Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Rage and Grace

Well, raiding comprises a lot of ups and downs. Doubly so if you're a raid leader. The past week has had a lot of them.

I missed out on the guild's first run into ICC 25. They one shotted Lord Marrowgar, but then proceeded to spend nearly 2 hours wiping to Lady Deathwhisper. Mainly due to trouble getting the adds under control in phase one. Which would have been my job, had I been there. Which made me feel pretty miserable. Making me feel even worse was that my latency dropped down to a manageable 800ms immediately afterwards. Touche, Murphy.

Once my connection had stabilized, I gathered up my ten man, and rolled into ToGC10. There, our superhuman Disc/Holy priest suddenly contracted my connection issues. Ever see a Resto Shaman try to solo heal Heroic Jaraxxus? It's not pretty. So the priest stepped out, and I grabbed one of our other priests, who, while being a skilled and effective healer, had never done ToGC 10 before. ToGC is still tuned tight enough that you can carry a DPSer, but not a tank or Healer, especially since we two heal the whole thing, save faction champs. So there was basically a training wipe for each fight as the new priest adjusted to the unhealthy demands we placed on the old priest. We still picked up Mad Skill for the new priest, who adapted as quickly as I could ask him to, however, it was a little disappointing not to get insanity.

We had a lull until our monday raid, which would polish off ICC 25, during which, my mic broke. Have you ever tried to coordinate first attempts on a new boss without a microphone? Not fun. With all the spam from people's addons and DBM in particular, raid warnings just don't have the same attention grabbing qualities as the giant voice roaring into your ear.

To make matters worse, for some reason, my combat log stopped working. That meant that all my addons which depended on the combat log gave me nothing. Nothing on parrot, half of DBM didn't work, and most frustrating, recount didn't work. I use recount for analysis purposes. I can quickly find out who has been targeting the proper targets, who got hit by the wrong attacks, and most importantly, why someone died. I had none of that. I was essentially flying blind, relying on my officers for information. It was quite disconcerting.

All of this leads up to the raid on Monday. We walk in, and smoothly one shot the gunship battle. It was even more epic on 25 man than it was on ten man. I took the role of the jump tank this time, and spent the fight crossing blades with THE High Overlord Saurfang. A privilege I have not had, save the one time my guild blew up Warsong Hold for the sole purpose of killing Garrosh Hellscream. Jet packs are fun. I mean really fun. Despite being an extremely easy encounter, this is probably one of my favorites in the game. I also picked up a sexy pair of tanking shoulders. They do however, make me look like one of those oddball warrior tanks. Hopefully I can pick up a nice set of tier 10 shoulders soon, seeing as the pally T10 looks pretty good this tier.

Which brings us to the younger Saurfang. Deathbringer got a little crazy. It took us five tries to get him down. And even then, the rate of accumulation of blood power was unacceptable. I'm not exactly sure of what exactly was going wrong because all my tools for analysis depend on the combat log, but do know at one point I panned my camera around and saw our demo lock tanking two blood beasts in illidan-form. /facepalm. Angry Dammer boiled to the surface, but angry raid warnings don't really carry the satisfaction of being able to actually talk to someone. I think they got the message though, as the next attempt, we dropped Deathbringer, and collected purples. Double vanquisher dropped, and we moved on.

One of my goals, now that the guild has begun properly raiding 25 mans, is to clean up the old progression objectives that we failed to down when the content was current. So we started with Sartharion with three drakes. OS3D was a fight that we attempted many times in T7, and it kicked our ass. It didn't help that our tanking corps at the time consisted of three prot paladins, who were utterly gimped prior to patch 3.2, but well, we just weren't that good back then. This time, we came in a rolled it. It was satisfying. The group walked off with new titles, and I walked off with a new flying mount that I won't use, despite the amount of DKP I dropped on it. It's very pretty, but my rusted proto drake flies circles around it. I'm planning on the Ulduar Hard Modes next. Maybe not Firefighter, that was hellish on 10 man.

Next up was Tuesday's ten man night. With my combat log repaired, we dove into Icecrown, and aside from still puzzling out the traps on the pre marrowgar trash, we were textbook in there. Every boss was smoothly one shot. Deathbringer Saurfang didn't get a single Mark out. It was beautiful. I picked up a mace from Marrowgar that I'll probably only use in a farm set, and even then, that's assuming that I don't get a 245 DPS weapon out of ToGC 10 by then. Crusader's Glory just has way too much survivability tied into it for me to surrender it for some more hit and DPS.

Right before the Deathbringer pull, we were inspired by our fellow alliance raiders. Crisis, the top alliance guild spammed the server with their realm first Tribute to Insanity 25 man. Congratulations guys. Sorry Wrathy, I'm sure you'll get Insanity this week too.

We then proceeded to ToGC 10, where the exact opposite happened. Things got sloppy. Ranged DPS got murdered on beasts by standing in the path of the kited worm. DPS didn't switch to the last volcano on Jaraxxus, leading to a kill with only 4 members of the raid left standing. Control was almost non existant on Faction Champions. I wound up having to replace the DK assigned to kite the warrior in order to get them down. That was a bit of a wake up call, and the group rallied to one shot twins and Anub to salvage Mad Skill. I got a trophy that bought me a nice new chest piece for my ret set.

The ups and downs of raiding were ever present. Combined with whatever electromagnetic field of fail I've been projecting lately, it made raiding quite the game of chutes and ladders. But that's part of what makes things so much fun.

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