In the present, however, I was able to revisit the idea of Wing Clip as a supplemental attack. For a period of time in my 30s I experienced mild concern about the size of my mana pool, which has been largely neglected for the entirety of this character's life. But at 47, with 3/3 points in the Resourcefulness talent, I may as well have infinite mana. With Wing Clip excluded from my regular attack rotation, there is no longer any point at which my regular rate of mana consumption (2100 mp) exceeds what my Spirit (74 spi: 55+19) is able to regenerate during my normal downtime. My stack of Moonberry Juice, now 12 levels old, is so far past its expiration date there are Druids who want to study the new life growing inside.
So what happens when I add Wing Clip back in, in the same way that failed so utterly outside Furlbrow's farm? Well, to begin with, I have two ranks of Wing Clip now, not just one, so I have to decide which rank to spam. I mentioned in a prior post the idea of using Wing Clip to increase the chance to proc a chance-on-hit effect; the assurance of maintaining speed reduction against a mob is appealing as well. Additionally, when I learn Kill Command, a cheap Wing Clip crit should still be enough to open up that ability. As WoWWiki observes, "the damage dealt by this ability is pointless". It's the effects we want, so we capitalize on that by using Rank 1, hitting higher ranks only when we need the increased speed reduction.
I set up this macro:
/cast [modifier] Wing Clip(Rank 1); Wing ClipWith this, I can hit the button normally for a max rank Wing Clip, or hold down alt to get the cheapest (least mana intensive) version. I first tried this by spamming rank 1 whenever I was not busy with any other special attack. The drain on my mana was not crippling but was still significant. My mind was filled with nightmare visions of having to explain to the Moonberry Juicians that I was about to drink them, forever eradicating their unique society. So I eased back and hit the Wing Clips every two seconds. That worked out well. My mana regen was back to a point where it would naturally compensate for what I used, without coercing me into quaffing a cup of fourth-grade science project.
For the present, there's no practical reason for me to use the Wing Clips. I have no chance-on-hit effects to proc on my weapon, no Kill Command to unlock. If I'm worried about mobs running away, I know how to use Wing Clip situationally -- the barrage of them is unnecessary. But there's an impractical reason to use it that's actually not insignificant. It makes my character Do Stuff.
My weapon is very slow, and my special attacks are unsteady in their frequency. Consequently, I spend a lot of time watching this dwarf ruminate over each attack. Patience may be a virtue, but have you ever been in a group with a melee character that just refused to stop? Sorry, priest, no time to drink! There's mobs ahead! Leeeeeeroooooyyy....!!! As foolhardy as it may be, there's a reason a lot of melee players succumb to that sort of behavior. Melee is, by definition, a kinetic activity. And an object in motion, even psychologically, tends to stay in motion. Or to aggro mobs before you've regened your mana and refreshed your pally buffs, as it were. It's a real exercise in restraint to play as a melee class, hit your combat rhythm, and stop. Then start, and stop. And again. And again. This frustration arises during combat, too, not just in the interstices. It's a real trial to know that I'm going to get punched in the face three or four times by that Ogre before my [Polearm of Molasses-in-January] finally connects with its vitals. Intellectually, I know that the 5 points of damage Wing Clip does are negligible. But psychologically it's greatly rewarding to see myself unceasingly spinning, jumping, thrusting. The heightened sense of engagement is palpable. For the minor additional cost in mana, I'd say it's worth it for that alone.