My determination has never been more resolute.

I went to a friend's birthday party on Saturday with my girlfriend, my brother, and some friends who did not really have ties with the person whose house we were attending. So, we meet up with a handful of my fellow graduating computer science majors and drink until the early morning hours. Of course we talk about WoW because more than half of us have played it at one time or another. In any case, a friend of mine was talking with my brother and myself and we were discussing our arena ratings, etc, when I mentioned that I would be switching back to feral after being resto for much of s2 and all of s3.

"lawl, stay resto for pvp." - Him

Something clicked inside me. I cannot exactly describe the emotion, but anyone who was spec'd feral before TBC will know what I am talking about. I am talking about that resonating anger that comes from someone telling you that your favorite way of playing a game is bad. It fills you with determination to prove them wrong. I can remember the days of 60 being told that I could not tank in raids, even though I had 50% more hit points than our Nefarion tank and twice his armor. Sure, I could still be crit, but I would only take as much damage as one of his normal hits --

as an aside, let me briefly discuss my amazing tanking gear setup. I had blues and purples from all over. Anything that had stam and lots of armor was the right way to go. I had the Lava Belt which is a pattern gained from revered marks from the Thorium Brotherhood... which took some grinding, I had the Molten Helm, same thing, but you could not get bother as a leatherworker, you had to have someone make it for you. I still have Thrall's Resolve and the Ring of Protection. The only two druid tanking rings pre TBC. I had the Smoking Heart of the Moutain and the Mark of Tyranny as the best tanking druid trinkets in the game. The list goes on and on. When the smoke cleared, I had 75% damage reduction from armor in my fire resist set (about 300 FR).

-- Okay, this fanatical druid love is what I am all about. I do not get into the game and say to myself "how can I hate myself today... I know, feral druid!" Rather, I remember playing the game to spite everyone else (this is probably a psycological disorder I have... the only time I am having fun is when I am putting it in the face of everyone else at the same time >_< ). Also, people vastly underestimate the utility play of feral druids. This underestimation is usually a gross upper-hand when it comes to competitive player versus player action because I can usually put out more damage than my opponent is expecting and I can also heal better than my opponent is expecting (significantly more true in the 2.4 patch due to naturing instinct), and I have Cyclone, which (while getting nerfing in the 2.4 patch pretty significantly) is horribly useful at stopping everything dead in the proverbial tracks be it healing, heals, damage or opposing crowd control.

Bah... Oh well, I get the Merciless Gladiator's Maul tomorrow, and I am slowly, but surely, making progress toward my last honor gear pieces (boots, neck, back) while at the same time amassing LPSs for enchants and badges for the Idol of Terror. Speaking on the badge front for a moment. I got keyed for Karazhan last night by finally doing Black Morass, so I may be increasing my badge-earning ability. If karazhan ends up being simply a gross badge-run, then that (and Zul'Amen) will net me ~30 badges every 3 days if I can stomach the PvE until I have enough saved up. What am I striving for? I have no idea. I only need 20 for the idol, and I only need 60 more if I want the improved back, as well (which I kind of do because armor penetration scales against armor... which scales with swing speed... which kitty form has). In the back of my mind I keep thinking that I want the Staff of the Forest Lord, but I know that 150 badges would be a long time off, and the stat increase is not nearly substantial enough for that kind of badge requirement. A side-by-side comparison shows that the badge staff would be ~175 more attack power, 33 more stam, and +0.2% crit. However, it would come at the cost of 18 hit rating and 33 resilience. All thing considered, I feel that the Merciless Maul is probably the better of the two for pvp, just because of the resilience aspect.

I also need to continue saving arena points to get my last two (three if I do not wear the Deathblow goggles, but the extra stealth detect is nice from time to time) feral pieces. I need the chest and the legs, and those are the two expensive pieces. Also, I am still disadvantaged in that I have the s2 hands and the s1 shoulders for feral. I need the s3 hands most definitely since the Maim bonus is another great use of utility. Also, the s1 shoulders for feral just are out of date, I need more stats from that slot in order to stay competitive.

... I have long road ahead of me, and if 2.4 drops tomorrow, I will be ill-prepared to make a move one way or the other. Resto druids will be like wet tissue to melee classes with some mobility, and feral is only good so long as it can put out great dps and provide excellent utility... neither of which I can do tomorrow ...

"You are not prepared." - Illidan (may have been right, after all)