Twitter threw up an interesting topic this afternoon. #iblamecynwise. Are you a Wrathbaby and what does the term Wrathbaby actually mean? Cynwise and I use the term to refer to the fact that we starting playing WoW during the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. However, some have said that the term 'Wrath Baby' is a pejorative and implies that all you want to do is faceroll through dungeons in tier gear which you bought with tokens (and thus haven't actually seen any raids) or roflstomp through raids which have been easy for way too long. I would call people who do that morons, thus I feel compelled to defend the Wrathbaby in me.
I don't know if my experience is limited to just me, but I'd be surprised if it was. As I mentioned in my tweets (and have mentioned numerous times before) I am a gamer noob. I have never played any other game for the duration or with the passion that I have played Warcraft. I have no frame of reference for raiding, for gearing a character, for MMOs, or RPGs, or Thotbot, wow.joystiq.com or Elitist Jerks. I KNEW NOTHING. I still carry this wide-eyed look with me because it enables me to look at things with an open mind and not scream (too loud) at people who clearly haven't been in a dungeon before, haven't tanked before or whatever it happens to be, they've not done it before. Patience is a virtue. I'm not saying I'm perfect or that I don't ever go 'effing hurry up you noob' but I don't say it to people I don't know. I do my damn best to be understanding and offer help.
Back to my Wrath experience. It took me a long time, I mean a L O N G time to get to level 80. I'd been playing 7 months before Deme hit the big 80. That's 7 months of playing almost every day. It then took me another 3 months to grind gear, rep for enchants, and whatever else to get her geared to raid NAXX. Not ToC, not Ulduar, Naxx. I ran heroic after heroic. Every Wednesday night was farming HCs night. I quested dailies and ground rep every minute I had. I spent 3 hours wiping on Loken in HoL. I paid attention to strats on bosses. It did not take 15 minutes to clear a dungeon. We were in there ALL night.
This is where I was naive. Whilst everyone else was running Ulduar and getting hyped about ToC coming, I was gearing for Naxx. Because that's what you did right? You geared for the entry level raid and then got the gear in there to go onto the next level. I did not think of badge vendors for gear and grinding HCs to get badges to buy gear to get me into Ulduar or ToC, I mean 80 badges for that seemed silly when I could get dungeon drops. The raid teams in our guild were a solid bunch but I did get taken along occasionally to help out and I held my own. My gear was better than I realised and despite people telling me this, I didn't progress the raid team I was leading into other content because I thought we needed to bond and work on basic raiding skills in Naxx. Naxx. FFS. I wasted so much time in there.
Anyway, the 1st raid team I was in eventually cleared Naxx and instead of heading to Ulduar or even ICC which was about to arrive (or had arrived?! Memory lapse) we decided to jump into ToC. Disaster. We were all a bunch of noobs. No one was geared properly, people were running round in PvP gear with the wrong enchants and gems. It appeared that as RL I needed to know every inch of every class just to lead a raid. HEAD ASPLODES. I quit. I already knew that I wanted to be in ICC and having run the whole of ToC with another more progressed raid team, I knew I was capable. I felt elitist, but at the end of the day I wasn't enjoying the game as I was playing it so I said my good byes and left to join another guild and another raid team. Thankfully by this time I'd figured out that I needed tier gear and had got 4xT9 for my DPS spec. I wasn't tanking yet.
As a raid team we didn't seem to be able to get a solid tank to go along side our warrior so I offered to swap and gear Deme to tank. Cue another round of grinding daily dungeons, weekly raids and so on for more badges. I did not know how to tank before I stepped into ICC. I have not tanked Ulduar. Or ToC or Naxx. Actually I might have tanked some of Naxx on a silly run now. Anyway, I was inexperienced to say the least. I am still one of the most inexperienced tanks in our guild. I think I'm the only DK tank who tanks as my main spec in a 10 man team within the guild, but I worked hard to know my class abilities, to spot where I could use this cooldown or that cooldown and to know when to do what with what mobs. I still want to learn and want to be as good as I can be. I do not take the skill in playing a tank for granted. It's a role I enjoy and respect.
Deadbeats, the raid team I am now a tank for, cleared ICC at the end of September. Due to RL complications and not being able to find a solid team it took us longer than we would have liked but we did it. And it was hard work all the way. I worked my arse off for that effing kill and I'm proud of it.
I don't see Cataclysm being any different. We are all having to work for gear, for rep, for levelling professions. May be my ineptitude before has stood me in good stead for this expansion. I know about gear lists now, I know what kind of stats I need, I know my raid team and I know where to look for boss strats when I get there. And you know what else? Unless you're in some Uber World Leading Raiding Guild, you're in exactly the same position as me. The only thing separating us is the time we have to play and how fast we can get to that first raid.
Morons will always be morons, but you've come a long way, Wrath Baby.