Behind the Curtain: On the edge

Craig Withers
C. Withers|01.17.09

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Behind the Curtain: On the edge
So, I finally hit level 80 with my Warrior.

What should I be doing now? Hitting up Icecrown, working on getting those last few pieces of gear to hit the defence cap, then working on reputation, clear some Heroic runs for more gear. And maybe have some fun, chaotic Naxxramas runs with my guild where we lay bets on who can die in the most spectacular fashion.

If, that is, I can get my dates right and sign up for the correct evenings.

What am I doing instead? Farming Stratholme for the near-mythical undead mount of one Baron Rivendare.
Why? Because I've levelled all the way to 80 in Protection spec and just now realised I don't like tanking? No. I enjoy tanking, I'm good at tanking. But for some reason I'm stuck, for some reason not making that last little bit of commitment to my class by stepping up and doing what needs to be done.

It's not that I don't know what I need to do. First and foremost, I need to hit the Defence Rating cap of 540. Having just hit 80, I'm currently sitting at 515. That's quite reasonable (I think) given that I've not even finished with Zul'Drak. It's not a difficult goal whatsoever. There are plenty of decent, easy-to-get items in the higher-level areas of Wrath of the Lich King. A little bit of research is in order here. Hitting up Tankspot and Elitist Jerks one afternoon while your boss thinks you're busy filling out paperwork will reward you with plenty of solid information on what to wear and how to get it.

Above and beyond just gearing up comes the very important task of getting some experience under one's belt. I said before that I'm a good tank, and that's true, but there's always room for improvement. I'm good, but I'm not great, and that irks me. I've been soloing in my tank gear, in Defensive Stance, making sure that I know intimately where all of my skills are on my hotbars. When Sword and Board procs, I like to know that my finger automatically reaches for my 6 key, and not my 5 key, because it's in different places when I'm in different stances. I get get round that by keeping it in the same place, obviously, but that's just daft.

Apart from just getting used to how your class plays at 80, it's always worth working on group etiquette. As a tank, I'm aware that I frequently end up as the group leader, with the responsibility of marking targets, calling kill orders and perhaps most importantly, making the pulls. It can be quite a bit to handle.

I wonder if many other players suffer from this, or if I'm just being a bit emo. I'm not talking about burnout – that's something else entirely. I'm not talking about hitting a ceiling, or realising that you've just got no motivation to go on. I'm talking about setting yourself a goal – in this case level 80 – but once you get there, realising that there's something holding you back, that has you second-guessing yourself and procrastinating endlessly.

Do you feel pressure to perform (fnarr) and worry that you'll let your friends and guildies down? Have you hit the level cap only to realise that you don't really like your class after all, or that the position you'll be expected to fill in groups or raids doesn't suit you after all?

Share your thoughts, we won't laugh. At least I won't; I can't speak for everyone else unfortunately.

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