It's Sunday. The guild raid I joined on Thursday was supposed to down Sindy yesterday; they were hoping to move on to the Lich King, and, as I check the main tank's armory activity feed, scanning anxiously to see if they made it- my heart skips a beat, then falls. They didn't.
... when did I become a stalker??
It's Wednesday. After some real life obligations have been taken care of, I'm out doin' what I do best- role playing. Actually? I'm busy role playing my shaman, Iztli, into a guild. Which is entertaining because there's an interview process, and Iztli isn't exactly known for having people skills. As I emote her sniffing her interviewer curiously and listening to things that no one else can hear because she's batshit crazy, I notice Trade chat has a bulletin:
"Looking for Tank or Sassy Tank Healer for ICC at 6:30; 7/12, hoping for 9/12"
I bite my tongue. I've never seen those fights. The person posting is someone I've PuGged with before- a pallytank who MT'd Onyxia 25, and, memorably, called out several of the DPS whose DPS was lower than his own. Being an RP server, that sort of behaviour has a stigma to it- you're seen as elitist. Especially being as it was a full PuG. Yet I can't help but agree when people get called out for being bad. And I'm sorry, if you're in full T9 but can't figure out how to gem, spec, or play your class, then please, take the minimal effort and learn, it isn't that difficult.
But, you're not supposed to be mean in PuGs. I've seen people kicked for less. Frankly, it makes me roll my eyes, and I quietly give up hope on progression raiding as I beat my face into the wall every time I see someone pulls sub 2k as a DPS in all 232s.
This guy, however? He has a rep, in my eyes. And not a bad one, either. Well geared, knows what he's doing, not afraid to be mean- the sort of thing I'd look for in a tank- or in a raid leader.
But I don't know the fights. Being as I had, in fact, given up hope on getting past Festergut and Rotface, Blood Princes and beyond? Seemed unattainable.
So minutes pass. Iztli, remarkably, gets accepted into the guild, even after using her nose to assess her fellow interviewees. As she is given a pocket radio and ponders its taste- much to the chagrin of guild chat, which is abruptly barraged with slobbering sounds- I watch the ad get posted again. And again. Not spamming, but he posts every five to ten minutes or so; clearly he hasn't found someone.
Well. What the hell.
I send him a tell saying I'm a tank healer on an alt, but I don't know the fights. I give him my pally's name- then promptly facepalm. I've logged out in RP gear. Still, I have my rings and trinkets and libram equipped... I whisper him quickly- "Oops logged out in RP gear."
I get a tell back. "How much do you know about tank healing?" What. I am paladin. What don't I know about tank healing?? It's all I do! I heal tanks! He wanted sassy, didn't he? "I'm a paladin. It's what I do. I keep tanks alive. They do not die. This is my job." "Holy Light build, I see, picked up divine guardian; you gem for int?" "Nothing but, except my nightmare tear. But I don't know fights beyond Rotface and Festergut." "You keep the tanks up and don't stand in the fire." "... kay." "Sending an invite. Be on time, please."
... that easy. And, my heart soars- he knew the first thing about pally healing! Half the people on my server playing holy paladins couldn't tell you the difference between HL and FoL builds; everyone seems subspecced into ret, gearing for crit, and gemming... whatever the hell happens to fall into their palms! My closet elitist- which, I swear, really isn't that elite, just wishes people would research their class just a little bit before subjecting me to it- is singing arias for joy!
As my shaman continues to drool on her pocket radio and then wanders off to go play in the Moonwell- I'm hoping to rile up the local Kal'dorei population, see- I am grinning like an idiot and practically skipping for joy. He knew what pallies are supposed to gem for!
Prior to the raid, of course, I go tankspot the two fights we're going to be doing- Blood Princes and Blood Queen. For some reaosn, tankspot clicks with my brain a lot better than just a verbal explanation or reading a strategy guide; I watch the players do what they're supposed to do as the person explains how and why they're doing it. For some reason, I have a really hard time paying attention when the raid leader just talks and talks and talks... which is bad. I try. But it doesn't make sense until I can see it in action. So I prepare myself. I'm not going to look like a moron.
I buy some haste food from the AH, curse roundly as I can't find int/haste elixirs and pick up some frost wyrms instead, and make sure I'm logged on half an hour early. I check the loot lists; not much I want from there. I check the invites; looks like a pretty good raid comp. Lots of druids, a shaman, three pallies if you count me... I wait.
The raid forms. I get on Vent, which the raid leader is pleased to hear I possess. I get ninja inspected by the DK, who points out my trinkets and libram with approval- "A holy paladin who knows what they're doing!" Gasp- someone who can see past the low iLevel of these things?
"We have high expectations for you!" I am told in vent, as someone gives me raid assist 'to mark tanks in case you have healbot or something'. That's pretty spiffy; I mark the tanks as tanks, and also put the triangle and square over their heads, just to make them stand out more. Even though they gave me assist with that intent in mind, minutes later someone points out delightedly- "Hey, the tanks are marked!" And I grin to myself. "That was me." I type in raid chat, since my mic sounds like I'm in a wind tunnel. There's ooo-ing and aaa-ing over Vent; clearly I am exceeding their 'high expectations' so far.
We one shot blood princes. I barely remember the fight; it's frantic, for me. First time I've been there, there's damage flying and I'm determined to do my share. I have troubles making sure I'm not Standing In The Fire while also making sure my tanks are in range/LoS/whatever and throwing heals when urgently needed on DPS. Amazingly? No one dies. And, despite my initial assumption that there wasn't much for me on the loot tables for the bosses we're doing? I get a tasty tasty upgrade in the form of a ring to replace the spirit/haste 245 emblem ring. It has slightly less haste, but more int- and a socket for MOAR INT STILL. I am giddy; no one else rolls on it, no one else is even remotely interested in it.
Blood Queen is two or three shots; we had some difficulty with the bites. Just coordination stuff, really. It's not a tidy kill, but we down her... and head back for Putrecide.
Here is where I become less Pro and more Flailing Newb. I'm having a hard time hearing Vent because my speakers suck and The Boyfriend wants to watch TV. I miss most of the fight explanation and begin to get colors confused. On the purple ooze, stand by the green nozzle.. on the greeze ooze, stand in the middle? Oh god, now I'm in the middle of no where by myself... oh shit there's a thingie on me what do I do kite it into gr-- aggghhh!
We wipe a few times, and I move away from the noisy TV and focus on what the Other Healers are doing. We murder Putrecide; again, not a pretty kill, but a kill. Not only that, but the raid lead is calling people out on their mistakes; I don't catch my name, but he seems familiar with the group. It isn't public humiliation- just a simple, 'oy, you were in ___ when you needed to be ___'.
We move on to Sindragosa, since they already saved Valithria, and we wipe a few times before calling it a night. Everyone's positive. Our strategy on Sindy is good. The prot pally and I trade off using Divine Sacrifice on transitions. It's... nice. I was invited to Saturday's continuation, but...
Work. I have it.
So here I am, Sunday, going back to check and see if they downed her. I hope they did. But they didn't. I watch from afar and feel a twinge. I would like to be a part of that raid team. The raid team that gets past Rotface and Festergut. The raid team that doesn't wipe and automatically blame the healers for not healing through the fire. The raid team that recognizes a holy paladin who knows her class.
... they didn't down Sindragosa, or the Lich King, or Ruby Sanctum. And I don't know if the raid just never found the tank healer to do it, or if RL happened, or if they spent hours wiping.
For one glorious night I was a part of a team of people who were skilled and recognized my skill. It makes me feel sad and sort of pathetic, that I will continue to quietly stalk their progression from afar. That I will mysteriously sign on next Tuesday half an hour before their raid happens to start, and be mysterious 'not-busy' in case they need a holy paladin like they seem to. And yes, I stalked the guild; there's one retadin who dual specs holy. And a disc priest, who might fill the spot I happened to stumble across.
I can't gquit on Dyna; her guild is a huge part of her identity, of her character. Otherwise I'd ask to join this raid guild and earn a raid slot for myself.
So instead I'll watch. I'll stalk them from afar, and cheer when they do down Sindragosa- and hope against hope that they need a holydin next week.