I've been trying to split my time between Tomakan and Nevelanthana, slipping in some face time on Q and other toons. Tom, as another Paladin, is familiar ground, although the queues for DPS or healing are equally long enough right now that there's no real reason for me to keep healing with him for the time being. The only way for me to get to an instant queue is to start tanking, and that's just not me.
Now Neve, she's been a refreshing change of pace. What I discovered with Mages is that I really like being able to find a corner, just out of silence or knockdown range, and just go to town. As I described it to someone the other day, "it's a lot of fun to be raining frozen death from the skies." The upside is that you don't get impacted by debuffs that the melee DPS do, and you're able to use AOEs to maximum effect. The downside is that you're the one that gets the aggro if a mob comes up from behind the group, or worse, if the tank gets incapacitated.
Yes, I know about watching threat. Mixing it up as a Ret Spec Pally has taught me plenty about watching Ye Olde Threat Meter. Repeat after me: Omen is my friend. In fact, I probably watch that as much as I watch Healbot when Tomakan is on Holy Spec.
There's one little thing about being a squishy Mage that's a bit disconcerting, and that's when you get aggro unexpectedly.
The scene: Zul'Farak.
I'd had a really lousy work week, so I took a late lunch on Friday to get a run in on Neve. I ported in to Z'F, noted that we had only ranged DPS for a change --two mages and a lock-- we started up the first passage. This wasn't Neve's first run in Z'F, so I knew about zapping totems in between casting Blizzard. The first few pulls were shaky, with the Warrior tank needing a few extra seconds to get a good lock on the mob, so I paced my casting to match him. We made it through the first several mobs and two of the bosses --the zombie creator and the basilisk tender-- when things started to go bad.
The trash pull was pretty typical, and I was in the middle of casting Blizzard. Threat was under control --somewhere in the low 40s-- when all of a sudden I noticed the mob running at me.
Just as the first blows landed, the threat skyrocketed and only then did WoW announce that I had aggro.
Bubbling and using Frost Nova to keep the mob in place for the tank, I was cursing up a blue streak. "Are any of you also experiencing lag issues?" I asked.
"Nope." "Not me." "Our server was laggy an hour or two ago."
"I've got some," I replied. "The threat meter didn't show anything until they'd already started hitting me."
"I'll make sure to keep you bubbled," the Priest said.
The next trash pull had the same result, and at least I got a good workout doing the "run to the tank, squishy mage!" routine.
Okay, I thought, I'll just wait until about 10 seconds into the fight so that I'm certain the tank has a good lock on the threat.
I was standing in the back, the AOE highlighted on the ground and waiting to drop, when it happened for the third time. Dammit, I didn't even DO anything!
This time, the tank had gotten Hexed.
Then the healer also became a cute little frog, hopping around the desert sand.
The other mage and the lock were more than happy to let me keep aggro as they both scattered, leaving me to bubble and then Ice Block for ten agonizing seconds.
Well, I thought, I survived that. What's next?
As I've said before: don't tempt the WoW gods. (You'd think I would have learned that by now.)
Once the tank reacquired threat, another trash mob came wandering into range and aggroed on the lock. The tank tried to peel their threat away, but he was Hexed again. This time, the blow was fatal. We all had a good laugh about it on the run back, and I really really dialed it down for the rest of the run. You've seen the Mage using Frostbolts + a wand in substantial portions of a 5-man? That was me in Z'F that afternoon.
Moral of the story:
Squishy + Lots of AoE + Too much trash + Aggro (whether by hook or crook) = Baaad News
And that is something that the melee DPS Pally doesn't have to worry about.