Tooth & Arrows: True Druidic Neutrality

Friday, September 14, 2012

As everyone who knows me in WoW knows, my main is a Worgen druid. I’ve talked at length in the past about how one of the reasons I play a druid (besides the obvious shapeshifting – LOVE the shapeshifting) is the fact that druids as a class are technically neutral. Yes, we fight on our faction’s side in battlegrounds, and will defend ourselves if attacked. However, the Cenerion Circle, the primary druid faction, is neutral. Completely and utterly neutral. Tauren walking alongside Worgen, Night Elves and Trolls, side by side. (Ok, maybe not so much the Trolls. But they’re weird, man.) We as a class are neutral among Azeroth’s great battle between the Alliance and Horde. Sometimes something happens in game that reminds me that not all players who play druids think like that, though tonight I hope I might have brightened a fellow druid’s evening.

I’m currently running a sequence of Dailies, the same set of quests in the same places every single day. I’m grinding for mounts, and for pets, and to be DONE because once I have all of them I never have to do it AGAIN thanks to account-wide mounts and pets. And that is a relief beyond all reliefs to me. So I do it. Every day. Tonight, while I was “Tolling the Barad,” as my brother says, I came across a fellow feral druid, battling a mass of spiders in their cat form. Their gear was much lower than mine, and they were in serious danger of dying. So why didn’t I hop out of cat form and toss a few heals on my fellow druid, to save their life? Because simple game mechanics didn’t allow it.

My fellow druid was a Tauren. Horde. I’m Alliance. We cannot, by virtue of the game itself, cast friendly spells on one another. There was nothing I could do to heal him – so I did the only thing I COULD do. I lept into the battle, shifted to bear, Swiped and Thrashed my heart out to get all the spiders on me.  The other druid took the opportunity to pop into caster form and heal themselves. In the mean time, I killed the spiders for him. He got credit for the kills because he’d tagged them first. He /salute’ed me, picked up his loot, went back into cat form and moved on. I’m pretty sure he thought that was the end of it. But I’d watched him fight, and this whole area was crawling with spiders. He was going to get flattened if he continued as he was going.

He was of the opposite faction. He was killing mobs that I needed for my quest. Any I helped him kill wouldn’t count toward my quest, and I’d end up killing twice as many of the dang things if I helped him. There was only one thing to do. I shifted into my cat form and followed him.

I saw the moment he panicked, thinking I was now following him to steal kills. He tagged his mobs from a distance with his Faerie Swarm to make sure I wouldn’t get credit. I stood by, and only attacked the mob if he needed help. After the third time, he seemed to realize that I was letting him get the first hit in to tag the mob and make sure the kill would count for him. He stood for a moment, turned in place, looking for more spiders. I saw one in the distance, ran a couple of feet away from him, and jumped a couple of times. He turned toward me. I moved a little further and jumped again. He got the hint and followed me to the next spider. This time he ran right up to it and attacked it, and I waited until he had it before I threw a couple of bleeds in to help it along and make it faster for him. I counted. The maximum number of spiders you need for the quest is twelve. Assuming I got him right at the beginning, he had three more to go after this – with the five that were on him when I first saved his tail, and the four we’d killed since then. So I stayed with him for another four.

When he killed the last one, he came over to me and /salute’ed again, then /hug’ed and /wave’ed at me. I /bow’ed, and then turned to start killing my spiders. Now, I’ve done things like this to help Hordies before – both druids and non druids.  Usually, this is where the good deed ends, and I just hope they decide to pay it forward some day. That wouldn’t be the case this time.

I turned and attacked a spider, and to my surprise, the Tauren druid waited for me to attack, then proceeded to help me kill it. They did this for all 12 of my kills, letting me tag, then helping me kill. Now I thought that was awesome – we were even. Equal payback. But that wasn’t all. The Tauren stayed with me, and followed me through the rest of my quests, helping me kill every mob that I needed – and at one point distracting an Elite mob away from me while I was already on something else. I finished mine and went to help him kill the Elite, not letting it take him down. He very nearly gave his life for me there. I was surprised and pleased.

When I finished, we stopped on the road where it diverges – his camp was in one direction, mine was in the other. Neither of us could approach the other’s without guards attacking them. We circled each other for a moment, almost as if we were actual cats, nuzzling each other in thanks, and then almost at the same moment, we popped into our Stag forms and went galloping in opposite directions.

One day, I may see that Tauren again – be it in Tol Barad, or on a battlefield. And I can just imagine that moment. We stop, we stare at each other…and then we turn and go the opposite directions. The truce might not last – in fact, I doubt that would actually happen, if he even remembered me. But I like to think it would. I wish I’d gotten a screenshot of our stags darting off in opposite directions, but I didn’t think so. So have an image of my stag instead, and remember – all it takes for fighting to stop is for people to learn to work together.

My name is Kalitri. And I am a true neutral Druid.