Tooth & Arrows: Catbird

Monday, August 29, 2011

It’s monday…. and I’m bringing you a Tooth & Arrows instead of a These Ancient Eyes post. Why? Well, because there hasn’t been a T&A post in awhile, and also because I wasn’t sure where to go with the TAE post I’d been writing. So, without further ado, a bit on love for a catbird.

I tried valiantly to get Kalitri, my feral worgen druid, to L60 last night, only to pass out about four bars from finished. However, a situation arose that brought up to me just how far I’ve advanced since I was having so many issues with her back when she was a Night Elf (pre Cata, as I remade her Worgen the day after Cataclysm came out).

I started playing Des because Kalitri’s original form taught me that I didn’t have the focus necessary to play a melee class, or so I thought. Questing through Darkshire, I would find myself with 2 mobs on me and be very suddenly dead. The mobs were even lower level than me. I’d just get so caught up in what was going on, and I’d switch targets, not knowing who I should focus on… and then I’d be a dead little nelf kitty. I essentially ragequit the character in frustration, though I didn’t delete her – she was my first character, no matter how upset I’d become with her. And one day I would figure out druids.

In the meantime, I rolled Des, who would eventually become my first level cap character, and started several others. Then Cataclysm was launched and the worgen were released. I played through the starter zone on a hunter the night it launched, but quickly discovered I had no interest in leveling yet ANOTHER hunter. I was looking at my character screen and my eyes settled on Kalitri. The nelves allied with the Worgen and helped them. What if one of their envoys was bitten?

The story continued in my head until even the worgen’s human form was explained – a nelf, cursed with the Forsaken plague, would turn into an undead human (as we all know, there are no non-human Forsaken). So during the battle, she was cursed. But before the plague could fully pull her into undeath, one of the quick thinking Worgen bit her, hoping the power of the wolf would fight off the plague. It worked – but at the cost of her original species. She was now human/Worgen instead of Night Elf… and even her forms had changed.

No, I didn’t pay for a character change, though I thought about it. But then I realized I’d just be stuck where I was, with a Worgen instead of a nelf. I needed to relearn the class, now in my much more experienced state. So… I clicked the delete button on the original Kalitri, and immediately remade her as a worgen. By the time I’d left Darkshore, I already had a much better handle on playing the class than I had when she was a nelf. I’d even tanked a couple of dungeons as a bear. (Another big deal for me, as I’d never tanked anything before.)

It seemed very quick that Kalitri got to L40 – even with me playing most of the time on Des to get to L85, and playing through all the new Cata zones. But then she just kind of… stuck. I wasn’t having trouble playing her so much as playing her took a lot of focus, and I wasn’t in a place where I could do that. As a Hunter, I can tab off the wow window and do something else at any time. If I look back and something’s attacked me, my pet has usually taken care of it and my only frustration is that I lost out on loot. On any non-pet class, however, you get yourself distracted with, say, writing a paper for school, or responding to a friend’s text, and you click back on to find yourself dead. So… I stopped playing her for a while.

From the moment I’d created the original druid, what I’d looked forward to the most was L60 – the flight form. No mounts to fly, no need! Just leap into the air, become a bird, and fly away. Never mind that it’s one of my favorite real life daydreams – I would actually be able to DO it as a druid. And it was even cooler for Kalitri who, until recently, used no form of transportation other than herself. She used Running Wild as her mount, or simply dashed around in cat form. Also, the ability to cast flight form while moving will make for some awesome saves. Being chased by something through Howling Fjord? No problem! Turn, leap from the cliff, insta-cast Flight Form and you’re in the air! An excellent way to drop agro – which is the one thing the class is lacking, as far as I’m concerned. But I’ve been spoiled by my Hunter’s Feign Death.

So recently, as the only thing I’ve been doing on Des is rep grinds, I started playing Kalitri again with the decision to A) learn to focus better – clicking buttons should not make that much difference in speed from hitting hot keys. And B) to see some of the higher level Cata-changed zones. So began her quests. I started in Desolace, finished that zone, and then moved on to Burning Steppes and then Blasted Lands. I can now reliably take on up to 3 enemies at the same time that are at least 2, if not 3, levels above me, and win. I’ve mastered shifting out of cat form to heal myself, but keeping the DoT of thorns and Rake on the mobs at the same time, so sometimes they actually die while I’m still healing myself. This was put to the test in Hellfire Peninsula last night with dramatic results.

I was sent into a Fel Orc encampment to mark their sentry towers with smoke signals so they could be bombed from above by the Gryphon riders of Honor Hold. This isn’t too hard – I Prowled into the middle of the camp and no one even saw me. I neglected to realize that when I used the item it would take me out of stealth mode, however. And that’s when it got fun. The 3 tower guards came down on me. It was only then that I noticed they were L61. I was L58. THAT was a bit of a level difference. I freaked out, and I don’t even have my panic button anymore of shifting to bear form and tanking them with the extra armor, since I had to split my DPS spec from my tank spec at L50 – the talent trees start to get mutually exclusive at that point – so I was throwing everything I had at them. I pulled Tiger’s Fury, I Ravage!’d, I Raked, I Mangled like there was no tomorrow. I put up Thorns and Nature’s Grasp, shifted to caster and leaped back to heal myself as they were grabbed by the Entangling Roots proc of Nature’s Grasp and therefore were out of range while I healed myself, then I shifted cat and Feral Charged right back into the fight. I almost died several times, but I finally pulled it off, and the 3 mobs lay dead at my paws. I looted them and realized in shock that I was fine – I was better than fine, actually. My last round of healing me had stuck, and I had full health and full energy. I stealthed again and headed for the next tower. But this time I Feral Charged in the moment I was within range.

A repeat of the previous battle occurred, except that it went faster because I’d had time to hit myself with a heal over time and put Thorns on before I initiated. Two more times, I repeated the fight, and by the time I completed the quest, I was impressed. Gone was the druid who didn’t know what she was doing and died to 2 low level undead npcs could easily kill, and here was a seasoned feral warrior able to take down three mobs that were each three levels above her.

Tonight, Kalitri will ding 60 and finally gain her illusive flight form. What I’ve been working towards on her since creating the character originally. Onwards to 60!