Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week John Patricelli, the Big Bear Butt Blogger, brings you news of one of the coolest Druid events to hit the World of Warcraft.
Despite the impression you may get from previous articles, being a Druid isn't all about raiding. Not hardly. The essence of the Druid is flexibility, the ability to think fast and adapt to changing situations quickly.
Today, I'm going to highlight the kind of imaginative, flexible thinking and sense of fun that I feel is at the heart of being a Druid.
On Saturday, April 26th, a group of Druids from the Penny Arcade Alliance gathered together into a murder of crows, and proceeded to terrorize the unsuspecting Horde of the Dark Iron server.
Druids from Annarchy, Knights of Arcadia, Keepers of the Wang, The CTS Dojo, Disciples of DivX, Fancy Lads, Exuberance, Mean Bean Machine and Newbian Institute gathered in Outlands to take part in their own recreation of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds".
The event was organized by the Guild Leaders of Annarchy, Winterrain and Featherwisp, and the flock was led in the air by their designated "Pace Bird", the Annarchy Druid Class Captain Bitolan.
According to Featherwisp, the original idea for a 'Flightform Flashmob' came to Winterrain after the latest of many recent runs to help guildmembers get their Swift Flight Form quest completed in Heroic Sethekk Halls.
Winterrain turned to Featherwisp with the gleam of inspiration in his eyes, and asked "How many birds do we have in Annarchy now, anyways?"
What Winterrain envisioned was a gathering of Druids from amongst the Penny Arcade Alliance, a massive murder of crows that would drive the fear of the skies into the hearts of the Horde on Dark Iron.
For a week preparations were made and the word went out to all the guilds of the Penny Arcade Alliance, and on Saturday the crows began to form up. All told, as many as forty Druids from amongst the guilds of the PAA took part in the event, although at it's peak the number of Druids actually in the raid at one time numbered thirty.
The flock of Druids flew around Outlands looking for unsuspecting Horde, and they certainly did not lack for prey.
Each time they found a likely looking target, they would swoop down and land to surround the victim and stare unblinking for 5 minutes. It was a test of nerves, and if the Horde ran for it, the Crows hunted him down and killed him with massed Moonfire. If the Horde didn't move after five minutes, they showed their respect by flying off and leaving him in peace.
In the words of Shichibi, an Undead Rogue that managed to escape death the first time he encountered the flock, only to be caught by the vengeful Crows later on, "Yeah, I was lucky as hell to get away the 1st time, the second time I was like, oh #**% not again. Cloak/Sprint then I try to Vanish but... MOONFIRE MOONFIRE MOONFIRE x30, I die."
Although no advance word of the plans were leaked to the server, Winterrain and Featherwisp report that there were a number of Horde that stood their ground and stared right back at the Crows, daring them to do their worst, and for their bravery were left to adventure unharmed.
Yes, a delightful time was had by all, and many a Horde learned to watch the skies in fear.
You might think that all this would be enough of an event for most guilds, but not for the Penny Arcade Alliance.
No, as the group of Druids discussed what to do next, a plea for help went out on the General channel of Nagrand, as a quester asked for assistance to take down Durn the Hungerer. Someone in the group called out "The Birds will help!", and away the flock soared.
It all went a little crazy after that.
After helping the lone quester by letting him tag Durn, and then swarming The Hungerer in a blur of fur and feathers, the murder of Crows headed up to help another quester complete the Ring of Blood event.
Since they were already in Nagrand, someone suggested they take Halaa... and they proceeded to show what thirty Druids with Hurricane, Innervate and Lifebloom can do when taking down the Halaa Horde guards.
Over the course of the evening, the Druids of PAA spent time on the Isle of Quel'Danas running down Horde as a pack of cheetahs, chasing down Horde fleeing by water as a pod of sea lions, and even attempted to make it across the Fatigue laden sea from the Isle of Quel'Danas to the shores of Silvermoon City by swimming as sea lions and healing each other through the Fatigue damage.
It wasn't all violence, though, as the Druids took plenty of opportunities for synchronized bear dancing, forming a sea lion conga line, and skywriting "CAW" in Flight Form across the skys of Outland.
According to Featherwisp, the greatest surprise of the evening was encountered when the team attempted to cross the Sea to Silvermoon City.
"About half way to Silvermoon City, as we were healing each other through the Fatigue, we encountered an invisible wall that prevented us from going any further. We could see the shores of Silvermoon, but we couldn't get past the wall. We died right there, and when we spirit-rezzed, we found ourselves past the wall, at the graveyard near Silvermoon City, instead of being returned to the Isle. So we did what seemed the next natural step; we raided Silvermoon City and went after Lor'themar Theron."
The group of Druids, now down to nineteen members, stealthed through the streets of Silvermoon City, finally finding and defeating Lor'themar Theron, the Blood Elf racial leader.
In the words of Jhdora, a Druid of Annarchy that took part in the final assault; "We had a great time sneaking around the city getting lost, but in the end the 19 of us pounced on their leader and won! And then we made our hasty departure as a pack of cheetahs, pursued by the city guard."
Winterrain took plenty of video footage during the course of the event, and has made them available as a series of video shorts on YouTube. My personal favorite has to be the one called When Cheetahs Attack, and the sight of a pack of cheetah Druids taking down a fleeing Horde brings a smile to my face every time I watch it.
When I asked Featherwisp if she had any words for the Dark Iron Horde the Penny Arcade Alliance left in shambles, she had this to say; "Panda Attack, you may think you're as cool as us, but let's see you top this!"
Fine sentiments from an excellent group of cunning and mischevious Druids. Grats on your success!
I'd love to see more Druids become inspired by this kind of imaginative event. If you organize your own Druid fun, please let me know by mailing us at our Hot News Tipline!