Friday, March 13, 2009

He Who Has Last Laugh, Laughs Best.

My guild has been falling apart as of late. The GM is taking a sabbatical to get married, and the officer whom she left in charge decided to transfer all power to her little played alt, and take her main over to her friend's guild. That was kinda the beginning of the end. In rapid succession, our three raid healers left, the main tank left, and about the top 12 DPSers left. I'm not about to bail on our GM, who's a very nice person and skilled raid leader, until she has a chance to impress me with her plan for rebuilding the guild. But to be perfectly honest, at this point, she'd need to have met with Ensidia on her honeymoon, and convinced them to transfer servers here, swap to alliance side, and let me MT for them in Ulduar. Who knows, it might happen...

But in the interim, with the complete lack of guild raids the last three weeks, I began filling in with a guild that a RL friend of mine is an officer in. They were pushing their way through Naxx 25 progression, and needed some tanks to help ease the jump from a 10 man raiding guild into a 25 man guild. There are usually two routes people tend to take with regards to progression in Naxx. They either start with the Spider Wing, as it's the easiest and gives the group a chance to gel, or Construct, because you can punt all the people who suck if you can't down Patchwerk without worrying about getting them saved. The group chose to do construct first, and we did a pretty good job. We knocked down Patchwerk on the second attempt, after we convinced the melee DPS not to open up right away. We one shotted Grobulus with no problem, and killed Gluth with some minor difficulties. The main tank died right off the bat, and I had to tank Gluth pretty much alone for 6 stacks until he got brezzed and rebuffed, but the important thing is we killed him. Which brought us to Thaddius. Thaddius is one of those fights that you either get, or you don't. The raid didn't get it that day. People were missing the jump, crossing charges, and not dpsing enough. After about three wipes, we bailed out on Thaddius, and moved on to the spider wing. One shot, one shot, one shot. Easy as pie. The military wing went about as well. One wipe on Razuvious, but one shot Gothik and the Horsemen.

We called it a night at that point, and picked it up the next night. We decided to give Thaddius another go. The encounter glitched on the two adds prior to Thaddius. They threw a warlock instead for the main tank, and proceeded to rip through the raid group. Wipe protocol was enacted, and rogues were vanishing, Elves Shadowmelding, and paladins DIing anything that stood still long enough. The adds reset, and the people came out of hiding. The moment they dropped whatever aggro wipe they had, the adds would reaggro and kill them. So we went for a full wipe. We regrouped and headed back inside. As the group slogged to Thaddius, the adds reaggroed the moment we set foot in Gluth's room. Another wipe. We opened up a ticket, and went and did the plague wing. Noth was cake, as was Heigan, however, we didn't get the safety dance, a few people thought they could get that last cast off. They couldn't.

Now, a funny thing happened on the way to Loatheb. We were milling around as a GM had showed up to help the officers sort out the Thaddius problem. Someone said something in vent that sort of sounded like pull. So a pug hunter pulled, with the 3 officers, 2 other tanks, and 2 other DPS players standing on the other side of the threshold. I picked up Loatheb, being the only tank in the room, and started going to town. Fortunately, all the healers were inside, so we just decided to go for it. After a long time, Loatheb went down. Unfortunately, one of the officers who was locked out was the Master Looter. That turned it into a group loot roll. All hell broke lose on vent. The ML was yelling on vent for people not to panic. Instead of having everyone pass, and open the group to potential ninjas, the master looter opted to have people simply treat it like a 5 man instance. Need if you need, greed if you can DE, pass otherwise. I got the Greaves of Turbulence from him. I think I earned it.

The response from GM was that the whole raid had to evacuate the instance and wait 45 minutes until the instance soft resets. Why they couldn't just reset it as soon as we were out is beyond my ken. But we were left with 45 minutes to kill. So we took the guys we had who weren't saved to OS25 and 17 manned it for the achievement. We reformed but at this point it was nearly 2 AM, and people were a little ragged, and after two wipes, we called it for the night.

We reconvened on Sunday, with just Thaddius, Sapphiron, and Kel'Thuzad left. Of the original three tanks, I was the only one left. They paladin and warrior had been replaced by two DKs. This was nice for me, because they didn't share the same loot table as I did, so pretty much anything with block on it, or any one handed tanking drops were mine. That was assuming we managed to down Thaddius. Which we did, on the second try. Now, we were in unknown waters for this guild. They had never made it to Sapphiron on heroic before. And this was where I began to get a real taste of progression style raids. We wiped 12 times. We'd lose people who grouped up on the ice blocks. We'd lose people who didn't stay close enough to get to the ice block. We'd lose people who just stood in the chill. Even when people started to get it right, they got it wrong. My personal favorite was when the RL got ice blocked on the snow drifts. This causes a glitch that allows the frost bomb through. Half the raid didn't know that, and it seems they were all hiding behind that ice block. We lost 13 raiders on that one. We lost two healers on one attempt when they got behind an ice block, only to find out it was a mage casting ice block, not one of Sapphiron's. After 10 attempts, the DK MT had to go, as he was one of those crazy east coast people playing on a west coast server. This left me main tanking a progression attempt for a guild I wasn't even in. Fun times. We picked up an extra healer to replace the tank, unfortunately this led to everyone thinking the other healers were on tank detail. I got one lifebloom and one renew thrown on me at the start, then was promptly ripped limb from limb when the only additional healing I got for 30 seconds were procs from my own Judgement of Light. I was not pleased. The raid leader fixed the healing assignments and declared this would be our last attempt. It went great. The healers kept me up, the DPS stopped standing in things, and we didn't lose anyone to frost bombs. Sapphiron went down, and vent exploded.

However, this left us in the unenviable situation of only having two tanks on Kel'Thuzad. Usually, it's better to have an OT take two adds, and the other OT take the other two, while the MT tanks KT. We only had one OT, and the RL wasn't about to go scrambling for a pug OT on a progression attempt at 1 AM for KT only. So, I was planning on seeing a few wipes here, then maybe, if I was lucky, picking it up on Monday. 12 wipes on Sapphiron, who's generally considered much easier than KT on 25 man, generally foresees many wipes on the Lich.

What happened, however, was impressive. We rolled into Kel'Thuzad's lair and crushed him. The OT picked up all four adds and held them, the healers kept us alive, and the DPS kept Kel'Thuzad from destroying me with frostbolts. When Kel'Thuzad went down, he dropped one of the two things on my wish list. Not the Wall of Terror, which, admittedly was my preferred choice. However, he did drop Last Laugh, the best in slot tanking weapon for protection paladins. However, it also has a massive DPS, so I was ready to fight tooth and nail for my right to it over either of the DW DKs who would undoubtedly be eying it as well. I dropped my roll, and watched it go uncontested. Hot Damn. I got Kel'Thuzad on a stick.

I immediately trotted over to the auction house and blew all my cash for picking up the most expensive weapon enchant I could find, Accuracy. I'm so stoked. I'm ready to smash some faces with the Last Laugh.

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