I still have a rather distinct memory of when I decided to roll Tamaryn, though the “whys” have since largely been lost to the mists of time. I do remember saying in guild chat something akin to “I’m bored, I think I’m gonna roll a druid”, then making one and whispering an officer and being chucked a guild invite within ten seconds of my new character’s existence. I also remember a fellow guildie coming and making a druid alongside me. We did the starter quests together and were soon joined by this random naked hunter who kept challenging us to duels (I always won, because I never let him have range. Class experience for great justice.) When me and my buddy couldn’t shake the guy, we went into the deepest part of this spider cave and got as lost as we could, then hearthed simultaneously, leaving him behind. Good times.
My friend stopped playing his druid once we hit level five or so, and to the best of my knowledge he never played the character again. I kept playing, though, largely because of the sheer nostalgia of playing through the night elf starting area for the first time since Tawyn, my first character.
Upon hitting level ten I put my first tentative points into the Balance tree because I figured I probably would not like melee as much as casting. Leveling was slow going, though, and honestly I probably would have lost interest in the character (as I did all my non-hunters) once I got out of the nostalgia kick that was Darkshore… were it not for that fateful day when a bunch of guildies got on alts all about my level and asked me to heal Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep.
I was very nervous; I had never healed before, ever, well, outside of Mend Pet. Because I was so worried about it, I ran to Darnassus, found the druid trainer, cleared all my talent points, and put them into the Restoration tree. My plan was to respec again and put them back into Balance afterwards.
That didn’t happen.
Because that day, in Deadmines and SFK, I became fascinated with healing. It was like reverse-huntering! It was a completely new experience, so very different than what I’d been doing all this time on my hunters, and I was hooked.
And so, with the exception of a few flirtations with Moonkin-ing (once at level 40, and then again permanently when dual specs came out when I was level 74 or so), I leveled my druid full resto. I RestoKitty’d through the occasional quest, which was slow but effective, but the vast bulk of my leveling was through instances; I kept myself constantly in LFG and shoved myself into as many healing roles as possible. This culminated in a rather unique experience to put on my WoW résumé: I healed almost every five-man instance in the game. At the appropriate level.
It’s been ups and downs, really, but mostly ups.
There was the very slow process of learning about the delicate art of not-healing-too-fast so as not to pull aggro.
The little “squee” I emitted upon running into a group of roleplayers in Southshore when I was leveling there and letting Tamaryn put her fledgling skills to use to aid a “dying” character.
The joy of getting Tree of Life form mid-Maraudon run and using it right there and immediately bursting into /dance.
The rush of winning a single Alterac Valley game (by a hair… literally something like two reinforcements) at level 60 after dozens of losses, and looking at the “healing done” chart afterward and feeling like I had made a tangible difference in the outcome.
There was the perplexity I felt when first learning Lifebloom, because it kept changing all the time– first I was never supposed to let it bloom, then I was, et cetera… not to mention I couldn’t figure out how to use the dang spell, so I quickly resorted to my “healing fetal position” of Rejuvenation + Regrowth.
But then there was the thrill of first hitting 1000 spell power, and soon after, the deep satisfaction of doing Azjol’Nerub and Violet Hold and pulling up the healing meters and realizing that Regrowth had pretty much been completely replaced by what else but that oh-so-stubborn spell Lifebloom– I was, at long last, a bona fide HoT healer.
Yeah, it’s been a pretty crazy ride.
…and yes Virginia, after all these years, Pike finally has an endgame character that isn’t a hunter.
NOW ONWARD TO EPICS!