Sapphire bumps in to a gnome

7th August 2008 – 7.51 am

It seems that I am still nervous about meeting new people. Despite wanting to level Sapphire quickly so that I can get to the Outlands and start tanking for my transatlantic group, and for a better chance of getting in to other instances, I turned down a random invitation to tank in the Scarlet Monastery Armoury. At my current level it probably would have been straightforward, I know the instance quite well, and there could have been a nice drop or two, so it was a little disappointing that I didn't accept. On the other hand, when I took Knifey in to Hellfire Citadel Ramparts I had logged on to do precisely that, and I had only planned to have Sapphire complete a bunch of quests for quick XP. Maybe my frame-of-mind is just as important in deciding what to do as opportunity, and I'll be ready and willing to tank when I'm... well, ready and willing. I think it will be easier in the Outlands, where there is less of a level discrepancy between characters and instances, making the whole process more predictable.

After having gained Sapphire a few quick levels recently I had opportunity to allocate some more talent points, and that made me check to see how long I would have to wait to gain some of the more interesting talents. I had some points spent in the fury tree, gaining extra critical hit chance; the Howling Pierce ability for slowing runners whilst in defensive stance, as Hamstring isn't available; and a booming voice for increased Battle and Commanding Shout abilities. Whilst useful, these choices meant I wasn't going to get the Shield Slam ability from the protection tree for a while, and it would be ages before Devastate would be available. I had gained enough levels that it was time to respec and put all my talent choices in to the protection tree. Now I have Shield Slam and Concussive Blow, as well as some other useful abilities, and am prepared to be a tank proper. My potential to kill foes is lessened in some ways, but the Shield Slam is a great ability, giving a nice extra hit every few seconds as well as debuffing the mob. I'm quite happy being a protection warrior.

Writing of debuffing, I had a few minutes spare last night and wondered if there was perhaps a quest I could complete quickly, choosing to see if I could get in to Kurzen's Compound, in the north of Stranglethorn Vale, to take out Kurzen and his commandos. From my earlier questing I had found a scroll of strength and rather than selling it I thought I'd keep it for my next quest, which was now. Just before I start my killing spree I complete the spell on the scroll and buff myself with the extra strength. The second or third mob I encounter hits me and debuffs the scroll's effects entirely. Fine, I'll sell the scrolls from now on if the game refuses to reward my choices in the expected manner. I'm not going to continue to buff myself with unsustainable effects if they'll get taken away from me potentially seconds after I've applied them.

Disappointment aside, I had a positive encounter as well. A gnome warrior, who looked pretty tall, was in the same caves and looked to be heading towards Kurzen himself. Mid-fight, he sends me a random invitation to team up, where I consider 'random' to be 'without initiating contact first'. I fight my initial urge to turn it down without having first been asked, instead reasoning that two characters in the same place are likely to be completing the same quest, and that gives good reason to team up and share the reward. This is essentially a collaborative game, after all, so I accept the invitation and we're soon fighting side-by-side. We're also soon running back from the graveyard as ghosts, but that was okay.

A quick corpse-run later and we're fighting our way to Kurzen. With my gnome companion's fury spec and my protection spec the combat goes smoothly, grabbing Kurzen's head and fighting our way back out again. Our shared quest completed, we bid each other farewell and head our separate ways again, both merrier for our encounter. People aren't so bad after all. Well, gnomes, at least.

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