standing at the back in my sissy robe

July 18, 2009

You can’t take my tree from me

Filed under: Bitchin 'n' Moanin,Soapbox — Tamarind @ 2:49 pm

There’s been quite a lot of talk recently about potential changes to druid shifting. Having only recently embraced my inner-tree I’m surprised at how emotionally invested I feel in, well, being a tree. Normally, I’m not that into druid-shifting, to tell the truth, which is a stupid thing to say when somewhere along the line I chose to play a fucking druid.

Actually that’s not entirely true. I’m really into the kind of shifting that the developers seem to want to move more comprehensively towards. I’m into … I don’t know quite what to call it … utility-shifting I suppose. Less for the utility, though, than the aesthetic. It makes me genuinely feel like a druid. You know, when you’re running for the boat to Booty Bay and the bell is ringing and a bunch of level 80s Allies are sneering at you from the deck and you know you’re going to miss it and they’re all going to laugh at you and you’re wondering, shit, should I get on my mount or will that just waste time … and then you remember, and you hit travel form and suddenly you’re a speeding leopard and, dammit, you’re on that boot. Oh yeah! And ya boo sucks to you, Alliance. Or when you’re somewhere really pretty like Ashzara or Stranglethorn Vale and you stumble across some moonlit pool in some forgotten glade. And then you can turn into a walrus and splash about happily in it, with the silver moonlight gleaming on your silver tusks (sorry, that’s a Dragonlance injoke). My cow loves being a walrus. No idea why, it’s just one of his little hobbies.

It’s that sort of stuff makes me feel like a druid, in the way being a cat, or a bear, or a fucking moonthing doesn’t. But I don’t actually think it’s connected to the way the shifting mechanic works, I think it’s just sheer flavouring. But then I also think that maybe it’s the flavouring that tends to make the different overall. What, after all, is meat without salt. So, ultimately, I’m not certain that trying to make the major forms work in a less “I’ll just spend my entire time in this dungeon being a bear” way is the answer but, hey, getting wound up about impending changes that may or may not happen is a mug’s game. And I have Arthas: Rise of the Lich King to shred… or I would, if I hadn’t let go and moved on.

Mind you, it’s also about what you turn into. I’m glad they’re customising the forms a bit (and, hurrah, not making cow-cat form look like arse, thank you Blizzard!) because that, for me, has always been one of the major irritations of druid shifting. I suppose the fact that once you get into progression raiding and everyone looks the same anyway, it dents the impact a bit but while you’re levelling you often look different to other people and that’s great. You are a unique and special snowflake. Cowflake. Whatever. But having to spend a large portion of your time as a bear that looks exactly the same as every other bear is, well, just a bit disappointing. Especially if the blue Trousers Of Not Looking Like They Shrunk In The Wash have just dropped.

The exception to this, for me, is tree of life. I just love being a tree. I think it’s utterly absurd but perhaps that’s why I love it. I’m often a tree when I don’t have to be a tree, just for the sheer delight of being a tree. I don’t think I’m ever going to lose my appreciation for the sheer incongruity of it. Tree, checking its mail. Tree, in the AH. Tree, just chillin in Org. Tree! They always give me the impression of being quite stressy. I think it’s the waving branches and the anxious way they waddle around. Oh noes, someone is taking damage! Action tree!

Okay, this post, which was meant to be a quickie, devolved very rapidly into random thoughts on druid shifting. But the point of it was: having recently, err, gone tree (how on earth do you express that? Got wood? Maybe not), it has crystallised for me, once and for all, how much I fucking hated moonthing form and how glad I am never to have to be a stupid, shambling slightly overweight, moon-bear-owl-thing again. Ever.

In my neck of the woods we call it Brian Blessed Form. Don’t get me wrong, I love Brian Blessed. I think he’s a great man, and a fine actor, and I wish him well. But I don’t want to be him. No matter what he does to my critical strike chance. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Here, I shall prove it by means of a simple pictorial demonstration:

While in this form the armor contribution from items is increased by 370% and all party and raid members within 45 yards have their spell critical chance increased by 5%. Single target spell critical strikes in this form have a chance to instantly regenerate 2% of your total mana.

While in this form the armor contribution from items is increased by 370% and all party and raid members within 45 yards have their spell critical chance increased by 5%. Single target spell critical strikes in this form have a chance to instantly regenerate 2% of your total mana.



I rest my case.



  1. The similarity is striking!
    I spend most of my time in Brian Blessed form, so I have to defend it here: moonkins have the best dance. The *best*.
    Among the many other advantages of the boomkin: blocking beams with your fat boomkin arse at the dragon in Kara; doing your part for fat acceptance in this thin-model-fetishizing world by churning out high damage; and antlers.

    Comment by Liadan — July 18, 2009 @ 3:43 pm | Reply

    • You make good points, and you’re probably right, anti-antler, body-fascism has crept subconsciously into my blog as a natural consequence of hanging around in Silvermoon too much. I’m duly shamed and going out to hug a Brian Blessed.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 19, 2009 @ 12:00 am | Reply

  2. Plus, they’re really cute.

    Comment by Claire — July 18, 2009 @ 4:40 pm | Reply

    • If you happen to think Mr Blessed is really cute which, frankly, is your own business 😉

      Comment by Tamarind — July 19, 2009 @ 12:01 am | Reply

  3. And here is again, just cast something I think:

    Comment by Meugly — July 18, 2009 @ 5:23 pm | Reply

    • Oh, that’s a particularly good Briankin shot. I’m so tempted to photoshop it in order to add the green casting whirl…

      Comment by Tamarind — July 19, 2009 @ 12:02 am | Reply

  4. Hmm another random thought on druid shifting..

    I’ve read about this idea somewhere before and i just think it would be really cool! what if trees had seasons? 😛 and maybe even.. fruit or something. I dunno. Something to lighten up the wrinkled face and eyes that have seen too much!

    Comment by uke — July 18, 2009 @ 8:30 pm | Reply

    • I don’t know, wouldn’t it be like magefood but worse? I don’t want half a raid trying to pick my apples…

      It would be nice to blossom once in a while though.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 19, 2009 @ 12:06 am | Reply

  5. I adored being a moonkin while leveling on Alliance side. I think the antlers are adorable. After I had been tree and loved being a tree for a couple of months, they came out with dual specs and I immediately made my second spec a PvP boomkin just so that I could run around in my resto gear rooting people and shoving them off cliffs. Just for sheer fun.

    However, Horde moonkin look like ass. Why do they have to have horns? Horns that droop downwards like that? It looks UGLY. I’d never be a moonkin as a tauren.

    Comment by Kiryn — July 18, 2009 @ 10:12 pm | Reply

    • Alliance Briankin do look slightly better than Horde ones but still, nevertheless, evoke Brian Blessed. And Brian Blessed does not strike terror into the hearts of his enemies… he is far too cuddly.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 19, 2009 @ 12:08 am | Reply

  6. For me, the absolute best part of being a tree is that throwy-uppy noise we make when we shift. I do it over, and over, and over, and it never gets old. Of course, my entire raid group now runs with their in-game sound off though. 😉

    Comment by Sharon — July 18, 2009 @ 11:32 pm | Reply

    • I’d noticed the weird sound of the transformation but never quite articulated it as a throwy-uppy noise. But you’re so right. It is a strange, vomiting tree kind of noise.

      Although, again, nowhere near as bad as Briankin who *honk*.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 19, 2009 @ 12:09 am | Reply

  7. Entire reason I play my druid:


    End of.

    Comment by Pike — July 19, 2009 @ 1:43 pm | Reply

    • I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion it’s the only reason to play a druid 🙂

      Comment by Tamarind — July 19, 2009 @ 5:34 pm | Reply

      • Hey now, steady on! Whilst I too have recently learned to embrace my inner tree after years of saying I would never heal, I’m still a big ol’ bear at heart! Think about it. Death Knights, warriors, even paladins go in begging for the monsters not to hit them, parrying blows with their swords and blocking strikes with their shields. Us bear just charge in AND CLAW FACE RAWR! I don’t think there’s anything better in the game than landing a swipe and watching blood fly. That and the suitably impressive crunching bone noise of landing a maul and a mangle.

        Comment by Sierro — July 20, 2009 @ 11:27 am

      • I should have made that personal rather general, tsk tsk 🙂 It’s definitely the best reason to play a druid for me. I think it’s partially because my natural inclination takes me towards healing roles but also because I find tree form really really cute. I do like bear-form too, and I’ll like it even better when we get individualised bears (yay!) but my tanking is ropey at the best of times so it doesn’t attract as much as leaves and branches and an angsty expression of treeish dismay.

        The reason M’Pocket Tank went feral with her nelf was because she really liked the contrast between sweet like hippie-ish night elf with a butterfly tattoo and wriggly ears and ENORMOUS FUCK OFF BEAR ABOUT TO MAUL YOU TO DEATH WITH A CRUNCHING NOISE.

        I can certainly see the satisfaction in being a bear 🙂

        Comment by Tamarind — July 20, 2009 @ 11:38 am

  8. Can’t stand the tree form. It’s absolutely adorable on others, but on me? Big no! I even went so far as trying to get a viable druid healer spec without having to pick the overcooked broccoli form. After a while I did most reluctantly pick that talent, but specced back to feral after a day. (No, I am not usually this vain/silly :P)

    I’d also like to have all forms available regardless of spec, why is a tree or lazer chicken durid allowed to run around like a cat or bear when I (ze feral one!) can’t even amuse my friends with a quick bear/moonkin/tree dance potpurri while we wait around for the pug to fill up??

    Comment by Tessy — July 19, 2009 @ 10:41 pm | Reply

    • You’re right – it’s very peculiar that the feral spec, the spec that presumably specialises in shape-shifting, doesn’t have access to all the forms, whereas any old tree can pop bear and sit around looking confused.

      From someone who is incredibly vain and silly, I don’t think the respec dance is at all V or S. Because druid comes with a lot of shifting included in the package, you have to feel absolutely comfortable in what you turn into, since not only are you going to be following its arse around for many hours to come but it’s an important part of the way you feel about your character.

      Finally acknowledging that Brian Brian blessed is not for me and tree totally is has really made me love my druid again.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 20, 2009 @ 11:35 am | Reply

  9. Brian Blessed Form – oh how I rofl’d at that.

    Comment by Joe — July 20, 2009 @ 1:18 pm | Reply

    • Hehe, many thanks. I still stand by its accuracy however 😉

      Comment by Tamarind — July 20, 2009 @ 3:58 pm | Reply

  10. Oh, how I hate being so busy at work that I cannot always keep up with your blog and am invariably days behind on some things!

    Alas, you already know my feelings on the topic. As such, I will leave you with this:

    I loved this post! Just as much as I loved the new Harry Potter movie 😉

    Comment by Beruthiel — July 20, 2009 @ 8:57 pm | Reply

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