I started leveling a Druid, and so far it’s been progressing quite well. I’ve managed to get all the way to 64, been doing dungeoning since I hit 15 and unlocked the dungeon finder. It’s been a blast so far, somehow managing to capture quite a lot of what I used to like about healing, though I’ve been able to completly ignore mana management as mana seems to be rather limitless at lower levels. I’m starting to notice at least some lowering of my current mana in certain pulls now though!

I’m kind of hoping that mana remains somewhat of a non-issue though, not completly but being more dependant on your casting style rather than a reliance on managing cooldowns which just seems utterly uninteresting. Based on what I’ve seen, Druids don’t seem to get a mana regeneration cooldown though, so that’s a good sign things will continue in a interesting manner!

It’s also been great revisiting the old dungeons, even with their changes in Cataclysm. I hadn’t even had the opportunity to do all of them since the changes, so seeing what’s happened has been interesting. The changes have been for the better for the most part I’d say, though part of the charm (and simultaneosly frustration) of the old designs may have been lost. Though the new layouts & helper objectives certainly make for a much smoother PUG experience, which is rather nice while trying to level through them.

Another fun part of the leveling has been meeting a bunch of people, though often only in solemn silence. It’s still been nice to see how well players often are able to understand each other while playing through the dungeons and repeated runs with the same group are nice because one has a better feel for both how quickly things die as well as the damage patterns of the tank which makes healing much smoother. Still, there were a few memorable personas, most strongly the group I ended up doing a spontaneous Emperor run with. We’d all been thrown into Detention Block of BRD together and after completing that part of the dungeon we still had a bonus objective left so we took a roundabout route and cleared that out. Afterwards, the tank just continued clearing and most of the group (45) decided to stick around and we ended up clearing the whole dungeon. It was one of those nice moments of “let’s just do this” where no words ended up being needed everyone just went with the flow. Was also really nice seeing that was possible and not blocked of by Blizzard for some obscure reason, such as is the case with the two different parts of Stratholme.

A second memorable encounter ended up being with a gnome warrior I came across who came to fill in for our tank who had to leave (incidentally, also a gnome warrior). I ended up doing a couple other runs with her and while most of our communication consisted of /cheering at each other at the end of runs once we’d queued up again, doing dungeons with her was a pleasure as she had the most well measured pulls of any tank I can remember through this leveling experience. She also had a good measure of the mobs in the encounter as a consequence, meaning random damage to other group members was minimised which makes for a nicer healing experience and a smoother run in general (DPS can have more confidence in their job when not worried about dying).

All in all, it’s been a good experience so far and I hope this holds up even once I get to the Draenor dungeons. More interesting to see is how raid healing feels, as that’s where the core of the game is for me. Hopefully all ends well and this character actually gets far enough to see that content!