“Yes, we know that you’re a warlock,” you might be thinking.
But do you know that I’m a clarinet player?
I’ve been playing my clarinet for almost a decade now.
It feels weird that I’m old enough to say things about myself involving a decade of pursuit.
I think it was fifth grade I learned to play the recorder. I remember loving playing Hot Cross Buns over and over on that probably really badly tuned plastic stick with holes on it with twenty-some other really bad recorder players in the carpeted trailer that served as our music classroom.
In fifth grade, the last grade before middle school, the middle school band teachers came over with a whole bunch of instruments. Everything you’d see in a sixth grade band — clarinets, flutes, trumpets, drums, saxes, trombones, french horns.
I wanted badly to play the drums. Specifically the xylophone.
Unfortunately, they required piano practice for some unknown reason to play the drums. I still don’t know why.
People, this is why I endured two years of piano. I quit piano after I realized that the advanced pieces required huge handspans (Screw you, Chopin, for making music I love but CAN’T play) and I’m a person with small hands. Example? A DVD case’s height is thumb to pinky stretching. The Logitech USB mouse with only two buttons and scroll wheel is my perfect mouse size. I have small hands.
Anyway, I banged on the drumpad as best in rhythm as I could. I even got to try the trumpet, but I didn’t like it because I fail at buzzing my lips. Years later a trombone friend (who happened to play a cat druid in a guild with some dashingly crimson vestments) told me that was weird because typically people start out on the trombone which has a bigger mouthpiece.
After you try all the instruments, they tell you which one they think you’d be good for playing for the next three to seven years.
I got the clarinet as my result.
Dime a Dozen
The clarinet, in my opinion at the time, was like the violin of bands. Violins are to orchestras like clarinets are to bands. There are a LOT of clarinets. The clarinet section takes up an entire side on high school band seating. There’s easily 20-30 clarinets in a section. In District Band tryouts — that is, the school district and all the band players in it — 70 was on the low side for a tryout listing.
Because of the clarinet’s abundance in school bands, it’s considered an honor if you make Symphonic Band instead of the lower Concert Band. Same thing for flutes and maybe trumpets.
For something like the oboe or the bassoon or the percussionists, you weren’t even remotely bad-ass until you were in the first parts’ (parts are split into first, second, and third, sometimes fourth in old pieces) seating. Maybe not even until you WERE number one chair.
Why? If six oboists show up to audition, grats, you made it. Number-wise, nearly 100% of the oboists who auditioned got into one of the bands. Maybe one person didn’t make it because they only needed five across the two bands. You have to beat four maybe five other people to get an audition spot for States. It wasn’t that rare to have the first chair bassoonist be a godly good senior, and the second chair was just pretty good sophomore.
Seventy clarinets show up to audition and about thirty-five to forty made it. Number-wise, 50-60% of the clarinets made it. You have to beat sixty to sixty-four people to get an audition for States. Basically, not only did you have to be playing first part in Symphonic Band, you had to be in the top half of those playing first part to be even guaranteed an audition for States. The two clarinets on either side of me were maybe a point or two off from my score. You had to compare the first chairs of the two bands (#1 of auditions and #21 of auditions) to get any real jump in score.
Once, I made it to 12th chair Symphonic. That’s end of the second row (three rows usually). 13th chair was the beginning of third row. I was the last possible second part clarinet. I was ECSTATIC. I still have my nametag from that that says my name, my school, and my chair. I wasn’t even playing first part and I was SUPER HAPPY.
Sure, as an oboist, you’ve got pressure because no one has your part. But clarinets? To be a good clarinetist, to separate yourself from the merely average clarinetist, you’ve got to be godly good.
Which is a ridiculous amount of pressure for anybody to bear.
But I’m Special
I wanted to be a percussionist when I was littler because I wanted to stand out.
Clarinets and flutes are largely composed of girls. There’s always talk of that One Guy Flute or that One Guy Clarinet and whether he’s going to still be there by sophomore year. Percussionists and brass players, on the other hand, are largely guys. Though, I admit, I would have been a stereotypical percussion girl if I did happen to play the xylophone. Girls played the bells, y’know.
My friend, who happened to play tuba in marching band, said tubas measure marching bands by exclaiming that OH MY GOD THEY HAVE A GIRL TUBA! OH OH OH MY GOD THEY HAVE TWO GIRL TUBAS!!!! THEY HAVE TWO GIRL TUBAS WHAT IS THIS I DON’T /faint.
Girl tubas are rare like panda babies, yo.
I wanted to play an awesome instrument purely because I was awesome naturally.
I didn’t take band class when I entered into sixth grade. I was FURIOUS that I was chosen for the lowly clarinet. You can’t even hear the clarinet during pieces. Oh, it looks like they’re playing, but are they really? I don’t hear them.
I’m special, I deserve to play something special and unique.
So I took the option that wasn’t band class. A rotation of keyboarding (l2type class), art class, and choir.
Keyboarding was fun because it was computers, but really boring considering I aced most of the speed typing contests.
Art class could have been fun except I don’t like being told how or what I’m supposed to paint. Art is subjective, right? It’s feeling, right? It’s totally not concrete “Draw this”, right? I was known among my classmates for having a knack at drawing. Well, not like Ginny awesome drawing. But better than your average stick figure.
Choir. HAH. Oh, choir, I don’t miss you at ALL. First off, I was shy and unsure of my singing abilities. That whole singing in front of your peers alone thing? Do you know how nasty peers are?
I had this joke: I can sing, but you don’t want to hear it.
LFM Concert Auditorium, need Clarinets
Late in the semester, the band teacher pulled me and some other people out of art/choir. Just to talk.
Apparently, they needed more clarinets. We three had scored as clarinets back in fifth grade tryouts, so they pleaded with us.
I reluctantly said yes. At least it wasn’t artchoirputer, right?
To epeen a bit, I was first chair clarinetist in my school bands a lot, and when I was wasn’t, I was the highest chair clarinetist in my grade. The one time in District Band I did not make Symphonic Band, I was first chair Concert band. I was in marching band during high school, and I tried out for marching band in college, but kept getting cut below #30 out of the freshies and the returners.
I’m good at clarinet. Not godly good — no, that was a girl in the year below me; she was the James Galway (aka flute GOD) of clarinets that I’ve seen so far. But I think I can say that I’m a good clarinet player.
And to think, I didn’t want to play clarinet in the beginning because the clarinet is the common instrument.
A Clarinet’s Part
Clarinets tune the band — did you know that? Yeah, no shit, they do. Sometimes a flute or an oboe gets picked, sometimes they choose the tuba so you can tune down, but those quickie tunes before the conductor gets on stage are typically done by a clarinet. Mainly because it’s super easy to tune a clarinet. You just pull out if it’s sharp or push in if it’s flat. Nothing with the reed, not much with your embouchure (mouth shape & position), just pull out or push in. Takes half a second.
Our reeds are really cheap, too. I can get a box of 10 for five bucks. An oboe or a bassoon? They can get one of their reeds for 20 bucks on the cheap side. You can also snap an oboe’s reed pretty easily since they have no mouthpiece. Their reed is the mouthpiece.
You can chip a clarinet reed pretty easily too, though you gotta be a real dumbass to do it. If you ever see a bunch of clarinetists carrying around their mouthpiece cover and putting the cover on after every pause … this is why. To prevent ourselves from being dumbasses on a regular basis.
Clarinets play in the same key as trumpets. Trumpets are loud. Trumpets are also stereotypically full of themselves. A standard band joke is “How many trumpets does it take to screw in a light bulb?” “Seven; one to screw it in, and six to tell him they can do it better.” You hear trumpets more often than your hear clarinets, but we often play the same parts.
Or we’ll be playing with the flutes. That’s what first part clarinets do a lot, because we’re in the upper register all the time. The second part clarinets might end up playing with the french horns, harmonizing with everyone. The third part clarinets often end up playing with the bassoons and bass clarinets. Not solid rules, but generalities.
Sometimes there was a clarinet solo. It was upper register nigh on all of the time. Then you’d have clarinet sectionals — it’s like a solo, except the entire section plays. My favorite sectionals were marches. You might think marches are kinda boring. They are foot-tapping, but rather predictable. The trio was almost ALWAYS the clarinet sectional. I love march trios. The first time through the trio, it was just the clarinets on top of everybody’s piano (I mean soft volume this time). The second time, everybody joined in, but it was still the clarinet’s party.
I also love Celtic songs. Not because I happen to have Irish heritage and like Celtic music anyway, but I love playing the clarinet on Celtic-sounding pieces. Very mellow sounding, and you get long notes that bring out the clarinet’s natural woody sound. (Wood clarinet >> plastic clarinet)
College Band Class
I still play my clarinet from time to time. Not as much as I used to. I did play for a bit in the college band class, but I kept feeling bad about not practicing so I stopped. It was relaxing, though, and quite fun, so I probably ought to try it again.
There was one time when the trombones (GEEZ TROMBONES) couldn’t get this funky rhythm to work. The conductor / band director asked rhetorically if they could count to four. One…eeeee….piiiiii…FOUR! …right? Am I right? You know I’m totally right… right? Then he stopped himself and started a poll of our majors to prove we should be ashamed of ourselves for not being able to count properly.
About half the band was comprised of engineering majors. I mean, I go to a university known for engineering. That was expected.
The majority after engineering was math & science majors — almost the rest of the band. Science being a broad term ranging from biology to animal sciences (we also have a pretty good veterinary grad school).
There were no music majors present. Not a single one.
So yes, it’s entirely possible to assemble a band of a hundred or so people who play an instrument outside their major just for shits and giggles. Even more amazing, you can come back the next semester and the same people are there. Crazy, right?
I am a Warlock
I have this joke: I can sing, but it sounds reedy. (I “sing” through playing my clarinet.)
It’s not too hard to tell people I love the clarinet and have them believe that I play my clarinet because I love playing the clarinet. They don’t believe I play it because I want any sort of fame or it’s a hard instrument to pick up or I play like freaking Benny Goodman good or anything superficial reason like that.
So why is it so hard for other WoW players of different roles to believe I play my warlock, a pure DPS class, not because it’s hard or it has less pressure than a healing or tanking spec or because I can be a hardcore raider with hardcore recognition of my hardcore DPS numbers?
I believe tuba players play the tuba because it’s fun. Not because it happens to be the most important instrument in the room when the band has to crescendo (or decrescendo).
Can you believe my fellow clarinets that they play their clarinets, their warlocks and hunters and mages and rogues and cat druids and moonkin and fury warriors and arms warriors and frost DKs and unholy DKs and enhancement shamans and elemental shamans and shadow priests and ret pallies … because they like to play their DPS spec for shits and giggles?
Can you believe that I play my affliction warlock purely because I love being an affliction warlock?
Believe me, I know I’m a dime a dozen, I’ve been a dime a dozen for half my life now, and it’s not an insult to me. I relish it, actually. After years of playing the upper register, I’ve come to the conclusion that second part is where it’s at! I know I’m not the soloist, and it’s not an insult to me. I know I’m not the best in my class, and it’s not an insult to me. I actually like being Not The Best.
What is an insult to me, is you telling me I couldn’t possibly choose a class for what it is. That I have to have some stupid reason like less pressure to boost my self-esteem in order to love what I’m doing.
That…is what I, as a player of a pure DPS class, find insulting about this whole DPS-Healer-Tank trinity discussion that pops up every once in while.
Still musing and putting all the thought down for the Spitfire thingy pondering. Honestly, like Blessing of Kings said, there’s many issues in the one post, so … maybe many posts…
This is a draft / sketch, if you will. Unfinished. Only 30 max of you read this anyway, so who cares. :-P
I was thinking about the roles and stresses each role has and what I, as a DPS, do for others and want back from them. It’s similar to WowWiki’s PvE class articles, but here’s what I’ve picked up as a lock in dungeons & raids. Purple means your warlock can do this for you; green is what you can do for your warlock; half-n-half is win-win for both. :)
Vigilance | AoE threat for trash mobs | Healthstones | Banish | Fear | Summoning | Felpuppy Spell Lock on caster mobs | Drain-tanking | Marking targets | Not dancing if I cast Rain of Fire | Watching my threat | Watching for patrols you might not see | Letting me know when you need another HS | Running to you when I aggro something |
SPECIAL NOTES: If adds come from a certain direction, put the tank between me & the adds. E.g. hug the tank in BK-P2 or stand across from the doorway, not on the table, at Prince K in UK. // Put CoE on a boss when the tank pulls to get Omen to register, but don’t start DPSing. // Thank for good tanking at the end.
Healthstones | Soulstones | HoTs when I’m nearing OoM | Not Life Tapping to Death | Life Tapping during the HoT, not after | Staying out of abnormal air or floor distributions | Healing my pet | Using the SS when I cast it on you | Not dying next to a mob when you have an SS on you | Using my felpuppy to dispel that spell-reflected Corruption off myself |
SPECIAL NOTES: Thank healers for healing my minion. I know I appreciate it on my druid when hunters thank me. // Thank everybody who buffs my minion. // Offer a refill for anybody on HS after wipes. // Drain-tank or direct my damage to a mob gnawing on a healer. // If I have mage biscuits from another group, offer some.
CoE for casters | Not MD/ToT to me | Not having the same demon as me | Offering to trade off HS or Summoning |
SPECIAL NOTES: Offer extra mage biscuits to other mana classes. // If a destro warlock is in group, switch to felpuppy. // If another afflic lock in group, offer to switch to imp.
Buff Specials (since classes cross roles)
Buffing my pet | Wisdom on the Imp / Felpuppy | Might on the Felguard | Fortitude | Blood Pact | Divine Spirit | Fel Intelligence | Intellect | Gift/Mark of the Wild | Kings > Wis > Sanc | Wrath / Flametongue Totems | Demonic Pact (if demo) | Moonkin Aura | Replenishment (if destro)
Why Your Warlock Is Cursing You (/groan)
Unfortunately, all of these are true stories. Please don’t be the story I have to add to the list.
- Sheep/shackle the mob I have 3 DoTs on already and then yell at ME about it. L2SeeTargetDebuffs.
- Continue to pull trash before Patchwerk in Naxx when all the casters (including the healers) just jumped through the health & mana-draining slime. Yeah, it drains mana, too. It sucks.
- Tell me to SS someone when it’s on CD. Especially after someone used it last wipe. Especially especially when I told you it’s on CD when you asked 30s ago. I give you a blank stare of disbelief irl if you ask me this while I’m dead. (my druid says replace ‘SS’ with ‘B-Rez’)
- Ask me for a mage table. Seriously, it’s happened.
- Ask me to sheep something. Yep, this one, too.
- Tanks: say you got it, then force me to Soulshatter after I pull off you before my second round of DoTs expires on a boss without a phase change/threat-reset ability.
- Yell at the healer for not being healed enough, but then say you still have your HS when I offer more.
Regarding soulstones: Be intelligent with your SS usage. You will never be soulstoned by me again if any of the following facepalming acts is committed.
- You have the SS and are alive when it becomes obvious this is a wipe, yet you decide the boss wants a hug in his pull radius rather than running away to a safe rez spot.
- You have the SS, can use it without pulling anything, and you release. Bonus /headdesk: you say you were saving it for later.
- You are the shaman with the SS and you use reincarnate instead. Bonus /headdesk: you bitch about the expense of Ankhs afterwards. L2Glyph.
- You ask me to soulstone you because you can’t find / aren’t going to bother trying to find Icecrown Citadel from the graveyard. For the 3D navigation impaired: Find ICC, look up & to the right, find the Argent Crusade banners, fly up to the level of the top of the banners, on that level, go in the door on the left (WG is to your right). Corollary: I understand if it’s Gundrak, but I still probably won’t comply.
- You die within 5 seconds of using the SS (on my druid, replace ‘SS’ with ‘B-Rez’).
- You stand in The Bad and you/the raid/the RL tell me to SS you because you keep dying but your damage/tanking/healing is just so fucking awesome. L2NotPissOffYourHealer. Corollary: Lag used as a reason for dying will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Regarding portals that need clicking: Please fucking click it. It’s always TWO other people. Unless it’s a Doomguard, then it’s FOUR. I click yours, you click mine, mkay? Don’t move until the Warlock TV comes out of the floor or the Soulwell falls from the sky. Moving cancels the casting and it’s just annoying to have to cast it again because you can’t be bothered to sit still for five seconds. As a rule, I’ve found that placing the healthstone portal in the face of a tank and/or rogue results in a faster click+click+summon. Also, I will find a crowd of toons to sit the summoning portal on. Granted, the LFG teleporter makes most of the summoning stories obsolete now. But if you would like to piss off your warlock, feel free to
- Invite me to a dungeon party, then ask me to summon you to an instance when you are originating from the same spot as me or closer.
- Be in Dalaran, ask me to summon you to an instance, and when I agree, you port to Ironforge and say your hearthstone is down (whether it is or not, that’s just rude).
- Leave the raid without telling anyone or asking for a summon back and then expecting me to do it anyway.
- Not be in my dungeon party/raid but ask me to grab two buddies and summon you & your friends to [place]. Not even tipping me will make me a mage. You get automatically ignored if you ask me to summon you to a place which is closer to you than it is to me. Yeah, I /who random people whispering me.
- Repeatedly ask for a HS but don’t click the portal.
- Repeatedly ask for a HS but keep canceling the trade window by moving.
- Refuse to click my portal after I clicked your mage table one.
- Ask for a summon and then go AFK for 2min as we try to summon you.
- Go outside to the instance portal and summon people whom I’ve already summoned inside the dungeon/raid.
- Be silent when the call for summons goes out, but everybody then decides to ask for their personal summon in intervals of 2min 1s. FFS PEOPLE.
- You fall off Gluth’s pipe but whine that I’ve put the stone on the pipe and not on Grobbulus’s platform. L2Walk or shut up and take the summon.
It exploded in the WoW blogosphere, I think. It seems to have subsided a little, so probably after compiling all my thoughts and ponderings on the subject, I’ll be too late and too repetitive. I still feel like it would be a good exercise: for thinking, for writing, for perspective, for blogging, for whatever.
My core perspective is my two mains: an affliction warlock and a beartree druid. My absolute “main” is my warlock — a DPS. Moreover, a class whose three talent trees are all designed for the DPS role, so I play a pure DPS class, to be specific. But I also have devoted a great deal of time and effort into being a great bear TANK and tree HEALER. My tree is currently decked out in 4pc t9, bear is after warlock, and warlock is in progress through the Triumph handouts. At first I was outraged by the post — because I swear, I’m a warlock at heart, a pure DPS. Then I got to thinking…
And I’m still thinking. Mostly reading other people’s perspectives and opinions and blog posts on the subject and then thinking some more through my own opinions and perspectives.
Would posting my thoughts be too late and/or too repetitive of others’ before?