She started out small, one of my first real alts. She was my first healer. I struggled with her a lot, made mistakes, but kept at it.
Some of my mistakes were fashion mistakes. I admit it.
I beat a level 19 pally on her at level 16 because I knew how to use Entangling Roots and nuke from a distance, then went Bear and kicked his ass. The pally was a punk who tried to start a fight with my guild leader.
I took him out back and showed him that he needed to L2P.
I PvPed as a healer. It went well until I got Tree of Life form, when suddenly I discovered I was popular in battlegrounds. Really popular. Super popular.
So I tried Feral. I wasn’t very good at Feral in PvP, but I could be a Bear. So my little healer became a Bear.
There were good runs in LFD. There were okay runs.
Then there was a really bad ZF run. I decided to put my druid away for a little while.
There were Druids I looked up to during that period of time; Druids who showed me what the class was capable of, of how FREAKING hard they were to kill in PvP. But I had Banish, so I didn’t feel the longing to return to my Druid. Besides, I wasn’t very good at Druiding, ZF had shown me that.
Looking at her made me sad, so eventually, I deleted her.
A few months passed, and for one reason or another, I decided I wanted to move some things over to the other side of my server. So I brought her back, loaded her up with things, and turned her into a he.
Thus began my druid’s career as a mule.
3 server transfers, 2 faction changes, 4 name changes along the way. I didn’t know who she was anymore. I leveled her/him – she was a male tauren in Mirren’s Drinking Hat, I’m not vendoring that again – up through the 60s, slowly, flailing at Bear tanking. It was like being a Warrior, which I did know how to play, only without all my warrior tools, so I didn’t play it well.
I tried healing once or twice. It didn’t go well.
I updated my UI several times. My keybinds got all messed up. I couldn’t play this toon anymore. Better to reroll.
I deleted her again.
I brought her back, one last time, to serve one last heriloom transfer to a new server. She was high level but unplayed; even her professions weren’t useful to me. So I brought her back.
But I had a new healer, a priest, one that I was actually getting pretty good at playing. Maybe I could …
No, Cyn. You can’t play a Druid. Remember ZF? Remember Durnholde? Remember Mana Tombs? Remember every time you’ve queued up for PvP?
Maybe I can do this. Maybe I can ask for help, maybe I’m trying to do too much. Maybe I need to simplify down and say “what 10 keys do I need, screw the rest?”
I asked for help. I got it, in spades. Almost too much at times, too much information, wait, I don’t understand, where is Healing Touch, I used to spam that, it worked well. It’s now level 72? Okay, wait, how do I cast on people? How do I use Vuhdo again? Wait, what?
70 levels doesn’t come back to you in one night. Not when it was a slow, fragmented leveling, with different specs, over two years. There’s too much to learn.
I looked at her, more often than not, and wondered if I should just delete and reroll. Even though I’d already rerolled and deleted a druid in the meanwhile, I still thought… maybe this time.
Maybe it’s me.
Maybe I can’t play a druid. I’m so much better on my priest at this, maybe it’s me.
Things slowly fell into place.
I tried out a macro on a spell, saw what worked and what didn’t. A lot of things didn’t work.
Kept asking for help. Felt like I was getting nowhere, but really, I was slowly leveling again, realizing those things that make sense if you’ve played a character straight through. When do I Lifebloom? When do I Swiftmend? (All the time.) When do I use WG? (All the time). Nourish? (Never in PvP.)
Locked XP at 70. Figured I’d get the gear out of the way and just focus on the class for a while – classic PvP pause.
Finally, last night, it happened.
We lost this AB, but I did well in it. Can’t win these things on my own, not at level 70.
Hard-fought Strand. I kicked ass in it, and not just because of the numbers. Entangling Roots and Moonfire spam? I can do that! I didn’t think we were going to win – Alliance went first, only got the relic with about 1 minute left on the clock – but after losing 2 gates to an initial rush, we put up a brilliant goal line stand in the courtyard and never let up. YOU SHALL NOT PASS.
I got jumped by a rogue. He beat on me for about 2 minutes while I just healed away, healing the people around me after my own HoTs were rolling.
He gave up, eventually.
(I rooted him and let a Ret Pally tear his face off. It felt good.)
Alterac Valley, won on reinforcements. We couldn’t get past the Horde Turtle once we had a few towers down, so we just whittled them down. I healed for 5 minutes effectively OOM; I should have rushed into the Horde to get killed and reset my mana pool.
A punk DK yelled at the beginning of the battle that the healers sucked. I took that as an insult and was not going to heal him – but I ended up doing it anyways. As the front slowly pressed on south of Tower Point, he remarked:
Holy fuck, our healers are beasts. I take it back, I must not have been in range.
Damn straight you weren’t in range before, punk. You’re alive because of ME. And the 5 other healers who kept you, and that whole team, up.
I am a beast of a tree.
I didn’t expect to get comfortable with Cynli again. To get to a position where she’s playable, where I’m competent with her, where I could do both PvP and PvE with her.
I still have a long way to go – I haven’t learned anything to make me think I’m a good Druid player, per se – just that I can be competent. I need to learn other specs. I need to learn shifting between specs better.
But still, I can keep a warfront alive.
I can keep a tank alive, too.
For the first time in a long time, I look at this toon and go – you’re fun to play. (You need a better looking outfit, but you’re fun to play.)
Thank you, tree-signal. I’d written this character off a long time ago. Last night, I proved I shouldn’t have done so.
/use Tree of Life