Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Behind the Vengeance: The Making of a Paladin

I previously mentioned that my character was not always named as he is. That's the truth - he wasn't even on the same server he is now. Here's how it went down:

I came to World of Warcraft after playing Guild Wars for nearly a year. My girlfriend at the time was playing the game and convinced me that I'd love it. I knew of the game - I had played all the Warcraft RTS games and was very excited when they announced WoW, but didn't want to pay $15 a month to play after plopping down retail for the CD's. So, I kept on trucking with Diablo 2, a fun hack 'n slash also made by Blizzard. When Guild Wars hit shelves, I figured I'd give it a try with a few friends. The game's PvE depth was nil, though, so I got bored after going through the story a 3rd time. I quit playing Guild Wars for a bit, but I still wanted to play an MMO. I started going out with this girl, and she and her best friend were hooked on WoW - plus, a few of my Guild Wars guildmates had migrated to a WoW server as well. At that point I said "sure why not." One of my GW guildmates knew a Blizz employee, got me CD's for cheap, and I rolled a character on a server where I knew people. In Diablo 2, I played a Paladin, and I love the knight-archetype, so rolling a Paladin was pretty simple for me. Heavy armor, sword and shield, take it to the enemy and heal myself as I go? Sign me up!

As I said in a previous post, if I don't name my characters something I like, I eventually stop playing them. I've gone so far as in Diablo 2 I re-rolled a character at around 30 or 40 simply because I wanted to change his name. I needed something Paladin-y, that sounded both crusader-ish and holy. One of the book series I was reading at the time was "A Song of Ice and Fire" by George R. R. Martin. One of the characters in the series was named Baelor Targaryen - he was a king who was widely credited with bringing the prevalent form of organized religion to the kingdom in the series. A holy man, devout, and a crusader - his nickname was "Baelor the Blessed," I thought the name fit perfectly. So, I played Baelor up to 14 or so, decided I didn't like the server I was on, rolled another Baelor, and ran with him. I played that character almost solely, rolling an alt here or there but never getting much past 12. Baelor hit 60, ran Zul'Gurub, raided Molten Core, acquired full Lawbringer set, raided Blackwing Lair, killed Nefarian, raided most of Ahn'Qiraj and wiped to the Twin Emperors a bit, had 4/8 tier 2, full Soulforge set, a [Quel'Serrar], a [Sulfuras, Hand of Ragnaros], and was as decked out as I could get him for a level 60 raider pre-Naxxramas. At the Burning Crusade's release, Baelor tanked his way through Outlands and raided most of the tier 4 content, acquiring most of the Justicar tank set.

Everything was not peachy for Baelor, though. I grew very impatient with my guildmates and my server in general - at that point I was a guild leader for the #3 or 4 guild progression-wise on the Alliance side. It was making me angry, depressed, and frustrated having to lead the guild and mediate player conflicts, make calls on loot systems and awards, organize raids, lead raids, and all the while still try to have fun in the game. So, I stepped away for a month. I handed guild leadership over to the main tank for the guild and let Baelor sit idle for a good while. The guild didn't do much without me - I think they were anticipating that I'd come back and lead them some more, but whatever. When I came back, I had a fresh perspective on what I wanted from the game, and it was to be a rank-and-file member of a guild that was progressing steadily. My guild was progressing, but in a new boss every two-three months sort of way, and I couldn't shed enough guild leadership responsibility onto my officers to make the game enjoyable. Joining another guild on the server wasn't really an option - I had founded the guild I was in, and jumping ship to another guild would mean I would have to see them in Ironforge or Shattrath every day, getting rude emotes and angry tells.

I wanted to play. I couldn't play how I wanted on that server. What's a Paladin to do? I started seeking out transfers. It didn't take long to find a guild that suited me. I applied to a few guilds that were raiding 2-4 days a week in SSC/TK. One guild in particular caught my eye - 4/6 SSC, 2/4 TK, a first kill of Fathom-Lord Karathress less than a week ago, 3 raid days a week, PvE server, relational DKP system, and seeking Paladins. Perfect! I applied, made a lengthy application speaking of my experience as a GM, how I've raided all of tier 4 and want to step into tier 5 content, linked all my tanking gear and mentioned that I had decent Holy and Retribution sets, and basically overloaded their app form with info. I got in contact with the Guild Master and talked it out, discovered that they had two openings for Paladins - one Holy, and another flex spot for either a Holy or a Ret. This was a few patches ago, before Crusader Strike was reduced to 6 second cooldown. He was prepping for that patch, thinking that Judgements up all the time would be a huge boon to the raid (which it is).

Well, my Prot set was awesome, but my Ret set was by far my weakest of my 3 gear piles, and I had no desire to raid Holy. The GM didn't need another tank, so I told him to keep me in mind. A day or so went by, and I thought about it - I could definitely gear up my Ret set to be at-level for tier 5 content, I'd just need to PvP a little and do some Kara/Gruul's farming, as well as acquire a few BoE's. I contacted the GM again, told him I could definitely handle the Ret role (I raided Molten Core as Ret for a bit and understood the mechanics), and showed him my gear and how I could upgrade it to get up to speed. Well, he had me transfer over that night!

Baelor was taken all ready on that server though, I had to change my name. 'Ruh roh,' I thought, 'I'm going to be in trouble. I gotta pick a name I like, otherwise I'll just have spent a transfer fee for nothing.' One of my guildmates on my original server had transfered away a week before, and she recommended I browse through some Gaelic names. They usually have good rings to 'em, so I browsed a Gaelic baby naming site. One name caught me - Cathmor. It meant "great warrior," which fit since I planned on being a Ret Paladin. Two syllables, good meaning, didn't have odd characters or make references to anything sexual, pot-related, or just a class ability - I figured I had a winner! And I did, 'cuz I definitely like the name. I do miss Baelor though. Ah well, 'tis better to have loved and lost, I suppose...

Anyway, rest of the story is history. Patch came, I specced Ret, upgraded my gear, felt out the nuances of Ret in the Outlands world, and my guild steadily progressed through the content, going from Karathress to Illidan in about 6 months, while raiding no more than 12 hours a week. And that's how Cathmor became Cathmor.


Anonymous said...

The name thing is a huge deal for me as well. I had two lvl 70's taht needed a server transfer, for similar reasons as yours, and I didn't want to loose my names...I had my hunter sinse way back when I started, and the name goes back to anotehr MMO I played before. Changing his name was probably the hardest thing I've done in world of warcraft. It took me a few days in fact to decide on his new name.

I just wanted to say, great blog, and I'll definatly be adding you to our blogroll at

Josh said...

I appreciate the linkage, 4thehorde, thank you. And I can definitely understand the difficulty faced when deciding on a new name!