Novice is not the usual way we think of level 80’s, particularly for those who topped out in the game before at level 60 and/or 70. Which isn’t me. My druid dinged 70 less than week before Wrath was released and entered Northrend in Outland greens. She hit 80 just over a month ago. I’m still finding groups difficult to negotiate. Ironically, the problem is more out-of-combat than in. I’m getting the hang of healing. I’m not wonderful, but getting a few positive comments after a boss-fight, like ‘awesome healing mate’ and ‘finally, a proper healer’ tend to point towards the possibility that I’m not a complete failure and most definitely make PUG’s a more attractive place to be. Out of combat is altogether a different matter. I have issues and am doing my damnedest to try and resolve them as quickly as possible before I decide to just quit altogether when I’m only finally starting to really have fun.
I have a tendency to get lost. It’s highly embarrassing and why Violet Hold is my favourite dungeon. I have actively avoided any instances for such a long time that it’s difficult to get into it now. I now wish I had either joined a leveling guild or PUG a little more frequently, but that’s wishing I could put the genie back in the bottle. Whilst other players voraciously devour and yearn for more new content, I’m struggling to find a space where I can do the same. I’m all for new content and thoroughly enjoyed each new region in Northrend and still go back virtually every day to explore parts that I haven’t delved into, but playing alone is easy. I can look up information on the laptop at my leisure, take regular breaks to rest my hands and I can use the joystick for moving which is heaven for my wrist. Playing with other people is much more fun but also that much more challenging. It means walking the gauntlet of strain. Go to slow and it takes such a long time that my hands get overtired. Go too fast and the process of keeping up tires my muscles completely. Best ideas I’ve come up with for making group runs easier on the inexperienced:
- Always be prepared. Keep your gear fixed, your buff food, flasks, potions and elixirs topped up and your bags empty of loot.
- Say yes. If someone is looking for a healer, say that you’re available. The only way to gain experience is by doing. If you’re very anxious, volunteer for lower level dungeons like Nexus or AN on normal. Most level 71 – 74’s would happily take a level 80 healer even if it is your first time and you shouldn’t have any problems keeping up.
- Learn when to say nothing. Don’t sign up for a timed run of a heroic if you have no experience. If you’re lucky enough to be in a good guild where players often run various instances, make sure people know that you’re not very experienced, but willing to learn, however, there’s no need to keep telling everybody. If it’s a leisurely run, just sign up and do your best to keep up.
- Speak up. If you don’t know a boss fight strategy when you should, say so before the fight. Don’t wait until after the tank says “pulling”. If you loose your sense of direction, stop and grovel for help. Don’t run around aimlessly for five minutes whilst everyone waits and invariably make them wait another five whilst someone is charged with the task of finding you and bringing you back. Release when other players release and travel back with them. If you’re the only one, ask someone to give you directions if required. Mistakes that require help fixing is only compounded by every minute you don’t say anything.
- If you’re the weakest link, accept it and move on. If it’s a guild run, remember that you’re there as a group. They need you otherwise you wouldn’t be in the guild, you’re all better off the more experience you gain and once you’ve learned how to do it, you’ll be able to pass that knowledge on to someone else that’s one level below you. If it’s a PUG, don’t sweat it. If they decline to have you because your gear or experience level isn’t deemed to be sufficient, don’t worry about it. If they kick you, live with it. It’s not pleasant, but not everybody is cut out to be patient and understanding.
There isn’t any way around grouping. End-game content is pretty much mostly all about grouping. I’m making my peace with the fact that I have to start doing it whether I have experience or not. I’d rather think of it this way: if I start now I’ll get over this bit in a month or two. The longer I leave it, the longer this phase will last. I guess it’s now or never; no time like the present, and all that.