own guild. I went with them for a few months but hard core progression raiding was not for me. So I left. Homeless. It was sad time for the druid but it didn’t last. Some of the others from the old guild had found a new home and told me about it. I applied and got in. I was running heroics and having a good time. Eventually, the tell from a raid leader came, “So-n-so is running late, can you fill in for a bit?” It turns out So-n-so was giving up on raiding and I got the spot. It stayed that way from late Naxx all the way to the Lich King kill. Even in the pre-expac duldrums the druid was in demand. Even when he was maxed out I still loved playing him.
    Then came the Cataclysm. What a disappointment. I despised what had happened to my beloved druid. We went from being pro-active hot healers to reactive direct healers. The learning curve for me was terrible and I didn’t like it. This wasn’t fun. This was work. The kind that ended in OOM failures way too often. I was tired of the gear grind. I was tired of the changes. I didn’t want to raid anymore. Too much burnout. So the druid retired. And that is where he sits today. I barely play him anymore.

  3. Trevor / Primefer
    Posted May 12, 2011 at 4:55 am | Permalink

    My druid has been a love hate relationship from day one, got dragged into wow by my sister and brother in law. Had to drive an hour and change to get my CE copy of vanilla and most of the way back I leafed through the guide trying to choose a class, eventually the description of a shapeshifting jack of all trades caught my eye and the mighty Tauren Primefer was born….and then promptly deleted when my sister and friends informed me that if I wanted to play with them I needed to roll Alliance. So….the pointy eared purple ….thing named Primefer was spawned.

    I leveled feral, had a blast tanking…all the way til level 50. When I was told by every group I tried to get into that a druids job was to innervate and sleep the dragonkin in ubrs. So after 3 weeks of sulking I respecced resto and started getting groups again. Went no where for a long time, was working 55- 60 hours a week in a bakery so Prime ended up taking about 8 months to level from 50 to 60. Damn it felt good when I dinged 60….

    A few months later I went back to school, so found my evenings suddenly free enough to explore raids….where my job was to innervate the main healer and brez the off tank. And decurse….lots. I remeber getting raid kicked once for using my innervate on myself during a Garr attempt (don’t worry, they let me back in after the CD on innerv was clear). Got my revenge though, bombed all my dkp on aurastone hammer the next week, don’t think any of the pallies forgave me til we cleared Vael the first time a month later. It was a fun time overall, and I have many fond memories.

    Over the years I have only racked up 165 days played on Primefer, I’m prone to long breaks and being distracted by alts or Bioware games, but that druid is my main, without question. Balance, feral, and even (after 4 years or so) resto again – I am proud of him.

    Though I did race change to worgen as soon as I could.

  4. Posted May 12, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    the one quest i remember the most of any other was in redridge mountains to kill bellygrub the pig…man was that a tough fight. Also the joys of a 4 hour BRD run.

  5. Posted May 13, 2011 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    I played a bit on TBC with a retry pally, then got fully committed to WOW a couple of years ago (3.2, TOC patch) when I leveled my current main, a gnome mage. During the long time after the LK was killed and Cata came out, I leveled a druid (BTW I think it’s the easiest class to level, stealth and flying form FTW) and started tanking istances… That was fun, but I decided to try healing when I was lvl 60 or so, and I liked that even more, so at 80 I switched to resto / boomkin and never turned back; I even managed to kill the LK on my druid well before Cata came out and it became trivial. Still waiting for Cata, I tried a disc priest, and loved that as well, but when I had both to 85 and 346-geared, I soon found that I liked healing on my druid much more… Having istant casts makes healing that much easier and survivable. I am not doing many raids on her now, mostly because I don’t have the time for anything but progression and there are very few worthwhile pugs on my shard, but I am looking forward to more runs during our typical summer break. Resto FTW!

  6. Ly
    Posted May 13, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Ha! great story. Not only did I use my staff as well to kill things, but I could only kill a mob 2 levels below me. When I got to MC I learned about down ranking heals, I had 3 different Healing Touches on my action bar. I refused to wear gear unless it was a drop. I was too cheap to buy BOEs. I deleted that Druid 2 weeks before TBC came out. Thought I was quitting the game. Well that didn’t last long. Re-rolled a new one on a new server. Played differently second time around.

    But those were good and memorable days! Thanks for writing about them.

  7. Grouchie
    Posted May 14, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    My first experience with wow ( first mmo ever Played ) was really fun and laughable. I rolled a night elf warrior named JoekickAss, and there must have been a giant pvp war in the night elf starting area because there was hundreds and hundreds of skeletons. I was thinking to myself this is nuts, so I was creeping around corners and such trying to avoid the what ever it was that mulched those bodies. I remember get munched by that named spider in the cave in the nelf starting zone. Moving on to the next area and seeing one of those huge tree giants. I was hiding in bushes trying to avoid it cause I didn’t want to get stomped on Hahah.